Professionally Personal by DH78
Aspiring tattoo artist, Bella Swan works a nine-to-five job at Cullen Energy, Inc. When forced to work with the cold, elusive, and very hot CEO, she discovers they have something in common. Can she keep things professional personal? E/B Humor/Romance. Rated: Fiction M
Review: by Magnolia822
Edward Cullen is not an easy boss to please, and his recent ascension to CEO of Cullen Energy has the entire office in a tizzy. After he fires his latest PA, it’s up to Bella Swan to fill temporarily fill the position until a replacement is found, even though she thinks he’s a bit of an overbearing snob. That is, until she gets a glimpse of ink and discovers that perhaps there’s more to Cullen than his tightly-buttoned exterior:
His long fingers rest on the file, and my eyes follow upwards until I see something that totally screws with my brain.
Just a sliver of black ink peaks out from under his very expensive looking silver watch and cuffed sleeve, right on the wrist.
Cullen's tatted up.
This is a new development. And I'm totally turned on.
Professionally Personal is a fun, sexy fic that turns the tattoo parlour trope on its head. We’re used to reading about Edward Cullen the tat artist and Bella his very willing subject; here, it’s Edward who visits the shop where Bella’s honing her art (run by her friend Jasper) and subjects himself to her… ministrations. We discover Bella’s real talent and passion lies, not in the daily grind of 9-5, but in the skill she wields with the needle. Soon enough, the lines between the day job and night blur, and Bella is faced with a choice: does she give in to her attraction to Cullen and risk her day job if things go wrong, or fight it and miss out on what could be great sex—or more?
I glance at Jasper's work again, observing the perfect outlines of the flowers and guitar and trying to get a handle on where I should start. I'm nervous to mark him: aside from being detrimental to my own sexual sanity, I'm permanently marking him... my boss... Cullen... Edward. If I fuck this up, he will forever have physical proof of my failure.
"So, you want the guitar to be red?" I ask, my voice hoarse. I still can't bring myself to look at him. It might kill me.
I hear him clear his throat before answering. "Uh, yeah. I think that would match well with the rest of it, right?" His voice sends shivers through my body and I risk a glance at his face.
Dear God in heaven. The black shirt accentuates the green of his eyes and the lights above make several shades of reddish-bronze dance through his fucked up hair.
I realize he's staring at me, seemingly amused at my blatant ogling.
I look away and get into position to make my first marks. I place the gloves on my hands and zero in on the work I have to do.
I must be professional. I must be professional. I must be professional...
While the UST is sizzling, I’m also struck by the likeability of her main characters, especially her heroines, every time I read one of DH78’s stories. Bold and sassy, yet simultaneously sweet and vulnerable, Professionally Personal’s Bella is the kind of girl that makes a great friend. She and Rose have an excellent camaraderie that’s highlighted from the very beginning through text messaging and banter:
"You sound like a phone sex operator. You should consider a career change."
"Are you kidding? And waste this fantastic package?" She straightens, waving her hand over her body like Vanna White.
"You're right. You're much better suited for owning a bar, kicking ass, and taking names."
"Damn straight, slut.”
DH78 gives her characters dimension and humor, providing us with hilarious inner monologue that feels real. Her understanding of the way young women think makes her Bella relatable and engaging. And her Edward is the kind of guy who won’t give up without a fight once he knows what he wants. These two certainly complement each other, and after the last (smokin’) chapter, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
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