Pucked Page 23

“No worries. There are way worse pictures of Buck. Besides, there are plenty of other pictures of you out there, so I’m sure these ones will be buried soon enough.” I cringe at the way it sounds, and because it’s most likely true.

“I wanted to explain—”

“Anyway, I got your message and the text. My beaver’s fine, by the way, nothing a long bath won’t fix, and don’t worry, I have another pair of glasses, and contact lenses, so lots of backup.”

“I’d still like to drop them off when I’m in Chicago.”

“You really don’t need to go out of your way. You can mail them if you want. I can give you the address.”

He repeats it back to me. “I’d still prefer to bring them by, if it’s okay with you.”

The prospect of seeing Alex again makes my beaver all drooly. “Um, sure.”

“Great. Awesome. I’ll see you when I get back.” He sounds almost giddy.

“Okay. Well . . . talk to you later, then.”

“I sure hope so. Night, Violet.”

Charlene is waiting on the other side of the door. “So? What did he say?”

“He wants to drop my glasses off.” While part of me is excited, the other part is wary. According to media reports, Alex Waters is a player, and I don’t want to get played.

Despite the low alcohol content of Sour Puss, I’m mildly hungover the next morning. Char and I consume copious quantities of water as a means to flush the sugar out of our systems and follow it with a pot of coffee.

Too lazy to deal with my hair, I pull it up into a high ponytail, exposing marks on my neck. I have a hickey. No, wait. I have—let me count them—four hickeys. How I haven’t noticed them until now is beyond me, but there they are: faint, pinkish-purple reminders of my failure of a one-night stand.

I find an infinity scarf, which Charlene arranges artfully around my neck—i.e. she loops it twice—and covers up my misdemeanors.

Carrying my travel mug and messenger bag, I open the door and nearly have a heart attack. A guy holding a huge bouquet of flowers stands on my front steps. It’s colossal in the most preposterous way.

I can only see his eyes and the brim of his hat. “Delivery for Violet Hall.”

“Oh. Wow. Thanks.”

I’m surprised flower shops deliver this early in the morning. The flowers are heavier than I expect, and I almost drop them when he passes me the bouquet. After the flower guy leaves, I set them on the table and check out the card while Charlene hovers behind me.

I’m glad your beaver made a full recovery.


“Beaver?” Charlene asks.

“He’s referring to my girl parts.”

“He’s a bit of an odd duck, isn’t he?”

“He’s Canadian,” I reply as if this explains everything.

Charlene plans my wedding on our drive to work. I remain mostly silent as I’m reeling from the phone call last night and the flowers. The trek to my cubicle is telling—I get a lot of looks from the guys in the office. The kind that tell me they no longer regard me as the nerdy girl in accounting. Now I’m the nerdy girl who makes out with hockey players. Someone made a collage of the Internet pictures and taped it to my computer screen.

I rip it off and survey the office for the culprit. Fortunately, Charlene and I have a pre-team-meeting meeting with two of the other junior accountants this morning, so I can evade most of my colleagues until lunch. I gather my things and avoid eye contact on the way to the conference room.

As I flip open the laptop, Dean arrives. Only Jimmy is missing now. Logging onto the system, an alert shows several new emails. Four stand apart from the rest; they’re from Alex. I don’t remember telling him where I worked. I supposed if he searched my name, it wouldn’t be hard to find my email address on the company website.

“Oh my God,” Charlene squeals. “First the phone call, then the flowers, now he’s emailing you?”

“Who’s emailing you?” Dean asks.

I pull the laptop toward me, hiding the screen. “No one.”

“Alex Waters,” Charlene says.

I shoot her a glare. “You’re suspended as my best friend. I’m not talking to you for the rest of the day.”

“I heard there are pictures of you two getting it on,” Dean replies.

“We were just kissing.”

Charlene cuts in. “Didn’t you call it ‘mouth fucking’?”

“Ooooh, ‘mouth fucking.’ That sounds dirty.” Dean taps his fingers on his chin. “So we have his account now?”

“What? No!” I’m appalled Dean would think I could stoop to such low, unprofessional tactics to secure a client for the company.

“Why not? Waters is one of the top earners in the league. He cleared almost eight mil—”

I hold up my hand. Buck makes an obscene amount of money. I don’t want to know what Alex is worth, even if it is as easy as looking it up on the Internet. “Stop! I didn’t sleep with him to get his account!”

“You slept with him?” Dean’s jaw drops, his shock is understandable.

“Shut up!” I stalk across the room and shut the door. “Why don’t you announce it to the whole building since it’s not humiliating enough to have pictures of us kissing taped to my computer?”

“For real?” Dean leans forward. “You slept with Waters? Is the rumor true?”

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