Authors: Caitie Quinn
THE CATCHING KIND
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The Catching Kind
Copyright © 2014 by Bria Quinlan
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, no part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introduced into a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by any means without the prior written permission of both the copyright owner and the above publisher of this book.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used fictitiously. The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of various products referenced in this work of fiction, which have been used without permission. The publication/use of these trademarks is not authorized, associated with, or sponsored by the trademark owners.1
have been running late, but at least I was extremely caffeinated. That was the key to dealing with my agent—large doses of caffeine and possibly some type of defensive gear.
If I could wear body armor I would. But I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t let me on the downtown train in that.
Catherine Sutter was, to state it simply, a force of nature. And I was a leaf on the wind.
It wasn’t that I didn’t like Catherine. And I sure as anything respected her. She was exactly what a writer who didn’t like confrontation and still wanted to deal with the top publishers needed. Someone to take charge and be the boss of my business life so I could be the boss of my writing life.
I glanced at my phone, which miraculously still had a charge, and rushed on knowing I was going to be late. As usual. But, hopefully by only a minute or two. Not
Well, not bad for me. For Catherine, you’d think the world was ending if someone was thirty seconds late.
I hurried toward the gorgeous Art Deco building, getting my customary shiver just seeing the brass and glass doors.
This is Your Life, Hailey Tate.
A thrill beyond belief. Like tripping over the yellow brick road and landing facedown behind The Great and Powerful’s curtain.
There were definitely a few things I loved about being a writer: Telling stories, working in yoga pants, and going in to my agent’s office to discuss my next project.
I’m not gonna lie. It made me feel like a grownup instead of just a girl scribbling stories in math class.
Because, really, when had I used algebra in the last decade? Never, that’s when.
Pushing through the front doors, I couldn’t help but notice all the security guys hovering around a tall man, head bent over something just on the other side of the lobby.
Advantage, Hailey! I rushed to the front desk to sign myself in so I could sneak upstairs and not be any later than I already was. I got as far as the elevator door when Frank, the very sweet older man who usually worked the desk, rushed over and stuck his hand into the slowly closing doors.
“Ms. Tate!” He smiled, the welcome I usually got when I came in. “Shame on you, sneaking by like that.”
“Don’t worry.” I gave him a smile, trying to rush this along. “I signed in.”
“I know, dear. But, could you bring this envelope up to Ms. Sutter.” Frank handed me a thick FedEx envelope. “I’m a little afraid of her when contracts come in.”
He gave me a wink and stepped back, letting the doors start to fall shut again.
“Hold the elevator!”
The voice echoed down the short, tiled hall to where I watched the doors slip inward as I tried to pretend I didn’t hear it. I reached for the close-door button. But Frank, sweet man that he was, stuck his hand in again, stopping the elevator. Again.
And all I could think about was how Catherine was going to give me yet another lecture on timeliness.
You’d think she’d save those for if I got too close to a deadline, not just for when I was running a few minutes late for a meeting.
"Thanks." The tall, shaggy-headed blond stepped into view, his gaze crashing into mine for less than a moment.
. Now middle-aged men hovering in the lobby made sense.
I was probably going to end up in a tabloid just by being on the same block with him, let alone sharing an elevator.
He turned away just as quickly as he’d arrived, standing just outside the elevator, his hand on the bumper, holding it open. I glanced at my watch, wondering why he wasn’t stepping in. But his gaze stayed glued to the front of the building, his feet firmly planted on the floor outside the elevator.
"Excuse me,” my voice was light and low. It wasn’t every day I spoke to a famous person…unless she was a writer. Even though I wasn’t a fan—sports or tabloid—it was still a bit intimidating.
Connor Ryan glanced in and down at me with a look that said he was more curious what I was doing interrupting his standing around than he was in what I was going to say.
"I have a meeting I'm trying to get to,” is what I came up with.
I'd hoped he'd let the doors shut, but I'd already lost his attention as his gaze turned back toward the lobby. I got a vague, distant
"So, if you could just let the doors go,” I added. “I'll be all set."
“Pardon me,” I pushed, because that wasn’t really a yes or no question. “I
need to get upstairs.”
He glanced back my way, his eyes dropping down to take in my yoga pants and deep purple lululemon wrap.
"I'm sure you can wait another moment.” His gaze swept up and away dismissively. “You don't look like you're really needed anywhere."
I couldn't believe he just said that. It wasn't every day someone was that unkind to me without even knowing me. Or, to be honest, typically even when they knew me.
"That wasn't very nice." The words slipped out, something making me braver than normal...unless you consider the fact that I’d barely whispered them.
"Excuse me?" he shifted his body to glare down at me.
I finally seemed to have his full attention.
"I said that wasn't very nice. You're holding me up for a meeting and…” I faded off, not really sure where I was headed with any of this as he stared me down.
"Sweetheart,” he drawled like he had all the time in the world and yet was
absolutely right about everything
. “I am an expert on women's appearance. And, trust me. You are not exactly rocking the important vibe." With a dismissive shake of his head, he turned back to the lobby.
I fought to keep my jaw from dropping as I registered the clipped sound of heels clicking on the tile floor. Connor Ryan's expression had changed from one of rude condescension to pleased appreciation.
"Thank you so much for holding the elevator.” One of the most beautiful women I’d ever seen outside a magazine stepped into view. Of course, since she was probably going to the modeling agency on floor four, I’d probably seen her in a magazine too. “I'm almost late for an appointment."
"I know the feeling." I'd said it under my breath, but Connor Ryan's hearing must have been worse than his manners.
He angled himself away from me and turned on the charm. "I'd never want to leave a lady in distress."
I may have actually snorted. Or, at least I did in my head. I thought really hard about snorting out loud too.
"Excuse me." I tried again. “Could we maybe…”
I gave them both a smile, hoping they’d just get the idea and step into the elevator. They were probably so busy scoping one another out, I doubted they noticed. But, to be fair, the model gave me a slight smile...or at least, she tilted her head down toward me and smiled while she ogled the guy holding the doors open. And who could blame her? He
stunning to look at.
You don’t get named America’s Sexiest Athlete by being average.
Finally, they both stepped in and turned their backs to me. She pushed a button and the flirting continued in hushed tones until the doors opened again. She slipped him a card and he leaned out the elevator to watch her long legs strut their way down the hall to the frosted doors of the modeling agency.
I considered pushing him out. Just one big shove and I'd be on my way. My phone read eleven minutes past and I knew I’d never escape an epic timeliness lecture now.
When we got to the seventh floor, I moved to move around him, glad to just get out of his arrogant sphere and instead walked straight into his side as he stepped from the elevator.
"You're coming here?" All the shock I felt slipped out with the words. Why in the world would a sports guy be coming to our little, boutique literary agency?
He glanced down as if he'd forgotten I was there. He probably had. "And, how is that any of your business?"
“Um…” It really wasn’t. I was just surprised.
"Oh, you're one of those people.” His arms crossed as his gaze narrowed down to glare at me. All that masculine anger focused on me set my adrenaline pumping. “I'm an athlete, so I must be dumb?"
"No. Actually, almost everyone who comes here writes romance or books for teens.” I shrugged. I would have been surprised if any sportsy-god-guy stepped onto our floor. I moved around, finally happy to have the upper hand. Even if it was just in getting to walk away first.
He gave me a look as if he didn’t believe me. I gave him back the nicest smile I had.
“Now, if you'll excuse me,” I said, drudging up some bravado out of pure annoyance. “I have a meeting someone made me late for."
I walked by Meg at the front desk, not bothering to have her call back to Catherine since I was late. Also, with how she was drooling over the guy glaring at the back of my head, I figured she wouldn't remember how to use a phone anyway.
Two doors down, Catherine paced in front of her desk, weaving around the piles of book filled boxes. I tapped on the door and watched as she swung in my direction, a look of pure relief washing over her.
This had nothing to do with lunch.
"Thank God you're here. I was afraid you'd heard about the bet and you weren't going to show."
A sick feeling washed through my stomach. I was tempted to turn around and walk right back out.
Instead, I stepped into the room and closed the door. "What bet?"
"The one I lost you in."
"I'm sorry.” I leaned against the door, trying to ignore the fact I’d never seen Catherine nervous before. “I must have heard you wrong. Did you say you lost me in a bet?"
Who would want to win an author? Especially one who wrote books for teen girls. Unless you were desperate to learn suburban high school politics or slang or—since I wrote paranormal—the signs of the zodiac. Otherwise, I was pretty much useless.
"I did. I did say that.” She picked up something from her desk and set it back down. I’d never seen her fidget before so this was…disconcerting to say the least. “And I did it too. I know what you're going to say. You're going to tell me it was a stupid move. Of course it was. I thought I had an unbeatable hand. I'd been running hot at the agents' poker game last night when it came down to me and that damn Dex."
She took a deep breath and pointed toward the empty chair across from her desk.
Since I wasn’t sure where this was all going, I plopped my rear in the chair. I also made a mental note to memorize my agency contract when I got home. And laws on author trafficking.
"So, are you telling me I have a new agent?" I asked, trying not to panic.
Catherine. I liked that she got my writing and she got me. Getting me was sometimes hard. In person I was dry and a bit afraid of publicity and social media…and talking to people I didn’t know.
My writing was just off center enough to be a hard sell initially. But, she’d believed in me. Even though I wasn’t like her other authors who were bigger sellers. Most of them were huge on social media and liked doing things like giving interviews and being on local newscasts…and talking to people.
"What? No. Of
not. I'd never actually
you as a client." Catherine slid behind her desk, rolled her squishy stress ball thingy between her palms, and eyed her ashtray. "Honestly, this is an opportunity. The chance to really bump you into the public's eye."
Words to send fear rushing down my spine. I tried to think of a response, but since I had zero idea what we were talking about, I just kept looking at her, hoping she'd clarify.
"Hailey, you know I love you, but let's be honest." She tossed the ball on the desk and went back to pacing. "You're not very good at PR. You're a horrible interview, you don't like social media, and you look like you’re going to throw up every time someone wants to take your picture. The bet may have been a surprise, but it's going to get you national exposure."