ROSES are red. Violets are blue. If I ever got my hands on your fine ass, oh baby, the things I would do.
Russ Manners glared at his computer screen. His brown eyes darkened with frustration before he pressed the backspace key and watched the letters and their crisp Verdana font disappear one after another. Well, that little rhyme blew, he thought in disgust. Big time.
He rubbed his temples and stared at the glossy pages cut out of an assortment of magazines and taped to the wall of his office cube. They didn’t help his futile search for inspiration. In fact, the more he focused on the colorful images of decorated eggs, baskets, and bright, cartoon rabbits the more he wanted to gouge his eyes out.
The pictures’ perky themes clashed with the Christmas music piped through the office’s overhead speakers, adding to his piercing headache. Russ never understood this time of year. He lived in southern Florida, for crap’s sake. Was he the only one who got the memo explaining that no snow equaled no Christmas?
Russ didn’t deliberately live out of sync with the rest of the world, but his demanding job writing greeting cards ensured he lived his life two or three holidays ahead. Normally he thrived on the resulting chaos. So what was his problem? The stuffed, yellow rabbit perched above his monitor regarded him with blank, black eyes. “A lot of help you are.” Russ muttered.
Soft brown hair hid his face as Russ lowered his head to his keyboard and let the plastic cool his overheated forehead. He was so screwed. Instead of happy, lilting Easter greetings guaranteed to bring smiles to the faces of their special recipients, Russ had been reduced to writing cheesy Valentine tags no self-respecting card company would publish.
Here he sat, a few weeks away from his drop-dead date for the upcoming Easter line, and his mind absolutely positively refused to cooperate. Russ didn’t understand why. He’d never had any problems creating his trademark, catchy sayings before five weeks ago.
And there was his answer. He blamed everything on newcomer Ian Fiorillo.
As if on cue, Russ heard a low grunt from the cubicle next to him. Despite his intention not to give in to temptation, he clambered on top of the two-drawer file beside his desk, ignoring the files he knocked to the floor and the hard metal beneath his kneecaps so he could peek over the top of the cubicle wall.
Truly, this was his hell.
Because Ian wasn’t sitting at his computer, composing amusing ditties for Left-Brain Cards, the company they worked for. No, Ian was currently on his hands and knees with his head stuck under his desk, leaving Russ staring at the very same ass to which he had just composed yet another in a long line of excruciatingly bad odes.
Russ couldn’t help himself. Ian had a great ass.
Despite his efforts not to dwell on the subject, Russ would give almost anything to see Ian’s ass without its current khaki covering. Well, that and the rest of him. Because from where he knelt those hamstrings looked pretty sweet. Hell, even Ian’s ankles were attractive. But it wasn’t only Ian’s body Russ found irresistible. No, Ian proved to be as funny and friendly as he was eye-catching.
Ian Fiorillo was hands-down the main reason Russ hadn’t produced any work for weeks, and that was wrong on too many levels to count. Russ claimed the title of head writer at Left-Brain Cards when the small company started. At the advanced age of thirty-two, he was the old man, the grand poobah, the undisputed star of the office. He hadn’t wanted competition from someone younger and new to the business, and he never expected to like the newcomer.
Russ had cheerfully planned to hate Ian ever since he learned a new employee had been hired to bring fresh life to their card and coffee mug line—his view being there was nothing wrong with the ideas they had. But somehow that changed on Ian’s first day. The very same day everything in Russ’s world turned upside down. The day he couldn’t manage to forget…