Read Stoned: A Billionaire Stepbrother With Benefits Romance (My Brother's Keeper Book 1) Online

Authors: Cynthia Sharon

Tags: #stepbrother, #billionaire romance, #stepbrother billionaire

Stoned: A Billionaire Stepbrother With Benefits Romance (My Brother's Keeper Book 1)

 

STONED

 

 

Book One of My Stepbrother's Keeper

 

 

Cynthia Sharon

 

 

~~~

Smashwords Edition

 

COPYRIGHT DETAILS

 

 

Copyright © 2015 Cynthia Sharon

 

Simultaneously published in United States of America,
the UK, India, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Japan, Spain, and
Brazil.

 

All right reserved. No part of this book may be
reproduced in any form of by any other electronic or mechanical
means – except in the case of brief quotations embodies in articles
or reviews –without written permission from its author.

 

STONED has provided the most accurate information
possible. Many of the techniques used in this book are from
personal experiences. The author shall not be held liable for any
damages resulting from use of this book.

 

Smashwords Edition, License Notes

This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment
only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people.
If you would like to share this book with another person, please
purchase an additional copy for each recipient. If you’re reading
this book and did not purchase it, or it was not purchased for your
use only, then please return to your favorite ebook retailer and
purchase your own copy. Thank you for respecting the hard work of
this author.

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

 

Chapter One

Chapter Two

Chapter Three

Chapter Four

Chapter Five

Chapter Six

Chapter Seven

Chapter Eight

Chapter Nine

Chapter Ten

Chapter Eleven

To Be Continued...

Bonus Free Gift

About the Author

One Last Thing

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

 

“This is bullshit!” Ralph said, throwing the
sales figures on the table. He was fuming with his cheeks turning
an unflattering shade of purple and the smoke from his cigar
encircling his head like a wreath.

Allison Shepard coughed, choked up by the
nicotine stench. However, Ralph McDonough was the senior partner at
Vision Marketing, Inc., and the health codes for New York City
buildings didn’t apply here. He’d been an avid stogie smoker for
years, and Allison had learned to deal with the assault to her
allergies and, alas, the secondhand smoke filling her lungs.
Besides, it calmed him down. If McDonough was this pissed already,
then she was grateful for anything that managed to calm him
down.

“I’m so sorry,” her assistant, Kristen
started.

Allison stared at the younger girl and hoped
she’d take the hint. Her assistant had only been at the firm for
two years, and she didn’t understand yet that Ralph was like Mount
St. Helen’s. Once he started erupting, it was pointless to try and
stop the spread of his rage. He just had to burn himself out.

Ralph glared back at both of them, and
Allison’s cheeks flushed, feeling the scrutiny of him focused
completely on her in front of the entire senior staff of the
company. “Do you want to repeat that, Karen?”

“It’s Kristen,” she added, and Allison
definitely needed to explain to the other girl about not burying
herself deeper. That was, of course, assuming that either of them
still had a desk here after the meeting. “I just meant that we
thought it was a slam dunk.”

He shook his head but focused his laser sharp
attention on only Allison now. “You lobbied me, Allison. You
lobbied me for three months to have the Schmidt’s Lager account,
and I let you have it because you’ve done such great work in the
past. I thought you had enough vision to make up for that fact
that, frankly, women don’t know how to market to men.”

She swallowed but kept her focus directly on
him. As terrible as his lambasting was, it would only get worse if
he thought she was avoiding him. “I thought the ‘Life’s a Beach’
campaign would work. It had everything---exotic locations, breaking
free from authority, and of course we had the requisite swimsuit
model in the background.”

“Exactly,” he said, cueing up the DVD player.
“This is already making the rounds for people in the know. This is
what Stone Advertising has already come up with since Schmidt’s
fired us last week for low sales. Pay better attention.”

Allison bit the inner side of her cheek to
keep herself from shooting her mouth off. She hadn’t spent six
years working up the ladder to rise to the bait of a hothead like
McDonough. As the test footage for the first new Schmidt’s Lager ad
rolled, she had to grimace. It was the frat brother, sexcapade mess
that she expected from a company like Stone. There were tons of
women in cocktail dresses so short it was almost pornographic at
some uptown bar and more than a few innuendos were exchanged
between the leads of the commercial. It was both puerile and
something that couldn’t air in certain markets before eight at
night.

“Now that’s already testing amazing from what
I hear with their focus groups, and that’s exactly what we should
have given them!”

“That’s filthy and you know that thirty
percent of Schmidt’s consumers are women. They don’t like something
that makes that Carl’s, Jr. ad with Paris Hilton and the carwash
look like a damn rerun of Full House. I didn’t think we were that
type of company,” she said, her voice rising a little, despite her
best efforts. The dreck that Stone Advertising came up with did
that to her. No art to it, little actual thought. Why bother if you
could use boobs?

“Well, it was a brilliant enough lure for one
of our biggest clients away from us, and for my baby…the company
I’ve built up for thirty years to be on damn life support.”

Everyone around the table couldn’t hide their
reactions to that. A few whispered behind her and at least one
literally had their jaw hanging open. Her own heart started to
race. Sure, Allison had known the company had taken a few hits in
the last few years and that, unfortunately, Robert Stone and his
outfit had stolen quite a few of their clients away. She had no
idea that losing Schmidt’s would put the company in such a
precarious financial position.

Besides, it’s not like she hadn’t tried her
best. The campaign had been something she’d worked hard on for
three months, and she believed that creating a fantasy vacation for
everyone, both men and women, would have been a blockbuster way to
sell the beer.

How could she have been so wrong?

Kristen, bless her, stampeded past the pause
in the room. The girl never had known when there was tension rising
anywhere. “What does that even mean, Mr. McDonough?”

“It means that I have to meet with my
accountants and figure out what the future of our company is, and
it means that both you, Ms. Fine, as well as Ms. Shepard are being
busted back down to the Wally Weasel account. That place sells
itself.”

Allison groaned. Wally Weasel was a mix of
arcade games and a filthy ball pit with a singing animatronic stage
show centered around the titular mammal. For whatever reason, the
owners of the place always insisted that meetings take place in a
local franchise and right in the dining room with screaming kids
everywhere. They said it helped inspire people, so that they could
see exactly what the heart of their brand was.

Allison already knew that.

It involved bored, desperate weekend dads,
vomit, and pizza made from day-old ingredients. It was also the
account no one wanted, the one she’d been forced onto fresh out of
college.

“Did I hear something out of you?” McDonough
said. “At least that account has never wavered. It’s not the sort
of thing that fucking Stone can sex up or steal and, thus, it must
be perfect for you.”

“I made a miscalculation.”

“You made a massive error, Shepard. Now get
out of my office before I make you the damn janitor.”

CHAPTER TWO

 

 

“This is the worst thing that’s ever happened
to me. I spent a year with Wally Weasel. I did my time in pizza and
corndog Hell. I hate it. I worked for months crafting that campaign
and it was going to work, I swear.”

Her best friend and former roommate, Cassidy,
just pushed her long red hair back in a ponytail and shrugged back
at her. Allison had always been a bit jealous of the other girl.
She was tall, while Allison, herself, was barely 5’3, and her hair
was so thick and long.

Allison had never been able to get hers to
grow out that well and so she kept it in a short blonde bob. Hell,
both her fiancé and her father couldn’t see what drew the two girls
together.

Allison was studious, completely the type-A
personality, and Cassidy had always been bubbly and very affable,
but not necessarily the brightest crayon in the box. It made sense
to Allison, though. When Cassidy needed someone to remind her to
pay her bills or double check to make sure things in the
refrigerator weren’t growing fur, she was there. In turn, when
Allison needed to cut loose, Cassidy was the person who knew how to
cut through her crap.

“It’s not completely your fault,” the redhead
offered, pouring her a shot of Jack Daniels.

Allison wasn’t a drinker by nature, wasn’t
usually more than into white wine, but she needed something
stronger to get through such a shit day. Taking a quick swallow,
she glared back at her friend. “Why am I here?”

Cassidy sighed and pulled out a rag to clean
the bar. It wasn’t overly crowded at Sully’s tonight, and she was
able to spend more time hanging by Allison. “Well, you could have
been a bit more ‘Stone-like’ in your approach.”

“So you’re saying it’s my fault because I
didn’t have enough T and A on things?”

“I’m saying that Stone’s work sucks, but he
got the market. All the guys who come in here for that cheap crap?
They’re the popped collar types with backwards visors and polo
ponies on their shirts. They don’t care about vacation fantasies,
they just want what’s cheap and fast.”

She snorted and finished her shot. “That sums
up everything that hack Stone has ever done.”

“He must be doing something right. Apple,
Facebook, and Budweiser all go to him. My point is, I still
wouldn’t beat yourself up about it. You have principles and that’s
what matters, and, besides, that’s the worst selling beer at the
bar.”

“You are not making me feel any better.”

Cassidy chuckled and continued to wipe off
the taps. “It was always our worst selling beer. That stuff tastes
like sewer water. It doesn’t matter how good a campaign Stone works
up for them, it’s never going to sell well.”

Allison set the glass down with a thunk and
pushed it back to her friend. “Another.”

“Nope, you’ll thank me when you go home and
snuggle up with your cuddle bear.”

“Yes, being engaged is just like that.”

“I’m serious. You really shouldn’t beat
yourself up over it. You make commercials, but you can’t make the
product taste any good. You’ll regroup, get your boss’s confidence
back and then kick ass on a campaign that doesn’t involve
animatronic hedgehogs.”

“Weasels,” she countered gathering up her
purse.

“Exactly.”

Allison pushed a strand of honey-blonde hair
back over her ear. “McDonough said something that I’ve never heard
before. I didn’t think we’d lost that many clients over the years,
but he mentioned there might be restructuring coming.”

“Like out of the job?”

“I don’t know. Sometimes McDonough blows
smoke, but it made everyone nervous. What if I sunk the whole
company?”

Cassidy chuckled and squeezed her hand from
across the bar. “You always think you’re more powerful than you
are. It’s not your fault. You did a real campaign and not just the
lowest common denominator.”

“And I if I had, Schmidt’s wouldn’t be in bed
with Stone Marketing.”

“True, but if you have to hate someone, save
it for the person who earned it, that lousy billionaire pitch man,
Robert Stone. He’s the one stealing clients, wiggling people out of
contracts, and making advertising all about the biggest bust line.
Now, like I said, go home and chill with Thomas for a while. It’ll
be better tomorrow.”

“Ugh, not likely.”

Cassidy frowned. “Are you guys having issues?
I know he hesitated for like a year to set the date…”

Her friend’s features were schooled to
neutral but Allison knew that Cassidy was angling to say more.
She’d never understood why Thomas would propose to her but not
settle on a date until eighteen months later. Allison tried to
explain a million times about how hard making tenure track was and
the papers he’d been churning out to impress his colleagues. There
just hadn’t been time right away for wedding planning.

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