The Billionaire's Challenge

By: Elizabeth Lennox

Chapter 1

A scowling hawk settled in among the fluttering butterflies.

Selena faltered as she pulled her gaze from the man who folded his massive frame into one of the chairs at the back of the training room. “So tell your clients not to drink this! External use only,” she stressed, waiting until the laughter settled down again. “This is a serum for the skin and, trust me, after a week, you will notice a difference. It’s amazing! Softer skin is only a few drops away!” The ladies who worked the retail counters for Rembrandt Cosmetics were frantically scribbling notes, eager to hurry back to their makeup counters at the various upscale department stores so they could sell the new products.

She moved on to the next product, explaining the value of it, application process, and any tips to help sell the product. On and on, she moved from skin care to color palettes to body products, painfully aware of the man. It would be hard to miss him since the ladies were all wearing the bright, lemon yellow smocks which were the uniforms for Rembrandt representatives. Even the training room was painted the signature color with green lettering, the chairs were lemon yellow, the desks green, the curtains green, the walls yellow.

So the man in the dark suit stood out like…well, like a scowling hawk. Ready to swoop down and grab one of the dainty ladies. None of the women noticed that the man was there. It helped that the man had stepped in silently and sat down, not saying a word.

“Okay, ladies! That’s it for the day! If you have any questions, feel free to ask. I’m more than happy to clarify anything you might not understand.”

The room breathed a sigh of relief. Slowly, the ladies gathered up their belongings, chatting amongst themselves. Selena would have smiled with the triumph of a job well done, but the man in the back of the room was watching her closely, which left her uneasy.

Selena gathered up her notes and packed them away, eyeing the man warily. She sensed that the man might be trying to appear laid back, but…no. He wasn’t relaxed. Selena doubted that he even knew how to relax. Looking at him, she doubted that the man even slept.

Mentally, she chided herself for her ridiculous ruminations. Of course the man slept. Everyone slept! This man might just sleep…less.

As the room emptied, he approached the podium. Not good, she thought, but stiffened her wobbly self-confidence, refusing to be “that” woman. She’d forcefully banished “that” woman from her life a long time ago.

“May I help you?” she asked, leaning her head back further than she expected. Wow, he was impressively tall.

The man extended his hand. “I’m Reid Jones. You’re an excellent trainer.”

Selena blinked at the name, surprised and more than slightly awed. “You’re Mr. Jones? CEO of Rembrandt Cosmetics?” she asked, a bit too breathlessly, and closed her eyes, shaking her head slightly. “I’m sorry, silly question.” Opening her eyes, she took a deep breath and straightened her shoulders. “It’s a pleasure to meet you, sir,” she stuck her hand into his enormous one.

She was startled by the shock that sizzled through her as his fingers closed over hers, but she tried to hide it. This wasn’t just a big kahuna in Rembrandt Cosmetics, the cosmetics company for which she worked. This was THE big kahuna! Wait, there were two of them, she thought quickly, trying to place this particular one.

“Call me Reid,” he smiled, distracting her from trying to place him correctly in the corporate hierarchy.

She might have relaxed or smiled at his offer, but his hand was still holding hers and Selena couldn’t seem to pull her eyes away from his hypnotic gaze. The look in his eyes…she sensed a strange expression, a look that caused her feminine instincts to stand up and take notice…but she couldn’t quite define what it was.

Was it attraction?

No! Impossible!

Selena wasn’t all that great in the relationships arena so she dismissed the idea, focusing on the fact that this was her boss’s boss’s boss’s boss. This was the man in charge, the creator, founder, and director of Rembrandt Cosmetics.

“Yes. Right.” Staring up into his eyes, she shivered slightly. They were the color of dark chocolate and held whispers of untold delights in their depths.

She blinked and stared at her shoes, fearing he might think she was flirting.

Not that she was! Even if she wanted to flirt, she didn’t know how. Her history…the whole learning-how-to-flirt period of her life…well, that hadn’t happened. She’d never learned and after…well…that one, horrible night, she’d never even bothered to try learning. So Selena accepted that flirting just wasn’t…well, she couldn’t do it. Not really. She looked like an idiot whenever she tried so she simply didn’t try.