But the words, which the billionaire had clearly seen as some sort of advice, had only made her more miserable.

I don’t even get what you’re saying, she had wailed at him.

To which the billionaire, wincing at the shrillness of her tone, had responded, I’m saying you should know Steel thinks you’re different, since not only does he remember your name, he spends time with you, too, even if he thinks you’re off limits.

Slade couldn’t help grimacing at the way Farica was suddenly looking at him like she had suddenly turned all-knowing in the last five minutes. “Whatever it is you’re thinking,” he dismissed, “you’re wrong.” He took another bite of his steak, thinking that his business partner was fast devolving into one of those stupidly whimsical plots in KC’s extremely popular but utterly baffling shoujo manga.

These two characters were polar opposites, he had once remarked incredulously to Lace, so how was it KC’s readers thought it was believable they’d end up together?

His little sister, being almost as anti-mushy as he was, had only nodded in genuine understanding, saying, That’s how they operate. Apparently, die-hard romantics like Farica and KC saw OTP potential in just about every couple, and they only had to see a boy smile at a girl, and the moment the girl smiled back, that would be it. The shipping would start…such as what his business partner was doing this very moment.

“Just admit it,” Farica said. “She’s gotten under your skin, hasn’t she?”

“No. She hasn’t.” So he had asked his security team to do a background check on his new waitress. It was only due diligence on his part, to want to know about Kady’s…credentials. That was all there was to it.

And besides, had Farica forgotten that in-depth pre-employment screenings were a regulatory requirement in Hartland? He was simply being a good citizen, Slade mentally reasoned, by paying for the report on behalf of the local government. It saved the good mayor’s office from shelling out taxpayer money on Kady’s background check while satisfying his curiosity at the same—

“What the fuck?”

But it was already too late, and his friend had already swiped the report from the table.

“Dammit, Fari—”

“Wow.” Farica couldn’t believe how thorough the report was.

Kady Abrams, 24 years old, only child. Resided with her parents in a gated community in Denver until her move to Laramie. Graduated from a private high school and nicknamed Home Economics Goddess in her yearbook. Took up pre-med course in university, but had to request for a leave of absence in her last year. Spent two years taking care of ailing father.

* * *

Subject dated Eric Von Humboldt and friends described the relationship as ‘an on and off thing’. Latter broke up with subject several months after she took leave from university. Von Humboldt has since been in a relationship for over a year with subject’s best friend Margaux Newberry.

* * *

Three months ago, subject’s father was deemed fully recovered and had successfully returned to work. A few weeks after, subject was said to ‘surprise’ many with her decision to transfer to a university in Laramie and take up Family & Consumer Science. Parents were said to be especially critical and disappointed of subject’s decision to no longer pursue a career in medicine and follow in their footsteps.

Complicated in a nutshell, Farica interpreted in the end, and wasn’t that the one thing Slade had been known to find a major turn off? Fuck ’em and leave ’em was her friend’s approach to dating, and Kady was the last person who could ever be okay with that.

Handing the document back to Slade, she said suspiciously, “It’s just not like you to have so much interest in a woman you can’t possibly bed.”

“I know,” the billionaire acknowledged. “But it doesn’t mean I still can’t have any fun with her, does it?”

Dutch words of profanity almost slipped past her lips when she saw the wolfish – almost cruel but outright devastating – smile that had unfurled over his lips.

Shit, Farica thought, and her heart immediately went out to Kady.

“I like seeing her squirm,” the billionaire murmured.

Farica blinked. Did he seriously believe that? Couldn’t he see, if he just took the time to think back on all the women he had fucked and left – it wasn’t like him at all to care about whether he could make a girl squirm or not?

Her mouth opened and closed, but in the end, it was Slade’s self-assured tone that made Farica decide to mind her own business. It’s your funeral, dude. Or more to the point, it was his heart’s funeral, if things turned out the way she suspected, and the billionaire actually felt more for Kady than he realized.

And if that was so, Farica thought, she just hoped her friend would realize the truth before it was too late, and he’d already done something stupid like hurt the girl he was starting to fall for.

Tags: Marian Tee Secret Tycoons of Wyoming Billionaire Romance
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