Mona had talent and chutzpah, but today, she was frazzled.

Her big break stared her in the face. Today could be the day where she finally became part of something so hugely important that would give her the professional exposure she longed for.

Today, her talent and creativity might finally be recognized.

She pulled onto the highway, and immediately regretted her choice not to call for a taxi instead. She could use a stress-free drive, plus extra time to rehearse in her head exactly what she would say when she met him. She had to dazzle and impress him—this was her shot and she planned to take full advantage of it.

“He” was Dodge DeLisle, New York Times Bestselling author times seven. He was young, beautiful, talented, envied, and–from what Mona had heard—terrifying. She’d heard tell of rage-filled fits, unrealistic demands, and on occasion, pitching heavy objects across the room. But it was the “talented” aspect of him that made Mona so terrified and excited all at once.

She chewed her thumbnail and couldn’t stop her right knee from bouncing up and down, unable to tame her nervous energy over the mere thought of meeting Dodge in person.

Mona’s best friend Kat set up the meeting as a favor. Kat regularly rubbed elbows with the world of the wealthy and well-known, usually to put a clean spin on their public messes. When Kat had learned through the industry grapevine that Dodge’s art designer experienced a recent fall from grace she began a not-so-subtle campaign to set up a meeting between him and Mona.

If Dodge gave Mona a chance, he couldn’t resist hiring her.

Mona’s moral compass pointed due north. Dodge wouldn’t need to worry about any scandal where she was concerned.

Mona glanced in the rear-view mirror as she sat in traffic. Her blonde mane had been perfectly coifed when she left the house–sleek, shiny, professional. She’d felt confident. Yet, on this rainy, humid morning frizz and kinks seemed to have swallowed her head.

“Seriously?! I worked so hard to look absolutely perfect!” Mona berated herself aloud. She sat back and sighed at her two-year-old-esque tantrum. Mona drew in a deep breath, closed her eyes, and exhaled. With a cock of her head, she snapped herself back to confident reality.

Approaching the airport slowly, she navigated through the hurried drivers. She secured a parking spot closer to the building than she anticipated. Pleased, she grabbed her bag and peered inside for one final look.

Portfolio, check.

Tablet loaded with samples of her work, check.

Poise, calmed nerves, and perfect presentation to win over Dodge? Check.

Looking up, she saw a private jet descending. Had to be Dodge. It disappeared through the clouds in a “now-you-see-it, now-you-don’t” fashion. She found the VIP lobby where she was to meet Mr. DeLisle and approached security.

“Sorry, ma’am. VIP members only.” He held up his hand.

“I’m on the list. Mona. Last name R-u-h.” No one ever pronounced it correctly.

He scanned the list. “Mona Ruh,” he said, like “huh.”

“It’s Ruh,” she corrected, “as in kanga.” The young security guard looking fresh from the surf, furrowed his brow, confused. “It sounds like roo, kanga-roo. Never mind.”

He unhooked the chain and motioned Mona to the inner sanctum. Go-time. She stood at the window and watched Dodge disembark She was suddenly more nervous than ever. She felt a bead of sweat trickle down her cheek. Excellent, she thought. I’m frizzy and sweaty. This could be the only big chance she’d ever get. Dodge’s time was precious and this “meeting” entailed pitching her qualifications to him as he walked through security and to a waiting car.

Mona said a silent prayer that she’d be calm, impressive, and say everything exactly right. And that he wouldn’t hold her gnarly hair against her.

Was he was approachable? Aloof? Arrogant? Did people quake with fear in his presence? If the rumors were true, she bet they trembled.

He walked off the terminal and she was taken aback. He was joking with his assistant.

Deep breath.

“Mr. DeLisle? Mona Ruh.” She extended her hand. He paused, a confused look crossed his face, but he shook her hand

“Uh,” he tilted his head to the side.

“We have an, um, walking meeting? Kat Cramer set it up.”

His eyes narrowed.

“I’m an art designer and I’ve learned that you’re in need of one.” She was desperately but calmly trying to jog his memory.

“Ohhh! Sorry, it’s been a long flight.”

Mona relaxed.

“Let’s get coffee.” He motioned her to a swanky VIP café area. “Please, let’s sit.” He pulled out a chair for her. Was this chivalry? She was here to dazzle, not be dazzled. He was unexpectedly charming. She sensed he was going to be easy to talk to.

“Good to meet you, Mona.” He smiled. “By the way, I love your hair.”

Meet the Author

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Melanie Pickett is a writer and blogger who is currently completing her first nonfiction book. She worked as a Medical Language Specialist for 19 years and is an occasional substitute teacher.

Melanie posts on BlogHer and has been a guest writer on various other blogs. She writes regularly at the mental health blog, Defying Shadows but spends most of her time writing her own blog, Flying Blonde.

A transplanted West Michigander, Melanie is a wife and mother with two teenagers who keep life busy and happy. She loves Jesus, her family, working out, reading, playing piano, 70’s-80’s TV shows, hot tea, serendipity, and traveling adventures. Melanie has a school trip planned with her daughter to Paris and Rome in 2015 and of course, plans to write all about it.