In this unedited snippet toward the beginning of the story, Laurel is prepping for her first date with Sam. To say she’s nervous is an understatement because he told her straight out, pack a bag. After dinner it’s on, and you’re staying the night. So she did…
Her buzzer went and she froze, suddenly not wanting to go. There was a pepperoni pizza in the freezer, and RedBox was right around the corner. It was undoubtedly the safer plan. But with heart racing and hands shaking, she straightened her shoulders and told herself not to be a punk. She slapped on a little more deodorant to counteract her nervous sweating, grabbed her sweater, bag and purse and left.
“You can do this,” she told herself in the elevator. “There’s nothing to be afraid of. He’s just a man. Nothing special.”
The doors opened and she rushed out, right into a hard male chest.
“Slow down,” he laughed, grabbing her by the arms. “We have plenty of time. Our reservation isn’t until 8.”
Laurel couldn’t have said a word if her life depended on it. He looked so good, so casually beautiful in his cream shirt and dark blue jeans. But she didn’t have to say a word. He took her bag, kissed her cheek and pulled her out to his sleek silver Mercedes.
He handed her into the front, tossed her bag in the trunk and slid in. “Ready?”
“You are planning to talk at some point tonight right? Although, a quiet woman is kind of refreshing.”
He burst out laughing, one hand squeezing her knee as he pulled into traffic. “It happens.”
“Are you proud to be mean?”
“No! I can be a bit brusque on occasion. But I’m not mean. I’m don’t hurt people. Why? You having second thoughts about letting me deflower you tonight?”
Laurel swallowed nervously. “No. I mean, I’m nervous, but –”
“Don’t be. You’re perfectly safe with me. I’m gonna treat you so good, you’ll love being in my bed. Okay?”
“You believe me?”
“Speak, for Christ’s sake.”
He grinned at her, handsome head cocked to the side. He laughed when she copied him. Boss he might be, but Sam needed to know he would not be allowed to walk all over her. He would do it instinctively, then look down and ask her why she was laying under his feet.
He kissed her, quick and hard. “Good. Now, since you’re not one-a these silly birds who don’t eat, I thought I’d take you to one of my favorite, old school restaurants. You like Greek food?”
“Sure.” She refused to say she’d never had any. Then he’d ask why, and she was not about to have the “I’ve been dirt poor most of my life, I’m lucky if I had cereal” conversation the night he planned to sleep with her.
They pulled up in front of a large bustling building, and he handed a valet the keys.
“Welcome to Greek Islands,” said the hostess.
“Yes, sir. Right this way.”
A waiter appeared immediately and did his opening song and dance.
“You wanna drink?”
He waited a beat. “Shall I choose something for you?”
Dummy, she chastised herself. “No, um, sorry. I’ll have a margarita.”
“One margarita, no salt, and a highball. And we’ll have the number one family style dinner.”
“What’s that?” she asked the waiter was gone.
“It’s a three course dinner with a lot of different options. I guess I should have given you a chance to look at the menu. Sorry.”
He didn’t sound sorry at all, but since she knew zero about Greek food, it wasn’t an issue, this time.
“So, you got a new job, a fat raise, you’re no longer the editorial workhorse, and you’re about to lose your virginity to the boss. Big week.”
She stared at his grinning face. Was this dude for real? “I’ll say,” she answered, smiling sweetly. “Boss man bestowed a grand gesture on me, big time. Lucky genius, that. Got himself a bonafide social media maven, but left a big hole in editorial now that this workhorse is gone. And you’re about to deflower a virgin. No pressure. Big week indeed.”
He burst out laughing. “Touche, little girl. I suppose that did sound pompous.”
She nodded though he’d made no apology. She was under no illusions. Sam was pompous. You could practically see “I’m a powerful man” tattooed on his high forehead. He was a boss. Not because of his money or his position as founder and CEO of a successful company or even his height and good looks. He just was. Some men were born that way.