fugly, a USA TODAY BESTSELLER from Mimi Jean Pamfiloff
UGLY IS IN THE EYE OF THE BEHOLDER...
My name is Lily Snow. I am twenty-five years old, and despite being born with an unattractive face, I have never doubted who I am: smart, driven, and beautiful on the inside.
Until I met Maxwell Cole.
He's handsome, excessively wealthy, and the owner of Cole Cosmetics. It's been my dream to work for this man for as long as I can remember. The good news is he wants to hire me. The bad news is he wants me for all the wrong reasons. Ugly reasons.
In exchange, he's offered me my dreams on a silver platter. The job. The title. A beautiful future. But this man is as messed up and ugly as they come on the inside. I'm not sure anyone can help him, and he just might take my heart down with him
Barnes & Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/fugly-mimi-jean-pamfiloff/1122604622?ean=2940150948686
Mimi Jean’s bio:
Mimi Jean Pamfiloff is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author of Paranormal and Contemporary Romance. Her books have hit the Amazon and B&N top-100 lists multiple times and have been #1 genre sellers around the world. Both traditionally and independently published, Mimi has sold over 500,000 copies since publishing her 1st title in 2012, and she plans to spontaneously combust once she hits the one-million mark. Although she obtained her international MBA and worked for over 15 years in the corporate world, she believes that it’s never too late to come out of the romance-closet and follow your dreams.
When not screaming at her computer or hosting her very inappropriate radio show, (Man Candy on Radioslot.com!), Mimi spends time with her two pirates in training, her loco-for-the-chili-pepper hubby, and her rat terrier, DJ Princess Snowflake, in the San Francisco Bay Area.
She continues to hope that her books will inspire a leather pants comeback (for men) and that she might make you laugh when you need it most.
Website - http://www.mimijean.net/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/MimiJeanPamfiloff
Twitter - https://twitter.com/MimiJeanRomance
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“Lily Snow?” I heard a woman call my name.
I looked over at the slender, gorgeous redhead, not much older than me, wearing a fitted blue dress and strappy blue heels. Her smoky, mascara-caked eyes scanned the nearly empty lobby, looking right over my head.
“Hi. I’m Lily Snow.”
Her eyes fell on my face with a spark of shock she quickly tried to conceal. “You’re…Miss Snow?”
I gave her a quick nod.
“Oh,” she said stiffly. “Don’t you have lovely hair.”
Her comment was what I liked to call a “conscience clearer.” It was when someone realized they just acted like a coldhearted ass and then quickly tried to make it up to me with a compliment. Usually about my long, wavy blonde hair or my “cute little body.”
I stood from my chair and extended my hand. “Thanks. I’ll trade my hair for your shoes. Your Manolos are to die for.” They were a limited release made just for Oscar season. Very expensive.
My shoes, for the record, were Franco Sarto heels I’d found on clearance at The Rack, black and simple, just like my pencil skirt and blouse. I would’ve loved to wear something more expensive, but the job I’d been in—a one-year consulting project at B&H Cosmetics—was for the experience rather than a big paycheck. I could’ve done better, but I’d had my sights on C.C., and I knew Mr. Cole, the owner, worked at B&H right after college.
I’m on your heels, big man.
A little smile popped on the redhead’s face. “My boyfriend got them for me,” she said, doing a little pivot to show off the shoes. “He works for Babs Levine.”
Uh. Wow. Babs was the world’s top formal dress designer, who once worked for some of the biggest names in fashion before going out on her own. She practically owned the red carpet this last season.
“Well,” I smiled, “if you ever get tired of your boyfriend, I’m single.”
She laughed so loud her voice echoed off the sterile-looking walls of the lobby. “I don’t think so.”
I wasn’t sure if she’d meant she’d never give the guy up or that he’d never go for me in a million years.
Both. Definitely both. I didn’t take offense, though. I’d made the comment to break the ice, and it worked. She introduced herself as Keri and became all smiles and warm chatter on the elevator ride up. I liked her immediately.
“You’re not qualified.” He threw the sheet of paper on the table and shot me a harsh look before abruptly standing.
“Thank you for coming,” he said in a tone that told me he wasn’t thankful at all. More like put out, annoyed, maybe pissed off.
My mouth hung open as he walked out of the tiny conference room, not bothering to shake my hand or look at me or hear anything I had to say.
My emotions fell somewhere between epic rage and heartbreak. He’d treated me like a leper or some mangy dog with rabies. And as my mind quickly digested everything that happened in the last sixty seconds, I could only come up with one reason for his behavior: my looks. And, hell no, I wasn’t crazy or making it up. That expression on his face when he’d walked in the door? The way he’d shaken my hand?
I covered my face and let out a shaky breath. This can’t be happening. I expected this sort of behavior from a shallow, pompous asshole that only valued women for their beauty, but from Maxwell Cole?
My mind went into a tailspin of anger, despite my conscience urging me to take the high road—a road I knew like the back of my hand. After all, I was a nice, caring person. I didn’t yell at people—or hadn’t in years. But that had been back in school, and only when some jerk decided to mess with one of my painfully shy friends or my disabled brother.
But you can’t let Maxwell Cole do this, Lily. I’d worked my ass off to have the right experience for a job like this. Okay, yes, I had other options besides C.C.—I wasn’t stupid or naïve enough to put all my eggs in one basket—but those other companies weren’t Cole Cosmetics. They weren’t companies I related to and believed in. Those other companies didn’t tell the world you were beautiful for who you were on the inside and to buy their products simply because you enjoyed pampering yourself. Cole Cosmetics didn’t believe in making women feel ugly to sell makeup. And that’s exactly what inspired me to work in this industry. We all deserved to feel beautiful and have nice things regardless of what others thought about our looks.
Only that prick has been lying to the world.
“What the hell are you doing here?” I stopped with my hands on my waist and felt the beads of sweat running like a little river down my spine.
His eyes moved over my body, almost reaching the top before they made another sweep, lingering an extra moment on my breasts. He still hadn’t uttered a word.
“What did you expect? Scales on my legs and a uni-breast?” I couldn’t believe I’d said that, but pretending to be civil to this horrible man felt like a lie.
His eyes reluctantly settled on my face, his revulsion immediate. “Not the uni-breast.” He cracked a dimpled smile. Totally forced.
I hissed out an unappreciative breath and marched straight to my door, pushing past him. I dug my key from the little pocket of my waistband while he just stood there staring at the view down the front of my panties.
Asshole. I shot him a look and released the elastic waistband with a snap. As I turned the key in the lock, I decided I’d be slamming the door in his face before he had the chance to say a single word. My guess was he feared I’d tell his little secret or sue him or something.
Let the man stew.
But the moment I pushed open the door, he said something that made me think twice. “Invite me in.”
Okay, it wasn’t so much what he said, but the way he’d said it: a demand. It gave me the urge to do far worse than shut a door and leave him on the other side.
I turned and looked up at him, shooting my own breed of disgust his way. I hated the gorgeous bastard. I hated every perfect hair on his perfect head, and I wanted him to know it. “Why the fuck would I do that, asshole?”
“You have a dirty mouth.” A subtle smile, laced with a hint of sadistic delight, twitched across his lips. That time his smile was real.
“You bring out the ugly bitch in me. Why are you here?”
“I want to talk. Invite me in,” he demanded again with that deep authoritative voice.
I laughed at his attempt to boss me around. “If you’re worried I’m going to tell anyone the truth about you, don’t. I’d actually have to give a crap about you.” The only thing I cared about was getting on the road to starting my own company as quickly as possible so I could build a company where women like me were genuinely valued.
“Miss Snow, stop being such a hostile bitch and invite me in.”
My knee twitched with the urge to salute his balls.
“I’ve got a job proposal for you,” he added, “the opportunity of a lifetime.”
This sonofabitch wanted to offer me a job? After everything he’d said? Hell yeah, I’ll invite him in. Just to tell him to go fuck himself.
I stepped aside and replied with a noxious sweetness, “Why…won’t you come in, Mr. Cole?”
He dipped his head of thick dark-brown hair. “Why, thank you, Miss Snow.”
“Oh, please. Call me Lily. I insist.”
“Be here tomorrow morning. Keri will show you your office,” he said flatly.
He turned and frowned at me. “Don’t go backpedaling on me now, Miss Snow. Not after you’ve just shown me your pretty little teeth and sharp claws. We might make a CEO out of you yet.”
I shook my head no. “Not. Back. Pedaling.” Just wondering where the nearest exit was. Now I really felt like an idiot. I’d just proposed to my future boss that he have sex with me in exchange for my acceptance of his offer.
Wasn’t it usually the other way around?
And what was that other feeling? It was…shock or excitement or something connected to that little spot in my brain that controlled my sexual fantasies.
“Good,” he said. “Have your ass to my house Friday at eight p.m. sharp. And bring your running clothes.”
Today was Wednesday, so that meant I had two days to get psychiatric help. Wait. You’re not doing this. You can’t.
“You okay?” were the words he asked, but his tone and expression accused me of being a spineless coward.
I stared at him, trying to comprehend what was going through this man’s mind. Honestly, I was confused as hell. Possibly frightened, too. He, on the other hand, looked like he’d been given an injection of piss and vinegar. He also looked sort of…happy? Okay, maybe not happy, but excited or determined, like challenging me turned him the hell on. But that couldn’t be right.
“Why aren’t you sweating anymore?” I asked.
He blinked as if startled by himself. “It seems you’re already having a positive effect. Too bad it’s your ability to piss me the fuck off that’s doing the trick.”
Speechless, I turned for the door again and grabbed the handle. I needed to retreat. I was way over my head with this situation.
“Oh, and Miss Snow?”
“Do me a favor, would you? Fire Craig on your way out. He’s the one waiting for me out there.”
I blinked. “Sorry?”
“It’s your first lesson in running a company: You’ll have to come down off that pedestal of yours and get your hands dirty.”
Where do you do most of your writing?
I mostly write in my office at home. It’s a separate studio with its own entrance, so it has everything I need (super comfy!) with a view of my palm tree. The only downside is that I have to vacate when we have guests. If I’m not writing there, I’m in my backyard since we have great weather in California most of the year.
What rituals help you get into “writing mode”?
Drinking coffee. Or wine if I’m writing sex scenes (LOL). But I don’t have any real rituals other than getting a very basic outline figured out (which I end up chucking away). Maybe the chucking part is my ritual. Hmmm…
Are you an early-bird or a night owl?
Early bird 98% of the time since my kids get me up early anyway. By the end of the day, I’m toast.
What career other than your own would you most like to try for a year, if anything was possible?
Nothing else. I had a corporate career for 15 years, and now I’m doing exactly what I love. Even if I won the lottery, I’d still do this!
Do you do lots of outlining when you write, do you wing it?
I do a little outlining, but then I let the creative process flow. It is SO much fun, and it’s so exciting to know we’ve got to go from point A to point B in a story, but not how the characters will get there. Surprises always pop up along the way that are much better than anything I could pre-plan. I’ve found that detailed outlining takes the fun out of writing—I need to feel some suspense along the way since every story is like watching a movie someone else has written. I’m just trying to capture everything I see. Sounds strange, but it’s true.
Who is your favorite character to write and why?
Any and all Alpha males. I just love, love, love trying to capture that inner male strength that can make any guy the sexiest thing alive and that turns us ladies into putty, yet also pisses us off!
What's your weirdest writing habit?
I don’t think it’s weird, really, but when I’m in the middle of writing story, I don’t stop to add much detail or look things up. It breaks my flow. Instead, I insert a note to “ADD here” so I can go back at the very end and add whatever. Usually it’s clothing, setting related, or more detail about the scene. But I plow right through like a freight train until that dang plot is hammered out.
What's the most common question fans ask you?
“When’s the XYZ book coming out?”
What book have you read that somehow changed your life and how?
The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle is a book I always come back to because it speaks to one truth: you can’t live in the past because it’s over, and you can’t live in the future, because it hasn’t happened yet. So all you’ve got is the present. Make it count.
For me, that book really changed my life because it helped me to let go of things I can’t change and to stop worrying about things that haven’t yet happened. It’s very freeing to just live in the moment. Of course, that doesn’t mean I don’t learn from my mistakes or plan for the future, but I focus on what I can do in this moment versus always being somewhere else that doesn’t exist.
Who is your favorite author?
Me!!! Just kidding…Umm…I don’t really have a favorite anymore, but my top two are Anne Rice and Charlaine Harris. I think both were instrumental in shaping who I am as a writer.
Do you have any books you re-read over and over?
Reading? What is reading? I don’t think I know that word. I eat, sleep, write, and raise two kids. Nope. No reading happening here.
What one piece of advice would you give to aspiring writers?
You CANNOT- and I really mean this- you CANNOT write for anyone but yourself. This doesn’t mean you can’t take advice or learn or improve. What it means is that it must be a self thing for you and you alone, an act of pure joy and fun for your entertainment. The moment you start writing for someone else, you’ll get lost and you’ll feel like crap because you can’t make everyone happy. Even if your book doesn’t sell, you’ll have created something you love.
What’s your favorite thing about being an author? Least favorite thing?
My favorite “thing” are my readers. I love their emails, messages, mail, Tweets, reviews, whatever. I just feel so damned grateful every time one of my stories lands in someone’s hands and it makes them happy for a few days or hours. What do I hate? The mean people. Yeah, you know who they are. They get sick joy and a sense of importance out of telling other people how much they suck. The honest truth is that those people add no value to this world, and I think they know it. I feel sorry for them.