Juice: (An Alpha Male Billionaire Romance - Part 3) (Juice: The Series)

BOOK: Juice: (An Alpha Male Billionaire Romance - Part 3) (Juice: The Series)
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Juice

An Alpha
Billionaire Romance

Part Three

 

 

 

 

Copyright © Juice
2015

By Victoria Starke

 

All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may
not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission
of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.

 

This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters,
places, and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been
used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to
persons, living or dead, actual events, or organizations is entirely
coincidental.

Chapter One

“Here ya go!” I say, dropping the order with a thud on the
front desk.

I am out of here.

“Ma’am!” security calls after me. “Mr. Chase asked to send
you up with the delivery.”

Of course he did.

The tech billionaire with a pile of cash and all the toys
gets everything brought right to him. For a moment I think of pretending not to
hear, but then reconsider.

“Sure!” I smile and grab the two boxes.

The doors close to the high speed elevator and the vivid
memory of my first encounter with Everett hits me like a train. I was
overwhelmed by the skyscraper’s opulence, his forthright invitation, and dropping
a dozen bottles of
Namaste’s
fresh juice cleanse all over the floor.
Everything happened so fast and then seemed to disappear. I’m not making that
mistake again.

My ears pop and I remember Everett’s apartment is at a
thousand feet elevation. Only New York’s most filthy rich would isolate
themselves floating in the air for all to see. The elevator’s ascent slows
abruptly and my stomach lurches as the doors open.

“Bronwyn, there you are. Come in!” he greets me as I push
through the front door left ajar. He’s wearing the bottom half of crisply
tailored charcoal suit, a white double-cuffed oxford shirt, and bare feet.

“Here’s your order, just as requested,” I say dryly. “And, I
thank you for your loyalty.”

“No, thank
you
. Sorry it was another late one! I’m
sure you have better things to do this evening,” he says.

“Yes, I do,” I can’t allow him to get to me so easily.

I’ve actually been checking my phone constantly the past
three weeks for a call, a text, a smoke signal, anything, and hating myself for
it.

“Don’t worry, I won’t keep you long,” he says. “I just had
to see you since I’ve been in Singapore the past couple weeks. I just got off
the plane.”

“Singapore?”

“Yes. We’re wrapping up the sale of some property.
Paperwork. Boring stuff, really,” he says.

Okay, a good excuse.

“Anyway, let’s have a drink to celebrate the end of the
week. What can I offer?”

“Make it a whiskey, neat.”

“Sure. Bourbon, rye, Irish…?”

“Just give me your best, Everett.”

“Very good,” he says and disappears to another room.

I show myself into the living room and my heels echo loudly
on the dark wood. I run my finger along the top of the supple leather sofa
until I reach the matching suit jacket he’s tossed across the back. I roll the
fabric between my thumb and forefinger and admire the stitching. I steal a
glance inside but there’s no label.

Our first encounter happened right here. It feels like years
ago.

I continue on to the floor to ceiling windows and walk up
the edge of the glass. This view could never get old. My eyes unfocus and trace
north along the Central Park trails to Sheep’s Meadow, the reservoir, and into
Harlem. The height is giving me a touch of vertigo again and I step back.

“You can probably see Canada on a clear day,” I call out.

I feel him sneaking up behind me and play along. His arms
circle around me in a warm embrace. I lean back against him.

“Here, I brought presents. Two Jefferson bourbons, neat.”

I turn to face him. “Thank you.” We lock eyes and sip. The
liquor is smooth and warm on my tongue, and I take it down happily. He’s a
cocky brat, but he does have excellent taste. I break and walk away.

“So, you got me again. Last minute order, same-day drop-off,
and a personal delivery by yours truly, Bronwyn Cole. Happy to see me?”

“Of course,” he says, “I’ve been looking forward to seeing
you since I left. I thought you’d want to see me, too.”

“Yes. Some warning would be great, though. And normally we
have a courier deliver.”

“Correct. But doesn’t food taste best presented by the chef?
Speaking of, I have a standing reservation at an excellent steak house on the
east side. Unless you can’t break your plans with your boss, Perry, tonight?”
he says with a knowing grin. “I’d love for you to join me.”

I laugh at the thought. “No, it’s Barry, and he’s been
giving me the cold shoulder ever since you corrected his behavior.”

“Good,” he says. “Then it’s a date.”

“Ok. I was going to grab an early drink with some of the
Dunbar folks, but I’ll let you make this up to me.”

I surprise myself with the easy lie.

Is this the same girl stumbling over herself in the lobby
just a month ago?

“I hope it’s nowhere fancy. I’m dressed in work clothes,” I
say.

“Bronwyn,” he says looking at me deeply, “you’re beautiful
just as you are.”

Chapter Two

A tall blonde combs through the reservation book with a sour
expression and furrowed brow. “The earliest we have is 11pm,” she says, not
looking up at the couple pressed against the podium.

“Why don’t I just eat at McDonald’s?” the man says in a
huff.

“I’m sorry sir, we’re very busy tonight, and that’s the best
we can offer,” she says.

“Fine,” he says, storming out and dragging his date with
him.

The hostess looks flustered. We wait a beat and then
approach. Her face instantly softens.

“Right this way,” the blonde nods and leads us to a round
booth deep in the restaurant.

She pulls the reserved sign and says, “Enjoy your night, Mr.
Chase.”

“Thank you, Daria,” he says while holding her glance.

He catches my inquisitive look. “I’m here a lot,” he
explains. He reaches a hand inside his jacket and retrieves an envelope. “While
I was gone my assistant got you a little something.” I tear it open.

 

MLB presents – Cardinals at Mets | Citi Field |  7:10pm

 

“You mentioned you’re from St. Louis and like baseball.
They’re right behind home plate. You’ll probably be on TV.”

“Thank you!” I exclaim, “That’s so nice!” I lean over the
table and kiss him on the lips in my excitement. He’s working his way back in
my good graces.

“I hope you know I’ll be wearing my Cardinals hat with pride,”
I challenge.

“Good luck, New York fans are tough. I hope you can handle
some boos.”

I laugh. “I’ve been to a game in Philadelphia. No one can
top Philly fans.”

“Correct.”

Sparkling water with lemon and a cheese course arrive on
table.

“No menus, tonight, Everett?”

“No need. They know what I like.”

Over the next two hours we eat, drink, laugh, and talk.
Everett mostly likes to talk travel and his life overseas, and though I haven’t
been to many places, I feel I’m holding up my end of the conversation. My
nerves settle enough to truly enjoy myself. I feel he is looser too. His smile
easier and eyes more relaxed. That focus is always there, but less intense.

We’re most of the way through our second bottle of wine,
when he asks suddenly, “Are we still on for Milan? Don’t think I forgot.”

I didn’t forget either. But I passed it off as something a
billionaire boasts after bedding a new girl and never brings up again.

“Sure…” I say cautiously. “What’s the plan?”

“No plan. We’ll leave Wednesday evening from Teterboro and
wake up in Italy. I share a plane with the people I sold my company. We have
use of it for the next six weeks.”

“So it’s a private plane?”

“Yes, Bronwyn.”

“I don’t know how this works. Do I need a ticket?”

He cocks his head and shakes his head. “You’re adorable. No
you don’t need a ticket. Just promise not to be late.”

“I promise!” I squeal and do a little dance in my seat.

We sip our wine in celebration, but the image of my boss
Barry ruins the moment. What is he going to say when I ask for two days off
with less than a week notice? Doesn’t Everett understand the rest of us have
schedules and can’t jet set to Italy on a whim?

I close my eyes a moment to quiet my mind. I’m going to
enjoy this magical night. Barry won’t be forever, but maybe, just maybe, this
will.

Chapter Three

“Bronwyn, you’ve been running the blender for an hour
straight!”

“Sorry, Pipes, but the
Namaste
inspiration has struck
me early this Saturday morning,” I say, trying to cheer up my hungover and
cranky business partner.

“Ready for the secret?” I confide with a brow raised. “It’s
five ounces alkaline water, a fistful of kale, a tablespoon of coconut nectar,
a dash of cayenne, and a squeeze of lemon on top. Blend on high for a full
three minutes. Strain and chill. Absolute perfection! Mwah.” I say, kissing the
glass.

She stares at me at me and blinks. I’m surrounded in the
kitchen by dozens of scraps of scribbles, vegetable produce ends, and nearly
every dish and glass we own.

“Try some,” I say and offer the glass to broker a peace.

She sips and rolls the green liquid around in her mouth.

“Ok, it’s good. Better than last week. But I’m getting
coffee from downstairs,” she says while putting on slippers.

“Get some caffeine, you’ll feel better.”

“You’re pretty chipper this morning,” she says, “Does it
have something to do with seeing your favorite customer again?”

“He is something else,” I say and begin cleaning up. I can
feel her studying me. My face is burning and I turn away.

“Is anything going on with you guys? Most of our orders
don’t specify a delivery person,” she implores.

“No,” I say, trying not to sound defensive, “Maybe he just
likes me.”

I can’t keep up this charade much longer. I have to tell
Piper everything at some point, but I’m not sure how. Hiding the relationship
from my business partner is getting more and more complicated every time I see
Everett. She wouldn’t understand how I got in this mess to begin with.

“Ok, I think it’s great he’s interested in our company, but
if you’re discussing business, I want to be involved,” she says.

“I understand,” I say and we look at each other a moment
before she walks out.

Chapter Four

It’s Monday again, 8am Dunbar Standard Time and my inbox is pummeled
with 121 unread messages. I rub my eyes and blink hard at the screen. I don’t
want to be here.

I feel the floor bouncing again and count down in my head:
3,
2, 1…

Barry only pokes his head in this time. “Denise, Bronwyn.
Get in here.” We look at each other then follow this short, comb-over cursed
man to his office.

It’s a fucking disaster.

Stacks of papers on the desk, folders on the ground, and a
stack of boxes in the corner. Sean is sitting on the carpet like a five year
old. He looks up at us and forces a smile, “Hey, guys, join the party.”

“Shut up, Sean,” Barry snaps, “Bronwyn, get on the floor
with your buddy Sean and help him. Denise, grab a box and start scanning
everything into an OCR format.” Barry storms out to a conference room and slams
the door.

I’m clueless. “Ok, what in holy hell is going on this
morning?” I ask.

“Barry has had all this evidence in storage the past three
months and we need to start preparing for the Schwartz deposition. It’s on
Thursday and we’re just starting now. We’re so screwed.”

I get on my knees with Sean who looks worse than I do.

“Put the folders marked ‘Schwartz D2’ in one pile and
‘Schwartz D3’ in another. They’re out of order, like they were sliding around
in the back of Barry’s Porsche for the past month.” Sean snarks.

We muscle through the filing task in about an hour and a
half and start to feel some relief. Denise is scanning and converting at turbo
speed. The team works in a tense, quiet efficiency.

“Did he really forget all these items until today? We could
have had everything ready weeks ago,” I whine.

“He’s had us only working on the Thomas trial. Probably
because there’s a ton of press coverage. Barry hasn’t found a camera he didn’t
like.” Sean says.

“I should have reminded him about this, it’s my fault. I’m
the only other person with access to the locked storage,” Denise says,
defending him.

Sean and I lock eyes. Is Denise angling to deflect some
blame since she seems to be getting more of Barry’s attention?

Barry jumps up from his work in the other room and comes
back to his office.  He walks up to where I’m shuffling papers on the
floor and stands uncomfortably close. All I see are shined brown wingtips. I
keep my head down to avoid giving him the idea I’m glancing at his package.

“Good. Finish this up and let me know when you’re done. I’ll
be back,” he says, leaving with another maniac-partner lawyer, Sheldon. The two
of them have a habit of turning a bagel and coffee run into a 90 minute affair.

As humiliating as it is working here, I feel fine. I’m
jetting to Italy with Everett in just a few days. But how do I break the news I
need the days off? Weighing my options, I think requesting off would be best to
do right after he gets back. The team has a great start on organizing the
evidence, and he’ll have a belly full of delicious New York bagels and coffee.

I get goosebumps and feel a light panic come over me as I
imagine standing in front of him asking.

He groped me when we went out for drinks. Breaking this news
to him might put him over the edge. Not to mention what everyone else will
think.

Two hours later, I’ve burned through thousands of scanned
documents, finding hit after hit of great evidence for the trial. I email an
annotated pdf to Barry, and decided it’s now or never.

His hand is on his head and his scalp showing through the
comb-over when I knock on his office door.

“Yes?”

“I had a question about this week’s schedule. It seems
unexpectedly I have to be out Thursday and Friday this week –” His eyes go wide
and he jumps up, shoving the chair against the wall behind him.

“Are you joking? You’re skipping out on us? You have to be
there in court with me. That’s what a paralegal does.”

“I know, but it’s a family memorial service I have to be
at,” I lie as I feel the tears begin to well up in my eyes.

He sees this and turns away to avoid yelling at me directly
as I cry.

“Listen, we have a huge case going to trial. Did you know
Denise has been working twelve hour days?  She’s a fucking rock star. Do
you even want this job anymore? I should fire you again.”

I look through my bleary eyes at Denise, who looks downs.
We’re both embarrassed to be there.

“I do want this job!” I lie and hold my face in my hands.

I don’t, but it’s a paycheck. I have no savings, no
lifelines. What if Everett disappears again too? I’ll be homeless in a month.

“Ok,” he softens. “I need you working your ass off here
through Wednesday, and I’ll take Denise with me to court Thursday.”

I nod and say, “Thank you,” and feel dirty, but relieved.
Denise is taking over my job, effectively demoting me, and I’m fine with it.

BOOK: Juice: (An Alpha Male Billionaire Romance - Part 3) (Juice: The Series)
8.51Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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