The Billionaire's Proposal(7)

By: Avery James

“So this is a first date?” he said, he raised a brow.

“That’s not what I meant. This isn’t a first date, but maybe that’s a good thing. I haven’t been on any dates, first or otherwise, in forever.”

“I have a hard time believing that someone as beautiful as you would have any trouble finding a hundred guys to fight over you.” Maggie stared down at her drink. She wasn’t used to being so openly admired. Harry continued, “By the way, I agree with you about saying what you believe.”

“My work gets in the way,” she started. She caught herself before talking about the high standards and incredible stress of her job. “But I’m not going to talk about that,” she added, taking another sip.

“For what it’s worth, the best first dates are the ones you don’t plan,” he said.

“So this is a regular thing for you,” she teased. “Picking up women on the beach.”

“This is the first time it’s actually worked, though. Usually I lose them to Speedo Guy.”

She took another sip of her drink. Before she knew it, the drinks were almost gone and Harry was ordering another round. “You’ll want to wash the food down with a beer.”

The food arrived with the beer. Maggie’s mouth started watering the moment she smelled it.

“Since this isn’t a date, I’m not going to worry what you think when I eat this entire sandwich in thirty seconds.”

“Just wait until you taste it,” he said.

Maggie took a bite and let out a little sigh of delight as she chewed. The sandwich was incredible. It was so good that it made her want to swear after every bite. She didn’t look back up until she was done. When she did finish, she realized Harry was only halfway through his Cubano. For a moment, she considered reaching over and taking a bite of his sandwich, too.

“How have I gone my whole life without ever having one of these?” she asked.

“Until you’ve had one in Havana, you still haven’t,” he said.

“You’ve been to Cuba?” she asked.

“A few times,” he said. “I’ll have to bring you sometime.”

“Travel ban be damned?” she asked.

“They’re lifting it. You should see it before they open the gates and it floods with tourists.”

“I won’t have another vacation for years,” she said. She caught herself before she said more. “Sorry, I know, no work talk.”

“For what it’s worth, that was an impressive display of eating. Another dating pet peeve: when women get a salad and take two bites because they’re afraid of food.”

“In fairness, I think I only took two bites,” Maggie said. “They just happened to be very large bites.” She smiled as she tipped back her beer bottle and drank. This was already the best non-date she’d been on in a long time.

“Not bad, right?” Harry asked.

“Not bad at all,” she said.

Harry leaned toward her and rested his chin on his hand, looking at her while she took another sip. “Would you like to go for a walk?” he asked.

“Sure,” she said. She was a little buzzed and enjoying herself much more than she had anticipated. Charming was living up to his name. She placed the beer down on the bar and kicked off her sandals, picking them up as she started her way across the sand. She turned back after a moment. “Are you coming?”

Harry came scrambling after her. “I didn’t mean this second,” he said.

“So what was the good stuff you were talking about?” she replied.

“Oh, you know, hopes and dreams, deep dark secrets. Let’s start easy—where are you from?”

“Chicago, originally. Well, half an hour outside Chicago. I live in D.C. now. You?”

“Connecticut, Virginia for a while, but I was a boarding school brat.”

“Ah, boarding school,” Maggie said, “that explains your superficial charm.”

“Come on,” Harry said, “I’ll have you know that much more of me is superficial. I don’t want to give some illusion of depth.” He placed his hand on her shoulder and Maggie leaned into him a little bit. She wondered if he was going to kiss her. The tension had been building between them since she’d taken him up on his offer to get a drink.

“Family?” she asked. She bit her lower lip and looked at him.

“No, thank you,” he replied. “Only child. Distant father.”

“Overprotective parents, two sisters,” Maggie said. She ran a hand through her hair.

“And here I was thinking you’d floated into my life out of the sea foam.”

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