Home > Just One Fake Date (Flatiron Five Fitness, #1)

Just One Fake Date (Flatiron Five Fitness, #1)
Author: Deborah Cooke




Tuesday, May 9—Manhattan



Shannyn Hawke checked that her camera was safe and dry before she pulled up the hood of her jacket. She was on the steps outside the Metropolitan Museum and the clouds gathering overhead were dark, threatening rain. The weather couldn’t dampen her mood, though. She was another day closer to finishing this assignment, her biggest one yet. Starting a freelance business wasn’t for the faint of heart, but Shannyn had scored this big assignment from the Met. It would pay well and, with any luck, it would open more doors, too.

She hurried down the stairs, heading for the subway and a long evening of work. She’d go through her photographs from the day, sort the great from the mediocre, crop and filter the keepers as necessary, and check them against the list of required images. She had two full days of shooting left, then had saved Friday and Monday free for any stragglers or retakes. She was in good shape so far.

Thunder rumbled in the distance and the first big drops began to fall. Umbrellas were opened and people began to walk more quickly, Shannyn included. She was crossing 78th when her phone rang and she was surprised to see the name of the caller. Deanna was the editor of the alumni magazine at her college, a potential source of work, but she’d blown Shannyn off the last time they’d talked.

Shannyn ducked under the scaffolding on a building on the opposite side of Fifth Avenue as the rain fell harder. “Shannyn Hawke. Hi Deanna.”

“Shannyn! I don’t suppose you have time to do a quick job for me?” Deanna spoke with characteristic speed. The woman raced from deadline to deadline. “Time is tight and I’m out of options. I know I wasn’t encouraging when we talked before...”

“That’s okay. What’s the job?”

“I need a dozen pictures to go with an interview in the next issue, which goes to press Monday morning. The guy I hired has done a disappearing act and is ghosting me. I’m in a major jam.” Deanna sounded frazzled.

“Pictures of what?”

“It’s an article on four grads who started a gym called Flatiron Five Fitness.”

“I’ve heard of it.” Shannyn couldn’t remember exactly where the club was. Somewhere in Manhattan. She thought they used good images in their ads. Beyond that, she was drawing a blank. “Wait. Four grads? Why is it called Flatiron Five Fitness?”

Deanna laughed. “One of the partners isn’t an alumnus. The interview is done, but I need pictures. I thought since you were in the city, maybe you’d be able to squeeze it in.” There was hope in her tone.

Of course, it had to be this week.

“When do you need them by?” Shannyn didn’t want to turn down the work, but the job for the Met was due Tuesday. Maybe she could do this job on Saturday.

“Friday?” There was a question in Deanna’s voice, indicating some flexibility.

“Saturday night?” Shannyn countered and Deanna exhaled.

“If I have them by midnight and they’re perfect.”

“They will be,” Shannyn reassured her. “Any preferences in terms of shots?”

“Well, obviously I need some of the partners, then some shots of the facility would be great. I remember you had some terrific candid work in your portfolio, and I’d love that for this piece. They all sound really serious in the article, so it would be good to have a few shots of lighter moments. Maybe thirty images I can choose from.”

“Okay.” Shannyn suggested a price, slightly inflated from her usual rates due to the rush nature of the job. Deanna agreed so quickly that she knew she should have asked for more. Live and learn. She scribbled down the details, her pen stopping when Deanna named the four partners.

Shannyn didn’t know Cassie Wilson or Theo Tremblay, but she certainly remembered Kyle Stuyvesant.

And Tyler McKay.

It had to be him, didn’t it? Shannyn felt herself blushing just a little bit in memory of the last time she’d seen him and the only time she’d actually talked to him. It had been at an end-of-term party with schnapps shooters and the result hadn’t been pretty. She didn’t remember everything she’d said and done that night, but Kirsten had filled her in.

She was glad she didn’t remember telling off Tyler McKay, although the idea of it still made her cringe.

Smug entitled asshole...

Shannyn winced. He wouldn’t remember her, though. She’d never been worthy of his interest. That night, he’d probably wondered who the hell she was, then forgotten all about her. And it had been twelve years.

But there was a nervous flutter in Shannyn’s stomach all the same when she ended the call.

Bright side: she’d gotten the job. She could squeeze it in and add the money to the fund for her new roof.

She wouldn’t think about the downside. All work was good.

One thing Shannyn had learned was to check out any location in advance. There was no telling what complications might pop up. She checked her watch, then the address of the club. She could get the 4, 5 or 6 at Lexington, instead of continuing to 72nd and 2nd Ave for the Q, and stop at the fitness club on the way home. She stepped out into the rain and turned her steps in that direction, moving through the crowds with purpose.

Tyler McKay.

He probably wouldn’t even be there.

She might not see him at all.

Shannyn had a moment to feel both relief and disappointment, then realized how crazy that was. She’d have to hunt Tyler down for the picture of the partners, which meant she would see him. And he would see her, even if she was behind the camera.

Even if he hadn’t forgotten her, maybe he wouldn’t recognize her. She’d changed her style in a big way. And twelve years. It had been one drunken night at a party almost a lifetime ago.

Shannyn crossed her fingers and hoped.


“And will we be seeing Giselle at the wedding? You haven’t told me, Tyler.”

Ty frowned, hearing a thousand shades of expectation in his mother’s question. He was walking uptown toward the fitness club that he partly owned, hoping to get a few hours of work done in the evening. It was pouring rain, but he had the advantages of having an umbrella and being tall. He lifted it overhead, keeping himself and anyone in his vicinity dry. His briefcase was slung over his shoulder, his Italian leather shoes were getting wet, and his phone was against his ear.

Being the only partner with a day job meant that Ty worked pretty much all the time but he was good with that. He liked being a financial adviser at Fleming Financial and the security of a regular check, just as much as he liked being a partner at F5F. It was a lot to juggle but he enjoyed both sets of responsibilities. He’d worry about having a personal life later, after F5F was solid. He saw it as investing in his future.

But his mom had a different agenda. It was easy to guess what project she would take up once the last of his four sisters was married. Everything in Colleen McKay’s life had been about weddings for five years and it would take a dumber guy than Tyler to miss the natural progression.

He was next, no matter what he thought of that.

He needed a better plan than the fiction of Giselle.

“I really have to go, Mom...” Ty tried to duck the question again, guessing it wouldn’t work.

“But I just wondered, dear. You know that we’re finalizing the table settings.”

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