A Millionaire For Molly

By: Marion Lennox


OF ALL the times for Lionel to escape…

The reception area at Bayside Property was crowded and it was very, very noisy. Molly’s cleaning team had declared an owner’s wolfhounds were dangerous and they wouldn’t go near her properties. Sophia, one of Molly’s most valued landladies, was noisily furious that anyone could criticise her dogs. Jackson Baird was closeted with Molly’s boss. And now…

‘Lionel’s gone,’ Molly said in a voice that caused an instant hush. She was staring at her empty box in horror. ‘Angela, did you…?’

And Angela had. ‘I just showed Guy.’ Molly’s fellow realtor stared down at the empty box and her face reflected Molly’s dismay. ‘I swear that’s all I did. Guy dropped in for coffee and he didn’t believe you had a frog in your desk.’

‘But you put the top back on, right?’

Angela caught her breath, thinking it through and becoming more appalled by the minute. ‘I was just showing him when Jackson Baird walked in. Well, it was Jackson Baird!’

Enough said. Jackson Baird… The guy just had to enter the room and half the women present would forget their own names! What was it about the man?

Oh, sure, he was good-looking. He was tall, superbly fit and deeply tanned. And his face… You’d expect arrogance with Jackson’s stature and reputation, but the man’s face was almost Labrador-puppyish. It was a take-me-home-and-love-me sort of face, with laughing grey eyes and a wonderful white smile.

Take-me-home-and-love-me? Molly read the society pages enough to know that women did just that. With inherited millions from Australia’s copper mines, and a fierce business acumen of his own, the man had a reputation almost as vast as the number of zeros in his bank account.

So this morning he’d arrived and the whole office had stopped dead. Molly had just returned from inspecting Sophia’s property, and even that voluble lady had been silenced as Jackson and his lawyer were ushered through.

‘That’s Jackson Baird,’ Sophia had breathed as the entourage swept past into Trevor’s inner sanctum. ‘I’ve never seen him in the flesh. Is he a client of yours?’ The elderly landlady had clearly been immensely impressed.

If he was a client it’d do the place an enormous amount of good, Molly had thought, and wondered which of their properties Jackson could possibly be interested in. They had some lovely bayside properties for sale, but surely none palatial enough to suit a man of his wealth.

‘Jackson made me forget your frog,’ Angela admitted. ‘Well, you have to admit he’s gorgeous.’

‘Sure he’s gorgeous,’ Molly acknowledged, and then, more frantically, ‘But where’s my frog?’

‘He must be here somewhere.’ Angela dropped to her knees, her fair curls merging with Molly’s dark ones as they met under the desk. They were both in their late twenties, and they were both extremely attractive, but there the resemblance ended. Angela treated the world as if it was there to give her a good time whereas Molly knew it would do no such thing. ‘I mean, where can he have gone?’

Plenty of places. Trevor Farr’s real estate agency was a small firm, and its owner, Molly’s cousin, was a muddler. The place was crammed with files almost to the ceiling. Somewhere among them was one green frog.

‘Sam will kill me,’ Molly wailed.

‘We’ll find him.’

‘I should never have brought him to work.’

‘You hardly had a choice,’ Angela retorted.

No. She hadn’t had a choice. Molly and Sam travelled on the same train—her eight-year-old nephew to Cove Park Elementary and Molly to Bayside Property. Their journey had almost been complete this morning before she’d realised why Sam’s school bag was bulging, and she’d been horrified.

‘You can’t take Lionel to school.’

‘I can.’ Sam’s bespectacled face creased into defiance. ‘He misses me at home.’

‘But the other kids…’ Molly sighed. She knew only too well the social structure of the school. Hadn’t she been in to see the headmaster only last week?

‘Sam’s being bullied,’ she’d told him, and the man had spread his hands.

‘We do our best,’ he told her. ‘Most kids in Sam’s position would keep their heads down and stay out of trouble. But, even though Sam’s about half the size of most third-graders, he matches it with the best of them. I’m afraid some of the children retaliate rather brutally. But of course you’re right. The kid has pluck and we’ll see what we can do.’

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