Mismatch - By Nana Malone

Chapter 1

“‘I don't like this,’ said Sam I am. ‘I do not like Green Eggs and Izzy moving.’” Jessica Stanton frowned as her best friend, Izzy Connors, giggled.

“Jess, come on. You knew this move was coming, babes.”

Jessica shrugged, flopped into her office chair with a pout and crossed arms. The multicolored bangles on her arms jangled and glittered as they caught sunlight. “I don't have to like it now, do I?”

Izzy rolled her eyes and flipped her thick dark hair over her shoulder. “Come on. You know Jason and I need to move the kids to Malibu. It's a bigger house for Kara and Nick to run around in, and let’s face it, that house has more security. You won’t have to field paparazzi on the front lawn of the house or the gallery anymore.”

Izzy did have a point. Ever since her friend had married tennis superstar Jason Cartwright, Jessica had known this day would come. Izzy’s three bedroom house had been big enough for her and her adopted son Nick when she bought it, but add in a new husband and a rambunctious toddler, and it was tighter than that pair of three inch stilettos Jessica had bought on sale. Not to mention the paparazzi had long since been making a nuisance of themselves.

It had been open season on the family ever since tennis’s purported bad boy had fallen in love with the famous photographer. Add in the scandal about Jason being Nick’s biological father, and then the birth of his and Izzy’s daughter, Kara, and it seemed like the paparazzi never went home.

Jessica had ruined more than one fabulous-enough-to-have-Izzy-drool-over camera by turning on the sprinklers on the paps. Then there was that one pap whose foot she’d accidentally run over. Oh, and there was the one she flambéed with her stun gun. So yeah, maybe it was time for Izzy and Jason to move. Hell, they'd already stayed two years longer than Jessica thought they would. Who was she to complain? She would just miss her friend. More than that, she’d miss her family—Jessica was godmother to their daughter Kara.

Jessica studied the sunbathed Z Con studio where she'd worked for the last eight years. She loved this place. It was home to her. Now it wouldn't be the same without Izzy. Though, to be fair, it wasn’t like Izzy wouldn’t be coming to work anymore. She just wouldn’t live in the tidy ranch house that lay across the back yard from where she worked.

“I just don’t like change. It blows major chunkage.”

Izzy barked out a laugh. “This from the woman who used to add a new tattoo like it was eyeliner and switched out new piercings like they were earrings. Hell, even now, most days I have no idea what color your hair will be.”

Jessica stiffened. She’d given up some of her crazier piercings and removed some of the stupider tattoos. It’s not like she really needed that piercing in her cheek. Sometimes she missed being a misfit. At other times, she didn’t even notice her missing tats or piercings. “Well, it's not like an artist’s manager can run around with a shit-ton of ink showing and certainly not with as many piercings as I used to have.” She had loved all her metal, but at some point they stopped being important to her.

Plus, when Izzy had parted with her last pompous ass of a manager and hired Jessica as his replacement, she'd wanted to be able to rub elbows with Izzy’s clientele and not scare them away. “We all have to grow up sometime.”

Izzy gave a warm smile, making her dimples appear in her dark brown cheeks. “My baby’s all growed up.” She mock sniffled. “Besides, this move will be good for you too. You’re doing us a huge favor by moving into the house here. This way we don’t have to sell it, and Nick and Kara will have access to the memories that are part of their childhood.”

“Don’t go getting sentimental on me, Connors.” Maybe it wouldn't be so bad. By living there, she would still feel close to the family that she'd made. On the other hand, she could have some Felicity-worthy crying jags just by being there without her family. Being alone was not exactly Jessica’s forte.

“And I’ll be here at work every day, and for the love of God, we just opened a gallery together. Let’s face it, you’re stuck with me.”

Izzy had a point. When Jessica had started looking into loft space

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