Home > Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4)

Beautiful Secret (Beautiful Bastard #4)
Author: Christina Lauren

One

Ruby


“I’m not saying I bet his cock is massive, but I’m not not saying it, either.”

“Pippa,” I groaned, covering my face in horror. It was seven thirty on a Thursday morning, for God’s sake. She could not possibly be drunk already.

I aimed an apologetic smile at the wide-eyed man standing across from us, and wondered if I could speed the elevator up with the power of my mind.

When I glared at her across the elevator, Pippa mouthed, “What?” and then held her index fingers up about a foot apart. She whispered, “Hung like a bloody horse.”

I was saved from having to apologize again when we stopped on the third floor and the doors opened.

“You realize we weren’t alone in there, right?” I hissed, following her down the hall and around a corner, stopping at a set of wide doors with RICHARDSON-CORBETT engraved into the frosted glass.

She looked up from where she was digging through her enormous purse, the bracelets on her right forearm clinking like wind chimes while she searched for keys. Her bag was huge and bright yellow and covered in glittering metal studs. Under the brash, fluorescent lights, her long red hair looked practically neon.

I was dark blond and carrying a beige crossbody; I felt like a vanilla wafer standing next to her.

“We weren’t?”

“No! That guy from accounting was standing right across from you. I have to go up there later and, thanks to you, we’ll share accidental, awkward eye contact while we remember you saying cock.”

“I also said ‘Hung like a bloody horse.’ ” She looked momentarily guilty before turning her attention back to her bag. “Guys in accounting need to loosen up, anyway.” Then, motioning dramatically to the still-dark hallway in front of us, she said, “I assume we’re acceptably alone for you?”

I gave Pippa a playful curtsey. “Please. Go ahead.”

She nodded, brows drawn in concentration. “I mean, logically it’s got to be huge.”

“Logically,” I repeated, biting back my grin. My heart was doing that flip-tumble thing it always did when we talked about Niall Stella. Speculating on the size of his penis might be my undoing.

With a victorious thrust of her arm into the air, Pippa brandished the keys to the offices before fitting the longest of the set into the lock. “Ruby, have you seen his fingers? His feet? Not to mention the fact that he’s about eight feet tall.”

“Six foot seven,” I corrected under my breath. “But hand size doesn’t necessarily mean anything.” We closed the door behind us and flipped on the main office lights. “Lots of guys have big hands and aren’t especially gifted in the Man Parts department.”

I followed Pippa down the narrow hall to a roomful of desks in a smaller, far less opulent corner of the third floor. Though cramped, our little section of the office was at least cozy, which was lucky considering I spent more of my time there, working, than in the tiny flat I rented in South London.

Richardson-Corbett Consulting may have been one of the largest and most successful engineering firms in all of Europe, but it kept only a handful of interns on staff at a time. Soon after graduating from UC San Diego, I’d been thrilled beyond belief to snag one of the spots. The hours were long, and the money had immediately quashed my shoe habit, but the sacrifice was already starting to pay off: after completing the first ninety days of my internship, an actual metal nameplate had replaced the piece of masking tape with the name Ruby Miller scribbled across it, and I’d been moved from what was no more than a closet on the second floor, to one of the joint offices here on the third.

I’d breezed through high school and survived undergrad with only the occasional freak-out. But moving halfway across the world and rubbing elbows with some of the finest engineering minds in the UK? I’d never worked so hard for anything in my life. If I managed to finish this internship as well as I’d started it, a spot at Oxford in the graduate program of my dreams would be mine. Of course, finishing it well most likely involved not talking about executives’ cocks in the elevator at work . . .

But Pippa was just getting started.

“I remember reading that it was wrist to the tip of the middle finger . . .” she added, and used her fingers to measure the length of her own hand, and then held them up to further illustrate her point. “If that’s true, your dream man is packing.”

I hummed, hanging my coat on the back of the door. “I guess.”

Pippa dropped her bag to her chair and leveled me with a knowing look. “I love how you try and look all disinterested. Like you’re not staring at his junk whenever it’s within a ten-foot radius of you.”

I tried to look indignant.

I tried to look horrified and come up with some sort of argument.

I had nothing. In the past six months, I’d logged so many covert glances in Niall Stella’s direction that if anyone was a qualified expert in the topography of his crotch, it would be me.

I tucked my purse in the bottom drawer of my desk and pushed it closed with a resigned sigh. Apparently my covert glances hadn’t been quite as covert as I thought. “Unfortunately, I’m pretty sure his junk hasn’t ever, and won’t ever, be that close to me.”

“It won’t if you never speak to him. I mean, look, as soon as I get the chance I’ll snog that ginger in PR till he cries. You should at least talk to the man, Ruby.”

But I was already shaking my head and she snapped me with the end of her scarf. “Consider it research for your Structural Integrity class. Tell him you need to test the tensile strength of his steel girder.”

I groaned. “Great plan.”

“Okay, then someone else. The blond chap in the mailroom. Always has his eye on you.”

I made a face. “Not interested.”

“Ethan in contracts, then. He’s short, all right, but he’s fit. And have you seen him do that tongue trick at the pub?”

“God, no.” I sat down, slumping under the weight of her inspection. “Are we really having this conversation now? Can’t we just pretend my enormous crush is not a thing?”

“Afraid not. You’re not interested in any of the other lads, but won’t make a play for Mr. Uptight, either.” She sighed. “Don’t get me wrong. Stella’s fit as fuck, but he’s a bit on the prim side, wouldn’t you say?”

I ran a nail along the edge of my desk. “I sort of like that about him,” I said. “He’s steady.”

“Stodgy,” she countered.

“Restrained,” I insisted. “It’s like he’s stepped right out of an Austen novel. He’s Mr. Darcy.” I hoped that would help her understand.

“I don’t get that. Mr. Darcy is short with Elizabeth to the point of rudeness. Why would you want someone who’s so much work?”

“How is that more work?” I asked. “Darcy doesn’t lavish her with false praise or compliments that mean nothing. When he says he loves her it’s because he does.”

Pippa plopped down into a chair and turned on her computer. “Maybe I like a flirt.”

“But a flirt is that way with everyone,” I argued. “Darcy is awkward and hard to read, but when you have his heart, it’s yours.”

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