Love So Dark: Billionaire Romance Duet by Stasia Black


Bryce Gentry of Bryce Information Technologies doesn’t look up from his computer when I enter his huge corner office. Even though I know for a fact his secretary buzzed him to tell him she was sending me in.

Just from his profile I can see he’s as good-looking as the online pics I saw last night when I was researching the company. Blond hair, aquiline nose. Long face and squared jaw, like a model. Not that I was paying that much attention last night. Kinda hard when Charlie kept trying to climb into my lap and bang his favorite rubber spoon on my nose. All the while yelling, “Mama! Mama!” to get my attention.

Try telling a two-and-a-half-year old that Mama needs her me-time on the laptop or you’re both going to get evicted by the nasty landlord. Yeah. I shudder even thinking about Mr. Jenkins. He doesn’t even try to pretend he isn’t staring at my boobs, no matter if Charlie’s with me or not. At least Mr. Jenks-a-lot waited till he caught me alone to tell me to get the rent to him by Friday or come around to some ‘alternate forms of payment.’ Said while blatantly rubbing at the crotch of his pants.

I stretch my neck and shake out my hands. Focus Callie. All that shit just means this interview is more important than ever. Which leads to the mantra I’ve been whispering over and over to myself all morning: Don’t fuck this up. Don’t fuck this up.

“Mr. Gentry?” I finally venture. Maybe he didn’t hear the secretary when she buzzed him or notice when I came in. The wall separating his office from the reception is that cool futuristic glass that can frost and unfrost at the touch of a button. It frosted over as I opened the door. I thought Mr. Gentry had control of it, but maybe I’d been wrong and that had been the secretary as well. Am I an idiot just standing here like a stalker and he doesn’t even realize there’s anyone in the room with him? “I’m here for the Personal Assistant interview?”

A grunt is all that greets me in return. I stand awkwardly and look down at my shoes. I immediately frown. Shit. I polished them last night but the left one has a giant scuff down the side. They’re just crappy knock-off pumps, but I thought they’d at least last the interview process. I’ve been desperately job-hunting all month ever since the lawyer’s fees and rent and student loan repayments have started stacking up too high.

Especially when another custody hearing is looming. My stomach cramps just at the thought, even though it’s the last thing I need to be focusing on right now. But God, the money. It’s why I’m here. The money has to come from somewhere. Waitressing gigs aren’t cutting it, no matter how many hours I work.

And after a month of job hunting, interviewing with no call-backs, turning over every damn rock possible, this is my last shot—and for a job I’m only remotely qualified for. Personal Assistant. I can do that, right? Assist a person. I’m great at thinking on my feet, helping out where needed. And I know computers and robotics. Well, I’ve taken classes about them anyway…

I look around the pristine room and swallow. The space isn’t like the others I’ve interviewed in. It looks almost like one of those futuristic sets for a movie. Everything is white, glass, or chrome—the floors, the ceiling, the chairs, the desk. It’s all so… immaculate. Perfect.

At least I thought I was qualified for the job. My hands squeeze into fists but I quickly relax them again. The listing didn’t say the PA job was for the freaking CEO of the company. And to say that I engaged in a little… creative truth management on my resume would be putting it kindly. But doesn’t everyone? And if I can actually pull this off… there wasn’t a salary listed, it said full details would be offered at inquiry. But damn, who hasn’t heard of Gentry Tech? We talked about Gentry Tech products all the time in my classes at Stanford and studied research this man developed. God, this could be the break I’ve been looking for.

If I don’t fuck it up.

Bryce Gentry finally shuts his laptop with a loud clap and looks up at me. For a second I’m startled, just staring at him. He really is attractive, but with a Parisian suave vibe more than an overly muscled All-American football player way. No, he’s sleek. The kind of guy you imagine standing in the shadows. Mysterious. Maybe smoking a cigarette. Although the blond hair does throw off the image a little. He’s really blond, like me. And younger than I would’ve thought. I’d guess he’s in his thirties, but just barely.

“Miss…?” He waves a hand in my direction and I hurry forward, realizing I’ve just been standing here stupidly instead of introducing myself like a normal human.

Damn it, Cals. Don’t fuck this up!

My legs feel wobbly. I’ve probably only been waiting about five minutes, but it’s felt like fifty. God, I hope I don’t have obvious sweat stains under my pits already. I put on my extra-strength deodorant this morning, didn’t I?

“Miss Cruise. Calliope Cruise.” I smile enthusiastically and hold out my hand across his spotless white desk. “Or Callie. You can just call me Callie.”

Awesome, way to come across like a bumbling idiot. I just can’t believe I’m meeting him. And interviewing in person with him. Although it makes sense, if it’s him I’d be working directly with.

Bryce Gentry’s eyes finally make their way to me.

But they don’t make it all the way up to my face. My excitement deflates. His gaze lands firmly on the real estate that is my chest. Of course. Never my face.