Falling for Mr. Wright

By: Robyn Neeley
For all my readers who inspire me to keep writing and to keep laughing!

Chapter One

Sarah Leonard hurried down the hallway of NPH Designs, the eco-friendly architectural design firm where she worked, clutching the felt Santa hat full of employee names to her chest.

Her red patent leather heels click-click-clicked on the shiny cork flooring. The holly-jolly man’s eight tiny reindeer had nothing on her. Not when she set her mind to something. In this case, a plan she hoped would change her life. Oh, yes. Getting things done was her superpower.

She skidded to a stop at her destination and closed herself in the familiar office, breathless with anticipation.

Ryan Wright faced the window, his hands shoved in the pants pockets of his black suit. Sarah always teased him on days he dressed up, but not even she was immune to the effect he had on women. With his short blond hair, piercing blue eyes, and tall, athletic build, her commitment-phobic friend left a trail of broken hearts wherever he went.

Lucky for her, as a civil engineer, he usually went the casual route of khakis and button-down shirts. It helped tone down the sex appeal. A little.

Okay, not really.

But Ryan’s sex appeal was neither here nor there. Unable to restrain her excitement for another second, she blurted out, “I need you to help make Logan fall in love with me.”

Ryan turned around and leaned over his speakerphone. “Hey, guys. My apologies, but I’ve got to cut this call short.” He grinned up at Sarah and added, “I’ll email over the final designs by noon.”

Her mouth dropped open. Had everyone in the company just heard her declaration? Had their boss, Logan? Stomach sinking to her feet, she dropped into the white chair opposite his desk, her air supply suddenly cut off. Was she hyperventilating? She buried her head into the opening of the Santa hat and tried to breathe.

“Hey, Red. You okay?”

She would have believed his concern if there weren’t a hint of amusement in his voice. She knew that tone all too well. They joked around all the time, but not usually at her expense. She squashed the hat against her chest. “Please tell me Logan wasn’t on the call.”

“I could.” He pried the Santa hat from her hands and set it on his desk next to him. “But then I’d be lying, and I’m really trying to stay on the big guy’s nice list this year.”

She groaned. “Santa’s or Logan’s?”

“Does it really matter?”

“Crap.” She closed her eyes. Now she’d be out the job she loved. How could she be so stupid? Coming up with the idea to enlist Ryan’s help to make the CEO—Ryan’s best friend—fall in love with her seemed like the perfect plan when she’d come up with it five minutes ago. Okay, it had some noticeable holes, namely Ryan’s reaction. However, when impulse struck, she had a habit of going for it. Why couldn’t she be more like her roommate, Chloe, who carefully weighed every outcome before acting?

Because impulsive was Sarah’s middle name, that’s why. What she should have done was make herself a warm cup of peppermint hot chocolate, sit her butt down in front of her computer, and craft Ryan a private message from her Facebook account, promptly deleting it until she’d thought this through.

“Relax,” Ryan said. “You won’t be going anywhere.”

She frowned. “How do you know?”

“Logan wasn’t on the call. Nor was anyone who cares who you’re in love with.”

“Ryan!” She grabbed the hat and swatted him with it. “How could you do that to me?”

“Because you make it so easy.” He pushed himself off the desk, offering her the bag of malt balls he kept stashed in his drawer for when she needed to calm her nerves.

She reached in and took one. “Thank you.”

He studied her, his assessing eyes always seeing too much. “I thought you said you got over him months ago?”

She straightened her red knit sweater over her black pencil skirt, not sure how to explain her tiny fib. It had all started last summer. Ryan had invited her out to happy hour, an invitation she’d pounced on because she liked hanging out with him.

After a few strawberry margaritas, she’d casually mentioned that she was interested in Logan and asked Ryan if he thought she had a shot. If she didn’t, who better to set her straight than the guy who’d been Logan’s longtime best friend? Ryan had hemmed and hawed, saying that Logan was a pretty private guy when it came to his relationships and that he wasn’t the right person to answer her question.

So, Ryan hadn’t exactly said no. She’d chalked it up to his probably not wanting to get involved with messy office romances between any woman and his friend.

The following week, Ryan had kept to himself, eating lunch in his office instead of joining her in the cafeteria like usual. She’d missed his company and the to-die-for desserts that his sister would make that he always split with Sarah.

After four days of having to endure sitting with Paul from finance, who’d been with the company forever and liked to discuss every muscle ache and joint pain he’d felt in the past year, Sarah had stopped by Ryan’s office to address the elephant in the room.

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