Sleigh Bells in the Snow

By: Sarah Morgan
CHAPTER ONE

KAYLA GREEN CRANKED up the volume on her favorite playlist and blocked out the sound of festive music and laughter wafting under her closed office door.

Was she the only person who hated this time of year?

Surely there had to be someone out there who felt the way she did?

Someone who didn’t expect Christmas to be merry or bright?

Someone who knew mistletoe was poisonous?

She watched gloomily as soft snowflakes drifted lazily past the floor-to-ceiling glass windows that made up two sides of her spacious corner office. She hadn’t been dreaming of a white Christmas but it seemed she was getting one anyway.

Far below, the streets of Manhattan were jammed with tourists keen to enjoy the festive sights of New York in the holiday season. A giant spruce twinkled in front of the Rockefeller Centre, and the Hudson River glinted in the distance, a ribbon of silvery-gray shimmering in the winter light.

Turning her back on the snow, the tree and the glittering skyscrapers of Midtown, Kayla focused on her computer screen.

A moment later the door opened and Tony, her opposite number in Entertainment and Sports, appeared carrying two glasses of champagne.

She unhooked her headphones. “Who the hell is picking the music out there?”

“You don’t like the music?” The top button of his shirt was undone and the glitter in his eyes suggested this wasn’t his first glass of champagne. “Is that why you’re hiding in your office?”

“I’m searching for inner peace but I’d settle for outer peace so if you could close the door on your way out, that would be perfect.”

“Come on, Kayla. We’re celebrating our best year ever. It’s a British tradition to get drunk, sing terrible karaoke and flirt with your colleagues.”

“Who told you that?”

“I watched Bridget Jones’s Diary.”

“Right.” The music made her head throb. It was always the same at this time of year. The tight panicky feeling in her stomach. The ache in her chest that didn’t ease until December 26th. “Tony, did you want something? Because I’d like to keep working.”

“It’s our office party. You cannot work late tonight.”

As far as she was concerned it was the perfect night to work late.

“Have you seen A Christmas Carol? Or read the book?”

A glass of champagne appeared on the desk in front of her. “I’m guessing you’re not Tiny Tim in this scenario, so that makes you either Scrooge or one of the ghosts.”

“I’m Scrooge, but without the tasteless nightwear.” Ignoring the champagne, Kayla glanced through the doorway. “Is Melinda out there?”

“Last seen charming the CEO of Adventure Travel who has been looking for you all evening so he can thank you personally for the incredible year their company has enjoyed. Bookings are up two hundred percent since you took over their account. Not only that, you got his picture on the cover of Time magazine.” He raised his glass and his mouth twisted into a smile. “Until you arrived in New York, I was the golden boy. Brett used to give me tips on how to be the one on top. I was all set to be the youngest vice president this firm has ever appointed.”

Alarm bells rang in her head. “Tony—”

“Now it’s likely that accolade will go to you.”

“You’re still the golden boy. We work in separate divisions. Could we talk about this tomorrow?” Kayla delved into her bag for a report, wishing she could push herself inside and snap it shut until January. “I’m really busy.”


“Too busy to nurse my ego a little bit?”

She eyed the champagne. “I’ve always believed people should be responsible for their own egos.”

He gave a low laugh. “Coming from anyone else I’d assume there was innuendo in there, but you don’t do innuendo, do you? You don’t have time for it. Just like you don’t have time for parties or dinner or drinks on the way home after work. You don’t have time for anything except work. For Kayla Green, associate vice president of Tourism and Hospitality, it’s all about the next piece of business. Do you realize there’s a bet going in the office as to whether you sleep with your phone?”

“Of course I sleep with my phone. Don’t you?”

“No. Sometimes I sleep with a human, Kayla. A hot, naked woman. Sometimes I forget about work and indulge in a night of really incredible sex.” His eyes were on hers, his message unmistakable and Kayla wished she’d locked her office door.

“Tony—”

“I’m probably about to make a giant fool of myself, but—”

“Please don’t.” Deciding she might need both hands, Kayla gave up looking for the file. “Go back to the party.”

“You are the sexiest woman I’ve ever met.”

Oh, shit.

“Tony—”

“When you transferred here from London straight into the AVP role, I admit I was ready to hate you, but you charmed us all with your cute British ways and you charmed Brett with your killer business instinct.” He leaned forward. “And you charmed me.”

Kayla eyed the glass in his hand. “How many of those have you had?”

“The other day I was watching you in the boardroom presenting to your client. You never stand still.”