Alphas & Millionaires Starter Set

By: Brooke Cumberland

“Miss Woods, pleasant seeing you again.” He stood tall and confident, towering over me.

“Molly,” I corrected him once again. It was all I could think of to say, before I cleared my throat and took a step toward him. “Excuse me,” I pressed, hoping he would move out of my way. He didn’t get the hint, so I shifted my body to walk around him, but he stepped right into me. His body was so close to mine, I could inhale his fresh and musky scent

“Wait…” He grabbed my attention, my feet stalling in front of him. “I was wondering if you would have dinner with me?” His angular jaw relaxed and once I didn’t respond, he added, “Tonight.”

I blinked up at him, wondering if I’d heard him correctly. “I’m sorry, what?” My body shivered as I tried processing what he just asked me.

“Dinner. I’d like to have dinner with you.”

Is he asking me out on a date? I thought to myself, my heart pounding faster. No way. He isn’t. He can’t be. Why would he be asking me on a date?

I was drowning in my thoughts before I realized he was still waiting for my answer. “Sorry, I can’t.”

He took another step closer, giving me absolutely no way to dodge him. “That’s a shame. Another time then.” He finally shifted his body, giving me room to maneuver around him and push the door open. I glanced over my shoulder at him with a straight expression, making sure I hadn’t just imagined the entire conversation happened. The corner of his lips tilted up in amusement as he followed me out the door and back into the kitchen.

Walking back to my station, I felt his eyes on me and wondered what a man like him was actually capable of.

* * *

I unlocked the door to my apartment and saw Michael and Stella playing a game of Twister. She’s laughing and Michael is losing terribly to a four-year-old. “Hello!” I greeted, placing my purse and keys on the kitchen island.

Nothing beats coming home to my sweet little girl.

“Mommy!” she squealed, running with her arms open to hug me. I felt so blessed to have such a remarkable daughter. She’s been through so much in her short, little life. She didn’t have a dad, but Michael did a terrific job making up for that. I didn’t know what I’d do without him.

“What’s going on here, baby girl?” I grabbed her for a close hug and kissed her.

“Uncle Michael is losing!” Stella grinned as she stuck her tongue out, clearly proud she was beating him.

“That’s wonderful, baby.” I smiled. “What have you guys been up to? How was school?”

Stella attended preschool while I was at school. She was exceptionally smart for her age. I gave props to her father for passing her that gene. Liam was in his third year of studying psychology when he died. I used to edit his papers for him while he studied and ended up learning more about psychology than I wanted to know. Although I teased Liam for studying psychology, I truly admired his hard work and dedication. He wanted to become an addictions counselor, since he came from a home where his mother abused drugs and his dad was too ignorant to notice. He wanted to make a career out of helping people . Secretly, I think he just wanted to make up for not being able to save his mother before it was too late. But I was always proud of him nonetheless.

“Great, Mom! I drew a picture for you.” She ran to the refrigerator where her picture was hanging neatly. She brought it over to me, beaming with pride.

It was moments like these where I truly wished Liam was around. As she grew older and developed her own little personality, I noticed characteristics of Liam in her. She would do ridiculous facial expressions that were identical to his. I would then scoop her up and kiss her senseless at the reminder of him.

Stella played in her room while I helped Michael prepare dinner. He had been working so hard lately; we barely had time to chat anymore.

Michael and I met the first day of high school. I was the quiet girl with braces and long, frizzy hair. My parents had just announced their separation and my mom moved to the other side of town, putting me in a new school district. Michael and I were in homeroom together, and when he first set eyes on me, he asked if he could give me a makeover. That was when I knew he would be my new best friend.

“So what’s new, girl?” Michael asked cheerfully through his beautiful, bright smile. “Tell me the deets from your first day.”

“Not much to tell. Pretty standard boring stuff,” I said, taking off my white chef’s coat and apron. “Got an easy assignment of creating a new sauce for a new entrée and then I was accosted by Drake Stagliano in the freezer,” I answered casually, hoping he didn’t notice that last part.

“Um, I’m sorry. What?” he asked, staring at me, not letting it go. He stood with his hands on his hips, eyebrows arched and waiting for answers.

“First, he asked if I was married and when I told him I wasn’t, he cornered me in the freezer and me to dinner. It was weird. Not sure what it was about,” I said, facing away from him so he wouldn’t see my flushed cheeks.

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