Terms and Conditions (Dreamland Billionaires #2) by Lauren Asher



“It’s a crime to celebrate a day like today all by yourself,” Cal, my best friend and boss’s brother, interrupts me. Despite the rumpled state of his suit and dirty blond hair, he steals the attention of multiple waitresses who pass by our table.

I lock my phone and muster up a smile. “I’m not the one getting married.”

His eyes flicker over my face. “No, but you’re the puppet master who accomplished the impossible.”

“It wasn’t that bad.”

“Now I know something is wrong with you. Are you…sad Declan is getting married?” His voice drops lower than usual.

A laugh bursts out of me. “What? No.”

“Then what’s wrong?”

My head hangs, and a few spiral curls fall in front of my eyes. I run a hand down my dress to smooth out a few nonexistent wrinkles. The cheery lavender fabric stands out against my brown skin, making me seem far happier than I feel. “I just got an email telling me I didn’t get the job.”

“Shit. I’m sorry to hear that. I know how hard you worked on the interview presentation.”

After the months I spent working on a presentation for the Kane Company’s Human Resources department, they rejected my job transfer. It stings more than it should. While I wasn’t exactly shooting for the stars with an entry-level HR position, I had a good idea with a promising future. One that could benefit countless dyslexics stuck in a corporate rut. My plan could take the company to the next level, if only they’d give me a chance.

You can try again next time.

My smile wobbles. “I guess it wasn’t meant to be.”

“That’s some bullshit if you ask me.”

I laugh. “It’s true. At least Declan never found out. Could you imagine if I told him and then I didn’t even get the job? He would’ve never let me live it down.”

“He does tend to gloat.”

“Hence the party.” I point at the ginormous balloon arch with a massive grin.

Cal raises a brow at the flickering neon She Said Yes sign. “Understated. He’ll love it.”

I bat my lashes with faux sweetness. “I simply planned a party like he asked me to. He should have specified what kind of event he wanted.”

“Remind me to never piss you off.”

“I have a whole plan for the day that happens.”

Cal fake shudders. “Where is the wife-to-be?”

“Declan wanted to meet with her before the announcement.”

His eyes widen. “Why the hell would you let him do that?”

“Umm…because he hasn’t met her yet?”

“Exactly! That’s why it’s a terrible idea!” Cal runs his hands through his thick waves.

“You think he’s going to make her change her mind?”

“Knowing my brother, it wouldn’t take much convincing.”

“She signed a contract. It’s a done deal.”

“If you say so…” He shrugs.

“Maybe I should go check on them.” I turn toward the elevators.

Cal loops his arm in mine. “No. You’re taking the night off.”


“You’re probably right. Declan wouldn’t risk losing it all now by doing something stupid. Even he knows when to hold back.”

“Now I know you’re lying.”

He chuckles. “Come on. Let’s go inside and wait for Declan. Just think about the way he will try so hard not to scowl and fail anyway. Hell, I don’t think I’ve seen him so much as look in someone’s direction without sneering since—” He cuts himself off.


He avoids looking me in the eyes. “Since forever. I’m pretty sure his dick is permanently chafed from jacking off every night.”

I smack his shoulder with a laugh. “Shut up! He’s my boss.”

“Doesn’t make it any less true. I’m surprised said appendage hasn’t fallen off from that kind of abuse.”

I let out another giggle.

“Callahan.” Declan’s voice booms.

A few stragglers scurry inside of the ballroom at the sound of Declan’s voice.

“He sure knows how to clear a room,” Cal says.

Whatever happiness I saw in Cal’s eyes dies the moment Declan stops by us with a frown. The air morphs into something cold, with Declan’s icy glare threatening to reverse climate change. His massive body blocks my view of the entire lobby. The spotlight behind him only highlights the sharpness in his features, bringing out the darkness in his eyes and the edges of his jaw.

Compared to Cal’s golden boy look of blond hair and blue eyes, Declan reminds me of the deepest part of the ocean—cold, dark, and unnervingly quiet. Like a monster lurking within reach, only a breath away from making someone his prey. From his dark hair to the permanent grimace etched into his face, he gives off a feeling that makes everyone turn in the opposite direction.

Well, everyone except me. Some might say he earned my loyalty through a paycheck, but that isn’t the case. We share a mutual respect for one another that has stood the test of time. While our first few months working together were rocky, my commitment to succeeding as his assistant helped pave the way to our relationship today.