Series: The Rule Breakers #2
Published by Entangled Publishing (Embrace) on January 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary Romance
Ten Steps to Surviving a New Job:
1. DonÔÇÖt sleep with the client. ItÔÇÖll get you fired. (Sounds easy enough.)
2. DonÔÇÖt blink when new client turns out to be former one-night stand.
3. DonÔÇÖt call same client a jerk for never texting you back.
4. DonÔÇÖt believe client when he says he really, really wanted to call.
5. Remember, the client is always rightÔÇöso you canÔÇÖt 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 clientÔÇÖs large hands. They just mean he wears big gloves.
8. DonÔÇÖt let clientÔÇÖs charm wear you down. Be strong.
9. Whatever you do, donÔÇÖt fall for the client. YouÔÇÖll lose more than your jobÔÇömaybe even your heart.
10. If all else fails, see rule number one again.
He scrubbed his palms over his face and rested his elbows on his knees. ÔÇ£This was not how I saw this night going.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Big ValentineÔÇÖs Day plans?ÔÇØ
He lowered his hands and looked at me like IÔÇÖd just claimed I single-handedly caused the storm raging outside. ÔÇ£I didnÔÇÖt even know that was today. Does this mean weÔÇÖre each otherÔÇÖs valentines by default?ÔÇØ
I scoffed. ÔÇ£Not a chance.ÔÇØ
He chuckled. ÔÇ£Always so blunt. I like that about you.ÔÇØ He quickly cleared his throat as if he hadnÔÇÖt meant to say that. ÔÇ£Well, non-valentine, looks like weÔÇÖre going to be stuck here a while. Have anything in mind?ÔÇØ he said.
I decided against packing on another insult. He was being nice, and this sure as heck beat staring at the wall the rest of the night. ÔÇ£My form of entertainment is at 6 percent battery, so IÔÇÖm open to suggestions.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Mine is fully charged. Want to watch something?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Sure.ÔÇØ What 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.
I fidgeted with my necklace, moving the small diamond back and forth on the chain. The last time I was in bed with RyderÔÇª I didnÔÇÖt even want to finish that thought, because itÔÇÖd do nothing but make this situation worse. I chanced a peek in his direction.
He chewed the inside of his cheek, swiping through our options. ÔÇ£This is awkward, huh?ÔÇØ he said.
ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖve achieved Urkel status.ÔÇØ
He chuckled and scrolled through the show queue. ÔÇ£Would you rather watch Law and Order: SVU or CriminalMinds?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£That is quite possibly the worst Would You Rather question ever asked.ÔÇØ
His eyes cut to mine. ÔÇ£I didnÔÇÖt know I was playing a game.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖve never played it?ÔÇØ
He shook his head.
Lainey and I played this game all the time in college, and when weÔÇÖd take road trips together. She always came up with the grossest ones. ÔÇ£ItÔÇÖs simple. All you have to do is ask the person which horrible thing theyÔÇÖd rather do. The harder the question, the better. Like would you rather lay in a pit of snakes, or eat questionably dead roadkill?ÔÇØ I pointed to his phone. ÔÇ£Oh, John Tucker Must Die. I like that one.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Negative, ghost rider.ÔÇØ He scrolled past my suggestion. ÔÇ£And what the hell does questionably dead mean? Is it still twitching, or are we talking suspicious cause of death?ÔÇØ
I shrugged. ÔÇ£The interpretationÔÇÖs up to you.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre absolutely no help.ÔÇØ He swiped his thumb across his beard and contemplated. ÔÇ£I guess IÔÇÖd go with the snakes.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Okay, now itÔÇÖs your turn,ÔÇØ I said.
ÔÇ£Do I really have to play? I thought we were picking a show.ÔÇØ
I shot him a look.
ÔÇ£Fine. Would you rather have me or Chewbacca as your valentine?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Too easy. The spider.ÔÇØ
He put his hand to his heart. ÔÇ£You wound me.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Stop being such a baby.ÔÇØ I swatted at his chest and immediately pulled my hand back. Nope. Would not go there. ÔÇ£Okay, would you rather not be able to see or talk for a month?ÔÇØ
He answered instantly. ÔÇ£See.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Right. YouÔÇÖd probably go nuts if you couldnÔÇÖt open that big mouth of yours.ÔÇØ
His lips twitched. ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre one to talk.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Excuse me?ÔÇØ Okay, I did have a tough time keeping my thoughts on lockdown outside the office, but that was my own cross to bear.
ÔÇ£DonÔÇÖt even try to play it off like youÔÇÖre innocent.ÔÇØ
IÔÇÖd dated a lot of losers in the past, most who hadnÔÇÖt 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. ÔÇ£Jerk,ÔÇØ I sputtered.
ÔÇ£Now I know youÔÇÖre holding back. You can do way better than that.ÔÇØ He scrolled through his phone again. ÔÇ£How about Die Hard?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Are all your show selections about death? IÔÇÖm starting to worry I made a mistake coming over here.ÔÇØ My lips pulled into a smile and I quickly extinguished it. God, I wanted to hate him.
ÔÇ£Fine.ÔÇØ He continued looking at the Netflix queue. ÔÇ£Would you rather eat sushi from a taco stand, or lick an airplane armrest?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Good one. Sushi.ÔÇØ I pointed to his screen. ÔÇ£How about 10 Things I Hate About You?ÔÇØ
He shook his head and chuckled. ÔÇ£Are all of your suggestions going to not-so-subtly tell me you hate me?ÔÇØ┬á
I smiled sweetly. ÔÇ£Maybe.ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Just think, most people would find this to be a romantic escape. Two people, stuck in the mountains on ValentineÔÇÖs Day,ÔÇØ he said.
ÔÇ£WeÔÇÖre Hallmark movie material, all right,ÔÇØ I deadpanned.
ÔÇ£Okay, fine. How about The Walking Dead?ÔÇØ
ÔÇ£Your show picking powers have been officially revoked.ÔÇØ I grabbed the phone from his hand.
ÔÇ£Hey!ÔÇØ He grabbed for the phone, and I held it out of reach. ÔÇ£YouÔÇÖre going to regret that.ÔÇØ 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 connected.
I was immediately transported back to that night.
Tell me what you want, Zoey. Tell me what you need from me.┬á
I swallowed 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.
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