Billionaire Protector

By: Nikki Chase

A Bad Boy Romance



Ugh. Not this guy again.

I’ve heard so many complaints about him from the waiters, and tonight he has specifically asked for me. This can’t be good.

“How can I help you, Sir?” I plaster a serene smile onto my face, even as impatience brews inside me.

It's eight on a Friday night. The restaurant is buzzing with activity. I have to speak louder than usual to make myself heard over the din of conversation and the clanging of cutlery.

All this to say, I should be in the kitchen, working on order upon order of soups and pastas and steaks. I should not be out here, catering to every whim of this one diner.

“The steak is undercooked.” He looks up to stare at me with his stunning blue eyes. He seems about the same age as me, probably in his early or mid-thirties.

He's impeccably dressed. This being a downtown restaurant, we get a lot of businessmen in suits. This man is different, though. There's not a crease in his navy-blue suit, not a strand of hair out of place. He looks dapper, like the leading men in silent movies.

From up close, he looks familiar, but I can't quite place him. I’m probably wrong anyway. I’ve never been very good at names and faces. Oh well, he's probably a diner whom I’ve seen before. I don't know how I could've forgotten a face like that, but apparently I have, somehow.

It's the depth of his blue eyes that stun me into silence, though. I feel like there's something dangerous about this man. If I know what's good for me, I’d stay away.

“I’m sorry, I believe you asked for rare?” I ask when I finally find my voice again. I inspect the piece of meat on his plate. It has barely been touched.

“Yes, exactly. I didn't ask for it to be so raw I can practically hear the cow bell ringing in my ears,” he says brusquely.

“Actually,” I hear myself say, “We only serve U.S. beef here. That's why we're called The Local.” I want to stop myself, but it's too late now. “As far as I know, our farms don't use cow bells anymore. The animals don't like them. Apparently, they're the reason why thousands of Swiss cows are deaf.”

I regret the words as soon as they come out of my mouth. Damn it, I always do this word-vomit thing when I’m nervous. It’s some kind of a weird impulse to fill the gap in an awkward conversation with the stupidest thing I can think of.

“Swiss cows, huh?” He smirks. He doesn't actually say anything insulting, but his eyes mock me.

“Yes, Swiss cows. All kinds of Swiss cattle. Poor creatures. They have sensitive hearing.” I smile sweetly.

I may have said something dumb, but the smartest thing to do, now that it's done, is to stand by my words. At least he doesn't seem angry anymore, and he can't see me blushing in the dim light of the restaurant.

“But this didn't come from a Swiss cow?” He points at the steak on the table.


“He probably wasn't deaf, then.” He’s toying with me.

“No.” I grit my teeth and force a smile.

“Ah, lucky American cow. Probably lived a good life filled with many different kinds of wonderful sounds.”

“I guess.”

“Too bad it died just to turn into undercooked steak,” he says.

There it is. I knew an attack was coming.

“Again, I apologize, Sir. I’ll take that back to the kitchen and send out a rare steak for you.”

“Good. While you're here, I should also let you know that there's too much black pepper in the sauce.”

Thank you! I want to exclaim. I’ve been trying to tell the owner for months the same thing, but he disagrees. He says I'm just supposed to follow the recipe that's already been provided.

The Local has been using the same recipes for decades. I wasn't hired to get creative.

I keep my thoughts to myself. I’ve said enough to this rude stranger.

“It's the famous original sauce here at The Local, Sir. I’m afraid I can't change that for you,” I say.

“That's too bad. That's good meat right there, but it's lathered in so much sauce and seasoning I can't taste it.”

Another thing that has been on my mind for a long time! I could see us bitching over poor handling of good ingredients, if he wasn't such an asshole. Too bad.

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