Closer:A Billionaire Romance Novel(3)

By: Aria Hawthorne

Too stupid to live, she suddenly thought. If she was watching a horror movie, that’s what she would be screaming at herself right now. Too stupid to live, chick.

Taking in the lack of furniture and the minimalistic décor, her eyes flicked across the room. Much better than a moldy basement or rat-infested garage. At least her axe murderer had some sense of style.

“You should have knocked to announce yourself.”

She flinched. The smooth masculine voice behind her echoed off the hardwood floors. Its reprimanding sternness dared her to turn around and its unusual accent made her wonder about his country of origin. Sweden? Norway? Liechtenstein? She swallowed and held her ground, lifting her chin slightly, adding an extra inch to her height when she sensed his presence closing in on her. He passed by, brushing his arm against her own, as if he sought to push her out of his way.

Tick, tick, tick… While tapping the silver tip of his black cane along the floor, he skulked through the shadows of the dim office towards the desk.

Oh frick. Another geriatric geezer who expected her to spoon feed him his soft boiled eggs every morning while she soaked his dentures in mineral water from the Fiji Islands. No, God no.

Tick, tick, tick… His cane clicked with menace against the floor as he circled around his desk. He wasn’t an old geezer at all. He was young, not more than forty, and undeniably attractive in his tan sharkskin suit that complemented his fair complexion and slick, golden hair. Okay, she would even admit it—but just to herself—that he was not just attractive, but ride him hard H-O-T. And Inez wasn’t even that kind of girl. Tall and commanding, he gazed at her with an intensity that disarmed her and revealed something she hadn’t anticipated—he was wearing a black eyepatch over his left eye. Anyone else would have looked ridiculous or vulnerable, but not him. On him, it only served to sharpen the chiseled features of his angular face. A masculine force of elegance, she acknowledged, as if his beauty had hypnotized her.

Then, he opened his mouth. “You’re smaller than I expected. The rest of the girls were all taller.”

“And you’re weirder than I expected,” she shot back. “What kind of an employer cares about the height of his potential office temps? I can only think of one kind.”

“I’m not that kind,” he replied, almost amused.

“Good. Because I’m not looking for that kind,” she snapped.

He stroked his clean-cut jawline. “And you aren’t easily intimated, are you?”

“As a general rule, no,” she retorted, realizing she had nothing to lose.

“Hmm.” He exhaled through his nostrils, as if to insinuate that he didn’t believe her and he intended to prove it.

He held out his hand, inviting her to take a seat in the lone chair in front of his oversized desk. She paused and considered walking out. She so desperately wanted to walk out. But then she heard Beatrice’s voice in her head. Flexible schedule and amazing pay. She felt herself involuntarily pulled towards the chair.

Ugh…too stupid to live.

“I have my résumé here.” She dug into her purse for her file folder.

“I’ve already reviewed it,” he said with a dismissive wave of his hand. “You know, you would look taller if you wore heels.”

Son-of-a-creepy-bitch. “I hate heels,” she declared.

“Yes,” he mused. “And by the tone of your voice, I suspect you hate a lot of things.”

“Just things worthy of hatred,” she slung back. Forget his too-damn-perfect-to-look-away-chiseled face. She definitely hated this guy and wanted him to know it.

It didn’t work. Instead, he seemed invigorated by it. In fact, she was fairly certain she saw him smirk.

“Please take a seat.”

She stared down at the white leather chair. “On that?”

“Don’t tell me you’re a vegan, too, and you are opposed to sitting down on leather chairs.”

“No, I’m opposed to sitting down on chairs that cost more than an entire year of my rent.”

He eyed her with interest and rubbed his chin. “How do you know that?”

“Because that’s a Mies van der Rohe Barcelona chair. I’m fairly certain I saw that exact chair on exhibition at the Art Institute.”

“Yes, it’s true. I lent it to them for that exhibition. It’s one of the two originals that Mies van der Rohe produced for the Barcelona Exposition of 1929. So more precisely, it cost me more than a decade of your rental expenses.” He gazed at her, as if she had unexpectedly impressed him. “None of the other temp girls who interviewed for the position knew that.”