Breaking Up with Barrett
The English Brothers
by Katy Regnery
Genre: Short contemporary romance
Date of Publication: 7/21/14
Number of pages: 171
Word Count: 53,000
Cover Artist: Kim Killion, Hot Damn Designs
Breaking Up with Barrett is the first of five books about the Philadelphia-based, wildly-handsome English brothers who are all on the look-out for love.
(Except Alex. He's a womanizing manwhore. And maybe Stratton, because he's wicked hot, but super awkward around girls.)
Barrett English, aka "the Shark," is the fair-haired, first-born of the English brothers, and the CEO of the oldest, most prestigious investment banking firm in Philadelphia. He rules the boardroom with an iron fist, refusing to take no for an answer and always getting his way.
Emily Edwards, a first-year doctoral student at the University of Pennsylvania, grew up in the gatehouse on the outskirts of Barrett's childhood estate. The daughter of his family's gardener and housekeeper, she was always looking through the window of privilege, but forced to remember her place at the very periphery of the kingdom.
When business partners suggest that a fiancee might soften Barrett's image over business dinners, he approaches Emily for the "job" of fiancee. And while love wasn't necessarily on Barrett's radar, he begins to realize that Emily always has been. But will his take-no-prisoners boardroom tactics work on the heart of the woman he loves?
Read the first chapter:
CHAPTER 1 Breaking Up with Barrett
Emily’s heart kicked into a gallop as she looked down at the caller ID on her buzzing phone. Trying to steady her suddenly shallow breathing, she closed her eyes for a brief second before pushing back from the coffee shop table where the rest of her study group continued to discuss early-American industrialization.
“Be right back,” she whispered to her roommate, Valeria, and ducked out the backdoor of the café into an empty alley.
“Mr. English for Miss Edwards?”
A moment later his smooth, polished baritone voice came on the line. “Good afternoon, Emily. Thank you for picking up.”
“I was at study group,” she said, leaning against a brick wall and cringing at the way she made it sound like his call wasn’t welcome.
“I’m sorry to interrupt you.”
“N-no. It’s fine,” she answered quickly, wiping her sweaty hands on her jeans as she sandwiched the phone between her shoulder and ear. Damn it, she wished she could be cooler, but her mind always went blank the moment she heard the low rumble of his voice.
“I’ll be brief,” he said. “Tomorrow night. The Union League Club. Seven o’clock.”
Emily sighed. She had plans tomorrow night with a sensitive, easy-going, doctoral psych student named Chad who’d asked her out more than once. She’d repeatedly turned him down, but Val had insisted that after four months spent at Barrett English’s beck and call, Emily needed to go out with someone with whom she actually had a chance.
“Emily?” he prompted.
“Three hours minimum. Possibly four.”
Pushing her hand through her straight blonde hair, she knew it would be smart to decline Barrett’s request and go out with psych cutie as planned. The arrangement she had with Barrett—while beneficial to her bank account—wasn’t doing her social life any favors. Nor her heart, which didn’t seem to comprehend that Barrett only called her because she was his employee. Still, she couldn’t bring herself to say no to him.
“Engagement ring?” she asked.
“The Chanel or the Givenchy?”
“As you wish.”
“Hair band or chignon?”
“You always look presentable, Emily. I leave the details to you. Smith will pick you up at six forty-five. Are we done?”
“Yes,” she answered and the line immediately went dead.
“Goodbye,” Emily said wistfully in the quiet of the alley, disappointment making her grimace. She fisted the phone in her hand until the case pinched her skin and shook her from her trance. “See you tomorrow! You’re welcome! By the way, I love you, you jerk!”
Her yell caused a flurry of commotion overhead as a flock of pigeons departed in a hurry for safer, quieter lodgings, one of them pausing just long enough to crap on Emily’s shoulder with a big, fat plop.
Fantastic. The perfect metaphor for my life.
She stared at the goopy greyish-white spot in surrender before taking a deep, restorative breath, tucking her phone into her jeans and heading back inside to clean her shirt and rejoin her study group.
An hour later, she trudged home beside Valeria, who started scolding her as soon as Emily shared her last-minute plans for tomorrow night.
“So you’ll have to reschedule with Chad? Geez, Em, I don’t understand why you keep saying yes to Barrett!” said Valeria, turning up her collar. “Why not just say no?”
“He has a way about him.” Emily sighed. “I always consider saying no, but I somehow end up saying yes.”
Though they’d never been close or intimate, Emily had known Barrett her entire life—well, not really known him, because they were from very different parts of Haverford Park, but he’d been a peripheral part of her life since birth. The economic nature of the call she’d just shared with him was textbook Barrett: businesslike, methodical and goal-oriented. Emily somehow knew he wasn’t trying to offend her—he was merely taking care of their mutual business as efficiently as possible. It just hurt that he employed efficiency over warmth since it verified what she had suspected for months: Barrett had little to no personal interest in Emily, despite her growing feelings for him.
Valeria continued in the no-nonsense tone she used when student teaching. “Here’s a solution: say no next time. ‘No, Barrett, I refuse to play the part of fake fiancée for you. Take a hike.’ Three words, Em—TAKE. A. HIKE.” Valeria held up three fingers one by one, then tucked them back into the pocket of her pea coat. “Darn, it’s cold.”
“It’s October in Philadelphia.” Emily pointed out.
“Don’t change the subject.”
“Okay, Val. I’ll say no next time. Here goes. ‘No thanks, Barrett. You don’t make me do anything disgusting. You barely say a word to me. I get to dress up in gorgeous clothes I could never afford, have an expensive glass of wine, and enjoy a scrumptious dinner with people who go out of their way to be polite to me. And yes, I’m flat broke and so is my roommate, but no thanks, I don’t want your one-hundred an hour to play your fake fiancée. Keep it.’ How does that sound?”
“Not so smart.”
“I rest my case,” said Emily, though the case was far from closed in her heart and mind, which feuded in a tightly locked conundrum. Lately, her heart murmured that she should walk away from Barrett before her feelings for him grew any stronger, while her head insisted she couldn’t possibly turn her back on the income he offered.
Katy Regnery, award-winning and Amazon bestselling author, started her writing career by enrolling in a short story class in January 2012. One year later, she signed her first contract for a winter romance entitled By Proxy.
Now a hybrid author who publishes both independently and traditionally, Katy claims authorship of the six-book Heart of Montana series, the six-book English Brothers series, and a Kindle Worlds novella entitled “Four Weddings and a Fiasco: The Wedding Date.” Katy’s short story, “The Long Way Home” appears in the first RWA anthology, Premiere, and she has published two standalone novels, Playing for Love at Deep Haven and the Amazon bestseller, The Vixen and the Vet, which is book one in Katy’s a modern fairytale collection. The Vixen and the Vet was nominated for a RITA® in 2015.
Katy lives in the relative wilds of northern Fairfield County, Connecticut, where her writing room looks out at the woods, and her husband, two young children, and two dogs create just enough cheerful chaos to remind her that the very best love stories begin at home.
Upcoming (2015) Projects:
The Winslow Brothers (Books #1-4)
Never Let You go, a modern fairytale
Ginger’s Heart, a modern fairytale
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