Nerds & Geeks #1
The Geek Tycoon
Anthony James Bainbridge IV has everything a
millionaire could want – a penthouse apartment, a Maserati and
an up and coming tech company he founded with his three best
friends. But the one thing he doesn’t have is the love of his
life. Charlotte Wingate’s been his friend since they were five
and now she’s in charge of his HR department.
Beautiful and popular, Charlotte always belonged
with the cool crowd while Tony hung with the nerds. She’s out of
his league, but even if he wanted to ask her out, she’s his
employee and therefore off-limits. But when Charlotte suddenly
makes it clear she doesn’t want to be off-limits, he has to
decide whether to go all in, knowing he might lose everything.
“Did you hire me thinking we might eventually get together now that I’m single?” Charlotte asked.
The finality of Tony's answer told Charlotte all she needed to know. He’d hidden his feelings because he was convinced she’d reject him. At one time she might have, so he’d been wise to be cautious. Her voice softened. “Then why did you hire me?”
“Because you’d be an asset to the company.”
“No.” He ran his fingers through his already mussed hair. “I loved the idea that I’d get to see you five days a week.”
Her heart softened like warm cookie dough. “I’ve loved that, too.”
“And now it’s over, right?” His voice filled with anguish. “You’re quitting.”
“But you used the past tense, loved. Or maybe it’s past perfect – I have loved. But it’s definitely in the past and not the present.”
“You’re overthinking it.”
“A habit of mine.”
“For your information, I have no intention of quitting, although it would solve our problem. And we do have one.”
“I’m well aware of it. I just admitted to lusting after one of my employees. If you want to laugh and make fun of me, go right ahead. I wouldn’t blame you in the least.”
“I wouldn’t dream of it.”
“No, really, it’s okay. I make no sense whatsoever. At dinner I told you the company needed a policy about this very thing and here I am longing to violate the policy before it’s even written.”
Every word out of his mouth was an incredible gift. “You can’t know how much that means to me.”
“You like that I’m wishy-washy?”
“I adore it. One person’s wishy-washy is another person’s flexible approach to life.”
“I’m not sure I understand.”
She took a deep breath. The time for chit-chat was over. “Tony, I freely admit I haven’t always appreciated how great you are, but now I get it. I’ve had a chance to observe you in your element – this company. I love your easygoing management style and the camaraderie with the guys. Working closely with you I’ve . . . been affected in ways that aren’t strictly professional.”
He looked at her in stunned silence. Obviously he hadn’t expected to hear that. Ever.
“In other words, I think you’re extremely sexy and I want you, too. Desperately.”
He sucked in a breath.
“But you’re concerned about office romances lousing up the company dynamic and I –”
“To hell with that.” Tossing his glasses on the counter, he pulled her into his arms and his mouth came down on hers.