The Billionaire and the Virgin

By: Jessica Clare







Chapter Five



First on the docket, though? An assessment of exactly who he was planning on seducing.

At seven in the morning, he called for one of his assistants. The three of them were on call at any hour of the day, since Rob tended to keep odd hours and was a workaholic insomniac at best. He knew they rotated the on-call phone between them so he could have someone available at all times. It rang once, and then a female voice picked up. “Who’s this?” Rob asked. He had a female assistant, but damn if he remembered her name. He tended to run through people too fast.

“This is Smith, sir.” She didn’t even sound sleepy. “What can I help you with?”

“I have a date tonight,” he told her, putting a hand behind his head while relaxing in bed. He stared up at the ceiling, mentally picturing Marjorie’s face. “Marjorie Ivarsson. She’s staying in room three-oh-one. I want to know everything you can tell me about her in the next two hours. I’m not talking five minutes on Google, either. I’m talking Grade-A, private-detective, get-me-the-color-of-her-panties shit. You understand?”

“I understand,” Smith’s voice was coolly efficient. “Is there a price cap on this knowledge, sir?”

“Nope. Just time. Two hours. Make it happen.” He hung up, padded to the shower, got in, jerked off to the thought of honey-blonde hair, endless legs, and a hint of freckles.

After he dressed, Rob worked on his laptop, losing himself in emails and endless spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations of ratings numbers until his phone rang, precisely two hours later. Another point in Smith’s favor—she was prompt. Better than that fucking Gortham. He was going to fire that kid when they got back, he really was.

He tucked his Bluetooth headset into his ear and hit Receive. “Talk to me.”

“Marjorie Ingrid Ivarsson,” Smith said. “Age twenty-four. Driver’s license lists her as height six foot one, weight estimated at one hundred and fifty-five pounds. Blood type O positive. Organ donor. Date of birth is July 10. Cancer star sign. Cancers are traditionally nurturing, loving, and very domestic. Parents were George and Rita Ivarsson. Both died in a car accident when she was aged two, and Marjorie was raised by her grandparents, John and Ingrid Ivarsson. Straight A student through high school. Attended one year of community college and then abandoned classes when John died and Ingrid suffered a stroke. Ingrid passed one year later. Marjorie was executor of the estate and settled family debts, then went to work at the Rise and Shine Diner, a sock-hop-themed, privately owned diner in Kansas City. It is currently owned by Hawkings Conglomerate, who purchased the diner earlier this year.”

“Stop,” Rob said. “Let me digest.”

Smith was silent on the other end of the line while Rob mulled over the information fed to him. His brain had stuttered at the Hawkings name. So his good ol’ buddy Logan owned the diner that Marjorie worked for? There had to be a connection there. Not to mention Marjorie had mentioned being a bridesmaid, and Logan was here for his own wedding, and, well . . .

Well shit. She was in the damn wedding. This would either work beautifully or be a fucking nightmare.

It didn’t matter; he still wanted Marjorie Ivarsson.

“Okay,” Rob said after a moment. “Continue.”

“Very well,” Smith said. “Last year, Ms. Ivarsson reported an income of twenty-eight thousand nine hundred ninety-two dollars on her Form W-2 from the Rise and Shine Diner. She currently has one bank account with two thousand and eight dollars in her checking. Her credit score is seven hundred and twenty and her debt-to-income ratio is—”

“I’m not looking to give her a damn credit card,” Rob told her, irritated. “I don’t give a shit about that. Give me personal stuff. Is she seeing someone at the moment? Recently out of a relationship?”

Papers shuffled on the other end of the line. “Nothing shows on any financial records in regards to cohabitation or joint paperwork filings, sir.”

“So basically all you’ve got for me is that she’s a waitress with good credit?” he bit out sarcastically. “That’s not useful.”

Smith took his shitty mood in stride. “I talked with a woman at the front desk and she let it slip that one of the other bridesmaids—an Angie Stewart—is coming in at one this afternoon. Angie is also a coworker with Marjorie. I can interview her and get additional personal information, sir.”

He was intrigued. “Interview her? How?”

“By lying, sir.” This time, Smith sounded mischievous. “A fake interview. If that’s all right with you.”

“It is. Report back. And good job.” He added the last gruffly, making a mental note to give her a bonus on her next check. Funny how he had three assistants and only one was worth a damn. He clicked the headset off and returned to work. He had meetings to attend and his email piled up faster than he could answer it, but work let him stay busy through the day, and at least the hotel room was comfortable. The weather was gorgeous, but he’d be damned if he’d work down at the beach again. Fucking beach and fucking riptides. He shuddered at the memory.

Lost in work, Rob was surprised to hear a knock at the door precisely at two in the afternoon. His stomach growled—he’d missed lunch, as usual—but he ignored his body and answered the door.

Smith stood there in her gray power suit, glasses perched on her nose and her hair pulled back into a nondescript bun. “Good afternoon, sir,” she said, and held out a small electronic device to him.

“What’s this?” He took it and examined it. Looked like a recorder of some kind.

“I interviewed Ms. Stewart and thought you would want to hear the conversation for yourself. Is there anything else I can do for you?”

Smart. He rubbed his jaw. “Tell those other chuckleheads that I need lunch. You can have the rest of the day off.”

She inclined her head ever so slightly. “Thank you.”

He shut the door and pressed Play on the recorder. Two women’s voices arose in conversation. It was illegal to tape someone without their knowing, but he wondered if Smith knew or cared. Didn’t matter, really.

“So what’s this for again?” The woman speaking was clearly a smoker, and older. Her voice had a hint of rasp to it that he recognized well. He could practically smell the menthol on her.

Smith’s efficient voice cut through the recording. “A surprise slam book that was commissioned for the bride. We’re interviewing the wedding party and asking them to tell a little bit about each other.”

“I can’t tell you much about anyone except Brontë and Marjorie. I don’t know the others.”

“That’s fine,” Smith soothed. “Let’s start with them. Tell me about Marjorie.”

He tensed, listening.

The woman laughed, and Rob immediately got offended. Was she laughing at his Marjorie? That fucking bitch. But her next words eased his mind a little. “I love Marjorie. How can you not? Hating her would be like hating puppies or flowers or something. She’s a sweet kid.”

Rob relaxed and moved back to his chair, listening as the interview went on.

“Have you worked with Marjorie long?”

“A few years. She’s a favorite with a lot of the customers.” Another laugh. “Pretty much anyone over the age of eighty. They all adore her. I guess she’s the grandkid they never had or something. She has a lot of regulars and I’m pretty sure they’re all geriatric, but Marj remembers all their names and their birthdays and makes them feel special. You can tell when some people are bullshitting, and she’s not. She genuinely loves older people.”

Rob mentally noted that. All right, his Marjorie enjoyed the company of the elderly. Not a bad thing, really, but he couldn’t recall the last conversation he’d had with anyone over the age of sixty. Huh. Clearly he had a crowd different from hers.

It seemed that once Angie was started on the subject of Marjorie, she didn’t stop. “Yeah, that girl’s kind of an odd one. I mean, I don’t say that in a bad way. It’s just that . . . like, okay, she goes to knitting circles and antique shows. She quilts. I mean, who fucking quilts nowadays? Marjorie, that’s who. I don’t think she has hobbies like normal girls her age. She’s not into clubbing or sleeping around—she does crosswords and volunteers at a nursing home.”

“She’s an old lady trapped in a young lady’s body?” Smith supplied helpfully.

“That’s exactly it,” Angie said. “An old lady. I mean, like I said, you can’t help but love her. Sweet kid. Built like a stork, but sweet. And it’s easy to see that she’s lonely.”

“Lonely?” Smith asked in a mild voice.

“Yeah. I think she was raised by her grandparents, right? So she’s never exactly ‘blended’ with normal kids. Add in the height and I’m guessing it does a number on her self-confidence. Like I said, she doesn’t have any friends—other than the diner ladies—under the age of eighty. And she sure doesn’t date.”

“No?”

“Nope. If I bet money, she’d be a virgin for sure. I’d say the girl’s never seen a dick before, but what do I know?”

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