An age gap, experience gap, boss and intern romantic comedy from Kindle All-Star author JJ Knight

Tasty Cherry trope graphic

I’m having the worst time getting rid of my V-card.

I tried all through college with no luck.

But I just landed my dream job with four other new hires. We all live on site at a castle hotel, and I know I have to do the deed, because I can’t break this seal with someone who might blab about it to my coworkers.

So the night before my first day, I head to a Colorado bar and decide to sleep with the first person I see.

I know. Terrible plan.

But I wind up dancing with a smokin’ hot local at least a decade older than me with the experience to match.

The night is memorable. Easy-going. A perfect first time.

And I never have to see him again. Never have to explain myself.

I show up for my new job with the best feeling about the direction life is headed, until the first staff meeting at the castle.

You know what’s coming, don’t you?

My one-night stand where I lost my v-card?

He’s my new boss.

Note: The color paperback interior is only available on the direct store. Amazon/BN will be black and white inside.


Chapter 1: Mila

Thank God virginity isn’t visible, or mine would definitely be showing.

I dance with my third man of the night, feeling despair that this Colorado bar isn’t going to cough up a solution to my problem.

I’ve simply got to find someone to break into this flower shop.

Cut this grass.

Bust a hyme.

Or if you’re kicking it old school: pop this cherry.

At least my current dance partner is in the right range. Male. Twenties. Not scary. And more importantly — interested. That’s been hard to come by.

Which is why I’m here. I’ve been trying all summer to get this V-card cashed in.

Time is running out. I start a new job tomorrow, a live-in situation with five interns, and Camille, my best friend from college, has told me to get this taken care of or I’ll be the talk of my new coworkers if anyone finds out. My hymen situation is something I’ll never live down.

I can hear the nicknames.

Hey, Veek.

Good afternoon, VILF.

How’s it hanging, nergin?

Goodntight. Poptart. V-squad. Dusty Murphy.

Maybe I shouldn’t have looked on Urban Thesaurus.

But I know Camille is right.

I’m not attached to my status. I’ve tried to give it up plenty of times over the years. Now, I’m desperate.

I’m a college graduate about to meet potential long-term friends and maybe get a real dating life. But I have this thing I don’t want hanging over my head. It makes me feel awkward and weird, like I can’t do a casual hookup. And trust me, I’m totally fine with a casual hookup!

But first-time sex will feel too big, too important. Or, it will be the subject of ridicule.

I don’t want that scene.

I want to be saucy, experienced, ready for what happens next.

So, I need this situation handled, like Christian Grey did for Anastasia.

I want someone to manage it for me.

Maybe it’ll be this man leading me around the dance floor. He’s the best chance I’ve had all night. He reminds me of Jack Black. Shaggy hair, huge smile. His attention is riveting.

Better than the other two. The first one was polite and danced us across the floor as smoothly as an ice skater.

But he was easily sixty.

Still, I would have done him, except he thanked me kindly and left me at the stool where he found me.

Then came the one with a chipmunk-packed lower cheek full of snuff. I hadn’t seen anyone doing dip in a hot minute, as I didn’t run in those circles in Texas. When he leaned in like he might kiss me with that mouthful of carcinogenic spit-mush, I took off for the bathroom.

This third partner seems game. He’s definitely touchy feely. That’s a good sign, right?

Except his hands are roving everywhere.

As one song turns into two, he starts grabbing me more aggressively. He squeezes my butt. Then, he moves up to my waist. Then he’s got one of my boobs! Right here on the dance floor!

I can’t help but look at the drinkers scattered about the tables, wondering if this some test for the new girl in town. Can the Texas girl handle a Colorado man?

I shy away, but he lets go of the boob to draw me even closer. Both of his hands grasp a buttcheek so he can rock me against what might have been a very impressive part of his anatomy.

Or is it socks?

Something about the shape doesn’t seem quite right. But what do I know? The only male parts I’ve seen were on screen (yes, I paused that unforgettable cameo on Sex/Life.) Maybe a few times.

But this is simultaneously too big and too soft. It moves, not side to side, but front to back, like it’s squishy. I picture my favorite pickle stress toy, and I can’t hold it together.

I press my lips hard, bite my cheek. Anything not to laugh.

This situation is ridiculous.

I’m ridiculous for doing this.

Time to throw in the towel.

I’ll just have to save myself for The One. Fair enough, universe, I get it. I’ll have to hope for someone discreet. Who maybe cares about me.

Not sock-man.

Is this song ever going to end?

As the dance drags on, he pulls me even closer to him, until I’m practically attached to his crotch. Yeah, I’m done with this.

“I should hit the little girls’ room,” I tell him.

But he grunts and hangs on.

Surely he can’t hold me hostage right here in the middle of a bar.

I try to wriggle away, but his arms are like a vise.

“Hey,” I say. “Let go.”

And that’s when someone finally steps in.

“That’s enough, Carl.”

The man is tall, with a mass of black wavy hair and a close-trimmed beard. He knows Carl’s name, but they don’t seem like friends.

Carl doesn’t want to let me go, but the man pushes between us and twirls me out of the brute’s arms.

We two-step away from the scowling, broody Carl, who stalks right out the door.

I’m saved.

This man smells so good that I want to drown in him. Woodsy, masculine, with an undertone of something crisp, like citrus.

He has total command of our steps, and when he draws me close, there’s nothing gross or seedy about it. We fit together like one person, gliding across the floor in easy time with the music.

Sorry universe, I’ve changed my mind again.

This man could totally be the one.

Or does he have a girlfriend sitting somewhere who told him to come save me?

We keep dancing, and as I survey the bar while we circle, there aren’t any unattended ladies sitting around.

Could he be for me?

Surely not. He’s gorgeous, older than me, and well dressed. In my experience, men like this don’t go for frumpy, curvy girls like me. It’s not that I don’t deserve them. I do. But I’m never anyone’s first pick. That’s just the facts. I have years of proof to demonstrably prove I’m never the center of anyone’s attention.

And yet, here is this one, holding me close as we circle the floor.

The song switches, and mystery man seems perfectly content to keep dancing. The woman on stage sings the opening line to “Cherry” by Lana Del Rey.

Really? Cherry?

But she’s right, I am falling to pieces right here. We make a turn, and when his hand tightens its grip and lifts over my head, I know what to do, even though I’ve never been a good dancer. I turn beneath his arm in a slow spin, only to end up right back in his arms.

I’m completely entranced. No movie has ever been as good as this. No romance story.

This song has a different beat, so we don’t two-step, but something closer to a waltz. I feel like Bridgerton, or Giselle in Enchanted. I don’t need the big ball gown, the ceremony, the glitz.

A Colorado honky-took with sawdust on the floor and neon signs on the walls does just as good. I’m a taxidermy princess, a dive bar debutante.

Works for me.

“Cherry” ends, and he leans in. “You want something to drink?”

I nod. We sit at a booth in the corner, and the waitress brings us two blackberry ciders. “On the house for getting Carl to leave.”

We laugh and clink our cans. The cider is cold and sweet, and I feel high. How is this working so perfectly?

“I’m Sebastian,” he says. “Sorry about Carl.”

“Mila,” I tell him. “And thanks.”

It’s so easy from there. We grin at each other. We talk about random, unimportant things. TV shows. Favorite musicians. We compare concerts attended, movies seen, memes shared. We don’t have a lot in common, but there’s an age gap at play.

I peg him at thirty-something to my twenty-two. I don’t mind. That’s even better if I’m trying to find someone who knows what he’s doing.

But how do I go from this to what I need to get done?

What’s normal? How do I have a one-night stand where we never exchange information, and he never knows why I had a stranger take away my status as a crotch noob?

I can’t mess this up now that we’ve gotten this far.

“Did you drive here?” he asks.

Oh, God, we’re transitioning.

“I did. I’m at a hotel about a mile away.” Here goes nothing. “Want to see my room?”

My face burns hot. I think I said exactly the same thing to my first boyfriend in sixth grade.

But Sebastian simply runs his fingers over the back of my hand. “I’d like that.”

And the way I shiver tells me this is it. If he’s a one-night-stand kind of guy, then I will, at last, be the girl.