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Butt-dialing the Billionaire: Chapter 42


I’m walking down Fifth Avenue with Mackenzie, Shondrella, and Jack. I’m in a much cuter outfit than before, having whipped home over lunch to change.

It was my last-minute idea to add Jack to the team. I explained to Shondrella and Mackenzie that Jack has driven princesses and socialites, and therefore he gets the world. I think it was a sign of their nervousness that they agreed. The idea is that he’ll stay quiet, like the silent, elegant partner.

Mackenzie is the most nervous. She’s used to selling products on price, not quality, and certainly not luxury. “My main prop is always spreadsheets!” she says.

Shondrella says we should tell the story of our passion, how we wanted to create something beautiful that could travel easily in a carry-on but is the most elegant bag. “The unicorn zipper pull is probably going to be key,” she adds.

“They’re gonna love it,” Jack says. The way he sounds, it’s more like a threat.

I grin at Jack when the others aren’t looking, and Jack grins back. He seems so gruff, like he doesn’t care; in truth, he’s sensitive. Maybe he’s gruff because he’s sensitive. Because things mean so much; that’s what I’ve been thinking ever since this weekend.

And as we stroll through the golden doors off Sadie Woo’s flagship store, I know it was the right decision to bring him—he’s the only of the four of us who looks like he belongs here. It’s not his clothes or anything outward like that; it’s his demeanor. The sense of ease that he exudes.

There are clusters of people sipping champagne in plush seating areas amidst elegant displays. That’s how the shopping is done at a place like Sadie Woo—people bring you things while you relax.

A woman in a severe white suit comes up and asks if anybody is helping us. I tell her we’re here to see Zanaka Boudon, the buyer.

“This way.” She leads us under massive chandeliers and past naked golden statues; I hear snatches of Japanese, Arabic, French.

Zanaka’s office features a large marble desk that’s completely empty except for an old-fashioned clock. We hand over our business cards—all except Jack—and sit across from her. Jack looks elegant, sitting there with his legs crossed, taking up space in a way that only a rich person does.

Zanaka examines Unicorn Wonderbag. She wants to know how we got it into the hands of the two Genevieves.

“Friends of friends,” Shondrella says, because it sounds better than telling her that our delivery driver drove for them once and they owed him. That’s the story that the office has gotten, and it’s not untrue.

“Wonder Unicorn Brand features a limited number of made-in-America items that are gifted to influencers before they hit the market, and everything is a limited run.”

Zanaka looks unconvinced as Mackenzie continues through the speech we developed. She asks a lot of questions about production methods and numbers.

She’s not so sure about the bag, I can tell. Or maybe it’s us.

I’m starting to get nervous. Also, I can feel Jack looking at me and reading my emotions. He can be so volatile—especially when he senses any kind of threat to my happiness. Was it a mistake to bring him?

I launch into the story of how we came to the idea. I point out the stitching and show how fun it is to roll it into the unicorn horn.

Zanaka turns the bag inside out. She rolls it and unrolls it. She seems unsure, and my heart is starting to sink, because enthusiasm is key to what we’re trying to do.

I grip the arm of my chair. Why doesn’t she like it?

Jack, for his part, is looking more and more unhappy.

“SportyGoCo is a big box brand,” Zanaka says. “You’re spinning a luxury brand off of a big box brand with a flagship four-figure bag. Usually one would do everything they can to conceal the connection, but you’re up front with it. Can you go into the thought process for me on that pedigree path?”

“This is our confidence,” Mackenzie says. “It’s bold and new. We’re not doing things the old way.”

“We don’t want to conceal our connection with SportyGoCo,” I add, trying for confidence. “That’s our love for this beautiful bag.”

“Hmmm.” Zanaka sets the bag on the desk. It looks…pathetic. And I know she’ll say no.

My heart lurches.

Suddenly Jack is standing. “This meeting is officially over.”

“Wait, what?” I say, giving Jack a significant look. What the hell is he doing?

“I’m sorry.” He snatches the bag off of Zanaka’s barren desk. “We cannot sell it to you.”

“B-but—” Mackenzie looks baffled, looking between Jack and me.

I turn to Jack, eyes wide. “She’s not done with her evaluation.”

“I’m done with my evaluation,” Jack says. “The stitching? The brand pedigree path? Sadie Woo is wrong for the bag. We appreciate your time.”

“And you are?” Zanaka says.

“It doesn’t matter,” Jack says. “This is the wrong fit. That’s what matters.”

With that, he walks out.

The four of us sit there in dead silence.

“So…is he the decision maker?” Zanaka asks.

I stand, pulse racing, unsure what to do. All I know is that this is over. “I’m sorry to have wasted your time.” Shondrella and Mackenzie stand, too, following my lead, and we head out as a unit.

Jack drives us back, the four of us all squished into the cold cab of the delivery truck.

“Well, that went shitty,” Shondrella says.

“She wasn’t going to place an order anyway,” I say, feeling protective of Jack.

“She might have. We could’ve given her the opportunity to make an order,” Mackenzie says to Jack. “You said you’d stay silent, Jack.”

“Screw that,” Jack grumbles. “Screw her if she can’t see how beautiful that bag is. You guys put your heart and soul into that bag, and if she can’t see that, she doesn’t deserve it.”

“Jack…” I don’t know what to say. “It’s sweet of you, but—”

“She didn’t deserve it,” he says.

“That’s sales, Jack,” Mackenzie says. “It’s how it works. Some people say no. Some people need time to decide.”

Jack concentrates on the road with a thunderous expression. I love how protective he is of me, but we can’t take him on any more sales calls, that’s for sure.

If there are any more sales calls.

The three of us head up the elevator while Jack drops the truck in shipping.

“God love him,” Shondrella says, “but he really blew that. And I don’t see any more offers coming down the pike.”

Mackenzie sighs. “It was nice to have him there until he started talking.”

“No way can we bring him again,” Shondrella says. “I know you like him and everything.”

“No, I agree,” I say. “I’m sure he didn’t mean to wreck it. Maybe we’ll get other interest. Why not, right?”

The elevator clanks to a stop at our floor and the door opens.

“Dudes!” Dave is standing there like he was waiting for us. Was he? “High five!” he says.

“We didn’t get it,” I say.

“What are you talking about? The PO just came through.”

“When?” Mackenzie says.

“Five minutes ago?” Dave leads us to his cubicle. There it is: the purchase order—a dozen per store with front-of-the-house yacht season merchandising if we can get them out in a specified amount of time.

Shondrella clutches my arm. “What. The. Hell.”

Renata runs up and does a happy dance. “I was hoping they’d take a dozen, but whoa!”

“This doesn’t compute,” I say.

Mackenzie checks the form to make sure it’s not a joke. “Well, hell. That’s a technique I’ve never tried. ‘You want it? You can’t have it, so fuck you!’” She puts her palms to her head. “His trick worked!”

Shondrella explains what happened at the meeting to the gathered group.

“Watch me parlay this order into getting my foot in at Anton’s.” Mackenzie points at me. “Same team. Jack has to come.” She rushes off.

Dave is working with his team to route all Unicorn Wonderbag orders into a special silo so that Bert won’t notice until it’s too late. Dave doesn’t have the inside information that I do. He doesn’t know that Bert was hired specifically to drive the company into the ground, but we all know that Bert wrecks everything he touches.

Jack gets a hero’s welcome when he gets back up to our floor. He seems mad when he finds out we’re going to be fulfilling the order. “They’re not good enough for your bag,” he growls. “She didn’t appreciate it enough.”

Everybody laughs, but he just seems grumpy. He sits at his desk, quietly working at his spreadsheets.

“What’s going on?” I ask him once people get back to work.

“It’s just bullshit.”

“What’s bullshit?” Renata asks, sitting down at her desk.

“Nothing,” Jack says.

“Mackenzie is never going on a sales call without you ever again, I hope you know,” Renata says.

Jack just looks stormy. Does he not understand how great he did? I try to catch his eye, but he’s ignoring me. I go over and grab his stapler and bang it a few times. “You shouldn’t leave this empty,” I say to him. “It needs to be filled. And now, apparently, I have to do it myself in the supply closet.”

I stroll off. I know he’ll follow. How could he not?

A few moments later, the door creaks open.

I don’t know what I expected—his cool, witty self, maybe. Something sardonic about staplers, or him crowing about a jerky attitude saving the day.

That’s not what I get.

He comes in looking undone. His gaze skewers me. His nostrils flare.

“What’s going on?” I ask.

He just shakes his head.

“That was a coup! You did amazing. You know Mackenzie is gonna get another call off of that order. Maybe two or three.” I take a step toward him. “We’re really doing it, Jack. We might actually get this accounting period back in the black.”

“I guess,” he rasps.

“More orders like this and we can save SportyGoCo from Bert and your parents’ bully company! Aren’t you happy?” I press my hand to his chest. “Hey.”

“I’m not doing the hate fuck,” he says. “It’s not where I’m at.”

I reach up and cup his cheek. “Where are you at?”

He grabs my wrist, just holds my wrist and watches me. “People here think it was a trick over there at Sadie Woo, but it wasn’t a trick. The way she was acting like your bag was shit? It pissed me off. I hated it.”

Shivers skitter over me as I realize what he’s saying. It wasn’t a ploy. It was Jack feeling deeply. Reeling. “That just makes me feel…honored.”

He grunts unintelligibly.

“I am. I love that you’re in my corner, Jack.”

“I’m not used to this. I’m not used to pulling for things and being invested in things that I have no power over. The way my life is set up, people hate me and I don’t give a shit, or they’re like Arnold where they get paid to be my people, or they want something from me. That’s how it always is with me. But now everything feels out of control.”

“But it’s turning out okay,” I try.

“I have to tell you something.” He brushes my hair from my face. “Remember when you asked me what I would save from the fire?”


“It would be the hat.”

I squint, unsure what he could possibly mean. “The hat that we made for you?”

His cheeks are rosy, pupils huge. “Yes,” he says, breath coming quick.

“That’s…really?” I say.


“I love that.”

“Maybe you love that, but to me—I burn bridges, Jada. I punch people. I crash cars. People don’t knit hats for me.”

“People here knit hats for you,” I say.

Wildly, he looks around the small, dim space. “I don’t know how to do this. I’m not used to all this fucking harmony.”

“All this fucking harmony?”

“Yes! And Keith the cactus. And Bert sticks him in the breakroom corner? Every time I look at him, I want to tear Bert’s fucking face off, even though it’s only ten percent Bert’s fault, being that Keith was already dead. It’s the principle of the thing.” He swallows, brows drawn. “I don’t know how people do any of this.”

“Any of what?”

“I don’t know…” He gestures in the direction of the office. “Any of this. Without going crazy and trashing things.”

“They do it together,” I say. “If the next buyer hates the bag, we’ll figure it out, because we’re in it together. If things go wrong, we’ll figure it out together. We have each other’s backs.”

His gaze is hard and deep. There’s something of King Kong in him at the moment, a cornered beast batting at planes. Batting at feelings.

He says, “Life is easier when you pay people to do what you want, and everyone else hates you.”

Not easier for that little boy in the picture, I think, but I don’t say that, because his hand is in my hair.

He’s so raw. I’ve never seen a man so raw or so beautiful, and I’m starting to get it about him—Jack doesn’t have too little feeling; he has too goddamn much.

I grab his shirt and pull him to me, kissing him full on. Our kiss turns hungry, greedy. Suddenly we’re tearing at each other’s clothes. I’m unclasping his pants. He’s forcing up my skirt. I’m thumbing down my panties, stomping out of them. We’re in a mad, all-out sprint for a full-on sexytimes show and tell.

My knees feel shaky. I grip his shoulders as he fights his pants free of his feet. Need courses through my heated veins.

He’s kissing me, breath ragged. He fumbles around, and then there’s a condom in his fingers.

He tears at the package, swearing under his breath as he rolls it on. With barely a huff of breath he lifts me. I wrap my legs around his waist. His cock is a hot iron bar against my sex. I grind on him.

“Jada, Jada, Jada.” He sets me on the table, mumbling nonsensical things into my hair.

“Hurry.” My sex aches for him, excruciatingly empty in the cool chill of the closet.

“I’ve got you.” I feel the blunt tip of him at my entrance. He presses into me, filling me. My body blooms with pleasure.

I clamp my legs around him more tightly. He pumps into me, urgent and savage. My hands clamp onto his shoulders, holding on with everything I have. My breath saws in and out.

“I’ve got you, baby,” he says again. Strong hands grip my ass cheeks, pry them apart, pry me apart from the inside out.

“Harder,” I whisper, though there’s a sob on the tail end. “More.”

He goes harder. He gives me more. I give him more, though it almost hurts the way I scrape myself raw for him, and then I’m coming in a blaze of white-hot sensation. I’m vaguely aware of his breath stuttering, of his movements going feral, of him joining me as he presses deep.

I open my eyes at the end and find him staring at me with something I can’t quite understand, though it looks a lot like the shock coursing through me.


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