The Billionaire's Paradise (Sexy Billionaires)By: Victoria Davies
Except I signed a contract.
Which meant she was currently on the clock and had better spend more time earning her keep and less time daydreaming about trading in her briefcase for a surfboard and spending the rest of her years chasing the perfect wave.
Of course, she’d need to learn to surf first, but that was a challenge she wouldn’t mind accepting.
“Come on, Clarke,” she said to herself. Stop procrastinating.
Forcing her body to move, she left the warm ocean waters with reluctance. What sort of boss would she be if she played hooky on the first day of the job?
A nicely tanned one.
She shook her head at the thought. There’d be time to lounge on the beach later, she’d make sure of it.
Resolved, she started the walk back up to the main hotel. Around her, happy families raced for the water, already in their swimsuits. Though she routinely stayed in the most beautiful hotels in the world, she couldn’t remember the last time her bikini had made it out of her travel bags. That sad fact needed to be rectified immediately.
Reaching the paved walkway leading back to the lobby, she dusted the sand off her toes and slipped her heels back on. It seemed unnatural to wear such footwear with the sound of the ocean in her ears but she had an image to uphold. When the hotel elite hired Clarke Associates, they got the best, even in climates more suited to flip-flops than stilettos.
Eyes on the prize. Occupancy rates were down, and she needed to figure out why.
Air conditioning washed over her as she navigated her way into the hotel, banishing the tropical humidity that was making her curse her decision to wear long pants. Maybe there was time for a quick change before the manager meeting she’d scheduled.
She waved to her assistant, changing course to meet the other woman waiting for her in the lobby, a portfolio of notes already in her hands.
“Good morning, Karen,” she said when she reached her friend.
“Morning,” Karen replied, her unruly blonde curls bouncing around her face. “Are you ready for our first meeting?”
“Yep. With the managers, right?”
“One is out sick, but I scheduled the rest.”
“Thanks for putting that together so fast.” She examined her assistant before teasing, “Though, I think you missed the memo on business causal.”
The petite woman sported sandals and a floral printed sundress that made Avery suspect her friend was a far smarter packer than she was.
“Aren’t you hilarious,” she said, rolling her eyes. “I’ve got a jacket I’ll throw on. We are in a tropical climate and I’ve no intention of melting into a puddle on our first day.”
“True enough. Show me those notes, will you? I need to check the—”
The words froze in her throat as her gaze zeroed in on the man standing at the reception desk, his back to her.
Karen followed her gaze and inhaled. “Is that who I think it is?” she breathed.
He was out of place in his black tailored suit as families in tie-dye prints raced around him. Golden hair was slicked back, but one wayward curl would invariably be teasing his forehead. She’d often watched him brush it back with a casual hand, barely noticing its presence.
Just like he’d barely noticed her. Until the night of the gala, at least.
He stood with the causal confidence of one used to being surrounded by the trappings of wealth. She wondered if he even saw the beauty of the lobby around him, with its imported marble, towering ceilings, and modern design aesthetics. No doubt he’d hand selected the architect who had put it together.
He said something that caused the pretty girl at the front desk to laugh, and Avery couldn’t help the frown that crossed her face. She’d learned first-hand how charming he could be.
Charming enough for her to forget the steadfast rules that governed her life.
She’d stepped back, intent on escaping the lobby before he saw her, when he turned.
A crystal-blue gaze met hers, rooting her in place.
Her stomach clenched as the world seemed to narrow down to only him. She’d wondered what it would be like to see him again. In fact, she’d half convinced herself their heated night had been a fluke that didn’t bear thinking about.