My eyes widen, and I want to take a step back and draw the line, but he presses his mouth agains mine, every nerve in my body comes to life.

I wrap my arms around his neck as he kisses me deeper, as he grips my waist and pulls me into him.

“Fuck…” he whispers harshly against my mouth, sliding his hand against my exposed thigh. He slips a hand under my dress and sucks in a breath once he realizes I’m not wearing any panties.

His kiss hits my lips in a different flavor now; it’s ten times more passionate and raw, and before I can say, “Please just fuck me,” the ping of the elevator interrupts us.

“Mr. West, are you up here?” A deep voice calls out, and we tear away from one another. “Mr. West?”

Garrett doesn’t answer the call, he just stares at me.

I catch my breath and try to look away from him, but I can’t. We’ve had moments before—small brushes against each other in the office, but nothing like that. Ever.

And we need to keep it that way.

“Well, I’m sure that you already have your next date lined up.” I look at my watch, still stunned by that kiss. “You’ve bragged about believing that any woman in this city will go out with you, so I’m sure it’s just a matter of time. Just make sure that you’re not picking up socialites or Wall Street girls. Those aren’t a good fit for you.”

“I didn’t know you cared so much.”

“I don’t.” I clear my throat. “I need to get back to work now, Mr. West. So, if you don’t mind. I prefer to not talk to you during the hours when I’m not getting paid the nine to five rate.”

“You’re salaried, Miss Grey.”

“Right, well.” I turn away and bury my head into a book, ignoring the sexy scent of his cologne. “If you’re really sorry, you’ll let me have a few days off before the office party. I need them right about now.”

“You already know that I can’t do that,” he says. “There are no exceptions to the rules.”

“I think you can make me the first one.” I pause. “That, or I’m quitting to work for your competition.”

He narrows his eyes at me, saying nothing for several seconds. “I’ll give you two days.”


“I’ll meet you at three, but you still owe me work on the Benson account.”

“The whole purpose of having off-days is not doing any work.”

“Then do the work before you take off, Miss Grey.” He hisses, turning back into the Satan I know. “Take it or leave it.”

“I’ll take it.”

“Good.” He steps to the side. “Take the kiss with you, too. It never happened.”

I walk away and lock myself in my office—vowing to sit at my desk for the entire day. I only get up to use the restroom and take a power nap in the break room.

I make sure I’m four weeks ahead, and then I stumble into a town car and head home to freedom.



This Christmas

Manhattan, New York

Two days later

Me: I sent you the Davis reports. Did you get those?

Mr. (I Don’t Know What Off Day Means) West: You did a good job. What about the Harrison ones?

Me: I’ll have them to you at five.

Mr. (I Don’t Know What Off Day Means) West: Are you having a good off day today?

Me: If I was, I wouldn’t be texting you.

Mr. (I Don’t Know What Off Day Means) West: Good to know. Tomorrow, on your other off day, send me the Turner files.


I wait until midnight to send his requested files, and even though I try to make myself get out of the apartment and traipse around the city like a local, I eventually wind up at a coffee shop where I complete assignments on my phone and fail to forget about that kiss.

It’s not until the third off day that I manage to spend an entire two hours without thinking about work at all. I spend most of it in the newbie’s aisle at Whole Foods, figuring out why the food I make always turns out horrible.

When I finally make it home from the grocery store, Georgia is jumping on my living room couch like a three-year-old.

I blink a few times to make sure I’m not imagining this. She should be on a plane heading home to Colorado, sending me guilt texts about my refusal to join her.

She should be watching me toss our cousin Taryn’s annual gift to me into the trash via FaceTime, and telling me that it’s okay for me to continue hating her.

“Why is your furniture so soft?” She jumps a bit higher. “I mean, this stiff is on par with hotel quality, and your bathroom suite is stunning! The pictures you sent me did not do it justice, so I’ll need an invite to come crash here at least six times a year.”

I smile. “What are you doing here?”

“Surprising you.” She jumps off and hugs me. “I’m sorry that Joshua dumped you like that. You know I hated his cheap ass anyway, and you can do better. Much better.”

“Thanks. How’d you get here?”

“Your boss,” she says. “He sent me a first-class plane ticket and said you desperately needed someone to talk to. He said you’re not being as mean to him as you usually are around this time of year, and he was getting concerned.”

“He did not say that.”

“He did.” She pulls out her phone. “He also was generous enough to give me a credit card for dinner tonight. I bought a few Birkin bags on it, to make sure it was real, so you’ll need to pretend like those are yours. Where would you like to go?”

“Nowhere. I have to finish a project,” I say. “We’ll need to get something to go.”

“Of course.” She rolls her eyes. “You know, I’m starting to think that maybe your boss isn’t so bad after all.”

“Excuse me?” I cross my arms. “You do remember that he’s the same man who flew to Punta Cana to make us leave, right?”

“I remember we left for Hawaii to escape the storm.”

“This is the same man I call and complain to you about every day.” I glare at her. “Every. Day.”

“Yes and no.” She smiles. “You two could probably date each other if you wanted to. You have a lot in common, and you do spend a lot of time together.”

I give her a blank stare. “Garrett has a girlfriend.”

“Does she know about you?”

“What’s that supposed to mean?”

“That if I met a guy like Garrett, but he was talking on the phone to some other woman in the middle of the night—even if it was all “work,” I would not have a boyfriend.” She shakes her head. “And yes, he can be quite the ass, but he pays you really well…”

“Whose side are you on, Georgia?”

“Yours, of course.” She laughs, walking over to her suitcase. “By the way, since I finished my shopping early, I brought along your gift. You’re going to be very proud of me, because I was super thoughtful and creative this year.”

I know better than to believe her. She says that every year and the gift is always the same: A “rescued” sweater (different color) that she knitted herself and a “Be grateful I got you anything at all” card.