The Billionaire Secret

By: Alicia Beckton

Chapter One



“I need that commercial draft on my desk by noon, Julia. Not a second after!”

“How about three seconds after?” He looked at Julia blankly with his stone cold gray eyes. Was she serious? “A girl’s gotta eat sometimes,” she said as she shrugged.

“Right, right,” Blake murmured as he shook his head and slipped through the glass door to his office. The walls to either side of him were solid, while the wall directly in front of him comprised of nothing but glass windows that gave him a frightening and exciting view of New York City. From the streets below, some might call it a drab and dreary day, but from where he stood with his hands behind his back, Blake could see the beauty of millions of people going to and from work.

He took in three deep breaths, held them each for twenty seconds, and then turned around to look at what he had going on that day. When he realized Julia was glancing at him periodically throughout her filing session, he discreetly reached down and touched his finger to a small, glass screen beneath his desk. A sigh of relief escaped him as the glass windows and door on the front of his office turned opaque. He’d had the special glass installed as soon as he’d heard about it.

There were many women who’d tried to claim he’d had sex with them in his office. Some of them tried to get a date out of him afterward, and when they couldn’t obtain that, they went for sexual harassment lawsuits or even rape. A shiver ran through him as he tried to forget about the last one, only three weeks ago. They’d actually gone out on a date, and he’d no idea that she was a receptionist three floors down in the account department.

They’d gone back to her apartment for some drinks, and nothing had happened, but the next morning, there were police knocking on his office door in front of the entire company. Blake realized he was biting his bottom lip and firmly removed his teeth from the flesh. The he flipped open his day planner, a classic black, and began to peruse through the names and phone numbers listed. It was an ancient practice in the technology industry to be using a day planner, and when he’d been found out by his trusty secretary, Julia, she’d laughed for days.

She’d been one of the women to ask him on a date, and when he’d turned her down, she’d laughed at that, too. Blake smiled as he recalled the conversation.

“Why are you laughing?”

“I just lost a hundred dollars out of my first paycheck. Natalie bet me a hundred bucks you’d say no to a date, and I’m a sucker for a bet. You know, these heels are uncomfortable, my blouse itches, and I think this skirt is illegal. At least, it should be in the business world.”

“About the skirt, it is too short. Wear something longer tomorrow.” He was angry. Why did women think that dating him was a joke just because he was a billionaire? Did they think he wasn’t human?

“Hey, boss man!” He’d stopped, but hadn’t turned around. “Look, no hurt feelings, okay? It was just a silly bet between two friends. Besides, if I’d had any interest in you, I wouldn’t have worn the shoes. Men don’t like it when women are as tall as them. They find it intimidating.” She’d stopped talking when she realized he hadn’t turned around. His shoulders were square, and she could see his pulse ticking away in his jugular. “Blake? I mean, Mr. Hanley?”

“Only insecure men find it intimidating when a woman is as tall as them, Julia. I like the shoes.” He’d walked into his office, closed the door, and followed through with his routine of standing at the window with his hands behind his back. Minutes later, there was a small, shy knock on his office door.

When he didn’t turn around to answer, Julia had let herself into his office and sat down in his chair. Not the chair behind his desk, but his chair. “Blake, I think I’m halfway to being fired at this moment, so I’m not going to hold back. If we’re going to get along, you should know I’m going to say inane things. I may come across as bold or even brash sometimes, but I don’t mean to insult. So if I’ve offended you, I’m sorry. It was a silly bet, and it won’t happen again.”

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