Home > The Allure of Julian Lefray (The Allure #1)(4)

The Allure of Julian Lefray (The Allure #1)(4)
Author: R.S. Grey

Lily: Get out there and schmooze! You need a job!!

Lily: Also…nobody puts baby in a corner.

Josephine: Already made that reference in my head.

Lily: Classic. But, seriously, the longer you stand there the more you look like the pee-kid.

Josephine: Yeahyeahyeah. By the way, I submitted my resume to Lorena Lefray today.

Lily: Is that for the executive assistant position?

Josephine: Yeah, it’s just something temporary while I keep building my blog following. NYC ain’t cheap.

Lily: I’ll be moving up there soon, don’t worry.

I finished off my glass of champagne and cringed.

Josephine: Oh god, my drink’s empty. What do I do with my hands now?

Lily: Snap along to the music.

Lily: No wait. Keep touching or pointing toward your cleavage so guys will get the picture that you’re an easy lay.

Josephine: I hate you. Later, dweeb. The crab balls are coming back around.

Lily: Stop shoving balls in your mouth. You’re at a gala. This is why you don’t have any friends in New York.

I rolled my eyes at Lily’s response and shoved my phone back into the glittery purse I’d thrifted a few years back. I missed Lily, but I really needed to find some friends in the city. In the two weeks I’d been there, I’d only made two, and that was counting the old Jewish man in my building and my landlady.

After finding a new glass of champagne to hold in front of the small stain made by my previous one, I ventured out of my comfortable corner and ambled through the party.

The gala organizers hadn’t changed much of the hotel’s original Art Deco décor for the evening. Ornate gold sconces and extravagant crown molding surrounded the party from above. Cocktail tables were spread throughout the room with small groups of people crowded around them. I was too intimidated to attempt to join a conversation already taking place, until I spotted a few women I knew from the blogosphere. I’d only met them once, at a small blogger conference, and they hadn’t been the nicest women in the world, but a bitch in need is a friend indeed. Or something like that…

I was almost upon them, having worked up the nerve to reintroduce myself, when a hand reached out to touch my shoulder. I paused and turned to see a smiling older woman standing behind me. She had a chic gray bob, layers of colorful jewelry, and was clutching the “it” Hermès bag of the season. I had to resist the urge to snatch it and run.

“Excuse me, are you Josephine from What Jo Wore? The blog?”

I all but gaped at her, completely stunned that this regal-looking woman would know of my blog and recognize me from my posts.

“I am,” I said, putting my hand on my chest before reaching out. “I’m sorry, I don’t think we’ve met?”

She smiled wide and a few lines near her eyes hinted at her age.

“I’m Maxine Belafonte, the U.S. director of operations for House of Herrera.”

I laughed.

I laughed because I was too stunned to do anything else. I was two seconds away from asking, “Are you serious?” when I remembered where I was. Of course she was Maxine Belafonte, because this was a dream that I would soon wake up from.

“It’s such an honor to meet you,” I fumbled quickly, proud of my brain for having acquired appropriate social skills some time during my several years of life.

“Likewise,” Maxine said, smiling wide and shaking my hand. “I’ve been following your blog for several months and I think you have a real eye for fashion.”

I stood there holding her hand for an inappropriately long time, then finally spoke.

“I’m sorry. I think my brain just stopped working for a second there. Could you repeat what you just said?”

Maxine laughed, patted my shoulder, and then gently extracted her hand from my death grip.

“I’m serious. I’d love to hear more about your story. Do you have a few minutes to chat?” she asked, gesturing toward a free cocktail table a few feet away from us.

I nodded. “For you, I’m free for the rest of the night.”

She smiled. “See! That’s why I wanted to meet you. I love your humor. It really comes across in your posts. I think a lot of fashion bloggers tend to take themselves much too seriously. But not you.”

I nodded my head, unsure of what to say. After striving all night to just blend in with the herd, this request for individuality caught me off guard.

“How long ago did you start your blog?” she asked as we settled across from each other at the table.

“It’s been five years.” I inwardly cringed as I thought about her going back to read my very first posts. “But those first few years were rough. I was just starting college at the time.”

“NYU?”

“Um, no,” I corrected. “A small fashion school in Texas.”

She smiled, and I hurried to change the topic away from the fact that my degree wasn’t from a prestigious New York fashion school.

“I’m sorry, but may I ask how you even happened upon my blog in the first place?” I asked before taking a small sip of champagne.

She smiled wider, but before she could respond, a pair of dress shoes hit the marbled floor right behind me and I caught the scent of spiced cologne. There was a hint of fresh citrus with a unique blend of cinnamon and geranium. The combination was intoxicating.

“Ah, there you are Maxine,” a deep voice said behind me.

Six of the sexiest syllables I’d ever heard gave me no choice but to turn and put a face to the voice. I shifted to look over my shoulder, trying to be as nonchalant as possible, and then openly gaped as I came face to face with the handsome stranger from earlier.

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