After being dumped two weeks before his wedding, civil engineer Ryan Wright’s not interested in love. Been there, done that, had the wedding deposits to prove it. Still, he can’t help lusting after the fiery redheaded executive assistant who’s stirring up feelings that aren’t exactly appropriate for the office.
Sarah Leonard is determined to make the CEO fall in love with her. To execute her plan, she’s going to need a little help in the form of her lunch buddy, the 6’2” office hottie who just so happens to be their boss’s best friend. Who better to tell Sarah everything she needs to know to win the other man’s heart?
Ryan agrees to help Sarah put her plan in motion, but he has no intention of helping her win anything. In fact, it’s time to show his office crush that he’s the guy she should be falling for...
|Publisher:||Entangled Publishing, LLC|
|File size:||2 MB|
About the Author
Read an Excerpt
Sarah Leonard hurried down the hallway of NPH Designs, the eco-friendly architectural design firm where she worked, clutching the felt Santa hat full of employee names to her chest.
Her red patent leather heels click-click-clicked on the shiny cork flooring. The holly-jolly man's eight tiny reindeer had nothing on her. Not when she set her mind to something. In this case, a plan she hoped would change her life. Oh, yes. Getting things done was her superpower.
She skidded to a stop at her destination and closed herself in the familiar office, breathless with anticipation.
Ryan Wright faced the window, his hands shoved in the pants pockets of his black suit. Sarah always teased him on days he dressed up, but not even she was immune to the effect he had on women. With his short blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and tall, athletic build, her commitment-phobic friend left a trail of broken hearts wherever he went.
Lucky for her, as a civil engineer, he usually went the casual route of khakis and button-down shirts. It helped tone down the sex appeal. A little.
Okay, not really.
But Ryan's sex appeal was neither here nor there. Unable to restrain her excitement for another second, she blurted out, "I need you to help make Logan fall in love with me."
Ryan turned around and leaned over his speakerphone. "Hey, guys. My apologies, but I've got to cut this call short." He grinned up at Sarah and added, "I'll email over the final designs by noon."
Her mouth dropped open. Had everyone in the company just heard her declaration? Had their boss, Logan? Stomach sinking to her feet, she dropped into the white chair opposite his desk, her air supply suddenly cut off. Was she hyperventilating? She buried her head into the opening of the Santa hat and tried to breathe.
"Hey, Red. You okay?"
She would have believed his concern if there weren't a hint of amusement in his voice. She knew that tone all too well. They joked around all the time, but not usually at her expense. She squashed the hat against her chest. "Please tell me Logan wasn't on the call."
"I could." He pried the Santa hat from her hands and set it on his desk next to him. "But then I'd be lying, and I'm really trying to stay on the big guy's nice list this year."
She groaned. "Santa's or Logan's?"
"Does it really matter?"
"Crap." She closed her eyes. Now she'd be out the job she loved. How could she be so stupid? Coming up with the idea to enlist Ryan's help to make the CEO — Ryan's best friend — fall in love with her seemed like the perfect plan when she'd come up with it five minutes ago. Okay, it had some noticeable holes, namely Ryan's reaction. However, when impulse struck, she had a habit of going for it. Why couldn't she be more like her roommate, Chloe, who carefully weighed every outcome before acting?
Because impulsive was Sarah's middle name, that's why. What she should have done was make herself a warm cup of peppermint hot chocolate, sit her butt down in front of her computer, and craft Ryan a private message from her Facebook account, promptly deleting it until she'd thought this through.
"Relax," Ryan said. "You won't be going anywhere."
She frowned. "How do you know?"
"Logan wasn't on the call. Nor was anyone who cares who you're in love with."
"Ryan!" She grabbed the hat and swatted him with it. "How could you do that to me?"
"Because you make it so easy." He pushed himself off the desk, offering her the bag of malt balls he kept stashed in his drawer for when she needed to calm her nerves.
She reached in and took one. "Thank you."
He studied her, his assessing eyes always seeing too much. "I thought you said you got over him months ago?"
She straightened her red knit sweater over her black pencil skirt, not sure how to explain her tiny fib. It had all started last summer. Ryan had invited her out to happy hour, an invitation she'd pounced on because she liked hanging out with him.
After a few strawberry margaritas, she'd casually mentioned that she was interested in Logan and asked Ryan if he thought she had a shot. If she didn't, who better to set her straight than the guy who'd been Logan's longtime best friend? Ryan had hemmed and hawed, saying that Logan was a pretty private guy when it came to his relationships and that he wasn't the right person to answer her question.
So, Ryan hadn't exactly said no. She'd chalked it up to his probably not wanting to get involved with messy office romances between any woman and his friend.
The following week, Ryan had kept to himself, eating lunch in his office instead of joining her in the cafeteria like usual. She'd missed his company and the to-die-for desserts that his sister would make that he always split with Sarah.
After four days of having to endure sitting with Paul from finance, who'd been with the company forever and liked to discuss every muscle ache and joint pain he'd felt in the past year, Sarah had stopped by Ryan's office to address the elephant in the room.
And that's when she'd fibbed. She'd said that in her fuzzy, margarita-infused state, it might have sounded like she had a crush on Logan, but what she'd meant to say was that she'd had a crush on the CEO. Anything else she'd asked that night was purely hypothetical tipsy babble. Please don't let it get in the way of their friendship.
Ryan had smiled and tugged her ponytail, saying it'd just been a busy week. Whether that was true or not, things between them had gone back to normal the following Monday.
She'd never brought it up again. Until now.
"Okay, so my interest in Logan ... never quite went away," she admitted. "I didn't want things to be weird between you and me."
He arched an eyebrow. "So you lied?"
Well, when he put it like that ... She shrank in her seat. "I'm sorry." If he was going to help her, she'd have to come completely clean. "I really like him. A lot."
"Do you two even have anything in common?"
She frowned. Truth was, despite being his executive assistant the past two years, she didn't know a whole lot about Logan. She had no clue how he spent his free time, what he liked to watch on TV, or the one thing he wanted more than anything for Christmas. What she did know was that they came from vastly different backgrounds — her a farmer's daughter from Dillon, Montana, and him from an affluent family.
She shook off her meager upbringing, holding her head high. She was a sophisticated city girl now with a closet full of pencil skirts and colorful stilettos. Surely they shared some interests. "I bet Logan and I have tons of things in common."
"Like what?" Ryan asked, his lips curving up.
He was testing her. Mr. Anti-Relationship wasn't going to help her unless she showed him that she and Logan were compatible.
Snapping her fingers, she said, "We both love Mexican food from Taco Guaco." There. That was true. Logan often asked her to pick him up the lunch special from the hole in the wall restaurant across the street. Never mind that he always ate it in his corner office with the door closed.
Ryan smirked. "And nothing speaks love more than two people experiencing the aftereffects of bean burritos in unison. I totally agree."
He laughed. "So, why do you need my help?" He picked up the baseball on his desk and tossed it. "Why not tell him how you feel?"
"Two words." She stood and snatched the ball in midair. "Mary Beth Simmons."
He maneuvered around his desk and took a seat. "Isn't that technically three?"
She threw the ball at him. "Stop with the semantics. I've got a real problem here."
"O-kay." He tossed it back. "So, who is this woman?"
"Oh, please. Recently hired in accounting." She tucked the ball under her arm, brought her hands up to the top of her admittedly small breasts, and pantomimed a large half circle.
A grin spread across his face. "Right. I remember them ... um ... her."
She narrowed her eyes. Of course he knew about Mary Beth and her company assets. Everyone did, thanks to her sauntering into last month's office Halloween party wearing a sexy nurse outfit and black fishnet pantyhose.
Sarah's master plan for that event had gone out the window. She'd dressed in what she'd thought would be the perfect Lois Lane getup to complement her boss's Clark Kent costume, thinking maybe, just maybe, he'd find it adorable and see what a perfect pair they were. Unfortunately, she always carried a notepad whenever she left her desk already, and with her wavy red hair, no one had quite got the outfit, including Logan.
While she'd sat in a corner, she and Ryan sharing a hunk of Oreo graveyard cake that his sister had made, Miss Sexy Nurse had pranced right up to Logan, flashed a thermometer, and offered to let him take her temperature.
She'd refused to look for either of them the rest of the evening, afraid she might find that they had both gone missing. Presumably with Mary Beth's thermometer in hand.
"So, you think Logan's got the hots for her?" Ryan asked, motioning for Sarah to toss the ball back.
"Yes. Without a doubt."
"Have you seen them leave work together?"
"No," she admitted, throwing it underhand like Ryan had taught her the one and only time she'd attempted to play on the company's softball team.
"Was there a lunch date on his calendar with Mary Beth you happened to notice?" He pretended to wind the ball up for a fast one, but let it gently sail through the air.
She shook her head, caught the ball, and overhanded it back.
"Did he have you buy her flowers for no reason?" He put a little muscle into his toss.
She caught it. "Not a single stem."
"Three strikes, Sarah. I think I'm going to call you out on this one."
"Enough with your sports metaphor. Obviously, you have a point. Let's hear it."
He shrugged. "It's more like a question: Could you be seeing something between Logan and Mary Beth that's not there?"
She set the baseball down on his desk and snatched the Santa hat, waving it in the air. "Maybe nothing has happened between them yet, but something certainly could because of this." Earlier this morning, Logan had reached into the hat, pulled out a red slip, and lit up like a Christmas tree. "Logan's her Secret Santa."
"Oh no," Ryan deadpanned. "Not that."
"Stop picking on me. I knew I shouldn't have put her name in until after Logan picked." She slumped back into the seat again. "I've basically thrown them together."
"I think you're overreacting."
"No, I'm not." She shook her head. "You know what usually happens when one attractive single gets another for Secret Santa. I don't have enough fingers to count all of the holiday hookups that have happened in the last two years because of this stupid hat."
"I've never hooked up."
"Really?" She found that hard to believe. Ryan was definitely hookup material. Half of the floor had a crush on him.
"Nope. I haven't been so lucky." He grabbed the hat and shoved his hand in, pulling out a red slip. "And my streak continues."
"Who'd you get?"
"It's a female."
He lifted one eyebrow. "So now you have psychic powers?"
"No. I know because men's names are on green slips and women's on red." She blew out an aggravated breath, hoping it wasn't Vanessa from marketing. The perky executive had gotten into the habit of stopping by their lunch table every day to talk to Ryan, sometimes pulling up a chair and joining them. Sarah wasn't about to lose her lunch partner to Secret Santa flirting. "Why won't you tell me?"
"It's a secret." He walked over and handed the hat back. "Look, I can't help you with Logan. He doesn't talk about his love life. I couldn't even tell you the name of the last woman he took to dinner."
Sarah's chest tightened, her shoulders slumped. She glanced down at the stupid hat in her hands, reality hitting her hard. Ryan wasn't going to help her. Her Christmas wish was going to someone else.
Her body tensed at an image of Logan and Mary Beth kissing underneath mistletoe. She gripped the Santa hat with both hands, ready to rip it apart.
Oh, hell no. She released her tight hold. She was not going to lose Logan to a woman who flaunted her double-D cups in questionable office attire. Yes, it was unfortunate that Logan had gotten Mary Beth and not her for his Secret Santa, but she had a plan, dammit. And it hinged on Ryan.
She took a deep breath and started her pitch. "Maybe you don't know who he's seeing, but you can offer some insight. You've been best friends forever — you must know things about him that could help me. For example, is he a morning or night person? What's his go-to TV show? What's his spirit animal? What's his favorite comfort food on a rainy day? Does he crawl into warm flannel or soft silk sheets? Does he like his kisses hot and wild, or does he prefer to take it slow and sensual?"
Ryan stilled, his eyes going dark as he scowled. "I don't know the answers to any of those questions, and definitely not the last two."
Sarah reached over and picked up the baseball again, holding it up. She was going to have to speak in terms Ryan could relate to. "I have a game plan, but to successfully execute it, I need to have a coach on the sidelines helping me with my plays. You, Mr. Wright, are the right man for the job — the only man. What do you say? Will you join Team Sargan?"
"Team Sargan," he repeated, a line forming between his eyebrows.
"You know. Logan's and my name combined — Sargan."
"Right." He slid his hands in his pockets. "I don't know."
"Think about it, and as a token of my appreciation, I could do something for you," she offered, glancing down at her watch. She should probably head back to her desk.
"I don't know. Buy you lunch every Friday in January? Drop off and pick up your dry cleaning for three months?"
His expression lightened a bit at that. "Now that's tempting. You get love, and I get pressed pants. If I agree, I'm definitely getting the better end of the deal."
She punched his arm. "Not everyone is against being in a relationship. You should try it." She motioned behind her. "There are a lot of pretty, single girls in the office who would die to go on a date with you."
"Nah. I think I'll renew my bachelor card for another year."
"You'll turn it in one day. So ..." She pasted on what she knew was her best pretty-please smile. "Will you help me?"
He folded his arms across his chest and studied her for a long moment. Finally, he sighed. "I'll think about it."
Her heart raced to a first-round victory. Yes! His answer was good enough for now. She rested her hand on the door handle. "Thank you. If there's anyone who can help make Logan see I'm the one for him, it's you. And trust me, Coach Wright. When he and I do get together ..." She opened the door and winked. "... Logan will feel like he won the Super Bowl."
Satisfied with the progress she'd made, Sarah spun on her heels ... and slammed straight into the other half of Team Sargan.
"Why will I feel like I won the Super Bowl?" Logan asked, looking from Sarah to Ryan.
"Um ... er ... Merry Christmas!" Sarah raised the Santa hat, a shaky, too-big smile plastered across her face.
Ryan suppressed a smirk as he watched the adorable redhead stumble over her words. She began rambling about the upcoming holiday party, asking Logan if she should purchase a ten-pound Christmas goose.
This ought to be good. Just how was she going to segue from a Christmas goose to Logan winning the Super Bowl? He should let Sarah dig her way out of this solo, but he wasn't that big an asshole.
Even if she had just stomped on his heart.
He opened up the top drawer of his desk, pulled out a legal-size envelope, and held two tickets out to Logan. "I was going to surprise you later, but I have two VIP passes to the Jets game next week."
That much was true. Before he'd joined Logan at NPH Designs five years ago, Ryan had worked for a firm who had renovated portions of the stadium, including the pressroom. He'd run into one of the PR directors at the gym a few days prior, and the man had hooked him up with two VIP tickets on the fifty yard line, along with seats to the fifth-quarter press conference after the game.
The person he'd wanted to invite was now the reason he wouldn't be asking her. Sarah had never been to a professional football game. He'd be lying if he said he hadn't fantasized about her bundled up in her puffy black jacket, sipping hot chocolate, cheering on the Jets.
Of course, in his fantasy, they'd be celebrating touchdowns with his arm draped around her shoulders, and then, much later, he'd find another way to warm her up that involved far less clothing.
Ryan shut down that thought as fast as it came, feeling a prickle of sweat under his collar. He and Sarah were just friends — a fact she'd just reinforced by all but demanding he help her land Logan. What he may or may not have wanted didn't matter.
Excerpted from "Falling for Mr. Wright"
Copyright © 2017 Robyn Neeley.
Excerpted by permission of Entangled Publishing, LLC.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.