Billionaire Baby Maker(2)

By: Lia Lee

I didn’t keep looking. I powered down my computer before I could do anything else that was stupid and went to bed. Tomorrow was a new day, and I would try again.

When I woke up in the morning, I checked my email out of habit. I’d forgotten about the crazy ad that I’d applied to, but an email waited for me in my inbox. Application for surrogate mother, it read.

I was nervous again. I swallowed hard and clicked on the email, opening it.

Dear applicant,

Thank you for considering my offer. I would like to meet with you to discuss the terms of my contract. Let me know if tomorrow at lunchtime would suit you.

I look forward to hearing from you.


Lunchtime tomorrow? I checked the time that the email was sent. Lunchtime today, in other words.

It was crazy, but the promise of that much money drew me in. It was an insane amount of money. I could do so much with that. I could pay off all my debts, buy the damn apartment I was living in, instead of paying rent every month, and then some.

I typed a reply and clicked send before I could change my mind. I would find out what it was all about before making a final decision. Going to speak to a couple didn’t mean I was obligated to be a surrogate mother, right?

I glanced at the time. I still had four hours to kill before my meeting. I opened my Internet browser again and did another search for a job. I had to keep looking, to have a backup plan in case it all turned out to be a joke. Which, honestly, I had a terrible feeling it was.

I took a cab from Brooklyn to Manhattan, where Mr. EB had asked to meet at the Mandarin Oriental, New York. It was a five-star hotel with an expensive restaurant called Asiate. It was glamorous all the way, and I was willing to believe the part about the money, at least.

The rest, I still wasn’t so sure about. I was under strict instructions to announce myself to the concierge, giving my name to them. It seemed suspicious to me. I didn’t know anything about the potential employer, other than his initials. What if this was a trap? What if this was a mistake, and they wanted something else from me?

I walked into the lobby at the Mandarin Oriental, and for a moment, I forgot all my worries. Shiny beige marble floors stretched wall to wall with a spectacular sculpture of something that reminded me of lilies in the middle. It took my breath away.

The reception desk curved around the outer wall, and I walked to it, feeling underdressed. The woman behind the desk wore a fancy gray dress suit, and her nails were professionally manicured. She offered me a blank smile, no doubt wondering why I was here.

“My name is Scarlett Forbes,” I said. “I’m supposed to meet someone here.”

She turned to her keyboard, her nails clicking on the keys, looking me up.

“Ah, Miss Forbes,” she said. “You’re wanted for a private meeting.” She summoned someone. “Please take Miss Forbes to the meeting room for Mr. Burke.”

Burke? Lily’s surname was Burke. Was it a coincidence?

I followed my new escort to a meeting room. He held open the door for me.

“Mr. Burke will be with you in a moment,” he said and left me alone in the meeting room.

I felt small and out of place. This wasn’t my world. Everything was so luxurious and shiny, and I was so… not.

I’d chosen to wear black suit pants and a white blouse. I’d tied up my hair into something that resembled a French Roll, but I didn’t get it quite right. I’d put on light makeup and golden jewelry. Until I’d walked into the hotel, I’d felt overdressed. Now I felt completely out of place.

At least this wasn’t a hotel room. One of my fears had been that I would end up being sold as a sex slave. Outrageous, but not impossible. Seventy-five million dollars just didn’t sound legit. I guessed that could still happen from the conference room, but I was less worried than I would have been if I had been summoned to a bedroom.

I didn’t have to wait very long before the door opened again and a tall man came in. He had dark hair and square shoulders and a face I knew right away.

“Evan?” I asked. “This has got to be some kind of mistake.”

Evan Burke froze, staring at me. “Scarlett?”

We blinked at each other. Evan was Lily’s father. No wonder they had the same surname.

Evan cleared his throat and walked to the table. “Well, this is certainly unexpected.”

“I have to say the same. What are you doing here?”

Evan looked unsure of himself. “I’m the one that posted the ad.”

I stared at him. How was this possible? When I responded to the ad, I had expected a couple that wanted a baby, not my best friend’s father.

“This is all wrong,” I said.

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