Light and sound and fizzy fruity blood. She laughed as the room span, and drank again. It was a good night.

**

She didn’t recognize the room. April sat up, clutching her head and half-closing her eyes against the light and the hangover. The night before was a swirl of colorful drinks and bright lights and loud bass and cologne.

It occurred to her to check for another occupant in the bed.

There wasn’t one.

And she wasn’t naked, surprisingly. She was wearing a man’s dress shirt and her own panties. No bra, no sign of her dress.

Water. Definitely the first priority. It felt like something small and disease-ridden had crawled into her mouth and drowned in all those fruity drinks.

The room didn’t quite look like a hotel – everything was stark white and air, and all that shaded the windows were thin drapes, not a black-out curtain in sight. It was also bigger than most single rooms, a white-leather seating arrangement grouped on some kind of shaggy area rug across an uncomfortably wide stretch of tile. April walked to the windows and pulled apart the drapes, determined to orient herself in the city by the skyline. This was her city, she knew the views, she’d designed the billboards on a lot of the roofs. April stared out over the balcony to the city, a bit perturbed that she was noticeably higher than everything else. With the buildings she didn’t see, that meant she was in Valdez Tower, near the top. Not a hotel, then. She’d broken one of her cardinal rules and gone home with someone.

She wondered what had happened, unease settling into her stomach and making the queasiness of her hangover worse. April resumed the hunt for water, making her way to one of the two white doors near the seating area. The other opened, admitting a tall lean predator with a breakfast tray. His gaze flicked up to her, and he set the tray down on a table and dusted his hands together. “Oh, good, I’d hoped you were awake. I wanted to discuss those marketing strategies you brought up last night in more detail.”

April was still asleep. Had to be. Anthony Valdez had just brought her a breakfast tray. Two glasses of juice: at least some of it was meant for her. “You realize I was completely trashed, right?”

“Oh, yes. Have a seat. I brought Tylenol.” He folded his long frame into one of the white leather chairs.

“You realize I was completely trashed and I work for a direct competitor, right?” What the hell had gone on? She woke up with her clothes mostly gone in the bedroom of Chicago’s Most Eligible Bad Boy (really, there were polls), and she’d spent the night talking marketing strategy? What was wrong with her? What was wrong with him? What had she been drinking?

“You said you’d quit for a chance to be my publicist. Of course, you also said you’d be happy to get paid in alcohol and wings, so I wanted to make sure you were still solid on it this morning.” He quirked a smile at her, the mocking edge to it slight but there.

She must have been really, really trashed. She hadn’t blacked out since college, and had never been that gone. Why had she been drinking that hard? “Where’d my dress go?”

“You threw up on it. I sent it out for cleaning along with my pants, which you also managed to hit.”

April winced. “Sorry.”

He seemed almost to be enjoying himself, or at least her discomfort. “Not a problem, especially if you can deliver as a publicist. Still think I can up condo sales by volunteering for Habitat for Humanity shirtless?”
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