A Family for the Billionaire

By: Dani Wade

“I did my research,” he said, turning a direct stare on her that made her uncomfortably aware of things other than business. “You’re well known in the circles I want to attract, your clients have a very high rate of satisfaction and we use some of the same vendors, the best vendors in the city of Savannah.”

His praise should make her feel better, right?

“My assistant received some wonderful feedback on you. You were rated the highest of star-quality event planners in the region.

“I only work with the best of the best. That’s how I can trust you to do the work.”

Why did he have to be so handsome? A handsome automaton. That slight peek at a tattoo on his neck had led her to expect more. A huff of laughter escaped as she imagined him as a true robot in her overactive imagination.

“Is there a problem?” he asked, narrowing his eyes on her as if suspicious she was making fun of him.

“Nothing.” At least she hadn’t giggled. That would definitely be unprofessional. “Can you tell me what charity you have in mind?” she asked, trying to get back on track.

“I don’t. Pick whatever you feel is appropriate.”

Jasmine blinked. Everything about this meeting was completely out of the ordinary when it came to how she worked with her clients.

“I simply need an event that is noteworthy and appropriate,” he continued. “They seem to be involved in quite a few causes. Oh, and I need it in less than two months.”

Oh, my. “So you think I’m a miracle worker?”

This time he relented enough to offer a small smile. “I certainly hope so. Otherwise the event will be too late to have any impact on my bid. Can I count on you?”

She thought back over their conversation. No. No. And no. “Listen, I don’t think I’m the right person for this job.” Or quite frankly, for this boss. She had a feeling that working for him would be a minefield, and with her life in tumult already, she didn’t need a difficult boss.

He stopped his pacing to stare. “Why not?”

You’re too handsome, too business minded and too cavalier about this endeavor altogether.

Only she couldn’t say any of that out loud. Questions rang in Jasmine’s mind as she watched him, thinking hard. She’d heard plenty about Royce Brazier, but she’d never actually met him before today, despite her extensive work with Savannah’s elite. One of the city’s youngest billionaires—self-made through his dedication to his quickly growing shipping business—he attended only a few select events on the social scene. Considering his reputation as a hard-nosed, focused businessman and what she’d seen during this meeting, she had a feeling he only did that much to maintain his business contacts.

His presence was commanding, his look suave and professional. So suave she wanted to mess with his perfectly placed blond hair just for the heck of it. Jasmine was professional, too, but she often had the feeling she was herding cats—especially since the arrival of Rosie...and often feared that it showed.

“Look,” she tried to explain, searching for words that Royce would understand. “I realize charity events are good ways of getting positive press and word of mouth, but my events are known for having heart.”

“Good. Then you can give a heart to mine.”

She was still unsure how to make him understand that this wasn’t a good fit for her. To her relief, his phone rang.

“Yes, Matthew?” he asked over the speaker.

“I’m sorry to bother you, sir, but your lawyer just had the agreement you requested delivered.”

“I need to take a quick look at this,” Royce explained to Jasmine. “Excuse me a moment.”

“No problem.” A few minutes to herself might give her time to regroup.

Glancing around his office, Jasmine noticed right off that there were no personal touches. No novels or magazines. No photographs of his family...or even of him with friends. A framed photo of a large building graced a prominent spot on the wall.

Jasmine couldn’t imagine being this impersonal. She knew a lot of people, cared about a lot of people, but her family was her core support. Few others got to see behind her public persona. After losing her parents when she was a teenager, she couldn’t imagine the devastation she would feel if she lost any other members of her family.

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