Dance for the BillionaireBy: Jewel Moore
Dancing for him had been as easy as breathing. She might have done it for free, as Tiffany had declared earlier in the evening. She had good uses for every last penny of the money he’d paid her. Yet, she had been tempted to toss it back in his face when he had propositioned her like a common whore.
How dare he!
Five months later.
Dominic and the other two panel members all smiled politely as his PA, Angela Daniels, ushered in a statuesque beauty, the last of the five people they had shortlisted for interviews.
The young black woman, Chantelle Payne, was their wildcard. A recent university graduate, she was by far the youngest and the least experienced of the candidates. But she had achieved a First in Architecture, Planning and Landscape, and was tipped to beat the rest of the year’s graduates to the prestigious Institute of Architecture’s Most-Promising Designer Award.
Dominic’s breath caught in his throat at the sight of her. For a moment the young woman reminded him of the dancer from Armstrong’s with her height and smooth dark skin. This woman was different, though. Instead of short straightened hair, this woman had tiny plaits which were pulled neatly back into a chignon. And she appeared warmly approachable—not coolly aloof as the dancer had been.
Forget that damn woman! he reprimanded himself angrily. You’ve wasted enough time, money and effort chasing her!
He could do nothing about heated memories of the dancer invading his dreams, but he would be damned if he let her control his waking moments, too!
“Chantelle, let me introduce the panel. Lauren Everton, Head of Acquisitions, Mark Albright, Chief Architect and Dominic O’Brien, CEO and—”
The woman’s eyes widened moments before her gasp of surprise interrupted Angela’s words.
Dominic stared at her in shock for several long moments unable to believe what his eyes and the stirring in his groin were telling him—this was too surreal. His mother always told him that he had more luck than anyone she knew, even with his Irish ancestry. She just might be on to something, he decided, as he felt his smile turn predatory. He had searched high and low for this woman, had spent tens of thousands of pounds on the best private investigators he could find to no avail, and now she had flown like a helpless fly into his web.
She wouldn’t escape this time!
“Would you all excuse us for a minute?” He dismissed the others. “Ms Payne and I need to have a brief discussion.”
“I knew this was too bloody good to be true!” Chantelle’s eyes sparked like ebony chips as she glared angrily across at him as the door clicked shut behind his PA and the other two interviewers. “Did you set up this interview just to embarrass me?”
“No,” he denied. “I didn’t know it was you. Armstrong couldn’t tell me your name.”
Colin had warned Chantelle that Dominic had gone back to the club to question him. She had been so relieved at the time that Colin, though he might have not divulged the information, didn’t know anything about her.
“I spent months looking for you and couldn’t find you.” Dominic couldn’t help the bitterness that tinged his voice—he wasn’t used to not getting what he wanted. “I hired six private investigators, all ex-Scotland Yard, and they couldn’t find you.”
Dominic immediately wanted to take back the words. She would think he’d either wanted the money back or had been desperate to sleep with her. Neither impression made him look good, although the latter was true. And even more so now that he’d seen her in the daylight and realized that she was even more beautiful than the club’s dim lighting had suggested.
His words hung in the air as they stared at each other for a moment.
“So, what now?” she asked, finally breaking eye contact.
“Do you still want this job?” he asked.
“Yes. But am I going to be judged fairly?” she responded, cynicism coating her voice.
“Yes,” he promised. “I will withdraw from the panel and ask the others to interview you.”
Chantelle knew that she probably wouldn’t give the world’s best interview, but she wanted this job badly enough to at least try. Foolishly she had begun to imagine the things she would be able to do for her siblings with the salary offered. She would never forgive herself for not giving it a shot.
“Okay,” she agreed. And it would be easier if he wasn’t in the room to distract her with his sexier-than-she’d-remembered presence.
“Payne…” his lips twisted in derision, “so appropriate for the amount you’ve caused me.”
“I caused you pain?” Startled, Chantelle stared at him.