Read Gamble on Engagement Online

Authors: Rachel Astor

Tags: #mcmaster the disaster, #celebrity, #engagement, #paparazzi, #bridesmaid, #diary, #movie star, #wedding, #london, #scandal, #disaster diary

Gamble on Engagement (6 page)

BOOK: Gamble on Engagement
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JAKE HALL AND DISASTER BRIDESMAID TO
WED?
the headline screamed.

 

My mouth dropped and I had to remind myself
that I was in public. Not to mention I was
in
the tabloid I
was reading and there could be photographers anywhere. Of course,
no one would probably suspect that I was sitting here in the London
train station, but you never knew. Those guys were vultures, and
supposedly even worse in the UK, which honestly, I couldn’t really
imagine. I quickly put on my sunglasses, just to be sure.

I scanned the article and was shocked to
discover that apparently, the large online betting websites were
already holding wagers on when Jake Hall would get engaged. There
were even bets for whether or not I would be the bride.

I mean, how ridiculous, we’d been dating
less than a month, and sure, when you’re thrown together under
extreme circumstances—and I would definitely consider being in the
spotlight at a very high profile wedding to be extreme—things
usually moved a little faster than normal.

But this was ridiculous. We were months, or
probably years away from even thinking about getting engaged.

I mean, weren’t we?

Suddenly, visions of walking slowly down an
aisle full of rose petals, the crowd turning and smiling as I
strolled along, filled my mind. My own bridesmaids were there at
the front, Jennifer and oddly, yet so perfectly, Mattie in a pink
suit jacket, both with smiles so wide I thought they might split
their faces in two. Then I saw myself in the most beautiful,
princess-like wedding gown, complete with tiara and full veil,
stretching to the floor.

And there was Jake, standing alongside his
brother, and some other dude that my mind apparently created
because I had no idea who he was. The bouquet of wildflowers was to
die for and the backdrop where the minister stood was the most
beautiful stained glass church mural I had ever seen.

No wait, maybe the beach would be
better.

Okay, maybe a beautiful green forest, the
sun rays peeking through just enough to make everything
sparkle.

Or how about the top of a cliff?

I shook the daydreams from my head, knowing
that insanity had taken over again. I was a complete fool to think
Jake and I could be getting married anytime soon, I mean, sure Jake
had said he was ready to settle down, but that certainly didn’t
mean marriage right away, did it?

God, of course not. The whole thing was just
another story for the tabloids to sell more papers, and goodness
knows the world loves a good story of a commoner landing a guy way
above their station.

Oh God, I was doing it again. I quickly
pulled out the Disaster Diary and sat there, thinking until reality
began to come crashing down all over again.

 

Dear Disaster Diary,

 

Remember how hot I looked in that slinky
black dress at Angela’s stagette? I mean, I’d been faithfully doing
my yoga and I was as toned as ever. And I know, a dress that tight
should probably never be worn, but hey, I was working hard for it,
practically starving myself for days so I could look that good.

And I did look damn good, if I do say so
myself. I got out on that dance floor and wiggled like nobody’s
business, after all, when else would I look that good?

It was then that I began to notice the
stares. Women were covering their faces and whispering to each
other when they were looking right at me. Even worse, Men were
staring and elbowing each other like they were in on some sort of
naughty secret.

And the rest of the girls at Angela’s
stagette just stood there giggling their faces off.

I couldn’t figure out what the hell was
going on. I mean, I know it wasn’t the dancing, because even though
I was definitely having a good time, I was way more conservative
than some of the other girls in our party.

Finally I looked down, and I have to say it
was rather shocking to find my white bra and underwear glowing like
a beacon, straight through the thin material of the dress.

I never hated black light so
passionately.

Oh yeah, and thanks so much for the heads up
girls.

 

Just as I was closing up the diary, they
announced the train to Spain. I glanced up and looked straight into
the eyes of… a very suspicious looking man in sunglasses—even
though it was pretty dim in there—and a moustache that hadn’t been
in style since Magnum PI. But he looked away quickly, and I figured
he must have just happened to be glancing in my direction at the
exact same time as I’d looked up. It happened all the time, right?
I tossed the tabloid into the trash, definitely not needing any
more fuel for my ridiculous daydreams, and climbed aboard, settling
in for a nice long, relaxing ride.

 

~~~

 

Several hours later, I woke to realize that
I’d been asleep on the shoulder of a rather large man, which, to my
dismay, seemed to be enjoying the ride just a little too much. I
checked for drool and tried to smile as apologetically as possible
without actually letting him think I wanted to start up some sort
of train relationship with him. Thankfully, the train was nearing
its destination and I would be free in a few short minutes.

I’d made reservations at the same resort
that Prince Leo loved. Thank goodness it was just a regular resort
and not just for the super rich, although I’m sure Prince Leo’s
room was a heck of a lot nicer than mine was going to be. Not that
I would be spending much time in the room anyway. No, the beach was
already calling my name.

I grabbed a cab and checked into the hotel,
itching to get out to the sand. I mean, I wanted to explore the
locale, of course, but I figured there’d be time enough for that
tomorrow. For today, didn’t I deserve a little rest and
relaxation?

I changed into my swimsuit and cover-up, and
flip flopped my way out to the beach, which was private for hotel
guests only. I found a lovely umbrella to lie under and waited
quite contentedly until a man came to offer me a drink. I hadn’t
even known the place was all-inclusive, but was more than happy to
oblige him with a drink order. And let me tell you, he was
certainly something to look at. I tried not to stare as he walked
away, really I did, but it was like my eyes were made of metal and
his butt was a magnet.

He brought back my drink within minutes and
I wiggled deeper into the lounge chair, getting more comfortable
than should be allowed, and sipped. The drink was to die for,
fruity and creamy and all around heavenly. I leaned my head back
and let out a long, content sigh, unable to stop myself from
smiling.

Life was good.

Until, that is, the international cell I’d
picked up on my way out of the states began to buzz.

“Hello?”

“Hey girl, I certainly hope you’ve been so
busy with the famous people of the UK that you haven’t had a minute
to call, otherwise I will kick your ass from London all the way
back home. You better not have forgotten about me already.”

“Mattie!” God, it was so good to hear his
voice. Any voice from back home, really, but of course, Mattie was
one of my favorites. “Don’t you know it’s impossible to forget
about you?”

“Of course I know, but my God, it was like
you’d fallen off the face of the Earth.”

“I know, I’m sorry. I really have been busy
though. You would not believe the place I’m staying.”

“Tell. Me. Everything!”

I groaned. “I can’t.”

“Josie!”

“I’m serious Mattie! I had to sign a
confidentiality thing and everything. I could lose my job.”

He scoffed. “Come on McMaster, you’ve got to
give something up. Just give me a hint. What type of profession do
they have? Is it a guy or a girl? Come on, give me something, I’m
dying here!”

“Seriously, Mattie, I can’t! If I could, I
would, you know that.”

“Josie…”

I sighed. “Fine, I can tell you one thing.
It’s not a movie star.”

“Okay,” he said, willing to play. “So it’s a
TV star then?”

“No.”

“A musician?”

“No.”

“A model?”

“Mattie! Come on!”

“Josie, seriously, am I going to have to
come over there? ‘Cause you know I will.”

“Mattie, stop it. That’s all I am going to
say.”

He sighed. Heavily. “Fine, but you know I’ll
get something out of you sooner or later.”

“Whatever Mattie,” I said. “You may think
you know how to manipulate me, but you don’t.”

“Whatever you say my dear.” I could
practically see his smirk all the way across the ocean. “So what is
the place you’re staying at like.”

“Oh my God, the castle is so amazing! You
would not believe it. It’s like a maze inside; I totally keep
getting lost. And it has all these cute little rolling hills, and
the biggest garden you have ever seen.”

“Did you just say castle?” He gasped. “Oh my
God, it’s a royal!” He let out a squeal and I could tell he was
jumping up and down.

Crap.

“Mattie, you cannot say anything to anyone!”
I warned, glancing left and right, making sure no one could hear my
conversation. Not that they’d have a snowball’s chance in hell to
figure out what I was talking about… unless they were the paparazzi
or something.

Oh God. If Mattie figured it out that quick,
who knows how quick a paparazzo might figure it out. Except they
didn’t know I was ghostwriting a biography. At least I didn’t think
they could know, but then again, I didn’t think my Disaster Diary
could get out either. All it took was one friend to turn their back
on me and sell it to the press.

I glanced around again, wondering how easily
my calls could be recorded. Or how far a listening device might be
able to catch my conversation from.

I shook my head. God Josie, get a grip. You
are not that important. Sure, you may be dating someone famous, but
it’s not like
you’re
actually famous.

“Don’t worry so much,” Mattie said. “I can
tell those cute little wheels in your head are turning a mile a
minute. I’m not going to pull a Calla, if that’s what you’re
worried about.” He actually sounded a bit hurt.

“Mattie, I would never think that,” I said,
although I was thinking I had actually known him for a lot less
time than I’d known Calla. Plus she had been the person who I’d
thought of as my best friend, and look how badly that ended.

But still, Mattie wasn’t going to betray me,
he was better than that.

Of course, if you’d asked the same thing
about Calla a month ago, I would have said the same thing.

God. What if I’m just really bad at picking
friends?

But I didn’t get much time to think about it
because my call waiting was going off.

“Shit. Sorry Mattie, I don’t know who it
could be, but I’ve got another call coming in.”

“Well, aren’t you just Miss Popular all over
again,” he teased. “It’s probably just another member of the royal
family, asking if you could write them up a quick biography.”

“Mattie! Shhhh. What if someone can hear
you?”

“And how very paranoid we’ve become,” he
teased even more.

I sighed. “I gotta go.”

“Don’t be a stranger, and be safe.”

“Thanks Mattie, I’ll call you soon.”

I quickly pressed the button to accept the
other call. “Hello?”

“Miss McMaster? This is Miss Steeves.”

Oh right, Steeves, that’s what Miranda’s
last name was. She didn’t sound any friendlier over the phone. “Oh,
um, hello.”

“I just wanted to confirm with you that you
would be back at the castle in a timely manner. We are, after all,
paying you to work.

What the hell? I thought. “Well, um…”
Suddenly I felt like I was a kid being punished for something they
didn’t know they’d even done. “I just thought… you know, that with
Prince Leo being away and everything…”

“Miss McMaster,” Miranda interrupted. “Just
because the Prince is away does not mean you get to take a
vacation. We are on a deadline here! The publisher is expecting a
book.”

“Of course, but…”

“There is plenty we can do without the
Prince. You are to shadow me for the rest of the week.”

Oh my God, it would take me a while just to
get back to London. “Of course. No problem,” I lied. “It’s just
that...”
Come on brain, think!
“Well, you see, I’ve been
doing a little research on my own here and I’m coming up with some
great material. I would hate to lose such a tremendous
opportunity.”

Good Lord Josie, what are you even talking
about?

“Well,” Miranda said. “I assume you’re
researching his alma mater, but I really don’t think it will be of
much help. Those really weren’t the Prince’s most… formative years.
There are things, of course, that he will not want in the
book.”

“Yes, of course,” I agreed. “But I do feel
like I’m getting to know him a bit better, and after all, isn’t
that the most important thing?”

My heart was beating so fast that I could
barely even hear Miranda anymore. I could only hope I was talking
normally. Goodness knew I had a tendency to babble when I got
nervous.

She sighed. “I suppose. But be back by early
Friday. You really don’t have any more time than that to waste.”
The phone clicked.

And I swear, at that exact moment, I caught
a glimpse of a very familiar outdated moustache and aviators
ducking behind a bush down at the other end of the beach.

So much for my vacation getaway.

 

 

 

 

~ 6 ~

 

I couldn’t stop the words ‘what a waste of
time and money’ from flowing through my head over and over. It
really did put a downer on the whole relaxing vacation thing. Not
that I was on vacation apparently. No, even when the Prince was
away, the biographers could apparently, not play. I went back to my
hotel room and started slogging through the net again, checking out
the Prince’s former school, sports teams, and other organizations
until I passed out from sheer boredom.

BOOK: Gamble on Engagement
11.63Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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