My pulse raced as I stared at the computer screen in front of me. My mouth felt dry and my eyes were wide open — my brain almost unwilling to process what I was reading.
“Hey, Earth to Jules?”
I barely heard Emma, my eyes re-reading the email over and over.
I blinked, tearing my eyes away from the screen and staring at my roommate.
“Dude, are you—”
“I got it.”
She frowned for a second, like she was trying to decipher what the heck I was talking about, when suddenly, her whole face lit up.
“Holy shit! Are you kidding me?”
I shook my head, still almost numb from the shock.
I’d gotten it. “It” being the job of a lifetime, or at least, the job I needed so badly at this point in my life.
When my cousin Anya had first told me she’d hooked me up for an interview for the personal assistant position to none other than Prince Luke Snow, I’d laughed, thinking she was pulling my leg.
My first cousin worked as the personal head of royal affairs for Princess Adele White, of Lorne. In the olden days, the job would have been called the “head lady in waiting,” but then, this was the modern world. It was a seriously amazing job — an enormous paycheck, residences in the royal palace, and basically all the perks of being a princess herself without all the crap a real princess has to deal with. Oh, and if that wasn’t cushy enough, she and Adele also happened to be best friends.
Talk about a dream job, right?
But Anya hadn’t been kidding at all about the interview. She really had used her connections in the world of the royal elites to get me a sit-down interview to replace Prince Luke’s former PA. Not with him, of course, but I’d gone in for three fairly grueling interviews that almost felt like court-trial cross examinations.
The thoroughness I got though. Luke Snow was an actual, honest-to-goodness prince after all.
He was also young, wealthy beyond belief, and criminally gorgeous.
…Not that I was thinking about that during the entire interview process or anything.
However, four weeks later with no word, I’d basically assumed I hadn’t gotten the position. That is, until I’d randomly checked my email, and almost forgotten how to breathe.
I’d gotten it.
I was going to be the very full-time, very hands-on, very in-over-her-head personal assistant to one of the sexiest, richest men on the planet.
I couldn’t tell if I was about to jump up and down for sheer joy or have a full-blown panic attack.
Emma chose option A — shrieking and jumping up and down as she threw her arms around me excitedly.
“Oh my GOD, you’re serious?”
I nodded, my head still whirling from trying to process this.
“Well, we’re celebrating tonight, obviously.”
I snapped out of my daze, and grinned at my roommate. I pushed aside the fear of how the hell I was going to jump into the deep end with this job and decided to focus on the immediate: I had a kick ass new job, and even if my new boss was known for being a little cold, stern, and anti-social, he was also absolutely gorgeous.
On top of that, he was going to be paying me a small fortune to work for him.
Yeah, the fear and uncertainty I could deal with later. For now, Emma was right; we were definitely celebrating.
“Yes!” I beamed at her excitedly. “Wok N’ Eggroll delivery and a Gilmore Girls marathon?”
Emma cringed. “Uh, no. I was thinking we might try not being totally lame.”
“Hey!” I poked her in the arm. “We like doing that!”
“Well, yeah, no kidding, but c’mon, Jules,” She made a face. “We are a little lame sometimes.”
She was right, I just hated to admit it. We’d moved in together six months before, after I’d broken up with Dan. And since she’d broken up with Bryan, our place has been a spinster’s paradise. Hanging in with wine, takeout food, and a good movie was kind of our thing, and we loved doing it, but she was right.
If we kept this up, all we’d need would be a dozen or so cats and a lottery addiction and we’d be the crazy single-ladies from a bad movie.
Emma was right; we needed to go out to celebrate tonight.
“Dinner?” I shrugged. “We could go out to that new Spanish Tapas place on—”
“Jules, no.” Emma rolled her eyes. “Think bigger. Thing wilder.”
I arched a brow. “Wilder, huh? Clubbing?”
She laughed. “I don’t think anyone says ’clubbing’ anymore. But yeah, let’s go out out. In fact…” she trailed off.
She grinned mischievously.
“I may already have a spot for us?”
“Oh,” she bit her lip. “Really. And I promise, you’re going to love it. Just, you know, dress up a little.”
“How dressed up are we talking?”
“The kind of dressed up where you’re not dressing in much.”
I grinned, blushing and looking away. “I don’t know…” I trailed off and shrugged. “I don’t think I’m—”
“Jules,” my friend crossed the room to me and out her hands on my shoulders. “We need to get back out there. Both of us.”
Emma had an annoying way of being right a lot. Since she’d walked in on Bryan with her step-sister (I mean, how trashy is that?), Emma had gone out on all of one date with one guy, which she’d left early because he was creeping her out. I was worse. I’d been on zero dates since Dan.
On top of that, neither of us were the “one-night” types. A few months back, we both downloaded Tinder just to see what it was about, but after the deluge of dick pics and “hey BB” messages, we’d deleted it from our phones.
I didn’t know what I was looking for post-Dan, but it sure wasn’t that. Just the same, going out out did seem fun. Hey, if nothing else, we could dress up, dance, and have a great time. I doubted either of us was going to find true love wherever she was planning on going where I needed to “dress up by not dressing in much,” but that was fine.
I was going to celebrate my awesome new job tonight with my best friend, and that was good enough for me.
“Okay, okay, I relent.”
“So, where are we going?”
Her grin turned downright wicked.
“Look, don’t worry.” She waved me off, turning to check something on her phone.
“Where exactly are you taking us?”
“It’s a new spot.” She turned back, sighing and rolling her eyes. “Oh my God, Jules, you’re going to have a blast, I promise. Just go get ready and I’ll open some pre-evening wine.”
“You’re a nut,” I muttered as I turned to go poke through my closet.
“Oh, and Jules?”
I glanced back at my roommate.
“Whatever you wear, just make sure it goes with black.”
I frowned. “What? Why?”
Emma bit her lip, looking at me with a mixture of fear and excitement in her eyes.
“Because that’s what color the masks are.”
I stared at her.
“What? Emma, what masks?”
“The ones we’re wearing tonight at Masquerade Night.”