Finding out the sexy stranger is also the office playboy...
I wasn't expecting that.
They don't call Bennett Pierce the office playboy for nothing. The parade of women through his doorway makes me want to dry-heave. Sure, he looks as if he strolled off the page of a male fashion magazine, but his personality is anything but desirable.
But after catching my ex cheating on a dating app and Bennett witnessing my very public break up, his offer of margaritas is too hard to pass up. Tequila didn't make my clothes fall off, but it did lead to one scorching hot kiss.
Instantly, I regret it but an unexpected message on the dating app distracts me from too much self-loathing. And when the friendly banter quickly turns into steamy flirting, Bennett Pierce is one swipe right forgotten.
And when we finally meet, I realize…
I've been flirting with the playboy.
Flirting with the Playboy is a fast-paced, workplace, enemies to lovers romcom. Be prepared to laugh-out-loud one minute and swoon the next in this steamy standalone romance.
Release date: August 14, 2022
Publisher: Gia Stevens Books
Print pages: 229
Reader says this book is...: entertaining story (1) escapist/easy read (1) happily ever after (1) heartwarming (1) sex scenes (1) terrific writing (1) unputdownable (1)
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Flirting with the Playboy: An Office Romantic Comedy
Cupcakes Make Everything Better
A whisper yell sounds from my left. I do everything in my power to ignore it but deep down I know it won’t stop until I give her my undivided attention. My eyes gloss over the same sentence on the computer screen for the fifth time. I don’t need to read this email. If everyone misses their meetings this week, it’s not my fault because it’s all irrelevant compared to what’s happening next to me.
The voice is slightly more demanding this time. A pencil zips past my face, almost spearing my nose. My eyes follow its path as it glides to a halt on the opposite side of my desk. I slowly rotate my chair toward the direction the wooden weapon originated. Olivia, my best friend, is staring at me, eyes wide, and not so discreetly nodding her head toward the front double glass doors. We both work reception at The Blue Stone Group, Harbor Highlands largest real estate and development firm. With the city’s population just shy of one-hundred thousand people, it makes it large enough that you don’t see the same people twice in one day but small enough that people can and will get in your business. Sometimes referred to as a mini–San Francisco, Harbor Highlands sits on a steep hill nestled along the shore of Lake Superior and is a place I’ve called home for the past ten years.
My gaze follows the line of her nodding as my heart rate speeds up pounding in my throat. My hands become instantly clammy. Starting at his tobacco-colored Paul Evans loafers, my eyes drift upward over his Tom Ford navy two-piece suit, his chiseled jawline, and finally rest on his perfectly styled brown locks.
“God, that man knows how to fill a suit.” Olivia’s voice pulls me from my shameless gawking to see she’s nibbling on the cap of her pen. I’m waiting for her to crawl over this desk and pounce on the man. Lucky for him, she doesn’t.
“Earth to Olivia. You’re drooling.”
“I am not.” She wipes the imaginary drool at the corners of her lips. “If I were you, I would follow him up to his office, tear off his clothes, and let him ravish me on his desk. Let him...”
Grabbing the same pencil she threw at me, I hurl it back in her direction, cutting her off before she goes into any more detail. “Well, for one, I have a boyfriend. And two, that man is such a condescending ass. Sure, he looks like a walking GQ ad, but when there is zero personality—I’ll pass. But you should go for it.” I shrug my shoulder, feigning indifference.
She pouts her lips while she thinks about it for a brief second before responding. “Nah, he’s not my type. Just fun to look at.” But then like the flip of a switch, excitement gleams in her eyes. “Psst, hot, condescending ass coming this way.”
While trying to be inconspicuous, I peer at him through my peripheral, but strain my eyes in the process. Like a deer in the woods, I hold my breath and avoid making any sudden movements in hopes of not drawing any attention to myself. Crossing my fingers, I pray he just walks on by because I’m not in the mood for whatever he has to say today. The sound of each foot fall gets louder on the marble floor as the sound carries across the reception area like a wave crashing into the shore. I am the shore.
“Good morning, Olivia.” His strides stop directly in front of me on the other side of the shared, two-tiered reception desk. His rich baritone voice reverberates across the wood surface. “And of course, good morning to you Charlotte.”
Damn it. I didn’t want his shit today, let alone this early in the morning. Who did I piss off in another life and what do I need to sacrifice to make the world right again?
“Good morning, Mr. Pierce,” Olivia purrs, her long legs cause her to bend at the waist while she stands and rests her elbows on the desktop, her chin perched on her hands. She bats her eyelashes for good measure. I can’t fight my eye roll over her overzealous display.
Turning my attention back to the man in front of me, I plaster on the fakest smile I can muster. “Hi, Bennett. And for the millionth time, my name is not Charlotte. It’s Charlie.” I tap the gold nameplate sitting on my desk. “It’s right there. Char-lie.” I look up into his intense, aqua marine eyes. Big mistake. I get lost in his hypnotic gaze. He rests his forearm on the desktop, leaning in to get a little closer. Notes of citrus and a hint of leather swirl around me. Damn, he smells good. Heat flames over my cheeks, and for a moment all my thoughts disappear. Poof. Gone. One look at this gorgeous man and I lose my ability to think. Releasing myself from his trance, I pick at a piece of paper on my desktop as a lock of hair falls over my face. After a brief pause, I tuck the strand of hair behind my ear and focus my gaze on Bennett. “If my name was Charlotte, the nameplate would say Charlotte. Now, if you don’t mind, I must get back to work.” I swivel my chair around and shuffle some papers to distract myself and pray he gets the hint. I don’t know why I let him get to me.
He releases a quiet chuckle before he turns, his footsteps growing distant on the marble floor. Then they stop. “Oh, by the way…” I startle, papers fluttering to the floor at the sound of his voice, and I lift my head in his direction. “I have a few clients arriving in about an hour. Two blondes, long legs, you can’t miss them. Send them directly up to my office when they get here. We have work to do.” He emphasizes work with a smirk on his smug face. “Thanks, Not Charlotte.” He winks and turns on his heel.
“He’s like an Adonis. How can you not appreciate a guy with an ass like that?” Olivia says, forgetting about using her inside voice. She’s leaning so far back in her chair I’m waiting for her to topple over.
“I heard that.” Bennett’s voice carries through the open space as he continues his journey to the bank of elevators on the opposite side of the reception area.
Heat floods my face as I drop my head to the desk. Of course, he heard that. He doesn’t need his ego stroked any harder. No doubt he gets it stroked daily, and I’m sure the two blondes will take turns stroking it too.
Olivia is still staring, and I snap my fingers in front of her face to break her Bennett induced haze. “How can you appreciate a guy who’s an asshole like that? I’ve worked in this building with him for nine months. You would think he could get my name right? If he isn’t calling me the wrong name, it’s Ms. Hansley. In fact, I prefer he call me that. And what’s with the comment about the two girls? And the wink? Ugh, he disgusts me. I like it when he just quietly sneaks in through the back entrance or better yet, when he doesn’t come to the office at all.” Venom laces my tone.
Olivia nibbles her lower lip. “I bet he would murder a girl’s back entrance.”
“Oh my God! What is wrong with you?” I think it might be time to put out an ad for a new best friend. Wanted: A best friend whose kind, loyal, and doesn’t want anal sex with the biggest jerk in the office.
“What?” She shrugs. “It’s been way too long since someone else has touched me. You know those ‘days without sex’ memes. I swear they were written about my life. Like day five hundred fifty-three without sex…I bought a box of popsicles just so I could have something in my mouth.”
“Did you really?” I quirk an eyebrow questioningly.
“Not the point. Anyway, this isn’t about me—" She places her pink manicured hand on her waist and juts out her hip. “You know, he says those things just to get under your skin. Every time he’s in the office, he comes to the front desk to see you.” Olivia pauses, her other finger tapping her pouty lips. “Now that I think about it, he probably has the hots for you. Guys don’t know how to be adults and actually tell a girl they like them. They play those games of ‘I’ll be a jerk and maybe she will like me’.”
“He’s a jerk alright, and that’s it. He’s like thirty-three, thirty-four years old, not five. Mature adults don’t act like that.” I wave my hand to where Bennett once stood. “So, there is no way he likes me, and I don’t even want him to like me.” When I glance up at Olivia, her head is tilted while she studies me. Shaking my head, I swivel my chair around, ending the conversation. My once amazing Friday is slowly becoming a day from hell. Just then, my gaze catches sight of the white pastry box next to me with The Sweet Spot logo on top. Who says you can’t have a cupcake for breakfast? Sometimes a girl just needs to eat her feelings.
A while back after a bad breakup, Parisa brought in cupcakes for Olivia in hopes of cheering her up and since then we’ve started a Friday cupcake tradition. We take turns buying cupcakes every week. Olivia switches it up between red velvet and lemon blueberry, while Parisa gets whatever her sister, Hollyn, has baked for the cupcake of the day, and I get vanilla. I flip open the lid and snag a fluffy cake. Just as I take a bite, Parisa storms through the glass doors, bags draped over her shoulders and hands full of poster board in various colors. Her medium length, wavy auburn locks cascade over her shoulders. With her brows furrowed, she drops the bags on the floor next to the desk. Even when she’s frazzled, she still looks gorgeous.
“This day over yet?” She releases a huff, blowing a strand of silky hair out of her eyes.
“It’s Friday. Why are you so stressed? Come out with us. Drinks after work,” Olivia says.
“I wish I could, but I have this presentation to finish for Monday morning and it needs to be perfect. I overheard the marketing director is going to be retiring soon, so I will be doing everything in my power to get that position. But Seth has thrown a whole wrench in my plan as he now wants the position as well.” She narrows her eyes and releases a loud exhale. “So, I will spend my day and probably my entire weekend perfecting this presentation so I can kick his ass.” Parisa grabs a couple of the bags and hoists them up to her shoulder.
I nod and extend my hand holding the frosted baked good towards Parisa. The sweet, sugary scent wafting around the space. “Cupcake? They make everything better. And let me say your sister out did herself with these ones. Look at the flawless piping.”
She eyes it closely. “Is that a vanilla cupcake with buttercream frosting?”
“Why yes, it is.” I wiggle the cupcake in front of her.
“I’ll pass for now, maybe after lunch when I’m in need of sugar. You always get vanilla with buttercream. Why don’t you try switching it up everyone now and then?”
I shrug my shoulders. “I like vanilla. It’s never let me down. There are no worries if I’ll like it or not because I already know I do.”
“You’re so predictable. Live a little,” Olivia says.
Flinching at her words, I cast my gaze downward pausing for a moment before reaching for the pastry box, flipping open the top toward Olivia and Parisa. “But I got some with candy pearls.”
Parisa laughs as she collects the rest of her bags. “So dangerous. Watch out for that one.” She nods in my direction. “But drinks next time because I will need it.” She walks away but turns around, continuing her stride backward. “And if you see Seth come in, be sure to tell him I said to eat shit.” With that, she swivels back around and hustles to the open elevator to go to her cubicle on the second floor.
I eye the cupcake still in my hand, shrug, and lick the frosting. What’s wrong with liking what I like? Because this cake is so soft and fluffy, the smooth, light, airy buttercream frosting seducing my tastebuds with each lick. This is like an orgasm on steroids, maybe even better, because I know what I’m getting every. Lick. Single. Lick. Time.
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