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Billionaire Alpha 1

By:Ali Parker

 Billionaire Alpha Series Book 1


Prologue




110. She needed a 70 to make the Dean's list for her senior-level marketing class, but she'd pulled out a 110.



A smile touched Bethany's lips, her eyes darting around the room to see   if she could make out the various grades on her classmates' papers. She   had to have gotten the highest grade, from what she could see. She sat   back in her chair and listened as the classroom filled with groans and   soft whispers of gratitude for passing grades. She hadn't worried much   about passing, but simply passing was never enough. She had to be at  the  top-the best grade in the class.

The elderly professor moved to the front of the room, dropping a small   handful of remaining tests on his desk and turning to face the class. A   quick adjustment to his glasses, and he scanned the room, his eyebrow   raising at the noise.

"This was your final test for my class. I know some of you are   graduating on Saturday and I congratulate you. If you failed this test   and subsequently this class, and it's holding you back from graduating,   that's your problem. You were given every opportunity to do well in   here. If you failed, then you worked hard to do so."

He shrugged as a lanky guy in the back row spoke up, Bethany turning to   look over her shoulder as his drug-induced voice resounded. "Is there a   make-up quiz for this test?"

"No, Mr. Johnson. This is final, and you will be seeing me next semester, no doubt."

Bethany turned and raised her hand, her long chestnut locks tickling her   shoulders as she moved. "What was the top grade in the class?"

"Yours." The professor smirked and moved from his reclined position.   "Class is dismissed. Don't bother stopping by to talk with me. I have   somewhere to be, so this is goodbye for this semester. Enjoy the rest of   your summer and don't have too much fun."

Bethany leaned over and grabbed her backpack, a smile pressing her   cheeks toward her eyes as she got up and walked from the room, her head   held high and smugness sitting on her like a well-worn cloak. She was   the smartest, the fastest-the best.



A quick stop by the advisory office before heading to have lunch with   her mother stole her thunder; her adviser's news was depressing, a quick   reminder of her financial reality.

"Congratulations, Bethany. Looks like you'll be graduating in the top   three percent of your accounting class." The middle-aged man looked up,   his portly belly almost touching the chair between his opened legs.

Bethany focused on the kindness in his gaze, even though his appearance   struck her with worry. She needed to get to the gym. The summer  sessions  were always so daunting and stole every waking moment she  could find in  order to simply keep up. It was over now, though.

She sighed with relief and nodded toward the adviser.

"That's great news. I've already been accepted into the MBA program, so I'll start in a month. I'm excited."

The man mumbled something, turning to his computer and hitting a few   keys. Bethany sat back, her eyes moving across the various pictures that   hung on the walls. The photos were filled with smiling kids and a  woman  as portly as the man before her, their happiness apparent or   well-rehearsed.

A family had never been part of Bethany's thoughts. Racing up the   corporate ladder and making a name for herself was top priority. Making   enough money to never have to worry where her next meal was coming from   or if anyone would see her mother paying with food stamps  …  that was  all  she cared about. She would change her situation, no matter what it   took.

College was a luxury that her grades from high school alone had afforded   her, but the master's program was still up in the air. The hope was   that grants would cover most of the cost, and she could pick up a small   job or internship at an accounting firm.

Time was the only restriction. She needed something flexible, because   her course load wouldn't allow for much more than studying and   schoolwork. She reached up, tucking her hair behind her ears as she   looked back at the adviser.

"So, am I good to go?"

"Hold on just a minute, kiddo. Looks like there's an issue with your   fees for next semester. I'm just trying to make sure you're all paid   up." He glanced over at her before picking up his phone. He spoke for a   few minutes to someone who she assumed was in the registrar's office.   The conversation, from the parts she could hear, was only causing the   worry in her stomach to grow. He thanked the lady on the phone and   sighed, hanging up and looking over at Bethany.         

     



 

"Good news and bad news. What do you want first?"

"The good news."

"The good news is that the first third of your upcoming semester was picked up by a grant."

"And the bad is that the last two-thirds weren't?"

"That's right." He shrugged, sympathy covering his round face. "Is there   a possibility of getting a small part-time job or internship in the   city?"

"No. They're all gone at this point." She sat back and sighed, the   reality of her ever-present situation bleeding its way across her   emotions. She was going to break down soon, and she'd rather it not be   in front of him.

She stood up and reached over, her hand extended. "I appreciate your help. I have a month to figure it out, I guess."

"You have about six weeks before they require that second payment. Good luck. You're smart, you'll figure this out."

She shook his hand and walked from the small building, the sun pressing   down on her in the smoldering Texas heat. There was nothing to figure   out. The MBA program at UT Dallas was way out of her league in terms of   financial funding, and her mother was forever broke. Thanks to a   drug-dealing father and a life left in shambles, there wasn't much hope.

She got in her car as the first tear fell. She'd have to ask her mom to   do something that seemed far-fetched, but was her only hope.

"Mom, will you marry Kent?" She looked up in the small rearview mirror,   realizing how selfish she was being as she worked through how to ask   something so demanding of her mother. She couldn't do it.

But what other choice did she have?





Chapter 1





"Mom, will you marry Kent?" Bethany let the question hang in the air as   her mom reached for a fluffy white roll sitting in the basket between   them.

"What?" Her mom pulled her hand back like she'd been burned.

The older woman was a perfect replica of Bethany. Long, silky chestnut   hair, full lips and green eyes. Innocence stained both of them, and yet   they'd been through more hell than anyone could possibly imagine.

"I know it's a lot to ask, but when you told me that he proposed a few   weeks ago, you seemed really happy. I don't know why you just didn't say   yes right then."

"It's complicated, Bethany."

"I know, Mom. But I also know that you're just holding back because   you're letting everything that happened with Dad scare you away from the   one thing that could make you truly happy. You and Kent have been   dating for six months and he's crazy about you."

"Why do you care if Kent and I get married right now?"

"I had an appointment with my adviser today, and there isn't enough   funding for me to get through the next year of my master's program." She   held up her hand as her mother started to protest. "I know you don't   understand the need for a masters, but I'm telling you that I need it. I   want financial freedom, and ever since Daddy left all those years ago,   we've had anything but that. I want a chance to be free from this,  Mom."

Her mom visibly flinched, reaching and taking the bread and then picking   at it, her gaze filled with concern. They had been through far too  much  together over Bethany's twenty-two years not to be straightforward  with  one another. Her mom loved Kent, and Bethany knew they would get   married eventually, so the request wasn't too farfetched, just perhaps a   little selfish in its timing.

"And you think me marrying Kent will take care of your finances?"

"I'm praying that you'll mention my situation. I'm not asking for a   handout, but a loan. I'll pay it back once I'm working for an accounting   firm downtown, Mom. There is no way I'm not going to get a great job   next year. I just need some help now."

"I wish I could help you, but I don't have anything put away." Her mom's   eyes diverted toward the table as the waiter walked up, a smile on his   mouth.

"Hi, ladies. You ready to order?"

Bethany's mom sat up, pulling her menu up as she motioned for Bethany to   place her order. Bethany picked up the menu and looked at the prices,   not caring a bit what items were attached to them. They were broke and   shouldn't even be at the small cafe. Money was the bane of her   existence, and coveting it anytime soon seemed like a lofty goal.         

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