– Connor –
It’s all on me now. The billion-dollar company I just inherited from my late father. The public eye waiting for me to slip up. The pressure of keeping it all together.
At least there’s one bright spot in my life—my new assistant, Emma. My dream woman come to life if I didn’t know better.
It’s too bad the paparazzi would have a field day if they discovered something going on between us. I can’t afford for anything to jeopardize my new role as CEO of Bishop Industries.
Even if she is temptation personified.
– Emma –
It was supposed to be a simple assignment. Become Connor Bishop’s new assistant and convince him to buy my father’s company, Montague Media. So how do I do that? By any means necessary, according to my dad—including seduction. Otherwise, I lose everything.
But no one told me how hard it would be to seduce a billionaire who insists on acting like a perfect gentleman, especially when real feelings start to emerge. At what point do I stop the charade and tell him who I really am? Before or after I fall in love with him?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
As the third book in a series of interconnected standalones, fans wanted to know more about the youngest Bishop brother. So here's Connor's story in full!
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I had ideas about the two main characters in this book, Connor and Emma, since the first book in the series. I wish I could have introduced Emma earlier, but she needed to remain a secret for the big reveal!
“Are you ready?”
I glance over at my brother, Gabriel, and beyond him, my other brother, Archer, each giving me identical expressions of concern.
I wish they’d stop walking on eggshells around me. I’m in the same boat they are. “Yeah, I’m fine.”
Archer’s lips purse as Gabriel lets out a soft grunt of disbelief.
“Okay, I’m not fine.” How could I be after what’s happened? “Let’s just get this over with.”
Archer nods and tells the estate lawyer on the other side of the boardroom table we’re ready to begin.
The man clears his throat and pulls a stack of papers out of his briefcase, handing us each a copy of the will. Was he at the funeral? I can’t remember. The entire morning is a blur.
“I wanted to gather you together in case there was any confusion about what’s set forth in here,” he says. “Your father submitted this revised version of his will to me three weeks ago, and as far as I know, was in sound mind as he did so. If anyone feels the need to challenge its validity—”
“We’re not contesting anything,” Gabriel interrupts. “We’re prepared.”
He nods and begins to read from the top of the document, but Gabriel cuts him off again. “Could you skip all the legalese and just tell us what we got?”
Archer side-eyes him but stays quiet, slipping on his reading glasses to look over the papers for himself. Since when does he need those? How much has changed since I’ve been away?
“Gabriel and Archer, your father has given you each one hundred dollars,” the lawyer says bluntly.
I blink, a part of me unable to believe Dad really cut them out of the will like that. Even as mad as he was at the two of them for defying him, I’d hoped it would eventually blow over.
“A hundred dollars? Why even bother leaving anything?” Gabriel asks.
Archer sighs, taking his glasses off to pinch the bridge of his nose. “It’s a tactic to ensure we were purposely included in the will, so if we take it to court, we can’t claim we were left out.”
“One final fuck you, huh?”
“So Connor gets everything, then?”
“Yes.” The lawyer turns to me, his expression sober. “Mr. Bishop’s shares in Bishop Industries, his real estate, and stock holdings are all yours. He also appointed you as CEO of Bishop Industries. The company is yours to run now.”
My jaw trembles for a moment before I firm it. I was supposed to be Chief of Operations one day, not CEO. My background is in project management, not running the whole thing.
I glance over at Archer, who gives me a weary smile. “Congratulations.”
This must be crushing for him. Bishop Industries was supposed to be his. He was groomed to be the successor.
I shake my head before pushing my chair back from the table so I can rest my elbows on my knees, blowing out a long breath. “I don’t want it. You take it.” Seriously, how am I going to run a billion-dollar corporation? I’m twenty-six years old. I’m not prepared for this.
“I’ve moved on,” he says simply. “And I’m sure Dad put some kind of clause in there that prevents me or Gabriel from having anything to do with the company.”
“That’s correct,” the lawyer says.
“You deserve the money,” Gabriel exclaims, clapping me on the back as I sit up. “You stuck him out the longest.”
“I’ll give you both—”
“No,” they say in unison.
“Serena and I are fine for money,” Archer insists.
I turn to Gabriel, who needs it more than any of us, but he staunchly refuses. “I’ll make it on my own. I don’t want anything to do with Dad’s money anymore.”
“It’s not like he’s giving it to you. I am. Dad is… dead.”
It still feels so weird to say that. He’d survived the first heart attack he had last week, but the second one he’d had hours later was too much for his body to handle, despite his indomitable will. I’d been on a flight back here to New York from the Philippines when he passed, only receiving the news once I’d disembarked from the plane.
The days since have been a blur with funeral arrangements and well-wishers, most of whom I’ve never met. Thank God for my brothers. Without them, I wouldn’t know how to handle any of this.
“I have paperwork for you to sign at your earliest convenience,” the lawyer continues, “and the keys to his residences here for you.” He clears his throat, not meeting my brothers’ eyes as he says, “And it was specifically stated that Gabriel and Archer are not to reside in their former households.”
“Jesus Christ,” Gabriel mutters. “Sticking it to us from beyond the grave. That’s just like him.” He rolls his eyes and looks at the ground, shouting, “We don’t want your stupid apartments, Dad.” He points downward. “Because he’s in Hell, you know?”
Archer groans, but not before I catch his lips quirking at the edges.
“You guys can have your places back,” I tell them. They lived in those apartments for years. It’s only right. “I don’t know what kind of legal action anyone can take—”
“They’re yours,” Archer says firmly. “We’ll abide by the terms of the will. We both knew what we were doing when we told Dad we wouldn’t live by his rules anymore.”
Gabriel nods his agreement but holds up a hand. “Can I just put out there that I miss having a housekeeper? It sucks doing laundry and dishes.”
A burble of laughter builds within me. “That’s it? That’s all you’re asking for? Someone to fold your clothes and wash your dishes?”
He shrugs. “Yeah. Mackenzie’s dishwasher just broke, so I’ve been having to wash them by hand. It’s awful.”
Wow, okay. “Anything for you, Archer?”
“No,” he says quietly. I take a closer look at him, the grooves bracketing his mouth deeper than they used to be. “I’m fine.”
“It’s okay to be sad,” I tell him. “Or mad. Or anything.” He’s always kept his cards too close to his chest.
He nods. “I’ve already talked to Serena about it.”
Well, at least he’s finally opening up to someone. I don’t know what she did to break through to him, but I have to hand it to her.
“Oh, and we’re getting married,” Archer continues. “For real this time.”
“Uh, didn’t we already do a wedding?” Gabriel asks, referencing the infamous event that brought us all to this point. “Remember, first I was the groom, then you were. Is it Connor’s turn now?”
I grin, glad that Gabriel can joke about it, but Archer isn’t as amused. “It’s going to be small, but I’d still like you both to be there.”
Gabriel shakes his shoulder. “Yeah, of course we’ll be there. Let me know what you want, and me and Mackenzie will put it together.”
The lawyer clears his throat, reminding us he’s still there, and I take the paperwork from him. “I’ll just look this stuff over, yeah?”
My eyes skim over the pages, and it’s only because I’m used to reading contracts for work that it makes sense. It’s true. Everything is mine.
Now to figure out what to do with it.
Allie Winters is the author of the Suncoast University series, the Bishop Brothers series, and the Lessons Learned series. She loves writing swoony, relatable romance and lives in sunny Florida with her husband, daughter, and two cats.
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