Thursday, January 31, 2019

Fluffy by Julia Kent

Title: Fluffy
Author: Julia Kent
Genre: Romantic Comedy/Contemporary Romance

Cover Design: Hang Le
Release Date: April 30, 2019


An all-new STANDALONE from New York Times bestselling author Julia Kent

It all started with the wrong Help Wanted ad. Of course it did.
I’m a professional fluffer. It’s NOT what you think. I stage homes for a
living. Real estate agents love me, and my work stands on its own merits.
Sigh. Get your mind out of the gutter. Go ahead. Laugh. I’ll wait.
See? That’s the problem. My career has used the term “fluffer” for
decades. I didn’t even know there was a more… lascivious definition of the
Until it was too late.
The ad for a “professional fluffer” on Craigslist seemed like divine
intervention. My last unemployment check was in the bank. I was desperate. Rent
was due. The ad said cash paid at the end of the day.
The perfect job!
Staging homes means showing your best angle. The same principle applies
in making a certain kind of movie. Turns out a “fluffer” doesn’t arrange
decorative pillows on a couch.
They arrange other soft, round-ish objects.
The job isn’t hard. Er, I mean, it is — it’s about being hard. Or, well…
helping other people to be hard.
Oh, man…
And that’s the other problem. A man. No, not one of the stars on the
movie set. Will Lotham – my high school crush. The owner of the house where
we’re filming. Illegally. In a vacation rental.
By the time the cops show up, what I thought was just a great house
staging gig turned into a nightmare involving pictures of me with a naked star,
Will rescuing me from an arrest, and a humiliating lesson in my own naivete.
My job turned out to be so much harder than I expected. But you know
what’s easier than I ever imagined?
Having all my dreams come true.

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I watch a
blonde woman talk up Will like she wants to take him home and turn him into her
evening protein shake. She's wearing lululemon tights and Jimmy Choos, an
unusual combination that seems to indicate she's ready for anything.

Clap clap!
A man in a tight, black Lycra shirt, grey fitted slacks, and the most beautiful
Italian leather shoes I have ever seen glides like melting cheese on a raclette
into the center of the ballroom.

hello! My name is Philippe, and I am your instructor tonight. Welcome! Two more
minutes for refreshments, and then we DANCE!” The word DANCE comes out of his
mouth in capital letters.

heads straight toward me, eyes meeting mine, his dark, wavy hair slicked off
his face with curls escaping at the nape of the neck, a perfectly manscaped
moustache adding to his rakish look.

“And you
are?” he asks, the words a demand to reveal my soul.


Mallory, it is nice to meet you.”

“It’s just

“Are you
Uh, Mallory, or Just Mallory?” he asks, mouth pursing with amusement.

I cannot
tell whether I like him or hate him.


Eyeing me
up and down, his expression changes to approval when he sees my shoes. “You
have come prepared.”

chooses that exact moment to walk over, a lemonade in each hand, and offer me
one. I smile a thank you as Philippe watches us like he’s judging a couple on
So You Think You Can Dance.

“You are
here together?” he asks.

“OH, NO!” I
call out, as if it’s the word DANCE. “I’m waiting for my date.”


date, actually. I don’t know what he looks like, but...”

“Was his
name David, by any chance?” Philippe asks, mouth twisted with disgust.


he hisses. “Again!”

Will exchanges
a confused look with me, then takes a sip of his lemonade, choosing to stay out
of this. One hand goes to his hip as he politely looks away, drinking like it's
his job.

me?” I ask Philippe.

“Did you
meet him–this David–on an online dating service?”


takes my hand as if I’m a mourning widow at her beloved husband’s wake. “Then I
am sorry to inform you, Mallory, that David is not coming.”

“Why not?”

David is a salesman.”

“No, he’s
not! He’s a conversion consultant.”

mouth tightens as if he knows something.

Philippe says sadly, “David works for the corporation that owns Bailargo. He is
one of their best salesmen.” Anger flashes in his eyes. “Because he toys with
women’s emotions and sets them up for this.”


at me, he says, “This. You. The poor, lonely single woman looking for love on


“Watch,” he
says, clapping twice again. “Are any women here for a date with David? First

Two hands
go up.

“Oh, God,”
I mutter, my hands flying to cover my burning hot, deeply embarrassed face.
“What does this mean?”

“David has
developed a new technique. He goes to dating apps and pretends to be original,
asking women to have a first date at a dance lesson. He is charming and funny

A feral
sound comes out of my mouth.

familiar?” Will asks, reaching up to run a hand through his hair, looking
really sympathetic on my behalf.

Which makes
me feel even stupider.

“And then
the women come here, there is no David, but some of them stay for class,”
Philippe finishes.

telling me your corporate headquarters is hiring a guy who goes on dating sites
and convinces single women to come to a dance class with him, then ghosts on
them? On the chance that a certain percentage of us will sign up for dance
lessons and convert to paying customers?” My voice goes higher and higher,
until I start sounding like Mariah Carey the second everyone finishes
Thanksgiving dinner and it's time for her songs to start on the radio again.


horrible!” I cry.

ingenious,” Will says. My glare makes him add quickly, “And completely
unethical, of course. Some men are disgusting pigs.” His brow drops, eyes
troubled with vicarious empathy, but they move in patterns that tell me he's
processing this information and finds David's business acumen to be worthy of

“If you
will excuse me, I need to find some tissues for those two women who are, like
you, expecting a date with the charming David. Since he started doing this four
months ago, sales have increased eleven percent, but my operating supplies have
gone up 286 percent with all the tissues!” Philippe glides across the floor and
approaches the two women, who are whispering and comparing phone screens.

Bet mine
makes us triplets.

Author Bio

New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent
writes romantic comedy with an edge. From billionaires to BBWs to new adult
rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every contemporary romance she
writes. Unlike Shannon from Shopping for
a Billionaire
, she did not meet her husband after dropping her phone in a
men's room toilet (and he isn't a billionaire). She lives in New England with
her husband and three sons in a household where the toilet seat is never, ever,

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