The Billionaire Bachelor

By: Jessica Lemmon

Tag preferred his home office, where he could focus on something other than the purring of the receptionist’s phone and the pompous chatter of the suits occasionally prowling the floors. When he wasn’t there, he was traveling to one of the Crane hotels to oversee a grand opening or cut the ribbon on a new restaurant.

He said good-bye to Bobbie, collecting his coat and scarf from the coatrack next to the elevator, then rode down to the lobby.

The Chicago home base for Crane Hotels was regal. Tall and shining, white and glass. The Crane was their great-grandfather’s very first new build, and that made Tag proud. Over the years, Tag had risen in the ranks and learned how to invest. He worked for Crane not because he needed to, but because it was his purpose. Each of his father’s sons felt they had a part to play in preserving their family’s legacy.

Typically, he’d take a car, but he looked forward to the chill. It was a rare day that the Windy City had no wind, but the cold air was crisp and calm when he strode out onto Superior. He pulled up his collar and plunged his hands into his black coat’s pockets and, head down, marched home.

Crane Tower stood exactly three blocks west of the Crane, and was Tag’s proudest accomplishment. His brother may have purchased a mansion, but Tag had purchased an entire damn building. He’d done so quietly, buying it from his father so as not to get too much attention for the sale about a year ago. His penthouse was at the top floor, forty-nine, and overlooked a sea of buildings. He liked the vantage point. He loved being on top. Ask any of his past girlfriends. Well, dates. Girlfriends was a strong word.

Crane Tower’s doorman, a middle-aged guy whose name Tag did not remember, pulled open the door as Tag angled to get inside. The respite from wind was brief, and kicked up now, blowing his hair over his face and temporarily blotting out the vision exiting the luxury apartment building.

She was blond. He swept his hair behind his ear and stopped dead in his tracks. Petite, which put her on his “no” list since he was six-and-a-half feet tall, and wearing high-heeled, knee-high boots that met the edge of a long dark coat, belted at the waist. The wind chose that moment to bless him, parting her coat and revealing her legs, covered in gray leggings, beneath a short, short black skirt. He followed up to where she was closing the coat over her like Marilyn Monroe trying to push down her dress, and then she caught him looking.

And looked back.

Shiny lipstick. Thick, black lashes. A pair of black leather gloves came to her mouth where she pulled her hair away from her lips and Tag felt a definite stir of interest in his pressed-for-work pants.

Then she was gone, hoofing it to a car waiting on the curb. He watched the maroon sedan pull away from the curb, a woman in the front seat, and blinked as the taillights dwindled in the distance. Then to the doorman, he smiled.

“Mr. Crane,” the man greeted.

“Hey…uh. Man. Who was that?”

A brief look of panic colored the doorman’s features like Tag might fire him for not knowing. “I don’t know, sir. Would you like me to find out?”

“No.” Tag looked in the direction of where the car vanished. He liked not knowing. Liked the idea of running into the blonde again by chance.

Maybe in the gym or the lobby. Or the elevator. Yeah, he’d rather stumble across her.

“No, that’s okay. Thanks.” He nodded to the doorman and strode in, stepping onto the elevator a few minutes later. On the ride up, he realized he was leaning in the corner, smiling like a dope, the bar upgrade issue the furthest thing from his mind.

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