Billionaire Protector

By: Nikki Chase

I have that luck right now, so why shouldn’t I take this opportunity?

Sure, it's nice to offer my cooking to a large audience, but it's tiring to work in the pressure cooker that is the kitchen at The Local night after night. Working for Seth would allow me to live life at a slower pace and let my creativity run wild.

With the money I’ll save from my higher salary and non-existent living cost, maybe I’ll even be able to make my life-long dream come true.

Now, don't laugh at me, but I’ve always wanted to open my own restaurant. I know there will be a lot of business stuff to deal with, but that sounds like an exciting challenge to take on.

My mind goes into overdrive when I think about my own little restaurant, with a menu that changes every day based on the availability of local ingredients and what I feel like cooking. Ideas start pouring in, and soon I’m restless because I just want to go out and do it.

In the past, I was never in a financial position to consider it a real possibility. With this job, though, I could actually see myself getting there in a few years.

The woman looks over her shoulder to check that I’m still following her. She smiles at me, the click-clack of her high heels on the marble echoing in the big, minimally decorated space.

The hem of her A-line dress swishes around as she walks, making me feel underdressed in my button-down shirt, dress pants, and ballet flats. Working in the kitchen, comfort and practicality are of the utmost importance.

“Sorry, I forgot to introduce myself. I’m Alejandra,” she says. “It's a pleasure to finally meet you.”

“Um, likewise.” I wonder what she means by that. “So, what exactly have you heard about me?”

“Oh, not much. Seth doesn't talk much about matters of the heart. We mostly talk about the running of the house.”

Huh? The heart? What is she talking about?

I wonder if it's just a language thing, if maybe she's trying to convey something that doesn't quite translate into English.

Before I can ask, she stops in front of a door. She knocks and smiles at me while she waits.

“Come in,” says a voice from behind the door. The low, authoritative voice sends tingles down my spine.


Somehow, the idea of seeing him here, in his home, in his own domain, thrills me.

For months, I’ve been curious about this man. Yet, with every answer I get, more questions arise. Now, I get an opportunity to learn more about him, the mysterious man who came out of nowhere and is suddenly the key to my life-long dream.

Alejandra turns the knob, pushes the door, and holds it open for me. As soon as I enter, Seth’s eyes are fixated on me. Something darkens his gaze, but he quickly hides it.

“Hi, Seth,” I say. The door closes behind me, making me jump.

“Come in. Take a seat.” He smiles, his eyes twinkling with amusement as he gestures at the chair across the desk from him.

My cheeks grow warm with embarrassment when I realize I’ve been standing still like a statue, distracted by his piercing gaze and intimidating presence.

There’s something pulling us closer together, like some kind of an invisible stretchy string that's been drawn so tight it's about to snap.

I felt it even in the busy restaurant, all the way from the kitchen when I was supposed to be working. Now, with just the two of us in a private space, that unseen force hits me in the face, overwhelming me so much my brain stops working for a while.

I check out the room as I walk across the floor toward his desk. One of the walls is lined with tall bookshelves that almost reach the ceiling. The books look thick and serious—textbooks, perhaps. This is probably a home office.

“Anthony told me you already have an overnight bag with you,” he says.

“Yes. I’m sorry if that seems presumptuous.” I take my seat.

“Not at all. Brought it because you’ll definitely take the job?” Seth raises one questioning eyebrow.

“Well, that's one possibility. It's also a long drive back to the city and I thought I should be prepared for this interview to end late.” I recall the advice I read on the Internet about how I should avoid appearing too eager to take a job because that would mean giving up my leverage in the negotiations.

“Interesting answer. What do you think we’ll do, that you’ll have to stay until late?” He smirks.

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