Billionaire's Contract Engagement(11)

By: Maya Banks

His mind immediately went to Celia. Celia, whose office was just two blocks from his. He’d planned to call her, but a proposition such as he had in mind was really better delivered in person. He wouldn’t have a lot of time, and he doubted she had much free time, either, but he knew without arrogance that if he asked her to lunch, she wouldn’t refuse. She wanted his business too badly.

He hit the button to call Vickie then quickly remembered she wasn’t there. He connected to Tanya instead.

“Yes, sir?”

“Tanya, I need Celia Taylor of Maddox Communications on the phone.”

Celia stepped out of the elevator and was met with a cheerful hello from Shelby, the receptionist for Maddox Communications. Shelby was young and friendly. She also had superb organization skills and a memory like a steel trap. Which made her a perfect asset. But more importantly, she knew everything about everyone at Maddox. There wasn’t a piece of juicy gossip floating around that Shelby didn’t know, and she didn’t mind sharing it. Celia found it useful to keep in the know. Never again would she be caught off guard like she’d been in her last job.

“Good morning, Shelby,” Celia returned as she paused in front of Shelby’s desk. “Any messages for me?”

Shelby’s eyes twinkled and she leaned forward to whisper conspiratorially. “Latest rumors that have surfaced are about the boss man and his assistant.”

Celia frowned. “You mean, him and Elle?”

Elle didn’t seem like the type to indulge in a torrid office affair and definitely not with her boss. Celia felt compelled to warn Elle about the potential pitfalls of even having such a rumor circulate, but it was just a rumor, and Elle might not appreciate Celia broaching the subject.

Shelby shrugged. “Well, they do seem to spend a lot of time together.”

“Of course they do. She’s his assistant,” Celia pointed out.

“I just repeat what others are saying.”

Celia gripped her briefcase a little tighter. It wouldn’t do her any good to get involved. Brock and Elle were adults. She just hoped Elle wasn’t hurt by the idle gossip.

“Hey, Shelby,” Celia began as she remembered why she’d stopped to begin with. “I need you to look up a cleaning service.” She dug around in her briefcase then pulled out a sheet of paper that had all the names of the agencies Noah had already contacted. She handed it over the counter to Shelby. “These are the ones marked off the list of possibilities. I need you to make it clear this is a demanding client and that he’s a slob through and through. Money is no object but whoever the poor soul is who takes the job will definitely earn their paycheck.”

Shelby’s eyes widened. “Noah Hart. The Noah Hart? He needs a housekeeper? I’m available. I mean, I can totally quit here, right?”

Celia shot her a “get real” look. “Let me know if you find someone. Oh, and I’m expecting a call from Evan Reese’s assistant. I don’t care what I’m doing or who I’m with, make sure I get that call.”

As she walked away, Shelby called out to her. “Hey, wait. How do you know Noah Hart? He’s not a client of Maddox.”

Celia smiled and kept walking toward her office. Normally she’d stop in on some of her coworkers, say hello, get a feel for what the day’s events were, but she was already running late, thanks to a breakfast meeting going well into the brunch hour. She needed to play catch-up on phone messages and e-mails before a full afternoon of client calls and a staff meeting to close out the day.

She’d made a sizeable dent in the backlog of messages when her interoffice intercom buzzed.

“Celia, Mr. Reese is on line two.”

Celia frowned. “Mr. Reese himself or Mr. Reese’s assistant?”

“Mr. Reese.”

“Put him through,” she said crisply.

She wiped her hand on her skirt then shook her head. What did she have to be nervous about? As soon as the phone rang, she picked it up.

“Celia Taylor.”

“Celia, how are you?”

Even his voice sent a bolt of awareness through her body. When would she stop acting like a teenage girl in the throes of her first sexual awakening? It was ridiculous. It wasn’t professional.

“I’m good, Evan. And you?”

“I don’t have a lot of time. I wanted to meet for lunch today. That is, if your schedule permits?”

There was a note of confidence in his voice. He knew damn well she wouldn’t say no. Hastily, she checked the clock.

“What time?”


Panic scuttled around her stomach. Now? She wasn’t prepared to meet him now. Surely he didn’t want to reschedule their informal pitch session from Friday to now?

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