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Slumming It by Sabrina Stark

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Reese Murdock. He doesn't do nice. He doesn't get involved. And he never, ever falls in love. Until her.

Desperation. It makes people do funny things, which is why Emily Quinn shouldn't be shocked to find herself pretending to be something she's not – the new bed buddy of Reese Murdock, the billionaire bigshot himself.

The plan isn't just crazy. It's beyond reckless. The guy practically screams danger – the scary kind and the good kind, meaning the kind that makes nice girls go bad in spite of their very best intentions.

Payback. Served hot or cold, Bad Boy Developer Reese Murdock always gives as good as he gets, which is blazing bad news for Emily Quinn and all she holds dear. He's rich, ruthless, and never bluffs. He wasn't always this way. But these days, he has the power to build and the power to destroy, which makes all of this a game he'll never lose.

Sure, there might some collateral damage along the way, but the school of hard knocks has taught him a lesson he won't soon forget. People are disposable. Replaceable. Forgettable.

And yes, this includes Emily Quinn.

Until it doesn't.

Sneak Peek



In the crowded nightclub, I was heading toward the door when I felt a hand on my elbow. I turned to look and saw a pretty blonde in a short red dress. With a drunken laugh, she said, "I know who you are. You're Reese Murdock."

No shit.

I made a show of looking at her hand. "Sorry, you've got the wrong guy."

I wasn't sorry. I was just irritated to be bothered by a chick who thought that a nice body in a tight dress gave her a ticket to the big leagues.

Call me an asshole – and plenty of people did – but I knew what I was worth, and it was a fuck-ton more than whatever she was offering. I knew her type. Now that she'd gotten a grip, she'd be harder to shake off than a mongoose on a snake.

Sure enough, her grip only tightened as she said with a slurred giggle, "Don't worry. It's not like I'll tell anyone." With her free hand, she put a manicured finger to her full red lips and cooed, "It'll be our little secret."

Secret, my ass.

Even if I gave her what she wanted – attention, a diamond something-or-other, or a good time in the sheets – she'd be telling the whole world faster than I could say Rikki-Tikki-Tavi.

And yeah, that would be the mongoose.

But I was nobody's prey, and I didn't like being hunted. I gave her hand another pointed look. "Try someone else. I'm not interested."

Her hand dropped, and she stared up at me as if I'd just called her mother a twat. "You don't have to be so mean about it."

If she thought that was mean, she should've seen me negotiating that deal in Miami. But I didn't owe her anything, including an explanation, so all I said was, "I'm sure you'll get over it."

But just as I was turning to go, she said something that had me stopping in my tracks. "At least I'm not like that other girl. She's up in the balcony, telling everyone she's your date."

Emily? She wasn't my date – at least not for real. She wasn't even a friend. By now, I didn't know what she was – except too sweet for the likes of me. Like an itch I couldn't scratch, she was making me all kinds of crazy, which was why I'd been heading for the door.

Ten, maybe fifteen minutes. I'd figured that would be plenty long enough to get my head back in the game where it belonged. And what game was that?


That's why I was here – in this pretentious club in this decidedly unpretentious town.

I was still mulling my options when the chick in red said, "And at least I'm not getting tossed out."

I froze. "What?"

"Oh, yeah," she said. "They're gonna toss her out, like quick."

The hell they would.

It wasn't that I cared. I wasn't that kind of guy. Or at least that's what I kept telling myself as I turned and began striding back the way I'd come.

I glanced up to see Emily on the upper level, surrounded by a couple of burly bouncers and two brunettes who had some payback coming of their own. I picked up the pace, jostling aside a group of football types making their way down the wide open stairway.

As for myself, I was going up. It wasn't a rescue.

It was something else. I just didn't know what. All I knew was that Emily Ann Quinn had thrown everything out of whack by hiding under the wrong bed – my bed – in that shithole she called a hotel.

Chapter 1


Earlier That Week

From under the bed, I hissed into my cellphone. "I need help."

On the other end of the line, Vivian paused for a long, dreadful moment before mumbling, "Sorry, what?" She sounded distracted.

I almost envied her.

Me? I was focused like a laser on the sight of male shoes within grabbing distance. The shoes were black Oxfords – maybe Italian, definitely pricey – not that I cared about the cost.

No, what I cared about was the fact that the shoes weren't empty, and the guy wearing them was standing so close, I could smell his cologne, faint but woodsy with a hint of sage.

It was nice. Or at least, it would have been nice under any other circumstance.

I winced, making my cheek rub against the threadbare carpet.

This was bad.

From my hidden vantage point, I couldn’t see the guy's face. I couldn't even see his knees. But I could see maybe an inch or two of his dress slacks, also black and surely expensive.

This was Reese Murdock after all. The Jackhole Billionaire Himself. Or at least, it was probably him.

I mean, this was his room, even if he was slumming it.

I clutched my phone tighter and tried again, forcing a whisper when I wanted to scream. "I said I need help."

Vivian sighed. "If this is about the towels, I already told you, they'll be done in twenty."

Oh, for God's sake. "Forget the towels," I hissed. "I need a distraction." A shot of vodka wouldn't hurt either.

From somewhere outside, the sounds of a lawn-mower grew just a little louder, edging closer to the room's only window.

Thank God. The noise – it was my only saving grace.

On the phone, Vivian asked, "What kind of distraction?"

Today, Vivian was working the front desk of the little hotel we hoped to buy. The desk was located just down the hall – a five-minute walk, maybe less – not that it mattered.

I couldn’t walk anywhere until after he left.

The thought had barely crossed my mind when he strode closer to the bed, pivoted on his pricy shoes, and sat directly above me, making the bed springs creak under his shifting weight.

My gaze shot upward, and my nose wrinkled as I tried not to sneeze. When was the last time we'd vacuumed under here? I frowned. Had we ever?

The carpet hadn't looked dusty, but now that I was up close and personal, my nose told a different story. I gave a hard swallow and then another.

If I sneezed, I was so busted.

Normally, I wasn't the sneezing type, but today I was doing a lot of things I didn't normally do, which is how I'd ended up down here in the first place.

But in my own defense, none of it was illegal or even the least bit immoral. Of course, it was doubtful he would see it that way.

My gaze drifted back to his shoes, facing away toward the door. His feet were still in them, so that was good. Maybe he'd just popped in to wash his face or grab a forgotten whatever.

I gave a silent plea. Just get up and go already.

But did he? Nope. Instead, Mister Billionaire Bigshot reached down with one hand and untied both shoelaces one by one before removing one shoe and then the other. His feet disappeared upward as he settled himself onto the bed. 

My heart hammered, and I sucked in a breath. Oh, no. Was he about to go to sleep?

No way.

He couldn’t.

After all, this was the middle of the day. Didn't he have nefarious business to conduct?

I'd heard rumors – disturbing rumors – along with a whole bunch of speculation. The way everyone talked, Reese Murdock was about to buy up the whole town, this place included. The bastard. To think, I was only down here because I was trying to do him a favor – not that he realized it.

If I was lucky, he never would.

On the phone, Vivian's voice interrupted my thoughts. "Emily? You still there?"

I forced a whisper. "Uh, yeah."

"Where are you, anyway?" Funny, she didn't sound distracted anymore.

"Um…" How to put this?

She gave a little gasp. "Oh, my God. You're not in his room, are you?"


Her voice sharpened. "You already said that."

Vivian was two years my senior. Growing up, she'd been my favorite nemesis in hide-and-seek, which went a long way in explaining her very next words. "Just tell me. Are you in the closet or under the bed?" She gave another gasp. "Oh, crap. Don’t tell me you're in his shower."

Oh, please. I wasn't a pervert. Unlike some people, I wasn't even a spy. I was just…well…unlucky, that's all.

Just then, the hum of the lawn-mower abruptly stopped, leaving the room deadly silent except for the thudding of my heart. Again, my gaze drifted upward. My heartbeat – he couldn’t hear it, could he?

On the phone, Vivian muttered, "You are so gonna owe me for this."

Well, she was right about that. But I didn't say so, not now when the guy above me would surely hear. So instead, I ended the call and said a silent prayer that Vivian would save my bacon – much like I'd saved hers this past Fourth of July.

Long story there. But let's just say her oh-so-nice boyfriend had earned a permanent place on my shit-list – even if they had made up afterwards – a mistake that Vivan would surely regret.

I was still mulling that little incident when the bedside telephone began to ring – nice and loud, too.

I let out a long, unsteady breath.

Vivian. It had to be.

(End of Sneak Peek)

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