The Billionaire's Curvy Conquest(4)

By: Lydia Layne

I wouldn’t be finding any of the items on Mr. Reed’s list - lingerie or otherwise - at a store like Bergdorf or Neiman. Using my cell phone, I quickly dialed the number on Alice’s card.

“Alice speaking,” she answered promptly.

“Hi Alice, it’s Cassie. I have a question.”

“Already?” She sounded concerned and was probably thinking that she should have done the shopping herself.

“It’s about the list,” I said. “The items are a bit more...intimate... than I expected.”

“Are you up to completing the assignment Miss James?” Alice asked with alarm.

“Definitely,” I said. Although I wasn’t completely sure, I wasn’t about to throw in the towel so soon. “I’m just not sure where to shop for the kinds of lingerie and, um...other items... that Mr. Reed is requesting.”

“I see,” Alice responded, the pleasant tone back in her voice. “No need to worry. There’s a high-end specialty shop on the corner of 3rd and Wells. It has a very discrete entrance that’s easy to miss, so look for the black door with 307 Wells in gold lettering. Push the buzzer and ask for Mrs. Tate. Tell her I sent you, she’ll know how to help.”

I thanked her and hung up the phone. Shoving the list into my purse, I hailed a cab and instructed the driver to drop me off at 3rd and Wells.

Chapter 3

At two-twenty, my phone rang. It was Alice.

“Where are you?” she hissed.

“I just walked in the building and am heading for the elevator.”

“You’re very late!”

“Less than half an hour.” In my world, that was pretty much on time.

“I told you that Mr. Reed does not like to be kept waiting,” Alice warned, the pleasant tone in her voice nearly gone.

“But I got everything on Mr. Reed’s list and followed his directions exactly,” I lamely defended myself.

“Hopefully that will be enough to appease him,” Alice said before hanging up.

As I rode Mr. Reed’s silent, private elevator, I started to get nervous. Had I blown my future at Reed Technologies by being late for my first special project?

My anxiety increased as the floors ticked by. By the time the elevator stopped at the penthouse, I was shaking.

Alice looked at me without saying a word, her stern gaze taking in my change of dress. My white blouse and black pants had been replaced by a long, black coat, buttoned neck-to-calf.

If she was curious about what I had on underneath, she didn’t let on.

She motioned for me to follow her down the hallway. In my hands were three shopping bags. Two were for Mr. Reed and held the specialty items from his list. The third held my clothes.

Stopping at a set of closed double doors, Alice knocked twice, paused briefly and then opened the door.

“Miss James has returned,” she said, presumably to Mr. Reed, although I couldn’t see him from my position behind her.

“Send her in and close the door,” a deep male voice barked.

Alice opened the door wider, indicating that I should enter Mr. Reed’s office. Gathering my courage, I strode through the entrance.

“Make sure you address him as sir,” Alice whispered as I passed. “Good luck, Miss James.”

Standing there, shopping bags in hand, I awaited further direction, jumping slightly when the door closed behind me with a thud.

Mr. Reed’s palatial office resembled a small, upscale apartment. At one end was a massive desk. It faced a wall of windows that framed the breathtaking view of the city.

At the other end was a comfortable seating area arranged in front of a stone fireplace. In between were various pieces of fine furnishings and a side door that led to what looked like a private bath.

Although Mr. Reed was sitting at his desk with his head down, reading a document on his computer screen, his commanding presence still filled the room.

“Don’t just stand there, Miss James, bring me the items I asked for,” he barked without looking up.

I walked gingerly toward his desk, my breath quickening when I got close enough to see his profile in detail. I had never seen him like this, with his suit jacket off, tie loosened and the sleeves of his white shirt rolled up. The casual look made him seem slightly less daunting, but even more attractive than usual.

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