Alphas & Millionaires Starter Set

By: Brooke Cumberland

Shit, I’m a klutz.

I thanked the person for catching me before realizing Drake was the one whose arm had stopped my fall.

God, he’s even more gorgeous up close—if that were even possible.

“Miss Woods, are you all right?” he asked with a concerned look, continuing to hold me close.

Why was he so close to my face?

Walk away…walk away….

“I’m fine, thank you, Mr. Stagliano. Just…clumsy,” I mumbled.

“You need to be more careful. Especially if you’re going to be drinking,” he scolded. He leaned forward, just barely grazing me and grabbed the door handle, gesturing me into the cab. I rolled my eyes as I turned my head and climbed into the cab that was impatiently waiting.

“Yes, I will. Thanks, again.” I could feel the heat coming off him. It was so intense, I felt intimidated just being near him. I needed to hold it together…

I sat on the far side of the seat, expecting him to close the door, but instead he got in and sat down beside me.

What the hell?

He noticed my puzzled expression as he told the cab driver where to go. “I hope you don’t mind? Since we’re heading in the same direction, after all,” he said slyly.

“Sure,” was all I was able to say, practically holding my breath. We continued sitting in silence until my phone rang out in a chorus of My Life Would Suck Without You.

I answered and heard Stella’s tiny voice on the other end. “Hey, baby. I’ll be home soon, okay? Tell Michael to save me some dinner. Love you, too.”

“Kelly Clarkson fan?” he asked smugly.

“Not by choice.” I snorted.

He frowns. “Who’s Michael?”

I looked up at him, trying to read his expression. “My roommate.”

“Boyfriend?” His jaw ticked.


“Good to know,” he said with confidence.

I could hardly focus around him, but I wanted answers. “So what was your reason for stopping by last night?”

“I already told you,” he replied smoothly. “I wanted to see you.”

I furrowed my brows as I tried to understand what that meant. “Why? We don’t know each other.”

He cleared his throat, shifting eagerly in his seat. “But I want to know you.” His tone softer, more genuine this time.

“I’m flattered, Mr. Stagliano, but I’m not interested in getting to know you.”

He furrowed his brows and parted his lips to speak, but I cut him off before he could.

“Or anyone, for that matter,” I clarified. The truth was I hadn’t been interested in dating anyone since Liam. It’s been almost four years since he died, and I still feel like I’d be cheating on him. I knew that sounded ridiculous to many people, but getting my career off the ground and taking care of Stella were my only priorities.

Part of me wanted to smack myself for telling him I wasn’t interested. Was I? And the other part wanted to straddle his lap right then and there.

“Well, Miss Woods, I just want to know you as a friend,” he assured me—unconvincingly, of course.

“Fine, Mr. Stagliano. What do you want to know?” I sighed, meeting my eyes with his.

“What is your favorite position?” he asked, with a straight face.

Christ, what did he just ask me?

Stunned, all I could do was give him a wide-eyed look as I replied, “Excuse me?”

“In the kitchen,” he replied. “What is your favorite position in the kitchen while you’re cooking?” he clarified, although I was sure he wanted to rattle me.

“I love working with desserts and sauces. I like being able to make food desirable and appealing. It’s like art – but with food.” I gave a little smile, hoping that was a satisfying enough answer for him.

“Desirable and appealing,” he pondered aloud. “That’s intriguing.”

Finally, the cab pulled over in front of my apartment. “Thank you again, Mr. Stagliano, for catching my fall.” I reached for the handle and swung the door open.

“The pleasure is all mine, Miss Woods.” His face was dark and intense. I nodded and stumbled out.

* * *

“Michael! Have you seen my wallet?” I asked, panicking. No, no! Of all days to be late and my wallet is MIA.

“No, sorry, honey. Did you look through your purse and coat?”

“Yes, three times already! It’s gone!” Where the fuck did it go? “Guess I’ll need to call my bank and credit card companies.”

“Don’t forget you’re picking Stella up today. I have a hot date,” Michael reminded me as he walked into the kitchen, pulling his shirt over his head.

“Yes, I know. Hot date, huh?” I asked, curiously. Michael was a player, but as long as he didn’t bring his accomplices to the house, I didn’t care.

“Troy. He’s fun. If it doesn’t go too well, I’ll be back by nine.” Michael approached me and tenderly kissed me on the forehead goodbye.

“Stella, let’s go, honey!” We left and practically ran to a cab.

Of all days to be late and without my wallet…it was a good thing I had a secret stash of cash in the house for emergencies.

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