Protecting The Billionaire

By: Christina Tetreault

Chapter 1

“What are you still doing here?”

Allison turned her chair toward where her cousin and boss Jake Sherbrooke stood. She’d thought he’d already left for the night like everyone else in the office.

“I wanted to finish this up before the weekend. I’m almost done.”

“Do you want me to wait for you?”

“Nope. I promise I’ll leave as soon as I’m done with this paragraph.” She’d been working on the grant proposal since the previous week. Once she finished this section, she’d have a preliminary draft to present to her cousin.

For a moment, Jake remained silent, his fingertips drumming on the top of another chair. “That’s what you said Wednesday night and you ended up here until nine.”

He had her there. However, that hadn’t been her intention. When she’d told him she planned on leaving soon, she’d meant it. Somehow she’d lost track of time, and before she realized it, her stomach was rumbling and her watch read nine. Tonight she wouldn’t let that happen.

“Cross my heart, I’ll only stay another twenty minutes.”

“Okay, but if you’re late, it’ll be your fault two pregnant women have to wait for their dinners,” Jake said as he pulled on his suit jacket. “You don’t want to see Charlie when she’s hungry these days.”

She’d gone out with her cousin’s wife three weeks ago, and it did seem as if Charlie’s appetite had grown exponentially since she’d reached the end of her pregnancy. “Trent would never let me hear the end of it either if I showed up late.” Allison turned back toward her computer screen. “So the sooner you leave, the sooner I’ll be done.”

“It’s always nice talking to you too, cuz.” Jake started toward the door. “See you soon.”

Allison waited until her cousin left before she went back to typing, the sound of her fingertips hitting the keyboard the only noise in the office. Both a Friday and St. Patrick’s day, the office had cleared out the moment five o’clock rolled around. Not that she blamed anyone. Who wanted to be stuck behind a desk on a Friday night, especially now that it remained light out longer and the weather had turned milder. Last year at this time, she would’ve locked her office door and left with everyone else. Not now.

Ever since she started at her cousin’s foundation in February, she’d worked hard to prove to everyone that she deserved her position, that Jake hadn’t simply hired her because they were related. While no one had come out and said anything to her, she’d gotten that impression from a few of the employees in the office. And maybe Jake had offered her the job first because he was her cousin and he knew she’d been itching for a change. But he never would’ve offered if he didn’t believe she was qualified. The Falmouth Foundation meant too much to him, and from what she could tell, he only hired highly qualified individuals.

“And done.” With enthusiasm, she stabbed the period key before she saved the document and closed the program. First thing Monday morning, she’d do a last read-though before she met with Jake to discuss the proposal. Assuming he had no changes, she’d get the final documents sent out next week.

Gathering up her things, she pushed in her chair and headed out. She had more than enough time to stop home and change before she met everyone for dinner.

A crisp, refreshing breeze washed over her as she walked to her car. If she’d been in Rhode Island right now, she’d probably still be wearing a winter jacket. However, mid-March in Virginia was proving to be much milder than March in New England, not that she’d ever complain about that. She might have been born and raised in New England, but she’d never loved the cold winters. While she wouldn’t call Virginia a tropical paradise, it was milder than what she was used to. In her opinion, the warmer climate was just another perk of moving away from Providence, and there were several. The first being she no longer bumped into her ex-boyfriend Charles every time she turned around.

Yep, that was a definite perk.

To bad there were also several downsides to moving. Since she’d relocated to Alexandria, she hadn’t seen her dad and stepmom much. Before the move, she visited with them on a regular basis. She also hadn’t seen her brothers. She complained about the four of them, but she was close to all of them, especially Derek, her twin. He kept promising to come and visit, but so far he hadn’t made it down. The next time they spoke, she’d have to give him a hard time about that.

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