‘Holy shit’ are not the best words to say

when you see how gorgeous your billionaire is for the first time.

He will want to f**k you after that.

“Oh God, I’m going to be, like, super late.”

I threw Alyx a look of horror before returning my gaze to the digital display of the elevator, wishing there was a way I could have it speed up. If I ever survived today’s job interview alive, I must remember to write to the CEO of Ferrari. He should know that people who were pathologically late like me needed his help. He just had to create a sports car version for elevators.

“Stop panicking.” Alyx rolled her eyes as she spoke. She sort of did it all the time, actually, making you unable to figure out when she was being sincere or sarcastic.

Alyx continued, “Any company would love to have you, Yanna.”

“I’m not.” Her voice still had that eye-roll-tone so I couldn’t quite make up my mind if she really did mean it. We had been friends since our kindergarten days, but this one just plain eluded me all these years. I had long decided that this quirk of Alyx was truly something only her own Mr. Right could figure out. I told her as much but Alyx had just laughed and called me a “romantic”. Personally, I thought what she really wanted to say went along the lines of naïve, foolish, and hopeless.

“You just have to show them what you’ve got.”

Now that one sounded semi-sincere so I unhesitatingly asked, “What do I have?” I sniffed for effect, just so Alyx would take pity on me and dwell more on my good points than bad.

Alyx pursed her lips, and when she did that she looked more like a schoolteacher, thanks to her nerdy glasses and buttoned-up blouse – okay, make that a schoolteacher in mini.

We loved our minis, Alyx and I.

She eyed me head to toe, lingering on how I twisted my hair into a prim-preppy chignon, the modest neckline of my blouse, and my skirt, which ended two inches over the knee.

I was sort of thinking she’d say something nice after that, but what she came up with was, “Well, you may be older than most entry-level applicants—”

“But if you tell them it’s because you had to take care of your ailing parents first, I’m sure they’ll understand.”

Seeing the serious expression on her face, I protested, “I can’t say those things! That’s, like, lying.” And yes, I was indeed 24 years old with a tendency to abuse the word ‘like’. It was my own version of nail-biting – verbally regressing to a teenager from the 1990’s whenever I was anxious or terrified. The word ‘panicky’ described me perfectly to a T, which was why Alyx felt the need to accompany me all the way up to 34/F, where my future would later hang in the balance.

Alyx didn’t seem to hear me. “Also, you just need to let them know that you speak scores of languages and an honor’s certificate from your college.”

Alyx didn’t seem to hear that either. As the elevator’s doors silently slid open at my floor, she simply gave me a thumbs-up and said, “Trust me. Anyone with half a brain is going to want to hire you.”

Not if you’re late by twenty and you’re absolutely unprepared for your first ever job interview, I thought a few minutes later as I pushed the heavily tinted glass doors open and found more than a dozen pair of eyes gazing at me.

“Sorry, sorry,” I mumbled red-faced as I force-squeezed my way behind the row of seats on the left side of the table. It was the only way to get to the other side of the room. The entire left row of seats was fully occupied, and their wheels squeaked as the other applicants pushed their chairs further in so I could pass.

“Ditz,” the bottle blonde in a severe black suit not-so-softly sneered as I walked past her. Since I was wearing my favorite pink suit and everyone here seemed dress for mourning (why did I not get the memo that black was back as the new black?), I told myself I’d let just that one go.

Only one chair from the opposite row of tables was taken, occupied by a man wearing a pinstriped suit and studying a sheaf of papers he held in one hand. Even seated as he was, he exuded an authoritative aura that made me gulp. If this man was going after the same job I was applying for, I might as well give up now.

Taking the seat next to him, I quickly sat my bag on the chair on my other side as I hurriedly hand-combed my shoulder-length brown hair, which was still half wet from my shower.

People from the opposite row were staring at me oddly. I could feel their gazes on me, and most of them weren’t friendly either. My heart sank even as I tossed a grateful glance at the unoccupied seat at the head of the table. Obviously, whoever it was Kastein Inc. had assigned to interview us was also late – but what if the other applicants were planning to tell on me once the interviewer arrived?

Sensing the man next to me turning to my direction and not getting any unfriendly and competitive vibes from him, I silently breathed a sigh of relief at the thought of having at least one person in the room not antagonistic toward me.

I cringed at the sound. That was what I should have done. Gasped. But then – who could blame me, really? Anyone would have been completely shocked at seeing someone so incredibly beautiful in person. Men were not supposed to be beautiful, dammit. But this one was.

His sun-kissed hair seemed to have all the shades between dark gold to copper – his natural hair color, in other words. It was impossible for any artificial hair dye to create his kind of hair, which was also naturally curly. Those adorable curls would have made him look g*y if not for his strong jaw. His eyes were the lightest shade of gray, almost silver – and they were laughing at me, with his sexy-looking lips curved in a slight, amused grin.

My heart sank the second time in minutes at the sight of it. Great. Way to make an impression on a potential rival in the workforce: let him know he’s turned your head around completely.

Desperate to make him forget my embarrassing gaffe, I asked quickly, “Are you applying for the marketing research position, too?”

He raised a brow, making me wonder what I had said wrong. His sexy secretive grin still playing on his lips, he said simply, “No.”

We stared at each other after that. I didn’t want to – I swear I didn’t – but somehow his gaze was commanding and magnetic, and I felt like I wouldn’t be able to pull my gaze away unless he let me. And really, I knew how ridiculous that sounded – especially where I was concerned.