Prologue

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Jules  |  Present

TOSSING THE PAPERS across my desk, I bury my head in my hands. This day has been crap. Absolute crap. I sigh. Typically I'm efficient. I'm neat, organized. My desk tidy, but not today. I'm up to my ankles in spreadsheets. Crumpled reports that missed the trashcan are strewn across my office. Highlighters are scattered on the traces of my hidden mahogany desk peeking through the manila folders that are covering it, half open and half closed. My workspace resembles my life. It's how my brain feels.

For as chaotic as it looks, you'd think I would've accomplished something. Anything. But nothing. I've managed to do nothing on my list. Lists. I'm a list person. I've got one for everything. For work, home, the wedding. I don't usually leave work until everything on it is done. That's how I operate, but not today. Something's off, and I can't put my finger on it.

The only thing I know is that I have to get out of here. To hell with the list. Sometimes you just have to go with your gut. And mine is telling me that I should be anywhere but here. All day something has been eating at me, and it's kept me from accomplishing a single damn thing on my list, and I don't think staying here all night would change a thing. In fact, it'd just piss me off, and besides, I have plans with my fiancé.

And any other night, I would have canceled them if my list had been in such disarray, but not tonight. Ha. And any other circumstance, I'd also clean up this mess before leaving, but not today. I glance around and kick a few of the papers beneath my feet. Standing on the pads of my feet, I slide and glide across the carpeted floor. It's fun and carefree. This isn't me at all. In fact, who is this girl and what have I done with the real me?

I grab my briefcase, jacket, and flip the switch to the lights. The mess can wait until tomorrow. Like my list.

Making my way to the elevator, I press the down button. The office is pretty empty. Even though I said I wasn't staying late, my definition of that word is different from other people on staff. It chimes. The doors open. But it's not empty as I expected. All the air has been sucked out of the building because I can't breathe as I take in the sight of the man standing before me. All approximately six foot six inches of him. His light molten brown eyes swirl like lava, and he's dressed in an impeccable tailored suit that fits him perfectly. And when I say perfectly, I mean it hugs every muscle in all the right places. And by every muscle, I mean there are lots. My insides quiver. If Charlie didn't drink so much, he could probably look like that in a suit. Charlie. Think of Charlie. I run my thumb along the back of my engagement ring while the sexy god sucks his bottom lip between his teeth, and my pulse races. There's definitely no air in the building. Is there a problem with the ventilation system? I swallow. He stares at me, and I stare back. The doors close. Then he sticks his hand out and holds the door. "You coming in?"

I shouldn't. I shouldn't go anywhere near him. But my body finally starts to actually respond the way it's supposed to instead of betraying me the way it did two seconds ago. "Yeah." I smile. Because I actually have a date, and I'm going to be late if I wait on the next elevator.

When I get inside, the button for the bottom floor is already illuminated, so I stand against the back wall. Maybe there's a problem with the air conditioning, too, in this building. Exhaling a breath, I blow air up, fanning my bangs. "Is it hot in here to you?"

He smirks. "Not really. But you're clearly hot." He stalks toward me. He points to my forehead, then tilts his head down, his lips mere inches from mine. Oh hell. What. Is. He. Doing. Better yet? Why am I not stopping him? "You have a little bead of sweat right here." He swipes it away.

"Oh. That's kind of embarrassing. And gross."

He shakes his head as the doors open. As he's walking out, he says, "Nothing about you is gross. You're sexy as fuck, Jules."

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