Tripped Out

Where there’s smoke…

Stirling Gradsky abandoned the corporate rat race for a more laidback lifestyle. So it’s ironic she’s partnered with a hard-bodied, know-it-all scientist who treats her like a stoner instead of a stone cold business woman capable of running a large scale marijuana farm. Dr. Hot and Tattooed with the big…brain needs to stop sampling their product; he’s under the half-baked idea that he’s the boss.

Dr. Liam Argent’s doctorate isn’t in chemistry, but from the moment he meets his sexy new coworker, there’s enough heat between them to short out all the grow lights in the greenhouse. First item on his agenda? Clearing up the sassy, blunt blonde’s hazy notion that she’s in charge.

Sparks fly as their attraction blazes. But can they weed out their differences without getting burned?

Excerpt »

Stirling led her charges into the mad scientist’s domain. Mad being the operative word.

The instant her nemesis appeared she felt that roiling drop in her stomach.

No denying that Dr. Liam Argent had the rockstar look down. His hair—the color a mix of dark brown and sun-kissed gold—fell across his forehead in artful disarray. Her gaze moved to his square jaw, coated in dark stubble, and back up to his high cheekbones that were gaining color by the second. His glasses were heavy black frames that’d look ridiculous on anyone else, but on him they only magnified the intensity of his eyes, the color somewhere between liquid silver and matte gray, depending on his mood.

He’d worn his customary white lab coat, khaki pants, and boots. Ordinary dorky-scientist garb. But the colorful tattoos visible beneath the collar of his lab coat, tattoos that started on his right hand and traveled up his wrist, were anything but ordinary. She’d never gotten more than a glimpse of his tats, since they were sworn enemies and all.

He loomed over her, his lips pulled into a flat line. “What is this about, Miss Gradsky?”

Stirling smiled at him and reached out to straighten his pocket protector. How seriously nerdy that he always wore this ugly plastic thing jammed with stuff. “The Weed Worshipers wanted to personally thank you for your scientific contributions to building a better bud.”

Was it her imagination or did his lips just twitch?

Nah.

“Everyone, this is Dr. Liam Argent. Careful now, he goes Dr. Jekyll when people assume all his job entails is castrating male cannabis plants, deflowering female cannabis plants, and watching them get it on under a microscope.”

A few people in the group chuckled.

“As you can see, Miss Gradsky’s sense of humor is on par with that of a thirteen-year-old boy.”
More laughter.

“Okay, let’s show the ball snipper and cherry popper our appreciation. On the count of three. One…two…three…”

“For he’s a jolly high fellow, for he’s a jolly high fellow, for he’s a jolly high fellow…that nobody can deny.”

His eyes shot lasers at her. “Thank you. Now if you’ll excuse me, I have to get back to work.”

Jeff said, “Good luck with your…you know. We’ll form a smoke circle in your honor tonight. Keep it up.”

The woman next to Jeff elbowed him and hissed, “You don’t say ‘keep it up’ to a sex addict.”

“Former sex addict,” Stirling pointed out with sweet malice.

“The exit is to your left,” Dr. Argent said tersely.

After the group filed out, Dr. Mad Scientist got in her face. “What part of ‘no visitors in the lab’ is unclear to you?”

“Oh, that lame-ass rule was totally negated when you dug up the Weed Worshipers and awarded them ‘an exclusive, all-access tour of cannabis Mecca’ given by me—the one true believer in becoming an ‘elevationist’ in the cannabis church movement.”

“I have no idea what you’re talking about.”

“Like you had no idea how the air horn got duct taped to the bottom of my office chair?” she demanded.

He cocked his head. “I’ve told you to discuss it with the cleaning service. Didn’t you recommend that I talk to them after I discovered Kentucky blue grass growing in my spare keyboard?”

She tsk-tsked. “So few people have job pride anymore.” She poked him in the chest. “You should consider yourself lucky that I didn’t demand you do something ‘science-y’ for the Weed Worshipers.”

“Science-y isn’t even a word, Miss Gradsky. At any rate, I’m not subject to your whims.”

“You couldn’t satisfy my whims even if I deigned to let you try.”

“I believe you’re equating the term ‘whim’ with the word ‘fantasy.’ But I’ll admit I have imagined you wearing a ball gag during meetings.”

“Aha! Then you also admit clipping that ‘Why Men Prefer Submissive Women’ article to my monitor with a dog leash and collar.” She’d actually had to close her door she’d started laughing so hard when she’d seen that one.

He blinked at her. “I would never violate the sanctity of your sacred space. Not that you adhere to the same respect for privacy. Was it really necessary to include a case of ‘Self-love Lube’ with my lab supplies?”

“Since I have no clue what you’re doing in your secret lab, Dexter—”

“I can assure you that I’m not jacking off all goddamn day.”

They stared at each other, neither one backing down.

“And what was the nonsense about me being a sex addict?” he demanded.

“Ask the blow-up doll in your office.” Stirling opened the door and said, “Peace out, yo,” tacking on “Dr. Dickhead,” under her breath as she escaped.

*****************************************

Dr. Dickhead.

Liam watched that round butt of hers sway as she walked off.
He’d tried—god how he’d tried—to ignore her taunts, but Stirling Gradsky challenged him at every turn. The woman was a menace. A smart menace, a sexy menace, but still a nuisance and a distraction nonetheless.

When he’d signed on to be the director of research at High Society, he’d anticipated a fresh start. No workplace drama like he’d dealt with at his former position in California. But he’d had a run-in with Stirling on the very first day.

She’d informed him that he needed to turn in his research notes at the end of every week so she could go over them.

Liam balked at that. Not only were his notes in shorthand only he could decipher, he doubted Miss Dreadlocks and Multiple Piercings had the educational background to understand complex biology—and then Liam said as much to her.

Wrong thing to say.

Evidently Stirling had a master’s degree in biology.

And how did he respond to that? Tell her that he was excited to work with someone he wouldn’t have to explain things to fifteen times?

No. He’d said, “Well, it’s not quite on par with my doctorate in microbiology, from MIT, is it?”

Evil Eye Concepts, Incorporated
(September 12, 2017)

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