Mister McHottie Page 1

Author: Pippa Grant

Series: Girl Band #1

Genres: Romance


Ambrosia May Berger (Bro for short, but only to her enemies)

It’s 3 AM and they’re at it again. I grab my broom and bang on the ceiling. “Some of us have to work in a few hours, you jackrabbits!”

The squeaky-squeaky-squeaky-squeeeeeeak of the bedsprings is followed by a long moan and a high-pitched, come-to-Jesus pig squeal.


If I ever meet my upstairs neighbor, I will not be able to look her in the snout.

Eye. I mean eye.

I might offer her some lube though.

For the squeaky bedsprings. Cross my heart.

I roll over in the relative quiet—the city is never fully quiet, which is one of the things I love about it—but I can’t get back to sleep, because I said work, and now my mind is spinning. I’m a social media manager for Crunchy, the second-biggest organic grocery store in New York.

At least, I was yesterday. Tomorrow remains to be seen. Crunchy was just bought out by a soulless dickstool who hides baby powder in unsuspecting women’s hairdryers and who hums the first few bars of “It’s a Small World” to get it stuck in your ear for days and who makes innocent girls take the fall for—ahem.

Hold on. My official Crunchy social media manager hat is here somewhere… Ah, yes. There it is.


Crunchy has been acquired by an environmentally-conscious, self-made billionaire philanthropist who gives lollipops, puppies, and rainbows to orphans when he’s not personally digging recyclables out of landfills.

It’s not the official party line, but it’s close. I toss to my other side, because I’m gagging now.

I’ve loved working at Crunchy since I landed in New York six years ago, but it’s job hunting time. There are lots of companies in the city not owned by Chase Jett—or anyone else who knew me ten years ago—who would love to hire an experienced social media manager.

And one or two of them might not run a background check, so I might even stand a chance of getting through the hiring process.


I shove my head under the pillow, close my eyes, and start counting free-range sheep.

* * *

By 10 AM, I’m jacked up on four cups of organic, fair trade iced coffee—Crunchy brand, of course—and I still have nothing on Parker’s emotional jitters.

My work bff is balancing on a yoga ball across the room in our open office at headquarters in Midtown, fingers clicking over her laptop as she texts me on our corporate internal messaging system. She’s afraid she’ll be on the chopping block when the inevitable company reorganization happens.

I snort softly to myself. More likely she’ll get my job, probably by the end of today.

Parker’s message pops up with a goth emoji as her profile picture, even though she’s a freckled brunette with virgin hair that has never been touched by dyes or colors, chemical, organic, or any other way. She calls it being ironic. I call her adorable.

“I can’t lose my job, Sia,” the goth emoji Parker says. “I’m half a paycheck away from moving back in with my parents.”

She’s not the only one who’s strapped for cash. At least three of my four employees are also living on a shoestring budget, including April, resident photographer in the marketing department who’s currently arranging bok choy in a sustainable bamboo bowl for an upcoming feature about the leafy greens we grow in-house.

Seriously. We grow vegetables in our building. It’s high-tech and super cool and I’m so pissed I could spit that it belongs to the Dick now.

“You’ll be fine,” I type back to Parker on my company-issued tablet. “We kick ass. Crunchy needs us.”

Completely true. Also true? The Crunchy marketing department is a great place to work. Our office is open and airy, with couches and beanbag chairs and yoga balls instead of cubes. Modular desks line the walls for people who dig the traditional set-up, and we have a stock of every type of phone, tablet, and computer known to man accessible to us in the media room. Necessity when you’re in modern marketing.

It’s weird, but it works for us. And it works because we’re a Crunchy family.

A family I need to leave soon.

Thanks, dickhead.

In the light of the day—and with the aid of the coffee—I’ve comforted myself with the probability that billionaire organic grocery store taker-over-ers don’t make the rounds to meet all the employees. Or even a fraction of them. Which means I can wait a few days to hear back on a select few feelers I put out this morning before I resort to blindly sending resumes.

“I heard he’s stopping by today,” April says.

I fumble and almost drop the tablet I’m using to check customer comments on our Facebook page.

She shoots me a knowing grin, then tilts a light on the bok choy and looks at it through her Nikon again. “I also heard he can bench a Volkswagen. I’d shoot that.”

I’d shoot him too, but not with a camera. “Better for our image if he benched a Tesla.”

My sarcasm is lost on her. “That’s brilliant. I’m putting it in the suggestion box.”

“We can make life-size cardboard cut-outs for all our stores,” chimes in Madison. She writes the copy for our posts and single-handedly tripled sales of chickpeas with her Funnust Hummust series last year. I’d forgive her for the idea of wasting good cardboard if she were putting anyone but the Dick on it. “Fueled by Crunchy. New slogan. I call dibs on putting it in the box.” A rare frown draws her dark brows together. “He won’t change the employee suggestion box, will he? I like the suggestion box.”

Wouldn’t be the worst he’s ever done.

Four sets of eyeballs swivel my way, and I realize I just said that out loud. “Didn’t his date wear fur to some charity auction last year?” I say quickly.

I have no idea. For the last decade, he hasn’t existed to me. I don’t think about him, my family doesn’t talk about him, and none of my friends know I know him. But my offhand suggestion sends half the social media department scurrying to Google, which gives me a minute to breathe and re-focus.

Think of kittens. And cupcakes. And kittens in party hats made from recycled cardboard posing with cupcakes.

Cake doesn’t have to be made from organic flour, natural food dyes, fair trade cocoa, and free-range eggs.

Cake is cake is cake.

I’m deciding to have a slice of cake for lunch—chocolate, of course, from this oh my god amazing not at all organic bakery two blocks away because today’s a triple fudge frosting kind of day, plus if I bought a slice of cake at the snack bar here, some of my money would go directly into the Dick’s pockets—when the oak door squeaks open.

A moment of deathly silence is shattered by a flurry of squeals that would give my neighbor’s bedsprings stiff competition. Stiff, heh, look at that, I can still make a bad joke today.

Every single member of the social media department lunges for something. April turns her camera to the door and goes paparazzi. Madison tries to hide behind an Apple Watch before she bends her head so her short dark hair covers her face. Parker’s fingers go so fast over her keyboard there’s smoke, and the ding of her message on my tablet rings over every other sound in the room.

Six feet of pure sin stands wide-legged in the doorway. His smile is a lie, his smoky blue eyes a portal to self-destruction, the dimple in his chin twice the size needed to store what’s left of his conscience.

My eyes betray me and drift to his corded arms—I’m a sucker for a guy in gray suit pants with the sleeves of his white button-down shirt rolled up his forearms—and I can see Madison’s right.

He probably could bench a Volkswagen.

Damn him.

There’s a wave of palpable energy when he strolls in flanked by Rod Xavier, VP of Marketing, and a host of other suits who are either lackeys or wannabes.

I turn my back, bury myself in a beanbag chair, and slip on my headphones. Social media waits for no billionaire, and we have bok choy to sell.

That’s when I notice the message from Goth Parker. “Is it too much to offer to have his babies?”

“Sexual harassment will get you fired,” I shoot back.

“Jeez, who put insecticide in your mangoes this morning?”

My fingers hover over the keyboard, the truth threatening to spill out. Sweat is gathering in the bottom of my bra.

No one here knows I’m from Wishberry Lake, Minnesota, home of canned baloney, pineapple tater tot casserole, and the Fighting Dandelions high school football team. It’s Minnesota. Don’t judge.

Also from Wishberry Lake?

Chase Jett.

Number One Dick on my Dick List. He’s the reason I tell people I’m from Pittsburgh. I hope when they put him up at Madame Tussaud’s, they use ear wax. I hope when he goes on Naked and Afraid, they release him in the wilds of Minnesota and someone replaces his insect repellent with pig’s blood. Have you seen Minnesota mosquitoes? They’re horses with wings. It’s like being bitten by a hornless unicorn.

But back to the marketing lounge.

Rod is introducing Chase, and I don’t have to look to know that he’s preening for his adoring fans. I can smell the estrogen his presence has prompted. Half of my coworkers just spontaneously ovulated.

So the guy could buy a small country. Who cares? He’s also been known to pee in cornflakes.


I didn’t witness it, but my brothers told me later they didn’t think I’d really eat the cereal.

Now the Dick is talking. I’d turn my headphones up, but Parker spilled her avocado mango acai berry chia energy smoothie on them last week and shorted something in the cord, which means One Direction sounds like they’re being filtered through mashed bananas.

Yes, I like boy bands, and I’m not afraid to admit it. And I do a hell of a lot more than sing along, thank you very much.

“Morning, ladies and gentlemen.” The Dick’s voice is hot chocolate with a triple shot of espresso, and I hate myself for noticing. Why couldn’t the smoothie filter that out? “Just wanted to stop in and say hi. Love what you’ve done here, and I’m excited to be a part of the Crunchy family.”

I snort.


My brothers thought Chase was family once.

A chill washes over me, making my nipples tighten against my damp bra. Stupid boob sweat. Stupid racing heart. Stupid backstabbing billionaire.

Why did he get to be the one who grew up to become a billionaire?

“O.M.G. He’s watching you.” The message from Goth Parker adds a sour taste in my mouth to my already overactive physical impairments. My boob sweat is starting to stink.

When I don’t reply, another message pops up. “You don’t look good. Do you need an energy bar? Tell me you didn’t go bar-hopping and have a one-night stand with Hottie McBillions last night. Oh, wait. Tell me you did. Then tell me everything else.”

“Ah, Sia, always working hard.” Rod raises his voice. “Sia? Sia! Tell Mr. Jett about the Choy Joy campaign.”

Mr. Jett. Rod has twenty years on Chase, but since Chase has the fat bank account, it’s Mr. Jett.

What would they call him if they knew what he did at the lake with my floaty toy that one summer? Hmm?

I pull off my headphones and mentally prepare myself for a public execution. I lever myself out of the beanbag chair—without stumbling, take that, Mr. Arms—and I turn, making myself stare straight into the pits of hell.

Or, you know, his eyes. Which are more of a Caribbean sea blue than cinder and ash. Deep-set under a prominent brow. Crackling and radiating with suppressed power. Erm, evil. Suppressed malevolence. Fire and brimstone. What’s that, Lassie? Ambrosia’s better sense fell down the well?

His eyes widen in horror before settling into a smarmy, wicked smirk that he probably practices in the mirror every night before swimming through his piles of money à la Scrooge McDuck.

Life is horrifically unfair sometimes.

But two can play the smirking game. I just happen to be saving mine for after I quit.

Or until after I convince him he’s made a terrible investment and should immediately head to the nearest underground gambling hall to shed himself of this horrific burden. Or, you know, burden me with it instead.

Ambrosia Berger, CEO and owner of Crunchy. Nice ring to it. Could’ve happened, too, if he hadn’t stolen my future from me. The bastard.

“The Choy Joy campaign is launching in three weeks across all our social media platforms,” I tell the Dick. And I keep my voice pleasant and modulated as if I don’t know he was the one responsible for what happened to my teddy bear in second grade. And lest you think all my grievances against him are from before puberty, believe me…They. Are. Not. “We’re doing for bok choy what Beyoncé did for kale.”

“Interesting.” He strokes his chin, his index finger brushing over that dimple. I wonder if the lingering bits of his conscience are dried and shriveled enough that the motion dusts them out of their little hidey hole. “Your pairing suggestions?”

I rattle off a half-dozen quick meal ideas ranging from seafood to sweet potatoes.

“And sausages,” he says.

Oh, no, he didn’t.

“Sausages!” Madison squeals. “Oh, Mr. Jett, that’s brilliant. Of course we’ll add a recipe for Choy Joy Sausages.”

Madison just said Joy Sausages in front of our new billionaire boss. Someday, I’ll laugh at that. Today, however, is not that day.

“And bratwurst,” Chase adds.





If I hadn’t already seen the inside of a jail cell courtesy of this man—and a bratwurst, and no, I don’t want to talk about it—I’d have my hands wrapped around his neck right now.

His smirk grows like he knows it. Damn him, that’s the same smirk he wore last year on People’s Sexiest Man of the Year cover. Which I only know because I work for a grocery store and we might be Crunchy, but People still sells, and I might’ve had that weird moment of realizing the man who took my virginity and crushed my soul was somehow the hottest rich man on the planet.

How often does that happen?

And because he’s a dick, I couldn’t even enjoy the moment.

“Definitely bratwurst.” He nods to the group. “Appeal to sports fans.”

Sports fans? Is he fucking kidding?

“We sell the best organic turkey bratwurst,” Madison says.

Chase smiles at her. “Good to know, Ms…?”

“Madison.” Her voice is breathy and her teeth are glowing like she’s been overusing vegan tooth whitener again. “Madison O’Connor. The Joy Choy campaign was my idea.”

“Was it now?” Chase’s gaze slides to me. A good boss would give credit where credit is due. “I love it. Good work. Add the bratwurst.”

For the love of Pete. If I’d told him it was her idea, he’d think I was throwing her under the bus. Or the Bratwurst Wagon.

Which I hadn’t thought about in at least four months, jackass.

He waves like he’s the king of fucking England. “Carry on. I look forward to working with each and every one of you.”

Except you, Ambrosia May Berger.

The feeling is mutual, Chases Tail Jett.

Maybe I’ll put off looking for that new job.

Last time, Chase won. He got my cherry, he got my pride, and he got to see me tossed in the slammer.

Now, his billions might stack the odds against me, but this is my home. My city. My job.

And this time, victory will be mine.