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DESPERADO: LUST & POWER

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Jeffrey Reinhardt a top billionaire in Dallas, Texas assumes position as head of public relations for his family's liquor company, while secretly harboring feelings for his former college student, the gorgeous Bethany Harris but missing out on her multiple times. Despite their missed opportunities, his father Reinhardt Sr. enlists the help of a sensational media personality, Mac VanRoss who conspires to play matchmakers and orchestrate a fake date between Jeffrey and Bethany, leading to a compromise that changes their lives forever.

Chapter 1

JEFFREY'S POV:

A DAY AT REINHARDT BREWS & DISTILLERY-OFFICE COMPLEX

"I'll be in tomorrow morning to review the press release. Please have Shelley place it on my office desk once she finishes," I informed Fred, my assistant.

"Of course, Jeff. Just a reminder, the annual entrepreneurship conference will kick-off tomorrow and followed by an interview with Leo Gavin of RGS TV," Fred reminded me.

"Oh, I almost forgot. Thanks".

Walking past Fred's office, and down the hallway, I reached Susan's office. I lightly knocked on the door before entering. Susan sat at the edge of the work desk, her long blonde hair neatly tied in a bun, and her lips hanging out colored in red lip gloss.

"Are you here for one final farewell, Mr.Jeffrey?" she inquired, ruffling through some documents.

"How did you know it was me?" I questioned, stepping fully into her office.

"You're the only one who knocks and enters right away," she chuckled, lifting her head with a radiant glow in her bright blue eyes.

"Well, as your boss, or former boss now, I didn't feel the need to wait for permission. The knock was merely an act of courtesy."

"You've always been quite considerate Jeff. It's one thing I'll miss about having you as my boss."

"How can you miss a boss when you're going to become the boss yourself?" I asked with a bit of sarcasm in my tone of voice.

She grinned as I mentioned her departure to establish her own firm. Susan had been a dedicated employee at Reinhardt Brews and Distillery, my family's company, but she recently resigned from her position—a decision I supported, despite she being one of my top employees.

"Indeed," she replied, exhaling deeply.

"Are you having any second thoughts?"

"Yeah. I'm just uncertain if I'd made the right decision," she chuckled.

"If you're interested in reclaiming your former position, simply express your desire, and I will be more than willing to help." I tried to convince her.

"I'm just surprised that you've become interested in my welfare suddenly," Susan said, crossing her arms beneath her chest.

"Really? Well, I would still extend my support if you ever returned and worked with us again."

"Thank you, but no. I have made my decision and I intend to stick with it. Did you come to bid a final farewell or attempt to persuade me to stay?" She arched her eyebrows, giving me that look.

"Neither. I just wanted to experience the feeling of entering this office one last time and seeing you here. By tomorrow, you won't be here anymore. I couldn't be more delighted and proud of what you have done. There is no farewell, especially since you have moved in with my brother and become part of the family."

"Well, in the long run, I am content staying there, at least for the time being." She said, trying to position her glasses well.

"Fair enough." I nodded.

Ever since my brother Mark and Susan moved in together, my other siblings and I have trolled about both of them getting married. However, both of them were more comfortable with just living together, at least for now. Knowing my brother well, I doubt he will wait long before proposing.

"Will you be alright here on your own?" She asked, smiling.

"If I said no, would you stay?" I jokingly asked.

"No, but it's kind of you to ask."

"I will miss this. Our conversations, sharing ideas, and you keeping me grounded whenever necessary."

"Oh, if you need any of that, just call me," She said winking at me.

As a knock echoed through the door, my attempt at a witty remark was interrupted, and I eagerly expected the incoming visitor.

Susan called out, "Come in," while shooting me a glare.

But when I saw who walked through that door, words escaped my mouth, leaving me breathless.

Although I knew Susan and Bethany Harris were friends, and it wasn't unexpected for her to visit Susan, it always felt like a slap to the face whenever I encountered Bethany.

It had been close to 7 months since we last crossed paths, yet she kept her status as the most stunning and hottest woman I had ever known. Her brown side locks had grown slightly, and she appeared to have shed some weight, igniting my concern about her well-being.

We first met some four years ago when I became her mentor during her freshman year—a requirement for my master's degree. From the moment I laid eyes on her, it captivated me. There was something special about her.

An air of confidence settled as she entered any room, gracefully displaying her buxom frame as an asset rather than an obstacle that demanded the attention of all who watched her every move.

Her vibrant spirit drew me in, even though she saw me merely as a mentor.

"Oh, Jeff. I apologize. I didn't realize you would be here," Bethany remarked as she stepped into the office.

"You don't need to apologize. I was simply bidding farewell to her. Are you here to assist her with the packing?" I asked.

"Actually. I just dropped by to say hello. Is that alright?" She queried, looking optimistic.

"Of course. You're always welcomed here, although Susan is already out to seek for greener pastures."

As her cheeks tinged with a subtle blush, I found myself perplexed by the cause of her apparent embarrassment.

"Is everything going well at school?" I inquired, breaking the uncomfortable silence that had settled between us.

"Yes," she replied hastily.

A warmth settled on her face, illuminating her eyes. My heartbeat increased its pace. I cherished her passion for education, among the countless other qualities that I held in high regard.

"Beth is about to complete her PhD program and is eagerly awaiting the results," Susan interjected.

I turned my attention to Susan after I'd momentarily forgotten her presence. Her intended look upon me seemed curious. I suspected it was because she caught me staring at Bethany.

Susan had a sour expression on her face which I interpreted as a sign for me to take my leave.

I hinted that I was about to leave before turning my attention to Bethany. It was almost a mistake because the moment I looked at her, my thoughts scattered like autumn leaves in the wind.

"It was nice meeting you," Bethany acknowledged.

"Yeah, likewise," I stumbled over my words.

Her statement helped jolt my brain back into reality, and with a brief nod, I exited the office. As I closed the door behind me, I leaned my back against it, rested my head on the wooden frame, and exhaled. Seeing Bethany Harris had been the highlight of my day, but it also brought a bit of anguish.

Her presence was a stark reminder of her beauty, intelligence, and incredible nature. She possessed a life, a purpose, and a career, all of which I knew I could never be a part of. If there was ever a chance between us, I had long since lost it.

Bethany was a woman who could have any man she desired, and she would never consider being involved with someone as ordinary as me, no matter how much I dreamed about it.

The truth remained that I had been in love with Bethany Harris since the first day I laid my eyes on her, and from then until now, I understood she would never be mine.

Chapter 2

BETHANY'S POV

"What was that about?" Susan inquired as soon as Jeff exited her office.

"I'm not sure what you're referring to," I replied, feigning ignorance.

"Don't act innocent with me. There was definitely a connection between you and Jeff. I sensed it."

"You must be imagining things."

I walked over to her desk and began packing the remaining items into a box, attempting to keep myself occupied and divert my thoughts from Jeffery. However, my flushed cheeks betrayed my embarrassment.

"Is there something going on between the two of you?" Susan probed further.

I lifted my head, attempting to appear shocked by her comment.

"What? I barely know Jeffrey."

"Yet, your interaction seemed friendly while he was here. Care to share the story behind that?" Susan pressed.

"Shouldn't we focus on packing up your baggage?"

Heroes

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