The Billionaire's Unwanted Virgin

By: Doris O Connor

"I know we need the money. God knows I know we do, but not like this, Alice. I didn't even know you still were a virgin." Her mum had colored then, her discomfort at discussing this with her obvious. "I just assumed you must have … well, you know … ages ago like your sister did."

"After what happened to Mary, how could you think that, Mum? She put me off for life. Well, maybe not life, but I was determined to not just throw it away. I was going to wait…" She'd clamped her mouth shut instantly, but it had been too late.

"See! This is what I mean. You've waited for that someone special, and now you're going to throw it all away to some stranger you've never even met? It's wrong, Alice. So very wrong. I can't let you do this. I can't."

Her mother had broken down into floods of tears, and they'd sat and held on to each other for ages. But Alice's mind was made up. She simply had no choice. When the expensive limo had pulled up outside their modest house three hours ago, she'd hugged her still worried looking mum and climbed in.

The liveried driver had been courtesy itself; taking her overnight bag off her, and had not batted an eyelid at the outfit she'd chosen to wear. Dressed in baggy jeans, sandals, and a long flowing top that completely obscured her body she looked better served to visit a monastery than go to an assignation.

There was no way she could bring herself to wear the 'fuck me dress' Sara had insisted she ought to wear for her date. This wasn't a date. It was a business transaction at best, and she didn't want the guy she was about to meet to get any funny ideas. Lord only knew what he must think of her as it was. The best she could hope for was to hold onto her dignity, and she hoped he would not make her feel like a whore.

She started when they pulled up outside imposing gates that opened as if by magic. Alice had no idea where exactly she was, other than somewhere in Hampshire and not that far from the coast. She had caught the odd glimpse of the sea in the distance as they sped effortlessly along the country lanes. Any attempt at conversation with the driver had been thwarted by his polite, monosyllabic responses. He had enquired after her comfort, reassured her that she could help herself to anything in the mini fridge on board, but he hadn't divulged any personal information, not even his name. She was simply to call him driver.

Clearly whoever she was meeting valued his privacy to such a degree that he lived behind six foot walls in the middle of nowhere. The car glided along a seemingly never ending driveway until they finally pulled outside an imposing looking mansion. It wouldn't have looked out of place in a horror movie with its grey imposing brick work, but it also reeked of understated elegance and extreme wealth. Surrounded by cultured gardens, and sculpted trees, it looked like heaven and hell all rolled into one. Utterly secluded, and so quiet the birdsong seemed unnaturally loud when driver opened the door for her and gestured to get out.

A small, wiry looking man bounced on the soles of his feet with nervous energy at the top of the steep stairs leading up to the entrance, and Alice's stomach dropped. Was this him? A shiver went through her at the thought. Not that he looked menacing, exactly. He had to be in his fifties, with a receding grey hairline and small green eyes that studied her from behind silver rimmed glasses. He held a manila folder in his hand and now looked from the folder to her with a frown on his face.

"Miss Wanderlund?" he asked, when she reached the top of the stairs. His frown changed to a smile at her nod in confirmation, and his eyes narrowed. He almost looked thoughtful, as though he was silently assessing her, and Alice wiped her sweaty palms on the side of her jeans.

"You're not exactly what we were expecting?"

She shrugged her shoulders, feigning a nonchalance she was far from feeling. In fact, if her stomach churned any more she would be sick right on top of his polished loafers. She straightened her shoulders and took some degree of courage from the fact that she now looked down on him. At five foot eight, Alice was not small, and this employee—for she realized he had to be another representative of this Zeb person—barely reached the top of her nose. She had to suppress a smile at the shiny bald spot right under her vision, and some of her nervousness fled.

"Well, I am Alice Wanderlund, so I'm not sure who else you would be expecting." There was a slight wobble in her voice, but she was quite proud of the fact that she managed to form the words at all, past the huge lump clogging up her throat.

"Forgive me, it wasn't my intention to be rude. I am Percy Nevin." He extended his hand, and Alice shook it dutifully. It was a surprisingly strong handshake, and this time when he smiled, there was genuine warmth behind it.

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