Kali & grayson
the "it" girls series, book 1
Fortune and fame come with a price… But is it more than she’s willing to pay?
Kali Lang’s life couldn’t get much better. Her internet company Glossed & Glammed is practically an overnight sensation, and she is the “It” girl of makeup and fashion tutorials, with over two million followers. The flip side of that? She can’t go out in public without being mobbed by fans, and there’s no place except home where she can just be plain Kali. And that makes it hard to meet guys. When was the last time she had a date?
When a chance meeting literally has her falling into the arms of Grayson Hill—the most gorgeous man she’s ever seen—Kali realizes that while she might ‘have it all’, she’s still missing something very important in her life: Love. But what man wants to be called arm-candy and put up with the constant social media scrutiny that is Kali’s life? Unfortunately, not Grayson, and she can’t blame him. Even though they are quickly falling for each other, he’s not sure living life under the media’s microscope is something he can do.
Can a straight-laced lawyer and a trendy fashion influencer find a way to compromise, or is their love an epic fail?
More from this series
READ AN EXCERPT
My heart beats faster in my chest as Grayson gazes inquisitively at me. He continues sipping his coffee, which looks to be an Americano.
He’s waiting for me to open up and tell him about myself, and I love the fact that he’s looking at me like I’m merely some regular girl. I mean, in lots of ways, I am a regular girl. I love to have fun. I love to flip through magazines. I love to stay up late watching Netflix and chowing down on popcorn and wine. I love hanging out with my besties. I just so happen to be a regular girl with millions of people hanging on my every word. I don’t want Grayson to feel like he’s competing with that attention any more than I want him to feel like there’s nothing I crave more than that attention.
Right now, he’s simply a guy and I’m simply a girl and we’re trying to have a simple conversation. I want to keep it that way.
“I do makeup for a living,” I answer as nonchalantly as possible.
His brows lift, but then he nods. “That’s awesome. It makes sense, actually. You look beautiful.”
This time, my face really does burn bright red. Hopefully, it’s concealed by the dim lighting of the café and my flawlessly applied foundation.
“What about you?” I ask, eager to turn the conversation back on him.
He clears his throat, eyes shifting away briefly. “I’m a lawyer. I’m a junior associate at my firm.”
Wow. I did not expect that.
I choke on my latte and hardly manage to painfully swallow down a mouthful of hot, but deliciously smooth coffee. “That’s incredible! You’re so young, too. Making junior associate so fast must’ve been tough.”
“Really tough,” he murmurs quietly before clearing his throat. “Let’s just say I had a lot of motivation to work hard.”
Silence briefly falls over the table as we sip our drinks and gaze at one another. Surprisingly, it isn’t an uncomfortable silence. In fact, it’s kind of nice. When I’m with my girls, there isn’t a moment of quiet. Sutton or Liv or I are always going a mile a minute. There’s always something to do and something to say. This—whatever it is right here between Grayson and me—feels really nice.
Is this what it feels like to be normal? Right now, there’s no pressure to be perfect or flawless. I can simply be me.
“Tough things make us resilient,” I offer quietly.
Even though I desperately want to, I don’t press him for details about his career. I can see something simmering in his eyes, something he isn’t quite ready to talk about. I understand that completely. We all have our secrets, don’t we?
He lifts his chin and his eyes again meet mine. He nods and a slow, small smile curves his delicious looking lips.
Lips I suddenly want to kiss.
I hastily take another sip of coffee—which isn’t nearly as hot so I don’t burn my mouth—and then ask, “Where’d you study law, Grayson?”
I’ve got to keep this conversation going. One, if I don’t speak then he’s going to start asking questions about me, and I’m not exactly a very good liar. Actually, I’m a dreadful liar. Which means I’m only going to be able to play it coy for a limited time. And two, I really do want to know as much as I can about Grayson. I haven’t been able to stop thinking about him since our first meeting, and I want to know every detail possible before we go our separate ways again.
The idea bums me out more than I care to admit.
But he’s a lawyer and I’m a beauty influencer. We both have full schedules. Could it be that after this cup of coffee, we’re both going to walk right out the door in opposite directions and that will be that? The thought makes my heart twist in my chest, but I resolve to take this conversation one word at a time.
“Stanford Law,” he answers.
I wince. “Sounds expensive.”
Laughing softly, Grayson nods. “Definitely. Funding my tuition felt nearly impossible most of the time, but I managed somehow.”
“And now here you are, ready to take on the world one court case at a time.”
“Cheers to that.”
He gently presses his paper coffee cup against mine and we sip on our drinks again.
Outside, the clouds shift. Warm sunlight dances in through the café window, illuminating golden flecks in Grayson’s chestnut eyes and the strong profile of his handsome nose. Every time I blink, I swear he gets more and more good looking.
“What about you?” Grayson asks curiously. “Did you study makeup somewhere?”
“I studied art, actually, and eventually business, too. I wound up with a dual degree from USC two years ago. Believe me when I say I know how hard it is to fund education. I was lucky to land a scholarship.”
His eyes go a little wide. “That’s impressive.”
The raw sincerity of his tone is enough to catch me off guard. He doesn’t even know me, but he sounds so proud. It’s heartwarming and makes me think his soul just may be as gorgeous as the rest of him. I feel a twinge of guilt as he grins at me. I almost feel bad for being furtive about my real career because it’s obvious that Grayson is genuine to the core.
For just a little while longer, though, I want things to stay this easy.
“I haven’t sat down and talked like this with someone in a really long time,” he continues. “It’s really nice. I’m usually at the office or trying to wade through piles and piles of paperwork that the senior attorneys pass down. I know it’s worth it, though, if I’m going to prove that I’m every bit of a good lawyer as anyone else.”
I understand exactly what he means. Despite what I’ve already accomplished, sometimes, I still feel like I have to show people I’m actually really good at what I do. But I guess I’m not the only one who feels the weight of that on my shoulders.
“Tell me about it,” I say. “Sometimes it feels like the day’s work is never done.”
Grayson tilts his head to the side so he can give me yet another long, intrigued look. “So, what do you do for fun then? To relieve some stress after a long day, I mean. Do you have a man at home to keep you company?”
“Well,” I answer levelly, “there’s George.”
The hunky guy across the cozy café table stops mid-sip of his drink, his eyes narrowing in shock. “George?” he sputters, clearing his throat hard.
“George,” I repeat with an emphatic nod. Unable to help myself, I flash him a feisty grin. “He’s my Labrador mix puppy. I found him wandering the beach near our home a while back—I live with my two best friends, by the way, both girls, if you must know—and he’s been with me ever since.”
Grayson dissolves into husky, easy laughter. He shakes his head and rests his forearms on the table, leaning closer. Our drinks have been pushed aside now, abandoned in our conversation.
“A lab, huh? I always wanted a dog growing up,” Grayson murmurs wistfully, his dark eyes taking on a faraway look for a second. “My parents wouldn’t have it, though. They aren’t animal people, which says everything you need to know about them. Give George a treat for me when you get home?”
I assure him I will just as his phone rings sharply. He sighs and checks his cell before lifting his enchanting gaze back to me.
“That’s my cue. I’ve got to run. I guess it’s my turn to vanish.”
I wink and hold up a playfully lecturing finger. “The difference is that you’re saying goodbye. That doesn’t count as vanishing.”
Grinning, Grayson slides out of the booth and grabs his briefcase along with the book he stashed inside when we first sat down. Instead of walking away, he leans down so that he’s bent over me, his hand pressed against the back of the seat near my face. He’s so close that when he speaks, the heat of his breath drifts over my cheek, sending a wave of goosebumps down the side of my neck.
“What if I don’t say goodbye then?” he asks in a low, playful voice that’s almost a growl.
It’s only when my lungs start screaming for air that I realize I’m holding my breath. I don’t have it in me to even respond.
Fortunately, he doesn’t wait for me to answer. “La Chanterelle. Let me take you out, Kali. I didn’t get a real answer last time and it nearly drove me crazy. I have to try again.”
I shake my head, but it isn’t until his face falls that I finally remember how to speak.
“Not La Chanterelle,” I say softly. “How about Franco’s Burgers instead?”
He blinks hard, seeming as stunned that I’d finally agreed to go out with him as he was that I’d suggested a burger shack. “Franco’s? That tiny place on the beach?”
“They’re dog friendly. George and I can both go. I have to make sure he approves, after all.” I grin again, hoping my reason for avoiding a fancy restaurant sounds convincing.
At La Chanterelle, we would definitely be spotted by some G&G fans, and the veil of secrecy I have over my identity would be yanked away. At Franco’s, no one will notice us, especially at night. It’s a cozy little place that not many people know about, and it’ll be a perfect evening getaway for George, Grayson, and me. Besides, they have seriously good burgers.
He grins. “It’s a date.” He reaches into his pocket and pulls out a business card with his name and number. “Text me your address and I’ll pick you up at seven sharp.”
“It’s a date,” I repeat, hardly able to believe it.
Grayson walks backward toward the café door, his eyes locked on me the whole time.
When he finally disappears into the late day crowd of people outside, I don’t know whether to scream with excitement or trepidation.
I’ve finally got a date with the man of my dreams—but he has no idea who I really am.
Reviews Coming Soon"
Reviews Coming Soon"
Reviews Coming Soon"
Reviews Coming Soon"
Reviews Coming Soon"
Reviews Coming Soon"