Authors: Ellie Danes
Desired by Him
(Chosen by Him Series, Book Two)
(An Alpha Billionaire Romance)
by Ellie Danes
This book is a work of fiction. The names, characters, places and incidents are products of the writer’s imagination or have been used fictitiously and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to persons, living or dead, actual events, locales or organizations is entirely coincidental
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I clenched my fists as I approached him, biting the inside of my cheek as I felt all eyes on me. I caught the smell of his cologne and my heart skipped a beat, instantly reminding me of our time together in the park. I had wanted this internship so badly—and now, here it was, standing right in front of me, literally.
But what was Chase’s true motive in choosing me? He had said I had potential, that he had been impressed by my credentials, but if I hadn’t done what I did the night before, would things have turned out differently?
, I reminded myself,
Chase originally didn’t want me because he thought us working close together would be a distraction, not because I wasn’t smart enough.
I wondered if, after the night before,
would be the one who couldn’t handle being that close to
He extended the envelope to me, allowing his fingertips to gently brush up against my fingers. The electricity was immediate and sent shivers down my body. I could feel my face warm as he looked into my eyes and smiled slightly.
“I’m looking forward to working with you, closely.”
I swallowed hard as I fumbled for words and could only manage two. “Me too.”
I joined the other interns still standing in the front of the class. The girls, all dressed up today, gave curt smiles to the new interns, while the guys looked us up and down, most checking the new girls out instead of looking at them as competition.
Sneers mixed with smiles shot out from the classroom audience at the ten of us. Alyssa threw a thumbs up from her seat in the back with a huge smile. I let out a long, relaxed breath and took in the moment as Chase continued with his presentation.
I forced my eyes away from Summer, observing my new interns before turning toward the class again. The touch of her hand alone had got my blood flowing as memories from our encounter the night before filled my mind.
What the hell was I doing, getting close to a student again? That had always been my problem, from day one—I liked to jump into things, regardless of the consequences. My ego was too big, one of my partners used to say.
You think you own the world, Chase
, they would tell me,
but life doesn’t work that way. You can’t go around controlling everything and getting everything you want and expect no consequences
Well, it was too late now. The ego had won, and there was no turning back.
“Ladies and gentlemen, here are this semester’s interns.” I waved my hand as if I were presenting the grand prize at a game show. It felt a bit crazy, but it took my mind off of what I was really thinking. “That’s it, everyone. The rest of the day is yours. I will see you Friday.”
The class cleared and I held the ten interns for a few extra minutes. They were all smart and charming MBA students, but she was the only one on my mind. Had I chosen her for what we had done last night? I had thought long and hard about that question. I had to admit that the situation had changed my resolve to alter the program to admit new interns, but I kept remembering how much she had impressed on paper alone. She was smart, as smart or smarter than the rest of them.
I gathered them at the center of the room around the desk. I could tell each of them were on edge, except for Summer. She kept a faint, dreamy smile on her face that made me feel at ease.
“Congratulations to you all,” I conceded, looking each one of them in the eye. Five girls, five guys. Adding the five other interns had hardly been a chore; everyone was qualified and eager for the opportunity.
“The envelope in your hands is your next assignment,” I explained. “This semester, you will each be assigned a mentor. I’m far too busy to take on all of you, and I believe this will give you the best opportunity to grow and learn. This will be in addition to your coursework, of course, which I fully expect all of you to keep up with.”
A look of disappointment fell on each of their faces as I broke the news. “I had thought–” one of the men began, raising his hand in protest.
“Dillon, right?” I didn’t wait for his acknowledgement, I knew I was correct. “It doesn’t matter what you had thought. You will each meet your mentor at the location and time contained in the envelope. Your task is to pass this interview with them, to convince them to work with you. Basic sales, negotiation. You know the drill.”
I could hear the crinkling of paper as the students opened their envelopes, studying their locations. I glanced a Summer. She, too, had opened her envelope, but her eyes were trained on me.
“If they decide they don’t want to work for you, for whatever reason, you’re of no use to me as an intern.” I gave Dillon a matter-of-fact stare. “Make it past this stage and we can talk about what you thought.”
I dismissed them, and was turning to pack up my things when I felt a hand fall lightly on my arm. I turned to see Summer standing next to me. Her perfume filled my nose and I drank it in. “Thank you,” she whispered.
I noticed the other students staring and gave her a glare, although giving her such a brash response made me feel guilty.
was supposed to be the responsible one here, after all, and I had completely rigged the system to get closer to her. “Don’t thank me just yet,” I told her, brushing her hand off my arm. We’d have to talk about that. “Let’s just see how well you do.”
I spotted the paper with the location written on it in her hands as she turned to leave. Damn my ego.
“I can’t believe he picked you, Sums. That’s amazing. I’m so
jealous!” Alyssa vented, standing at the doorway to my room. “You’re going to be working next to that hot ass man, rubbing elbows with the big hoo-has of the industry. Fuck you!” Alyssa giggled, sipping her glass of cheap red wine, giving me a wink.
Deep down, I think, Alyssa did feel jealous of my opportunity. But she was a good friend, and a faithful one, not willing to spoil my achievement.
“I doubt I’m going to be working next to him,” I told her. “He told us we would each have a mentor because he didn’t have time for all of us.”
“I wonder what changed his mind like that,” Alyssa contemplated. “It’s always been the Kerns Five, and now there are ten? So weird!”
I shrugged, not willing to comment. I continued to pick through my closet, looking for something that wasn’t over-the-top business-like but suitable for an evening business meeting. I felt confident in my interviewing skills, having worked hard to improve and develop them throughout my education, but butterflies still filled my stomach at the thought of trying to impress someone who was likely as important and wealthy as Chase.
What if you don’t impress them? You can’t do to them what you did to Chase,
the niggling critic that always resided in my head decided to chime in.
You’ll just be proving what a whore you are, Summer Farris
I slammed down a pair of shoes I had just picked up, telling the voice in my head to shut up. Chase hadn’t picked me because of that one night, I told myself. He had said he’d been impressed with me. I wished I could ask Alyssa; she always had insightful advice about that type of thing. But I didn’t need her—or anyone—knowing about my out-of-class encounter with Chase Kerns.
I settled for a conservative black dress and heels, running a hand through my hair and wondering if I should curl it.
Alyssa plopped herself on my bed as she watched me get ready. “So, who’d you get for a mentor?”
I looked at the white card that was inside of the envelope again. As Chase had said, the card only contained an address and a time. “I have no idea. I’m just supposed to be at this place at seven.” I tossed the card over to her as she made herself comfortable.
Alyssa raised her eyebrows and smiled. “That’s where all of those nice, big-ass houses are. Damn you, Summer!” she joked, throwing the card back at me. “You lucked out.”
“Oh, I’m sure every one of his mentors are making a ton of money, but I’ll let you know for sure tonight,” I laughed.
“Whatever the case, you better be
, girl!” She watched as I changed into my dress, pulling up my nylons before tucking my feet into my heels. “I will want details when you get back, by the way.”
“Of course,” I promised. I grabbed my phone and slipped it into my purse after looking at the time. “Shit, I’ve got to run. I have twenty minutes to find this place.” I grabbed my portfolio and took off out the door. “Wish me luck!”
“Leave me to my misery!” Alyssa teased, throwing her arm over her eyes with a forlorn moan. “Good luck, you whore!”
I closed the door behind me, biting my lip. She had called me that name in jest, but at that moment, holding an envelope that I was never meant to have before last night, I never felt more like one.
* * * *
I rarely drove my car anywhere. It was beat up, over twelve years old, and had close to a hundred and twenty thousand miles on it. I hated it, but it got me from point A to point B without fail most of the time. Tonight, it managed to get me to the front of a palatial home on River Road just in time. I pulled in and parked on the gated, circular driveway, my mouth gaping already at the sight of an enormous, lighted fountain.
Whoever my mentor was, they appeared to have more money than God.
Huge pillars sat in front of the house, reminding me of the time I had went on a family trip to see the White House during spring break one year. The yard, the architecture—hell, even the sidewalk—was kept perfectly, clean and prim and proper. I gazed up at it in shock, leaning forward so I could see the top of the building, the solar-paneled rooftop and the picturesque, darkening sky above it.
To think all it took to get here was one night...
I stopped thinking, again telling my mind to shut up, leaning back in my seat.
I looked in the rearview mirror for one final check of my makeup and touched up my lipstick. No matter the reason, I had been given a chance, although I knew it was likely because of the intimate moment I shared with Chase. But I had to make the most of the opportunity, right now.
I stared at the card again, clutching it in my fist along with my portfolio and bag before stepping out of my car, heels echoing on the clean, smooth pavement. Two large double doors loomed in the distance, lit up from within. With each step I rehearsed what I wanted to say to my new mentor.
I want this
, I said, as I willed myself forward.
I want this, I want this, I want this
. I ran through my history, my credentials. This was the moment I had prepared for all these years in college.
I reached the doors, closing my eyes as I rang the doorbell. I had repeated my elevator pitch a million times in my head, and now it was time to see if I could actually deliver it. My only job tonight was to convince my new mentor that I deserved this position.
My eyes opened as I heard the door swing inward. A short, young-looking, attractive man in an expensive-looking suit answered the door. I took in his features quickly. Short brown hair meticulously combed and in place. Steely blue-grey eyes and a bright smile that exuded friendliness. Lips pulled back in a smile as he welcomed me to his home.
I smiled back, immediately thinking about how lucky—not to mention intelligent—he must have been in order to be able to afford such an estate at what I thought was a young age.
“Miss Farris.” He extended his arm, stepping aside to let me in. “Do come in. I’m Jake Widler.”
“It’s a pleasure to meet you Mr. Widler.” I could feel the adrenaline pumping through my body as I realized my interview had just begun. I hoped that Jake Widler would really be as kind as he appeared as I slipped passed him, waiting in the enormous foyer for his next move.
The room was bigger and taller than the auditorium where the business class was held. Deep, rich mahogany wood paneling covered the walls, elegantly lit by the gigantic chandelier that hung in the center of the room. Everything I saw was breathtaking, and it was obvious that no expense had been spared for the décor of the home.
“You can call me Jake,” he said with a slight nod of his head. “If you’ll just follow the hallway to the living room you’ll get started in just a few minutes. Is there anything you’d like to drink? I can get that for you while you’re waiting.”
I kindly declined his offer and made my way down the long hallway, which opened to a large living area. The room was covered in exquisite stone and dark woods, and an enormous fireplace sprawled toward the two-story ceiling was built into one of the walls. The burning fire provided a warm glow throughout the room and I made my way to one of the large couches and took a seat, waiting for Jake to return.
Paintings adorned the walls throughout the room. I recognized a few of the artists from my art history class I had taken a few semesters ago. All of those paintings had hung in museums, protected by security and alarms—not hanging in the elaborate living room of a mansion.
I noticed that there weren’t any personal pictures of Jake in the room at all. The room was impersonal like the exterior of the house, but still incredibly beautiful. It looked like something from one of the fancy home magazines decorated for tours. I could hear a faint conversation from the adjoining room, but I couldn’t make out what was being said or who Jake was speaking with.
A moment later I heard his footsteps as he entered the room. “Your house is absolutely amazing,” I complimented, not to just establish rapport as so many of my business classes had stressed. “Those paintings are gorgeous. Is that Jean Dubuffet?” I pointed to the abstract canvas hanging across from me.
“It is…and thank you.”
smooth voice cut through the room and sent shivers over my body as I turned to see him approaching me, cat-like. Chase had his hands in his pockets, but the gesture in no way detracted from his powerful, predatorial stance. “I hope you didn’t have any trouble finding the place?”
I immediately stood, clutching my portfolio to my chest as I faced him, speechless and caught off guard by his presence. I had never thought he’d pick me as his intern, especially after what had happened.
What exactly did this mean? I couldn’t tell.
Before I could get a word out, Jake interrupted. “Mr. Kerns, if there isn’t anything else you need from me tonight, I’ll be leaving.”
“That’ll be fine, Jake. I’ll see you in the office tomorrow.”
“Goodnight.” Jake practically bowed his way out of the room. I realized he wasn’t a business associate at all, despite his expensive uniform—he was only the help. “It was nice to meet you, Miss Farris.”
I faked a smile as I nodded to Jake, turning to attention back to Chase as soon as the man had gone. “This is your house? You’re my mentor? I thought you said you didn’t have time to mentor students.”
“No, that’s not entirely true,” he contradicted, gazing up at his own painting as he walked over to the other side of the couch to join me. We both sat. “I said I didn’t have time to mentor all of the interns, like I had in the past. I do have time to dedicate to one.” He smiled at me with his million-dollar smile, turning his gaze back to me. “Unless you’d rather have someone else?”
Words caught in my throat as I stared at him. His perfectly fitted pants and pressed dark shirt clung to his body, showing just how fit he was. I realized what it had really meant when he said he looked forward to working with me
what he had meant? That he’d be my mentor and the only thing he needed me for was sex? A good time? Did he even take me seriously in the least? Tears filled my eyes, and I looked down, playing with the edge of my portfolio, willing myself not to cry. My nerves and emotions were a mess. I fumbled for words, trying to think of something—anything—to say.
“Summer? You know, you’ll never get far in the business world if you keep this silence up.” He chuckled. “Usually it’s a good idea to answer the questions that people ask you.”
“No.” I managed to spit out the word. “No, I’d be thrilled to have you as my mentor.” I didn’t know if I was lying or not. Yes, he was more than attractive to me, but if he couldn’t take me seriously, where else could I go but down after this experience? What if someone found out?
Again I fell silent. The crackling of the fire dominated the room before he spoke again.
“Is this how you planned on winning me over as your mentor?” he asked, voice suddenly harsh.
“No, I—” His words only cut deeper into me, making me slouch.
“You seem nervous,” Chase observed, lowering his voice a little, making the tone more inviting and gentle.
“I—” I hesitated, blinking back my tears and forcing myself to look at him. The fire’s glow cast shadows across his face, making him even more attractive—and mysterious. “I’m sorry.” I forced the words from my mouth, not wanting to say my next words, but knowing that I had to say them. “I’m not sure this a good idea.”
“Ah,” he nodded, leaning forward a little. “You don’t think I take you seriously.”
“Well... Yes,” I answered honestly. “After everything—”
“Come with me.” He took my binder and clutch and placed them on the table in the center of the room and then grabbed my hand, leading me through a thick oak door into the kitchen.
His touch was intoxicating. His hand firmly held mine, interlacing our fingers as I took in the kitchen, astonished at the similarly impersonal yet beautiful atmosphere of the room. The cabinets alone had to be worth a fortune, with expensive-looking wood accompanied by stainless steel appliances so shiny that I could have sworn they were never used.
He stopped me in front of the standalone island, giving my hand a squeeze before letting go. “Let’s get a drink and talk. You seem tense.”
A drink was exactly what I needed. I watched as Chase mixed a yellow liquid with the brown liquor from the decanter on the counter. He quickly topped it with a cherry and added a small stirrer stick as if he were professional bartender and handed it to me.
“What is it?” I took a small sniff and then allowed the cold libation to pass my lips as the sour taste caused my cheeks to pucker, my body immediately slammed by the harshness of the alcohol.
“Whiskey sour,” he answered as he smiled and made himself one, watching me suck down the drink as if it were water. “Need another?”
“Please.” A feeling of desperation filled me as he refilled the glass, and I took a small sip. “Look, I know I’ve already messed this interview up. Is this because of the other night? Do you feel guilty for what happened? You shouldn’t, it wasn’t your fault. I–”
“No, Summer.” Chase took a long sip of his drink as he stared at me. “You are more than qualified for this position, even though you have indeed screwed this interview up,” he laughed, and I relaxed a little. As long as he laughed, I felt like things would turn out okay. I didn’t like when he was harsh with me, as he had been earlier in class and just recently on the couch.