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A CONTRACT ENGAGEMENT

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Nina felt Julian's grip on her hand tighten and the cool metal slide over her finger, Nina regretted having agreed to come. She tried to look down, wondering what Julian had done to her finger, but he kept his hand over hers. Awkward didn’t begin to cover it. She felt as if she’d just entered a minefield. “Mom. Dad. I would like you to meet—” His entire body tensed and he gripped her hand almost painfully. It was like he was sending her a silent message. “I’d like you to meet my fiancée, Nina Taylor.” Nina froze. There was a horrible buzz in her ears, and she stared in horror at Julian. She hadn’t heard him right. What kind of idiotic thing had he just done? She wasn’t sure who was more stunned. Her or his family. Abby looked shocked. Loveth looked as if she just swallowed a lemon. Sam looked annoyed, while Julian's father simply frowned. ---------------------- Nina Taylor relocates to New York and reunites with Abby Martin, her best friend from high school, despite the fact that her father disagrees with her decision. But Nina is tired of letting her father dictate every aspect of her life, especially now that he has arranged for her to marry Christopher Anderson, so she is convinced that she has made the right decision by leaving. Soon Nina finds herself in the same situation with Julian Martin.... Will she walk away this time? She only has to pretend to be Julian's fiance for a while though.... She could do that. What could possibly go wrong?

Chapter 1

Julian Martin sat on the couch, going through a bunch of emails on his phone. He sighed, realizing how much work he had to do. Procrastination was indeed the thief of time, he thought, as he realized that it was his fault that work had piled up this much. "You will not believe who just called me... Guess who" Abby Martin said as she emerged from her bedroom, clad in pink silk pajamas."Who?" Julian asked casually, clearly not in the mood for small talk. "I said, guess," Abby said. Julian Martin turned to look at his little sister, who had a look on her face that he didn't quite understand. He rolled his eyes and returned his attention to his phone. "I'm not going to bother about guessing anything," he said. "Because I have a feeling that you will tell me anyway. You know,... Because it's you and you can't be quiet about anything... Even to save your life. I'm not even sure that you can keep secret, so just cut the crap and tell me what it is" "You are no fun" Abby said and she glared at her brother, but then she smiled because she knew he was right. She would tell him anyways, but that didn't stop her from picking up a pillow and throwing it at him. "Well," she began, "I know you're going to love this... Do you remember my best friend, Nina Taylor, from high school?... Oh of course you do.. How could you forget" For some reason, Julian felt his heart beat a little faster at the mention of that name. Abby waited for him to say something and when he didn't she continued. "That was her on the phone. She said she decided to leave her dad's company as she was in this 'Independent... Starting over again phase'... I didn't really listen to that last part because I got so excited after she told me she got a job here and she wants to stay with me for a while. Isn't that amazing? It's been so long you know... Remember how close she and I were in high school?""Yeah I remember," Julian said. How could he forget? At that time, Nina Taylor was a huge part of his life….not because they were close friends or in any kind of relationship, but because he spent a great deal of time just thinking about her and getting distracted by her. "Well, I guess that's a good thing.... for you. At least you won't complain to me about being bored anymore and maybe I can finally get some peace" he added, willing the memory to go away. It was embarrassing to think about just how much he'd been into Nina Taylor. Abby grinned at him. "Excited about seeing her again?" she asked. Julian gave her a puzzled look. "Why would I be excited?" he asked. "I don't see any reason why I should be. She's your friend. She's coming to live with you... Not me. I mean, of course it would be nice to see her again after all these years, but excited... Is.. Is just not the right word. Why would you even ask me that?" "Oh please," Abby replied. "You had such a huge crush on her when we were in high school. Your eyes followed her everywhere. Remember how I used to tease you about it and you made me promise not to tell her? Because you wanted to do it, and I quote 'on your own time'.. Only that time never came because you were just too shy. “Julian rolled his eyes, but also smiled at the memory. It had been a long time ago, but once in a while he still thought about Nina Taylor. She had been Abby's best friend at the time and he had had a huge crush on her till he left for college.The problem was he could never bring himself to tell her how he felt back then as he thought she was way out of his league. She and Abby had been cheerleaders while he had been one of the brainy students most people saw as geeks. Nina was sharp and really good-looking. She had long red hair and big beautiful green eyes, and most times he called her 'red' to tease her. In addition to being very good looking, she was intelligent and perceptive, and although she hung out with the Soc crowd, she was open to befriending people who weren't in her crowd. Julian was so attracted to her but couldn't never bring himself to say it to her. Why would a girl like Nina even want to go out with him anyways? And besides she was dating some jock guy then. So he had kept his feelings to himself.

Chapter 2

Apparently, he didn't do such a good job of keeping his feelings in check because Abby found out about it, and he had to make her promise not to tell. Leaving for college had helped and when Nina and her family moved to another state, everyone had just....moved on. Julian glared at his sister. "That crush was many years ago...People move on from stuff like that," he said. "But you know what? I honestly think it would be nice to see her again... It's been so long. Do you think she has changed a lot?"Abby grinned at him. "And just what exactly do you mean when you say 'a lot?" -----------------------Nina Taylor breathed deeply as she knocked on Abby's door. Her fingers tightened on her bag, not because she was scared, but because she was nervous as hell. She still wasn't sure if she had made the right decision by coming to New York. It hadn't been an easy decision to make. And

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