The playboy's virgin

By: Mia Carson

Just like all the others. They always leave you.

He muttered at the nagging in his mind and left his office, flipping the lights off.

“Where are you going tonight?” Tim asked as he walked to the elevator with Greyson. “Hitting the bars again?”

“I thought about it,” Greyson said stiffly. “Could use a drink after today.”

“I don’t doubt it. I think half the office heard her.”

“Great, that’s perfect,” he muttered. “How much money did you win in the pool?”

Tim barked a laugh as they stepped into the elevator and rode down to the parking garage. “What do you mean, won? I lost.”

Greyson glanced at him out of the corner of his eye. “Why? You started this company with me, have known me the longest. Apparently it’s my habit to run through assistants.”

“It’s your habit to run through women and push people away,” Tim corrected him. “And I don’t know. There was something different about Belle, a fire. I thought maybe she’d be able to handle your… uh, less than perfect qualities.”

“Are you calling me arrogant?”

“You’ve always had an air about you,” Tim told him honestly. “Nothing personal. You’re good at what you do and you know it.”

Greyson tugged at his beard the rest of the ride down, and when the doors opened again, he stepped out, wondering what else his friend agreed with that Belle had said about him. “Am I that difficult to work with?”

“You tend to forget about things, but you’re a busy guy. Don’t beat yourself up over it,” Tim told him with a slap to the back. “You’ll find another assistant.”

“Not like her,” he growled and ran a hand through his hair. “She did things for me before I even had to ask. Hell, she even organized my office so I can actually find things now.”

“And did you thank her for doing any of that? Did you thank her for dealing with your erratic mom?”

Greyson opened his mouth to say of course he did, but shut it a second later. Over the last week, he had admired how quickly Belle did all the tasks he gave her, how she took the initiative to get him caught up on paperwork and kept his schedule running smoothly. One of those times he had to have thanked her, right? He knew she’d been upset the night she had showed him her work, but he was too worried about losing her as his assistant. In one week, she had worked miracles in his office. If he was honest, she would’ve gone straight to his design department or been snatched up by another company.

“Grey? You alright?” Tim asked and waved a hand in front of his face.

“No,” he said and stalked towards his Mustang. “No, I’m not. I’m going out for a few drinks.”

“You going to pick up some women, too? Find one for me this time, would you?” Tim teased, and Greyson waved over his shoulder.

He could be rough around the edges and not the most sociable person alive, but being tough was what got his business off the ground and he wasn’t going to apologize for that. During the ride home to his sprawling ranch, he replayed the conversation in his office. He needed an assistant, and when she was hired, he sent a message to Kelly saying he needed someone to help him. He hadn’t cared about her credentials nor why she was interning.

And now she’s gone, he mused once inside his house. You lost your chance to get to know this woman like you wanted to. What is that? Strike three… four? How many times are you going to screw up?

Greyson paced around his empty house, his steps echoing off the stucco walls when he reached his back patio and glared up at the night sky. Belle was extremely attractive, and there was definitely a fire in her, but a hardness as well, a trait he had always admired about himself. But arrogant? No one had ever told him that.

“It doesn’t matter,” he whispered to the night. “She’s gone and nothing she said matters.”

But as he moved back inside and changed, ready for a night out in the city—a few rounds of drinks and maybe a woman or two to bring home for the weekend—he couldn’t get her burning eyes out of his mind. The way she stared him down fiercely, even when he tried to intimidate her. Belle was not a woman to push around. She was stronger than she looked, and damn, if he didn’t still want to find a way to get to know who she really was. As he stood in front of the mirror in his front hall, checking his looks one final time, he realized he couldn’t even recall her last name.

“Some boss you are. No wonder you don’t have a damn girlfriend,” he told his reflection.

A long time ago, he’d had one, and he’d hoped they would be happy together forever, but life didn’t work out the way he wanted. She was gone, and his heart was walled-off for good. He didn’t need a relationship to be happy. Not anymore.

The bar was packed when he drove up with a line stretching around the building, but he slipped the bouncer a hundred and strutted inside, ready to prowl. Several women waved at him and called his name, but he merely nodded in their direction, not sure what he wanted yet.

“What’ll it be?” the bartender asked, tossing down a black napkin.

“Whiskey… neat,” he said loudly over the pounding music.

The dance floor was filled with grinding bodies, and Greyson watched closely, enjoying the view of scantily clad women moving their hips and stretching their bodies to the rhythm of the tumultuous music. He shot back his drink and considered venturing out there to see who he could find to dance with when a woman sat down heavily on the stool beside him and ordered a whiskey on the rocks. He turned, intrigued, to find a blonde in a slinky red dress which rode high up her thigh. Her red heels were strappy, and her breasts nearly hung out of the top.

“Evening,” he said and held out his hand for hers. “Greyson Taylor.”

“Veronica,” she replied and grinned, licking her lip seductively when he kissed the back of her hand. “Well, aren’t you the gentleman?”

“I have my moments. You here with friends?”

“I was, but they had to go home for the night,” she pouted, running her hand down his arm. “Care to keep a girl company?”

The glint of lust in her eyes made his lip curl, and he ordered them both another drink, sidling closer until his hip brushed hers. “I think I can manage that,” he said. “I'm looking for a little company myself.”

She talked in her smooth voice, but another woman’s words hit his ear and he frowned, glancing around to find her. He knew that voice well after only a week, and he wondered what she would be doing in a bar this crazy. Her voice grew louder, and he recognized her furious tone, except this was more urgent and fearful.

“Greyson, what is it?” Veronica asked, resting her hand more firmly on his arm.

He pulled away, shaking his head. “Not sure, sorry,” he muttered and pushed through the heavy crowd, following Belle’s yell.

“I said get off,” she snapped loudly.

“You can’t dance with me like that and expect to walk away,” a guy replied roughly. Greyson pushed past a few more people and found Belle with her arm in the grip of a tall, gangly man. “Come on, I just want a little fun.”

“I said no! Get away from me, you creep!” She tried to pull her arm free, but the guy dragged her closer. Greyson growled in anger and stepped forward. His hand slammed down on the man’s wrist and gripped it tight enough to make him wince. Belle stared at him in shock. “Greyson?”

“I think the lady said to leave her alone,” he snapped, leaning down to be eye level with the cretin.

He glared and let go of Belle, but Greyson didn’t release his arm. “Let me go, man.”

“You better learn some manners the next time you come in here,” he warned and squeezed tighter. The man gasped and fought to free his arm, but Greyson dragged the man closer. “Understand me?”

“Yeah… alright, whatever. Just let me go, you jackass,” the guy yelled.

Greyson let the man’s wrist go so suddenly he stumbled backwards and fell into the crowd of onlookers. They jeered and laughed at him as he scrambled to his feet and hurried away. Greyson took a step after him but stopped himself. In the old days, he would’ve followed and decked the guy, but he couldn’t do that, not anymore. He had gone to anger management classes. He was all better.

Yeah right, he mused and turned to Belle, who was staring at him. Her confused glare wasn’t what made his chest tighten and a throbbing erection swell in his jeans which he was thankful were loose. He was used to seeing her with her hair down and in jeans and sweaters, but what she wore made him wish she would take his hand and go with him tonight. The black dress was a halter, tied behind her neck, and clung to every delectable curve. His hands itched to run down her sides to her full hips and even more perfect ass. Her breasts were pushed up, and her cleavage was wonderfully visible without him wishing she’d bend over his desk. When she reached up to brush a fallen curl from her face, he noticed the neon-green nail polish, multiple silver bands on her fingers, and the piercings running up her right ear. This was certainly a different side to the Belle he thought he knew.

Tonight, she looked tougher than nails and stood with her feet planted, her hands on her hips. Ready for a fight.

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