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Billionaire’s Pursuit

By:Sloan Storm

MADDIE

 “Ow! Shit!” I yelled, as I slipped the first two fingers of my hand into my mouth. I flicked at the singed tips with tender strokes from my tongue. All the while my egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, overcooked and smoking slightly, mocked me through a half-opened microwave door.

 “Oh the hell with it,” I muttered as I snatched it from inside the oven. It was too burnt to eat, so I pitched it in the trash and took one last swig of my lukewarm black coffee. The bitter liquid rolled across my taste buds and focused my attention on what I had to get done.

 I’d eat later.

 Just then, an email notification chime from my tablet filled the air.

 Finally.

 I made my way towards the living room and what I hoped was good news from my roommate. Unless I could land this potential client for my new concierge business, the last five years of my life would wind up as everyone predicted when I came to Los Angeles--a failure. Be that as it may, now wasn’t the time to worry about any of that crap.

 Reaching the table, I grabbed my tablet from it. I dragged my still-tender fingertips across the smooth surface and as the screen flickered to life, the email I’d been waiting for from Katy appeared before me in my inbox. I swallowed and tugged a strand of hair behind my ear as I tapped on the message that read, “This is him. You got the bid for the job! Call me as soon as you open the pic. Katy”

 Unable to muster the courage to look at it alone, I grabbed my phone and dialed her up.

 “Hey, did you get it?” she asked as she answered my call.

 “Yeah, I did. I’m about to open the file right now. Can I put you on speaker?”

 “Okay.”

 As I placed the phone down on the table, I pressed the hands free button and a split second later, the fuzzy echo of the speaker phone crackled in the air.

 “Well?” Katy said. “You got it open yet?”

 “Geez, gimme a second would ya? What’s the rush?”

 “I’m busy, Maddie. We need to get on this right away.”

 “Okay, okay.” As she spoke, I clicked on the file she’d sent me and when I did, the stranger’s image filled the screen.

 “Well?” Katy demanded.

 My fingertips moistened along the edges of my tablet as I sunk back into the couch. The feel of the cool leather against my skin heightened my awareness. I narrowed my gaze on the man in the picture. Chiseled features and tanned skin enhanced his almond-shaped, chocolate brown eyes. His gaze pierced my slightly smudged screen with the focus of a male lion in its prime. It was the look of a person to whom everything was given, nothing refused.

 Really?

 This is the first client she wants to send me? What sounded like a great idea a couple of days earlier didn’t seem like one now.

 Not at all.

 “Maddie,” Katy began, as she took notice of my silence. “What’s going on with you? Do you have the picture open or not?”

 I chewed my lower lip between my teeth.

 “Maddie?”

 “Um, okay. Wow, Katy. Couldn’t you send me someone a little easier for my first time?”

 “What do you mean? Easier?”

 “I dunno, I thought he’d be… you know, older?”

 “No, you mean not good looking. Don’t you?”

 “No,” I lied.

 “You need a referral, Maddie. Have you heard from anyone else you sent proposals to yet?”

 “No.”

 “Well, you need business. What’s better than word of mouth from one of the richest men in the country? What difference does it make if he happens to be handsome as well?”

 “None, I guess. You’re right,” I said, as I exhaled and lowered my tablet to my lap. The warmth from the device felt good against the skin of my exposed legs. It reassured me, but only a little.

 Katy continued. “His name is Greyson Sinclair and he’s a relatively new client of mine. I’ve handled some of his corporate travel arrangements in recent months but this will be his first trip to LA for film industry business.”

 “He’s not in the business already?”

 “No. He’s from Chicago. He comes from money but turned the family fortune from millions to billions with his investments. I don’t know much about what he does except he’s considering an investment in a studio. This is perfect for you, Maddie. With all the contacts you have, this should be an easy one to get started with. Just be yourself and hit him with your pearly whites. You’ll have him drooling and making referrals in no time.”

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