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Her Billionaire, Her Wolf--The Novel

By:Aimélie Aames


1

His Every Desire





She saw him there.

He was in his usual place, an entire booth all to himself while the rest of the restaurant and bar was full to capacity.

Sara wiggled her way between a couple of suits standing at the bar and nodded at the barman.

He winked at her and she knew that what she thought of as her lunch would be placed before her in short order.

Her stomach grumbled but with all the hustle and bustle, the clatter of silverware and conversations fighting amongst themselves to be heard, Sara was not embarrassed over the tiny sounds her famished stomach made.

She was starving and the virgin Bloody Mary...with an extra celery stick, please...would do little to calm her hunger.

That did not matter, though.

All that mattered to her was seated not far away and had his back turned to her.

He reached for a bit of paperwork spread across his table and Sara took in how his white cotton shirt drew tightly across his back and shoulders. The shirt's cotton was pristine in its purity and absolute lack of any other color than white, appearing to be of an extremely tight weave. Probably egyptian, she thought, and probably unboxed from its packaging that very morning.

And, probably tailored to fit, too.

But the way it hugged his body as he moved made that shirt precious in Sara's eyes. It was almost better than being able to see him unclothed, in all his handsome glory. She loved the way it held to his shoulders, hinting at the thick muscles that led down to broad arms that would surely feel like heaven wrapped around her body.

There was a clinking sound just beside her and Sara was forced to turn back to the bar. The ice cubes still swirling in her tomato juice, she saw that the barman was already gliding away as if he were on roller skates, his work never done during the rush of lunch hour. Besides the present press and throng, he had learned long ago that despite his best efforts, no amount of chatting would garner a tip from Sara.

As much as she would have wished otherwise, she simply could not afford a penny more than the price of her drink. What it took for her to have the right to be at that particular bar each weekday and drink in the sight of that particular man seated alone in his booth.

With a true professional's attention to detail, the barman had left a bottle of hot sauce next to Sara's cocktail and with relish, she unscrewed its bright red cap and shook in a few drops. And while she did it, Sara lifted her eyes to the mirror that shone bright and polished behind the endless bottles of liquor and spirits lining the wall across from her.

Her place at the bar was not chosen by hazard and from her position, Sara studied the white shirted man in the mirror's reflection. Her curiosity would not let her do otherwise and it felt safer somehow, watching him in a reflection, as if looking directly at him too long would burn her eyes and leave her in tears.

The mirror was safer, and better still, with the angle of view as it was, she saw only him with no risk of seeing herself.

Her own image held no mystery for her. She knew men's eyes were drawn to her, but as the years passed it was less and less the case. She knew, too, that she was tired and that it showed in a gaze that might not have been exactly haggard, but was certainly one dulled and lacking the spark of effervescent youth.

Worrying from one day to the next about where her next meal would come from or whether she would have a roof over her head had worn her down over the past year. And while that had changed for the better only a couple months ago, a sense of precarity was never far away.

Early on, when she had first started coming in to the bar for her lunchtime Bloody Mary, Sara had quietly asked the barman if he knew who the white shirted man was.

The barman had replied that he had no idea and only knew that the booth was held open for him every day without fail and woe betide he who thought to do otherwise.

When she had asked what he meant, the barman replied that during his own training he had seen a freshly recruited waiter seat a young couple one day in that booth. It had been especially crowded and the waiter was near to his wits end trying to seat people. It was late, the white shirted man had not yet showed up to claim his daily place and the waiter did the unthinkable and put the couple in the reserved seating of the booth.

Not five minutes later, the white shirted man arrived and when he saw that his usual place had been taken, he had stared a long moment at the young couple. The barman said he was suddenly sure the man was going to throw the two out the door on his own just then, the anger burning in his face and coming off him in palpable waves.

Instead, he stood right where he was, in the middle of everything and forced the waitstaff to nearly trip over themselves as they navigated by. He calmly placed his briefcase of paperwork on the floor and pulled out a cellphone into which he held a very quiet and very short conversation.

No less than thirty seconds later, the restaurant's manager came running in and with his round face blazing red, he apologetically led the couple to another table hastily being set at the back of the restaurant.

And no more than thirty minutes later, the waiter who had dared to seat the reserved booth was shown to the door, his work uniform in hand.

The following day, a new manager arrived to take the place of the last, a man who none of them had ever seen set foot in the restaurant again.

The lesson was not lost among the rest of the staff and no one had ever had the least thought of seating anyone other than the white shirted man in that booth, even if it remained empty all day and the restaurant had to turn people away at the door because all seats were taken.

Sara could not say why, but the barman's story made her shiver, as if a goose had walked across her grave.

What kind of man does that? And who could he possibly be to have people fired on the spot just for seating someone at his booth?

She could not say except that it felt like power...raw, unflinching power framed in implacable exigence. Sara felt it again, that fluttery feeling in the pit of her stomach she had felt when the barman had finished his story and she knew as she lifted her drink to her mouth that her nipples were pressing tight against her own white shirt.

A large man shouldered by her and then turned suddenly, his thick arm sweeping in a wide arc as he gestured to a companion. Except that he had not seen Sara, nor the virgin cocktail in her hand as it made contact with his broad forearm.

In slow motion, Sara saw tomato juice arc up into the air before tracing a red curl that slumped down to streak her blouse in bright color.

And, with all the grace of a rumbling bull, the man turned on her and said, "Hey! Watch what you're doin', you stupid bitch."

Sara's mouth dropped open as she held her arms raised, stunned at what just happened.

The man's friend laughed and clapped him on the back, acting as though he had just heard the best joke ever invented.

Then, Sara felt cracks fissure across her vision, heat rushing up as her tears fell.

"Oh, looky there, Lou...you gone and made the lady cry," said the smaller of the two.

Lou's face twisted as he searched for his wittiest reply, then said, "Shut yer face, or I'll give you a real reason to cry...bitch."

Sara did not want to break down like this, but in an instant everything fell apart. She could not imagine walking back into her office this way, covered in tomato juice. She could try washing it out in the ladies' room sink, but the shirt was silk. While it would dry fast, the tomato juice would never come out...probably not even with dry cleaning.

The tears rolled thick and heavy as she saw in a rush how the rest of the day would unfurl in one long cascade of events that would lead to losing her job, not to mention being thrown out in the street. Her room had to be paid by the week. She didn't even have a real apartment to call home. Just a room. That she even had a job seemed like a minor miracle after the strangest interview she had ever had. But now that she had it, even if it was a temp position, she could not imagine going back to desperately scanning the want ads for the next thing, for anything.

The cacophony of sounds in the restaurant drifted to silence in the seconds that followed. Sara was frozen as time crystallized around her. The barman's face turned to her, blank and without compassion. In the crowd surrounding her, smiles lifted upon the lips of some, others turned their heads, unwilling to feel any need to help.

The large man his friend had named Lou was already turning away from her when Sara saw him suddenly do an about-face.

He took a single, shaking step forward, then Sara saw that his eyes were bulging in their sockets, his visage turning more and more red. It was if he was having trouble taking a breath and she could see a thick vein standing out upon his forehead.

Over his shoulder, Sara noticed his friend shrinking back, his own eyes wide with what looked like terror and that was when she heard a low voice say, "Tell the lady you're sorry."

The voice that said it had an edge to it. Almost as if the words had been growled out.

Then, Sara looked past the shoulder of the now very red in the face ogre to see a blindingly white shirt and amber eyes looking steadily back at her.

There were strong fingers wrapped around the brute's thick neck from behind and she could see the tips of those fingers had gone pale with the terrific pressure they exerted upon the man's flesh.

"I'm sorry, I'm sorry, I'm sorry...."gulped Lou, his eyes bulging even more in their sockets.

The low voice from behind Lou spoke once again, and asked, "Is his apology acceptable, Miss?"

Sara searched for what to say, but before she could formulate any sort of coherent reply, her hand flew of its own volition to land a slap upon the big man's face. The sound it made cracked like a whip through the room and silenced the last of the voices murmuring in the crowd.

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