The Billionaire's Touch

By: Olivia Thorne

Eve





Okay… so. Long story short:

I’m an internet security chick.

I was at a Hollywood charity gala at a badass hotel.

The hottest guy ever hit on me and took me to a secret passageway – which he knew was there because he designed and built the damn building.

Grant Carlson. Hot, hot, hot billionaire architect and part-owner of a multinational construction company.

I don’t know how it happened, but before you know it, I’m naked and having the best sex of my life out on a patio four stories above Sunset Boulevard.

Then afterwards, he’s like, “See ya!” and takes off.

I’m like, WHAT THE FUCK?!

Which is intensified to the nth degree because the asshole stole my phone.

I was a hacker in a former life (meaning when I was a teenager), so I track him down and threaten him over text messaging.

He shows up at my office and we proceed to have even crazier, nastier sex.

And then he tells me he’s hired my internet security services because somebody’s trying to kill him.

Aaaaaand…. here we go.





2





“You have got to be kidding me,” I fume.

My boss, Dan, is sitting across his desk from me and Grant Carlson. Grant still has his tie undone around his neck, which bugs the hell out of me, because it feels like a neon sign screaming, We just had sex! We just had sex in Eve’s office, and I fucked the bejeezus out of her!

I hope that’s not the case.

I mean, it is the case that he fucked the bejeezus out of me.

But I hope nobody else knows.

Please God…

“He’s hired you as a personal consultant,” Dan says.

Dan’s a nice guy. Wife and three kids, with pictures of them on his desk. Not a good coder, but a pretty good manager. At least, he stays out of my way.

And if he knows I just had sex with Grant Carlson, he’s not letting on about it.

“Nobody’s ever hired me as a personal consultant before!”

“There’s a first time for everything,” Grant chimes in.

I glare at him. YOU shut UP.

He just grins at me in response.

“What the hell does a personal consultant do, anyway?” I ask.

“Well – ” Grant starts, an impish, insinuating tone in his voice.

I glare at him again, and he starts laughing silently.

“There will be some travel involved,” Dan says.

“A lot of travel,” Grant adds.

I ignore the hot guy pushing my buttons and focus on my boss. “And?”

“And… well… Mr. Carlson says that there’s a certain element of danger involved.”

I turn to Grant.

For the first time the entire meeting, he’s serious.

“Look… I won’t lie to you. The person involved wants to kill me. There’s no doubt in my mind of that. It is entirely possible that if you accept my offer, you’ll be in danger. I don’t want that, I don’t like that, but it is a possibility.”

I look at him long and hard.

“How much of a possibility?” I finally ask.

“I don’t know.”

“How do you know he wants to kill you?”

“Because of messages he’s sent me.”

“Who is this guy?”

“I have no idea.”

“You must have some idea… unless he’s just some random nutjob who’s leaving death threats on your webpage.”

“He’s not some random nutjob leaving death threats on my webpage, I can assure you of that.”

“So who is he?”

Grant shifts in his chair. “I need to know you’ve agreed to come on the case and that there’s complete confidentiality in our relationship before I reveal anymore.”

I groan and cover my eyes. “So you want me to walk into this blind.”

“I’ve told you about the danger. You’re not walking in blind.”

I shake my head. “Look, if you need me to track down some guy in Iowa who says he’s going to mount your head on the wall next to his deer trophies, that’s one thing – ”

“It’s not like that,” Grant says seriously.

“What’s it like, then?”

“Like Hannibal Lecter is after me,” Grant says, without a trace of humor.





3





My eyes widen. “You’re kidding.”

“No. I’m not.”

My favorite scary movie of all time is The Silence Of The Lambs. My favorite television show of the last five years (after Game of Thrones) is Hannibal.

You would think that telling a girl that Hannibal Lecter is in the mix would scare her away.

If I were smarter, it probably would.

But I’m not smart like that. Just book/computer code/programming smart.

Not avoid the possible homicidal maniac job at all costs smart.

“You think he’s a serial killer?” I ask, voice hushed.

“I don’t know for sure. But it’s a good bet.”

I stop and ponder.

This might just be the coolest internet security job I’ve ever had.

“That’s the reason I’m offering five times your normal rate,” Grant adds.

Whoa.

I immediately sit up and take notice.

Dan harrumphs like he’s uncomfortable. “Um… actually, you would be paid your normal salary, plus a bonus on completion.”

Grant suddenly gets super cold towards Dan. Like, Arctic.

“Her life is the one on the line,” he says, eyes squinting. “Don’t tell me you’re pocketing the extra amount just to pad your company’s pockets.”

Dan blushes profusely.

For the first time, I get really pissed off at Dan, and see him as the company man he really is.

Dan clears his throat. “My mistake. Five times your normal salary for this particular job.”

I look over at Grant.

He stares back at me and raises one eyebrow.

Well? What’s it going to be?

Five times the money…

Danger…

A Hannibal Lecter type in the mix…

And quite possibly more of the best sex I’ve ever had in my life.

“I’m in,” I say.





4





We’re in my apartment. I drove there in my Audi; Grant arrived in his own private limo.

I have to admit, I was a teensy bit jealous.

Now he lounges on my bed and watches as I pack a suitcase.

“And why do I need to pack, exactly?” I ask.

“We’ll be hopping from place to place a lot. I want to be a moving target, not a sitting duck.”

“Uh huh,” I say dubiously. I’m still half-convinced this is all just an elaborate excuse to get me naked in his bed for a couple of days.

Not that that would be a bad way to spend a couple of days…

Focus, Eve, FOCUS. Stop getting turned on.

I pull out some bras and panties.

“Do I get a show?” he asks.

“NO,” I say as I stuff them in the suitcase, although part of me desperately wants to give him one.

“Maaaan…” he complains playfully.

“For a guy with a serial killer after you, you don’t seem too concerned.”

“I’ve got you to help me now.” He says it with a complete lack of sarcasm.

“I got news for you: I can flush this guy out from an online trail of breadcrumbs, but that’s not going to help you if he shows up on your doorstep with a chainsaw.”

“If he shows up on my doorstep with a chainsaw, I’ll handle it from there.”

“So what do you know about this guy? Actually, are you even sure it’s a guy?”

“Reasonably sure.”

“How sure is reasonably sure?”

“99%.”

“How do you know? Have you seen him?”

“No.”

“Then how do you know?”

“I hired a former FBI profiler and had her go over the messages he’s left. It’s her opinion he’s male.”

“Can I see her report?”

“Yes.”

“You have messages?”

“Yes.”

“Text? Voice?”

“Just text. Two of them.”

“Can I see them?”

He pulls out his phone, taps the screen a couple of times, and hands me the cell.

Well, Mr. Carlson, I’ve found you first. I’ll admit, it was difficult; you’re quite well-hidden. Commend your ‘people’… although since I WAS able to find you, you might want to consider hiring new ones.

Better hurry while you still have time.

You surprised me the other night. I had to spontaneously adjust. But better than spontaneously combust, eh?

The next move is yours. Although the advantage is mine.

Ta ta for now.

The next one was a little more threatening – and personal. At least to me.

An internet security company? Really. I would suggest a band of mercenaries instead. Although, on second thought, even that wouldn’t help you.

I was quite annoyed that I had to end playtime prematurely.

I won’t make the same mistake when I take your life.

Au revoir, mon hyprocrite lecteur, mon semblable, mon frere.

I frown. “What the hell?”

“I know,” he sighs.

“What did you do to this guy?”

“I don’t know.”

“He apparently wants to kill you, but you have no idea why?”

“Nope.”

“You didn’t sleep with his girlfriend, or steal his business idea, or – ”

“Walk on the wrong side of the road during a full moon? Who knows.”

“He knows about you hiring my company.”

“Yeah,” Grant admits.

“He might even know about you hiring me. That’s freaking me out a little bit.”

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