LIV & CASH
the "it" girls series, book 3
The only attention she wants, is his…
Liv McCarthy is perfectly happy being the least known partner of Glossed & Glammed, the internet company she and her two besties started. With over ten million followers, the glaring limelight isn’t for her. She’s most comfortable designing and sewing clothes and making her friends look fabulous in front of the camera. She doesn’t do Live Insta videos, she doesn’t do public speaking, and she 100% doesn’t do meetings with potential sponsors. But when the other two boss-babes are delayed, Liv must not only make the presentation, but make it to a man who looks like the most delicious fantasy to ever straddle a Harley. But how can she close a business deal when she can barely form a coherent sentence in front of this gorgeous man?
Bad boy Cash Romano isn’t what he seems. He might look like hell on wheels, but a motorcycle and tats don’t make the man. He loves his job as a veterinarian as much as he loves riding his hog. The only reason he’s meeting with the G&G trio is because his father—Franco, of Franco’s Burgers—is too busy. The burger shack has been enjoying the notoriety of being ‘the’ place the G&G girls hang out. So having them design Franco’s clothing line seems too good to be true. Except it’s not the three fashion gurus he finds at the table, but one very beautiful, very shy girl who nearly stops his heart. Trouble is, she’s so nervous, she hurriedly shows her designs, then rushes out the door. But as fate—and an allergy prone rabbit—would have it, Cash and Liv will soon meet again.
Can two animal loving vegans step outside of their shells and give love a chance?
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READ AN EXCERPT
To my surprise, the tattooed Adonis chuckles when I suggest he’s at the wrong booth. Cash has such a gruff and rugged exterior that I’d been anticipating him to roll those green eyes or scowl rather than let out an amused laugh.
Cash leans back, arms folding over his rock-hard chest, mouth quirking.
I blink hard, trying to sear the image into my mind so I can drool over him later. Cash was swoonworthily gorgeous while straight-faced, but with a hint of a crooked smile on his handsome features, he’s downright extraordinary. I might not be interested in jumping into the dating pool—and he probably isn’t either, at least, not with me—but I don’t want to ever forget how close I was to the sexiest man I’ve ever seen in my life. I had no idea guys could be this outrageously good looking before today.
“You’re one of the G&G chicks, aren’t you?” he asks.
As he speaks, he pulls out a small pad of paper and a pen from the back pocket of his jeans and sets them on the table.
I clear my throat, which suddenly feels like a frog has taken up residence in it. “Um, yes.”
His green eyes briefly blaze back into mine. A hint of a smile continues quirking the corner of his mouth. “Then I’m at the right table. I thought there were supposed to be three of you girls, though?”
“Sutton and Kali are busy with some other stuff in LA, so they’re not going to be able to make it,” I explain, fiddling my thumbs nervously in my lap in an attempt to stop myself from squirming. My sandaled feet tap on the ground like they’re trying to run off and leave me behind.
His faint smile twists into a frown and my heart plunges right along with his expression.
Oh, no. I’ve gone and said something dumb, haven’t I?
“This is supposed to be your first business meeting with my father and two-thirds of your company couldn’t be bothered to come?” he remarks coolly. “That isn’t very professional, is it?”
An internal wail of terror quakes through my whole body. My back goes rigid, and beneath the table, my fingers clutch hard at the hem of my sunny yellow skirt. Kali would be able to expertly dodge his comment while Sutton would almost certainly have some funny quip to distract from it. I, on the other hand, am frozen in sheer terror.
To my complete shock, Cash laughs softly again. A second later, his frown relaxes back into a devastating grin.
“I’m just teasing you, Liv,” he says. “Sorry about that. I guess I’m not as funny as I thought.”
“You were joking?” I whimper.
Using his pen to gesture at the bustling restaurant around us, he shrugs his broad shoulders. “In case you haven’t noticed, Franco isn’t exactly huge on professionalism. He thinks it’s too straitlaced and boring. I mean, this restaurant doesn’t even have a real floor. It’s beach sand.”
Despite what Cash is saying, I can’t seem to relax. My mind is running a thousand miles an hour and it stubbornly refuses to slow down. This whole mess has my fight-or-flight instinct going haywire and it won’t let me chill out. If I’m not careful, I think I might just hyperventilate.
Thankfully, Cash is content to keep talking while I try to convince my heart rate to calm down.
“Anyway, I’m Franco’s son. He’s pretty busy these days, thanks to the publicity your girl group brought him, so unfortunately, he doesn’t have time to sit and talk with you.” He pauses to glance down at the pad and paper he’d brought out and flips through a few of the pages, where I assume Franco has jotted down some things for him to discuss. “Now, I guess you guys are going to do some sort of fashion line or something?” he asks, sounding skeptical. “How exactly does someone make a fashion line based on a burger place?”
Silence creeps across the table as I stare helplessly at Cash. I want to answer him, but my tongue feels so heavy behind my teeth that I’m not sure I can say a single word.
He waits patiently while I try to collect myself, but the more desperately I try to arrange my thoughts into verbal speech, the more frazzled I become. If I was a cartoon character, I would have steam pouring out of my ears, the gears in my head are grinding so hard.
“Um, well,” I sputter when he casts a look at the doors of the kitchen. I can hear talking and laughter as the cooks do their thing in there. I know Cash must be tired of dealing with me. I can feel it. He’s merely waiting to escape this tedious conversation so he can go back to Franco and tell his father that the business deal is off because I’m not capable of carrying it out correctly. “The fashion line is like, you know, a vibe.”
“A vibe?” he echoes blankly. “What vibe?”
I shift on the seat under his curious gaze. Thankfully, this time the plastic doesn’t squeak.
“As I’m sure you know, Franco’s has a vibe. And the clothes, um, also have a vibe.”
I cut myself off with a grimace, giving up on floundering for words.
Could I sound any less intelligent? Or business-like?
I’m going nowhere fast, except leading the collab deal down the drain. Instead of saying anything further, I grab the leather-bound folder sitting beside me in the booth. I’d completely forgotten about my portfolio until now, and I know I need to let it do the talking because I am seriously falling short.
I set the folder on the table and push it toward Cash.
He opens it and begins to slowly flip through designs that I’d spent hours drawing, as well as a few of the samples I’d stitched. For the actual collaboration, a local boutique has offered to produce the limited line for us so that I don’t have to sew every single piece. But for this meeting, I needed every article of clothing to be perfect. I’ve included a pair of women’s shorts that are perfectly distressed and a flattering shade of dark blue, complete with patches on the back pockets with Franco’s logo. I’ve also crafted a vintage-cut men’s tee that actually goes quite well with the jeans Cash is already wearing. He has the same kind of style that I’m going for with this clothing line. That makes me pretty proud, even though I can’t bring myself to say as much. The whole line will be laid-back and chill with garments that anyone can rock on the beach or in the burger shack.
“Hmm…” Cash murmurs thoughtfully.
He spends so much time studying my designs that I start to wonder if I messed up and included my rough drafts instead. When he finally gets to the last page, he picks up the jean shorts I made and inspects them carefully. Then he checks out the tee before setting both articles of clothing back down. Still silent, he jots a few notes on his paper pad before turning his attention back to me.
The second his gaze lands on me, I feel my mind turning to goo. The effect this man I’ve never met before has on me is both frustrating and confusing. As if speaking up isn’t hard enough on me, this guy dares to have such a gorgeously distracting face that I struggle even more than normal.
Sweat forms on the back of my neck, sliding bead by ice-cold bead down the notches of my spine. It makes a shiver roll all the way up my body from my toes.
“You’ve certainly brought some interesting samples with you,” he states with an inflection to his husky voice that I can’t figure out for the life of me.
Is he pleased or disappointed with what he sees?
And what in the world does he mean by interesting? That can be taken so many different ways. I mean, it’d been interesting when Kali and I found out that Sutton was faking her relationship with her now-real boyfriend, Boone, but not exactly in a good way. Sure, that’d worked out for Sutton, and now, she and her southern sweetie are head-over-heels in love with each other, but Boone is a rugby player, not a rough-around-the-edges motorcycle-riding bad-boy relegated to doing his daddy’s errands. They’re total opposites.
Oh, man. Is Cash about to tell me to work on my craft and try again when I get some real talent?
My eyelashes flutter and my head starts to spin all over again. I’ve got to get out of here before I make a bigger fool of myself. This meeting was done before it even began. As soon as my besties said they couldn’t make it, I should’ve run away. I know I’m not cut out for this sort of thing. Why did I even try? I need to leave this kind of stuff to the girls who can handle it.
“Um, it’s been really nice talking to you,” I sputter, stumbling over my words. I try not to look him right in those dazzling eyes, because if I do, I’m going to trip right over my own two feet and land face down in the sand. That would only be adding salt to the wound. “I should get going. Do you have everything you need from me?”
“Well, yes, I guess—” he starts, but I’m already gathering my purse and scooting out of the booth before he can say anything more.
The plastic seat once again clings stubbornly to my legs, loudly squelching every time I move. Crimson flames lick at my face as my embarrassment builds.
“Thanks again for your time,” I mutter when I’m finally free. I offer a half-hearted wave, then whirl around and dash out of the restaurant, feeling his gaze follow me the whole way.
Outside, the California sun shines brightly over my head, but my mood is gray and more than a little dour.
Now, I have to face Kali and Sutton and admit that not only did I potentially mess up a great business deal, but that I also made a fool of myself in front of the most gorgeous guy I’ve ever seen.
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