Read an excerpt from Beautiful Little Fool by K.K. Hendin

BOOK BLURB

Eighty seven billion dollars.

One dead New York business mogul.

No heirs.

No wives.

No relatives.

Eighty seven billion dollars.

Not hers yet.

He doesn’t deserve them.

He doesn’t know what to do with them.

She does.

She always has.

Eighty seven billion dollars.

He’s overwhelmed.

She’s prepared.

That will should have had her name.

Not his.

Eighty seven billion dollars.

His looks are a bonus.

Her looks are her weapon.

He’s fighting a losing battle against his heart.

He doesn’t know it yet.

Eighty seven billion dollars.

She gets everything she wants.

He’s what she wants.

Love has nothing to do with it.

To get to where you’re going, sometimes you need to step on a few people to get there.

Good thing her heels are sharp.

EXCERPT

The gallery opened at ten on Tuesdays, and Cedar was there, fifteen minutes before, making sure everything was perfect. Some of the girls didn’t understand why Cedar insisted on having a job—hell, she had more than enough money already, and who wanted to wake up that early? But running the most coveted art gallery in New York was more than just a job for Cedar, it was how she kept her title as the Queen of New York City. The Feingold Gallery was the most exclusive art gallery in the entire city, if not in the entire country. And the only people who okay’d new pieces of art or new artists for the gallery were Harold and Cedar.

Having all that power made up for the early mornings and the sometimes very dreary and pointless days at work.

Traffic was terrible on the way to work, which could only be a bad sign about the rest of the day. Already, text messages were pouring in, sending condolences to Cedar, letting her know how sorry they were and if there was anything at all they could do to help her, she should just let them know. Most of the texts were pure bullshit, and if Cedar actually did need help, she would never dare to ask them. But the thought was nice, even if the thought was just that she should still think they were nice and wonderful people.

Cecil was already waiting for her, holding a tray of coffee in one hand and typing frantically on his phone with the other one. “Oh my God, Cedar, are you okay?” he asked as she stepped out of her car. “I heard the news and then there was crazy traffic this morning.”

“I’m fine,” she said, pulling out the key to the enormous front door of the gallery. “And traffic was terrible.”

“You’ve never been earlier than I have been to work,” he said, following her into the building. “I was freaking out.”

Cedar rolled her eyes as she flipped on the lights. “No reason to freak out. I’m here now.”

“Should we do something today? Because of his death?”

Cedar shrugged. She had enough shit to do for this funeral. She didn’t have time for any whiny things today to mourn Harold’s death. He was dead. The end.

God, if only she knew what was on his will. She would make his damn funeral, she would follow all his fucking instructions, she would pretend to cry at his funeral, and maybe then she’d learn what was in his will. If she had to fuck Mr. Morris to do it, she would.

“We’ll see,” she said. “Maybe we’ll change the decoration or something.”

“Put black fabric on all the mirrors?”

A bit overdramatic, yes, but maybe that’s what they needed.

“Maybe.” Cedar hung up her coat and put her bag down on her desk. “Check to see what kind of fabrics we have. Also, I want an inventoried list of all the artists displaying here now.”

“Do you want their social medias to be checked?”

“Obviously,” she said briskly. “They should constantly be checked, Cecil. You know that.”

“That I do, and they are.” Cecil placed the cup of coffee he bought for her on her desk. “You have an appointment at ten fifteen today. With Morgan Hyvent.”

“Which magazine is she from again?”

“Vogue. It’s for the article they’re writing about you.” Cecil had gotten dressed with extra care today. He always did—he worked in the mecca of art in the most fabulous city in America. And even though the clientele here was nothing but the most powerful, it wasn’t every day that someone from Vogue came. It was too bad it wasn’t Anna herself, but she didn’t go around interviewing folks for her magazine. Even if it was Cedar Reynolds.

“Well, then, we need to have the fabrics up before then.” Cedar checked the time and winced. Goddamn traffic this morning was fucking up her plans for today. Not to mention the fucking funeral she was going to have to plan. Not like she couldn’t do something like that in her sleep—she definitely could. But the issue was that she had to, that it had to be more perfect than anything she’d ever done, because the stakes were higher than they’d ever been.

Whoever would inherit was probably going to be there, she thought.

Which meant that the stakes were a hell of a lot higher than they were before. As if they could possibly be any higher.

Billions of dollars were at stake here. Not just billions, but her reputation. And Cedar was hard pressed to figure out which one she wanted more, the billions or the reputation. She wanted both, obviously. She wasn’t stupid. If she was stupid, she would never have gotten to where she was right now.

“We’ve got three different kinds of black,” Cecil said, spreading them carefully on the desk. “All of them completely cover the mirrors, and this one was the most expensive.” He pointed to one. “I think your dress was made from this material.”

“Which dress?”

“The one you wore to Wanda’s opening.”

“Oh, that one.” The one that made every newspaper and magazine cover her dress and leave Wanda’s actual art as a side note. Didn’t make Wanda happy, but that was what happened when you didn’t take care of yourself. “Use that one, then.”

“On it.” Cecil bustled from the office, leaving Cedar alone in her office. Fucking finally. Cecil was okay—as an assistant he was the best that you could get in the business. He was just too damn cheerful and positive all the time, not to mention naïve. He worshipped the ground Cedar walked on—they all did. Which was great, but his naiveté was a pain in Cedar’s ass.

She walked through her office slowly, adjusting pictures here and there, and starting the coffee and tea. Coffee and tea in her office weren’t just a casual ask if someone wanted a drink, it was a calculated move. And Cedar was going to pull out all the stops when it came to Vogue journalists. Court them, flatter them, leave them in awe and writing an article dripping in praise for her. And if not? Well, that’s what was nice about having all of Manhattan at her beck and call. She could destroy anyone with a phone call, and if she had to destroy this one, she would. It would be far from the first time.

Cedar turned on her computer, rearranged her jewel covered pens, and took out her Filofax. She lit a candle, her signature scent, one that the company made special for her. They sold the Cedar candle, which she had designed, but wasn’t the one she used. Exclusivity was the key to impressing. If you couldn’t have it, and Cedar did, it was just an extra thing for her to use to lord over people.

Phone plugged in, on silent, turned just enough that the reporter would be able to see how often she got a message, but not close enough to be able to read any of it. Everything was calculated. Everything was always calculated. You didn’t end up the most feared woman in New York if you didn’t plan well.

And Cedar planned well.

The sun shone through the windows, forming a halo around Cedar’s hair when she sat in her chair. She was ready for the interview now, and she still had another forty five minutes to go.

She flipped through her Filofax, and found the page of notes she had taken when Harold told her he wanted her to organize his funeral. She had laughed at him then, because Harold was never going to die. He was too mean, too horrible, too powerful, to ever die. People like him never died—they just kept going and going.

Cedar was never going to die. Or age. Girls like her lived forever.

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Author KK Hendin

KK Hendin’s real life ambition is to become a pink fluffy unicorn who dances with rainbows. But the schooling for that is all sorts of complicated, so until that gets sorted out, she’ll just write. Preferably things with angst and love. And things that require chocolate. She’s the author of the NA contemporaries HEART BREATHS and ONLY THE GOOD DIE YOUNG.

THIS MUCH SPACE is the second book in her new series, TWELVE BEATS IN A BAR.

KK spends way too much time on Twitter (where she can be found as @kkhendin), and rambles on occasion over at www.kkhendinwrites.blogspot.com

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