Amy Morrison is supposed to be at her wedding. But when her husband-to-be jilts her at the altar, a distraught Amy runs to the only place she feels safe–her office. Besides, everyone who works on her floor is at her wedding…except him. Dax Harris. Playboy, executive, and Amy’s official office enemy.
While he and Amy don’t see eye-to-eye on the best of days, Dax can’t help but feel badly when he sees Amy mid-meltdown. Next thing he knows, he’s gotten her good and drunk, and they’re making out like two teenagers. And since neither of them want anything serious, why shouldn’t they be frenemies-with-benefits? Because there is no possible way they could ever fall for each other…
When Amy Morrison was left at the altar, she went to the office.
If this were a movie, she and her giant puffy dress would have hailed a cab to the airport and been on a beach at the beginning of the next scene. Or at the very least, the Hollywood version would have shown her and her bridesmaids defiantly boarding a city bus and then cut to them getting blitzed at a karaoke bar while they sang Taylor Swift “boys suck” anthems.
In fact, Taylor Swift would probably play her in the movie version of The Jilting: Toronto Edition. Everyone was always saying how much she resembled the pop queen. They shared the same blond hair, blue eyes, and penchant for vintage clothing and red lipstick. Once, Amy had even managed to talk her way into a club because the bouncer mistook her for Taylor. But the similarities were superficial. Amy didn’t even sing in the shower, she wasn’t creative, and instead of burning her way through half a dozen guys in as many years, she’d dated the same one for the past seven.
The one who, an hour before their wedding was to start, had come to her with tears in his eyes and apology written all over his face and told her he didn’t love her anymore.
If she were Taylor, she’d already be working on a kiss-off ditty that would top the charts and make her rich.
But she wasn’t Taylor Swift. She was just Amy Morrison, vice president of Winter Enterprises. She might be a whiz at overseeing multimillion-dollar commercial real estate projects, but she did not have the ability to convert her heartbreak into a platinum record. So she’d come to the one place she felt safe. The place she felt confident. The place where people needed her, where, because she was good at her job, nothing ever fell apart.
Yes, when Amy Morrison got jilted, she went to work. She’d given a fleeting thought to going to the Rogers Centre instead. There wasn’t a home game that day—she would never have scheduled her wedding in competition with a home game of her beloved Toronto Blue Jays—but she’d thought maybe just being there outside the stadium would calm her. But in the end, she’d gone for the sure thing. The truly safe place.
The office had an extra benefit—it was guaranteed to be empty because her colleagues were all uptown at her wedding. She could picture them milling around Edwards Gardens, talking in hushed voices about poor, poor Amy. Her cheeks burned when she thought about her mother, who would be in hysterics by now, mortified by the shame of it all. Her mother had the uncanny ability to make every situation she encountered about her, and Amy felt certain her daughter’s non-wedding would be no exception. Her father would be no better. He’d have tossed back several martinis before the ceremony anyway, and then once his wife started along her trajectory to nuclear meltdown, he would have polished off several more. Right about now, he’d be at the point where he thought he was fine, all blustery bravado, but really he’d be slurring his words, talking too loud, further incensing Amy’s mother.
She waited until the elevator door slid shut in the lobby, and she pressed the button for the forty-ninth floor before she let the tears come. But, oh, they came. Seven years. Engaged for the last two. She was only twenty-nine, so she’d spent nearly all her twenties with Mason. As her career had taken off, she’d supported him though med school, paying the rent while he’d concentrated on his studies, and later, on his OB-GYN residency.
Staring at herself in the mirror-paneled wall of the elevator as it made its journey to the top of the skyscraper, she tried to summon anger to replace the tears. Anger would be better than this gutting sadness, this utter humiliation. But it wouldn’t come. Normally, Amy was not a woman who took bullshit from anyone. She was usually really good at summoning righteous rage when a situation called for it.
But apparently Mason took that, too, when he snatched away everything she’d planned for, everything she had to hold on to, ruining the perfect future she’d been meticulously constructing, with those five evil little words: I don’t love you anymore.
She swallowed hard and swiped a hand across her face. With any luck, the suite would be empty, but sometimes the cleaners were here on Saturday afternoons. She just had to pull it together enough to make it to her office without running into any of the custodial staff.
Because God forbid someone see her looking anything less than perfect.
Goddamn, the office was quiet. It was Saturday, yes, but normally Cherry Beach Software’s offices were populated with at least a programmer or two on the weekends. The tech geniuses Dax Harris employed generally didn’t observe the whole nine-to-five thing, which was fine with him, on account of the whole genius thing. If they wanted to play ping-pong all week and then go on coding binges on the weekend, who was he to judge? The company had been successful beyond his wildest dreams in the decade since he founded it, so he must be doing something right.
But today, as he locked his office and made his way to the elevators, you could have shot a missile through the empty corridors. It was Canada Day, but still, the programmers didn’t normally notice, much less observe, holidays. And he would have expected Jack Winter, the CEO of one of the other two companies that shared the forty-ninth floor, to be in. The two of them often went for a drink on Saturday afternoons after catching up on paperwork in their respective companies.
The elevator dinged. Given the fact that the forty-ninth floor was apparently a ghost town today, he didn’t bother looking up from his phone as he stepped on—or rather, as he crashed into—someone stepping off. “I’m sorry. I wasn’t—”
“Eff off, Dax.”
Dax had never thought blood pressure was something you could actually feel. Until he met Amy Morrison, the vice president of Winter Enterprises. When she was around, he turned into a cartoon—there was probably steam coming out of his ears. He tamped down his irritation and smirked at her. “I am rubber and you are glue, everything you say bounces off me and sticks to you.”
She tilted her head. “There’s not a day that doesn’t go by that I don’t marvel how someone so immature and dim-witted managed to become a multimillionaire CEO.” Not waiting for a reply, she curled her lip and brushed past him.
He lunged for the elevator doors, which were starting to close, but missed. Her laughter rang out as she sashayed in the direction of Winter Enterprises. He watched her hips, encased in some kind of shiny silver material, sway. She sure got dressed up for working on the weekend. But that was Amy for you, always dressed and coiffed like she’d stepped from the pages of a fashion magazine.
Wait. Suddenly he realized why the office was so empty. Everyone was at Amy Morrison’s wedding.
Everyone except, apparently, Amy.
He and Amy Morrison were like oil and water. Cats and dogs. Whatever cliché you wanted to throw at them, they were it. When his company had moved into the building three years ago, he’d tried to be civil at first. But somehow things degenerated so that before he knew it, she was refusing to share elevators with him and he was locking her out of the men’s room when the ladies’ had flooded. It had gotten so they didn’t even try to pretend they didn’t hate each other. But the one thing he could respect about his nemesis was that she had a hell of a work ethic. It wasn’t unusual to see her on the weekends.
But her wedding day? Wasn’t that a little much? Had she forgotten something she needed for the ceremony? The unlucky groom’s ring, perhaps?
He shrugged. Whatever. Not his problem.
It did, however, explain where all his staff was. Dax’s employees and Jack Winter’s were all friends, sharing a common kitchen, socializing after work, and doing typical office things like placing bets on when Amy’s boring boyfriend was finally going to pop the question. The Cherry Beach programmers were all a little bit in love with her, so of course they were at the wedding, falling in line like panting, besotted puppies.
On a superficial level, he couldn’t blame them. Amy was hot as all get-out—he’d concede that. She had the kind of tall lankiness that’s awkward on girls when they’re young, but when they grow into their long, lithe limbs, watch out. Bouncy blond hair, slight curves to take the edge off her otherwise sharp angles. Frankly, it was hard to look at Amy Morrison and not imagine what it would be like to fuck her. If you kissed her hard enough, you could muss up that perfect little rosebud of a mouth she always had painted dark red.
But then she’d open that perfect little rosebud of a mouth and ruin everything. It was probably some kind of karmic law of the universe that such a scorchingly hot girl had to be a smart-ass.
He thought about that mouth as he waited for the elevator to come back. She used it just now to sneer at him, but she hadn’t been wearing lipstick.
Which was weird. Amy always wore red lipstick.
Maybe he’d been imagining things, conjuring up a phantom image of Amy au naturel. He took a few steps toward the Winter Enterprises’ reception desk. What was that noise? It grew louder as he rounded the corner, heading for the executive wing where Amy and Jack’s offices were.
And then it resolved itself into crying. Sobbing, in fact.
He came to a halt in front of Amy’s office.
She’d been standing at the window, but at the sound of his voice, she turned and lifted gorgeous, devastated blue eyes at him. Black streaks of mascara painted her usually porcelain cheeks. She looked like she’d teleported in from the 1920s. Her shimmery white-silver dress was short and edged with fringe like a flapper’s, and she’d done her hair in that kind of wavy style he associated with silent film stars.
And, indeed, her lips were bare. He’d never seen her without the signature scarlet pout. He’d always wondered what she looked like when she first woke up. He was a man, after all, and it was impossible not to. But he always came to the conclusion that Miss Self-Righteous Frostypants actually slept in her lipstick.
Something was wrong. Really wrong.
She swiped her hands across her face, which only smeared her ruined makeup more. She would never want him to see her crying. He should probably leave. Amy Morrison was a royal pain in the ass, to be sure, but it wasn’t any fun beating someone who was already down. He took a step back.
But then she spoke, her voice small and vulnerable when it was usually confident and, well, a little bit grating. “He left me. Mason left me at the altar.”
He hesitated. On the one hand, who could really blame the guy? But on the other…
“Well, fuck that asshole. He was never good enough for you anyway.”