Six Month Rule (Kingston Ale House)

By: A.J. Pine

She created the game, but the rules are about to change.

Taurus: Hold fast to your single-minded nature today—no matter how long her legs or how lush her red lips.

Gemini: You were a shining star last night, but reality can be a real—well, you get the picture. Just remember: Tall, dark, and British equals no corner office for you.

Will Evans never wanted a reason to stay.

Holly Chandler wants nothing more than for him to go.

But neither one is prepared for what can happen in six months. Because it doesn’t matter what you want when what you need walks out the door.

Holly’s been busting her butt to make partner at Trousseau, and there’s no way she’s going to let some stuck-up British arsehole get in her way—no matter how drop-dead gorgeous he is. But that doesn’t mean she can’t have a little fun in the process. She has a six-month rule: date just long enough for the honeymoon phase to wear off, then walk away before anyone gets hurt. If they both know the rules up front, walking away will be a piece of cake. Or maybe not…


Chapter One

Gemini: You are what you wear, so dress the part. Today more than any other day, make sure your clothes tell everyone who you are. Only when you show your true self can you truly be seen.

Holly’s smile faltered. What the hell did that mean? No one was truer to herself than she was, and she had the clothes to prove it. Okay, well, she had last year’s samples to prove it, but even on her worst day, Holly Chandler’s designer wardrobe was a force to be reckoned with. And she kept nothing hidden, yet her app seemed to be accusing her of quite the opposite. Despite what seemed to be a disapproving horoscope—which she insisted to her sister she only read for fun—Holly felt like a million bucks. And there was no question—she looked like a million bucks, too. After pulling off Saturday night’s fashion show as head assistant director, Holly knew her meeting with Andrea this morning was the one she’d been working toward for five years. Maybe all-black wasn’t Holly Chandler’s norm, but her sister said the dress made her look like Audrey Hepburn, and paired with the perfect Jimmy Choo peep-toe booties, the vintage black frock was exactly what she needed to show her boss that she could be taken seriously as a partner rather than an employee. Holly was never one for business wear, but she was sure this look meant business, that it said she was ready to take on whatever Andrea threw at her. All she needed was her hazelnut soy latte, icing on the cake that she knew this day would be.

Yet just as the elevator doors were about to kiss, a polished, tan Cole Haan wingtip forced them back open. That would leave a scuff mark, which was why Holly was smiling when Charlie Tate, Trousseau’s finance director, invaded her early-morning daydreams—and her private elevator ride.

“Morning, gorgeous,” Charlie said.

Holly sighed. Conversations with him always seemed to circle back to when they’d been a we. But she wouldn’t let herself get distracted. Not today. “Morning, Charlie.”

She couldn’t help but admire everything above the wingtips. The navy suit, one of the three buttons fastened over the periwinkle-and-white pin-striped button-down. Maybe the jacket could be taken in a notch at the shoulders, but who was she to judge? Charlie worked in finance, not in design. On any given day, he blew most suited men out of the water. And damn, she really did love a man who could dress.

“Everyone’s talking about your home run Saturday night,” he added, his grin spreading across his lightly tanned face.

“Really?” She innocently raised her brows while offering him a fuller response in her head. I know, right? Andrea gave me the reins, so I worked my ass off for that show. And guess what? I nailed it, and now she’s going to make me partner. Not bad for twenty-six, eh?

Charlie nudged her shoulder with his.

“Celebrate later after Andrea makes it official?”

Holly’s face erupted into the smile she’d been keeping at bay. Aw, screw it. Today was not the day for her poker face. Except her grin and Charlie’s grin were probably not about the same things. So she dialed it back a few notches.

“Thanks, Charlie. But I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

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