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Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 33


Renata’s at the worktable looking morose the next day. Even her rockabilly polka-dot scarf seems to droop.

She tosses me a Wonderbag prototype. “The new closure sucks.”

I try it out. She’s right.

“Shondrella tracked down a claw buckle at a warehouse in Brooklyn. She got her man to do a pick-up.”

“Nice,” I say, trying to sound enthused. Jack doesn’t seem to be in yet. Why bother being on time when you’re the owner?

Renata half-collapses on the table. “A clasp is not the answer, and we know it,” she moans, and I feel this rush of love for her. She’s been by my side here for so many years.

I want to tell her what I know about Jack, but this isn’t the right time. She’ll freak out, and possibly even confront him. Everybody will find out, and there will be tears. Anger. And how would Jack respond? Will he shut down the whole place once he’s had his fun? Send us all home? The last day of our SportyGoCo family?

I need to keep it to myself until I figure out what to do.

“What?” she asks.

“We should have a drink after work,” I say. “We don’t do that enough.”

Her face brightens. “I have derby practice all this week, but next Monday?”


We pick back up where we left off when Bert shut things down for CPR training, and Shondrella’s excited about the new closure.

Lacey arrives looking extra goth, or maybe it’s just fatigue. She asks about my afternoon of babysitting Jack.

“Worst employee ever,” I say. “Is he not even in yet?”

“Shipping,” Lacey says.

“Hmph,” I say, feeling a little stung that he didn’t even bother to say hi. And then I’m angry at myself, because seriously? I’m mad because he’s not doing a good job of pretending to be my attentive new fling?

I’m eating lunch at my desk when he finally makes his appearance in the design department. I concentrate on my work even though he’s making quite the production of his arrival back there, clearing his throat and sliding his chair around.

“You guys get that snafu handled?” Renata asks him.

“Best it’ll get for now,” he says.

The two of them chat a bit and I get this warm, syrupy feeling inside from hearing his voice.

I close my eyes, hating life. What is wrong with me? I was such a pushover with my brothers, letting them play video games while I spent those crucial years after high school working my ass off on their behalf. It was a big thing to me that I’d sworn off lazy, entitled men after that. An important promise to myself, and who’s lazier and more entitled than a billionaire heir who only wants to drive and fight?

I need to re-swear them off, clearly. With a solemn flag ceremony and a ten-gun salute. I like hardworking men who strive for things they believe in. I need to write that a zillion times on a chalkboard, and maybe on the insides of my eyeballs.

“Hey,” Jack says. “Catch any double-parkers lately?”

I spin around. He has his feet up on his cubicle desk and he’s just sitting there, smiling, hands behind his head. He probably looks like that when he’s on his stupid yacht. “No, I have not.” I go back to work.

Of course he comes over. “Something wrong?” he asks in a low voice, concern written all over his face.

“Just not a fan of double-parkers at the moment, that’s all,” I snap.

“Oh my god, right?” Renata says from behind.

I look right at Jack. “They suck,” I say.

“Have double-parkers done something to upset you?” Jack asks.

“Umm, I’ll take this one for five-hundred, Mayim,” Renata puts in. “Utter pieces of shit who sadly exist in this world?”

“And that would be your opinion, too?” Jack asks me.

“Do you not have anything to do?” I ask him. “Because we are trying to make things right here.”

“Not until…” He draws his brows together in this face of concern.

“Do I need to assign you a task?”

“Depends,” he says, and then he flicks his gaze at the supply closet.

I grit my teeth. “You want a task? I’ll give you a task.” I jerk open my desk drawer and get out my box of Q-tips. “Hold this.”

He complies, standing there holding the box, watching me, all smiling eyes and solo dimple. “A task?” Because naturally he’s thinking this’ll be a sexy task.

“Follow me.” I storm into the breakroom and grab a mug from the cupboard and fill it with a little bit of water. I go around to the dark corner where poor Keith is.

“Keith has gotten dusty. You’re going to clean him.”

“Come again?” he says.

I ignore his stupid double entendre and kneel next to Keith. I dip a Q-tip into the water and then I roll it against my finger so that it’s merely damp. I use the tib to rub the dust off the parts of Keith’s fragile cactus skin.

“You’ll get every bit of dirt and dust off. See how carefully and gently I’m doing this? You’re gonna need to be careful not to press too hard. Avoid the prickers—some of them are fragile, and if you hit them, they can fall out. Especially on the brown parts like this. See? I go around it.”


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