How to Date a Billionaire

By: Olivia Hill

Chapter 1

Bridget Mason looked at herself in the bathroom mirror with a sigh. The dress that her sister had given her last Christmas was just as gorgeous as she’d remembered it, but a tighter fit than it had been all those months ago. Now it bunched at her sides and pinched her round stomach, making her feel like the pig of the ball.

Well, it wasn’t like she was going to the Mayor’s Charity Gala to impress anybody. Honestly, she didn’t even want to go. But with Jessica out sick and no one left to cover the event, her editor had all but threatened her to do it.

Brring! Brring!

Speak of the devil.

“Uh, hello?” Bridget answered her cell hesitantly. She had her fingers crossed that the woman was calling to tell her that she was off the hook.

“Bridget!” Pamela’s voice laughed through the line. “Glad that I caught you. I’ve pulled a few strings and gotten you a proper ride for the gala, so I don’t care if you’ve already left in that truck of yours, turn back around and leave it at your apartment. Tonight, you’re riding in style.”

“Style…?” Bridget muttered, holding her cellphone to her ear as she tried to finish applying her mascara.

“Tell me, kid,” Pamela asked, a touch of condescension in her tone. “Have you ever ridden in a limo before?”

Bridget froze, one eye squinted closed as the other stared wide open at her reflection. “A limo?” she repeated. Sure, she’d never actually been in one, but she could certainly imagine: the leg room, the plush seats, the free drinks—

The way everyone would look to see who had just arrived as it pulled up, and then turn away in disgust when it was only her in a tight dress.

It sounded like a nightmare. “I-I don’t think—”

“He’ll be there at eight,” Pamela spoke over her. “Dress nice, okay? Like we talked about. Ciao!”

Bridget stood stock-still, listening to the sudden dial tone as Pamela’s words echoed inside of her head. Dress nice, she’d said.

Bridget imagined that for bubbly, successful Pamela Carter, dressing nice was just a part of her genetic makeup. The woman practically breathed luxury, and with a size-two figure and long blonde hair, it was like she was doing clothes a favor when she wore them.

Yet Bridget, on the other hand, was a size sixteen, with a round face and cropped red hair that barely touched her shoulders. She was fat, and short, and had never dressed in anything that was currently in style, let alone ride in it. Hell, at twenty-seven she was an editor at Cupid’s Call, a women’s fashion magazine that addressed everything from sex to gardening, and even there she was the boring one who only ever covered etiquette and manners.

She never thought that she’d be squeezing into a dress and dolling up for a party like so many of her coworkers did to flush out their stories. Not that she was happy about it.

Not that she could get out of it now.

Bridget glanced at her wristwatch. It was fifteen to eight, and she still wasn’t even done with her makeup. Dropping her phone to rest on the marble countertop, she finished touching up her eyes and sprayed her curls. She was just thinking about fighting her tight dress to go to the bathroom one last time when her cellphone went off.

The limo had arrived.

As it turned out, pulling up to an elite party in a limo wasn’t the terrible embarrassment that Bridget had thought it would be.

It was worse.

Not only had her driver insisted on opening the door for her, but when she’d stepped out of the limo, pulling on her short dress in an attempt to readjust it, people had not only stared but made faces. Some had only given her a polite blink and a blank face, but others still had turned away with a laugh, or looked her up and down while making a dubious face.

She could feel the burn of her blush before she’d even taken a proper step out of the vehicle.

Her driver, Andrew, had assured her that he’d be back to pick her up at ten, and no earlier – Pamela’s orders. Bridget hadn’t bothered to try fighting him and gave a hasty goodbye as she’d hastily run into the building, using her clutch and invitation to cover up the worst part of her stomach.

Once she was finally inside, she acted like the invisible party guest she’d always been and quickly scouted out the quietest corner in the room to take a permanent seat within it. Her stomach grumbled as the smells of the buffet wafted over to her from across the room, but the last thing she wanted to do was pig out in public when she was already the biggest person there. Besides, she wouldn’t put it past the other party guests to take a picture.

Sighing, Bridget pulled out her phone and took a small video of the party herself. She knew it’d come in handy later to watch when she was finally back in her apartment and sitting down to write her article, “Mister Mayor’s Money Mission.” The short video would remind her of the sights and sounds of the place, and get her in the right tone for the piece. As Pamela had warned her, it needed to differ greatly from everything that she’d written before, and be nothing less than perfect.

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