The Wild West Billionaire DuetBy: Harper Lauren
A billionaire romance boxed set 2018
The Wild West Billionaire Duet
Book 1: The Conquest
Book 2: The Secret
Santa, you’ve gotta be kidding me.
One hot Xmas encounter in Jamaica has haunted me for an entire year.
But just when I was about to give up the search,
Guess who do I see sitting at my secretary’s desk?
Forget about beaches and bikini,
Even in her boring suit Hanna has me hooked
But she’s so stubborn and proper, refusing me in every turn
Yet always teasing me with a glimmer of desire in her eyes.
Girl, you have no idea how much I enjoy a challenging conquest
I groaned as I slouched down at the kitchen table and rested my chin in my hands. It was six-thirty in the morning – an ungodly hour to begin with – but it was also Monday, and there was nothing I was dreading more than going into work and sitting at a desk for nine hours, pretending to smile.
Danielle nodded as she set a steaming cup in front of me. When the aroma reached my nostrils, I wrinkled my nose.
“You’re going to like it eventually,” Danielle said in a sing-song voice.
“Is that a threat?” I asked drily, staring down at the oily surface of my hot morning drink. “Or a promise?”
Danielle shrugged. “Whichever you’d prefer,” she replied. She arched an eyebrow and sat down at the table, sipping from her own mug.
“God, how are you so awake and put together,” I grumbled as I looked at my best friend and roommate. “It’s too early for eyeshadow.”
Danielle smirked. “It’s the coffee,” she replied. “Obviously.”
I rolled my eyes. “Thanks for that,” I told her. “I feel so much better already.”
“You’ll get used to it,” Danielle said. “Besides, you’ve only been working there for what, six months? I’m sure you’ll like it more when you’ve settled in.”
I groaned again. “It doesn’t feel like six months,” I muttered. “It feels like an eternity.”
“Well, it’s either that or take out more student loans and go back to school,” Danielle said. She took a long drink of coffee. “And I somehow have the feeling that you don’t want to do that.”
“Indeed not.” Steeling myself, I wrapped my hands around the cup of coffee and brought the edge of the mug to my lips. The warmth felt good, and I had to admit that the smell was growing on me…but I couldn’t imagine how living, breathing adults managed to chug this stuff on the regular. It was like drinking hot, bitter poison, like feeling myself cook from the inside out.
“It snowed again last night,” Danielle said, glancing out the window. She shivered. “I can’t wait to stand and wait for the stupid bus,” she added sarcastically. “Nothing better than walking around all day with wet socks.”
I sighed. “Tell me about it.”
Danielle glanced down at her watch. “You’d better get a move on,” she said. “You’re gonna be late.”
I stuck my tongue out at her. “What are you, my chaperone?”
Danielle snorted. “No,” she said. “But I don’t exactly want to cover your portion of the rent if you get fired. You’re still in the probationary period, you know.”
“Don’t remind me,” I said as I got to my feet and wiped my hands on my pajama pants. The coffee had helped – marginally – and I felt a little more awake, but it was still ungodly early. The sun hadn’t even started to peek out over the horizon and I shivered as I went into my bedroom and quickly pulled on tights, a sweater dress, and my favorite pair over-the-knee boots. Ever since I’d started working, I’d been able to splurge a little bit on clothes…but just a little bit, as I was still paying off student loans and repaying Danielle for her months of financial assistance.
I knew I was acting like a brat. I knew I should be grateful – after all, there were twenty-four-year-olds all around Boston with no jobs. Hell, one of our friends from college, Maria, had been working as a barista for two years and she had a master’s degree!
But my new job was, objectively, awful. It was worse than awful – I was surrounded by patronizing, sexist jerks who thought that staring at my ass all day was appropriate behavior. And to make matters even worse, I hadn’t managed to befriend any of the other women there. They were all in a tight clique…and I was the only one excluded from the party.
By the time I said goodbye to Danielle and left the warmth and safety of our small walk-up, I was feeling nervous and frightened. Would this be the day I got fired, for some random offense I hadn’t even committed? I shuddered as I walked down the street and waited by the bus stop. The Boston streets were filled with brown and grey icy slush – just looking at it made me feel like vomiting – and the air was chilly and dry. I could feel the tip of my nose going numb as I ducked into the bus shelter and wrapped my arms around myself.
When the bus arrived, I awkwardly sat down on a bench as my puffer coat rose to my ears. The bus was scalding hot and steamy, and by the time I got to my office, I was sweating profusely. My brown hair was stuck to my scalp, and my hands were clammy and hot. I tottered off the bus, carefully avoiding the piles of ice and muck, and made my way into the building.
“Morning, Hanna,” my boss, Jim, said. He narrowed his eyes. “Is everything okay?”
I frowned. “Yeah, of course it’s okay,” I said. “Why wouldn’t it be?”
Jim swiped his key card through the security turnstile. I followed behind to the elevator bank.
“Well, because it’s eight-oh-three,” Jim replied.
“Um, I’m sorry,” I said. “I don’t quite get what you’re saying.”
“You’re supposed to be here at eight,” Jim informed me. “I’ll have to make a note on your employee file.”
I struggled not to roll my eyes. “Oh, I’m sorry,” I said, trying to sound as meek and apologetic as possible. “The bus was late this morning.”
“Then perhaps you should have caught an earlier one,” Jim said. “See that it doesn’t happen again.”
The elevator arrived, its doors dinging open. Jim pushed his way through the waiting crowd, into the back of the elevator. By the time it was my turn to enter, the car was full. I groaned as the doors closed.
Today was going to be wonderful.
I could just tell.
By mid-morning, I wasn’t feeling much better. Jim had made a huge show of embarrassing me in front of the entire office staff – he’d told everyone that I was “egregiously tardy,” even though we’d shown up to work at the same time! I was angry, but I knew I had to keep my temper under wraps. I wasn’t going to lose this job because of my ego.
“Hanna, I need you to run out and get me some coffee,” Jim said. He leaned over my desk. “You know – cappuccino, with soy milk and a squirt of hazelnut syrup.”
I nodded and forced a smile. “Sure thing. Let me just finish up what I’m working on—”
“Hanna, I have a meeting in twenty minutes, I need the coffee now,” Jim replied tartly. “So, get a move on.”
I glanced over Jim’s shoulder at the brand-new coffee maker. “Would you rather I make you a cup here? And then after your meeting, I can go out and get your cappuccino?”
“Hanna, it’s bad form to talk back to your boss,” Jim said snidely. “Now go. Get that coffee.” His voice was loud and arrogant and I flushed angrily as I reached for my coat and bag. It seemed like everyone in the office had heard Jim as I made my way through the desks and cubicles. I kept my face down, buried in the thick faux-fur collar of my puffer jacket as I left the office.
The elevator was filled with the other girls from the office, all clutching their designer bags. They didn’t even make an effort to smile at me as I stepped inside, and I sighed as I squeezed in right as the doors closed. They lowered their voices, but I could hear them chatting about one of the neighborhood’s hottest new restaurants, a Brazilian steakhouse that had just opened a few blocks from the office.
Forcing myself to smile, I turned and faced them. “Hey,” I said. “My roommate loves that place – she’s already been twice. I hear it’s really good.”
The ringleader of the office girls, a brunette named Samantha, frowned.
“I don’t believe we asked your opinion,” she said in a cold voice. “Did we, girls?”
The other girls echoed their agreement.
“Sorry,” I muttered. “I was just trying to be friendly.”
“Yeah, well, we don’t really want to talk to you,” Samantha said. She raised an eyebrow. “You’re the new girl. And besides, you’re just a secretary.”
My cheeks were burning as the elevator doors dinged open and the stream of bitches pushed past me. What is it with people in this stupid office, I thought as I watched Samantha and her awful tribe striding away in their stiletto heels. Despite the ice on the ground, not a single one of them slipped or fell.