Authors: Nana Malone,Misty Evans
Hit & Run Bride
& Misty Evans
Hit & Run Bride
Copyright © 2014 Nana Malone
Copyright © 2014 Misty Evans
Cover Art by Hot Damn Designs
Formatting by Author E.M.S.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents are products of the author’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. No portion of this book may be used or reproduced in any manner without the express written consent of the author, except in brief quotations embedded in critical articles and reviews.
eBooks may not be resold as it is an infringement on the copyright of this work.
Spandex and Lycra everywhere, but not a stitch of Gucci. Becca Daniels surveyed her fellow Dive employees. How they could just show up to work in sportswear was beyond her. Granted, Dive’s parent company, Elite Sports, was the largest sportswear marketing company on the west coast, but really, would it kill any of them to wear something other than Lulu Lemon?
“Care to join us in the discussion, Becca?”
Damn it, busted.
“Um, sorry. Just thinking about some ideas for the website. And what it will take to get the campaign going given our timeline.” There, that sounded like something a totally together project analyst would say, right?
“I’m glad to hear that, Becca.” Fred, the company’s ad executive manager said. He was dressed in bright teal running shorts and a spandex shirt. “Because as luck would have it—or in this case, as Brett Jennings would have it—you’re going to be project lead for the Southland campaign.”
Brett Jennings? The head of Dive? Becca’s mouth dropped open, and she forced her brain to concentrate on the words. Project lead for the new Southland swim line? But she’d only been here a year. It had taken most of the analysts at least two years before they’d been given their own campaigns to lead.
“Excuse me?” She slid a gaze to her best friend, Vanessa Rodriquez. Maybe she’d heard wrong. Fred must have meant R
becca, the senior campaign manager.
“We feel it’s time, Becca. Your experience with Bloomingdale’s sportswear division and your relationship with the Marketing Director of Elite will come in handy. You’ve been here long enough to prove yourself. We’re glad to have you on this.”
Except, nobody looked glad. In fact, many of her coworkers looked pissed. Or annoyed, or confused. Hell,
was confused. She couldn’t do this, regardless of the fact Southland was the new designer watersports line. Shit, she couldn’t even swim. What did she know about spandex and neoprene?
Do. Not. Panic
All she needed to do was take a deep breath. Maybe if she backed out gracefully, she could save face and ignore the hateful glares of the forever hungry and toned that were her coworkers. “Uhm, I’d really feel more comfortable if I partnered with—”
Vanessa kicked her under the table and shook her head.
“Ow,” Becca muttered beneath her breath. “What I mean to say is, yes, sir! I’m looking forward to the challenge and can’t wait to partner with Southland to really rock this campaign.”
She was so totally screwed.
She’d started working at Dive a little over a year ago, desperate for a change of pace. She’d loved working at Bloomingdale’s, but she’d hit a ceiling at her last job, one that wouldn’t budge unless she started sleeping with her boss, so she’d taken a chance and moved to San Diego. Land of the perpetually sunny and tanned.
For the most part, she loved her job, she’d made friends. Okay, make that one friend.
Van was great, but Becca’d had trouble adjusting. It was like she spoke Greek, or designer, rather, and they all spoke German—or in this case, athletic gear. She didn’t speak the same language, let alone wear the same uniform. Nike and Lulu Lemon were like a religious cult around the office. Hell, her first month with Elite Sports, when everyone had been talking about how they’d only managed four or six or ten every morning, she’d finally had to break down and ask what the hell they meant. Ten what? Apparently, these crazy people had meant
. As in running. And they always said miles as if running that far seemed normal. Like she was the abnormal one because she wasn’t in some never-ending training cycle for some half marathon. What had happened to good old fashioned walking on the treadmill while watching
? That counted as physical activity, right? She and her best friend, Van called their other coworkers Tribots, as in Triathlon robots who couldn’t think outside of the group rhetoric.
Everyone always stared at her clothes as if she were an alien. So shoot her if she saved for her designer duds, but there was no way she was coming to work in yoga pants. Especially when the average size of the girls around here was a size zero and she was, well...not.
She dragged her attention back to her boss. He’d started enthusiastically talking about the campaign and what it would mean for the company.
“Southland is projected to be our most profitable line yet. Our demographic is young and innovative and fresh. And for a brand ambassador, we want to go even bigger with our endorsement. We want Addison Torres.”
Becca’s stomach rolled. Great, all she had to do was launch a new designer watersports athletic wear line, keep her team on track with their projects and delivery, and oh yeah, woo an Olympic swimmer to sign on and endorse it. Easy peasy.
Her boss kept talking. “Becca, let’s meet at two to discuss strategy.”
Yeah, cool, strategy. Like how she was going to become superwoman. Maybe if she had the right cape, she could make it happen. Something from Diane Von Furstenberg.
All eyes were on her. She cleared her throat. “Sure thing.”
The meeting ended. Her coworkers filed out, leaving her and Vanessa still seated. Van looked at her. “Stop freaking out. Take a deep breath. It’ll be fine.”
She stared at Vanessa. “Fine? I’m screwed. And did you see how the Tribots stared at me? They don’t think I deserve this.”
“Screw them and what they think. They’re all hungry, that’s why they walk around with sourpuss expressions all day. You’d look pissed off too if you’d been eating sugar-free and gluten-free since the Y2K.”
Becca giggled. “Good point. There’s nothing natural about gluten-free.” She drew in a deep breath. “Okay, let me go find Fred and nail him down on specifics. Once I have more detail, I’ll feel ready to deal. I’ve done this a hundred times.”
“For fabulous designer brands, no less. This is nothing.”
Honestly, what would she do without Van? She’d been her first friend here in San Diego. And in a city where everyone wore flip flops and hemp bracelets, she’d found a kindred spirit. “You’re right. I can do anything. Just as soon as I fortify myself with chocolate.”
The two of them rounded the bank of cubicles, heading for their shared office and paused at the large crowd in front of the door. Oh hell, had someone found her secret stash of Snickers? Were they going to publicly ridicule her for eating sugar?
People shifted aside as she and Van approached. Becca froze.
There, on one knee, was Holden, her boyfriend. Her heart kicked into a gallop, and sweat popped on her brow.
Vanessa clamped a hand on Becca’s tricep. “He’s seen you; it’s too late to run.”
This was not how she’d always pictured a proposal. She’d imagined some big romantic gesture, like a trip to San Francisco, or a boat in Catalina, or maybe New York City. Okay, well the setting didn’t matter, but the outfit did. And her Michael Kors pants suit and plain white button-down didn’t cut it. And at work of all places...in front of her coworkers.
. She had to form words. Standing there staring was not a good look. Maybe—
he wasn’t proposing. “Holden. What are you doing?”
He smiled wide, his handsome face making her insides melt a little. “I thought about the dinner thing, then figured, why not propose to you in the place we met? What could be more romantic than that?”
Becca could think of a dozen things, but she kept her thoughts to herself. “I—um—” She glanced down at the small, black velvet box in his hand. Inscribed on the inside of the box was the name Neil Lane. He’d designed JLo’s second ring, right? At least Holden had paid attention to some of the things she talked about.
But Becca almost choked when she laid eyes on the ring. Nestled in the white satin sat a thick gold band with a diamond-cut pink diamond in the center. Oh...wow…
Holden cleared his throat. “Before you say anything, I have a speech prepared. Becca, you’re witty and beautiful, and you really do complete me. I can’t wait for you to become my wife. And before you worry about your big project and the wedding planning, and honeymoon planning, stop. I’ve already planned everything. Even the honeymoon. We’ll go to Kona during Ironman.” His face was lit with childlike joy. “We can both do the race, then spend time exploring the islands. The water in Hawaii is so warm, and you’re going to love learning to surf. Just say yes.”
Becca swallowed hard. She
love him. He was handsome and smart and had a bright future and...
And she didn’t
to say yes. She certainly didn’t want to go to Kona.
She shoved the thought aside. This was Holden. He was perfect for her in every way. They could discuss the honeymoon later. Maybe. They could skip the Ironman and still do Kona. That part of Hawaii was supposed to be beautiful. She smiled tremulously. “Of course I’ll marry you, Holden.”
Becca did her best to accept the congratulations. Holden looked so happy. He really loved her. And she loved him too.
Then why are you still sweating?
Okay, so maybe it wasn’t the honeymoon she’d always dreamed about, but this was good too. She’d be with Holden. That’s all that mattered.
She leaned into him and kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll be right back. Just running to the ladies’ room.”
She needed a minute alone to take a deep breath. A minute to think.
Run for the hills
In the restroom, she splashed cold water on her eyes, then stared at her reflection in the mirror. Nothing about what had just happened was at all according to plan. But she really did need to learn to let go of her plans sometimes and go with the flow. Holden, the Marketing Director at Elite Sports, was exactly what she needed. A grown-up relationship. With their jobs, they were the perfect complement to each other. Except, she had a sinking suspicion she’d only been given her cool new job because of him. And that was the last thing she wanted.
She glanced down at her ring and swallowed hard.
Maybe it wasn’t what she would have picked for herself. But he’d tried really hard. She’d need to add some gold to her jewelry so she’d have something to wear with it. And the pink—well, pink was in, right?
Except you hate pink
She shoved the voice of rebellion into a dark closet at the back of her mind. It was the thought that counted, and Holden thought big. The damn thing looked huge on her finger.
The door to the ladies’ room opened, and Vanessa strolled in and locked the door behind herself. “Are you okay?”
Becca raised her brows. “What do you mean? I’m fine. I’m better than fine. Heck, I just got engaged. Life is...great. Awesome. Fine.”
Vanessa nodded. “Okay. If you say so. But if you weren’t fine, that would be okay too.”
“But I am. I mean, look at my ring.”
Vanessa glanced at the ring, then at Becca, then back at the ring. Her bubbling laughter filled the bathroom and bounced off the walls. “Honey, that thing is hideous. The gold and the pink! How can he not know you hate pink?”
Becca sighed with relief. At least she wasn’t the only one who thought the ring was ugly. “Van, what am I going to do? I want to marry Holden. But he’s talking about Kona and an Ironman, and he gave me this very big, pink ring, and he’s talking about me learning to surf and…” Her voice trailed as she struggled to drag air into her lungs.
Vanessa pulled her into a hug. “It’s okay. You’re not the first bride to be freaked out at a proposal. You love him right?”