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The Billionaire's Favourite Mistake

By:Jessica Clare

Chapter 1

Greer studied her skimpy flapper costume and decided that tonight was the night that Asher Sutton would notice her.

She was nervous, of course. Crazy nervous. Greer was more of a  cardigan-and-flats kind of girl. A blend-with-the-wallpaper kind of  girl. She was the one that was always the designated driver, the one  with the notes for the test, and the one that everyone counted on.  Studious, reliable Greer.

And where had that gotten her? Abso-fricking-nowhere. So tonight?  Tonight, Greer Chadha-Janssen was going to be someone else entirely.

She peered into the mirror, leaning close enough for her breath to fog.  She kind of had to, because otherwise she couldn't see a thing. But she  was not about to wear her nerdy glasses tonight. Not when she needed to  be her sexiest. She'd had her makeup professionally done, and with an  airbrush. It felt thick, but in the brief moment she'd allowed herself  to peer through her glasses, she looked awesome. The eyelash extensions  were kind of annoying; she kept seeing something out of the corner of  her eye and turning, only to realize it was an eyelash. But it was  either that or fake ones again, and they had a terrible time of staying  put.

The costumer she'd hired had selected a flapper dress for Greer because  Greer was tiny. The woman at the shop had called it petite and  ethereal. Greer was pretty sure those were code words for flat-chested  and scrawny. The dress was tiny, though, the fringe of the skirt barely  reaching mid-thigh, and the top was little more than a vee held up by  two spaghetti straps. It was cut incredibly low, but the costumer was  right-in this, she didn't look flat as much as she looked dainty. So,  flapper it was. Paired up with her long black hair curled into a million  ringlets and a shiny sequined headband, shoes with a tall stiletto  heel, and Greer felt like a new woman. A confident woman. A sexy woman.

And tonight? She was going to get her man.

She popped her glasses back on her face, headed out to the waiting  sedan, and ignored the surprised look her driver gave her. It was  nobody's business if she wanted to dress out of character. She was a  woman on a mission, and her mission was getting Asher to notice her.

As the sedan drove out of the city, Greer stared out the window and  thought about Asher. Asher's smiling face. The teasing look in his eyes  when he was up to no good. The roguish grin when he'd been caught.

The cold, dead look that had been in his eyes for the last two years.  Ever since his fiancée, Donna, had betrayed him and nearly torpedoed his  business overnight. Ex-fiancée, she amended to herself.

He was single now, for the first time ever. He'd been with Donna since  high school, before she'd ever known him. And then when he'd ended  things with Donna, it had been too new, too raw. Asher was in a bad  place. She'd left things alone. They had lunch like they always did  every Monday, and Greer was supportive and friendly and never ventured  into topics that might be awkward. She was the best friend she could  possibly be.

And he still never noticed her. Month after month went by, and they  continued to have lunch and continued to be friends. She'd started  wearing lipstick and lower-cut blouses. She'd hinted that she wasn't  dating anyone.


She'd made a "big" move a few weeks ago at Gretchen's bridal party  dinner. She'd skipped her glasses, worn makeup, and dressed a little  sexier. And what had that gotten her?

A smile and a brief hug, and that was it.

Okay, so she needed to be more aggressive. She'd make him notice tonight. Tonight, everything started over.

When the sedan pulled up to the driveway, the butterflies started in  her stomach. Cars lined the front of the house, and she could see people  spilling out onto the lawn. Festive lights decorated the front of the  grand manor house, and everywhere she looked, there were couples, arm in  arm. And here she was, solo.

She told herself she wouldn't be solo for long. Hopefully.

It took a bit of courage to walk up to the front door, announce herself  to the man checking the list, but once she was inside, the party was in  full swing and she was just another person. Greer slipped her glasses  off her face and tucked them into her clutch purse. She wanted to look  as awesome as possible for when she ran into Asher.         



Of course, there was a minor problem: Without her glasses, she couldn't  see Asher. She frowned into the sea of blurry faces, randomly following  someone who looked like they knew where they were going. She was  familiar with Buchanan Manor to a certain extent-she'd been there  several times over the last few weeks to discuss wedding stuff with  Gretchen-but tonight? It was a mess of color and people. Having her  glasses off helped her shyness, though. If she couldn't see people  giving her judgy looks, she didn't feel weird or nervous.

Maybe she could find the party planner she'd hired. As Gretchen's  wedding planner, she was theoretically in charge of all wedding  activities. But since she planned to be, well, occupied during this  particular party, she'd hired an outside planner on her own dime so  she'd have more time to focus on Mission: Seduce Asher.

The person she was following went into the kitchen. Rats. She'd been  following a waiter. Frowning to herself, Greer pushed her heavy black  curls off her shoulders and turned around.

"Hey there," said an unfamiliar male voice at her side.

"Hi," she said absently, trying to peer around him.

"You here alone? Can I get you a drink?"

Oh. Was he hitting on her? She squinted up at him, not that that did  much good. He was a blob with very dark hair and glasses, which meant he  wasn't Asher. "Actually, I'm looking for a friend."

"Well, if you get tired of him and want to party, come find me."

"Right, I'll do that." She steered away from the black-clothed blob  into the midst of the mingling people, trying not to feel weird about  the fact that a guy just hit on her. That never happened. She must look  smoking-hot tonight. Well, that was nice.

"Greer?" A person in a dark outfit and a colorful scarf approached her from out of the crowd. "Wow, I hardly recognized you!"

That made two of them. Squinting hard, she leaned forward, peering. The  woman's hair was a brownish-blonde and pulled into braids and there was  no telling what she was dressed as. But the voice was vaguely familiar.  "Taylor?"

"It's me! You like my costume?" She twirled, which looked like a blur,  of course, and nearly crashed into a person walking past. "Sorry,"  Taylor mumbled before moving back toward Greer.

"Um, I can't tell what you are."

"Oh. Well, I'm a Hogwarts student. Gryffindor. I should really be  Hufflepuff but they were out of those at the costume shop." She patted  her scarf. "Which one are you?"

"I don't know. I've never seen Harry Potter. Say, have you seen Asher tonight?"

Taylor's shocked gasp echoed in the room. "Not seen Harry Potter! Did  you not even read the books? How can you not have read the freaking  books?"

"I don't know?" Taylor sure was being loud. But at least she was here,  and she could guide Greer around the room, because being without  glasses? It was rougher than she'd anticipated. Greer reached out and  grabbed Taylor's arm. "Can you help me out? I can't find anyone at this  party."

"It is pretty crowded," Taylor said sympathetically. "I'd rather be  home playing Warcraft or Excelsior, but what can you do, right?" She  linked her arm with Greer's. "You look great without the glasses."

"Thanks." Sure, she was blind, but you suffered for greatness.

"You want to go see Gretchen and Hunter? They look super cute tonight.  They're giving off more sexual tension than Scully and Mulder."

"That's all right. I'm looking for someone else." It was bad form to  avoid the bride at the engagement party, but Gretchen tended to have a  big mouth and she'd totally call Greer out on her uber-sexy ensemble.  Greer needed to find Asher before she accidentally smeared her eye  makeup or spilled a drink down her front, or something.

"Who did you say you were looking for again?" Taylor asked, steering them through the crowd.         



"Asher? Do you know him?"

"Vaguely," Taylor said, and she didn't sound super happy. "Wouldn't you  rather hang out with Chelsea, or maybe Sebastian? I saw them over in a  corner."

"No, I want Asher," Greer said firmly. "Where's he at?"

Taylor sighed. "Well . . . he's drunk and kind of being an ass. He made fun of my costume."

"Because you're a Hogwart?"

"Oh my god, how do you not know Harry Potter lingo?" She sighed dramatically. "Muggles. Damn muggles."

Greer was starting to wonder if Asher wasn't the only one drinking. But  Taylor turned down a hall and started to steer her toward a new area.  That was encouraging. She resisted the urge to check her lipstick and  fuss with her hair. She'd looked good the last time she'd seen her  reflection. She was just nervous, that was all. "So Asher was drinking?"