Bidding on the Billionaire

By: Rachel Angel

Chapter 1

Owning an art gallery was never on the list of accomplishments that Amanda Perkins had for her life, or her career. That had been her mother’s dream, and her mother was brilliant at it with her fine eye for art, and creative abilities. Yet, after her mom had lost her fight with breast cancer Amanda found that she’d inherited the Melinda Perkins Fine Art Gallery, and all that came with running such a business.

Another day was nearing an end, and quite frankly, Amanda was exhausted. The temptations of the active New York City night life were easy for her to resist in lieu of a good story and a glass of wine by the time her work day came to an end. She knew that she should consider selling the gallery to someone who was more passionate about art than her, but every time someone offered to buy it she’d find a reason to back out of it. That gallery represented the life of her mother, and was the last connection she had to her since her death. If she sold it she’d have to truly acknowledge that she was all alone in this world, and really would have to pursue the dreams that she’d put on the backburner, including an actual social life that involved dating, and perhaps finding the one.

As Amanda finished picking up her office she heard the buzzer of the front door of the gallery. She rolled her eyes, hoping that it would not be a customer who wanted to have a detailed discussion about anything, or share their perspectives on every piece of art in the gallery.

“Mandi, where are you?” A voice called out, and she breathed a sigh of relief. It was Sophia, her best friend and by far one of the most energetic people she’d ever known in her life. She was non-stop.

“Sophia, how’s it going? I haven’t seen you for at least a month. It’s great to see you.” Mandi went up and hugged her best friend and ex-college roommate. She looked impeccable as always, perfectly coiffed blonde hair that accented her lovely face, petite frame, and sparkling blue eyes.

“I am here to take you out to my charity auction tonight. It’s to benefit the children’s hospital, and I know you’ll have a blast.”

“Really?” Mandi asked. She tossed around the debate between kicking back in her lounging clothes, and getting dressed up to go to an event. One thing was for certain, any event that Sophia threw together was never casual. It was extravagant and most likely black tie too.

“You need to get out and live a little. This is the perfect event for you. There are going to be some gorgeous available men there, including Sergio and some of his friends.”

That caught Mandi’s attention. Sophia’s brother Sergio was one of those guys who were so good looking that it made you become way too easily distracted. Sophia’s brother or not, he was hot. He exuded a dark sensuality and intensity that made him mysterious still yet a familiarity and ease that made him approachable. His mannerisms and cocky charm had always brought out quite the combination of emotions in Mandi when she was still in college and had first met him. At times she thought he was like the dream guy, the one who lived an exciting life and could take her out of her shell, and she welcomed the thought. Then there were the times when Mandi would suddenly feel like being in a relationship with such a dynamic person would be overwhelming, and it would be impossible to do anything without drawing lots of attention. Of course, these were all thoughts that Mandi kept hidden in her mind because she’d never be so bold as to assume that she’d have a chance with Sergio. He was about five years older than her, and really had his choice of just about any woman out there. Besides having one of the hottest bodies and gorgeous faces she’d seen, he was brilliant and smart, a self-made young billionaire in a world of high-fashion and glamour. Why would he choose her? And then, of course, there was the fact that Sergio was her best friend’s brother. Well, it was still a nice fantasy. A girl can dream, can’t she?

“We have one hour to get you ready, Mandi,” Sophia continued, not noticing that she hadn’t responded to her last statement. “Let’s go.”

Five minutes later, the gallery was locked up and Mandi was sitting in the passenger seat of Sophia’s new Beamer convertible, and they were making their way to Mandi’s loft. The ride was enjoyable, and it was still early enough that the traffic was fairly light, considering how busy 5th Avenue was most all the time.

“Where’s the benefit at?”

“At The Glass Houses, and let me tell you—it looks phenomenal. The committee really busted their tails to help me out.”

Mandi smiled. Sophia didn’t hold anything back, and leave it to her to pull off booking such an in demand place at the last minute. I guess that was a perk that came with being ultra-wealthy, not to mention ultra-persuasive.

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