Bought by a Millionaire

By: Heidi Betts

One




Shannon Moriarty glanced at the paper in her hand, then back up at the numbers on the building. This was the right place. And she had exactly three minutes to make it to the eighteenth floor for her appointment with the esteemed Burke Ellison Bishop, one of Chicago’s most eligible bachelors.

With a polite nod, the doorman let her into Bishop Heights and directed her to the bank of elevators that would take her to Mr. Bishop’s office. Refusing to be intimidated by the gold-and-marble lobby, she hiked her heavy, all-purpose satchel higher on her shoulder and stepped into the conveyance.

Relax, she told herself. It’s not as if you’ve never had a job interview before. Of course, she’d never interviewed for a position quite like this, either.

The doors slid open on the eighteenth floor to reveal a salmon-colored carpeted hallway, a mahogany reception desk, and huge, gold letters proclaiming Bishop Industries, Incorporated. Another deep breath and she stepped out of the elevator toward a secretary, who was smiling just a little too brightly for Shannon’s peace of mind.

“May I help you?” the woman asked cheerily.

“My name is Shannon Moriarty. I have a two o’clock appointment with Mr. Bishop.”

The attractive, middle-aged brunette was already nodding. “Mr. Bishop is expecting you, Miss Moriarty. I’ll show you right in.”

Not even a minute to prepare herself; two seconds to powder her nose or run a hand through her windblown hair. Suddenly, she was so nervous that she really had to go to the bathroom. But she followed the receptionist down the long, mahogany-paneled hall to Burke Bishop’s sprawling office.

Shannon strode through the open door, then froze in her tracks. She was almost afraid to take another step for fear something would shatter. The black marble floor shimmered like a deep canyon, visible only in moonlight, giving the illusion that anyone who tried to cross the room would be walking on air. A glass-topped credenza lined one wall, the warm autumn hues of various liquors filling decanters of every shape and size. Black leather armchairs sat on either side of a glass coffee table against another wall.

Chrome and black and enough glass to fill every window of the Sistine Chapel. Even the man’s desk was glass.

Her attention landed on the high-back leather chair, swaying gently from side to side as someone facing the opposite direction talked on the phone. He twisted the black cord around his index finger, let it fall, then twisted the cord again.

Oh, Lord. Burke Bishop sat in that chair. The wealthiest man in Illinois…possibly America. A man reported to be sought after by every available woman in Chicago high society—and a few who weren’t quite available, but didn’t seem to care.

Before Shannon had the chance to run—and she was seriously considering it—the telephone conversation ended and Burke Bishop turned. His slate-gray eyes landed on her, running the length of her body and back.

Shannon felt her cheeks heat, her heart pick up its pace at the directness of his gaze. The numerous pictures she’d seen of him in newspapers and magazines didn’t do the man justice. He was remarkably, stunningly attractive. His hair was black and cut short, with only a small stray lock curling across his forehead above one dark eye. His charcoal suit was likely Armani and fit him like a glove, his silk tie a splash of mottled colors running straight down his chest.

“Miss Moriarty. Please, have a seat.”

His voice nearly made her knees buckle. Deep and rich and confident, it slid through her veins like warm honey. Before her legs gave out on her, she moved to one of the black and chrome chairs in front of his desk, letting her bag slide to the floor by her feet.

“I appreciate your coming in,” he said, opening a large legal folder on his desk and perusing the contents. “Do you mind if I run through a few of the details of your previous meetings with my doctors and attorneys?”

She swallowed. There had been plenty of them, and she’d answered at least a million questions. But she’d expected much the same from her appointment with Burke Bishop, so she shook her head in acquiescence.

“You’re twenty-six years old.”

“Yes,” she answered, even though it was clearly a statement, not a question.

“A high school graduate, now attending the University of Northeastern Illinois. Majoring in early childhood education.”

“Yes.”

“Your medical records are exemplary. Nothing more than the usual childhood diseases.”

“Yes,” she said again.

Apparently satisfied with her response, he closed the folder, tapped the edge against his desk twice, and then set it aside.

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