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All Romance eBooks Edition, License Notes
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An older woman stood in front of an open office door flipping through papers. Her glasses dangled on the edge of her nose as she read an application.
“Sal- Sally?” she called.
“Suh-lean,” she sounded it out while scribbling a note. “You need to work on your handwriting young lady. He’ll see you now.”
Selene took a breath, stood and straightened her skirt. She had decided to wear a black pencil skirt, a white button up top, and high heels. She’d agonized over her outfit before deciding to dress professionally with a slight sexy edge.
She was convinced all of the girls auditioning would try too hard to impress the man in the ad. They would wear clothes too revealing, too obvious; by dressing conservatively she would stand out, so she hoped.
Still not entirely confident in her theory, she unbuttoned the top button of her shirt and let her auburn hair hang free before leaving the house.
Selene first heard about the audition from a friend of a friend. The woman was a call girl for an exclusive escort service called, ‘Belle Amie.’ The clientele were all billionaires who spared no expense to fulfill their sexual desires.
Selene had always found the service curious, but was too shy to ask any questions.
One day, she heard there was a kind of open casting call for a new girl. The catch was that the girl had to be willing to have a baby.
The client promised that the woman selected would be handsomely compensated.
Selene found the proposition intriguing. She was drowning in student loan debt and a mortgage; she worked sixty hours a week and lived pay check to pay check. She needed the money, and in truth, she was lonely.
She had been stuck in a rut for years: no boyfriend, no prospects, only a few lackluster one night stands. She needed a drastic change to break free from the direction her life was headed.
What the hell, she thought, I’ll go in to the audition.
Now, as she faced the open door she began to have doubts. What kind of man would solicit a stranger to have his baby? Surely a man of his means wouldn’t have any trouble finding a woman. What if he was a criminal or mentally disturbed? Selene was talking herself out of the meeting, but for some reason her feet kept moving, carrying her through the office door.
Once inside, the door slammed shut behind her, making her jump.
The office was clean and modern. It was sparsely decorated and at present empty.
Selene fidgeted not sure if she should sit, or stand and wait to be instructed.
A voice called out from an open door leading to what appeared to be a closet.
“Make yourself comfortable. Have a drink if you like. The bar is to your right.”
The voice sounded calm, confident; not the voice of a psycho killer, she thought.
Thinking it was inappropriate to drink on a job interview she started to move towards the couch to sit, but felt oddly compelled to head to the bar instead. She wasn’t a big drinker but she was nervous and this was an unconventional job application.
Might as well go all in, she thought and poured herself a sherry. She swallowed it in one gulp and helped herself to another.
The man came out of the closet buttoning the cuffs of his shirt while she was downing her second drink.
He smiled at her, amused by her obvious nervousness and said, “I’ve always been fond of sherry as well. Have a seat so we can talk.”
Selene was struck first by his eyes, a deep blue that made her think of the Mediterranean sea, a place she had never been, but always wanted to go. A sudden determination filled her: she would see it and more; she was going to get the job.
She put her drink down and walked to the couch. The man followed close behind and took a seat in the adjacent chair.
“So,” he said rubbing his hands together, “we should be formally introduced: my name is Ethan.”
“Selene, it’s lovely to meet you. You’re probably wondering why I would want a baby. It must seem like an utterly bizarre request.”
“Well, the truth is, I own this building it’s my company, but we’ve fallen on hard times.
With the economic collapse and… well I won’t bore you with the details. My parents were extremely wealthy. They passed when I was a child.”
“Oh I’m sorry.”
“Thank you.” Selene thought she detected a hint of nervousness from him.
He cleared his throat. “As I said they died and left me a substantial amount of money in trust. There is a catch however: the trust states that I cannot collect the money unless I have an heir, a child of my own blood. I need the money to save my company.”
Ethan paused and watched her closely. Selene’s face remained calm though her mind was reeling with questions. “Why did they demand you have children?” She immediately regretted using the word, ‘demand’ after it left her mouth. She thought it came across hostile, like she was insulting his parents choices. And well, she kind of was, it seemed a bit silly to her.
“My parents were… overly concerned with dynasty, it appears. Anyway, I’ve gone over your background: no arrests, excellent grades in school, not so much as a speeding ticket.
What am I missing?”
“Sadly, nothing. I wish my background was more interesting, a bit dangerous even. I just…” She felt as if she were starting to sound a bit pathetic. Switching to her professional voice she turned a steely gaze on him. “If I was you, I would wonder what sort of person would answer an ad like this; it’s insane. The kind of woman that would agree to this would have to be… well the point is I’m not that kind of woman. Today is as much an interview for you as it is for me. I want to know who you are, what sort of work you do, what sort of life my-our baby would have.”
Ethan was taken aback. “You know, you are the first applicant today to ask me a single question about my life.” He thought for a moment and deciding on a course of action pushed forward. “I think we should move on to the next phase of the interview process.”
“Dinner. Arrange it with my secretary, she’ll see you’re taken care of.”
Ethan rose and offered his hand. She took it in her own; he shook it gently. His hands were soft, well-manicured and large. His thumb softly brushed her palm before releasing her hand. It sent a small shiver up her spine.
Standing so close to him she found herself analyzing the landscape of his face. He had a strong jaw line, pale skin, a scruffy dark beard like he hadn’t shaved in a couple of days and a slight bump on his nose as if he’d broken it in a fight.
His features were classically handsome, even a bit pretty, but there was something in his eyes that gave him an edge. He may have been born rich, but an aura of world-weariness hung about him.
His eyes never left hers. His gaze was hypnotizing, she couldn’t make herself leave his office.
A creeping tingling sensation rose deep inside her; she felt a combination of excitement, anxiety and arousal.
A sudden urge to take him right there on the couch overwhelmed her. She knew it was a bad idea. She needed to wait, to find out who he was first.
Besides, if she gave in to temptation now, he might think she’s easy or manipulative.
Something needed to happen soon or she wasn’t going to be able to control herself.
Thankfully, Ethan’s secretary walked in at that moment. Her cold appraising gaze fell on Selene.
“Miss Suh-lean?” There was a disapproving shrillness to her voice that reminded Selene of grade school. It was like she was being called out in front of the class for forgetting her homework.
“Yes Mrs. … ?”
“Ms. Miller. You may come with me now. If you’re finished.” Her stern eyes scrutinized Ethan.