Bidding on the Billionaire

By: Rachel Angel

“Indeed I did, as I do every day,” he said matter-of-factly. Sergio looked around the gallery briefly, and then asked, “Where’s your bags?”

“Right over there,” Mandi pointed, showing the Louis Vuitton suitcase by the door. It was small, but held everything she needed for her adventure. It had been inherited from her mom too, which meant a part of her mom was going to Rome and that was a good thing like a good luck charm.

Sergio didn’t bother to hide the surprised look on his face about only having one bag for a week in Rome. “This is it, nothing else, Mandi?”

“It holds more than you’d think,” Mandi said, not bothering to hide her annoyance by the comment. What concern of Sergio’s was it that she was a light packer?

“I just want to make sure that I was clear. This is going to be an event-filled week, and part of the reason I agreed to help Sophia out was because I needed a date for the factory’s fiftieth anniversary party. It’s a huge deal to the local community and the factory workers, which means I have to present my best. It’s a very traditional affair designed to show them how much they are appreciated. I just need to make sure it’s special for them.” Sergio looked at Mandi and stopped talking immediately. He could see anger flashing in her eyes, and that was no way to start the week in Rome off.

Mandi didn’t want to lose her temper with Sergio right now, even though it seemed like it would make her feel better. Who did he think he was? Just because he was a billionaire didn’t mean that he could cast certain expectations on her like he was a reprimanding father. She took a deep breath and chose her words cautiously. “I apologize, Sergio. Maybe I can repack, and find a fancier dress for the occasion than what I’ve picked.”

“We don’t have time to do that now, Mandi. Once we’re in Rome one of my assistants can find something that’s suitable for you to wear and really makes you stand out like you did last night.”

Realizing that Sergio was all business at the moment and not the playful flirt just a minute ago was discouraging, making her want to change her mind and stay back in New York. A week in Rome watching a workaholic conduct business didn’t sound all that adventurous or exciting to her. “Sergio, I’m perfectly capable of picking out my own clothes and have fashion sense enough to choose something good for your factory’s big celebration. Besides, it seems like you’ll be busy working a lot on this trip and that’ll give me something to do.”

Sergio was instantly embarrassed by Mandi’s statement and he realized that his direct manner had happened to offend the girl he was just saying he wanted to protect the night before. Damn, that was not what he wanted to come off as. Why did he sounded so abrupt and business-like? Had he truly become such a workaholic that he couldn’t turn it off, even in the most private and personal moments? Damn, he needed a vacation. Damn, he needed someone to help him forget about all the stress he had to deal with…Olivia used to do that for him. Fun with a single-minded purpose of having him fuck her brains out, Olivia’s sex drive and persistent need for sex was enough to take his mind off work. That was the problem with her, though, when she couldn’t get sex from him, or when he worked too many hours; she found a way to satisfy her cravings…with his friends, apparently. Now if only he could forget Olivia and try to have fun, if only for a week with sweet and non-pretentious Mandi. With a body like hers, and a face like that, it wouldn’t be hard to imagine the possibilities of being distracted by her.

“I’m sorry, Mandi. I just wasn’t thinking clearly. I have my mind on business, and I know that for you this trip isn’t about business. It’s about experiencing Rome and having some fun. I truly am sorry about that and will make some efforts to turn off my business switch a bit more. Deal?”

Mandi smiled, instantly forgiving Sergio and being ready to move forward. If there was one thing she knew is how challenging it could be to switch gears when you were a focused person. “Deal. Now let’s get this business pleasure adventure started, shall we?” Mandi gestured for the front door, and Sergio went and picked up her bag to take it out to the car.

Chapter 7

While Sergio put the bag into the trunk of his Jag, Mandi locked the gallery door. By the time she was done he was back holding his arm out for her to take. He guided her over to the passenger side door and opened it up, helping guide her into the low riding plush leather seat that was meant for her. He couldn’t help but think that there’d never been anyone quite so appealing and provocative in that seat before.

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