Undeniably His, page 1
(A Billionaire Love Story)
Copyright © 2014 Amanda Chayse
All Rights Reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced, scanned, or distributed in any printed or electronic form.
This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, brands, media, and incidents are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events, entities, or locales is entirely coincidental.
This book contains graphic sexual content, harsh language, and violence. It is intended for ages 17+.
Table of Contents
Chapter Twenty One
Chapter Twenty Two
Chapter Twenty Three
Chapter Twenty Four
My heel catches on the rough grooves of the sticky bus floor, and I stumble down the stairs, maintaining my balance enough to prop myself up against the nearby stoplight. I straighten my black pump, which dislodged from my foot, run a hand over my tailored blouse, and gaze up at the imposing fifty-story skyscraper.
This is the first job interview I’ve had in six months. I sold my ’97 Honda Civic to buy food, pay my share of the rent, and to have just enough cash not to be scared shitless. Now that small stash was running out. My $38,000 college loans are deferred for only three more months. I try to push the desperate thoughts out of my mind for the sake of looking professional, but they weigh on me like a ton of bricks.
Breathe, Annabelle. Don’t forget to breathe.
My eyes roam the building directory encased in marble and glass to find TALVIS Advertising Agency. It occupies the entire top floor. The elevator whisks me up, and I walk through the sleek double glass doors to be greeted by the friendly receptionist.
“Good morning. May I help you?”
“Hi. I’m Annabelle Ried. I’m here to see Kalin Davis for a job interview.” My tense nerves cause my statement to sound more like a question.
“Certainly. Please sign in and follow me.” The office buzzes with activity as the receptionist guides me to a conference room. She is trim and tall in an elegant green and black dress that highlights her striking green eyes. Her straight blond hair flows elegantly over her back. “Mr. Davis will be right with you. May I get you some coffee or some water?”
“No, thank you. I’m fine.”
She smiles and closes the glass door.
I wonder if everyone who works here has to be a ten. I sit down at a table much too large for two people. The view of New York is dramatic, with the rivers of cars and pedestrians flowing through the canyon walls of the city. Steel-framed skyscrapers topped with spires, antennas, and pyramid-shaped crowns reach skyward like mountain peaks against the backdrop of the city lanes and surrounding bay.
I settle in a cushy leather chair and fold my hands on the table, rehearsing memorized lines about my education, experience, and goals. This is my last chance. If I don’t get this job, I’ll have to resort to doing just about anything.
I turn to see a tall figure standing before me in what must be a five-thousand-dollar Italian suit. His dark hair is pushed back over the sharp features of his handsome, square face. His broad shoulders and chest fill his suit to a delightful athletic shape that tapers over his tall frame. The red tie draws my attention to his firm and sensual lips.
“Annabelle Ried.” His deep, rich voice vibrates over me. I drop my pen and scurry to the floor to pick it up.
I jerk my arm forward to grab the pen, and Mr. Davis crouches down and hands it to me. I try to ignore his clean, sweet scent that washes over me. We both stand up, my nerves fluttering in my stomach. “Thank you, Mr. Davis. It’s nice to meet you,” I say in a cracked voice.
“Nice to meet you, Miss Ried. Kalin Davis. Please, sit down.” He extends his arm back toward my chair and waits for me to sit down before he takes his place at the table.
Mr. Davis opens the portfolio and glances over my resume, shifting his big brown eyes to me, and back to the resume. “University of Texas. Excellent marketing program. How’d you like it?”
“It was beautiful. The location was par excellence. Close to home too.”
“Close to the beach, close to rivers and mountains.” He continues to scan my resume.
“You certainly pay a premium for it.” I try to make light of the situation, while hinting at the reality of the high cost.
“Like most things worth having, Miss Ried.” A hint of a smile appears on his face while he continues roaming my resume. “The reason I am interviewing you personally, Miss Ried, is because you will be working with me personally.”
“It sounds like a wonderful opportunity,” I say.
“Good.” He casts me a slight smile. “I am going to ask you a series of questions, and I want you to give me your honest answer.”
“Okay.” What is he testing, exactly?
“Ready?” He glances at me before returning to his papers.
“Do you think a sleek car makes a person sexier?”
“Don’t tell our clients that.”
“Every consumer wants three things, Annabelle. What are they? Don’t worry about being politically correct. Just give me the answers that come to your mind.”
“Money, sex, and love, not necessarily in that order.”
He lets out a deep, pleasant chuckle. “Yes, that’s right. We happen to sell all three of them. We’re not selling them the car. We’re selling them the sex appeal. A sleek car does not make a sixty-three-year-old portly balding man sexy.”
“It doesn’t hurt.”
He bursts out into gruff laughter that sinks into my skin and soothes my nerves. I already like it.
“Touché, Miss Ried. Women find men of means sexy. It’s biological. We’re helping the human race survive.” A knowing smile plays on his attractive mouth. “A flashy car, a nice home, a nice nest egg. It doesn’t hurt, as you say.” He leans in slightly as if sharing a secret. “Modern man has accomplished much, but through it all he’s still the same peacock flashing feathers like the rest of the animals.”
I look down and stifle a smile as I wring my hands. “Do you agree, Miss Ried?” he asks.
“Yes, sir. I see it every day.” Maybe it’s why men love cars so much.
“Have you ever wanted something so badly that you couldn’t live without it?”
“Why did you want it?”
“I thought it would make me happy.”
“Did it make you happy?”
“Not as happy as I thought, but to some extent, yes.”
“Miss Ried, I did not start a successful advertising company by not understanding what makes people tick. We go to the very core of human desires, wants, and needs. I promise to meet those needs. Our clients expect it. Consumers demand i
I feel my cheeks flush from his deep voice and fiery stare.
“I am willing to learn.”
“Good, Miss Ried. Good.”
He hands me his card, and I glance at it. TALVIS Advertising, Kalin Davis, CEO.
“Do you have any questions for me?”
“So this position reports directly to you?”
“Yes, it does, Miss Ried. Quite honestly, I don’t typically do interviews. I leave that to my management team in various departments. I made an exception in this case.” He shows me a hint of a smile. “The successful candidate will be reporting to me, and the compensation is considerably more than similar positions you may be entertaining. As my personal assistant and marketing specialist, I will make sure the right candidate is taken care of properly. I will personally see to it.”
His big brown eyes bore into mine like smoldering coals.
Tension tugs at me from the room, and I take a deep breath. I feel a bead of sweat roll down my torso.
“Are there products that you specialize in, or do you take on all clients?”
“We are very selective with our clients, Miss Ried. We don’t work cheap, and we don’t take on every client. Usually that means we have higher-end clients in highly successful markets. We focus on them exclusively.”
“Do you work a lot of overtime, or is there an emphasis on a work-life balance?”
“We do work hard and play hard here. But I make sure that both our clients and our employees are happy. Sometimes we have to show people what they are missing before we can show them what they really want. After that, our job becomes easier because they cannot get enough of what we have to offer.”
I take a breath and try to cool my body from the heat emanating from his presence. “You can’t miss what you never had.”
“Yes, Miss Ried. Give them a taste, and they will come begging for more.”
I swallow and place my hand on my portfolio. My heart races as a ghost of a smile moves his full lips, and his milk-chocolate-brown eyes melt me in my seat.
I purse my lips and glance at the table. “I am sure that I can learn a lot from you, Mr. Davis. It sounds like a great opportunity, and one that I am definitely interested in.”
He moves his long index finger across the side of his cheek as he listens to me. I am sure he is suppressing a smile, but his mouth his mostly hidden by his other fingers.
“Do you have any more questions for me, Miss Ried?”
“No, not at this time.” I fold my hands and give him my best smile.
“Let me walk you out.”
He stands up to show me to the door. He towers over me as he opens the wide glass door for me, smiling as his eyes meet mine.
He walks me to the elevator.
“Do you live close by?” he asks.
“Yes, it’s an easy commute.”
“That’s good. Sometimes I need my assistant on call in case we have an urgent request. Our clients can be quite demanding, but we are paid well by them.”
“I can be here. It sounds like a wonderful opportunity.” I turn to him to make eye contact and drop my pen …again! What the hell is wrong with me today? He swoops down gracefully, bending one knee to pick up the pen, and hands it to me. His eyes meet mine, and are close enough that I can see flares of hazel and yellow and brown. He smiles and straightens up. His clean masculine scent floats deliciously around me.
“Thank you.” My cheeks are warm.
The elevator opens. “You’re welcome, Miss Ried. We’ll be in touch.”
“Thank you, Mr. Davis.”
I step into the elevator and place the back of my hand on my forehead, feeling for moisture. For some reason my body is warm and I am sweating. I fan myself with my portfolio, wondering if the interview went well while trying to ignore the sexual tension I felt from his domineering and suggestive presence.
When I get back to the apartment, Lia is having lunch. She knows I am struggling to meet my half of the rent, but has been nothing but supportive. She has an Italian flare of dark hair, thick lashes, and dark brows that highlight her big gray eyes. She always seems effortlessly gorgeous.
“Hey, Belle. How was your interview?”
I sit down and smile at her, shaking my head.
I put my hand out in disbelief. “He was so freaking hot.”
“Oh, my God, Lia. I didn’t know if he was talking about advertising the product or sex or what. I was just watching his mouth move, talking about fulfilling his clients’ needs.”
“Oh, my God, Belle, you are so bad!”
“Me! He was doing it on purpose, Lia! He was pure salacious evil in a five-thousand-dollar suit.”
“So he is gorgeous and has money. Doesn’t sound too bad to me.” Lia quirks her mouth and takes a bite of yogurt before pointing her spoon at me. “Advertising is full of sexual connotations, Belle. He’s just trying to show you the way the business works. How do you know he wasn’t just making sure you understood that? Maybe you were the perv.” She gives me a teasing smile as she presses the spoon to her mouth.
“I don’t. There was just something about him.” I shake my head and recall the undefined tension that permeated the conference room. “He’s the owner of the company, and I would be his assistant.” My eyes dart to Lia. “He’s smoking hot and brimming with sexual overtones. He probably has a bondage room in back of his executive suite.”
“You should be so lucky.” We both giggle.
“What are you going to do if he calls?” Lia molds the back of the spoon to her mouth, savoring the taste.
“I’m going to take the job, of course. You of all people know how badly I need the money. Rent is due again, and I don’t have the cash.” My stomach tightens at the thought.
“It’s okay, girlfriend, I know you’ll come through.”
“I’m not going to let you pay my half of the rent, Lia. If I don’t get this job, I’ll serve coffee, wash cars, whatever. I don’t care. I’m not going to freeload off of you.”
“I know. I’m just sayin’, don’t worry. I got your back, and I know you’ve got mine.”
“I know. You’re the best. If money drops from the sky, I’ll be sure and cut you in.”
Lia chuckles at me. “That’s very reassuring. Stop worrying. Besides, it sounds like this job pays well.” Lia scrapes the plastic container for the last bits of yogurt.
“He said it paid more than your typical marketing associate job.”
“See? Money, money, money!” she chants with a mock push of her hands.
“I don’t have the job yet, Lia. I’ll send him a thank-you letter letting him know I’m very interested in the job, but after that it’s out of my hands.”
I continue to apply for jobs in a desperate bid to get some kind of cash flow coming in. Many jobs posted are temporary jobs that pay close to minimum wage. I keep looking and find the ad I’d already applied to for TALVIS Advertising. I search the company and find it is one of the top ten advertising firms, representing wealthy clients all over the world. Kalin Davis, MBA in marketing from Northwestern University. Founder of TALVIS Advertising, twenty-nine years old. His photo is next to his bio. His firm, full lips and smiling brown eyes are frozen in the portrait, safely contained from the animating sexual energy that made me fidget in my chair.
I close my computer and take deep breath. Single, no doubt. I don’t recall seeing a ring.
I go to my Pilates class to keep my energy up and lighten my mood, offsetting my fruitless job search and tenuous finances. More endorphins in the brain keep my spirits light.
Some of the girls want to go out for drinks, but I just don’t have the cash to shell out twelve dollars for an apple martini. Lia is out with Trevor tonight. They met in college and should probably be getting married soon, though Lia has grown impatient with the commitment level. Trevor’s parents own a chain of rest
I broke up with Trevor’s best friend Rob. He enlisted in the military, I suspect because of the weak job market and to help pay for more school. It’s probably a good thing. He was the only guy I ever slept with, but we weren’t in love.
The trill of my phone awakens me from my thoughts. I don’t recognize the number and it’s not on my contacts. “Hi, this is Annabelle.”
“Miss Ried, this is Pacific Bank. Are you aware that you have an overdraft on your checking account, and would you like to pay it from other available funds?”
I sigh. I can’t believe I gave them my cell number. “I don’t have other available funds. Just go ahead and charge me. I am sure I will have the money soon.”
“Would you like to set up direct deposit at this time? We can waive the fee one time if you set up direct deposit with your employer.”
“I can do that soon, but not now.”
“We will have to charge you the thirty-five dollars for your last bill payment due to non-sufficient funds.”
“So I have a negative balance?”
“Yes, Miss Ried. Would you like to deposit more funds? We can waive the fee if you deposit funds before midnight.”
“I don’t have additional funds. If I did, they would have been deposited.” I realize my tone comes across as derisive, when it’s really just stress eating at me. “I’m sorry. I will deposit funds when I have them. Thank you for letting me know.”
No cash left—holy shit. I click the phone off and fold my lips between my teeth. Please call me, TALVIS Advertising. I rub the tired skin under my eyes and try not to think about the financial tsunami coming my way if I don’t get something soon.
The hustle and bustle of the city keeps me momentarily distracted from my unemployed status. No one in the busy city knows that I am a wood shaving away from destitution. I blend in with all the busy bees. Or maybe some are faking it like me, one step away from abject poverty. I enter the coffee shop with my laptop to send off a few more resumes, write a thank-you letter to Mr. Davis, and to convince myself that I actually accomplished something today. I order coffee at the counter and pay with my credit card. I know. But at least it’s still good for the time being. Besides, I should have a job before the bill is due, I manage to convince myself. I try to shift my mind from my finances and focus.