Page 1 of Unwrapped

Chapter 1

Drip. Drip. Drip.

That steady sound that could’ve lulled Delaney to sleep, she was so tired.

Drip. Drip. Drip.

The sound of her lifeline as of late.

She leaned against the wall and watched the coffee drip into the ceramic mug. It was chipped and old, a little goofy and certainly didn’t match her business persona, but she loved it too much to care what anyone thought. The coffee machine in the breakroom had a small light above the mug. She hadn’t bothered turning on the overhead light, so the only illumination was from that coffee machine light and the glow coming from the hallway behind her.

Here she was, working late once again because some asshole was trying to go up against her for a promotion that she rightfully deserved.

She lifted her hand and rubbed her eyes, exhaustion settling in. This was another sixteen-hour day, the fourth one in a row, and although she didn’t have to stay this long, work this hard, she wasn’t about to let the promotion go to Ivan Redken.

She narrowed her eyes at the coffee maker, as if that was the sole reason she was pissed. But just thinking about that man’s name, the air of arrogance that surrounded him, the fact this was a competition to him, pissed her off. Maybe if he was a decent guy, not so cocky, not so cold, Delaney might not have given two shits about this promotion.

No, that was a lie. She did care about moving up in the company, and the fact that Ivan was going up against her for this promotion made the stakes even higher.

Ivan. Fucking. Redken.

As much as she hated that name, hated the man himself, she also couldn’t deny the way her heart started beating a little bit harder, or the fact she felt her nipples get stiff beneath her silk blouse. Just thinking about him gave her dual sensations, anger but arousal, hatred but pleasure. How could a man she loathed so much have this much control over her body and desires?

She pushed away from the wall and picked up the cup. The warmth could be felt through the ceramic, the smell of coffee like ambrosia in this moment. It was eight in the evening, three hours after everyone else had left.

Delaney headed back to her office, the majority of the lights off in the building. Holiday decorations could be seen sporadically, reds and greens, tinsel and holly hanging from the walls and doorways. With Christmas just around the corner, everyone was in the holiday spirit—everyone but her.

Her office was on the eleventh floor of the Howard Estes building downtown. With six offices on the floor, a handful of cubicles, a boardroom, breakroom, and two separate bathrooms, it was one of the larger office spaces in the building.

It was also one of the most prestigious marketing firms in the city. And Delaney had been here for three years, worked her way up from the bottom, and deserved the fucking promotion more than Ivan Redken.

But he had connections, came from money. He was gorgeous and intelligent, ambitious and driven. And he was also a man. Sexist as the world could be, Delaney knew she had a good shot at this promotion. And she was going to work her ass off, show the company and her employers that she deserved this just as much as Ivan, maybe even more.

Once she was in her office, she sat behind her desk and opened up the app that would give her the local radio. Listening to the news helped her focus, as crazy as that might sound.

It’s really coming down now, folks. Forecast predicts five inches of snow before ten tonight. Reports show highways and backroads are already being covered, and the snow shows no sign of letting up anytime soon. Be careful out there as it’s dangerously slick, with black ice and accidents being reported. Be safe.

She turned in her seat and looked out the window behind her desk, fat droplets of snow coming down as hard as if it were raining. She stood and leaned against the glass, looking down at the city below. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper, not unusual downtown, but already she could see police cars and ambulances because of accidents.

It was like people didn’t know how to drive in this weather, like this didn’t happen every single year.

And even though she had enough to think about, worry about, what was on her mind was one thing. One person.

Ivan Redken.

She was still here, working her ass off to get that promotion, the same as Ivan.

And God did that turn him on to know she was so driven in this.

Delaney, a stubborn, ambitious, gorgeous woman who put all others in this company to shame with her dedication to going after what she wanted.

He’d seen her walk past his office, a coffee mug in hand, her focus on the Christmas decorations. Ivan had checked her out, unashamedly. From the top of her gorgeous auburn hair down to the loose, but still showcasing her curves, silk blouse, then further still to the black pinstripe pencil skirt that showed off her apple-shaped ass.