“I don’t know how to tell you this, but you’re trending,” Jack said.


           “I’m what?”


           “Trending.”


           “You mean the company? Is it that article again?”


            Last month, his picture had been attached to an article that featured a report he’d published. It had gotten quite a few hits, but nothing that would warrant it trending. Had it gotten republished?


            Jack shook his head and chuckled. “Nope. My sister Natalie just texted me. You are a hashtag.” He handed Hudson his phone.

           Blinking, Hudson saw his name on the right side of the screen, along with the same ReadyToFall hashtag written on the majority of the cards and emails. He tapped one of the posts and almost dropped the device onto his desk.

          I’m ready to catch you. #HudsonNewman #ReadyToFall


          Then clicked the next one.


          Hottest book boyfriend on the planet. #HudsonNewman #ReadyToFall #mybookboyfriend


           And the next one.


          Fanning myself. #ReadyToFall #hudsonnewmanhasbeenclaimed #fallforme #HNisMine

          “What’s a book boyfriend?” The question had meant to be said to himself, but Jack shrugged. Hudson continued to scroll, reading similar posts, including his name and the same three words, ready to fall, preceded by, of course, a hashtag.


           A faint knock on his door almost made him jump. Keira walked in with a vase full of colorful wildflowers. “Excuse me, sir, but these were just delivered.” The strong floral scent quickly permeated the space. Jack earned a glare from Hudson when he let out a loud chuckle.


           “Who sent them?”


           “Hillary.”


            Not knowing anyone by that name, he exhaled. “You can keep them, Keira.”


            “Oh, are you sure? Would you like the card?” When he narrowed his eyes, she added,                    “Thank you. I’ll be at my desk.”


           Normally, other than the weather or idle chitchat, Hudson wouldn’t ask Keira anything personal, but he needed answers. “Keira, just a minute. Do you know what a book boyfriend is?” When she turned, her face flamed red, and she nodded. Still clueless, he prodded, “Do you know why my name would be associated with that term?” Again, she bobbed her head forward. “Care to tell me?”


         His usually collected assistant nibbled the side of her lip, averting her eyes from him.
         “What’s going on, Keira?”


         “Um . . .” She shifted the vase in her hands. “Your name has been used in a book. And an image of you from the article in last month’s report has been linked to that character. It’s also been posted on social media . . . with all of his preferences. I’ll show you.”


         She walked out of the office, and when she came back, rather than the flowers in her hand, she had a book. When she flipped it around, he couldn’t believe what he was seeing. It wasn’t the bare-chested, headless man on the cover holding a pair of . . . you guessed it . . . red lace panties. But it was the title that shocked him—Ready to Fall by Lily May.


        Keira handed it to him. “Ali, in the mail room, read it and gave it to me to borrow. I just finished it over the weekend. It’s a bestseller. I wasn’t sure how to tell you.” She worked down a swallow. “The hero’s name is . . . well . . . it’s . . . err . . .” Both men stared at her. Finally, she completed her thought: “Hudson Newman.” She forced a smile, and Jack exploded with laughter.


      “Well, on that note,” Jack said, slapping his hands on his knees before standing, “I’ll be in my office. Have fun with that.”


       When he stepped out, Hudson looked at Keira. “Thank you. I didn’t mean to make you feel uncomfortable.”


      “You didn’t. Is there anything I can get you?”


      “Yes, a copy of that book . . . and Lily May’s contact info.”
 

An Excerpt from The Book Boyfriend
Hudson's POV