Author:S. Walden

“Working on that right now, sir,” I said. I saluted him. Like a total dipshit.


He grunted and walked away. I had no idea where Marjorie went. Back to her desk, I supposed. I didn’t see her leave while I was staring at my computer and arguing with my brain about tapping my pens. I reached across the desk and grabbed my purple one. I tapped it a few times and breathed relief. I tapped it again and felt my world righted. I tapped it a third time and felt thoroughly giddy.


Bailey, you’ve got major problems.




All he glimpsed was a flash of red and a swinging ponytail, but it was enough. He thrust his head out of the conference room door and saw her round the corner on the balls of her feet, bouncing like a college cheerleader. He’d never seen someone walk happy. Yes, she walked happy, like she’d just ingested Coke and Pop Rocks.




He turned around. Christopher stared with brows raised.


“You gettin’ focused?” he asked, drumming his ebony hands on the table. “This meeting starts in five minutes.”


“Who was that?” Reece replied. He plopped back in his seat at the end of the table and ran his hand through his light brown mane.




“Ponytail girl,” Reece said.




“That girl who just walked by, Chris,” Reece said patiently.


“I didn’t see a girl.”


“Red pants! God, she was wearing red pants! How could you not see?”


“Ohhh,” Christopher said. “You mean Bailey? She’s the only one I know around here who wears those red pants. She’s all the time wearin’ those little pants. Different colors. Matching tops. She likes that ‘50s retro thing.”


Reece thought for a moment, and then the words spilled out of his mouth before he could stop them. “Beboppin’ Bailey.”


Christopher snorted. “Man, what did you just say?”


Reece blushed and shrugged. “She was bouncing down the hall.” He paused and glanced at his friend. “Whatever, man. I don’t know.”


Christopher burst out laughing.


“Shut up,” Reece said, chuckling.


“No, I like it,” Christopher said, and then they saw her come bouncing back down the hall. “Hey, Beboppin’ Bailey!”


“You ass,” Reece hissed.


She stopped in the doorway and poked her head inside.


“What’s up?” she asked.


Little cigarette pants. Blouse with cherries sprinkled all over. Round, pearl buttons. Red ribbon in her hair. Where did this chick come from? It was like she fell right out of Buddy Holly’s tour bus.


“And did you just call me Beboppin’ Bailey?” she added, grinning.


Reece fastened his eyes on her mouth—white-washed privacy fence teeth surrounded by glossy pink lips. Dear. God. She was luscious. Like those cherries on her shirt.


“Well, you be bouncin’ down the hall all the time. I thought it fit,” Christopher said.


“I like it,” Bailey replied. “It’s cute.”


What the hell? Reece thought, perturbed. I’m the one who came up with it. Speaking of, she hasn’t even looked at me once. Am I invisible?


“I got some documents I need you to look over before I send them to a customer. They really want ‘em today. Think you can squeeze in some time? I know you’re busy, but . . .” Christopher’s voice trailed off as he pouted.


Bailey sighed. “Email them to me. God, I’m too nice.”


“You’re the best. I was just tellin’ my man here how we got us the best proofreader this side of the Mississippi.”


“Yeah yeah.” Bailey rolled her eyes and left.


Christopher turned to Reece and grinned from ear to ear.


“You steal my name, and then you don’t even bother to introduce me?” Reece said. “I’ve only been here two weeks. You know I don’t know anyone.”


“I know exactly what you’re thinkin’, and it’s so not happenin’ in a trillion years.”


“What are you talking about?”


“I know you wanna bebop with Bailey, and that shit’s against company policy.”


Reece stared at his friend in mock disbelief.


“Oh, wipe that look off your face. I wasn’t born yesterday. You wanna get in Little Miss Red Pants’s pants, and I can’t let you go there. I am responsible for you landin’ this job, after all.”


“I just wanted an introduction. I’m not looking to score,” Reece said. “She caught my eye is all. She’s—” He thought for a moment, staring at the empty doorway, mesmerized. “—the prettiest thing I’ve ever seen.”


He could still see her standing there, the doorway framing her like a picture. She had a heart-shaped face. God, he was a sucker for those heart-shaped faces. He thought girls with faces like that just felt more, gave more, loved harder and deeper. They had to. They were shaped for it.


She had perfectly arched brown brows—the same color as her hair. Her eyes were dark, like bittersweet chocolate, and she lined her lids with a black eye pencil, heightening the mysteriousness of her irises.


A tiny, perfect ski slope nose, followed by a set of plump lips. Not Restylane-infused lips. No, he convinced himself they were naturally plump—a wicked little gift from God meant for the sole purpose of driving Reece Powell insane.