Mr. Grumpy Boss (Alphalicious Billionaires Boss #1) - Lindsey Hart Page 0,1

jet black hair. Like, shoulder-length. His chiseled features—and what I like to call pretty nose and lips—are totally at odds with the rest of his body. Not that he’s not chiseled there, because heck yes he is, but he’s tall and broad and jacked in a way that makes women salivate all over before they realize what an ass he can be.

I mean, it’s simple to me, really. Hot guys are always assholes. No exception.

I wouldn’t have taken the job if I had known Philippe Wilson was going to be my boss. I used to work for a nice older gentleman who was soft-spoken, thoughtful, and a great all-around human being. Jack went by the wayside after the company’s owner, Nathanial Wilson, died in a car accident, and his son decided he was going to take over and that being a tyrant around the office all day was obviously the best way to help people invest their money.

“It’s—oh—my—it’s…” Cherry is out of breath, panting all over the place, and her face is flushed scarlet.

Before she continues, I shove my chair back. “I’m coming,” I sigh. We don’t need words for this. I already know what’s going on.

Cherry decides to fill me in anyway. “It was the board meeting. It went—bad—I think—I mean, I heard…shouting. Lots—of—shouting.”

I set a hand on her shoulder. “It’s alright. Hide out here. Take a breath. I have candy hidden in my desk. Second drawer from the top.”

“It’s bad,” she pants. “Seriously. Bad.”

“How bad?”

“He’s in his office with his head between his legs.”

Shitlicker. Don’t ask me what that is. For some reason, it’s Granny’s favorite curse. When I was four, she once referred to some teenage kid who was driving a jacked-up truck and happened to jump the curb and do a half doughnut rollover on the front lawn as a ‘shitlicker,’ and since then, the term has been embedded in my brain.

It’s not directed at Philippe. I think I’m the only person in the whole office who knows he has full-blown panic attacks. I might wish I was heartless when it comes to him, but I’m not. I’m too nice. So while the rest of the office thinks he’s raging and leaves him alone, I know that head between the legs means something else. It means he can’t breathe. Panic attacks are scary. They’re not funny, and they’re not something I’d wish on anyone.

I leave Cherry in my office and run, yes, full-on sprint, across the office to the more luxurious side of the building where all the bigwigs have their even more luxurious offices. I mean, seriously. Philippe’s office opens to a solarium garden thing with a pond, trees and plants, and actual freaking butterflies. No, I’m not kidding. Yes, the other execs get to enjoy it too, but Philippe actually had it built when he acquired ownership of the company.

Philippe’s door is open, and I rush in, shutting it and locking it behind me. I’ve been his assistant for three years. I know he doesn’t want the rest of the world to see this. I blame him for a lot of things, but not for this.

“Philippe…” I rush over to his desk. He’s not sitting in his chair anymore. He’s on the floor with his back against the wall, knees tucked up, arms wrapped around them.

Seeing your boss, who is six foot three and two hundred and some pounds, huddled into the world’s smallest human ball, gasping for air with his face burning red and tears streaming down his cheeks—because it takes some serious effort to get air into the lungs when this is going down, but also because not being able to breathe is scary as hell—kinda pulls a little on my heartstrings.

I’m sorry sometimes that I’m a natural caregiver. Granny says I have a heart of gold. She also says I’m way too nice and it’s going to get me in trouble. She also says I should befriend the mice that move under the stairs outside whenever it gets too cold out.

“It’s going to be okay.” I set my hand on Philippe’s shoulder and rub it in little circles.

He’s soaked right through the blue dress shirt he’s wearing. The fabric is damp but warm. I can feel the ridges of his shoulder and neck muscles. They’re bunched up tightly, and no, this is not an intimate oh my god I’m touching my boss’ muscles kind of a moment.

Now that I’m here, his head jerks up, and he looks me in the eye.