The Billionaire's Consort
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Her senses betrayed her and she was kissing him hard. He sucked air in sharply, and she pressed against him, moaning as he finally wrapped her hand around his midriff. Everything became a swirl. He grabbed her tightly, eliciting a moan as he carried her to the bed. She fumbled with his shirt, and took it off. His face was hungry with desire as he took off her sweatshirt, then went to work on her sweatpants and underwear. She was bare before him, but Ava did not care anymore. He'd kept her hungry enough. There was a smirk on his face when he slid his fingers into her, and Ava thought her head would burst when he began thrusting. She arched her back repeatedly as he bit her nipples one after the other, unapologetic as he clamped down hard with his teeth. And when she was sure she had reached the height of her ecstacy, he stopped. She opened her eyes, confused and demanding, and almost immediately, he pushed into her. He was fierce, he was needy, he was Unapologetic as he pumped into her harder and harder, the bed creaking and bumping into the wall with each thrust. Her hands dug into his back, and he bit her neck like he had done at the hotel. The world kept on whirling in her eyes. She called his name, she didn't know how many times, and he kept biting and fucking. When she came, she screamed his name, and bit into his shoulder to muffle the moans that followed. The thrill ran all the way to her toes and back, at the same time he shivered and went slack against her. She opened her eyes, and for a while, she couldn't place the stars that wandered in her vision, couldn't tell if they were from the ceiling or from her orgasm. She didn't know how long they both remained still, both breathing hard, her legs wrapped around his waist. Then he muttered, "Ava," in her ear and rolled off her. Her body still tingled when she leaned against him, running her hands over the strong muscles that were now hers. He ran a hand down her back, and sighed with pleasure. Ava is a basic New York worker whose life is turned upside down when she gets fired from her place of work. She gets herself drunk and falls into the arms of a sexy young billionaire. She begins to find out a lot more about this man in a series of suspicious events, and on one dark night, she is knocked unconscious and taken to his house before she could spill his secrets. She starts living in his house, and her life takes a downward spiral. Sebastian is a young and budding billionaire who has more than a few secret sins up his sleeve. He has never had a thing for shy, pliant girls until he runs into Ava and spills coffee on her. Little did he know that he would begin to fall in love with her. Will their hot romance stand the test of time? Or are Sebastian's secrets too shocking to forgive? Find out in this thrilling fast-paced novel!
Beep! Beep!! Beep!!!
She flipped an eye open to the most annoying sound to be heard on a Monday morning. She didn't realize it was Monday yet, of course, not when she was still in the murky depths of drowsiness.
She reached out a hand that felt like lead and swiped the alarm to snooze. Congratulations, Ava, you just bought yourself five more years of sleep.
Beep! Beep!! Beep!!!
She opened another eye and spotted the little black devil buzzing and dancing around on the dresser, screaming for all it cared. She reached out to shut it again but ended up prodding further it out of her reach.
Ava rolled over in her back, arms outstretched like the crucifix that used to hang over her bed all those years ago. When she would wake in that dark room to the sight of Christ on a cross. Whatever followed after was purely as the Lord had ordained...or so Sister Gabrielle had taught.
She blinked up at the picture of roses and daffodils above her and muttered, "Not much of a crucifix, are you?" "No, I'm not" the picture seemed to say, "So get off your butt and go work for a living".
Her eyes fluttered close, and she obeyed their coordination and instinctive reaction willingly.
Beep!!! Beep!!! Beep!!!
"All right, fine!"
She pushed herself upright just as the word hit her.
Monday. The apocalypse of days had to be smack right in the start of the week. (Or the second day, but who was saying?) This one seemed different to her for some reason. She hadn't dreamt the night before, as it had been for weeks. In her dream, she had been searching for something very, very important. She couldn't remember what it was, but it sure was terrifying enough to have made her search for it.
Without any luck recalling her dream, she swung her feet over the bed with a grunt, and almost howled when they connected with the cold floor. Her slippers were not in their usual spot; one lay at the far end of the room, the other was two feet away next to her mirror.
Before she could curse and swear out her frustration, her phone chimed again, loudly jolting her. Instinctively, she grabbed it, poised to flip it at the wall.
She released a trembling breath as she viewed the notification bar. The second white bar was a message from Juliet. A quote to be precise, read, 'This is your Monday morning reminder that you can handle whatever this week throws at you'. She pursed her lips. There was no telling what the week would throw at her, and whatever it was, Ava was not entirely sure she could exactly catch or dodge it, never mind handle it.
She had worked her ass off the past month, on a steady dose of Starbucks, surrounded with white papers, and faced with the unsympathetic rectangular face of a screen. She had missed movie releases she had saved on her calendar (none hurt more than the movie premiere of Dr. Strange 2), she had missed dinner with Malia and her new family, and Father Luther's funeral as well. All because of what the weeks had thrown at her.
The ground was now warm enough for her to walk on, and she headed in a beeline for the bathroom when she got a glimpse of the time on her phone. It's just another Monday, nothing to be bothered about, nothing to fret over...
The pain burst out and traveled up her toe to her head in one flash. She had struck the smallest one against the frame of the door, and now she limped on one foot as she entered the bathroom.
"This is a bad omen, I tell you," Juliet would say dramatically if she was here, "This bodes ill".
"Shut up," Ava muttered to the air before facing the mirror with a sigh. A stranger stared back at her, and it struck her that she had never really taken time to observe herself for a week or so now. Even so, Ava was never one for appearances. She saw it as a formal necessity if she needed to put herself across as a proper company worker, as a junior architect.
And she knew she was not doing a good job lately. Her hair stood out in jagged spikes like a badly done nest, accentuating the teabags under her eyes. Spittle stuck a strand of hair to the side of her mouth, and she was strangely reminded of a cartoon character who looked exactly like she did right now. Cinderella? No, a little more redheaded. Rapunzel? Ah yes, Anna, the one from Frozen.
Well, Anna beats this look. And she doesn't have to hustle on a Monday morning. No, ma'am, she doesn't.
Beep!! Beep!! Beep!!
She stormed back into the room, grabbed her phone, and shut it off completely. Then she returned to the bathroom.
After a quick mouthwash and bath, Ava resumed the usual pattern for a workday Picking what clothes to wear was the simple part; she settled for a black chiffon blouse (it had everything to do with her mood) and a black knee-length skirt. She paused when she picked out black flat-heeled shoes from the closet. The sun was streaming in from the window, bright and a bit too dazzling for a morning, and she wondered what she'd look like on the sidewalk looking like the mistress of doom. She settled for cream-colored ones.
Comb out the hair. Rub the face cream, very important. As little makeup as possible; a lip gloss and a pencil for her brows. She reached for the Rolex watch she usually left on the bedside table, but of course, it had to be absent today of all days.
What was it that made this Monday so important anyway? She bent to look under the bed, opened the dresser, and flipped the bed covers. It was only when her eyes fell on the piece of paper lying atop the pile of dirty clothes from Friday did, she recall what it was.
Everything else was speedy. She selected a small blue bag, without a label atop it, she tied up her hair in a ponytail, slipped into her shoes, wincing at the pain the little toenail was emitting, and dashed out of her room. She came back thrice; once to collect her lip gloss, then her bag, then her phone.
Ava dashed out of her apartment with speed unequaled, foregoing the dang watch and the bracelet. She knew she would have to skip breakfast, but snapped two apples from the refrigerator on her way out.
She paused when she reached the parking lot, suddenly recalling something truly terrifying. She was supposed to take the car to Myers last weekend. And the weekend ended yesterday, with her drinking half to a stupor, and she didn't have full feelings of the hangover. At least not yet.
In the absence of the Ford, Ava wasted no time dashing out of the apartment building. She almost ran into the road when she got to the bus stop, and she should very well have, seeing as the bus had already begun moving when showed up.
Curse after curse hailed from her mouth as she gave chase. She drummed her hand on the metal body hard. "Hey! Stop the bus! Stop the bus!!!". Some trickle of luck ran down from above when the bus slowed to a stop. Ava took a breath, and ascended the steps quietly, almost tripping on the last one.
Once inside, she dropped down on a chair and shut her eyes, ignoring the world for all she cared. Juliet might be right, after all, what with her theory of the domino effect or something. She wondered how worse this day could get, and immediately snuffed the thought. There had to be something good about today. She opened her eyes, and turned, watching the city breeze by the window, recalling the days when all she had to do was wake up and pray and let the Lord's will take place.
Ben & Sons. That had to be the lamest name Ava thought would be given to a company, an architectural and designs firm to be precise. It also happened to be one of the largest in New York City. It was the name glistening in large, bold letters atop the ten-storey building, standing at about a hundred feet tall, in front of her. It (unfortunately, she thought) happened to be where she worked.
Someone bumped into her and she looked up, a rude comeback on her lips. But then she saw who it was and knew it wouldn't be worth it.
"Hey, girl!" Brie called out to her, wiggling long fingers in her face.
"Good morning to you too, Brie," Ava grumbled. "The shove wasn't necessary."
Brie cackled a high-pitched sound that raised the hairs on Ava's neck. "Oh, silly Ava. I hope you're ready for what work has to offer today." She said, then sashayed away.
Ava stared at her retreating back in suspicion. She wasn't sure what the woman had meant by that last statement, but something told her it wouldn't be good.
The lobby was quite a simple one if compared with the norms of a vestibule in these parts. It was elegant, and sophisticated in as many ways as possible, but somehow managed to be simple. Depp Larson always prided herself on the design of the entrance hall, and anyone would agree that it was an exquisite work on the part of the architect; it was, after all, a company of designers.
Ava walked briskly across the white tiled floors, thanking God for the lack of the usual "traffic" of people in the lobby, and taking the usual few seconds to admire the oil-on-canvas rendering of Manhattan hanging on the blue wall to her left.
One of those nameless ones that made no sense at all to the average viewer hung on the wall behind Parrish Hammond in front of her, next to the anteroom for the elevators. Ava still had difficulty deducing what it was. There were days when it was a badly squashed tomato mixed with rotten avocado and spattered with black paint. Other days, it was a face grimacing at whoever stared, especially at her. And on some days, like today, it was a particularly splendid reminder of how beauty lay behind madness.
The elevator doors were sliding close.
Ava waved at Parrish hurriedly as she bolted towards the elevator lobby. She slid through the detectors smoothly, and stuck her foot between the closing doors; she realized a beat too late that it was the one with the injured toe.
She clamped down on her tongue with her teeth to quell the scream that was threatening to escape her lips. Her feet throbbed with a pain she hadn't felt in a long while.
She turned and was staring at the beaming face of a man in the corporate clothes of a suit and tie. His smile was too wide, though, the kind she was used to when men were hitting on her. And she was definitely in no mood for flirting.
"Seventh floor," she muttered.
He nodded and looked like he would say something else, but Ava took out her phone quickly, clicking it on. It worked as a deterrent at times when she didn't want to speak or be spoken to. Like it did now.
The elevator was not congested, not as it usually would be on days like this. But it did make her head spin a bit, given that Ava was still growing out of her childhood fear of small spaces. Though she liked to think she had conquered claustrophobia, moments like this; trapped in an elevator suspended several feet above the ground; tended to remind her of the darkness of the 'naughty cabinet'. She shivered involuntarily. And just then, the elevator dinged its arrival on the seventh floor.
They slid open, and she stepped out quickly into her workspace before the flirting man would get a chance to say anything witty, and she faced her workspace. What happened to be a broad space of desks and chairs separated by two pillars each in front, lit by squares and squares of light. The floor was white-and-grey tiled, a rather depressing color, Ava thought. Her workmates buzzed about like bees in a hive. A hive she was about to be part of.
Someone moved like a flash into her line of sight, so swiftly that she took a step backward to see her face.
"Where the fuck have you been, Av?" she snapped sharply.
She'd recognize that voice anywhere. Ava raised her brows lightly and replied, "I overslept, sorry".
"Peter had been calling. He's livid!"
Ava's eyes widened as she recalled her thumb pressing very hard on the power button of her phone.
"I switched off my phone..."
"On a Monday?!"
"The alarm was friggin' annoying!"
Juliet shook her head and opened her mouth to say more when 'the door' swung open, and a tall, stocky man stepped out, his dark grey eyes searching the room in a manner that seemed like a habit. It was a habit, Ava thought, it had to be in the manual for every asshole of a boss; how to terrify your workers with a stare.
The room went semi-quiet as he surveyed their faces. Then he spotted Ava and quick as lightning, barked out her name.
"Get over here!"
She had heard her name on Peter Steelgrave's lips before, but never this serious. Ava exchanged a worried look with Juliet.
"Something real bad happened. We have no idea what....but it's bad. Bad enough that he's here".
She shook her head slightly in confusion. "Who's here?"
"Him. The top man, you know, like the emperor, god..."
Her blood seemed to dry up in her veins when Juliet's gaze went to Peter's mildly open door and back at her again. There had to be only one person Juliet meant by those names, and he only ever came down to 14th Street once in two months.
As Ava crossed over to her boss's office room, she caught Brie Cavill's smirk, and her heart started a double rhythm. The devil smiled. Not good, not good.
Peter's office remained dazzling as always. There was no wall opposite her; there was just one large pane of glass that gave it a magnificent view, overlooking East River and most of the Bronx and Queens, and had been featured many a time in online blogs and tabloids. The floor itself was a chessboard of brown and white patterned tiles that rhymed so well with the white walls, mopped clean to reflect the unobstructed light filtering in from outside. Two expensive-looking black leather chairs stood next to Ava, but they did not have her attention.
Her laptop was on Peter's desk. And sitting in front of it, was a white-haired man in a three-piece suit that had to be Armani. The man himself had to be Benjamin Paolini, "the top man and emperor". It wasn't hard to envision him as a Roman dictator, what with the curly hair.
Ava was trying to distract herself, and she knew. Perhaps that was why she was doing a bad job of it.
Peter looked up from his monitor, fixing her with dark grey eyes that reminded her of an eagle fixated on its prey. "Sit," he said, rather too softly. She hesitated for a second, two seconds, and then she began walking, trying hard to keep her cool, trying not to listen to the squeak of her shoes, trying hard to ignore the thumping in her chest.
She had been here all those weeks ago, hadn't she? Peter had handed her the memo to type up. He had assigned her a team to work with, and they had created the new website as asked. She had worked her ass off, intent on making the new proposal work. What could have gone wrong?
She edged away from the man next to her as much as she could once she sat down. She had seen him many times before, most of them being on the news. But being this close, she realized he was fatter. His perfume stabbed at her nose without mercy and she wanted to gag...
"You recognize Mr Paolini."
"Um...good morning..sir," she muttered.
The man grunted but said nothing more. An unlit cigar hung on the side of his mouth and in her experience, that did not mean well.
"Something has gone terribly wrong, Miss Spears. Can you hazard a guess?"
Ava frowned. It was not Peter's way, to ask quizzical questions. But it needed an answer, so she said, "No, not really".
Peter dipped a hand into his jacket and retrieved his phone.
"Here," he said, handing it to her, "Read what it says".
She frowned down at the screen, at the words written in bold black letters. Her breath hitched as she did so, and she so desperately wished for this to be a dream.
'Anonymous source has revealed the true earning projections of architecture and designs company, Ben & Sons, CEO of the prominent firm, M&M, unveils plans for a new website and future extensions of business'.
This could not be happening.
The room was spinning fast around Ava. Air was getting heavy like it had decided to choke her on purpose. Like LIFE had decided to clamp down on her throat AND choke her on purpose.
'So that's why he's with my laptop'. Even if he couldn't guess the password, company policy demanded that they used the same security precautions, including shared passwords.
Ironically, it was 'Don't snitch'.
The words stuck out in her vision, right next to Mr Benjamin's stoically blank face and Peter's furious stare.
'They're waiting for me to say something.'
"Sir...that...that wasn't me".
Peter shifts back in his chair, and it was a surprise it didn't creak with the effort of holding up his weight.
"Interesting, don't you think? You had access to the company statistics for like wh
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