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The Billionaire's Day Off

By:Olivia Hill

 Chapter 1

The weather in London was very much like the weather at home. In  Seattle. It rained a lot. Or maybe it was just that time of year. Dalia  was not very sure. All she knew was that this was the first time she had  accompanied her boss on a work trip that she didn't curse. She hugged  her iPad as she stood in the hotel lobby looking at all the familiar  faces in clean cut suits and couture dresses, smiling as they strutted  along in their overpriced Manolo Blahnik and Louboutin heels. The men  looked exceptional in the Italian leather shoes and on their wrists,  perfect Audemars Piquet watches if not a shiny Rolex.

She was still standing there, feeling a little out of place when she  finally spotted her boss. She rushed over and smiled as she approached  him.

"Mr. Moody. Name tags and the itinerary for the day," she said in a whisper.

"Dalia Hayes, how many times have I asked you to call me Kyle?" he asked. "Because Mr. Moody is my father … and my grandfather."

Dalia smiled.

"I can call you Kyle at the office but out here, I need to give you the respect you deserve."

Kyle looked at his nametag and sighed.

"I'm still trying to figure out why we need name tags at this event. I  mean, it's a conference for Fortune 50 CEOs and CFOs. It's not like I  can't point out Richard Branson or Mark Zuckerberg."

"Richard Branson is actually not in attendance," Dalia pointed out, smiling.

"Well, he sent his second in command. A face I know all too well."

"Well, name tags are part of the whole thing, Kyle," she said, being  sure to whisper his name so that no one around them heard her.

Her boss smiled and looked at her.

"I guess I better do as you ask, right?" he asked as he pinned his nametag onto his jacket.

"One, it's part of the rules, and two, you have not kept me around for  three years because I made poor judgment calls," Dalia said and he  smiled. His eyes ran down her body and then back up to look into his  eyes. "What? What is it?" she asked as she looked at him. The way he was  looking at her made her feel a little self-conscious. And this was not  the first time he was doing it either. She had caught him giving her the  same look a number of times. For a moment there, she felt as if she was  making a million fashion mistakes. But who could blame her? She was a  flea market and department store kind of girl and this place was full of  people who shopped from runways in Milan and Paris.

"Am I not dressed right? I mean, I did go to that store you sent me to  and everything … " she started and he shook his head. His eyes once again  roamed over her body covered in a grey pencil mid-skirt that highlighted  her biggest asset: her broad hips and a red silk round necked  sleeveless top tucked into her skirt. She had matched her outfit with a  pair of nude colored stiletto heels and her brunette hair was hanging  loosely on her shoulders. It was not really her kind of outfit. She had  only just begun dressing in skirts and heels. She used to be more of a  pantsuit person, hiding her full figure underneath layers and layers of  fabric, and it was only normal for her to feel unsure of herself.

And Kyle … he was seeing right through her. He could tell what she was feeling and the struggle she was having just being there.

"You look absolutely amazing, Dalia Rayne," Kyle said in a lower voice than he expected.

A smile played on Dalia's lips and a dimple appeared on her left cheek.

"Let's just get in and take our seats already." She began leading him to  the hotel's main conference room. "I don't want to be stuck with the  crappy seats at the back."

Kyle shook his head and raised an eyebrow over the other.

"This is a business summit. Not an opera or a football game," he said.

"Well, to be completely honest, you can get box seats at the opera and … well, you get the drift."

"And?" Kyle asked, still not getting what she was trying to say.

"And? What do you mean ‘and'? You are literally in the wild out here  with everyone claiming to be the alpha male … so there is of course the  whole survival for the fittest out here."

Without even realizing it, she was walking faster and Kyle was trying to  keep up, which was usually a situation that happened the other way  round.

"Whoa there … slow down," Kyle said as they approached the conference  room. "Somehow it feels like you are more excited about something else  here."

Dalia smiled and shrugged.

"The presentation by Finch and Lindgren which is supposed to be the first thing on the program."

"The robotics geeks?" Kyle asked and Dalia nodded a little too excitedly.         



"They have the latest technology in prosthetics that kind of makes me  hopeful that the stuff I watched on Extant is almost here."

Kyle shrugged and shook his head.

"Prosthetics? Really?" He ran his fingers through his thick hair. "Since when were you so keen on prosthetics?"

"Since my cousin lost his leg in the war. I'm always … the whole family is  always out looking for different ways to make everything better for  him."

Kyle raised an eyebrow, obviously surprised.

"You have a cousin that's a vet?" he asked, a little confused and stunned. Dalia nodded as they approached the conference door.

"Working for Uncle Sam is like the family business. Only a handful of us  have chosen alternative careers … white collar and everything."

"So your father … " he started and she nodded.

"And my two brothers and my grandfather, my cousins … you get where I am going with this, right?" she asked and he nodded.

They walked up to their seats and sat down. He looked at her as she placed her iPad on her lap.

"So your cousin," he started. "The one who got you interested in prosthesis and everything."

"He was supposed to be a double amputee but the doctors happened to work  something out and saved his one leg but the other one was completely  totaled. It was just … " her voice trailed off and almost immediately, he  knew that he had hit a sore spot.

"I'm sorry. I didn't mean to make you recount a painful past or  anything," he said as he opened the door for her. She forced a smile and  shrugged.

"Hey, it's life, yeah?"

He shook his head.

"I can't believe I have never known that about you and after three years to make it worse," he said.

"Well, you are a busy man. I wouldn't want to hold that against you."

"Maybe you should," he said in a whisper as he looked at her. He was  looking into her eyes so intensely that she could feel a chill run down  her spine. She didn't know exactly what it was but whatever it was, she  could tell that it spoke louder than the whole boss secretary thing.  There was more to the look. There was more to the way he spoke but he  just couldn't put his finger on it … whatever it was. "Maybe I should pay  more attention to the people who matter to me."

Dalia felt her heart skip a beat.

People who matter to him, he had said.

Did that mean that she was one of those people? She wanted to just take  his word for what it was and just assume that she did. But that had not  always worked so well for her. Assuming was one of the things she had  sworn she wouldn't do … ever. She needed to know what he meant. Not that  it changed anything between them but she did need to know.

"People who matter to you?" she asked and he nodded.

"People who matter to me," he echoed just as the conference lights were  dimmed. Dalia turned her attention to the front where a small blonde  woman was walking towards the podium. At the back of her mind, she was  wondering just what he had in mind when he said what he did. It was not  that she was emotionally unavailable or anything. It was just that, this  was Kyle Moody. Her boss. Her very attractive boss she should have  said. He was everything any woman wanted in a man. Tall, lean and  muscular. His full head of dark hair always seemed to be perfectly in  place. It was almost like he had a glam squad that kept him looking  sharp every minute of every day. She never had much time to look into  his eyes but the few times she had she had noticed them. Perfectly green  eyes that seemed to look right into your soul. But it was Kyle Moody.

Kyle freaking Moody.

There was no way she could ever envision a future with him. He was the  kind of man to be seen around the so-called socialites and she was,  well, the help. That was all she ever was to a man like Kyle Moody.

"Ladies and gentlemen if you would please take your seats. We are about  to begin," the lady said in a somewhat sexy British accent. "Finch and  Lindgren on cue to begin their presentation."

Dalia turned to look at the lady but Kyle was still looking at her. She  could feel it. The piercing look that was almost unveiling her, somewhat  even undressing her. A smile played on her lips and she began feeling a  little more comfortable when she saw the familiar faces of Rudolph  finch and Bjorn Lindgren. She had expected them to send a representative  to handle the presentation but obviously this was a big enough deal for  them to show up in person.