Undercover billionaire b.., p.7

Undercover Billionaire Boss: A BWWM Contemporary Romance, page 7

 

Undercover Billionaire Boss: A BWWM Contemporary Romance
 


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  “Thank you so much for all of this; I don’t know what to say.”

  “You don’t need to say anything. I’ll leave you to settle in then. If you want to join us, dinner will be ready in a few. Oh, and there is a bathroom in there.” She pointed vaguely at a door.

  Christian saw the door, partway off its hinges, that she meant and nodded. He watched Raina disappear back up the steps and then noticed his rucksack on the bed; Raina must have placed it there while he was playing with Jeremiah. He unpacked his bag and placed everything carefully in the chest of drawers.

  It felt odd but exciting to be so close to Raina, yet so far. She might have offered him a helping hand, but she certainly hadn’t shown any more interest except to help a friend in need. Somehow she remained warm but distant at the same time.

  As he set himself up he wondered of the children and their circumstances.

  Seeing Raina at work, it was impossible to imagine that she took care of three children. She was efficient and always looked so well put together. So far he hadn’t seen a nanny or anyone else who helped with the kids. He assumed that Raina rushed to get home every night; she probably made sure she was home when they got off the bus from school. She looked so professional in her skirt suits but now seeing her at home, he saw her in a different light. She was—maternal in a way he hadn’t expected her to be. And yet, somehow it suited her perfectly.

  Christian felt as though he was peeling away layers of her personality bit by bit and he couldn’t wait to find out what else lay beneath. What drove her, and more importantly what did she want out of her life?

  Christian lay back on the futon, testing the mattress, and his imagination drifted to the idea of testing out the same mattress with Raina. Jerk, he thought to himself. Here she is offering you a place to stay out of the kindness of her heart and your mind starts thinking dirty thoughts.

  He couldn’t seem to help it though. His mind was often wandering to naughty ideas when he was around Raina. He imagined what the touch of her dark skin would feel like under his hand. It looked smooth, like the softest silk, and he wanted to trail his fingers over her body and feel every curved inch of her.

  He groaned audibly as he felt his cock hardening in his pants. He tugged at the fabric, willing himself to get under control. He tried to turn his mind to the dull topic of toilet repairs. Anything to take his mind off of her.

  He was starting to realize it would be more difficult than he had predicted to live under her roof. To walk around with a constant hard-on would certainly make him a poor house-guest.

  Upstairs, he could hear her movements in the kitchen. If she could read his thoughts, she would throw him out in the streets without a shred of remorse, Christian thought with amusement.

  Dinner was a cheerful affair as the children amused them with tales of school. Chantal did not speak much and instead remained content to listen to her siblings, and watch Christian warily. Raina had cooked them a delicious simple meal of lasagna and Christian even had second helpings. It definitely wasn’t from a frozen box, and he was amazed that she still had the energy after a long day at work to cook a home made meal. He saw compassion in her eyes as he devoured the food on his plate. She probably thought he hadn’t had a decent meal in ages, but the truth was that her cooking could rival that of the best private chefs he’d ever employed.

  Guilt gnawed at him as he realized once again where her mistaken compassion stemmed from, but there was no other way, Christian told himself. After dinner, he carried the plates and proceeded to wash up, something that he hadn’t done since he was a little boy.

  “No please, you’re our guest; we can’t have you washing up!” Raina protested.

  “It’s the least I can do.” Christian insisted as he took the dishes to the sink.

  The children carried their own plates to the counter and then ran upstairs to get ready for bed.

  Raina joined him and dried the dishes as he cleaned up. They worked in companionable silence. Christian was painfully aware of how close she was to him and her light and airy perfume invaded his senses. He was reminded again of how long it had been since he’d had a woman.

  “Were you born in Florida?” Her soft voice broke the tension that had settled between them.

  “Oh no, my parents and I lived on the outskirts of New York in a small rural town called Riverview.” Christian said. “My mother was a teacher and dad was an engineer.”

  “Do you go back to visit often?” she said.

  He hesitated, then told her the truth. “No. My parents are both dead.” Christian replied.

  “I’m so sorry; a death in the family is very painful.” She looked up at him with compassion and her large brown eyes shone with unshed tears. He realized she did know the pain he felt, and whatever pain she felt was very fresh.

  Christian contemplated asking her about the children then thought not to. If she wanted to confide in him, she would in her own time. Besides, he had learned that Raina was a private person; it was unlikely that she would want to talk about it with him—an employee.

  After the dishes were cleaned up, Raina invited him to share a cup of coffee in the living room.

  The kids, now wearing their pjs, were sprawled on the carpet working on a puzzle.

  “Ah, the silence.” Raina said as she handed him the steaming cup of coffee.

  For some reason, Christian felt like talking, especially because he knew that she was curious about him. Somehow they fell into companionable conversation as they watched the kids play. He told her about growing up with his parents and how his dad had lost his job and fallen prey to the bottle. He told the tale in a matter of fact way, he had come to terms with his childhood long ago and the issues of the past no longer bothered him. He stuck close to the truth but avoided mentioning some important things in his history.

  Well, three billion important things, he thought wryly, as he recalled the state of his bank account.

  Still, what he shared was not something he had ever confided to any women in his past. It felt good to speak the truth to Raina for once. He sensed she would not judge him—hell, if she didn’t judge the “homeless handy man” there wasn’t a judgmental bone in her body, that was clear. For once in his life he felt completely free. Free to be himself.

  It was ironic, he thought a bit grimly, that to be himself he’d had to become someone else.

  Suddenly, he wished that their friendship could have begun on an honest note. He wished he could tell her that he was the owner of the Del Mar Hotels.

  Then he imagined her reaction. A wall would come up between them and the Raina he saw now would disappear from him forever. She would feel humiliated and think that he had been toying with her. Besides, as much as he had strong feelings for her, it was important for him to remain undercover and figure out what was really going on at the hotel. He still needed to find out where the missing funds were going.

  “Wow, that’s a harsh way to grow up.” she said as she finished listening to his story.

  “Not really,” he smiled a bit sadly. “I know a lot of people have it worse. At least my mom was there and she was working, so we never went hungry.”

  “You have a good attitude about it.” Raina said. Her lips curved up and she pulled her knees up to her chest. He sat across from her, watching intently. “That was something I liked about you—that first day.” she reminded him. “When you came into my office you didn’t blame anyone or make any excuses for whatever happened in your life.”

  He nodded curtly and then brought his mug to his mouth, hiding the slight grimace he made. Lies. So many lies. He needed to get the topic off of himself so that he could stop lying to her. Every lie he told her was one more he would have to apologize for—someday.

  “I passed your boss in the hall the other day—Roger?” Christian said, keeping his voice casual, steering the conversation in another direction. “He seemed—intense?”

  Raina made a face, one of deep disgust that didn’t go unnoticed.
Be careful around him, he … he’s had people fired over the flimsiest of reasons.”

  “Really?” His tone invited her to continue.

  Raina wrapped her arms around herself in a manner he noted as a protective one, as though she was trying to shield herself. She shot an anxious glance at the kids, noting that they were engrossed with their puzzle before she continued. Still, she lowered her voice so they would not hear her.

  “Don’t worry. He probably won’t bother you.” she laughed grimly. “Lucky for you that you’re not a woman, otherwise, you’d be very familiar with him.” Her lips turned up in disgust. She looked away, but he noted her arms were covered in goose-bumps and she was almost trembling.

  Christian was puzzling over her comments, when Chantal looked up from where she sat on the carpet.

  “Aunty, did you decide who will come to school for Father’s Day?”

  Raina took a deep breath to steady herself and slowly let it out. He noticed she plastered a bright smile on her face before answering. “I haven’t sweetheart, but don’t you worry about it. I’ll figure it out.”

  “Father’s Day?” Christian said. He watched the little girl bite her lip and then nod.

  “Yes, they have this thing at school where fathers go in for an hour or so. It’s a special event every year. The problem is the school hadn’t thought of kids without fathers or other male relatives.” Raina explained in a whisper.

  “They don’t have anyone?’

  Raina shook her head. “No. No, the only family any of us have is sitting right here in this room.” Her voice was soft but he heard the pain in it.

  A small part of him noted that he was sitting in the room with them as well, and he briefly wondered if she had overlooked that fact.

  “That has to be tough on you.” Christian said, turning his body toward her. He wanted to reach out and take her small hand in his, but he worried about her reaction.

  “Not as tough as it is for them. Only a year ago, they had both their parents and now they only have their Aunty Raina. I’m hardly a good enough substitute.”

  “Don’t put yourself down, Raina, it doesn’t suit you. Besides, if you hadn’t risen to the occasion, what would have happened?”

  Raina shuddered visibly. “They’d have been split up.” she whispered. “I’d hate to imagine them in foster care.” She squared her shoulders.

  “Yes you’re right; feeling sorry for myself doesn’t do any good. Besides, the joy they bring into my life more than compensates for any issues that come up.” Christian shot her a smile and she returned it back. That was the Raina he knew.

  The rest of their conversation was carried out in whispers and Christian enjoyed the sudden intimacy but it was also giving him indecent ideas. He followed the delicate line of her neck with his eyes and longed to trace the rich smoothness of her skin with his lips. He would have given anything to take her into his arms at that very moment and kiss her as she had never been kissed before.

  His face remained impassive, his thoughts hidden and his desires private. It would definitely not do to seduce the woman who was both his boss and now his landlord.

  The conversation returned to work and Raina made him laugh with her descriptions of their colleagues. It was clear that her favorite person was Kelly, the head housekeeper.

  “She’s a nice person, she’d give anyone the shirt off her back. Just … be careful she doesn’t take her shirt off and try to give it to you.” Raina winked at him. “She likes you, you know.”

  Christian groaned and threw his head back. The last thing he needed was for Raina to think that he had designs on Kelly.

  He sighed. “She’s a nice girl but the truth is that I’m not looking for a relationship right now. I have enough on my plate as it is.” Christian said, implying that his financial problems would not allow him the time or peace of mind to date.

  Raina nodded understandingly and he suddenly realized his words had also shut the door for Raina to regard him romantically.

  He groaned once again and adjusted his pants.

  After the kids had been hustled off to bed, Raina and Christian’s conversation had continued long into the late hours of the night.

  7

  Roger screwed his eyes as he observed the monitors. His eyes were fixed on the camera positioned in the hallway that led to the staff offices.

  He noted, with narrowed eyes, that Raina and a maintenance man were standing very close to each other; it looked like they were whispering and Raina reached out her hand to pick an invisible piece of lint from the man’s forearm. Roger frowned when she threw her head back and laughed at something the man said.

  Raina had a body he had been dying to get his hands on since the first time he had laid eyes on her. It was a body made for sin and the fact that she wore those uptight professional clothes all the time made it even hotter.

  He knew how the game was played—it was the same one all women played. She would make him sweat for it, she would make him pay a pretty penny before she would give in—but like all of them, eventually she would.

  Still he was getting tired of that game. He wanted to screw her, pound her, nail her, and get it over and done with. As soon as he had her, Roger knew that he would lose interest and he could finally move on to other pursuits.

  It had always been like that for him. A woman would capture his imagination and he would enjoy the sweet anticipation of the chase. But after he got her in between the sheets his interest faded almost immediately. He thought of women as a game of roulette. Except with women, he was never on a losing streak. Roger’s fists clenched when he remembered his loss from last night.

  The Orlando slot machines did not favor him like the ones in New York. He had lost three hundred grand that he could not afford to lose. And a week before that he’d lost another two hundred grand; each time chasing wins to cover previous losses.

  He had nothing to worry about though. His nephew, Christian was a bleeding heart half-wit who’d gotten lucky in finance. He would never suspect that his own uncle was fleecing the company. Roger’s little money siphoning scheme was going very well. Creating shell companies and submitting false invoices for supplies that were never delivered had turned out to be child’s play. And best of all, since he was the one who audited the books and fielded the complaints, no one would be the wiser.

  Besides, Roger figured he deserved the money. Christian had so much; in fact, the least he could do was give Roger one damned hotel of his own. But when Roger had asked, Christian had just put him off.

  After all, Roger thought spitefully, he was Christian’s only remaining relative and at the rate each of them was going, neither was likely to sire any children any time soon. Roger because kids were a damned disgusting nuisance and Christian because he clearly didn’t trust women and never wanted to marry. Though, from what Roger had heard, his nephew went through his fair share of stunning ladies. Clearly chasing after beautiful women ran in their family.

  He chuckled, prompting the two security men to look at him. Roger snarled at them and turned on his heel. He did not care what “the help” thought of him.

  His nephew though? Well, he did care a bit what Christian thought of him—only because he needed Christian to trust him. As it was, his nephew kept him at bay, giving him responsibility, but not a ton of control over Christian’s growing empire.

  Roger had tried to be friendly but was rebuffed every time, so he had given up and kept their contact to their professional and distant familial relationship. He remembered the questioning about the drop in income from the Palm Beach Del Mar that Christian had subjected him to over a month ago and his face reddened with anger.

  His nephew had treated him like nothing more than a hired hand, asking why the Palm Beach hotel was doing more poorly than the rest. It’s business, Roger had tried to explain to him, though his instincts had been to fling the file he was holding at Christian and walking off. Common sense told him that it wouldn’t be the smartest move.
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br />   The fact was that he still needed his nephew. He still needed his job. And he still needed the money he was able to siphon off from the Del Mar.

  It was time he quit gambling, Roger told himself—and he would … after he had recouped his losses.

  He left the control room without a word to the security guards and strolled across the lobby, on the lookout for any influential people he knew. One never knew with hotels. Most of the important people that Roger knew—from the mayor to major business owners, he had met at one of the hotel properties he managed. Schmoozing and offering upgrades did a great deal to help grease wheels and win favors.

  “Mr. Del Mar?” the restaurant manager came rushing up to him.

  “Yes?” Roger replied curtly.

  “We have a rather difficult guest who—"

  “Can’t Raina sort it out? She’s the manager isn’t she?” he said impatiently.

  The restaurant manager looked at his feet and started to make excuses. Roger turned on his heel and left him standing there mumbling to himself.

  He felt a twinge of annoyance. What was it with people, why couldn’t they do their jobs without involving others? He thought then to give that order to Raina; it would give him an excuse to admire those curves again.

  Not that he needed any excuse to enter any office in the hotel, but there was something about her that made him feel like a schoolboy going to see the headmistress. The thought of Raina wielding a whip and looking down on him sternly got his body hot. He wiped his nose and adjusted his trousers where the thighs met before entering her office.

  He stood at the door admiring Raina. His eyes went down to the shadowed swell of her breast and he imagined tweaking her dark nipples until she screamed out with desire. She looked up then, startled to see him standing there. He got a sense of satisfaction when he saw her reaction.

  “You look beautiful.” he said his breathing coming out fast.

  Roger felt hornier than he had in years and he contemplated taking her right there and then in her office. He shut the door and moved towards her keeping his eyes locked on her. He knew that as soon as he kissed her, all her protests would die away. They all pretended not to want, yet deep down, she was as hungry for him as he was for her.

 
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