Rose Henshaw was content working as a basement level accountant. It didn't matter if she wanted more out of life because the cards had been stacked against her since she was born. So she resolved to survive week to week, existing with the small hope of climbing the ladder at work. When she's unexpectedly offered the sought-after position as the CEO's personal assistant, she's as much thrilled as suspicious of the promotion. Besides, how can she get any work done when her boss is absolutely drool-worthy and constantly pushing her buttons?
Darius Blackwood is ready to trade his bachelor status after just one look at Rose. She's excellent with children and makes him think about crazy things like building a family of his own, complete with heirs to take over his empire. But he's just hired her as his PA and isn't sure he should cross that taboo boundary of indulging in an office romance. How long can he work with Rose underfoot while keeping his desires locked away? Can these two broken souls find love and security with each other or is a relationship destined for failure?
She wasn’t saying a thing. Had he acted inappropriately? He was her boss, after all. At the moment, he swore they were on the same page, an undeniable attraction growing between them. Had he been wrong all along? Did she see him as an old, inappropriate bastard?
“Say something,” he finally said.
“You made a mistake. I understand.”
“It wasn’t a mistake.”
She looked up and made eye contact.
“If you tell me you hated that, I swear it will never happen again. I’ll be professional to a fault.” He took a breath. “Otherwise, I really need to know how you feel.”
“I’m not sure what I should be feeling.”
He spun away, running a hand through his hair. “I’m so sorry, Rose. I should never have put you in this position. I’m not the kind of man who hits on his subordinates. Never have.”
“I’m not upset, just surprised,” she said.
Darius returned his attention to her. The whole world had gone away, his entire focus on her.
“The next move is yours,” he said.
“That was my first kiss.”
His cock instantly firmed up. She was so damn adorable and innocent while being sexier than she could possibly know. “Are you mad at me? Tell me what to do, and I’ll do it.”
“It’s just hard to believe you’re sincere.”
“About you? Are you kidding me? Call it whatever you want, love at first sight or fate, but I knew I had to have you from the first day I met you.”
“I’m not that kind of girl,” she said. “I can’t be bought. And I won’t sell my body for any price.”
He smiled, he couldn’t help himself. “Baby, I’m forty-six. I’m looking for something real, something lasting. I’m hoping that woman could be you, but I also don’t want to force a gorgeous young woman to settle for something she doesn’t want.”
“I do want you,” she blurted.
He raised a brow. “I see.” Honestly, he wasn’t expecting that. He thought he’d royally fucked everything up. Not to mention he’d been convinced she wasn’t interested. “That changes things.”
“What happens now?”
“Well, I’d like to start by taking you on a real date. How about dessert?”
“Excuse me?” she asked.
“Dessert. There are quite a few nice places in walking distance.”
“Oh. Right. Yes, I’d love that.”
He reached out his hand, and she took it. Damn, since when did handholding feel this intimate?
They went the other way up the hall to escape to the street. It was bustling at this time of evening, a line growing outside the restaurant as well. He felt a huge weight off his shoulders. Rose was by his side, and he couldn’t be prouder as numerous sets of eyes turned in their direction. They may be opposites in most ways, but didn’t opposites attract?
He gave her hand a little squeeze. “You’re sure you’re not just trying to appease an old man?” Darius was only half teasing.
“You don’t look old to me.”
“There’s quite an age difference between us.” He didn’t want any issues to come back and bite him in the ass.
“Does it bother you?” she asked.
“Not one bit. You’re the one getting the short end of the stick in this relationship.”
“I don’t think so.” Rose’s arm brushed his as they walked. “You’re wise and mature. What do I need with boys?”
“I like that answer.” He lifted their joined hands and kissed the back of hers.
He couldn’t believe this angel was giving him a chance. Darius already had her first kiss and he had plenty more firsts in store for her. But he had to take his time, show her he wasn’t looking for only one thing.
They walked near an ice cream booth, and he caught her looking. He stopped and nodded toward it. “What do you think?”
She bit her lower lip. “Aren’t we overdressed?”
“There aren’t any rules. If we want ice cream, we get ice cream. Formal wear or not.”
“Okay, then. My favorite is chocolate.”