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Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 14


The next day, I head down the back hallway to storage and receiving to check for the package of zipper samples that supposedly arrived, and what do I see? Way down at the end of tall rows of shelving, there’s Jack, playing wastebasket basketball with Nate from accounts receivable.

Nate is usually a diligent worker, but Jack has managed to corrupt even him.

They don’t see me—that’s how into it they are. Two grown men throwing wadded-up paper at a trash can they’ve put on a high shelf, all grunts and jump shots—a full-on testosterone-fest.

I should tell them to get back to work—I really should.

Nate makes a shot and immediately looks at Jack, who tips up his head in a kind of reverse nod, showing his approval.

Nate smiles widely.

I roll my eyes.

Nate’s a workout machine, a man who moves boldly and heavily, with arms so muscular that they don’t hang flush to his body. Jack, on the other hand, has got leopard-like grace; he shoots and pivots loosely, but he jumps with explosive power.

Nate makes a long-distance shot. He’s acting nonchalant about it, but I’m sure he’s thrilled to impress Jack, to move deeper into Jack’s rare and special orbit.

It’s like Jack’s entire life goal is to be as distracting as possible to SportyGoCo workers. He is the worst—he really is. In the fable of the ant and the grasshopper, he’s the ultimate grasshopper.

I despise grasshoppers.

Nate gets another reverse nod, and you can see him preen. How can Nate allow himself to be enchanted by this man?

And Jack. He thinks he’s so hot. The way he struts, you’d think he’s the most eligible bachelor on the planet.

I shake my head hotly, remembering his words. Of course, wrong has its advantages. There are scenarios where, it could be argued, the wronger, the better. If you know what I mean, and I think you do.

If my Jersey galpal, Mia, had been there when Jack said that, she’d have kicked him in the balls—Wrong like this, you mean?

He would’ve deserved it.

The wronger, the better…if you know what I mean…and I think you do.

Who wouldn’t? And yes, wrong things can be sexy—it doesn’t take a rocket scientist to know that. And outrageously wrong things can be outrageously sexy.

I watch him shoot, thinking about wrong things. Things that would be offensive in real life, but sexy in sex.

Jack, of course, would be an expert in that, being such an all-around offensive man. He probably has whiteboards at home full of advanced mathematical formulas on how to increase his offensiveness.

But we’re in a workplace, I remind myself. Here in the workplace, wrong is not at all sexy.

He grunts, blocking Nate’s shot, all fancy footwork.

Not sexy.

Naturally, he would want to make sure all womankind is aware that he would deliver on wrongness and forbiddenness. He may as well walk around with a sandwich board sign. Ladies, whatever wrong thing you’re thinking? I will deliver.

So annoying.

He does this spin-jump and a wad of crumpled paper arcs into the air and lands in the wastebasket.

As if he feels me watching, he turns to eye me playfully with those burnt-butter eyes that probably melt other women.

Nate gets an alarmed look. “Gotta get back.” He beelines up the row of boxes, not meeting my gaze.

Naturally Jack has no problem getting caught goofing off. He smiles. You can tell when it’s a genuine smile because the dimple on his left cheek fires away. It’s a lopsided dimple smile that he has. “Want to play?”

Does he think he can corrupt me as easily as he’s corrupted Nate? “No, I don’t want to play.”

“Why not?” he asks.

“Why not? Because this is a sinking ship,” I say. “A sinking ship where we’re fighting for our lives.”

Jack Smith, insolent king of leisure and corruption, continues to smile. “All the more reason to play.” He picks up a crumpled paper and shoots, giving it a little jump.

“Deliveries in the dock,” I say. “You should get to them one of these days.” I don’t know this for sure, but there always seem to be deliveries ready to go out.

He grabs a stool, ignoring my directive. God, what would it be like to not care about anything? To have all of that powerful charisma and use it almost exclusively for ill? He seems indifferent even to being fired. What kind of upbringing makes a man act like this?

“To be so useless and so entitled at the same time!” I marvel.

“I aim to please.”

“Also, Chris from shipping has been complaining that you were an asshole to him,” I say. “He wanted a report, and you wouldn’t give him a straight answer about when you’d get it.”

“He was being insufferable.” Jack climbs up the ladder and grabs the wastebasket off the top shelf.

You were being insufferable,” I say. “He asked you for something, and you treated him like he was ruining your spa day. You’re here to support these people.”

He climbs down, looking amused. “So Chris is my boss now?”

“In a way, we’re all your boss. You’re here to help when we request it,” I say. “But more to the point, the desperate situation we’re in is our boss. We’re all trying to work together to save this place that we love. You can’t act put out when somebody requests something. Maybe you’ve been in places where you weren’t valued, but we value you and we really do need you.”

He looks concerned. Am I actually getting through to him?

“You don’t want people to think you don’t care,” I add.

He puts the wastebasket back in the corner, sets aside the stool, then turns to me with a thoughtful look. “People will think I don’t care?”


“Well then…” He gets this solemn look. “They would be right.”

I narrow my eyes. “Oh-em-gee, sooooooo hilarious.”

“I thought it was.”

I sniff in disdain. “How about you go do your deliveries? And make it snappy.”

He saunters in my direction, which is also the direction of the door. I’m all lit up and angry and strangely electrified.

I cross my arms, facing him square on. I’m partly blocking the walkway out of here, and I don’t care. He can turn and sidle around me. The sooner he realizes this is my house, the better.

He nears.

I stand my ground, face to face with his glittering gaze and villain eyebrows.

He stops in front of me and I breathe in his woodsy scent.

He says, “Aren’t you going to ask me how my butt-dial investigation is going?”

I smile coolly. “I know how it’s going, and I know how it’ll end. Rhymes with pilarious pabject pailure.”

He looks surprised for a moment, and then he laughs. He didn’t expect that out of me. He thinks I have no sense of humor. He thinks I have no teeth. He would be wrong.

He sidles around me like I wanted him to, but I didn’t think it through.

I didn’t think I’d be forcing him to brush against me, chest to shoulder. I didn’t think there would be any kind of frisson of feeling—even through fabric. I didn’t think how close his face would come to my cheek. I didn’t think I’d feel his breath in my hair when he leans down and whispers, “The night is young.”


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