The Billionaire's Secret Babies(4)

By: Penny Wylder

“Let me help you,” she offers sweetly, as I’m struggling with the two-seater baby stroller I brought for Luca and Lucie, which was hell to handle on the bus. She helps guide me over to the elevator, hustles me and the twins inside, and pushes the top button for me, swiping a key pad as she does. “Good luck,” she adds just as the doors start to close, and for the first time since I arrived, I feel a spike of nerves.

Good luck? Why? Is there something wrong with this guy?

Crap. What if he’s one of those crazy employers who demands insane things from his employees? Maybe he just invited me to bring the kids and seemed so flexible because he’s such a terror that he can’t keep assistants any other way.

I bite my lower lip, nervous, as the elevator doors ding open.

The elevator opens onto a single apartment. No other door, or lock, or anything. I guess that’s why the elevator had a key card the doorwoman had to swipe.

I’ve never seen an elevator open right into an apartment like this. I push the babies out into the apartment, and the elevator closes behind me.

I’m busy gawking at the apartment – it’s two-stories tall, with an open plan, so I can see straight up over twenty feet to the ceiling, which has huge skylights set into it. Outside the tall glass windows, there’s a wraparound balcony, and beyond the balcony, a gorgeous view of downtown Austin, complete with the rivers and the lush green parks dotted around town, the reason everyone has lately come to love my hometown.

The place is tastefully decorated – not what I pictured if I had to imagine the bachelor pad a man like Cassius would inhabit. There are warm paintings on the walls, scenes of farms and really lovely landscapes. There’s a big fireplace in the middle of the room, complete with a cozy little writing or reading nook beside it, and a ton of bookshelves to boot.

Perfect. I could never like a man who didn’t read.

I shake myself. Not that I need to like Cassius. I just need to be okay enough with him to work for him. And at this point, I could talk myself into working for just about anybody.

That’s when I hear the soft sound of a throat being cleared behind me. I jump and whirl around, and I swear my whole body freezes in place.

Cassius Anderson is even sexier in person than he was in his photos. He’s dressed in slacks and a light blue work shirt, but even through that shirt, I can see the bulge of his pecs, the flat plane of his stomach. He towers over me, 6-foot-something-I-can’t-even-guess. Right now, though, his gray eyes are narrowed and hard, almost glaring down at me.

Shit. What did I do wrong? He told me to bring the kids!

“H-hi, Mr. Anderson,” I say, barely covering my stammer. “Er. I’m Manila Cross, we emailed earlier…”

“I know who you are,” he says. His voice is deep and resounding, a baritone that would normally make me weak at the knees. Right now, however, I’m weak-kneed from nerves instead. “Thank you for coming so promptly.”

He glances down at the stroller I’m pushing, and for a second, I could swear that glare of his softens, melts into something tender and pining. I lean closer to him, unable to help myself. There’s something longing in his eyes, something soft and vulnerable. For a second, he seems familiar, like someone I’ve met before. Someone I could fall for…

“Do you like kids, Mr. Anderson?” I ask. Almost immediately, I could kick myself. What did I ask that for? Why draw attention to the biggest problem any employer will have with me?

His eyes flash back to mine, all business again. Shit. That gaze is penetrating. It’s like he’s looking straight through me, into my very soul. “I like kids,” he replies, something of a small smile playing at the corner of his mouth. “Not always sure they like me.”

“Oh, I can’t imagine why they wouldn’t,” I reply, without thinking. Then I flush. Crap. Stop flirting.

But I can’t really help it. A gaze like that in bed could make a girl go wild… I shiver at the thought of his strong arms around me, wrapping me up, lifting me up from the floor, my body pinned against his as he leans in to claim my mouth…

Then I shake myself back to the present.

He seems to do the same. “Through here please, Ms. Cross.”

I trail after him, a bundle of confusion. He leads me across the open-plan condo – which has warm wood floors and cozily-painted walls, not to mention wood accents everywhere. The office he takes me into even has an exposed brick wall, and an old-fashioned looking desk. Not at all the style I’d expect from a man like Cassius, but I love it. It’s rich but cozy at the same time, fancy and yet you could totally live here. Not like those stark white insane asylum-looking penthouses you see on TV.

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