Temporary CEOBy: Lexy Timms
Fake Billionaire Series, Volume 2
Underneath the bright lights of the Prescott Arena Allyson Smith squinted, hoping against hope that there weren’t any reporters lurking. The owner of the local basketball team was talking to her boss, Dane Prescott. And her secret boyfriend. Not that anyone knew. Shoot, she wasn’t even sure anymore either.
While Dane was having a quick meeting, Allyson kept an eye out for anything untoward happening on the basketball court. She had to make her scan of the arena discreet. Things might be imploding in her life, but that didn’t mean she couldn’t be professional and protect her boss from further scandal.
Besides, the PR department at Prescott Global had specifically instructed that she and Dane not to be seen in public together. The company had a scandal to weather, and there was now zero room for error.
She turned her head at the sound of Dane clearing his throat. “Yes, Mr. Prescott?” Allyson was so used to being at his side that she noticed even the smallest changes. Call him by his proper name, give nothing away.
Dane looked down at her, his handsome face placid, those gorgeous blue eyes giving away no emotion. “The meeting’s over, so we can have lunch in one of the private suites.”
With quick goodbyes to the team owner, Allyson followed Dane to one of the arena’s luxury suites.
After working as Dane’s executive assistant for three years, she should’ve been used to all the decadence and easy luxury by now. But the private suite was still a welcome surprise.
There were plush leather seats and sofas, a huge flat screen TV, a kitchenette in the corner, and a bar complete with alcoholic and non-alcoholic beverages. Plus, from up here they got a terrific view of the basketball court. This place was nothing like the ordinary seats most people used down below.
A chef busied herself with last-minute food preparations while the bartender made their drinks. After taking their beverages—a mocktail for Allyson and a glass of scotch for Dane—they took their seats at a low table. It was hard for her to get comfortable now that she felt like she had to search for reporters all the time.
Dane sat across from her and unbuttoned his navy-blue jacket. He sat back, appraising her, scotch in hand. There was something about the way he managed to fit in wherever he went that kept her so completely drawn to him. She imagined there was no reason not to fit in for a man like him. Men like Dane owned the world. Even when the world was crumbling around them. Like it was now.
“Did the meeting go well?” she asked.
“That isn’t what you want to talk about,” he said smoothly.
No, it wasn’t. She shouldn’t have been surprised he had figured that out, as Dane never missed details. It was impossible to hide things from him.
“We should probably talk about damage control,” she said. They were still in the fallout of their scandal. Only two days had passed since the media frenzy on Tuesday night. One minute, they’d been keeping up their fake marriage in order to help Prescott Global obtain a merger deal, and the next minute a tabloid reporter had declared the marriage a sham in front of the press.
She cringed at the memory. She and Dane had been in the middle of a live interview with a local news channel when a tabloid reporter had shoved his way into the interview, and asked them to comment on the rumors that their marriage was a fake. With the lie exposed on camera Allyson had wanted to flee, but Dane had held on to her hand. Had whispered into her ear that they were going to walk out with their heads held high. Which they did until they got into the limo, and Allyson had started panicking.
Dane had been the one to calm her down and drop her off at her apartment. Then he spent the rest of the holiday dealing with the press, including releasing a public statement. His statement basically told the truth. They had gone to her brother’s wedding, the media had gotten the wrong impression and believed it was Allyson and Dane’s wedding, and then Dane decided to run with the fake marriage for the publicity. He hadn’t tried to finesse their lie, but he made himself the target of the blame. Which hadn’t made her feel good at all. She owed him. And she couldn’t stop thinking about the fact that he’d stepped into the line of fire for her. It was too much. She didn’t deserve it.
“The damage is already done,” Dane said. His voice was so calm and even. Like he was taking all this in stride.
She didn’t know how that was possible, considering she hadn’t gotten a good night’s sleep since the truth had come out. She’d dealt with calls from the press all day yesterday. It was supposed to have been a day off, but New York tabloid reporters didn’t rest when it came to scandal.