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1687893128 (ISBN13: 9781687893123)
All I want for the holidays is the willpower to resist my brother’s sexy, charming, easy-on-the-eyes new business partner.
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When I started my new business, I made three pledges.
First: always kick ass for my clients.
Second: leave the past far behind.
Third: run like hell from entanglements of the romantic kind.
I don’t just mean taboo trysts with clients or coworkers. My rule has always been to avoid those like a communal bowl of pretzels at a bar.
A communal anything anywhere, for that matter.
When I say “entanglements,” I mean of any sort with any woman to any degree—whether that is love, sex, or dating.
Yeah, the whole shebang, bang and all.
I’m no good at balance anyway. I’m an all-or-nothing kind of guy, and I need to give my all to my new gig.
So the other side gets nada.
I don’t discriminate in my sidestep-women-at-all-costs strategy—clients, coworkers, and business partners are off-limits, and so are their sisters, cousins, and any other female relatives. The “nothing” side means no women from Match, Tinder, or any dating app; no women friends, friends of friends, or friends of my sisters who they would love to set me up with; no women I meet in my building or my gym or on my route to work, not even that cute woman who arranges flowers at the shop where I order a bouquet delivered to my mom in Florida every Sunday.
Maybe it sounds hard to go cold turkey—or, let’s be honest, more like full-on frozen turkey.
But romance isn’t that difficult to dodge if you have a strategy.
And I don’t mean a playboy plan; that dip-the-wick-daily lifestyle never interested me.
I think of it like a diet, and I damn well need it if I’m going to be in fighting shape for work. The last time I fell hard for someone, I spent the better part of a year cleaning up the mess that it made of my work life. I have no desire to venture down that path again.
That means no cheat days. No sneaking into the pantry for a kiss with a sexy lady here or snagging a tasty-looking cookie from the one-night-stand jar of treats.
Fine, sometimes dessert seduces me, and I’ve always been a sucker for sweets. But as a former pro athlete, I have excellent discipline, and I’m feeling pretty cocky about my ability to resist temptation.
At least, I had been. Then I met someone who makes me want to devour her—à la mode with a layer of hot fudge.
Only, I suspect Quinn would be sweet on her own.
Sexy, clever, witty, captivating Quinn.
Since I met her, I want every day to be a break from my diet. I want to indulge my sweet tooth at breakfast, lunch, and dinner.
It won’t be easy, but the solution is obvious. I need to go on a Quinn fast. I’ll simply abstain from seeing her.
Then I find out we’ll be working side by side through the holidays.
Deck the halls with my greatest temptation, and fuck me sideways with a nutcracker.
Spoiler alert—I love spoilers.
I adore them like they’re a new pair of sexy, stylish shoes that fit like they’re made for me.
Less of a surprise—I hate surprises.
My sisters know to never throw me a surprise party, and my brother is on notice—no uninvited pop-in visits to my apartment. Or else.
Because I know all their childhood secrets and I’m not afraid to use them.
But as long as my sibs comply, I won’t let slip when exactly my brother stopped running around the house naked (he was six), or how many posters of Mr. Darcy my little sister pinned to her walls (more than ten).
Or maybe I wouldn’t. I’m not evil.
I simply can’t stand the suspense of not knowing what’s going to happen.
Like how I googled the ending of the most recent Avengers movie. I don’t even watch Marvel flicks, but I was dying to know why my social media feed was suddenly full of shocked reaction gifs. (And I’ve got to say—holy smokes—I didn’t see that coming.)
Why wouldn’t I read the endings of books first? I wasn’t going to devote all that time to Matthew and Elizabeth in A Discovery of Witches otherwise. And settling in on a Friday night with Memento on Netflix, my popcorn tasted so much better after I checked the plot summary for a road map to that twisty-as-a-DNA-strand flick.
When it comes to holidays—well, it will shock no one to learn that I was the kid who opened her Christmas presents in advance.
Sorry, Mom and Dad.
I crept out of bed in the wee hours of the morning, tiptoed downstairs, and slid my finger under the wrapping paper to peek inside.
So, yes, that puts me on the naughty list. But I learned to wrap presents like a Macy’s gift-wrapping counter pro and impress my friends. Show me a champion gift wrapper, and I’ll show you a former present-peeker.
I need to know what’s around the corner and five steps ahead. Given my aversion to suspense, I’d make a terrible adventurer, ghost hunter, or cop.