Santa Bring Me a Ryan, a Holiday Romance Novel
(Love and Work Series, Book Two)
Jules and Kerri sat at a high-top table in a local bar, Shooters and Stouts. An acoustic guitarist covered the latest pop songs, while clusters of patrons nearby cheered at the Washington Wizards game on TV. It was the perfect place to tell your friend you’ve been laid off. You do it over a beer—not while sipping martinis or enjoying a delicious daiquiri brain-freeze. You do it at a bar with communal pretzel bowls, sticky floors, and dusty ductwork.
Jules curled her shoe around the chair leg. She hunched over a Guinness. Her second. “Crazy, right? I ask Santa to bring me a Ryan. And instead, Santa brings me Bryan, my boss, who fires me.”
“A bloody shame.”
Kerri practiced a British accent for her upcoming role in a community play on New Year’s Eve. To Jules, now didn’t seem like the opportune time.
“If I’d known I was getting laid off, I wouldn’t have gone through all the trouble of becoming subtle bait. I went corporate sexy today. I wore smoky eye makeup, flat-ironed my hair, and kept it down, put on the tightest cardigan and shortest work-appropriate skirt I have.” Jules loved that skirt. “You know, the black and gray plaid wool one with the little bit of fringe at the bottom?”
What had Jules been thinking? That Bryan would suddenly become interested in her? He’d see her corporate-sexy ensemble, pull her into his office, do things to her that would collectively make the Human Resources department shriek, and pronounce her his holiday fling.
Maybe she wouldn’t be alone for Christmas.
They could spend December twenty-sixth together, too. Then come Monday, they’d be business as usual, back to their boss-employee relationship, with this fun little secret.
Okay, Jules had thought of all of those things happening. In vivid detail. She’d even thought about the underwear with the beads from Victoria’s Secret. But she knew nothing would transpire. Those kinds of things never happened to her, nor to anyone else she knew.
Kerri said, “I know the skirt you’re talking about. How could he resist you in that?” Kerri pronounced her words in clip, sharp tones.
“Do you have to do the accent tonight?” Jules asked.
“I do.” Do sounded more like duh. Kerri must’ve been going for a brasher English accent, which was a sensible choice, given the circumstance. “Maybe Bryan took one look at you today—with the fringe skirt and all—and realized he couldn’t trust himself around you anymore. To avoid crossing the boss-employee line of flirtation, he had no choice but to sack you.”
Sack the British way, as in to fire Jules, not sack, the American way, as in to take Jules to bed.
Oh, the irony.