Georgie Baldt is stuck in a rut. He used to be a go-getter, but then the real world hit after college, and being magna cum laude with a major in Liberal Arts meant squat next to student loans and paying the bills. In the middle of all the mind-numbing minutia of working two dead-end jobs, Georgie just wants to find that spark again, and maybe someone to love, too.
In fact, Georgie's never forgotten the stranger who took his virginity one night years ago in the back alley of a bar when he was drunk and begging for it. Loudly. The man had been kind, and afterward, Georgie had run away in shame. So what are the odds that the same man from back then is now Georgie’s new boss at the trendy grocery store where he works mornings?
Ry Archibald, newly minted produce manager is a fine figure of a man and remembers Georgie. However, they get off on the wrong foot mainly because of a coworker and his slutty ways. Harsh words are exchanged and Georgie retreats into his shell. Let the pretty people have their fun, is Georgie’s way of thinking. Who was he kidding, anyway? No one would look at him twice. But Ry is looking.
And when Georgie hands in his two weeks’ notice, Ry pulls out all the stops so they can finally become friends. Maybe more.
“I suppose I should say thanks for the ride, but I’m not feeling very grateful.” I opened the door to the backseat of Ry’s car and grabbed my purchases. “I’ll see you at work tomorrow.”
He got out of the car and locked up. “Aren’t you going to invite me up?”
“Not on your life.” I walked into the lobby of my apartment building, Ry close at my heels. “Get lost.” I pressed the up button next to the elevator bank.
“I know why you’re pissed at me.”
I laughed humorlessly. “Right.”
“You’re jealous,” he said as he stepped into the elevator with me when it arrived.
“Am not,” I replied too swiftly, but I didn’t care.
“Hell yes, you are. Admit it.”
“I don’t see why I should. It’s not true, after all. Like I said a while ago, you’re an adult. You can do whatever you want with whomever you want.”
When the elevator arrived on the ninth floor, I got off and headed toward my door, my pain in the ass companion close behind. “I don’t believe you.”
“That’s your problem.”
I set my purchases on the floor and dug out my keys before turning to face him.
“This is borderline stalking, Ry Archibald. What do you want from me?”
He backed me into the door, both hands on either side of my head as he leaned in, hot breath on my face. “You know what your problem is? You’re spineless. You sit there letting someone else take what you want -- no, don’t deny it” -- I was shaking my head vigorously in the negative -- “just because you don’t think you’re worthy of it, for some dumb reason. That’s absolute horse shit.”
My breathing stuttered. “I have a goddamn spine!” Well, I did now. “I don’t give a fuck what you and Trent do together,” I stated, giving myself away completely. “It could be anyone, really, but you know what? You made me feel like dirt under your shoe the way you spoke to me, and I refuse to let anyone treat me that way anymore, like I don’t fucking matter. I matter, and I’ll thank you to remember that. I don’t need all you pretty, in-crowd people making me feel even worse about myself than I already do. I do that plenty, on my own. Now if you don’t mind, I’d appreciate it if you left.”
I folded my arms across my chest and stared down the hall, away from his tempting chest and mesmerizing, infuriating eyes. I wouldn’t hold out long if he gazed at me much longer.
It took thirty seconds for Ry to respond. I counted each and every one of them, believe me.
He ran a hand through his hair. “Georgie, I’m an arrogant ass, most days, but I’d like to think I can be nice, too. Unfortunately, I failed in that department when it came to you. I apologize for being a pushy, self-centered bastard. In my defense, I don’t understand why you have such a low opinion of yourself. Have you looked in a mirror lately? You’re gorgeous. Maybe a bit reserved and shy, sometimes, but that doesn’t detract from anything. It adds to it.”
He reached out a finger to touch my chin. “Hey, look at me.”
I counted to five, then I did.
“I’d be proud to have you on my arm any day of the week.”