The last thing Abby expects when she lands in The Hague for a new job is to run into Jasper. She takes one look at the hot geek and decides it’s time for some sexy times. Sexy times of a non-permanent nature, of course, because Abby doesn’t do relationships. But when their one-night stand has unexpected consequences, Jasper is all in for giving a relationship a try. Can he convince Abby he’s worth the risk?
What’s that? You need more before you can make up your mind? I aim to please! Here’s the first chapter to whet your appetite:
Engineers like to solve problems. If there are no problems handily available, they will create them. ~ Scott Adams
I skip as I make my way to my new place of work. Whoa! Skip? Slow your roll, Abby. You don’t want everyone at your new job thinking you’re some kind of country bumpkin, do you? The answer is a definitive N – O!
I have been hippity hoppity-ing my way all over the world waiting on the perfect position, and I think I have finally found it with Petroix Oil in The Hague in Holland. I know what you’re thinking – an oil company has the perfect position for an environmental engineer specializing in renewable energy? Yeah, right. But it sure is the perfect position.
Petroix has been working on developing renewable energy technology for a few years now and guess who they just hired to lead the team? Points to self. That’s right. Moi! Technically, it’s a temporary position and I’m not an employee – I’m a contractor – but it’s all the same dif. They’re going to love me and beg me to work here by the end of my contract. Trust me on this.
I burst into the building and march my way to the security desk. I don’t make it very far before I hear someone call my name.
Yep, my last name is diamond. When you can choose your own last name, obviously you pick the strongest, naturally occurring material on earth. And diamonds also happen to be way pretty and shiny.
I stop walking and turn to the woman who called my name. “It’s Abby,” I clarify.
Abigail sounds like some old lady, and I am definitely not an old lady. Unless you consider thirty-two old, which I do not. Plus, look at me. I am in no way to be confused with an elderly woman. My long dark hair has streaks of purple in it for gosh sakes. I’m also five-foot-eight. No little old lady to be found here.
To complete the picture, let me also say, I’m way skinny. My small frame serves to accent my perky breasts. Yes, I called my own breasts perky. A woman can be proud of her assets, you know. Especially when said woman has no rear-end to speak of. I also wear glasses and have dark brown eyes. Like, seriously dark. People ask me what my ethnicity is all the time because of my eyes. As if I have a clue who my parents are. Spoiler alert – I don’t.
“I’m Famke. Welcome to Petroix Oil,” the woman says as we shake hands.
I beam a smile her way. “I’m happy to be here.”
I’m not blowing smoke up her ass. I am seriously happy to be here. Fingers crossed my roaming days are behind me and I can settle down in this city along the North Sea.
“If you’ll follow me.”
I won’t bore you with the next hours of my life. I’m bored enough for the both of us. No need to share my torture with you. There are meetings with security for a badge, meetings with Human Resources to go over a shit ton of paperwork, and a final meeting with IT to get me set up with a laptop and phone. Yawn! Told you – boring!
I am itching to get to work by the time Famke shows me to my office. “It’s probably not what you’re used to,” she says as I look around the room.
Not what I’m used to? What does she think? I’m some self-made millionaire who expects a corner office with a view. I am a self-made millionaire, but I’ve never had a corner office let alone a view. And it’s not like this office is in some dank basement with no windows and a weird smell reminiscent of the time I accidentally found myself in a dumpster.
Yes, it was as horrible as you could expect. No, I didn’t get some weird disease. And, no, it wasn’t entirely on purpose. And that’s all I’ve got to say about that.
“It’ll do,” I tell Famke. Oh, FYI, Famke is my new assistant. How cool is that? I’ve got my own assistant. I’ll have taken over this company before you know it.
“Do you want to meet your team?”
Told you I’m cool. I have my own team and everything. But it’s not cool if you get too jacked up about how cool you are, so I hold in my giddy laughter and grunt instead. “What I’d really like is some coffee.”
“I’ll get you some.”
I don’t let her leave. It may be cool to have my own assistant, but I’m not that boss. You know the one. The one who makes her assistant get her coffee, do her laundry, and take care of her cat. I don’t have a cat, but you get what I’m saying.
“Lead the way.”
I follow Famke as she walks through a series of tunnels to the breakroom where I nearly fall to my knees at the sight greeting me. As it is, I can’t help myself from hugging the machine.
“It’s a real coffee machine. An honest to goodness bean machine.”
Famke giggles. “Um, yes. The engineers threatened to go on strike if they didn’t get some decent coffee.”
Sounds about right. Engineers cannot work without coffee. Myself included.
“Okay. Show me how this baby works.”
I could probably figure it out for myself, but it would involve me taking the machine apart and putting it back together again, and I don’t think anyone in this department would be happy with me spending several hours fooling around with their coffee machine. But when no one’s around, I’m totally playing with it.
“It’s super easy,” Famke says and goes on to explain how the miracle machine works.
To my disappointment, it is super easy. It obviously needs more functionality. Coffee in hand I start walking back through the tunnels to my office with Famke.
Her phone rings. “I need to take this. Will you be okay walking back on your own?”
I roll my eyes. This girl has been on her own most of her life. Of course, I can make it by myself to my office. I might take a few wrong turns, but I need to do some reconnaissance on the place anyway.
I whistle as I walk through the hallways peeking into everyone’s offices as I go. Hardly anyone notices me. No, this building is full of good little engineers with their eyes glued to their computers. I’m liking this place more and more.
I spot a tall man walking toward me. Since I’m five-eight, I love me a tall man. This one has dark, curly hair, strong cheekbones, and a square jaw. Hubba hubba. He’s also wearing black nerd glasses and a t-shirt with the words What part don’t you understand? on it with a schematic. And I thought this day couldn’t get any better.
He doesn’t look up as I walk toward him. No, he’s too busy playing with his phone. I clear my throat. “Ahem.” But he doesn’t notice. I try again. “Ahem!” I sound like I’m coughing up a fur ball from that cat I don’t have, but he still doesn’t notice me.
In fact, he walks right into me, and my coffee spills all down my front. He doesn’t even look up after it happens. What. The. Actual. Hell? I watch him walk away for a second before I remember I have a voice and I know how to use it.
“Hey, asshat! In what world is it okay to run into a woman, make her spill her drink all over herself, and then walk away without even bothering to mumble an apology? Spoiler alert – in no world is it okay.”
The man flinches and his phone clatters to the ground. I cringe, but the phone appears to be fine. It has one of those bumpers on it for clumsy kids. The man picks up his phone before spinning around and facing me. His eyes widen when he sees how my white t-shirt is now covered in black coffee.
“Het spijt me.”
Um, what? I know I took this job in Holland where Dutch is the native language, but the person who recruited me swore up and down everyone speaks English. I ended up promising to take a Dutch course, but it’s my first day. No one can expect me to understand the language yet. Come on, I’m a genius, not some savant language whisperer.
“I’m sorry,” the man says in English this time. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine.” I’ve got a few t-shirts in my work bag as this kind of thing tends to happen to me a lot. No, I’m not a klutz. I’m a driven woman who doesn’t always have time to pay attention to silly things like walls and doors.
“Do you work here?” I ask when he merely stands there staring at me.
“Um, yes. I’m Jasper.” He steps closer and holds out his hand.
I study him as we shake hands. I was not wrong about his good looks. He’s even better looking up close. Yowza! Me want to take a ride on the Jasper train.
“I’m Abby. It’s my first day.”
His eyes light with recognition. “You’re the new project manager of the clean energy department.”
I bow. “In person.”
“I’m in the mechanical engineering department. We work closely with your group. I’m sure I’ll see you around.” His phone pings, and he looks down. “Oops! I’m late to a meeting. Sorry about your t-shirt.”
He waves and walks off without a backward glance. Do I not rate a backward glance? Shit. Way to make a girl feel like she’s worthless. Nope. I’m not worthless. He must be married. Yep, there’s no other explanation possible. He’s married.