Billionaire's Purchased Baby(6)

By: Sophia Lynn

He still hadn't let go of her wrist, but she refused to break eye contact with him. Luna could see a few different things flicker across his gaze, among them fury and disbelief at being snapped at. She had met men like this one before, and they always thought that no one could deny them until someone did.

In the back of her mind, she knew that she was risking the thousand dollars, but right now, she hardly cared.

"You are stubborn, aren't you?" he said, a slight smile curling a corner of his mouth. He let her go, and why was there a small part of her that protested that? She shrugged, tucking that strange part away, and turned her attention to the man again.

"I've been told that before," Luna said. "I like to think that I just cut through crap faster than other people. So who are you?"

He chuckled a little, and for some reason, that sound made her want to shiver. There was something about this man she couldn't take her eyes away from. She couldn't explain what it was, and she told herself that in the long run, it probably wasn't all that important.

"All right then, Luna. I'm Tucker Keene."

The name sounded familiar, but this was Chicago, and famous people and people who thought they were famous came through all the time. "All right then," she echoed, and then she arched an eyebrow expectantly. "Is this part of the test?"

"What isn't?" he said with a shrug.

To her surprise, he went back to stand with his back to the executive desk, arms crossed across his broad chest. She couldn't help but notice that his suit was tailored to him, revealing narrow hips and long legs.

"All right, tell me about yourself," he said, and it had the ring of an order.

"What... what do you mean?"

He scowled at her, and she had to repress the part of her that wanted to flee at that.

"Do I need to use smaller words?" he asked, and she could have snapped her teeth at him.

"All right. I'm Luna Madrigal, I'm twenty-two years old, my favorite color is orange, I don't have any parents, any pets, any boyfriends, or an apartment that is going to exist in three months. I want to make jewelry more than I want to do anything else, and hopefully when I get through this process, I'll have a thousand dollars in hand and I'll be a thousand dollars closer to making that dream come true."

He looked thoughtful throughout her speech, and he narrowed his eyes at the last piece. Really, who was this man, and where did he get off thinking that he could give her orders of any kind?

"Really? Your dream is to work?"

She glared at him.

"It's not that unusual," she said defiantly. "I want to make my visions come to life, and when your visions involve gold and platinum, that takes capital. I want to see my pieces on runway models and queens."

He chuckled a little, and in that chuckle, she could hear everyone else who had ever told her that her dreams were far beyond her, that it was stupid for her to try to go after anything that wasn't a job in an office or perhaps in a school or a hospital. She felt her hands knot into fists and glared, but Tucker Keene didn't seem to notice.

"Why not strip?" he asked, and she gasped, staring at him. What the hell was wrong with this man?

"I beg your pardon?" she asked, aware of how maidish and silly that sounded, but she couldn't help herself. Whatever she was expecting, it wasn't that.

"I asked why you didn't strip," he said casually, his voice as calm as if he were talking about the weather. "You've got a great figure for it, and with hair like that you'd get plenty of good attention..."

"Been to a lot of strip clubs then?" she asked furiously. "Let me guess, you're one of the customers who thinks that all the strippers are in love with you and that you're special to them."

He gave her a sharp white grin, and she found her stomach turning over. Tucker Keene, whoever he was, was a predator, and there was a small voice in her head that was telling her to get as far away from him as she could. There was another voice inside her that was telling her just the opposite, but she could deal with that voice later, she reckoned. Or perhaps not at all, perhaps that would be for the best.

"As a matter of fact, Luna, I don't really care whether I'm special to a woman or not. In general, I just like knowing that I can get what I need from them."

There was a way the conversation was going that was making the hairs on the back of her neck stand up on end. She felt as if she were stuttering even when she wasn't, and her entire body felt too hot. She tried to tell herself that it was anger, but somewhere deep inside, she knew that it wasn't. At least, it wasn't just anger...

"I... what do you need from them?"

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