Her Billionaire's Bargain

By: Yvette Hines

Aunt Joy had passed away a few years ago, and Kourtney had been proudly running it ever since. In the store room, where the smell of sugar and spices was mellower than the kitchen but still saturated the air Kourtney had no problem spotting the man at the front window staring out into the wide parking lot in front of the house. Even from behind she could see that his dark suit had to be tailor made to fit his body. It wasn’t tight, but form fitting in a way that displayed his broad shoulders, wide back and narrow waist. His pants hung with a sharp crease that traveled perfectly straight without so much as a bend until it got to the cuff centered at the back of his shoes.

Moving around the antique Victorian-style tables decorated with exact replicas of the cupcakes they made, Kourtney closed in on the man. “I was told you were looking for me.”

“If you’re Ms. Deen I have.”

The man turned slowly, his hands shoved deep in his pants pocket disturbing the hem of his jacket that was fastened over what had to be firm abs.

Glancing up the five inches or so to his square chin and wide mouth with his uncommon full bottom lip, the aquiline nose and met his gaze. Crystalline gray eyes met hers and her heart dropped—passed her feet and clear through the floor to the basement below.

“You are, Ms. Kourtney Deen, correct.” He was staring at her as if she didn’t have all of her facilities present and frowning.

He was correct in that, since her wits had just gone sailing out of her mind. Taking a step back, she took a deep breath and pulled herself together. “Yes.” The first word came out weak, so she lifted her chin and tried again. “Yes, I’m Kourtney.”

“I’m Zac Powers, CEO of Zac Acquisitions & Development. It would seem we have a problem.”

He didn’t hold his hand out, or smile, nothing, just stared directly at her, with the gray eyes that for her may see too much. Swallowing, she folded her arms under her breasts. “What problem is that, Mr. Powers?”

“You’re in the way of progress. All of your neighbors and customers, I’ll assume, have made the wise choice of moving on to greener pastures. However, you’ve opted to stay.”

She knew what he stated was true. Even some of her long time friends and acquaintances in the community had come into the shop and asked her why she wasn’t selling. It was true that a lot of their daily business came from those around them, however, the bulk of the store’s income came from other sources. Word of mouth had caused Cupcakes of Joy to increase profits in the last year—greatly.

The bell over the door chimed as a family of five came strolling into the store. Kourtney spared them a small smile before putting her focus back on the handsome face in front of her.

“People make choices that are best for them. Our choice is not to move.” Turning to head to the back of the store, she glanced over her shoulder, “Good day, Mr. Powers. Sorry you wasted your trip.”

The frown creasing his forehead deepened. As if he’d never had someone turn him down or walk away from him. Probably not.

Rushing away, she needed to put space between them. Not allowing herself another glance at the sexy as hell, dominate man in her store room, she made a beeline to her office. Once there, she closed the door and took several breaths.

She didn’t anticipate the vibrations of the knocking that happened through the door. I just need a moment alone.

“One second, Stacey, and I’ll be out.” Kourtney stepped away from the door and attempted to get her bearings, something she had not been able to do before the impressive male figure.

Another tapping. Frustrated, she crossed the room and snatched the door open. “Stacey, I ju—”

“I see you like to play hardball.”

It was not Stacey standing before her. In the archway of the doorframe was Zac Powers, like an ominous cloud of a big summer storm he invaded her life. “Only employees are allowed back here, sir.”

He shrugged and barely seemed to give an ounce of credence about her shop rules. “I don’t think you’ve even looked at the contract and considered the benefits of signing.”

She shook her head. “How do you know what I have and have not done?”

“I’ve dealt with owners like you before. Too stubborn to evaluate other options.”

What? “I know you’re not standing in my place of business insulting me. You could have sent another one of your goons to do that.”

He chuckled. “True. I mean no insult. Just an experienced observation.”

“Well I have an observation for you—”

“One meeting.” He held up a single finger.

Could he get any more frustrating? “Mr. Powers—”

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