The Billionaire and the Virgin

By: Jessica Clare

They both laughed, and Rob clenched the recorder in his hand. If he ever saw this Angie person, he was going to personally take her down a damn peg.

“Now let me tell you about Brontë,” Angie continued. “You want to know someone that’s lucky as hell? It’s her. She’s marrying a billionaire, you know.”

He fast-forwarded through the rest of the conversation, but it seemed to be about Brontë and not Marjorie. Disgusted, he tossed the recorder aside and drummed his fingers on his desk, thinking.

All right, he knew a fair amount about his Marjorie. She was old fashioned, a good girl, and a virgin.

The last part flummoxed him a bit. Rob didn’t date virgins. They weren’t his type. The friend could always be wrong . . . but he wasn’t sure about that. Girls shared that kind of information with each other, didn’t they? And Marjorie had that air of innocent awkwardness that he found so intriguing . . . and different.

So yeah, she was likely a virgin. Well, fuck.

He didn’t know how to date a virgin. He didn’t even know how to begin. But he wanted Marjorie. With every ounce of his being, he wanted that girl. He craved her in inexplicable ways. Rob was a man who always went with his gut instinct, and right now it was telling him that Marjorie was the girl for him.

But he was pretty sure he wouldn’t be her type. He drank. He cussed. He had one-night stands. He paid girls to show their tits on TV. He was crude and rude and a loudmouth. And all the reasons that Logan Hawkings wouldn’t give him the time of day would work against him with Marjorie Ivarsson, too.

Well, then. Rob rubbed his jaw. He’d just have to show her that he could be the kind of guy she needed. He could behave . . . if he wanted to.

And for Marjorie? He wanted to.

Chapter Six

For the tenth time that day, Marjorie wished she’d packed more clothing. She studied her dress in the mirror and frowned. “You don’t think this is too . . . I don’t know. Floral?”

Seated on the bed, her friend Angie flipped through Marjorie’s magazine and didn’t even look up. “Did he say formal dress or just to wear a dress?”

“I . . . I don’t know. My head was spinning a little,” Marjorie confessed. Okay, it had been spinning more than a little. It had been whirling like a carnival ride. She’d been sleepy from the late hour as they’d returned from the pre-bachelorette party, and even though she hadn’t been drinking, she was exhausted from watching the antics of Brontë, Gretchen, Maylee, and the newcomer, Violet. They’d taken a ferry a few islands over, and it had made poor pregnant Audrey seasick, and she remained sick all night. So Marjorie, being responsible down to her bones, had taken charge of the evening. She’d shuttled the drunks (and the one sick pregnant lady) from dinner to the nightclub then on to the strip bar, where they’d lost all the money they’d brought and Audrey proceeded to get sick at the table, and then Marjorie spent the rest of the evening holding a damp cloth to poor Audrey’s forehead while the others partied.

Still, Brontë had enjoyed herself, and that was all that mattered. Marjorie did her best to ensure that the bride had a truly wonderful time at her pre-bachelorette party, since Gretchen (as the maid of honor) was determined to drink and have just as much fun instead of running things. That was fine with Marjorie—she liked to see the others enjoying themselves.

But she’d been more than a little exhausted when the cab had pulled up to the hotel, and it had stunned her to turn around and see the man she’d been daydreaming about right at her elbow.

He was just as good-looking as she’d remembered, too. Handsome, with that dark hair, chiseled jaw, and those gorgeous eyes she could stare into for hours.

He was also shorter than she remembered. That had been disappointing, and she’d worn heels that night since it was just girls, and standing on the curb, she’d towered over him. Just standing next to her in heels made most men retreat. No one wanted to date a string bean, as she’d been told a million times before. But her dream guy hadn’t commented on her height at all. In fact, he’d kissed her hand, charmed her figurative socks off, and invited her to dinner.

And now, here she was with less than four hours of sleep, after running around with Brontë and Gretchen and the girls for additional fittings and a last-minute change of shoes because Audrey’s feet were swelling and wouldn’t fit in the Louboutins that Brontë had elected for all the women, she was now getting ready for her date.

Her date.

Just the thought of having a date made Marjorie’s breathing speed up. She’d dated all of twice while in high school, and in college, she’d flirted with a guy at a party who hadn’t seemed to mind how tall she was . . . until the next day, when he’d sobered up. He’d then gone to his friends, laughing about how he’d been so drunk that he’d made out with “the flagpole.”

So yeah. Other than that, she really didn’t date. Any guy she was vaguely interested in, she was too terrified to ask out, and no one ever asked her out. Other than that one night at the frat party, she’d never even made out with a guy. Second base was as far as she’d ever gotten.

It was downright embarrassing. And it made her feel like an idiot.

So having a date tonight? Despite the height difference of herself and the man in question? To say she was nervous was an understatement. And she didn’t know what to wear. Normally she’d have gone to Brontë, who was sweet and friendly and wouldn’t steer her wrong. But Brontë was wrapped up in wedding preparations and Marjorie didn’t want to bother her.

So she’d gone to Angie. Angie had worked with Brontë and Marjorie at the diner for the last couple of years, and she was a nice enough lady. She was a mom, divorced three times, and a dainty Southern belle with a tiny figure and big hair. Angie was utterly friendly, but around her, Marjorie always felt a bit more ungainly. More like a misfit.

Still, she knew Angie dated a lot, and she knew Angie better than the other women, who were only casual acquaintances. If they teased her about her lack of dating history, she wasn’t sure she could handle it, whereas Angie was just being Angie. She might say something hurtful, but Marjorie knew she didn’t mean it.

So, Angie it was.

Marjorie had called her over to her room and then proceeded to go through her clothing, looking for something date-worthy. Since she’d pictured spending the next two weeks on the island playing shuffleboard and attending wedding functions, she’d gone for comfort more than style. Her closet was full of knit shorts, floral tank tops, and flimsy sundresses in bright patterns.

In short: nothing date-appropriate.

There was no point in stressing over it, though. They were on an island resort, so he’d expect her to look, well, island-y, right? She pulled a new dress out of her closet and held it against her frame. “What about this one?”

“That’s terrible,” Angie proclaimed. “I hate to say it, sugar, but it makes your shoulders look bony. You’re already all angles, girl. You want to look soft for him. Vulnerable.”

Marjorie swallowed hard, feeling vaguely ashamed of her shoulders. “What if I wear a shrug over it?”

“Then you’ll look like a flamingo in a sweater,” Angie proclaimed, putting the magazine down. “You’re tall like a model. Wear something like what models wear. They always look perfect. I don’t know why you can’t do the same.”

Marjorie returned to her closet, digging through the few hangers desperately. “But models are taught how to dress or someone picks out their clothes for them.”

“Well, that’s true,” Angie said. “We’ll make do with what we have.” She looked Marjorie up and down. “Even if what we have is quite a lot of girl.”

She resisted the urge to hunch her shoulders down to make her body seem smaller.

“I’d offer to loan you something of mine, but I don’t think anything could stretch that much,” she said, eying Marjorie’s hips critically. “Not enough fabric, you know.”

“I know. I’m sure we can find something sufficient in my closet, right? Let’s just work with what we have.”

“What kind of guy is he?”

A dreamy smile touched Marjorie’s mouth as she held a dress. “Handsome. Really handsome. And friendly.”

Angie waved a hand. “No, no. I mean, what’s he like? Is he the kind of boy you bring home to Mama after a day of church or is he the kind you make out with in the back of the club?”

“Oh.” Marjorie blinked, thinking. “I guess he’s the latter.”

“Then that’s not going to do, sugar,” Angie said, pulling the dress out of Marjorie’s hands. “Do you want to just have a nice friendly date with this guy or do you want him to look at you as a romantic prospect?”

Her cheeks heated. “Romantic prospect, of course.” Oh, gosh, if he didn’t look at her romantically, she’d just be crushed. So crushed. Her hopes were up so high.

“Then do you really think wearing something that looks like a Sunday school dress is going to get his attention?”

Chagrined, Marjorie looked down at the dress they’d decided on. It was subdued, a red-and-orange, patterned sundress with a long skirt, a scoop neck, and cap sleeves. “I guess not. What should I wear then?”

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