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Getting fired at the top of my game?
When you accidentally spill hot coffee on a man, on his crotch no less,
One Kiss is a 52k standalone novel with NO cliffhangers, no cheating, lots of steam, and a story you’ll love. HEA absolutely guaranteed. Enjoy!
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The early-morning commute is just as crushing as usual. The sun is shining through the breaks between skyscrapers, and businesspeople of all types do that hurry-wait-dodge-dive-hurry dance that we all do, trying to get to our desks on time.
On rainy days, there aren’t as many people on the wide, concrete sidewalks of downtown Chicago, but the ones that are there are ten times as brutal. Since the weather is beautiful today, people are just slightly more polite, though they would happily elbow you into the crosswalk if it meant getting past you just a little bit quicker.
Still, I can’t help but feel some strange sense of optimism as I walk through the sunny streets. Things are finally starting to settle down at work. I am pretty sure that I am getting noticed by all the right people. If I just keep my head above water for a little while longer, I know that everything will fall into place.
My cell phone buzzes in the pocket of my tweed pantsuit, the one with the palazzo-flared leg and poplin jacket, which is a favorite. Careful to watch people around me for signs of sudden changes in direction, I lift the phone to my ear and thumb it automatically to take the call.
“You’re up early,” I remark wryly, instantly knowing who it is.
“Can’t sleep,” she frets.
I pause with the throng of commuters who are lined up behind the Don’t Walk sign. About half the people continue to walk in place, gently bouncing to trick their FitBits into thinking they’ve exercised more than they did.
“Well, it’s almost eight,” I shrug. “It’s not like the crack of dawn. It’s practically a respectable time for people to wake up.”
“Not for teenagers,” she drawls through a huge yawn. “We need like sixteen hours a day of sleep or something. You can look it up.”
The light changes and everybody presses forward, flooding the crosswalk with silk and wool and leather.
“Yeah, that doesn’t sound right,” I shake my head as I walk swiftly through the crowd. “Besides, you’re only going to be a teenager for about two more months. You’re going to need to find a better excuse.”
“Jeez, you’re right. I better enjoy it while I can—ugh…”
“Landry?” I ask, as her voice trails out. “You okay? I think I’m losing you…”
“No, I’m here, I’m here,” she sighs, grunting uncomfortably. “I just, um, slept wrong or something. My neck is all weird.”
“Slept wrong?” I repeat sarcastically. “You mean you overslept wrong.”
“Ha. Ha. Ha,” she adds mirthlessly. “You think just because you’re about to be Head Br—”
“Stop!” I bark, startling several office workers and executives and attorneys around me.
They glance at me with alarm and then resign themselves to the flow of traffic and float away. I huddle closer to the class enclosure next to the revolving door of my office building.
“What?” she answers quickly. “Are we still not—”
“Bup bup bup!” I interrupt her immediately. “Don’t say it! You’ll jinx it!”
“Jeez, Clarissa,” she groans dramatically. “You can’t really jinx things. Either he’s going to make you the Head Br—”
“Stop it! I’m serious!” I exclaim, pulling the phone away from my ear to stare at it in horror.
“I’m just saying you’re being superstitious!” Landry continues unperturbed on the other end of the line.
I know exactly what she is saying. I just really want her to stop saying it.
“Okay!” I finally answer through gritted teeth, jamming a fist against the tight knot of my stomach. “You’re breaking up! I have to go!”
“Fine! I’m going back to bed!”
“That’s what I figured!”
Rolling my eyes, I tuck the phone back in my pocket and straighten my shoulders. From my reflection in the glass, I still look every bit as composed as I should. Bright-eyed, check, and bushy-tailed, check. Ready for the day.
Before security, I duck to the left side of the lobby to get a quick coffee at the kiosk. I had coffee at the apartment, but a little more never hurts.
“Hey, Clarissa,” Nayala smiles at me over the shoulder of one of my brawny workmates. “The usual?”
“Yes, please,” I nod.
My workmate turns around to raise an eyebrow at me, looking me up and down. He’s one of those fireplug-shaped guys with tufts of dirty-blond hair ringing his puffy ears and a permanently disgruntled disposition.
I just shrug almost imperceptibly under his gaze and keep my lips shut. I have found, working in an office of almost all men, that sometimes saying nothing is the only thing you can say without repercussions.
He turns back around, apparently as satisfied as he’s going to get, and takes the tall paper cup from the countertop then walks away. As soon as he is out of range, Nayala winks one of her enormous, cocoa-brown eyes at me.
“Gee, I’m sorry to scare Fred off for you,” I smirk. “I think you have a shot with him.”