I start walking, but then I stop and look over my shoulder. “What about losing it for a few thousand dollars? I can help you find a new one.”

“Don’t make me file a complaint with Human Resources, Miss Grey.”

Sighing, I walk over to the tree and look over the brightly wrapped gifts. I settle on a golden one with a black ribbon that looks like the exact one I picked last year and hand it to the guard.

As is tradition, he scans the bottom of it, and then he instructs me to open it in front of him.

I take my time delicately ripping the paper, in hopes that he’ll get annoyed and let me out of this, but he has the patience of a saint.

When I finally get the wrapping off, I flip the lid and pull out the green ornament that bears the recipient’s name.

Garrett West.

I suck in a breath and drop it to the ground, shattering it to pieces.

“Savannah Grey picks Garrett West,” he says, typing it into his top-secret spreadsheet. “Okay, you can go now.”

“That’s not who I picked.” I stomp on the glass. “I picked George Shaw in Accounting.”

“No, I picked George Shaw in Accounting.” He points toward the door. “Goodbye, Miss Grey. Happy holidays.”

I step out of the room and notice Garrett leading a group of press members into the formal room. Even from a distance, I can’t deny that he’s sexy as hell. Bastard boss or not.

His blue eyes suddenly meet mine, and he looks me up and down in a way that makes my breath hitch. He says something to one of the associates and signals for me to wait for him.

As he walks over to me, I try not to focus on the fact that he’s incapable of ever looking anything less than perfect. That if he weren’t my boss, I would’ve mustered up the courage to ask him out years ago.

“It took you all this time to pick up a silver tray, Miss Grey?” he asks. “Even if you walked—”

“I did walk.” I cut him off. “But now that I think about it, I don’t appreciate being asked to do an intern’s job. I should be talking to the executives with you.”

“Why?” He raises his eyebrow. “Your mind is already made up, and you hate dealing with these types of people.”

“That’s not the point.”

“You also, according to what you’ve told me, tend to get nervous and stressed when its date-night so I thought you would appreciate doing something simple. Since I was wrong, you can go.”

“What are you saying?”

“That you’re free to leave and go frolic with your boyfriend. Make sure to ask him if he has enough money on his credit card to pay for the entire meal this time.”

“That’s only happened once, and he honestly misunderstood the rules of Happy Hour.”

“Doesn’t matter,” he says, looking me up and down. “He’s dating you, so it should’ve never happened at all …”



This Christmas

Manhattan, New York

I scroll down to Savannah’s name in my phone and change her name for the umpteenth time since she started working for me. I have to use a certain line for every time she dates a guy who isn’t me, or else I will find a way to call and talk to her about something random. (Why she always answers me when I do that, I have no clue)

S. Grey (Don’t Be Petty and Interrupt Her Date Tonight)

I have a date of my own, anyway.

Unfortunately, she doesn’t compare to Savannah in any way. She’s a typical, pretty socialite who thinks gossiping is an art form.

As I’m picking out my suit and tie, my phone buzzes with a call from Private Executive Travel.

“Yes?” I answer.

“Sir, we ran an extensive search as you asked on all your employees, and only one person has booked travel within the next few weeks. A Miss Savannah Grey.”

“How shocking.” I smile. “Where is she going this year?”

“It says Colorado Springs, sir,” he says. “But here’s the thing. We did some further digging and realized that she actually books this ticket multiple times a year.”

“Oh,” I say. “Well, maybe it’s for a friend.”

“The ticket is in her name, sir. She buys and never uses it, so I don’t think you have anything to worry about.”

“Thank you,” I say. “Thank you very much.”

I’m not sure why Savannah would bother paying for tickets she never uses, but I’m sure she has some type of reason.

Saving a note in my phone, I start to call the travel company right back, but my executive assistant’s call comes through first.

“Yes, Janet?” I answer.

“I apologize in advance if this sounds odd, but the guy who wrote me this note swears he knows you.” She lets out a breath and begins to read.

Please ask your boss, Mr. Garrett West if he can PayPal or CashApp me twenty-one dollars by six o’clock so that I may treat the woman who advises him daily to dinner.

Tell him that I will wire him the money back.

My cash app code is $joshh5, and my PayPal is JoshHHM

I appreciate his discretion in this matter.

What the fuck? “Go ahead and give it to him.” I end the call and change Savannah’s name in my phone once more.

S. Grey (Fuck This Boyfriend, She Can Do Better)



This Christmas

Manhattan, New York

“I can’t believe you pulled your boss’s name for the Secret Santa tradition.” My boyfriend, Joshua, laughs at my misery over dinner. “Do you have any idea what you’re going to get him yet?”

“Airlines don’t sell one-way trips to Hell, so I’ll have to look for something else,” I say. “I feel like we’re up and down more than we usually are, you know?”

He nods in agreement, but he doesn’t know the half of it.

“It’s crazy,” he says. “Sometimes I feel like you two are the ones in a relationship. I’m sure I know a lot more about him than he knows about me.”

“I’m sorry,” I say, clasping his hand atop the table. “It’s just—”

“Holiday prep season and it’s stressful as hell.” He smiles and gives my hand a soft squeeze. “I know, babe. I know. Did you taste your rice yet?”

“No.” I pick up my chopsticks and try not to look disappointed.

We’re currently sitting in some hole in the wall Chinese food place in New Jersey, a far cry from the “super upscale SoHo” place he previously promised.

I can’t get too upset with him, though.

He’s living the startup life as an app developer and funds are tight. I know and believe that it’ll pay off someday.

Unlike Garrett West, he knows what its like to struggle, what it’s like to live paycheck to paycheck, and he doesn’t—

I stop thinking once I see him stuff a few salt and pepper packets into his coat pocket.

“What are you doing, Joshua?”