A Bride at His Bidding(5)

By: Michelle Smart


She shook her head, immediately thinking of Violet, who she loved as much as if she’d given birth to her.

‘Any other dependants? Dogs, cats, goldfish?’

‘No.’

‘Good. I make no apologies. I am a demanding employer and this job is a twenty-four-seven one. What did Debbie tell you about it in the preliminary interview?’

‘That it entails the day-to-day running of your homes.’

His head tilted and his face grew thoughtful. ‘That is how the job is advertised but you should know it is more about the day-to-day running of me. My domestic PA does oversee the running of my homes but they’re not expected to do any of the manual chores themselves—I employ other domestic staff for that. I work long and demanding hours. When I am at home I like to live in comfort and I want all my needs and comforts met by someone who is capable of turning their hand to anything, without argument. I need someone on hand to tend to all my personal needs—pour my drinks, prepare my clothing for me, make sure a towel is on hand if I do any physical activity, that kind of thing.’

It wasn’t a domestic PA the man wanted, Carrie thought in mute outrage as she listened to his seductive voice, it was a slave.

‘In return, I offer a very generous salary.’ He mentioned a figure that made her blink, it being four times what she earned at the newspaper.

She imagined that any genuine applicant would bite his hand off for it. It was an extortionate amount of money for what was essentially nothing more than being Andreas’s dogsbody.

Now he put a forearm on his desk and leaned forward to stare at her with an intensity that made her stomach do a strange flip.

The more she looked into his eyes, the more startling she found them, the light brown having a translucent quality that still contained real depth.

If he gave her the job she would have to tread carefully for as long as she lived under his roof. This man was dangerous.

‘Now, Caroline,’ he said, the tempo of his speech finally slowing down a notch, ‘I do have one more requirement from the person I give this role to.’

‘Which is?’

‘I require someone who has a cheerful disposition.’

She might as well leave, then. How could she be cheerful around the man who’d caused such damage?

‘What I mean by that is that I get enough stress in my work life. When I come home I like to be welcomed with a smile and not be bothered by petty gripes. Can you smile?’

He framed the question with such faux earnestness that Carrie found her facial muscles softening and the smile she’d been trying to produce since she’d stepped into his office breaking out of its own accord.

His eyes gleamed in response. ‘Much better.’ Then he sat back and folded his arms across his chest. The cuffs of his sleeves moved with the motion revealing a tantalising glimpse of fine dark hair.

He nodded slowly. ‘Yes. I think you’re going to suit me very well. The job is yours if you want it.’

She blinked her gaze away from his arms as his words sank in. ‘It is?’

She hadn’t expected it to be this easy…

Her heart started to thunder beneath her ribs.

This was too easy.

Andreas was one of the richest men in the world. He was highly intelligent—unverified reports placed his IQ in the world’s top one per cent and he had the street smarts to match it. In short, he was no fool, and this job that he was giving her after less than fifteen minutes in his company would take her straight into the heart of his life.

‘Do you want it?’ he challenged, breaking the silence that had fallen.

‘Yes.’ She nodded for emphasis, trying to muster her enthusiasm, and forced another smile to her face. ‘Yes, I do, definitely. Thank you.’

‘Good.’ His teeth flashed wolfishly. ‘Did you bring your passport?’

‘Yes.’ The letter discussing the second interview had been specific about it. She assumed it was needed for him to photocopy as proof of her identity.

Andreas rose to his feet. ‘Then let us go. We have a flight slot to fill.’

Carrie stared at him blankly. ‘Go?’

‘The letter you were sent clearly explained that the successful candidate for the job would start immediately.’

‘It did…’ But she hadn’t thought immediately meant this immediately. ‘Are we going abroad now?’

That gleam she was beginning to seriously distrust flashed in his eyes again. ‘Yes. Right now. Do you have a problem with that?’

‘No problem.’ She hurried to stand. The job was hers and she wouldn’t give him reason to change his mind. She would practise smiling as soon as she found a mirror. ‘It’s just that I have no change of clothes with me.’