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The first time I met Chase Parker, I didn’t exactly make a good impression.
I was hiding in the bathroom hallway of a restaurant, leaving a message for my best friend to save me from my awful date.
He overheard and told me I was a bitch, then proceeded to offer me some dating advice.
So I told him to mind his own damn business―his own tall, gorgeous, full-of-himself damn business―and went back to my miserable date.
When he walked by my table, he smirked, and I watched his arrogant, sexy ass walk back to his date.
I couldn’t help but sneak hidden glances at the condescending jerk on the other side of the room. Of course, he caught me on more than one occasion, and winked.
When the gorgeous stranger and his equally hot date suddenly appeared at our table, I thought he was going to rat me out.
But instead, he pretended we knew each other and joined us―telling elaborate, embarrassing stories about our fake childhood.
My date suddenly went from boring to bizarrely exciting.
When it was over and we parted ways, I thought about him more than I would ever admit, even though I knew I’d never see him again.
I mean, what were the chances I’d run into him again in a city with eight million people?Then again…
What were the chances a month later he’d wind up being my new sexy boss?
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What a waste of smooth, shaven legs.
“Jules? It’s Reese. Where the hell are you? I need you. This is the worst date I’ve ever been on. I’m literally falling asleep. I’ve considered smashing my head on the table a few times to keep awake. Unless you want me bloodied and bruised, I need you to call with a fake emergency. Call me back. Please.” Pressing end call, I blew out a frustrated breath as I stood outside the ladies’ room in the dark hallway at the back of the restaurant.
A deep voice from behind me caught me off guard. “Unless he’s also an idiot—in addition to being boring—he’s going to know.”
“Excuse me?” I turned to find a man leaning against the wall, his eyes pointed down as he texted away on his phone. He continued without looking up.
“It’s the oldest trick in the book…the emergency phone call. The least you can do is put in a little more effort. It takes two months to get a reservation at this place, and it’s not cheap, sweetheart.”
“Maybe he should be the one to put in more effort. His sports jacket has a giant hole under the arm, and he’s done nothing but talk about his mother all night.”
“Ever consider that your snobby attitude makes him nervous?”
My eyes nearly bulged out of my head. “You want to talk about snobby? You eavesdrop on my call and give me your unwelcome opinions, all while staring down at your phone. You haven’t even made eye contact with me while you’re speaking.”
The jerk’s fingers froze mid text. Then I watched as his head rose, eyes following a leisurely path starting at my ankles, up over my bare legs, and lingering at the hemline of my skirt before continuing to trace their way over my hips, coming to rest briefly on my breasts before finally settling on my face.
“Yes, that’s right. Up here. These are my eyes.”
He pushed off the wall and stood tall, catching the lone ray that had been lighting the hallway. The streak illuminated his face, and I could see him clearly for the first time.
Really? Not what I was expecting. With that deep, raspy voice and attitude, I assumed I’d find someone older, probably dressed in a stuffy suit. But this guy was gorgeous. Young and gorgeous. Dressed entirely in black—simple and sleek, yet there was an edge to the way he looked. Golden brown hair tousled in that sexy I don’t give a shit way, but still looked perfect. Strong, masculine features—a square, rugged jaw coated with day-old stubble on sunkissed skin, a straight, prominent nose, and big, sexy, sleepy eyes the color of chocolate. Those were now staring intently at me.
Without dropping my gaze, he lifted his arms from his sides, holding them up over his head. “You want to check me for rips before you decide if I’m worthy of speaking to?”
He was gorgeous all right, but definitely an asshole. “That’s not necessary. Your attitude has already decided that for me, and you’re not.”
Lowering his arms, he chuckled. “Suit yourself. Try to enjoy the rest of your evening, sweetheart.”
I huffed, but stole one last fleeting look at the beautiful jerk before I walked back to my date.
Martin was sitting with his hands folded when I returned to my seat at the table.
“Sorry,” I told him. “There was a line.”
“That reminds me of a funny story. This one time, I was at a restaurant with my mother, and when she went to use the ladies’ room…”
His voice faded away while I stared at my phone, willing it to ring. Damn you, Jules. Where are you when I really need you? Around the middle of the story—at least I think it was the middle—I noticed the jerk from the bathroom walking past our table. He smirked at me after taking a look at my rambling date and my disinterested face. Curious, I followed his path to get a look at who he was here with.
Dyed blonde, pretty in a slutty sort of way, with a heaping amount of boobage falling out of her low-cut dress. She made googly eyes at her date as he returned; I rolled mine. Yet…I couldn’t help but glance over at their table from time to time.
When our salads arrived, Martin was talking about his mother’s recent appendectomy, and I grew particularly bored. My eyes must have lingered a minute too long, because the guy from the bathroom caught me staring at him. Across the restaurant, he winked, arched an eyebrow, and tipped his glass in my direction.
Since I’d been caught, why bother to hide my watching him? He was certainly more interesting than my date. And he wasn’t shy about looking my way either. When a waiter stopped by his table, I watched as beautiful bathroom guy pointed in my direction and spoke. Martin was still telling some mommy-dearest story as I glanced behind me to see what the attractive jerk across the room could’ve been pointing to. When I turned back, the jerk and his date were standing. Reading his lips, I could make out some of what he was saying…something about joining an old friend, I thought. Then suddenly, they were walking right toward our table.