Home > Womanizer (Manwhore #4)

Womanizer (Manwhore #4)
Author: Katy Evans

I stare out the plane window at Chicago beneath me. My home for the next three months.

My best friends, Farrah and Veronica, didn’t believe the news.

They weren’t the only ones who didn’t believe the news. Nobody in the entire Hill Country believed me, not even my dream employer, Daniel Radisson, head of Radisson Investments in Austin, who refused my application for internship and told me to get some experience somewhere else and come back to him when I was ready. I stopped by to tell him that I’d found a job and I’d be coming back to work for him when I finished.

“You found an internship at the biggest firm in Chicago yourself?” he asked, shaking his head incredulously as he took in my fashionable pumps, miniskirt, cute little sequined top, and cross-body bag.

I blinked at his complete lack of belief in me, resisting the urge to steal my hand around my waist and cross my fingers behind my back as I said a little fib.

I loathed admitting that my brother got the job for me.

I hate lying, so I resisted, but I hate being underestimated more.

My brother may have gotten this job for me, but I’m going to be the one who keeps it and climbs the ranks on my own merit. No favors from anyone anymore. One day I will have my own business and help people realize their own dreams.

“My brother is friends with the CEO, and they were happy to have me on board,” I said—which, technically, is true. Tahoe actually only said, Talked to Carmichael. Send all paperwork to this email. Start first week of June.

“Happy” wasn’t mentioned but if his friend agreed, then I assume he is happy I’m coming on board.

At least I am.

I’ve been underestimated my whole life. For my eighteenth birthday present, my brother sent me to France for the summer and all I came back saying was oui. Huge disappointment to my parents, who wanted me to come back a fully sophisticated, French-speaking lady. So I don’t pick up foreign languages easily? It’s not the end of the world. I have a business degree, and I have big dreams.

So the last week of May, all packed and ready and with one wistful last look at the bedroom I’ve lived in most of my teenage years and adult life, I take a risk—not only did I leave home, but I actually caved in to my brother’s insistence to send his jet to pick me up and fly me to the Windy City.

There were tears when my parents stuffed my luggage into the trunk of the family SUV, and more tears as we reached the airport.

Definitely I was the one most tearful. I’m just an easy person to make cry, don’t judge.

It doesn’t mean I cannot be badass. Ask Ulysses Harrison, who got punched in the nuts when he tried to feel my boobs just as they started growing.

I hugged my mom and dad, first inhaling my mom’s scent of cinnamon and apples, then getting a good whiff of my dad’s Old Spice. After begrudgingly letting go, I took the steps leading up to my brother’s luxurious private jet. From the top of the stairs, I waved at them, and they waved back, with one arm wrapped around each other and the other waving at me. My dad was smiling and wearing his I’m-tough-but-dammit-I’m-feeling-emotional face. My mom slipped on a pair of shades so I couldn’t see if her eyes were still weepy or not.

When the pilot closed the door, I settled in a seat near the plane wings so that I didn’t feel as if there was nothing beneath me. A mindfuck, just so I can force myself to fly.

The plane engines geared up, and I leaned back and closed my eyes for the flight, turning the ring on my left hand round and round.

Heights and I . . . let’s just say we don’t go well.

My brother saved me from heights once, and he’s the only one I feel safe with. I wouldn’t be caught dead flying commercial. But this is his plane. And when I opened my eyes midflight, I saw a message on one of the seats that read, Just hang in there. It’ll be over in a second.

I laughed, and now I’m seconds away from landing, listening to some music to distract myself, settling for the song “I Lived” on replay as the plane finally lands in Chicago. My home for the next three months and the internship that will be the first step of many, many I need to take to make my career dreams come true.

My brother Tahoe and his girlfriend pick me up at the airport in a very dirty Rolls-Royce Ghost. I swear my brother likes fine things, but he doesn’t give a shit about using them until they’re done. Me? I’m the sort of girl who stores her favorite purse with filler and in double dust bags and then in a box, rarely using it for fear of scratching it. Tahoe doesn’t even care enough to bother to pay someone to clean his $300k car.

We reach a beautiful, tall skyscraper in the Loop, and take the elevator up.

He kisses my cheek after we board.

“Stay out of the clubs, Liv,” Tahoe whispers. A warning.

“Leave her alone, you big bully,” his girlfriend defends me.

Where my brother is tall and blond and raw, his girlfriend Regina is curvy and dark-haired and sultry.

He pins her at his side and kisses her silent, a big smack that makes her groan as if she doesn’t like it. But she flushes, so she obviously does. “I’m her big brother, it’s my job not to.” He grins down at her with a special look in his eyes he gets only when he looks at her, and then looks at me somberly. “Seriously. Stay out of the clubs.”

I groan. “I’m not interested, okay? I came here to work. Plus I survived seven years in Texas without you policing my nightly activities.”

But the truth is, I love my brother. He’s a little rough around the edges but he means well. I love my family and I want them to be proud of me.

“Good. Carmichael’s doing this as a personal favor to me,” he says as we step out on my floor.

“Thanks for reminding me I don’t have qualities of my own to get me an internship.”

“In a Fortune 500 company? Sis, you’re good . . .”

I frown. “But not that good?”

He looks at me with that smirk of his, then reaches out and rumples my hair. “You’re good. Make me proud, okay?” He tips my chin up.

I nod.

Callan Carmichael. I don’t know him, even though he’s apparently a close friend of my brother. When my brother moved to Chicago and I came to visit, he always told me to stay away from his friends. Now I’m old enough to work at one of their firms—Carma Inc. For the owner and CEO himself. Carma is a conglomerate of ten-plus huge multibillion-dollar companies involving media, real estate, and worldwide investments, and takeovers are Carmichael’s specialty. He’s a land shark. I’m not into city gossip, much less in a city I didn’t live in until an hour ago, but I know that in Chicago they speak of him with a touch of fear in their voice. Carma Inc. has been bringing karma to bad business handling for decades, without mercy.

Well it’s time to seize my own karma, and I breathe in as I stop at my apartment door.

I may have agreed to let my brother send his jet, but when he said he was renting me a place in his same building, I set my foot down. This is my independence we’re talking about. So we compromised when I couldn’t find anything affordable near work.

I’m going to be taking over his girlfriend’s lease, since she basically lives with Tahoe now.

Tahoe’s friend Will Blackstone has a prime building in the Loop that he’s demolishing to make new apartment complexes. The permits are still underway and could take a while, and in the meantime Gina had a great rental at an unbelievable price that was sitting mostly unused. She still has some of her stuff over here, but what she needs, she has at Tahoe’s. It’ll be my place for the next few months.

And suddenly here I am, filled with a rush of excitement when I use my brand-new key to open my brand-new place for the first time.

“You going to open that door today, little sis?” Tahoe asks, shoulder propped on the wall as he waits not-so-patiently.

“Give me a second! Let me savor this!” I protest.

My hand trembles a little and my brother doesn’t miss it, but he still lets me be the one to open the door.

I finally do, stepping inside.

It’s a one-bedroom, two-bath apartment with a closet as big as my room in Texas, a huge kitchen for entertaining, a living room with views of the city that are to die for, and hardwood floors that smell delicious.

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