Closer:A Billionaire Romance Novel

By: Aria Hawthorne

A Billionaire Romance Novel


When twenty-eight-year-old, woefully unemployed, Inez Sanchez, arrives to her interview with hotter-than-hell billionaire architect, Sven van der Meer—mastermind behind Chicago’s tallest, most controversial skyscraper, The Spire—she quickly realizes his job proposition isn’t what she was anticipating. He’s hiding a life-changing secret, one that could ruin his career as the most influential architect in the world, and he’s willing to pay her five thousand dollars a day—just to help him keep it. Will she accept his offer to become his “pretend girlfriend” for the next four days in order to ensure the success of the most important week of his life? Or will her sassy flair for independence and smartass sarcasm keep her from submitting to his stern authoritative commands, no matter how sexy his European accent might be? And what will happen when he discovers she’s hiding a secret, too—one that could threaten the stability of their arrangement and prevent her from getting too close to the one man in the world who might be capable of gaining her trust…

Famous Dutch architect, Sven van der Meer, has just completed the greatest achievement of his professional life—the design and construction of The Spire. But a shameful secret threatens to destroy his prestigious career—he’s losing his eyesight. Now, he’s run out of time and the only woman qualified to help maintain his charade of invincibility is also the one woman who despises him and The Spire. And he’s fairly certain she’s hiding something as well. Will the fiery, but enchanting Miss Sanchez be the right woman to play the role of his pretend girlfriend? Or will the temptation of getting too close, too fast jeopardize their business arrangement and the future of his entire career?

Chapter One

The only thing that Inez was told about this interview was that it would be different. Very different. It had the potential to pay three, maybe four times more than the usual ten dollars an hour temporary gig. Plus, Inez’s temp agency recruiter, Beatrice, told her it offered flexibility. Inez wasn’t assured as to what kind of flexibility exactly, but she had made it very clear to Beatrice that the reason she was seeking temp work—and not a real job—was because she needed flexible hours. Afternoon and evening hours were ideal. She had obligations and she wasn’t able to re-prioritize her morning commitments for some meager nine-to-five office job, regardless of how great the benefits. Flexible, Inez repeated in her mind. Flexible with amazing pay. It sounded too good to be true, and it probably was. Beatrice hadn’t told her much about where she was going or who she would be meeting, but she had told Inez that five girls from the agency had already interviewed for the position and all five girls had been turned away as “unsuitable.”

Inez was the final one to be sent by the agency, likely because she had the least office experience: a few temp jobs at law firms and a recent poor performance review from the owner of an auto body shop. She dared to offer “car advice” to one of the customers.

“Sounds like an idle air controller.” Inez cracked her gum from behind the plexiglass of the service counter. “I had one of those, and I got it cleaned and readjusted for about thirty bucks.” Then, she rang up the six-hundred dollar charge for the “tune up” to his credit card.

The owner quickly took Inez aside during her dinner break and made sure to let her know—in no uncertain terms—that women should answer phones and men should stick to fixing cars. Inez fixed her black eyes on him and let him know—in no uncertain fucking terms—that she quit. That’s how Inez became known as the temp with the “attitude” problem. From that point on, Beatrice always reminded her before her interview: “Don’t mention you’re a college graduate. Men don’t like women who are smarter than they are. They like women who smile and nod a lot and make them feel like they’re doing you a favor by hiring you.”


She peered up at all the skyscrapers as she rode the elevated train through downtown Chicago and considered her other employment options. Zippo. She needed money—a lot of it and badly—and this job was her last hope. The train came to a stop at the Randolph station and Inez exited onto the platform while mentally rehearsing her standard interview spiel.

Why was she interested in the job?

Well, for starters, she wanted the job because she loved being part of a team.

Internal eye roll—cue, silent gag. The truth was Inez usually hated all the other office staffers because they were full-time office employees and she was just “the temp”—a notch down from the receptionist and two notches down from the pizza delivery guy—and they always made sure to let her know it.