Steps to Surviving a New Job:
1. Don’t sleep with the client. It’ll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)
2. Don’t blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.
3. Don’t call same client a jerk for never texting you back.
4. Don’t believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.
5. Remember, the client is always right—so you can’t junk punch him when he
demands new design after new design.
6. Ignore accelerated heartbeat every time sexy client walks into room.
7. Definitely ignore client’s large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.
8. Don’t let client’s charm wear you down. Be strong.
9. Whatever you do, don’t fall for the client. You’ll lose more than your
job—maybe even your heart.
10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.
his palms over his face and rested his elbows on his knees. “This was not how I
saw this night going.”
Valentine’s Day plans?”
He lowered his
hands and looked at me like I’d just claimed I single-handedly caused the storm
raging outside. “I didn’t even know that was today. Does this mean we’re each
other’s valentines by default?”
“Not a chance.”
“Always so blunt. I like that about you.” He quickly cleared his throat as if
he hadn’t meant to say that. “Well, non-valentine, looks like we’re going to be
stuck here a while. Have anything in mind?” he said.
against packing on another insult. He was being nice, and this sure as heck
beat staring at the wall the rest of the night. “My form of entertainment is at
6 percent battery, so I’m open to suggestions.”
“Mine is fully
charged. Want to watch something?”
else did I have to do? Before I knew it, I was sitting on the bed next to him, leaning
against the ornately carved headboard. Snow gusting against the window was the
only sound in the room as he searched for a show for us to watch.
Way too quiet.
with my necklace, moving the small diamond back and forth on the chain. The
last time I was in bed with Ryder… I didn’t even want to finish that thought,
because it’d do nothing but make this situation worse. I chanced a peek in his
He chewed the
inside of his cheek, swiping through our options. “This is awkward, huh?” he
achieved Urkel status.”
and scrolled through the show queue. “Would you rather watch Law
and Order: SVU or Criminal
“That is quite
possibly the worst Would You Rather question ever asked.”
His eyes cut
to mine. “I didn’t know I was playing a game.”
He shook his
Lainey and I
played this game all the time in college, and when we’d take road trips
together. She always came up with the grossest ones. “It’s simple. All you have
to do is ask the person which horrible thing they’d rather do. The harder the
question, the better. Like would you rather lay in a pit of snakes, or eat
questionably dead roadkill?” I pointed to his phone. “Oh, John
Tucker Must Die. I like that one.”
ghost rider.” He scrolled past my suggestion. “And what the hell does questionably
dead mean? Is it still twitching, or are we talking
suspicious cause of death?”
“The interpretation’s up to you.”
absolutely no help.” He swiped his thumb across his beard and contemplated. “I
guess I’d go with the snakes.”
it’s your turn,” I said.
“Do I really
have to play? I thought we were picking a show.”
I shot him a
you rather have me or Chewbacca as your valentine?”
“Too easy. The
He put his
hand to his heart. “You wound me.”
such a baby.” I swatted at his chest and immediately pulled my hand back. Nope.
Would not go there. “Okay, would you rather not be able to see or talk for a
probably go nuts if you couldn’t open that big mouth of yours.”
twitched. “You’re one to talk.”
Okay, I did have a tough time keeping my thoughts on lockdown outside the
office, but that was my own cross to bear.
try to play it off like you’re innocent.”
I’d dated a
lot of losers in the past, most who hadn’t even bothered to get to know me, but
even after only hanging out a few times, Ryder had me pegged. He was
perceptive. I saw the look in his eyes whenever I dealt with Jason. His attention
focused solely on me was unnerving. “Jerk,” I sputtered.
“Now I know
you’re holding back. You can do way better than that.” He scrolled through his
phone again. “How about Die Hard?”
“Are all your
show selections about death? I’m starting to worry I made a mistake coming over
here.” My lips pulled into a smile and I quickly extinguished it. God, I wanted
to hate him.
continued looking at the Netflix queue. “Would you rather eat sushi from a taco
stand, or lick an airplane armrest?”
Sushi.” I pointed to his screen. “How about 10 Things I
Hate About You?”
He shook his
head and chuckled. “Are all of your suggestions
going to not-so-subtly tell me you hate me?”
most people would find this to be a romantic escape. Two people, stuck in the
mountains on Valentine’s Day,” he said.
Hallmark movie material, all right,” I deadpanned.
How about The Walking Dead?”
picking powers have been officially revoked.” I grabbed the phone from his
grabbed for the phone, and I held it out of reach. “You’re going to regret
that.” Within seconds he was on top of me, playfully pinning me to the bed, his
strong hands circling my wrists. Air evaporated from my lungs as our gazes
immediately transported back to that night.
me what you want, Zoey. Tell me what you need from me.
hard. That was months ago, and those words still haunted me from time to time.
Because he did exactly that, gave me what I wanted and needed. Repeatedly.
a USA Today bestselling author of contemporary romance. She lives in Oregon
with her husband, son, and poorly behaved black lab puppy. When not chasing
after her toddler, you can find her binging on episodes of Gilmore Girls and
Supernatural, and locking herself in her office to write.
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