The Millionaire Daddy Project

By: Roxanne Snopek

Chapter One

The man had stage presence, she had to give him that.

Pamela Atwater, Chief Executive Assistant to The Great Dane Bergman—in her mind, the letters were always capitalized—waited for the king to finish wowing his subjects, wishing she wasn’t just a tiny bit wowed herself. But he really was great, from his perfectly tousled hair to his lean, long legs and everything, she imagined, in between. Flash and dash, the kind of strategic packaging a smart girl like her knew to appreciate from a safe distance. She bit her lip. She hadn’t quite figured out the parameters of that safe distance, unfortunately.

The boss stood at a podium in the main test kitchen of the Resource and Development—aka “Creative”—department of his kingdom, drawing out the suspense while his employees sat in rapt attention. He gestured grandly to a small box on the podium, then whisked off the linen napkin covering it, like a magician revealing a prize.

A magician with McDreamy’s smile and Patrick Jane’s golden curls.

“In appreciation for your hard work on our latest venture, I’ve prepared gift cards for you all, good at any of our establishments.”

He prepared, thought Pamela. His entire contribution to the bonus was the instruction: “$500 for each of them, however you want to do it.”

Naturally, Dane’s announcement was met with enthusiastic applause. Bergman employees were extraordinarily proud of their chain of restaurants, which included the Railhouse Pub, famous for its craft beer, and the Station, for more upscale dining. Dane frequently provided such inducements, as a way of encouraging them to bring in their friends and family. No one could fault his generosity.

Dane had a Mr. Darcy-esque air of justified entitlement, and somehow, the combination with his good looks resulted in an endless lineup of women vying to bask in the circle of Bergman love light.

Seeing how quickly that light shifted kept Pamela safely out of the lineup, able to enjoy her tiny bit of wow because, well, she wasn’t dead, was she?

That girlfriend queue would thin out dramatically if they spent forty hours a week with him. The man loved his work. Everything else was the choice of last resort. She’d never be satisfied with second best, no matter how hot the guy was or how much money he had.

“With your help,” he continued, waving his arm to encompass the dozens of people in front of him, “the Bergman Group will rise to even greater fame, bringing the best of food and drink to the good people of Vancouver. Here’s to STRUT!, the city’s newest, edgiest night club!”

The fact that there was a community protest set up outside the refurbished building housing the new night club was inconsequential to him, merely a smudge on his latest diamond, awaiting Pamela’s polish.

“STRUT! is a place where beautiful people go to see and be seen,” he continued. “You’re all representative of the Bergman brand so bear that in mind at all times. New uniforms are on the way and remember to use your complimentary corporate gym memberships. You look your best when you’re healthy and happy.”

Pamela saw a few smiles slip.

Thin ice, boss. He didn’t seem to realize how much work went into “natural” beauty. Thank goodness her own position didn’t depend on sex appeal, she told herself. She preferred staying behind the scenes. No distractions that way. No expectations.

“Pamela?” Dane turned to her and she felt his gaze like a jolt of electricity. “Do you have anything to add?”

To smooth over? You bet she did.

“Thank you,” she said, stepping forward to address the group. “Mr. Bergman’s comment regarding our common core values is well taken. The Bergman Group is about beauty, pleasure, sensuality even. Obviously, we don’t dictate how you use your personal time; we merely encourage you to take advantage of your benefit package in the manner that suits you best.”

As she expected, a relieved titter rippled over the room.

“The next six weeks will be busy as we prepare to showcase our new club at the Vancouver food festival, so I’d like to take this time to recognize Chef Castellano,” she nodded toward an Italian man in immaculate whites, “and the entire Creative team. You’ve created a brand new menu for STRUT! without interrupting the award-winning service in either the pub or the restaurant. Thank you!”

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