Black Ties and White Lies: Chapter 1


“Margo, Margo, Margo.”

A familiar voice startles me from my computer screen. Spinning in my office chair I find my best friend, Emma, hunched over the wall of my cubicle. Her painted red lips form a teasing grin.

Pulling the pen I was chewing on out of my mouth, I narrow my eyes at her suspiciously. “What?”

She licks her teeth, flicking the head of the Nash Pierce bobblehead she bought me ages ago. “Who did you piss off this time?”

My stomach drops, and I don’t even know what she’s talking about. “Are you still drunk?” I accuse, thinking about the wine we consumed last night. We downed two bottles of cheap pinot grigio with our roommate and best friend, Winnie. Split between the three of us, there’s no way she’s still tipsy, but it’s the best I could come up with.

She scoffs, her face scrunching in annoyance. “Obviously not. I was refilling my coffee in the lounge when Darla had asked if I’d seen you.”

I stifle an eye roll. Darla knew I’d be at one of two places. I’m always either at my desk or huddled in front of the coffee maker trying to get the nectar of the gods to keep me awake.

Darla knew exactly where to find me.

She just didn’t want to.

You accidentally put water in the coffee bean receptacle instead of the carafe and suddenly the office receptionist hates you. It’s not like I’d meant to break it. It’s not my fault it wasn’t made clear on the machine what went where. I was just trying to help.

“I haven’t heard from her,” I comment, my eyes flicking to Darla’s desk. She’s not there, but her phone lights up with an incoming call. Darla rarely leaves her desk. It isn’t a good sign that she’s nowhere in sight. The sky could be falling, and I’m not sure Darla would leave her perch.

Emma rounds the wall of my cubicle, planting her ass on my desk like she’s done a million times before, even though I’ve asked her not to just as many times.

“I’m working.” Reaching out, I smack her black stiletto, getting her foot off the armrest of my chair.

She laughs, playfully digging her heel into my thigh. “Well, Darla, that amazing woman, told me the boss wants to see you.”

“I thought Marty was out for meetings all day today?”

Emma bites her lip, shaking her head at me. “No, like the boss, boss. The head honcho. Bossman. I think it’s somebody new.”

She opens her mouth to say something else, but I cut her off. “That can’t be right.”

“Margo!” Darla barks from the doors of our conference room. I almost jump out of my chair from the shrill tone of her voice.

Emma’s eyes are wide as saucers as she looks from Darla back to me. “Seriously, Mar, what did you do?”

I slide my feet into my discarded heels underneath my desk. Standing up, I wipe my hands down the front of my skirt. I hate that my palms are already clammy from nerves. “I didn’t do anything,” I hiss, apparently forgetting how to walk in heels as I almost face-plant before I’m even out of the security of my cubicle.

She annoyingly clicks her tongue, giving me a look that tells me she doesn’t believe me. “Obviously, I knew we had people higher up than Marty, they’re just never here. I wonder what could be so serious…

“You aren’t helping.”

There’s no time for me to go back and forth with my best friend since college any longer. Darla has her arms crossed over her chest in a way that tells me if I don’t haul ass across this office and meet her at the door in the next thirty seconds, she’s going to make me regret it.

I come to a stop in front of the five-foot woman who scares me way more than I’d care to admit. She frowns, her jowls pronounced as she glares at me.

Despite the dirty look, I smile sweetly at her, knowing my mama told me to always kill them with kindness. “Good morning, Darla,” I say, my voice sickeningly sweet.

Her frown lines get deeper. “I don’t even want to know what you did to warrant his visit today,” she clips.

Your guess is as good as mine, Darla.

“Who?” I try to look into the conference room behind her, but the door is shut.

Weird. That door is never closed.

‘Why don’t you find out for yourself?” Grabbing the handle, she opens the door. Her body partially blocks the doorway, making me squeeze past her to be able to get in.

Whoever this he is, doesn’t grant me the luxury of showing me his face. He stands in front of the floor-to-ceiling windows, his hands in the pockets of the perfectly tailored suit that molds to his body effortlessly. I haven’t even seen the guy’s face but everything about him screams wealth. Having only seen him from behind, I can tell that he exudes confidence. It’s in his stance—the way he carries his shoulders, his feet slightly apart as he stares out the window. Everything about his posture screams business. I’m just terrified why his business is my business.

When they said boss, they really meant it. Oh boy.

What have I done?

Even the sound of the door shutting behind me doesn’t elicit movement from him. It gives me time to look him up and down from the back. If I wasn’t already terrified that I was in trouble for something I don’t even remember doing, I’d take a moment to appreciate the view.

I mean damn. I didn’t know that suit pants could fit an ass so perfectly.

I risk another step into the conference room. Looking around, I confirm it’s just me and the mystery man with a nice ass in the empty space.

Shaking my head, I attempt to stop thinking of the way he fills the navy suit out flawlessly. From what I’ve been told, he’s my boss. The thoughts running through my head are anything but work appropriate.

“Uh, hello?” I ask cautiously. My feet awkwardly stop on the other side of the large table from him. I don’t know what to do. If I’m about to be fired, do I sit down first or just keep standing and get it over with?

I wonder if they’ll give me a box to put my stuff in.

His back stiffens. Slowly, he turns around.

When I finally catch a glimpse of his face, I almost keel over in shock.

Because the man standing in front of me—my apparent boss—is also my ex-boyfriend’s very attractive older brother.


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