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Unwrap Me, Boss
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This Christmas, I’ll unwrap her box, for the very first time.
My new, younger assistant jingles all my bells.
But now, every time we’re in my office,
Unwrap Me, Boss is a standalone steamy office romance featuring a bad boy billionaire boss and his feisty, curvy secretary. It has no cheating and no cliffhangers, and a very happy (and festive!) ever after.
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Chapter 1 – Grace
The church of St. Benedict’s is the largest church I’ve ever stepped foot in. The pillars tower above my head as I enter through the large wooden doors. The stained-glass window panes illuminate the morning light and the tears of the patron saints. No matter how many times I walk down the aisles, past the numerous pews, behind the family that has so graciously taken me in, I always so do with my eyes glued to my feet. The feeling of not truly belonging in these hallowed halls fills me up every Sunday.
This Sunday is no different, except that the church has been decorated for Christmas. It’s not even Thanksgiving yet, but each year this seems to happen earlier. Wreaths hang by bows on the beautifully decorated windows, while garlands line the rectory and pews. What looks like hundreds of carnations fill the stairs leading to the pulpit, and a large Christmas tree full of candles glistens in the furthest corner, large and towering enough that even those seated in the back rows can admire it.
Although I always feel out of place here, I can’t help but love the way it looks at Christmas. The church never fails to go all out in its decorations, and a festive spirit lingers in the air despite the solemnness of the religion practiced within these walls. Lovely Christmas hymns are being played on the large organ as congregants drift in.
I sit down beside my foster father, Andrew, with my foster mother, Colleen on his other side. Soon afterwards the pastor takes his place behind the pulpit, looking out at the congregation.
“My brothers and sisters,” he begins. “Welcome. As we enter into the Christmas season, let us be ever mindful of the spirit of family and love that bind us together.”
Again, I find my gaze aiming towards the floor, feeling a bit uncomfortable at the mention of “family.” Andrew, my foster father, gently taps my shoulder and gestures for me to look back up at the pastor, who is supposed command our respectful attention at all times while we were in the Lord’s house.
Obediently, I stare up towards the podium and meet the pastor’s gaze. He smiles and nods his head at me, beckoning me towards his every word. I look over at my foster parents, their eyes straight ahead and their backs straight. I take a deep breath and adopt the same posture they have, waiting for the pastor’s words to envelope me as I know they are supposed to do while I’m here. But my thoughts wander elsewhere.
My mother would never have been caught dead in a church. I can only assume, that even in death, she would have gone elsewhere if she had any choice in the matter— but she didn’t, because she had a church funeral provided by a local charity. Poor people like the kind I come from don’t get much say in these matters.
Her priorities weren’t the church, weren’t God, or even me. They were only hyper-focused on one thing. Her next score. All she thoughts about was adding track after track to her once beautiful arms, the veins no longer able to help her get that feeling of relief she so desperately sought after. The night that Social Services came for me, I found her lying in a pool of her own vomit, mere moments away from her final pain-relieving overdose. It wasn’t her first one, but it ended up being her last.
At first, I was grief-stricken but felt a strange and unexpected sense of relief. I was placed with my first foster family and naively believed that things would be different. That things would suddenly start looking up. But I had never been so wrong.
My first foster father was a drunk and every evening he would come home and the screaming would start. Plates would smash and bruises would form on the arms and faces of every foster child in that house, including my own— and there were many of us. Every night I would sit in my bedroom, sheets pulled tightly up to my ears as I prayed to be saved from this house that was even worse than the one I had lived in with my mother. At least there, the worst thing that happened to me was the hunger of another day without food, or the lonely feeling of neglect. At least there, I wasn’t abused and beaten.
After several weeks of fearing for my safely, I finally got up the courage and left. For, I knew, one of these days, that no matter how drunk and off balance my first foster father would become, he’d still be able to overpower me with his fists. It wasn’t something I wanted to put up with any longer.
I was found again by social services and chided for running away, before being placed with another family that wasn’t much better. Time and time I ran away again, escaping one cruel fate to be placed in the same type of environment all over again. It was if my life was cursed and I could never escape.