1 " You know, just sit in the corner and glare at him the whole time. See if he crumbles.” “I’ve seen your hard-ass face, Tuck,” Charlie said. “Mostly, you just look constipated. Ford, you’d better do the glaring. "
3 " You're tough when you need to be, and you can charm the pants off men who have three times your experience. Well, yes. Although I try not to take advantage of that too often. Very awkward negotiating with people who are sitting around in their underwear. "
4 " Hopefully not another employee stealing credit cards, Brooke mused. Or any sort of headache-inducing “oops moment,” like the time one of the restaurant managers called to ask if he could fire a line cook after discovering that the man was a convicted murderer.“Jeez. How’d you learn that?” Brooke had asked.“He made a joke to one of the waiters about honing his cooking skills in prison. The waiter asked what he’d been serving time for, and he said, ‘Murder.’”“I bet that put an end to the conversation real fast. And yes, you can fire him,” Brooke had said. “Obviously, he lied on his employment application.” All of Sterling’s employees, regardless of job position, were required to answer whether they’d ever been convicted of a crime involving “violence, deceit, or theft.” Pretty safe to say that murder qualified.Ten minutes later, the manager had called her back.“Um . . . what if he didn’t exactly lie? I just double-checked his application, and as it turns out, he did check the box for having been convicted of a crime.”Brooke had paused at that. “And then the next question, where we ask what crime he’d been convicted for, what did he write?”“Uh . . . ‘second-degree murder.’”“I see. Just a crazy suggestion here, Cory, but you might want to start reading these applications a little more closely before making employment offers.”“Please don’t fire me. "
5 " So I’m reading some poem by Louise . . . something, I forget her last name, but it’s about Hades and the underworld, and I don’t even notice that Paige has come up to my table until she says, ‘Doesn’t everyone want love?’ And I’m thinking, wow, that’s a pretty deep question, but then again Paige is really smart, and this is my chance to finally show her that I’m not just a dumb jock. So I say, ‘I heard this theory once that love means your subconscious is attracted to someone else’s subconscious.’”“Very deep,” Cade said.“Exactly. And I’m feeling proud of myself for that one, until she points to the book and says, ‘Oh, that wasn’t a question. I was just quoting a line from the poem. "
6 " …He rocked against her, his body shuddering against hers again and again, until he collapsed on top of her and buried his face in her hair.Brooke felt his heart beating against her chest as they lay there, boneless. For two people who preferred to speak in quips and sarcasm, that had been unexpectedly…intense.She wasn’t quite sure how to feel about that.Then Cade spoke.“I think this is the first time I’ve ever used this table,” he said, against her neck.Brooke began to laugh. My God, he was still inside her and she was already giggling. “I take it you don’t do a lot of formal entertaining.”He pulled back, his dark hair falling across his forehead. “Were you not entertained, Ms. Parker? "
7 " His eyes were dark. “Brooke.”She knew what he was asking. “Yes.”Immediately, Cade took her hand and led her – quite briskly – along the sidewalk.“Thank God I’m not wearing the red high heels today,” she said.“In two minutes you’ll be wearing nothing,” he said in a low voice.Well, then. "
8 " Her eyes widened as he guided her backward until she was trapped against the bed. He turned her around so that she faced it.“You remember when we met, how you told me off in your office? Ever since then, I’ve wanted something.” He smoothed his hands up her legs and pushed up her skirt. With one sharp tug, he ripped her lacy thong and tossed it to the floor. “You at my mercy.”He heard the excited catch of her breath and bent his head to murmur in her ear. “Good thing you still have those heels on. "
10 " Cade thought about this. “Let me get this straight—you secretly pretend to like poetry to impress the smart girl in your English class, while she’s secretly pretending to like football to impress you.” He paused. “That’s gotta be the cutest fucking thing I’ve ever heard.”“I guess her subconscious finds my subconscious pretty irresistible,” Zach said, all teenage confidence right then.“You were lucky to pull that line off once, Garrity. I wouldn’t push it. "
11 " Brooke stared in surprise. “You brought me lunch?”“I was in the neighborhood.”She checked out the label on the bag. “DMK is twenty minutes from here.”“I was in that neighborhood, and now I’m here,” he said in exasperation. “Seriously, woman, you are impossible to feed.” He strode over and set the bag on her desk. “One cheeseburger with spicy chipotle ketchup and a side of sweet potato fries—chosen specifically for a certain spicy and sweet girl I know—and a green dill pickle for your eyes. So there.” He crossed his arms over his chest.Brooke studied him. “You seem very ornery right now.”“As a matter of fact, I am.”“Why?”“I don’t know,” he huffed. “Just . . . eat your Brooke Burger. Stop asking so many questions. Sometimes a guy just wants to buy a girl lunch. Any objections to that? Good. Enjoy your Sunday, Ms. Parker.”He strode out of her office, gone as quickly as he’d appeared.Brooke stared at the doorway and blinked. "
12 " You’ve got this job offer in Charlotte. I know. But if you want, that’s something we can figure out together. I made a commitment to Cameron, so I need to stay in Chicago until she’s back from maternity leave. But after that, I can—” “I didn’t take the job in Charlotte.” “Oh. Right.” He exhaled, trying to catch up to speed. “Well. You should know that I had at least two minutes left on that speech. Really quality stuff.” “Sorry. I just thought this might be a good time to mention that I love you, too.” She made a rolling gesture. “But, please—carry on.” He grinned. Sassy as ever. "