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The Marriage Proposal: Poor Little Billionaires, #1

The Marriage Proposal: Poor Little Billionaires, #1

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The Marriage Proposal: Poor Little Billionaires, #1

ratings:
3.5/5 (3 ratings)
Length:
328 pages
5 hours
Released:
Sep 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781386555445
Format:
Book

Description

Can a fake marriage turn to true love?

CEO Noah runs a tight ship when it comes to business, but he made the ultimate workplace mistake: he dated his assistant. When the guy quit his job in a snit, he left some important paperwork unresolved—namely, Noah's visa extension. Now Noah's got two weeks to get things in order, or he'll have to leave the country.

Enter IT expert Dylan. Noah's had a secret crush on him for months. Bone-meltingly handsome and wickedly smart, Dylan is the only guy in the company who doesn't kiss up to the boss. Marrying him will solve two problems at once: Noah will be able to stay in the country, and he'll get to play house with the one guy he can't get out of his system.

Dylan's life is complicated enough without a marriage of convenience to the boss. That can't possibly end well, right? But the guy sure knows how to fill out a suit, and Dylan's had more than one fantasy about what's underneath it. Plus, Noah is offering to throw a stack of money Dylan's way. With his mom on the brink of losing her house due to medical bills, it's an offer Dylan can't refuse.

When Dylan moves into the blond-haired, blue-eyed CEO's mansion, it's supposed to be a temporary situation. But when Dylan sees the cracks in Noah's confident façade, he can't stop his heart from getting involved. Will their differences tear them apart, or can these two opposites find their way to lasting love?

This steamy M/M romance has a happy ending and no cliffhanger.

Released:
Sep 1, 2018
ISBN:
9781386555445
Format:
Book

About the author

Andrea Dalling lives in the sexy Southeast U.S., where the summers are hot and the romance hotter. She loves to torture her characters but eventually rewards them with a happily-ever-after.  Married to her college sweetheart, she's an ally and an advocate for LGBT rights. When she's not writing, she enjoys gardening at her Raleigh home and scuba diving in the clear blue waters of the Caribbean.  You can follow her on Facebook (andrea.dalling.romance) or on Twitter (@Andrea_Dalling). For news about upcoming releases, sign up at http://eepurl.com/00WxP or visit her website at http://andreadalling.com. Want free books? Sign up for her ARC Club to receive advance reader copies. http://eepurl.com/2c4DH


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The Marriage Proposal - Andrea Dalling

Chapter 1

August

Noah Harrison pressed the Esc key for the five thousandth time and swore loudly, as if the pitch and tone of his voice would make his computer behave. As CEO of the company he’d inherited from his father, Noah was accustomed to being obeyed. It pissed him off that this accumulation of circuit boards and industrial plastics wouldn’t bend to his will like everyone else did.

Get a grip, he told himself, massaging the bridge of his nose. But he didn’t have time to get a grip. He had a meeting in half an hour, and he needed to review the financials first.

A knock came on his door, and he looked up. His stomach bottomed out, and his mouth fell open. The most handsome man he’d ever seen was standing there, tall and slim and tanned, with dark hair and eyes. His expression was tight with apprehension, but somehow he seemed to wear a mocking smile.

Hey, I’m Dylan McCann from IT, the god-like creature said, his voice a sexy baritone. I understand you’re having trouble?

Noah was definitely having trouble. With his dick. It was at half-mast, which was not supposed to happen when an employee walked into his office. HR had given him shit the last time...

He set his jaw. He didn’t like thinking about that.

Besides, the guy was waiting for an answer, and Noah was staring like a horny teenager. He narrowed his eyes and checked out the goods. The dude might be hot, but he looked like he was barely out of college. Noah wasn’t about to trust him with his PC. Where’s Riya?

Out sick. Hot IT guy closed the door. What can I do for you?

Call Riya and get her ass in here.

The man gave him a level look. Unless you want her to spread her stomach flu to everyone else in the company, including you, you’re stuck with me.

Noah scowled at him.

"It’s okay, I’m good. Hot IT guy flashed a smile. I found an issue that saved the last company I worked for two million dollars the first month I was working there."

Noah raised his brows skeptically. Then why aren’t you still working there?

I knew what I was worth, and they didn’t want to pay it. The man’s casual but confident tone fanned the fire in Noah’s cock. I had my pick of three job offers when I took this one.

Noah eyed him a moment longer, not convinced, but his options were limited. The meeting was in twenty-five minutes. Fine.

So let’s try this again. What can I do for you?

The guy’s cocky smile made Noah want to back him against a wall and devour every inch of him. He was insubordinate as fuck, but Noah’s dick seemed to like him that way. For the sake of appearances, Noah glared. You realize I’m the CEO.

Does that stand for cranky executive officer?

If the man weren’t so attractive, Noah might have fired him on the spot. But since all the blood in Noah’s brain had traveled south, just from being close to that masculine perfection, he let it slide. My computer is hosed.

IT guy nodded slowly. Did you do something to it?

No, Noah said defensively. Ever since I went into Regedit—

You fucked with the registry? hot IT guy asked in a mock-scolding tone that made Noah’s cock jump. Are you an IT expert?

Of course he was a computer expert. I’ve got a degree in electrical engineering.

IT guy nodded slowly. Then you understand that we have the computers set up in a particular way, so they’ll work with all our systems.

The back of Noah’s neck prickled with exasperation. The stupid machine kept going to sleep every two minutes, so I fixed it.

Sounds like you fixed it, all right. Move your ass so I can sit down.

Noah narrowed his eyes and said irritably, I could fire you for speaking to me that way.

Hot IT guy shrugged. Then I’ll take one of those other two jobs I was offered. I only accepted the one here because the CEO is hot. The guy flashed a cheeky grin that made Noah warm all over. If you want me to help you, then move that cute ass.

Fully hard now, Noah tried and failed to be offended. That’s sexual harassment.

You’re the CEO. If you don’t like it, you can fire me.

Noah swallowed the knot in his throat, then moved his chair aside.

Yeah, I thought so. Hot IT guy pulled up the guest chair.

Noah watched as the Roman god of technology clicked away at the keyboard. The guy’s dark coloring and olive skin tone suggested he was Italian. Although, his last name hadn’t sounded Italian, even though Noah couldn’t remember what it was. Maybe the man had inherited his looks from his mother.

Noah watched as the man worked, trying not to be obvious. The dude didn’t become any less attractive on closer inspection. Beneath a brow furrowed in concentration, his chocolate-brown eyes shone with intelligence.

Sitting so close, Noah caught the scent of sweet pine from IT guy’s shampoo. It was weirdly intimate, but Noah had no desire to move away, nor did the other man seem uncomfortable. Apparently he was also gay, and thought Noah was hot, so—

That should do it. IT guy turned the machine back over to Noah. Check it now.

Noah did. The spreadsheet opened without a problem, and everything seemed back to normal. Thanks, he said sheepishly.

Any time. Hot IT guy rose, then winked on his way out.

Noah watched him go, hardly able to breathe. Damn, that was brazen. And for some reason, Noah had allowed it. He liked when a guy that hot spoke to him in a way he wouldn’t tolerate from anyone else.

He didn’t want to examine that fact too closely.

Not that it mattered. The company had fraternization rules. He couldn’t sleep with the IT guy.

Could he?

No, that was crazy. He didn’t even want to think about the bad press that could come from another reckless affair with an employee. So far, the fact that he was gay hadn’t produced any noticeable negative effect after he took over the business. But even though Seattle was a progressive town, a sex scandal would always look worse if a gay man was involved.

Noah turned his attention back to his job and tried to put the hot guy out of his mind. But as he scanned the financials, his mind wandered. IT guy topping him. IT guy on his knees. If nothing else, Noah’s spank bank had just received a new deposit.

But a little part of him wondered how he could turn fantasy into reality.

DYLAN MARCHED DOWN the hallway to his office, the encounter with Noah replaying in his mind. What the hell had he just done? Flirting with the CEO? Had he lost his mind?

Despite what he’d told Noah, he needed this job. With his dad passing away suddenly a few months earlier, and his mom saddled with medical bills, he really couldn’t afford to get fired right now. Those other two jobs he’d been offered would surely have been filled by now, and who knew how long it would take to find another position.

Something about Noah had attracted Dylan and brought out his dominant side. It wasn’t just because the CEO’s blond hair and blue eyes conjured images of sunshine and clear water. Or that his dress shirt clung to thick biceps, bringing Dylan’s cock to life.

No, Dylan had seen the desire and distraction in Noah’s eyes, and he couldn’t help but play into it. Noah had actually blushed, his pale skin pinking, making him look even sexier. The big-shot billionaire CEO had been hot for him, and Dylan’s primal instincts had taken over.

But that couldn’t happen again. He had to show Noah that he was a hard-working, respectful employee, not a cocky sleaze ball trying to get inside the boss’s pants for his own personal gain.

But, damn. Noah Harrison was fine. Now that Dylan was out of the presence of the pheromones the CEO was giving off, and he could think clearly—the fact was, Dylan had never met someone so attractive face-to-face. Noah was even better looking than his photos. And without his suit jacket, his lean, muscular frame looked positively lickable.

But Dylan couldn’t think about it anymore. He’d probably never get that close to Noah again. His boss always handled Noah’s IT. This had just been a fluke, a one-time thing. Noah would probably forget all about Dylan the next day.

If he didn’t have him fired.

A FEW WEEKS WENT BY, and Dylan’s flirtation with the company CEO didn’t seem to have had any lingering effects. In fact, he didn’t even pass the guy in the hallway. That wasn’t surprising, since IT was located in the basement, and the executive offices were on the top floor. Noah’s meals were probably delivered to him, because he certainly didn’t hang out in the cafeteria.

Then, one afternoon, Dylan got into the elevator after helping out the CFO’s assistant. Footsteps sounded behind him, and Noah followed him inside.

Hey, IT guy, Noah said as the doors closed, pressing the button for the first floor.

Dylan chuckled, his chest warming, and the sensation quickly headed south. Hey, bossman.

Noah scowled. What’s so funny?

He stared at the lights above the door that lit up with the floor numbers. You get half a point for remembering I’m the IT guy, even if you don’t remember my name.

Noah blushed, and it was sexy as fuck. Sorry. I’m terrible with names. I’m better with numbers than letters.

Dylan grinned. The guy had a reputation as a hard-ass, but one on one, he was adorable. You and me both.

Are you coming to the company picnic? Noah asked out of the blue. Was that eagerness in his voice? Dylan must be imagining that.

Probably not. I dumped my loser boyfriend a few months ago, and I’m not sure I want to show up alone.

Don’t let that stop you. A lot of people come stag. Noah shrugged. I’m not bringing a date.

Dylan couldn’t pass up that opening. The setup was too perfect. He looked Noah up and down, eyes lingering briefly on his crotch, then on his lips. In that case, he said in his most sultry tone, I might have to come after all.

Noah seemed to shiver, and his cheeks flushed in that cute way they did when he was flustered. The doors opened, and he stepped out of the elevator.

See you around, bossman, Dylan called after him.

Later, IT guy.

Dylan gave a little smile at that. How crazy was it that he and the CEO had nicknames for each other? Plus, the guy totally wanted to fuck him.

Dylan had no doubt about that.

A FEW DAYS LATER, NOAH’S assistant, Troy, buzzed him. Your two o’clock is here. Dylan McCann from IT.

Noah wrinkled his brow. Where the hell was Riya? Noah had work to do. He couldn’t afford to be distracted by the way the new guy’s ass filled out a pair of khakis. It was crazy that a damn monarch migration fluttered in Noah’s stomach every time the man got close. Noah promised himself he’d act like a professional. Send him in.

The door opened, and hot IT guy—Dylan—looked in before entering and closing the door behind him. Hey, sorry to bother you. I need to run some diagnostics on your computer before installing some new security software.

Oh. Okay. Noah closed the files he was working on. Where’s Riya?

Vancouver. Dylan crossed his arms. You’re going to give me a complex. Don’t you like my company?

A hell of a lot more than I should. I like your company fine. I just don’t trust you with my computer.

You’ll get over that soon enough. I told you, I’m good. Dylan approached, then looked at him with hooded eyes. In fact, I’m good at a lot of things.

Damn it. The guy was definitely flirting. Noah should shut that right down.

There was no way Noah was going to shut that down.

Wearing a sexy smirk—a fucking smirk—Dylan pulled up a chair next to him and took control of the computer. Noah could smell his shampoo again, that faint whiff of pine. He had to stop himself from leaning into the guy.

Dylan typed quickly, apparently running a program from the network. His fingers were long and slim, like the rest of his hands. Noah couldn’t help thinking about what those hands could do to him.

He forced that thought out of his mind. So what’s the issue?

Oh, you know, always new security threats. Someone finds a vulnerability in the operating system and looks for ways to exploit it. That’s why we keep a tight rein on the software we allow on the networked computers. Dylan gave him a side-eye, followed by a soft smile.

Dylan. Why hadn’t Noah been able to remember that name? It suited him. A combination of hard and soft that flowed off the tongue. And Noah wanted his tongue all over that body.

He had to stop thinking that way. He couldn’t date someone who worked for the company. HR would have his balls. But it was difficult when Dylan was so close that Noah could feel the heat radiating off him.

Noah’s throat grew dry. He swallowed and asked, You find a date for the company picnic?

Nah, I’ve decided to come stag. You?

I could find a date if I wanted one—but there doesn’t seem to be a point. As busy as I am, and with all the traveling I do, I don’t have time for a relationship.

It must be lonely.

The words hurt Noah’s heart a little. It was lonely, but that wasn’t something he had time to worry about. He had a company to run, one his father had built from the ground up. Noah couldn’t get distracted and let it fail. He still had a lot to learn. Until he was sure the company could run properly without him keeping a close eye on it, he wouldn’t let his personal life get in the way.

Sometimes, Noah conceded.

After a few more keystrokes, another program started running. Is it worth it? Dylan asked.

Is what...?

You’re this big, high-powered CEO who has everything money can buy, yet you don’t have time for a social life. Doesn’t seem worth it to me.

Noah wasn’t sure how he felt about Dylan saying that to him. It was presumptuous, but for some reason, Noah didn’t mind that from Dylan. The two seemed to connect in a way that had nothing to do with business. I could have sold the company. But it was my father’s life’s work. That means something to me.

Dylan nodded thoughtfully. I get that. I hope it doesn’t keep you from finding happiness outside work. That doesn’t sound like a worthwhile tradeoff.

Noah wanted to be angry, but instead, his chest tightened painfully. Dylan somehow managed to tap into the tender parts of him.

For instance, Dylan continued, this weekend, I’m meeting some college friends for beer after work on Friday. On Saturday, I’m taking Ginger, my dachshund, on a play date at the dog park. Sunday, I’m having dinner with my mom’s family after church to celebrate her birthday. Normal, boring stuff, I guess. But maybe not as boring as flying to Japan for a two-day conference, where you spend more time on a plane than you do on the ground.

Noah’s jaw tightened. I don’t have a choice.

You always have a choice. And since you’re the boss, you have more choices than most.

Noah grinned at him. Are you always this cheeky?

Dylan flushed red. I’m not, actually. I’m usually a quiet guy who works hard and does his job exceptionally well. But there’s something about you... He looked down. Sorry, I’m getting too personal.

Noah should have been relieved, but he wasn’t. He wanted to hear what Dylan had to say. That’s okay. You can speak openly to me.

On the outside, you’re so confident, and everyone is intimidated by that. But another part of you is waiting for pushback. On some level, you want someone to challenge that tough persona. If you didn’t, you’d have shut me down the first time I mouthed off to you.

Noah hid a smile. He liked that Dylan wasn’t afraid to take a chance and speak his mind. He couldn’t put it into words, but something inside Dylan called to him.

What must it be like to spend your Saturday taking your dog for a play date? That was, like, the most pointless thing Noah had ever heard of, yet it also sounded wonderful. He’d never be able to do something like that, not until he retired. He couldn’t imagine a point in his career when he would have that kind of leisure time.

I’ve never had a dog, he said, then realized it must sound like a non sequitur. My mom is allergic.

That’s a shame. Everyone deserves that kind of unconditional love in their life. Plus, dogs force you to be in the moment, to forget your troubles for a while.

The pang in Noah’s heart caught him by surprise. Hell, was he getting sad because he hadn’t had a dog—or any pets, for that matter—as a child? Fuck that noise. He had important work to do. He didn’t let regret, or any other sort of sentimentality, distract him.

But Dylan’s closeness was distracting. The man was looking at him so intensely, Noah’s heart turned into a puddle. The room was suddenly too warm, and Noah’s vision narrowed until he could only see Dylan.

Dylan didn’t shy away. Those chocolate-brown eyes met Noah’s, and he felt like he could get lost in them. The attraction zinging between the two men was like electromagnetic induction, and impossible to resist.

Noah leaned toward him, just an inch or two, and apparently that was all the invitation Dylan needed. He closed the space between them, finding Noah’s lips, brushing his own against them.

That soft, sweet touch wakened Noah’s sleeping libido. It hadn’t gotten enough attention lately, and he was hungry for what Dylan had to offer.

But Dylan pulled back, apparently startled by his own actions. Noah was having none of it. He cupped his hand at Dylan’s nape and dragged him in for a proper kiss.

Dylan opened for him, and the swirl of their tongues had Noah harder than marble. He laid a tentative hand at Dylan’s chest and explored the firm pecs. This man had Noah wanting in ways he hadn’t for a long time. But he couldn’t afford to want. He could only do. That’s what his role demanded of him.

He pushed that thought from his mind, losing himself in Dylan’s taste. It was spicy wintergreen and raw, masculine desire.

Dylan took Noah’s face in his hands, deepening the kiss, possessing him. Noah leaned into that demanding touch, savoring it, feeling wanted in a way he hadn’t in a long time. This wasn’t the cold desire of avarice, of someone using him for his wealth and position. This was reckless, unadulterated need.

Breathless, Noah pulled back, panting. Dylan, I need to hear the words from you. That you want this. That you don’t feel pressured because I’m the boss.

He watched Dylan expectantly, suddenly worried. He wanted this more than he dared admit to himself. And it would only take a moment for his world to come crashing down around him.

DYLAN LOOKED INTO NOAH’S glazed eyes and saw the earnestness there. His first impulse was to tease him, but that’s not what Noah needed at that moment. So Dylan said sincerely, Yes. I want you. So much.

He stole another kiss, but Noah pulled back. Let’s sit somewhere more comfortable. He rose and took Dylan’s hand, leading him to the black leather couch.

Dylan sank into it. The upholstery was as soft as butter, but the padding firm. The opposite of Noah. He was tough on the outside and squishy on the inside.

A smile teased Dylan’s lips at the thought. Right now, he wanted to make Noah lose his mind.

Noah sat next to him, and they started kissing again. It wasn’t long before Noah was straddling him, the ridge of his cock pressed against Dylan’s pelvis. Dylan didn’t know where this was heading, but at that moment, he was up for anything.

Noah’s lips tugged at his, licking and nipping. The sensation lit a fever inside him. Fucking the CEO in the middle of a workday might have seemed like a terrible idea in more lucid moments, but right now it seemed like the best idea ever.

Dylan’s hands cupped Noah’s ass, tipping him closer. Noah’s hands were all over him, gripping his hair and his shirt. Dylan could feel the man’s desire, but Noah made no effort to take things further. Did that mean he didn’t want to? Or was he waiting for Dylan to make the first move?

But of course, Noah couldn’t make the first move. Dylan had to initiate everything, or it might seem like harassment.

So Dylan escalated. He unbuttoned the top few buttons of Noah’s shirt and kissed the soft flesh of Noah’s neck. Hell, the man smelled so good, a combination of citrusy cologne and aroused male. The man’s greedy murmurs showed he had no objections to taking things to the next level.

Noah’s desk phone buzzed, and his shoulders stiffened. Shit. I have to get that. Wait here.

He walked over to the desk and pushed a button. Yes?

The voice of Noah’s assistant, Troy Zwicki, sounded over the line. Mikhail needs to see you. There’s a virus attack that could threaten our servers.

Noah hesitated a moment. Tell him I’ll meet him in his office in a moment. He turned back to Dylan. Sorry, I have to take this. Mikhail wouldn’t interrupt unless it was critical.

Dylan’s gut hollowed out. Sure, I understand. He fought his disappointment. Maybe it was best they didn’t have sex in Noah’s office, but damn, he wanted to get the man naked at some point. I’ll just finish up with your computer.

Okay, thanks. Noah stepped into the private bathroom in his office and reassembled himself, running a brush through his hair where Dylan had mussed it. Then, he approached Dylan, looking unsure a moment. I’d like to see you again, if you’re interested. Outside of work, I mean.

Excitement flooded Dylan’s stomach. I’d like that, too.

Noah smiled broadly. I’ll talk to human resources, see if there’s any paperwork we need to sign. I’ll be in touch.

Dylan swallowed the lump in his throat. I look forward to it.

With a shy smile, Noah walked out the door.

Dylan stood there a moment, getting his bearings. Then, he took a deep breath and checked the computer. The download was still running, so he freshened up in Noah’s bathroom.

When he finished installing the new software, he looked around Noah’s office a moment. It said so much about Noah’s personality—neat and orderly, with nothing out of place. Dylan couldn’t wait to break through that control and watch Noah fly apart.

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