Billionaire Protector

By: Nikki Chase

Instead, I say the words I’ve been rehearsing in my head. “I’m looking for a new chef. Interested?”

“Oh, you own a restaurant?”

“No, but I’m very particular about what I eat, as you already know. I live about two hours outside the city. We have fresh air and great views there. It’ll be good for you to escape the city for once,” I say.

“That’s true. All this smoke and pollution must be killing me slowly, after all.” She grins, her nose crinkling as she does.

“Well, give it some thought. You’ll get a place to stay for free and you’ll get paid really well.”

“Oh, where will I be staying?”

“All my house staff live on the premises. There isn’t much going on in the area. Most of the people in the nearby town have lived there for generations, and they’re unlikely to have rooms to rent out.”

“It sounds good, but I don’t know…” Alice bites her bottom lip and her eyes flick to the side as she thinks.

“Like I said, I’ll make it worth your while. Feel free to say no, of course.” I lie. There’s no option for her to say no. This is not so much an offer as it is a necessity now. She has to come with me, for her own safety.

“I like the sound of that,” she says, smiling, completely unaware of the danger facing her.

“I’ll pay you twice whatever The Local is paying you,” I say.

Her eyes grow wide. “Are you serious?”

“Dead serious,” I say, telling the truth this time.

“I’m tempted,” she says, her teeth stabbing into her lower lip again.

“If you’re interested, call me.” I dig into my pocket and give her my business card.

I should stop this conversation before Walter’s guy gets suspicious. He’s probably still watching outside. And with the big windows surrounding us, anyone from outside can clearly see what’s happening inside the restaurant.

“Just think about it,” I say. “You can save up while you work for me. Even if you hate it and you quit after a few months, you’ll be in a much better financial situation by then.”

Alice smiles as she drops my business card into the little pocket in her white shirt, where the logo of the restaurant is embroidered.

I want to rip that logo off her chest and brand her with my name. I’ll get to do that, if she says yes. If she says no… Well, she’s still coming with me, only there probably won’t be any cooking involved, which would be a shame.

“I’ll definitely think about it,” she says.

“Don’t take too long. I’m free tomorrow, any time after five in the afternoon. Come see me at the address on the business card. We’ll sit down and talk. You’ll say yes within five minutes. You’ll regret it if you don’t.”

If you don’t, I’ll pick you up anyway tomorrow, I think quietly to myself. It’ll be a lot more pleasant for you if you come yourself, though.

“Got it. I’ll call you tomorrow,” Alice says.

“Good.” I smile. I watch her back as she walks away. Under my breath, I whisper, “I’m sorry.”

A few hours later, she texts me to say that she’ll come to see me tomorrow night. I heave a sigh of relief.

The situation is far from ideal. If I had my way, she’d stay far away from my problems. She’d continue working happily in the city. But now she’s involved, whether she likes it or not.

I’m just glad I don’t have to drag her kicking and screaming to my place.

No, at least the first few days will be nice. I’ll stretch it out as long as I can. Because after that, when she finds out, the kicking and screaming will start.



The car reaches a tall, wrought-iron gate. A big man with a solemn face peers at us through gaps in the curved metal, and the gate opens for us. We drive down the long driveway, around the fountain, and stop by the front door.

“We’re here,” says the driver.

“Thank you, Anthony.”

I’m glad he announced it, because otherwise I would've thought this was some kind of contemporary museum. Considering the size, I can probably call it a mansion. The façade, dominated by dark metals and glass, looks modern and imposing.

Top Books