Billionaire Bound (Page 1)

"I’ve been what?"

I adjusted my glasses and tried to swallow but my throat had gone dry.

"Promoted to executive assistant. Take your things, these papers and go to the top floor," Ms. Green, the HR manager, said in a cold voice.

I tried to find my voice but only a croak came out and I felt myself break out in the sweat.

"I’d hurry if I were you. Mr. Stone doesn’t like to be kept waiting," she said, not looking up from her computer screen.

"But I’m meant to be working as a records clerk," I protested. I’d only been at Stone-Black for three days and I’d already been promoted?

"And now you’re an executive assistant. Take these with you. Good luck with your short-term career." She handed me an elevator fob and waved her hand at a stack of papers.

I picked up the papers and headed in the general direction of the elevator, trying to work out whether I should just walk out the front door. And what did she mean by "short-term career"?

Executive Assistant to Mr. Jackson Stone. The CEO of Stone-Black and reputed to be a mercurial tyrant who hired and fired people on a whim. I’d only seen his picture on the web – various charity balls, meetings with government officials – and what could I say? The man was hot. Tall with blond hair and blue-green eyes, he was a billionaire to boot. In every photo he seemed to be wearing a scowl as though there was a volcano inside him, barely held in check.

I got halfway to the elevator before I decided to bail on my plan. The Stone-Black corporation had practically destroyed my home-town of Bedford and then gotten away with it via various sneaky legal maneuvers. I thought being hired in the records department was the perfect way to discover something that could topple the whole business. I knew it had been too perfect to get that job and after only three days I had been "promoted" to executive assistant.

I turned abruptly and crashed directly into a man who’d been striding behind me. I dropped the papers to the ground, along with my bag. Bits and pieces went everywhere.

"Oh, I’m sorry," I stammered, trying to pick up all the papers at once from the floor.

A red-leather briefcase came down next to my handbag and its contents strewn across the floor. The man scooped up the contents and put them back into the bag as I gathered the papers.

"Ms. Neri?"

I swallowed again and croaked something that could possibly have been yes as I followed the line of an Italian suit up to two blue-green eyes.

Jackson Stone. CEO of Stone-Black. Holding my Wal-Mart bag in one hand and a tiny bright red bullet vibrator in the other.

My tiny bright red bullet vibrator. The one hidden down the very bottom of my bag in a separate compartment.

He held my gaze for a moment before dropping the vibrator into the bag and then holding out his palm to me.

I held out my hand and he pulled me to my feet. The website images didn’t do him justice. He was tall but broad too and I could feel the strength of his hand on mine.

"Jackson Stone," he said and then frowned at me. "Weren’t you meant to be coming upstairs to serve as my executive assistant?"

The way he said serve sent a shiver through my body. The man cut an impeccable figure in his classic dark Italian suit and white shirt. Almost enough to make me forget why I was here. But not quite. I changed my mind about leaving even though I felt my heart thud at the idea of working so closely with him.

"Delilah Neri." At least my voice had come back.

He turned our hands clasping into a handshake and looked me up and down. Between my Wal-Mart bag, Kmart skirt, shoes and shirt and red hair-tie that was struggling to hold my chestnut hair back I can imagine how I must have looked: like everything I owned was worth less than his briefcase.

"Delilah Neri, Sir."

"Oh, right," I stammered, feeling my fragile resolve leaking away.

He stood, holding my hand and staring directly into my eyes. Waiting.

I took my hand back and smoothed my skirt down.

"Delilah Neri, Sir."

He handed me back my bag, picked up his briefcase from the floor and then took the top piece of paper from the mixed-up pile I held in my hand.

"These are the handouts going to my investors. You need to put them back in order and then join me on the top floor before we go to the boardroom."

He put the paper back and I glanced down at it. It was numbered page thirteen of eighteen and had a name printed across the top: Javier Toro.

"The meeting is in twenty minutes. Don’t be late."

With that he strode past me and I knelt down to retrieve the rest of the papers. I gathered the last few and turned around to find Mr. Stone standing behind me. He grabbed my wrist and drew me close to him.

"In that room, you represent me. You do not want to let me down."

He let me go and walked away, this time entering the elevator. I stood there, my heart thumping as he turned around and looked at me before the doors closed. I could still feel his fingers on my wrist, could still smell him – a mixture of soap and masculine scent.

"Don’t make him wait," Ms. Green said from her desk.

I rushed over to an empty desk and dropped the papers on it before bolting off to the ladies room. The door closed behind me and I grabbed onto a cool ceramic basin, trying to calm myself.

Fuck him.

The thought ran across my mind with every meaning attached. I’d been face-to-face with the CEO of Stone-Black and the urge to slap him in the face for all his company had done was strong. But so was my next thought – to slap him in the face while he pushed me down on a bed. To have him hold down my hands while I struggled. To have him push my legs apart and fuck me.

"Fuck," I muttered and turned on the cold water to wash my hands to try to cool myself down. Was I really going to go through with this? My low-level job in the records department was meant to get me something to hurt Stone-Black. I’d hoped for something to embarrass them at least or something bigger to really make them sting. Now I was going to be executive assistant to the Jackson Stone, the CEO whose face and story I’d studied a hundred times. A man I thought I truly hated. And now that I’d seen him in the flesh, a part of me wanted him.

"Don’t forget why you’re here," I told myself in the mirror and adjusted my hair.

I took deep breaths as I headed out to collect and sort the papers.

I can do this.

*

It was a close thing but I got to the top floor with the sorted papers and three minutes to spare. I stepped out of the elevator into a simply gigantic room. Although I only had a few minutes before I was meant to be in Mr. Stone’s office, I looked around. The floor was polished wood. Oak? Something golden and delicious. Running from the elevator in a straight line to two giant black mahogany doors was a pale inlay of another type of wood. Over to the right side was a desk and across from it, two floor-to-ceiling windows.