Beast billionaire 1 (bad.., p.10
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       Beast Billionaire #1 (Bad Boy Alpha Billionaire Werewolf Shifter Romance), p.10

           Mac Flynn
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Maggie stood before the wrought-iron gate. The cloudy image of the house stood beyond the entrance. The gate swung open with a deep groan, but she wasn't afraid. She walked straight ahead past the tall skeletal trees and to the front doors. They, too, opened for her. The interior of the house was long and distorted, but she knew the way. Her footsteps took her up the flight of stairs close by the front door and to the long hallway at the top.

  A single door lay open. His door. She stopped in the doorway and looked inside. The large chamber was lit by the glow from the fire. The bed was empty, but she could see the shape of an arm on the arm of the chair.

  A smile lit her face. Maggie rushed forward to the front of the chair. The figure stood and wrapped his strong arms around her. He pressed his warm lips against her neck.

  "You're late," he whispered to her. His lips traveled down her neck as his hands massaged her curves. "Should I punish you?"

  She leaned into his touch. Her body pulsed with hot, wet need. She closed her eyes and shuddered. "Please take me. . ." she murmured.

  He chuckled. The sound deeply penetrated her body with a warmth that left her shivering. He leaned down. Their lips nearly touched.

  A loud alarm woke Maggie from her beautiful slumber. She started up and whipped her head left and right. Her bedroom stared back at her.

  She clutched her beating chest and took deep breaths. "Only a dream. It was only a-" She shifted her legs and her foot knocked into something hard.

  Maggie glanced down and her eyes widened. There, at the foot of her bed, lay the golden mirror. She scrambled to the mirror and clutched it in her shaking hands. A wild, jubilant smile slipped onto her lips as she hugged the object to her chest.

  "Maggie? You awake?" her father called from the living room.

  She frowned and glanced at the clock. The face showed her usual alarm time of eight. She slid off the bed and wandered into the hall. Her father stood at the end with an apron over a clean set of work clothes and a spatula in his hand.

  Robert looked her up and down, and frowned. "Did you sleep in your clothes?"

  Maggie glanced down at herself and blushed. "I-I guess I did."

  Her father smiled and walked over to her. He clasped their hands together with the spatula between them. "Well, you don't have anything to worry about anymore. I received a text message from the company this morning. I've been reinstated, and the company wants me to be there in an hour to see my new office."

  Maggie's eyes widened and her face nearly split with her wide smile. "Really?"

  He grinned and nodded. "Really really."

  She jumped into his arms and gave him a nice, tight hug. "I'm so glad!"

  He returned the hug before he pulled them apart. His shimmering eyes studied her beaming face. "And it's all thanks to you. You really saved us, you and Mr. Forrest." At mention of the handsome man's name she blushed. Her father frowned. "Are you feeling okay?" He pressed the back of his hand against her forehead. "No fever, but I wonder if all this stress has got to you, or maybe I gave you what I had."

  Maggie shook her head. "I'm fine, really, just a little-well, maybe a little tired."

  Robert grinned and raised the spatula. "But maybe not too tired to have some pancakes before I go to work? My treat."

  She laughed and looped her arm through his to lead him to the kitchen. "I'm definitely not too tired for that."

  They ate and parted ways, the father to his work and the daughter to her thoughts. She sat down on the edge of a couch cushion with her mirror in hand and looked into the reflective glass.

  Maggie took a deep breath. "Show me Adrian."

  The surface of the mirror shifted and warped. The view of the living room transformed into an entrance hall similar to the one in her dream. Adrian walked down a flight of stairs to the left. He was dressed in a fine dark-blue suit with a white tie and undershirt.

  Adrian greeted an older gentleman in a plain gray suit, and close beside them stood the servant from last night. The gray-suited gentleman turned his face toward the mirror's view. Maggie tilted her head to one side and furrowed her brow. He looked very familiar. She squinted and leaned so close to the glass her nose brushed against the surface.

  Adrian's head whipped up. He turned and looked straight into her eyes. Maggie gasped and started back. The view in the mirror faded and returned to its reflective self. She shook herself and frowned.

  "Did he. . .did he just see me?" she whispered.

  Maggie set the mirror face-down on the coffee table and stood. She eyed the back of the glass with suspicion as she backed away. The young woman snatched her coat and book bag from her bedroom and her coat from beside the door. She paused in the doorway on her way out and glanced over her shoulder. The mirror still lay where she'd left it. Maggie pursed her lips, but her eyes flickered to an out-of-place object on the kitchen counter.

  Her dad's lunch.

  Maggie's shoulders drooped and a small smile slipped onto her lips as she pulled out her cell phone. She dialed his number.

  "Hello, Sweetie, what can I do for you?" her father answered.

  Maggie rolled her eyes. "You forgot your lunch, Dad."

  "I did?" There was a brief pause and she heard paper's shuffling. A car horn honked. "Well, what do you know. I guess I was just so excited I forgot it, but tell you what: how about you and I have lunch together? My treat."

  "Sounds great, Dad. What time?"

  A place and time were decided, and Maggie hung up the phone. She glanced at the coffee table. The mirror sat there as still as ever. She turned her back on the problem and hurried to her job at the university cafeteria.

  A line snaked out of the cafeteria when she arrived. Maggie threw her personal items into her locker and hurried with her apron and hairnet into the kitchen.

  "About time," one of her coworkers commented as she took her place on the dish-washing line. Three other people stood in front of tubs of soapy dishwater. Piles of dishes were stacked beside each one of them and beside her vacant tub.

  Maggie took her place last in line among the unwashed and started scrubbing. A young woman stood beside her, and was the one who spoke. The stranger glanced in her direction. "Mind telling me why I had to make excuses for you so the boss wouldn't fire you?"

  Maggie shrank and scrubbed faster. "I'm sorry, Tiff. I didn't sleep well."

  Tiffany snorted. "From anybody else I'd know that meant you were messing around with someone, but from you I know there's something else wrong."

  Maggie bit her lower lip. "My. . .my dad lost his job."

  The woman beside her stopped her scrubbing. Her face fell as she turned her face toward Maggie. "Oh. That bad a news. I'm really sorry-" Maggie shook her head.

  "No, it's okay. He got it back this morning."

  The other two dishwashers, a guy and a girl, paused their scrubbing and leaned back to stare at her. Tiffany blinked at her. "Could you rewind what you said? I don't think I understood all that."

  Maggie leaned into her tub as though looking for deeper dishes and turned her face away from her companions. "My dad was fired last night, but they changed their minds this morning."

  Her friend leaned her arm over the side of the tub and arched an eyebrow. "But doesn't your dad work for that big Forrest company? How'd something that huge change their minds so fast?"

  "What are you guys doing?" a voice barked. Maggie turned around to see a burly middle-aged man behind them. His sleeves were rolled up and a hairnet covered his thinning brown hair. He crossed his arms over his chest and glared at the washing crew. "The piranhas out there aren't going to slow down their eating to give you jabbers time to talk."

  The four of them quickly resumed their work. The man watched them for a few minutes before he walked away.

  The other woman pulled one of her hands from the suds and inspected the fingertips. "Why don't they get a real washing machine instead of ruinin
g my cuticles?"

  "They've got to pay those admin bonuses somehow," one of the guys quipped.

  Tiffany glanced over her shoulder and then to Maggie. She leaned toward Maggie and her voice was barely a whisper. "Come on, out with the juicy details."

  Maggie stared at her soapy water and shook her head. "There isn't anything to tell."

  Tiffany snorted. "Yeah, and I was Valedictorian of my class. Nobody just gets their job back like that, not in this economy. Something must've happened. What'd your dad do again? Something with the finances?" Her eyes widened and her mouth dropped open. "He didn't find dirt out on the company, did he?"

  Maggie closed her eyes and sighed. She pulled her arms out of the tub and turned to face her friend. "I don't know what happened. All I know is he got his job back, okay?"

  Tiffany held up her soap-dripping hands. "Okay, okay. Geez. You'd think I just asked you if you'd slept with your dad's boss to get his job back."

  A heavy blush accented Maggie's cheek. She spun around to hide it, but her astute friend caught the red color. A sly smile slipped onto Tiffany's lips as she went back to scrubbing. She kept one eye on Maggie as she, too, resumed her work.

  "Ya know, if you ever want to do a double-date just ask," Tiffany teased.

  Maggie shrank deeper into her tub. "I don't want to talk about it."

  Her friend shrugged. "All right, but don't say I didn't warn you about doing stuff like that. It isn't healthy for anybody. The guy could up and die of a heart attack."

  A faint smile slipped onto Maggie's lips. "I don't think that's going to be a problem."

  Tiffany frowned. "Man, you're mean." Her eyes flickered over the room before she leaned close to Maggie. "Now you've got to tell me the whole story, and I'm not going to take 'no' for an answer."

  Maggie bit her lower lip. "I. . .I can't."

  Tiffany arched an eyebrow. "Why not?"

  "I promised not to tell."

  Tiffany sighed and returned to her scrubbing. "All right, but if you need anything just holler, okay? I know that place you and your dad live in isn't very private."

  She sighed, but nodded her head. "I will."

  Maggie paused and glanced down at the soapy suds. Her mind took the bubbles and foam, and transformed them into Adrian's smiling face. A smile flitted across her lips, but the image and the smile were fleeting. Her imagination went further and morphed Adrian's face into that of the creature, his dangerous, alluring beast.

  Maggie shook her head and the blush off her cheeks, and went back to her job before she didn't have a job.

  CHAPTER 7

 
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