Heartless Havoc (Cocky Hero Club) by J.L. Leslie



I stare at my reflection in the mirror, mentally giving myself a pep talk. I’m not certain it’s working, but hey, it’s worth a try. Tonight is a huge night for me. I promised myself I wouldn’t stress, but that’s impossible when there’s a room full of important people with important opinions getting ready to eat the food I prepared.

I started my own catering company with my sister two years ago and we have busted our asses to make it a success. Catering an engagement party for Holman Havoc is exactly what we need to build our premium clientele.

Everyone in the state of New York knows who Holman Havoc is. The man bleeds money. Supposedly, he buys failing companies and either invests in them or sells them for a profit. Sort of reminds me of Richard Gere’s character in Pretty Woman except from what I hear, Holman Havoc doesn’t secretly have any redeeming qualities.

His company is one of the most successful in the state, but rumor has it that he’s miffed about a business deal gone bad. Apparently, he had his sights set on purchasing a company and it fell through. Why not spending millions of dollars is a bad thing is beyond me.

I personally didn’t read all the details in the article. Perhaps he’s one of those people who believe you have to spend money to make money. I simply wanted to know who I was dealing with. All I know is that Holman and his son are always on the prowl for another business to invest in or purchase. I know F&C’s Catering wouldn’t mind an angel company tossing some money our way.

“Your food is phenomenal,” I say aloud, nodding at myself in the mirror so that I can stop daydreaming about receiving a sudden windfall of money when I know that will never happen. “Tonight is going to be unforgettable.”

I reach down to turn the water on to wash my hands and shriek when the knob breaks and water sprays all over my clothes. I frantically try to put the knob back on the spraying water, anything to make it stop, but to no avail.

Gathering my wits, I drop to my knees and find the valve to turn the water off. My heart is pounding in my chest, and I can’t believe that just happened to me. I stare down at my soaked clothes, knowing I have no time to dry them. The blouse may have come from the thrift store, but it looked brand new.

I rise to my feet, glancing at myself in the mirror again. My mascara is running, and my hair is already turning into a frizzy mess. I clean my face first, washing off all traces of mascara and basically all of the makeup I spent forty-five minutes applying while watching a YouTube tutorial from a seventeen-year-old boy who is prettier than I can ever dream of being.

Once my face is clean, I peek my head out of the bathroom and then hightail it downstairs to the kitchen. I don’t miss the gawking looks I receive from my servers.

“Ms. Conn, you’re drenched!” Erin, one of our part-time staff says.

“I’m aware,” I deadpan. “Listen, I need you to run out to the delivery truck and get me a uniform shirt. Bring it to the bathroom please, upstairs, first door on the left.”

While she goes to get me a dry shirt, I slip back toward the bathroom. I cringe when I see a sign on the door that the bathroom is out of order. Either I missed it earlier or the staff here is quick.

“I got it!” Erin informs me, rushing down the hallway.

“Do you happen to have a ponytail holder?” I ask her as I take the dry shirt from her hands.

“No, ma’am,” she replies. “Sorry.”

“It’s all right, I’ll figure something out,” I say. “Go ahead and get out there. The first trays should be going out right now.”

Knowing I can’t go back in the bathroom at the moment, I decide to find an empty room to change in. I go to the next door, turning the knob and I’m relieved when it opens. I step inside and close the door behind me, surveying the room I just walked into.

I was expecting a bedroom since I’m on the second floor of the Havoc estate, but instead it’s an office. A large mahogany desk sits in the center of the room, but no chairs are seated in front of it, which I find a little odd. There is a wall-to-wall bookcase, though.

Telling myself it’s none of my business and not to snoop, I quickly change out of my wet top and into the dry one Erin brought me. My skirt is still a touch damp, but I can manage. I brush my hair off my shoulder and make a face when I realize it probably looks ten times worse than it did in the bathroom now that it’s drying.