Bought by the Billionaire - Page 2

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“May I come in?”

“No.”

He sighed, sounding frustrated. “Why won’t you just talk to me, Keela?”

“There is nothing to say. I’ll find a way to pay you back.” She almost glanced at the bankruptcy papers again, but kept her gaze steady on his face. “That’s the end of it.” As she started to close the door, he put his palm against the door to keep it from shutting.

“That’s not the end. You aren’t going to try to pretend you felt nothing when I kissed you, are you?”

She glared at him, thankful her little sister wasn’t home. “That was a crazy moment, Mr. Magnus, but it meant nothing.” It was absolutely nothing, and she had reminded herself of that firmly several times when the memory had popped into her mind to knock her socks off anew.

He cursed. “Don’t dismiss this thing between us.”

She scowled at him through the thin sliver of the opened door. “There is no thing or us. We had an accident, but that’s it. We live about a billion miles apart.” Pointing her finger toward the street, where a long limousine waited for its owner, she said, “I bet you’ve never even been to Harlem before, and I sure as heck haven’t been to Park Avenue.”

He frowned. “How do you know where I live?”

She was not revealing the sick curiosity that had led her to Google him last night. “A lucky guess. It’s where all the rich people live.” Renewing her efforts to close the door, she pressed hard against the wood. “Now will you please let go and move back? You aren’t wanted here.”

Simon scowled. “You’re lying, Keela. When I held you in my arms yesterday, you were trembling with need, just the same as me. This isn’t over, and I’m not letting you go.”

“Go away, you mad stalker.” The door slammed with a gratifying thud, though she couldn’t take as much joy in it as she would wish, since he had yielded at the last moment to allow her the hollow victory. “Crazy bastard,” she muttered under her breath, refusing to admit she found his persistence a bit flattering.

That was dumb. He wanted one thing from her, and if she gave it to him, that would be the last she’d see of Simon Magnus. Men like him didn’t date women like her. They screwed them on the side while marrying perfect women with shining hair and blinding white teeth.

It was just the challenge of her refusal that kept him going. He’d soon grow tired and go away—or sue her for the damage to the car. That prospect wasn’t as scary as it had been yesterday. The attorney had assured her she would be released from financial obligation for the collision if she filed bankruptcy, since she hadn’t been drunk at the time of the accident.

“Do your worst, Simon Magnus,” she said to her reflection in the tiny mirror on the short wall of the area passing for a foyer before opening to the living room and kitchen.

***

Two days after her meeting with the attorney, Keela was able to focus on the paperwork. She’d been tense yesterday, expecting Simon to approach her again, but the worst he’d done was have a dozen roses delivered to her door that she had refused to accept. Either he hadn’t believed her allergy claim, or he was trying to punish her for her rejection. Either way, she’d tried to pretend like she wasn’t thinking about it all day, even when it had consumed her thoughts.

Today, she forced herself to pay attention. The paperwork took several hours, and she was disgruntled to realize she was missing the information for a creditor. Plucking up her courage to call, she dialed the collections department and asked for the pertinent account information.

“Ah, yes, here it is, Ms. Goodwin. Your balance is zero.”

She arched a brow. “That isn’t right. It should be…” As she trailed off to calculate what she thought she owed them, the agent spoke again.

“There’s no mistake. Your payment posted, and your debt is cleared.”

Knowing it was a mistake, she asked for a supervisor and got the same information. Feeling stymied, she finally hung up and added a guesstimate for balance on the paperwork. There was no way that debt was paid, and she wasn’t going to risk leaving it off the paperwork, leaving her open to renewed collections when Halford Bank figured out they had messed up.

***

The next morning brought another delivery of flowers, this time orchids. They were beautiful, and she was so tempted to keep them. Instead, she firmed her lips and shook her head at the deliveryman. “Send them back.”

He sighed. “Yes, ma’am.”

After dropping off the paperwork, she went in for an extra shift at the diner, which put her home a little after eleven p.m. Exhausted, she barely had the energy to strip, step into the shower, and pull on ratty pajamas before collapsing on her bed. She dragged her laptop closer to check her email.

One from the company administering her student loans made her groan. Payment wasn’t due for another week, and she was still scrambling to get it all together. Please don’t let there be any more surprises in store, she thought to herself as she clicked the message.

“Thank you for your recent payment of $64,918.42. Your next payment amount is $0, due in one week.”

She blinked and reread the message. Three more read-throughs didn’t change the words. Completely mystified, she logged on to the online system and discovered identical information. According to the company’s website, she had made a payment yesterday. No, not a payment, but the payment—the final one to clear the debt.

Dark fear gripped her, and she logged into her online bank with trembling fingers, terrified there had been some kind of financial error that had led to a payment for the full balance drafting from her account a week early. Even as she reassured herself the bank wouldn’t cover it, since her overdraft protection was only three hundred dollars, it was still reassuring to see the balance wasn’t overdrawn by sixty-four-thousand dollars.

Relief blinded her, so it took a moment to realize there were some extra zeroes in her balance that shouldn’t be there. Through narrowed eyes, she pulled up her banking history and was shocked to see thousands of dollars in transactions already processed from her account. A quick mental tally had her guessing every last debt she owed had been paid.

How that could be was a mystery solved by going to the next page. Someone had deposited an obscene amount of money into her account. SiMag was the identifier attached to it, and she gasped. “He wouldn’t?”

But he would, and he had. That slimy bastard had paid off all her debts. He’d hacked her bank account to put in money and pay off everyone appearing on her credit report. It was disgusting and vile.

It was also oddly sweet, in a twisted, stalker-ish sort of way. Keela fought that reaction, concentrating on the sense of violation sweeping through her. He had invaded her privacy and tried to buy her just like he had his damned sports car. Her eyes fell on the deposit amount again, and she had to concede at least he thought she was worth more than a fancy automobile.

It was far too late to confront him, and she had no idea of his exact home address, so Keela tried to settle down to sleep. She was going to need all her wits and full rest about her when she confronted Magnus in the morning. He could just undo whatever he’d done.

As she lay there, it occurred to her he couldn’t un-pay her bills, especially since they had originated from her own account. Instead, it was another debt she would owe him.

A claustrophobic feeling swept over her, and she struggled to breathe through it. No, she couldn’t panic. Whether she owed him a few thousand or hundreds of thousands, she would either pay him off or file bankruptcy. That seemed like a silly idea in light of having her other debts cleared, but she refused to let Magnus stake his ownership.

Chapter Four

The perfect blonde receptionist she had expected the first night she’d come to his office was waiting for her that morning. The woman was practically an Amazon and should have been aloof and disdainful to match expectations, but she greeted Keela with a wide smile. “Mr. Magnus is so pleased you could make the meeting, Ms. Goodwin.”

She almost asked what meeting that could be, since she had shown up without notice and had expected to have to figuratively fight her way through security to get to the head honcho. Instead, everyone had rolled out the red carpet for her. While making her task easier, it was still unnerving. She muttered something she hoped sounded polite to the Amazon receptionist and followed her to his office.

The door was open, and he was smiling when he greeted her. “Good morning, Keela.”

Cheerful bastard. With a barely contained glare, she closed the door behind her with more force than necessary and strode across the carpet. He was behind his desk, and she slammed her palm onto the smooth wood. “What the heck do you think you’re doing, Simon Magnus?”

His eyes widened, and he looked confused. “Is there a problem?”

“A problem?” Her mouth gaped open, and she had to resist the urge to scream like a banshee. “It’s a huge problem when you hack into my bank account. That’s illegal, mister.” For emphasis, she poked him in the chest when he came within range. “Even for billionaire tech gods, it’s against the law. I could have you arrested.”

“Ouch.” He rubbed his chest. “Don’t you think you’re overreacting?” He grinned. “Besides, who’s going to put me in jail for putting money into your account?”

She glared at him. “You’re such an arrogant ass. It’s everything I despise about people like you.”

His eyes narrowed. “People like me?”


Tags: Mia Caldwell Billionaire Romance
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