The playboy's virgin

By: Mia Carson

Lost in thought, he didn’t realize his eyes lingered on Belle and what he could see of her bare shoulder as he watched her work. She made one call, then another, before turning to her computer. He had seen the designs on her computer. They might’ve been rough around the edges, but the potential in them was apparent. But that was all it was. Potential. For now, he needed her as an assistant and nothing more.

He grumbled under his breath and picked up his phone. “Tim,” he said when the man answered at the other end. “Can you and Davis get to my office? I want to go over the glitch.”

“Yes, boss man, be there in two,” he said and hung up.

Belle pushed back from her desk and walked into his office. “Those papers ready? Legal’s been messaging me for the last ten minutes.”

“Right there,” he told her and pointed to the out tray.

She scooped them up and sifted through them, standing barely a foot away from Greyson, and he shifted closer, wanting to push the loose strand of hair from her face and tuck it behind her ear. He’d been wondering the past few days how he could convince her to go out with him that weekend for drinks, but the words wouldn’t come.

“Boss,” Tim said loudly as he and Davis entered the office.

Greyson frowned and pulled away from his musings of Belle—maybe without her clothes, eventually. “Tell me again why there was a glitch? I thought we figured out the design problems a while ago.”

Tim smiled at Belle as she left, and she waved before he sat down and held up his tablet. “We’re not sure, but I think it’s an error in the optimization somewhere. Must’ve missed it because if we try to run the program, the graphics are blurry as hell and it rubber-bands real bad when you try to move.”

He pulled it up and Greyson leaned over, scratching his beard. The lagging in the game had been a problem a while ago, jerking the player around, but the rubber-banding that sent them back to another area was new. “Did you ask IT?”

“They sent us a back a few options to try, but nothing’s working, so it has to be something we did.”

“Belle!” He glared at the screen as she bustled back in. “Schedule a meeting for this afternoon with everyone. We have a problem.”

“You have a call at noon,” she reminded him. “Shall I call them and reschedule it or do the meeting afterwards?”

He debated which would be better and watched as her eyes jumped to the tablet Tim held. She frowned and moved to see it better. “Reschedule,” he ordered, wondering what she was thinking. “That’s all for now.” He dismissed her roughly, and when she lifted her eyes to his, he shifted in his seat at the flare of annoyance before she nodded and left his office, closing the door behind her.

“What do you know about her?” Greyson asked Tim and Davis.

“I know she’s studying to be a designer in school,” Tim said. “She’s got some work of her own I’ve seen, and it’s not bad considering she taught herself everything before getting to college.”

“She showed it to you?”

“Yesterday. I gave her a few tips, but she’s got some great original work and has a knack for computers, too. She could be more than just a designer,” Tim told him. “Why? Has she not shown you anything yet?”

“I didn’t ask,” he said, leaving out how he’d already seen some of her work.

“Why not? You’re always looking for new talent.”

“I need an assistant right now to keep everything in order, and besides, she’s young,” Greyson said with a shrug. “She’d probably be more of a liability than an asset.”

“Uh huh,” Tim said. “Just so you know, there’s a pool going around the office.”

“About Belle?” Greyson asked.

“Yep, on how long she’ll last as your assistant.” The tone of his voice told Greyson he wasn’t too happy with his boss, but he left it alone. “What do you want me to do with our glitch?”

“If the graphics are malfunctioning, something wasn’t optimized right,” Greyson agreed quietly, his mind racing about the bet. “See if you can run it again and pinpoint exactly when the game starts to fail. We’ll go from there this afternoon.”

Tim and Davis nodded and left, deep in conversation about options for optimizing the graphics again if they were running too high for the intended platform. Greyson rubbed his eyes and stared at the coffee mug in his hand. Cold.

“Belle, when you have a second, another cup of coffee would be great,” he said sweetly into the intercom on his desk.

“Sure thing,” she said. A few seconds later, she returned to his office. “Anything else?”

Her tone was more snappish than usual, so he shook his head. “No, that’s all for now.”

He watched her leave, gripping his mug so hard his knuckles were white and muttering under his breath. He considered following her, maybe finding his chance to make a move, but an IM showed up on his computer and he groaned. Time to focus on his work and worry about women later.

By the end of the day, Greyson and his team were no closer to figuring out the problem, and he insisted everyone go home before they ruptured their brains trying to find the issue. Tim was beside himself, and Greyson patted him on the shoulder. This was his baby, after all, and he knew the man wanted to get it off the ground.

“It’ll be there in the morning,” Greyson told him firmly. “Get some sleep and start fresh.”

“We’ll have to push back development again,” he groaned. “We can’t even get the startup screen to run properly now.”

“The morning, Tim,” Greyson repeated. “Night everyone.”

He waved as they told him goodnight, too, and walked to gather his things from his office. He saw Belle at the bus stop across the street. The streetlight close by lit the corner block, but he didn’t like her being out there alone at night, waiting for the bus. He quickly grabbed the rest of his papers and haphazardly shoved them into his bag. This might be the chance he was looking for.

Once inside his new, leather-interior, dark blue Mustang, he revved the engine as he pulled out of the parking garage and drove to Belle. “Hey,” he called out the passenger side window, and she jumped. “Sorry, didn’t mean to scare you.”

Her jaw clenched. “You didn’t,” she said. “What are you doing?”

“Offering you a ride. Where do you live?”

She shook her head. “No thanks, I’m fine with the bus.”

“Where’s your car? Kelly said she gave you a permit for the garage,” he asked, debating if he should get out and find a better way to convince her.

“Really, this is fine,” she insisted. “I’ll see you in the morning.”

He gripped the steering wheel, his chances of a possible moment alone with her in his car slipping away. “See you then, I guess,” he muttered and pulled away. He hated leaving her alone, but the glimmer of suspicion in her eyes said she was not the type of woman to get by pushing. He’d just have to try a different approach.

Chapter 2

Belle glared at her monitor, frowning. Barely two in the afternoon, and she was done for the day, ready to storm out of the building and not look back. She had taken this job assuming she’d be working with Greyson and his team, not being a lackey and fetching him coffee. She was nothing more than a glorified assistant, and if it wasn’t for the pool on her lasting more than a week, she would’ve quit that morning.

Greyson was rough around the edges, but the flippant way he assumed she would handle his schedule, his coffee, his meals—hell, even taking calls from his mom when he wasn’t in the mood to talk to her—was pushing it. Last night, however, made her realize he was not the man she’d hoped.

Tim told her that the designs and sketches she had were impressive and that she needed to show Greyson. He was probably making her his lackey because he didn’t realize her potential, but Belle knew he’d seen what she could do the first day they’d met. He chose to be silent, but she was finished playing this game. She might want a job here, but she wasn’t going to waste her talent by answering a phone and drafting e-mails. She had worked her ass off for far too long to be pushed aside by some hot-shot CEO.

So yesterday evening, she sucked it up and waltzed into his office to show him all her work over the years. She’d waited quietly as he browsed through the portfolio before handing her laptop back to her.

“And? What do you want me to say?” he’d asked as he leaned back in his chair.

“I… uh, just wanted to know your professional opinion,” she’d said tightly.

“They’re not bad,” he told her with a shrug. “Though they're nothing I could use and completely different from what’s going on at this company right now.”

“You can’t even give me an opinion on them?” she’d asked quietly, her gut clenching.

He’d smiled that predator grin and leaned on his desk. “You’re good at what you do now. Why do you want to change that? This is a great relationship. Maybe one day, you can do something with those, but right now, I’m not impressed.”

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