The playboy's virgin

By: Mia Carson

Chapter 3

Belle somehow survived the weekend, working the gallery on both days with Carrie and finishing her homework late Sunday night. Monday, she dragged her butt into the office, worried she would get the stink eye from everyone there, but they whistled when she walked in and cheered for her.

Tim laughed as he approached her. “Oh, man, you’re a lot better for this place than I thought.”

“Why’s everyone so happy?” she asked, confused.

“You put him in his place, that’s why. I think you’re going to be really good for him,” he said, and with another smile, he walked away whistling, leaving Belle to hurry to her desk.

Sitting by her mouse was a steaming cup of coffee. She set her bag down and glanced around, but Greyson wasn’t anywhere close by. She smiled, remembering Friday night at the bar, and cupped the warm mug in her hands. She’d been sure that night he was going to kiss her, and she’d been tempted to do the same, but all the old fears rose up and she’d run off before anything could happen. After all, he was her boss again. She wasn’t going to risk this job a second time by getting involved with him.

Carrie, of course, had been no help at all. When Belle told her what happened, she had asked why the hell she hadn’t gone home with Greyson. Now, waiting at the office for him to arrive, she wondered what would’ve happened if she had kissed him. Would he have asked her to go home with him? She pictured those large, strong hands on her hips, drawing her in close for a kiss. She closed her eyes and imagined his lips pressed against hers, hungry for her touch. It wasn’t hard to imagine him leading her back to a candlelit bedroom and his massive four poster bed. She couldn’t picture him in anything else.

“Morning, Belle,” Greyson said and tapped her desk.

Belle fumbled in her chair and nearly spilled her coffee. Her cheeks burning, she glanced up at his curious smirk. “Morning, boss,” she replied and cleared her throat, shoving her X-rated fantasies aside. “How was your weekend?”

“I was about to ask you,” he said and motioned for her to follow him. “You have bags under your eyes.”

She touched them and frowned. “I had work,” she said. “Thanks for pointing out how horrible I look this morning.”

He sat down behind his desk, his brow furrowed. “I never said you looked bad,” he said gently, and she perked up at the change of tone. “I was wondering why you’re still working another job if you work here.”

“I have to pay the bills,” she shrugged, and when he tugged at his beard, she sighed. “It’s fine, really. I just didn’t sleep much. I had some last-minute assignments for a class. All online means extra work.”

“You do this often?” he asked.

“Do what?” she replied and sat down in front of his desk. She tucked her hair behind her right ear, and he smirked when his gaze shifted to the piercings in her ear. She used to take them out for work, but after he saw them Friday night, she had decided he really didn’t mind so much.

“Spread yourself too thin? You’re too young to be rundown like this.”

She bristled at the too young comment but smiled again and straightened. “I’m fine. It's nothing I haven’t dealt with before. So, what’s the new plan?”

The way he eyed her said he didn’t believe her, but he let it drop, though the promise in his eyes said this conversation wouldn’t be the last one about her working too much. “This morning, I’m going to have you take care of your usual tasks for me. After lunch, you’ll hop over and shadow Tim for the rest of the day unless there’s some emergency and I need your wonderful assistant skills.”

Belle grinned and hopped up from her chair, eager to get started. He chuckled behind her, and she shot a look over her shoulder. “Do I amuse you?” she asked.

He leaned forward and folded those hands she had fantasized about all weekend. “Not amuse. Intrigue would be a better word. One of these days, Belle, I want to actually get to know my new employee.”

“Intern,” she corrected. “Just an intern for now, remember?”

“For now,” he repeated with a nod, and she left his office to get to work.

Excitement flooded her. She was finally going to see the team in action as they moved through the process of working out the latest kinks of the MMO. It was going to be a hectic week. The gallery she worked at on the weekends had a new show coming in, and she was in charge of setting it up every evening this week and then working the opening party on Saturday. She tried not to think of the assignments piling up in her classes, nor how little time she was going to have to work on her own projects, but that was the cost of making it through.

The road had been long and anything but simple, but Belle was determined to make something of herself. The talent was there, and she knew she had the drive. If working with Tim was what gave her that extra boost she needed, she would put everything she had to on hold—including sleep—if it meant succeeding.

As she answered the e-mails for Greyson and checked on the status of several documents being prepared for him to look over, her mind drifted again to Friday night. From what Tim had said, it sounded as if Greyson did not apologize to anyone lightly. He even stepped in and took care of that creep for her—not that she couldn’t take care of herself, but it had been quite chivalrous. Carrie had nearly swooned when she told her that part of the story, but all it did was make Belle wonder who the real Greyson was. He’d been at the bar alone. She was curious, since he was so popular, why he wasn’t with someone.

“Hey,” Kelly said and sat down on the other side of Belle’s desk. “I hear Friday night was interesting.”

Belle’s fingers froze on the keyboard. “How did you hear?” she asked quietly.

“He told me to expect you back this morning after the episode on Friday,” she told her, grinning.

Belle sat back in her chair and tugged at her ear. “Sorry about that. I’ve always had a bit of a temper, and he just pushed too far.”

Kelly cackled loudly and patted Belle’s hand. “Oh, sweetie, we’re all impressed. Don’t worry. Between you and me, he’s needed a swift kick in the ass for months now. Four assistants in one month? That’s a little ridiculous, even for him.”

Belle let out a breath of relief. “Good. I thought I was in trouble.”

“Nope. We’re all rooting for you now. He told me the terms of your return,” she said and motioned Belle closer. “Don’t hesitate to hold up your end.”

“No problems there, don’t worry,” she said, and her eyes caught the coffee mug. “Did you leave coffee for me this morning?”

“No, not me,” Kelly said and her grin softened. “But I think I know who did.”

Belle swiveled her chair around when Kelly peered behind her and grinned when Greyson glanced away from his monitor and saw them both staring at him. He frowned, but his lips twitched in a smile before Belle faced front again.

“You’re going to be good for him, I can tell, but just be careful. He’s quite the man, so I’ve heard.”

“What?” Belle spat out and laughed nervously. “Oh no, nothing like that. No, he’s my boss, and I’m just the intern.”

“You think he would’ve said what he did if he didn’t like you?”

“He can’t,” she whispered. “I can’t… There’s no way.”

“I'm just saying. You’re more his type than the usual women he sees,” she said with a sigh. “It would be nice to see him with a real woman for a change, someone who can handle him. Someone like you.”

“Wait, you’re the head of HR. Why are you telling me this? Isn’t it against company policy?”

Kelly shrugged and stood. “What I can’t see, I can’t write up,” she announced. “Besides, it’s his company. If he wants something that bad, he’ll find a way to get it.” She winked and wandered over to the legal area, leaving Belle to stare open-mouthed at her keyboard.

Greyson was attractive, there was no question there. She’d spent enough hours thinking about him, but her experience with men was nothing. She’d had one kiss—half a kiss really—a long time ago, and there’d been no attempt since. There was always too much going on in her life between work and school to make time for a relationship. Greyson’s eyes had danced across her body at the bar Friday night, and when he’d handed over his jacket, Belle wanted to melt into his masculine scent of cedar and firewood. It clung to her most of the weekend, and she wasn’t ashamed to say she waited until the last possible moment to shower so she wouldn’t lose the scent of him.

“God, what is wrong with me?” she muttered and shook her head. “This is not happening, can’t happen. You will ruin this chance, so stop it.”

“Enjoying talking to yourself?” Greyson asked from behind her, and she jumped, smacking her knees on her desk. “Sorry, didn’t meant to interrupt you and yourself.”

She shot him a glare and continued typing the e-mails. “I was reading something out loud.”

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