Private Player Read Online Louise Bay

Categories Genre: Contemporary, Romance Tags Authors:

Total pages in book: 82
Estimated words: 77599 (not accurate)
Estimated Reading Time in minutes: 388(@200wpm)___ 310(@250wpm)___ 259(@300wpm)

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Private Player

Author/Writer of Book/Novel:

Louise Bay

Book Information:

The first time I meet Madison Shore, I’m greeted by her knickers. She’s upside down and trying to untangle herself from my chair at a wedding.
I get to see a whole lot more of her later that night.
The second time I meet Madison Shore is in my London office. Turns out she’s a journalist writing an article about me.
To keep control of my company, I need to convince people I’m more serious about business than my playboy reputation suggests. Madison holds my future in her hands.
Now I just need to convince the woman I took to bed on Saturday night that I'm not the player everyone thinks I am.
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Louise Bay



I watched from the edges of the lawn where guests were gathered. The groom, one of my oldest friends, grinned like his team had just won the FA cup. The photographer scurried after him and his bride as the happy couple flitted among groups of guests enjoying their canapés and champagne.

Everyone was full of smiles, air kisses, and congratulations.

Everyone except me. I hated weddings.

It came down to small talk. Some people were good at chatting about the weather, or Wimbledon, or whatever else it was that small-talkers talked about.

I wasn’t that guy.

Add in the bad wine, cold food, and prolonged speeches, and weddings became my personal hell medley. And that was before the soon-to-explode bomb landed in my lap last night.

I should have been in London. Working. Planning. Strategizing. Defusing. Instead, I was listening to the tick, tick, tick—powerless to stop the explosion I knew would come. I glanced at my phone. Gretel was supposed to come back to me by four with details of some last-minute story the Sunday Mercury intended to run about me tomorrow—it was the kind of thing that normally didn’t concern me, but given my current relationship with my board, I couldn’t afford to ignore anything. Three fifty-eight. She had two minutes.

Tick, tick, tick.

My phone buzzed in my hand. Well, at least she wasn’t late. I moved toward the trees and pressed Accept. “Go ahead.”

“They have photos of you with Audrey Alpern. Is that Mark Alpern’s wife?” she asked.

The news stuck in my throat like I’d swallowed a mouthful of wood chippings. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

Since I’d floated Astro Holdings, there had been murmurs about whether my focus was on the job . . . or elsewhere. The murmurs were turning into shrieks. The market didn’t think I could work hard and play hard. But I’d always been that way. My two passions in life were work and play—business and pleasure. It had always served me well.

Until now.

Until I’d taken Astro public.

Now, instead of answering to myself alone, I had pension funds, investors, and the business press—not to mention the board—scrutinizing everything I did.

Apparently, the rest of the world didn’t think you could run a FTSE 100 company and enjoy yourself.

“Yes,” I replied and I cleared my throat. “I’ve been friends with both of them since before they were married. We all met at university.”

“Was Mark there last night?” she asked.

“Nope.” Of course he wasn’t. Audrey had come to me for help. Advice. Support. Bomb disposal expertise. Her husband had betrayed her—betrayed everyone. Mark was the last person who would have been there last night.

“Well, the Mercury is lobbing words like playboy and cheater and—”

“And none of those words are accurate when describing me, so what’s your plan?” The board had forced me to hire a PR person to repair my reputation as a playboy who was more focused on women than his business, so she needed to do her job.

“My plan is for you to tell me why you were with another man’s wife at Annabel’s at three in the morning. It’s usually better to start with the truth.”

“She’s a friend. We went out for some drinks.”

Gretel groaned on the other end of the line. She assumed I was lying. If I’d been trying to cover up something sordid, maybe I would have. But I was telling the truth. It just wasn’t the whole truth.

“Well, Houston, we have a problem,” she said.

“I’m not sleeping with Audrey Alpern.” At least the Mercury hadn’t uncovered the real reason we were together last night.

“I don’t care whether or not you’re fucking her,” Gretel said. “I care that it looks like you’re fucking her.”

“And I don’t care what it looks like,” I said. “I care about the truth. And the truth is, she’s just a friend. We were having drinks. There’s no story.” Another lie. There was a story, but it was far bigger than me being out with a married woman. It just wasn’t mine to tell.

“Unfortunately, that kind of truth doesn’t sell newspapers. We need to give them some explanation.”

“You want me to make something up?” I asked.

Gretel sighed. I’d not been making her life easy since she joined, but I resented the board questioning my commitment to the job when they were the ones around the table seeing the business thrive. Astro was outperforming its targets on every measure. “We need to offer an alternative perspective to the image of you that’s out there,” she said.

Despite Astro’s success, I was dangerously close to being fired by the board I’d created. If they thought I was sleeping with another man’s wife, especially a man who happened to be one of the biggest wealth managers in London, and I’d ignored PR, the guillotine would inch closer to my neck.

“All anyone knows about you is that you’re a surly playboy,” Gretel continued. “Someone who doesn’t like them. People like to feel liked.”