The Billionaire's Toy(8)

By: Penny Wylder

No one even questions, just subtly disappearing and leaving the two of us alone. But not even that is enough, because he pulls me into another tiny room across from the dressing room. It’s cluttered with random electronics and paraphernalia for the gallery, and there’s barely room for the two of us to stand together, but we do.

He towers over me, and I can feel the heat coming off his body in the small space. “That,” he says, “was everything I hoped for.”

“I’m glad you liked it,” I say, breathless at how close he is after hours of being drunk on the feeling of his gaze. I want to reach out and touch him, and he’s so close that I’m can barely stop myself from reaching out.

“I want you,” he says, and my breath catches. “I want you to work for me.”

Stupid, Delia. Of course he wants you to work. This was a job, not an audition for which model is going to fall into his bed. On the heels of disappointment comes a wave of happiness. He wants me to work. I can pay my bills and not have to worry about being evicted! “I’d like that.”

“I want to know if you can handle it,” he says, his voice sliding low. “I want to know that you’ll do everything that I ask, because I haven’t found a muse like you in a long time.”

“A muse?” I smile. “I don’t think I’ve ever been called someone’s muse before.”

“I want you to be mine,” he says, inching just a little closer, and I suddenly find it hard to breathe. “I want you to say yes, not only for me, but because it will help you too.”

I raise an eyebrow. “Oh? How so?”

“The things I’ll ask you to do won’t always be easy. And a lot of them will push your limits. But they’ll also help you become more. I told you, you have that fire in you, and I want to help you make the world burn brighter with it.”

I laugh a little, his passion at once arousing and unnerving me. “You come on a little strong, Mr. Xellum.”

“Yes, I do,” he says, his expression not changing. “And I always will. I know what I want and I never compromise, which is why I need to know if you’re able to handle it.”

“I think you’ll be surprised at what I’m able to handle,” I say, giving him a sly smile. “I accept.”

“Perfect,” he says, straightening. “I’ll tell May and she’ll handle the details.”

He opens the door and strides out, just like yesterday, leaving me gaping and turned on in his wake. The man certainly has a flare for dramatic and abrupt exits. Damn.

I lean against the wall, my energy evaporating, but I’m smiling. I have a job and the hottest boss in the world.


“Girl,” Fleece says the second I walk into the Blind Scorpion, “I’ve already seen it on YouTube. I wish I could have been there. You looked like a badass.”

I laugh and practically collapse on my chair. Before I even came over here I dropped off the rent check to Joe. So not only am I exhausted, I’m relieved, which just makes me that much more tired. “Which look did you see? You can’t have watched a three-hour show on YouTube.”

She gives me a look that makes me blush. “You know which one. The only look that anyone is going to be talking about. The last one, obviously.”

“Yeah,” I say, blushing. Looking back now, I can’t believe that felt so natural. I’m embarrassed just thinking about it. “I honestly don’t even know how I did it.”

Fleece rolls her eyes. “You know that I’ve known you for ten years and I know instantly when you’re lying, right?”

“Ugh. Fine,” I say. “But give me a drink first.” She passes me another one of her concoctions—I’ve learned not to ask what’s in them anymore. “It was him.”

“What do you mean?”

I sigh. “I mean, it was him. Andrew Xellum. Have you seen him?”

Fleece rolls her eyes. “Of course I’ve seen him. He’s so gorgeous it’s just unfair. But I’m still not sure what he has to do with your performance other than hiring you?”

“I mean, I thought I was going to vomit, but then I saw him watching me and the whole performance suddenly made sense. Like thinking of him as the audience was what I needed to make myself cut loose. It’s hard to explain.” I take a deep sip of my drink. “But the best part is that he wants to give me more work. So I really owe you one for making me go.”

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