Dirty Headlines(11)

I stared down, my toes squirming in my shoes. “You’re making a big deal out of nothing. We’ve met before. Briefly. At a…social function.” What’s more social than sucking each other’s privates? “I think we were just surprised to see each other is all.”

The way the lie slid effortlessly from my lips scared me. First stealing his wallet, and now this. Célian Laurent sure brought the worst out of me.

“So you’re saying you don’t know each other.” Ava tilted her chin down, inspecting me like I was a Russian spy.

“I’m not even sure what his first name is.” This was actually true.

“It’s Célian. Now, question—did you listen to anything he said in that meeting?” Grayson raised an eyebrow.

“I…” I searched for words.

Normally, I was far more eloquent. Debate had been my favorite subject at school. I’d gone head to head with my articulate, overtly opinionated, politician-wannabe classmates at Columbia—sons of lawyers and daughters of judges. But just like any woman determined to be taken seriously, I had an Achilles heel. Being caught getting freaky with the boss and salivating all over him was going to make my career freefall like a shooting star.

“Let me help you with that.” Grayson waved his hand. “Mr. Laurent said they’re slicing the budget of Couture by at least ten percent, which may not seem like much, but our blog is virtually running on fumes as it is. I thought this was the extent of it. I was wrong.”

“I’m not sure I’m following.” I frowned.

Grayson leaned forward, catching my gaze. “I’m going to ask again—how do you know the Laurents?”

“Why?” I felt my heart thudding against my chest. Now we were talking in plural?

“I just got this email.” He turned his monitor around so the three of us could huddle in front of it and take a look.

From: Mathias Laurent, President, LBC

To: Grayson Covey, Editor, Couture Online Magazine

Dear Mr. Covey,

As per our earlier discussion and in line with the recent cuts made at Couture, we shall be needing further assistance in the news department.

We will be transferring one of your employees to the newsroom starting tomorrow at nine a.m. Seeing as you and Miss Jones have worked together closely for the past two years, the person reporting to the newsroom will be Miss Humphry.


M. Laurent.

President, LBC

“What’s going on?” I swiveled Grayson’s chair, grabbing his shoulders.

I was mildly elated and a whole lot frightened. Working in a newsroom had been my dream for as long as I could remember, but working under Célian was sure to be a nightmare. My feelings were at war, fighting and tugging between joy and abject horror.

“I have no idea. Mr. Laurent Senior has never addressed me in person. I wasn’t even sure he knew my name.” Grayson rubbed his forehead, looking disoriented.

“You think it’s got something to do with Célian?” Ava asked.

Célian was about as readable as a blank sheet. He was a mystery wrapped in an enigma. He’d seemed pissed at me, sure, and he’d been clear he didn’t want to see me again.

“Doubt it. As I said before, we don’t know each other,” I parroted myself.

Grayson darted up to rub my back. “It’s okay. You’ll be fine. Célian made a name for himself as the cruelest man in the business, which is why we’ve actually been leaving CNN and Fox News to eat dust the last couple years. But at the end of the day, there will be people around. He can’t maim you.”

A ping sounded from Grayson’s computer, and our eyes shot back to the screen.

From: Célian Laurent, News Director, LBC

To: Grayson Covey, Editor, Couture Online Magazine


You were expected to send us the Swedish royal wedding piece two hours ago. Unless you’re fond of long unemployment lines and downgrading to a Bronx apartment with unreliable electricity, I would advise against testing my limit when it comes to punctuality.

They’re called deadlines for a reason. If you fail to deliver the piece on time…


Grayson double-clicked the little X on the right-hand corner of his monitor, closing the email program.

“About the maiming thing…” He cleared his throat, looking skyward and shaking his head. “Wear a helmet tomorrow morning, just in case.”

“Good morning, Mr. Laurent! Here is your grande Americano, daily schedule, and the news bulletins for today. You have a ten o’clock meeting with your father in his office, and a noon lunch with James Townley and his agent regarding renewing his contract. Your dry cleaner left a message that your navy blue Gucci pea coat is missing. They sent their apologies and offered a twenty-percent discount off your next visit. What would you like me to do with this information, sir?”

Bunch a lawsuit into a ball and shove it down their throats.

Overall my PA, Brianna Shaw, was an okay kid.

A law school grad who I was pretty sure still thought pro bono referred to being a U2 fan, she did make an effort—something that couldn’t be said about the pile of self-entitled, snotty millennials who’d come in and out of this place trying (and failing) to assist me. Brianna wheezed like she was in the middle of an orgy when she talked to me, which made understanding her a struggle. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that she had to chase me up and down the hall. She was short and stocky, and I was tall and ran seven miles a day.

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