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Eyes Wide Open

Lucy Felthouse

  Table of Contents

  Legal Page

  Title Page

  Book Description


  Trademarks Acknowledgement

  Chapter One

  Chapter Two

  Chapter Three

  Chapter Four

  Chapter Five

  Chapter Six

  Chapter Seven

  Chapter Eight

  Chapter Nine

  Chapter Ten

  Chapter Eleven

  Chapter Twelve

  Chapter Thirteen

  Chapter Fourteen

  Chapter Fifteen

  Chapter Sixteen

  Chapter Seventeen

  Chapter Eighteen

  Chapter Nineteen

  Chapter Twenty

  Chapter Twenty-One

  Chapter Twenty-Two

  Chapter Twenty-Three

  Chapter Twenty-Four

  Chapter Twenty-Five

  Chapter Twenty-Six

  Chapter Twenty-Seven

  Chapter Twenty-Eight

  Chapter Twenty-Nine

  Chapter Thirty

  Chapter Thirty-One


  New Excerpt

  About the Author

  Publisher Page

  Eyes Wide Open

  ISBN # 978-1-78430-734-9

  ©Copyright Lucy Felthouse 2015

  Cover Art by Posh Gosh ©Copyright August 2015

  Edited by Rebecca Scott

  Pride Publishing

  This is a work of fiction. All characters, places and events are from the author’s imagination and should not be confused with fact. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, events or places is purely coincidental.

  All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any material form, whether by printing, photocopying, scanning or otherwise without the written permission of the publisher, Pride Publishing.

  Applications should be addressed in the first instance, in writing, to Pride Publishing. Unauthorised or restricted acts in relation to this publication may result in civil proceedings and/or criminal prosecution.

  The author and illustrator have asserted their respective rights under the Copyright Designs and Patents Acts 1988 (as amended) to be identified as the author of this book and illustrator of the artwork.

  Published in 2015 by Pride Publishing, Newland House, The Point, Weaver Road, Lincoln, LN6 3QN

  Pride Publishing is a subsidiary of Totally Entwined Group Limited.

  Totally Five Star: London


  Lucy Felthouse

  An ordinary girl catapulted into an extraordinary world meets two even more extraordinary men—but what will she do when she discovers their sexy secret?

  Fiona Gillespie moved to London shortly after graduating to take advantage of the opportunities the capital could offer. However, months later, she’s still living in a horrid flat and working in a grimy East End pub. The problem is, she doesn’t really know what she wants to do, career-wise. So when she happens upon an advertisement for a job at a plush Mayfair hotel, she jumps at the chance. A great deal of determination and a spot of luck land Fiona her dream role.

  But working at the Totally Five Star London is just the beginning. She adores the role and flourishes, impressing her bosses and making her increasingly determined to climb the career ladder.

  While her career is flying, though, her love life is non-existent. She hasn’t even thought about men, never mind met or dated one for months, so when she bumps into two gorgeous businessmen in the hotel, she’s surprised to find her head has been well and truly turned. Even more surprisingly, they flirt with her—both of them! She’s drawn to James and Logan, despite feeling that they’re way out of her league.

  When a misunderstanding leads Fiona to James and Logan’s sumptuous top-floor suite, she has no idea what she’s about to uncover. Scenes of people-trafficking, drug-pushing and wild sex parties all appear in her active imagination. Yet what she actually sees is something she’d never even considered before, something that piques her interest.

  After discovering their sexy secret, what will she do with this new-found knowledge?


  To my fellow Brit Babes—thank you for being an endless source of support, advice, encouragement and fun.

  To the Brit Babes Street Team—thank you for everything you do. You make me smile every day, and you push me to keep going and writing books for you to (hopefully!) enjoy.

  To Ian—thank you for pounding London pavements with me on the research trip for this book.

  Last, but certainly not least, to you, the reader—I wouldn’t be doing this without you. So thank you from the bottom of my heart. I hope you enjoy Eyes Wide Open.

  Trademarks Acknowledgement

  The author acknowledges the trademarked status and trademark owners of the following wordmarks mentioned in this work of fiction:

  Coke: The Coca-Cola Company

  iPad: Apple, Inc.

  Tube: London Underground Limited

  Mercedes: Daimler AG

  Michelin: Michelin

  ‘Look at what you could have won’: Bullseye, ITV Studios

  Peugeot: Peugeot S.A.

  Wi-Fi: The Wi-Fi Alliance

  Travelodge: Travelodge Hotels Limited

  Premier Inn: Whitbread PLC

  Jacuzzi: Apollo Management

  Jack Daniel’s: Brown-Forman Corporation

  Harrods: Harrods Ltd.

  Selfridges: Selfridges Retail Ltd.

  Tweedledee and Tweedledum: Lewis Carroll

  Google: Google, Inc.

  Supernatural: Warner Bros. Television, Wonderland Sound and Vision

  Nando’s: Nando’s Ltd.

  Sherlock Holmes: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

  Red Bull: Red Bull GmbH

  Chapter One

  Fiona Gillespie wiped a damp cloth half-heartedly over the surface of the bar. It was a pointless exercise. The pub’s fittings and fixtures were so old that no amount of scrubbing would remove the grime that had been ingrained in the wood over the decades. That and the next time she served one of the old drunks that frequented the place, it’d just get beer spilled on it again.

  Glancing at her surroundings in distaste, Fiona stifled a derisive snort when she caught sight of the swinging pub sign through the window. It had never really registered before, but The Royal Oak? There was nothing remotely royal about the pub in London’s East End where she worked. If an actual royal so much as stepped foot across the threshold, they’d run screaming in the other direction. A shame, really, as a chance to try to woo Prince Harry would not go amiss. She was sure those mischievous eyes and smile hid a multitude of sexy sins. His grandmother would not approve.

  Abandoning her cloth with a sigh, she reached for a newspaper one of the patrons had left behind. There was hardly anyone in, as usual, so no glasses to collect, tables to wipe, or bowls of nuts to refill. A flick through the paper was her only source of entertainment. Or at least the only thing to stop her going completely out of her mind with boredom.

  It wasn’t quite where she’d seen herself when she’d decided to take a chance and move to London for work after graduating from university. But while she figured out her next career move—or any career move—this would have to do. It served a purpose—paying her a paltry wage, just enough to cover the rent and bills on her scummy flat, and food. There really wasn’t much left after that, so her social life mainly consisted of vegging in front of the TV with her flatmates.

  They’d club together their miniscule amount of disposable income to buy some cheap, supermarket own brand lager and swap stories, either about their pasts or about how their current situation was just tempo
rary—just a stepping stone on their way to success, to high-flying, ridiculously well-paid jobs in the banking world, the publishing industry, in PR, advertising, acting, production, tourism… The list went on.

  Fiona was just as determined to get a foot on the career ladder, if not more so. She’d rather scurry back home to her parents in Birmingham with her tail between her legs than stay in this dump for much longer. The only trouble was, the others at least knew what they were aiming for, which particular ladder they were trying to grab hold of. She’d graduated with a first-class honors in creative writing and didn’t have a clue what to do with the damn degree now she had it.

  Nobody was approached just for having a degree in creative writing, given a ton of money and told to sit down and write a book. It simply didn’t work like that, more’s the pity. Even the world’s most famous and successful writers had had to start somewhere. And she wasn’t necessarily sure that fiction writing was the way to go, anyway.

  A cough, accompanied by a whiff of stale smoke and booze, alerted her to the presence of a customer.

  Fixing a smile on her face, she turned to him and said politely, “What can I get you?”

  A white-haired, grizzled old guy with yellowing teeth—the teeth he still had, anyway—squinted at her. “Pint, if you’re not too busy reading the bleeding newspaper.”

  Holding the smile so firmly in place it hurt her now-gritted teeth, she took the proffered glass and filled it. Placing it back on the bar, she then picked up the money that had been left there. The exact right amount. This guy bought enough pints to know. She murmured her thanks, but she needn’t have bothered. The grumpy old sod was already halfway back to his table, precious beer in hand.

  Double checking that there was nothing to be done, she shifted her attention back to the newspaper, figuring it was better than wondering about a career she couldn’t even imagine.

  As it happened, the paper wasn’t all that engaging. It was several days out of date, so she knew about all the big news pieces already, and the weather and TV listings were now obsolete. But her interest was piqued when she reached the jobs section. She’d never looked in this particular publication for jobs before, thinking that the online searches she did on various websites were more targeted, more relevant. But then, how could you target a role you didn’t even know you wanted?

  Skimming through the ads, she immediately dismissed many of them. She had no wish—or the qualifications—to drive an HGV, look after sick or old people, cold call, sell advertising, work in retail or become a model. But amongst all that was something interesting. Something that maybe, just maybe she could do.

  She wasn’t entirely sure what being a PR assistant entailed, but it sounded like a very posh job title, and she could sure as hell tick the box of the phrase in the ad that had caught her eye in the first place. We’re looking for someone with creative writing skills.

  As she read through the information again, excitement bubbled in her stomach. The role was at a top London hotel—in Mayfair, no less—offered live-in accommodation, a generous starting salary, access to all the hotel’s amenities and, best of all, career progression. It was clear they wouldn’t employ just anybody and, if Fiona was honest with herself, they were probably looking for someone with more experience than her—which wasn’t difficult—but she had to give it a go. She had nothing to lose. If she didn’t get it, then she’d have gained some valuable interview experience, and if she did, well, then she’d have well and truly grabbed the bottom rung of the career ladder she’d been striving for.

  It was only on her third read-through, when she was mentally picking out key words and phrases she could use to help tailor her CV to the role and to write a spectacular covering letter, that she noticed the closing date for applications.

  For fuck’s sake! How typical was that? The only job she’d seen since arriving in the capital that had gotten her genuinely fired up, and she’d missed the bloody date by one day. One. Single. Day.

  Barely stopping herself from screwing up the page and throwing it across the room in a fit of temper, Fiona stepped away and took a long drink from the pint of Coke she had stashed behind the bar. Just as she replaced the glass, another customer came up—one of the few she actually liked.

  “Hello, Bob,” she said pleasantly, genuine this time. “How are you?”

  “Not too bad thanks, love. And yourself?”

  She shrugged. “Yeah, I’m all right, thanks.”

  Bob narrowed his eyes. “Well, that didn’t sound very convincing. Want to tell me about it while you’re pouring my pint?”

  Unable to help the grin that took over her face, Fiona replied, “Subtle, Bob, very subtle. Being nice on the surface, but underneath it all you’re really saying, ‘Hurry up and pour my drink, wench!’”

  Clutching a hand to his chest, Bob looked shocked. “What, me?” After a beat, his expression morphed into a good-natured grin to rival her own. “What can I say? I am a nice guy, but I like my beer. Seriously, though, tell me what’s wrong.”

  As she slotted the pint glass into place beneath the pump and began filling it, she found herself wanting to tell him. She wasn’t in the habit of chatting with the customers, and they weren’t the sort that wanted to prop up the bar all day and regale her with their no doubt utterly fascinating tales. She was more accustomed to pouring pints, handing over packets of crisps and pork scratchings, taking money and giving change with nothing more than basic manners and a smile.

  But what harm could it do? She didn’t know the guy beyond these four walls, didn’t know what he did for a living—though by the looks of him he was getting close to retirement age. Maybe he could help, give her some advice? And even if he blabbed to her boss, the pub landlord Cyril, it wouldn’t matter. He probably wouldn’t care either way. Bar staff were ten a penny and he’d have the role filled within a day.

  Plus, underneath all that gruff, abrupt bluster, she had an inkling that Cyril was actually human—and smart. He’d have known from day one of taking her on—from the moment he interviewed her, even—that she wasn’t in the job for the long haul. And as long as he had someone behind the bar, it didn’t make the slightest difference to him.

  Fiona jerked her head in the direction of the newspaper. “Just found a great job in that crummy old newspaper.”

  Bob frowned. “Why’s that a problem?”

  Sliding the pint onto the bar, she replied, “Emphasis on old. It’s a fantastic bloody role, but the closing date for applications was yesterday. I’m gutted. I’ve been treading water a bit since I’ve been down in London because I didn’t know what direction I wanted to go, career-wise, and that could have set me on the perfect path. Reckon I’d have been good at it, too.”

  Bob handed over the money, then took a sip of his beer. Swallowing, a thoughtful expression on his face, he then said, “Wouldn’t hurt to send your application anyway, would it? I’m guessing you can send it by email, can you? Send it today and explain you only just saw the advertisement and know that the closing date has passed, but you’re so interested in the role that you thought you’d apply anyway. Who knows? Maybe they’ll be impressed by your enthusiasm and put you in the running. For what it’s worth, I reckon you should try. You’ve got nothing to lose.”

  “Yeah.” She ran a hand through her hair. Then she punched numbers into the till, opened it, put Bob’s cash in the drawer and retrieved his change. “I was thinking the same thing myself about the job before I realized I’d missed the closing date. I think I will. After all, if I don’t apply, I won’t even be in with a chance. And a chance is better than nothing!”

  “Better than working here, too.”

  Passing him the change, she said, “How do you know? You don’t even know what the job’s for.”

  “Doesn’t matter. It’s got to be better than here. Besides, I’ve always thought you were too good for this place. Too damn smart to be pulling pints—though you’ve got that down to a fine art, I must say.” He took ano
ther sip and winked at her over the rim of the glass. “Still,” he added, “if you do end up getting that job, or any other, I will be sad to see you go. Brighten up the place, pretty girl like you does. Anyway, let me know how you get on. Good luck!”

  With another broad grin and a wink, Bob stuffed the coins into his pocket and sauntered over to take a seat by the window.

  She watched him for a moment or two, pondering what he’d said. Then, her mind made up, she grabbed the newspaper and tore out the advert, folding it carefully and putting it in her pocket. There were only a couple more hours of her shift to go. As soon as she got home, she’d dust off her creative writing skills, tart up her CV, craft an awesome covering letter and ping them over on an email.

  The Totally Five Star London wouldn’t know what had hit it.

  Chapter Two

  Fiona spent the next few days in a blur of working, doing her share of chores in the flat—which this week included shopping and cooking—and catching some sleep when she could. She also spent an inordinate amount of time checking her emails, hoping for a reply from the Totally Five Star.

  When it came, just three days after sending the application—which to her felt like three weeks—she was too scared to open it. She was so sure it was going to be a very polite thanks, but no thanks that she let out a squeak and quickly shut her laptop lid.

  One of her flatmates, Gary, glanced at her from the other easy chair in their shared living room and raised an enquiring eyebrow. “What are you squeaking at, Fi? It sounded like you just squashed a mouse in your laptop.”

  With heat taking over her cheeks, she shook her head and tried to adopt a nonchalant tone of voice. “Oh, it’s nothing.”

  Now both of Gary’s eyebrows inched toward his hairline. “Really? I’m not convinced, ’cause usually you’re as cool as a cucumber. Come on. What’s got you all het up?”