The Billionaire's Paradise (Sexy Billionaires)(10)By: Victoria Davies
She frowned. “Uh, you’re aware you’ve created a juggernaut in the hospitality industry, right? What the hell do you achieve when you actually like what you’re doing?”
He took a sip of his drink. “The work grew on me. Turns out I had a knack for it.”
She laughed. “Yeah, that’s one way to put it. Why did you decide to even start in this industry?”
“I didn’t,” he said. “Or at least, not entirely. My parents were the ones who started the foundation of this company. My father worked day and night to grow one location into two, then three, and so on. This empire was his dream.”
“They must be very proud of what it’s become.”
He shrugged. “They never saw the full rollout. I inherited everything when I was eighteen.”
Inherited. That meant…
The breath caught in her throat. She should have known, but she’d never cared enough to dig into his past.
“I’m sorry,” she said, feeling her insides clench with sympathy.
Blue eyes flicked to hers. “Boating accident,” he supplied. “I’m told it was fast.”
Avery couldn’t imagine losing her parents. When she’d been dealing with an over-protective mother and trying to survive high school, Hayden had been burying his family.
He leaned forward on the table, his customary smile back in place. “So you see, we should live every day like it’s our last. Regrets are a waste of time.”
“Personal slogan, hmm?”
“One of many.”
She shook her head. “I don’t think I have a reckless bone in my body.”
“You’re on an island thousands of miles from anyone you know. If there was ever a time to explore your boundaries, it’d be now.”
“A time out from real life?”
A satisfied expression filled his gaze. “Exactly.”
She poked at her frozen drink with her straw. “I can’t deny it’s tempting, but it’s not really me.”
“You say that now,” he replied. “Wait till island life seeps into your blood.”
She leaned forward. “Are you hoping I’ll adopt some carpe diem lifestyle and magically fall into bed with you?”
“A man can dream.”
“Hate to break this to you, but not all dreams come true.”
He relaxed back into his chair, taking a sip of his drink. “You’re missing out. I could show you to a whole new way of looking at the world.”
One where there were no rules. No loyalties. Where pleasure was king and people’s hearts meant less than nothing. She rubbed her ring finger again.
I tried living in that world, and it nearly destroyed me once already.
There was no way she was going back.
“I think I’ll pass.”
He shrugged. “I’m a patient man, and you’re not going anywhere soon.”
He had a point.
“Speaking of which, I should give you my update.”
He sighed. “If you must.”
“Today was just some groundwork. I’d say there might be some issues with communication between the managers and staff, but I’ll have to explore that avenue further in the days to come.”
He waved a hand at her. “You’re the expert. Whatever you prescribe, I’ll do.”
“If only those words extended beyond work,” she said.
His gaze sharpened on hers. “On the contrary. I’m quite happy to follow your lead, under certain circumstances.”
“Let me guess. Those circumstances involve a locked door and a king bed.”
His grin widened. “And you’d definitely have to be naked. You’d be amazed how easily managed I become when you lose your clothes.”
“I’ll do my best to not keep that in mind.”
He finished off his drink with a smile. “I’m a simple man at heart.”
“With a black card and a billion-dollar bank account.”
“What can I say?” he replied, spreading his hands. “They’re just details.”
His fingers danced around the rim of his empty glass. “But not to you.”
She rested her chin in her palm. “Would you try to buy me if you could?”
“In a heartbeat.”