The Billionaire and the Virgin

By: Jessica Clare

But this time, she didn’t smile. If anything, she looked more uncomfortable.

A waiter stopped by and put down two crystalline glasses of water. “Welcome to Le Poisson. My name is Aubrey and I’ll be your waiter tonight. Shall we start with a nice vintage? We have a bottle of 2008 Didier Dagueneau Silex Sauvignon Blanc that has a lovely grapefruit scent. It makes the perfect compliment to seafood.”

And he guessed it was the most expensive bottle they had on hand at the moment, since they were in the VIP section. He shrugged. He preferred his alcohol hard, but wine seemed more civilized. “Wine?” He asked Marjorie.

She hesitated a moment, thinking. He could practically see the wheels turning on her face, and he expected her to decline. Maybe she didn’t drink. But she nodded, her eyes wide again. “Wine sounds good.”

“Bring the bottle,” Rob told him. “We’ll take it.”

“Very good,” Aubrey the waiter said, and disappeared.

Rob sipped his water—now there was a fucking novelty—and watched Marjorie reopen the menu and skim the pages quietly. “You’re looking for the cheapest thing, aren’t you?”

She looked up, startled, and then gave him a sheepish glance. “That obvious?”

“I’m paying, so order what you like. Even if it’s the filet mignon.” He gave her a teasing wag of his eyebrows.

To his surprise, her face turned a mottled red, and she licked her lips nervously. “Rob . . . I . . .”

Oh hell. He’d let Douchey Rob out of the bag again, hadn’t he? “It was a tease, nothing more. I’m sorry if it alarmed you.” Christ, now he was apologizing for cracking jokes? Were his nuts in a sling? But she continued to look uncomfortable, so he added, “You should know that I expect nothing out of this date . . . except possibly a second date.”

Her smile brightened. “I think I can handle that . . .”

He put his hand on the table, palm up, and inviting her to put her hand into his. “Trust me.”

Marjorie gave him a shy look and put her hand in his. “I do trust you.”

Those were rare words for him, he had to admit. Trust Rob Cannon? Normally he’d be laughed out the door. But this girl with her big eyes and her tall body and the breasts that were practically falling out of her ridiculous dress? He wanted her to trust him. Rob squeezed her hand and then ran his thumb across her palm, enjoying her little jerk of response. “I’m glad, Marjorie.”

“Call me Marj. Everyone does.”

Dear god. He was dating a Marj. That was fucking horrible. “Must I?” It made him think of cigarettes and BenGay. “You’re Marjorie to me, which is beautiful.”

She gave a happy wiggle in her seat, which made her unbound breasts bounce . . . and dear god, it was painful to keep eye contact and not leer at the tits just begging for his attention. But somehow, miraculously, he did it. God, being Dull Rob suuuucked. But Marjorie kept smiling at him, which somehow made it worth it. “All right then . . . Robert.”

He winced. Robert Cannon was his “business” name, and he had started to hate every time he heard the second syllable of his name. “I prefer Rob. It’s what close friends call me.”

“All right.” Her smile grew broader, her hand flexing against his as he ran his thumb over her palm again. She had the most delightful full-body shiver every time he did that, so he was going to keep right on doing it. “What’s your last name?”

He hesitated for a moment. Did she want it because she was going to google him? Or was it simply an innocent question? He had no idea, but he figured he might as well throw it all out there. “Cannon.”

She merely looked thoughtful. “It suits you.”

“It does?” Was this sexual innuendo? He’d heard them all before, and they were usually fucking awful. Rob’s packing a cannon. Fire a shot over my prow, Rob. Do me in the poop deck. But he’d never heard innuendo come out of such an innocent-looking face.

“I think so. It sounds strong and fierce.”

“Yeah.” Christ, she really had no idea who she was dating, did she? Why did he find her innocence so fucking adorable? “What’s your last name again?”

“Ivarsson. Norwegian ancestors, hence the height.” She grimaced.

“There’s nothing wrong with your height.”

She didn’t look convinced, but he noticed she tactfully changed the subject. “So . . . your friends call you Rob?”

“Sweetie, I don’t have many friends.”

“I’m not your sweetie.”

Ah, a spine. So there was one under there after all. He liked a bit of sass in the right girl. “Fair enough. I apologize.”

She nodded. “Don’t apologize . . . cupcake. Just don’t do it again.”

He laughed.

She pulled her hand from his, and he was a little disappointed at the loss of contact. Marjorie picked up the menu and studied it again, her shoulders relaxing a bit. “I don’t suppose you’re going to just let me order a nice bowl of soup?”

“Nope. It’ll go shi—er, badly with the really expensive wine.”

She looked unhappy. “Can I pay for my own dinner?”

“Do I look like a cheap piece of—uh, do I look cheap to you?” Fuck, this no-cussing thing was hard.

She lifted one eyebrow at him, her serious expression ruined by the silly grin on her face, and he found himself smiling in return.

“I suppose I shouldn’t ask that.”

“Probably not,” she teased.

They paused as the waiter returned, and Rob ordered for both of them—a surf and turf special so she wouldn’t protest the price. She looked mildly unhappy at the thought of spending so much money, but said nothing. When the waiter left, she leaned in again. “So, Mr. Cannon—”

“Rob,” he said warningly.

“Rob,” she amended. “Are you here for the wedding or vacationing?”

It was clear she had no idea who he was. He liked that. To think that he might get to know a girl like Marjorie without the inevitable turning up of her nose once she found out what he did for a living. One thing was for sure, she was damn sheltered if she didn’t, though. He—

They paused as the waiter gave them a spiel as he brought out the wine and showed the bottle to them. Rob barely paid attention, watching Marjorie’s rapt face as the waiter told her about the vintage and the flavor and poured her a glass, swirling it as he handed it to her.

To his surprise, Marjorie downed the entire inch in the glass. She coughed and put a hand to her mouth, then pressed her napkin to her lips.

“Are you all right?” Rob asked.

She continued to cough and waved a hand. “Wrong pipe.”

He sipped his wine, and gave the waiter a nod. “Thank you. We’ll take it from here.”

The man gave him a concerned look but nodded and walked away, no doubt to laugh about Rob’s date swilling her taster. Rob poured her another inch into her wine glass. “Do you enjoy wine, Marjorie?”

“Oh sure, I drink it all the time,” she told him.

“A connoisseur? What kind is your favorite?”

She blinked and then pointed at her glass, eyes watering. “This one.”

Right. Somehow he doubted that.

She gave him a big smile and picked up her glass again, taking another big gulp as if to prove her point, and choking only a little this time. It was a little ridiculous, but also a little adorable, so Rob didn’t comment on it.

The waiter returned a minute later, put down their salads, then disappeared again. When he was gone, Rob picked up his flatware and tried to turn the conversation back to the original topic. “Wedding?” He feigned ignorance.

She nodded. “Brontë and Logan? I guess if I have to tell you, that means no, right?” Her mouth quirked in a rueful smile and she reached for the wine, taking another sip.

“I’m not here for the wedding,” he admitted truthfully. “Are you?”

“You are looking at bridesmaid number four out of five.”

Just as he’d suspected. Rob wanted to groan in frustration. If Logan knew that Rob was out on a date with one of the bridesmaids in the wedding? After their little talk? He’d think Rob was up to no good.

And he couldn’t blame him for that. Not after hinting of blackmail to the man. He’d definitely have to keep his relationship with Marjorie on the down-low.

Because he definitely intended on having a relationship.

“Bridesmaiding, huh? Sounds like fun,” he lied.

“It’s pretty awful,” she admitted, which made him laugh again. “I’m not a fan of attention as it is, and Brontë’s marrying a guy that seems to be a pretty big deal. I’m told this will be in the society papers and everything.” She shuddered. “Add that with a bridesmaid dress that seems to accentuate my height, and I’m in my own sort of quiet hell.”

“So why not tell the bride to fu—uh . . . tell her that you’re not interested?”

She gave him a vaguely reproachful look. “Because she’s my friend and she asked. I couldn’t refuse. The wedding isn’t about me, anyhow. It’s about her. And it’s not such a big sacrifice, really. I got a few weeks off of work and an all-expenses-paid vacation, so it’s not so bad. And Brontë is wonderful. Truly one of the best people I’ve ever met.” Her expression grew soft with affection. “I adore her.”

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