Paige was dropped off at her small apartment twenty minutes from the hotel and when she went to pay the driver she was informed it had been taken care of.

She knew it had to have been Mr. Maestri who paid so she would make sure to pay him back when she saw him again.

Walking into her small two bedroom apartment that she shared with three other women went to the cabinet and grabbed the aspirins.

The others weren home yet, they never were as they had a busy social life. They only spend maybe four nights here, which was fine with her since it was small and she liked having some privacy.

With two women in each bedroom, it was agreed they wouldn bring a man back to spend the night. If she made a better income she would have gotten a place of her own, but the hotel did not pay their employees that well.

Slipping into her nightgown and getting into bed she laid there, unable to sleep.

What would the others think when they find out she was going to be spending the day with the man who held their future in his hands.

Would they resent her for helping him to get the place fixed up?

She didn want to do it but he was a man that without much effort was able to put fear in ones heart and she knew he wouldn let her out of helping him.


She crawled out of bed, dragging her tired and aching body into the shower. As the warm water ran down her body she thought about the day that was in store for her.

How was she going to cope being around such a loathsome man?

Putting on her best pair of jeans and blouse, applying just a touch of make-up she headed to the bus station. God help her if she was late meeting the all mighty Mr. Maestri.

Arriving at his room she knocked, The goon opened it and motioned for her to come in and when she did he walked out, shutting the door behind him.

She stood there waiting and turned to look at him when he came from the bathroom. He was dressed casual, black pants, light blue dress shirt, no tie, no jacket. When he walked over to her she got a whiff of his cologne, that mixed with his own scent was pleasing to her. God, he smells so good.

”Miss Mosley, you
e on time, I like that. Have you got a pen and pad to take notes? ”

”Yes, sir, ” she said, looking him in the eye.

”Good, shall we go? ” he asked. Placing his hand on the small of her back ushered her out the door.

His touch felt warm on her back, making her nervous. ”Is your bodyguard not coming? I thought he was your shadow. ”

”I gave him the day off and I know how uncomfortable you are around him. So its just you and me Paige, may I call you by your first name? ”

”Yes, ” she answered, relieved that he finally removed his hand.

”Where would you like to start? ” she asked, taking out the pad and pen from her purse.

”Might as well start at the beginning, the main entrance and work our way up. I will tell you what I want changing and if you see something Ive missed you will point it out. ”

Paige saw the looks they were getting from some of the employees. She wasn sure if it was jealousy or disgust at the fact that she was helping the enemy. He was rattling things out so quickly that she was struggling to keep up with everything he wanted to be changed and they were not even off the main floor.

”Is there a problem? ” he snapped when he noticed her frowning.

”Not really. I just wish you would slow down a little. Its hard keeping up with you and Im not a secretary, I can write shorthand. ”

”Well you better keep up Paige, time is money. Lets move into the kitchen, ” he said, his tone was harsh.

She clamped her mouth shut to stop from yelling at him. He was making her feel incompetent and she resented him for it. Following behind him she had an urge to give him the finger but knowing him he probably had eyes in the back of his head.

He walked through the kitchen, frowning. It was not up to his standard, not clean enough and the kitchen staff wore their regular clothes under an apron.

”I want this kitchen closed for a good cleaning, every inch must be washed and sterilized. Also, the staff will wear uniforms, no more street clothes. This is supposed to be a classy hotel, not some greasy diner. ”

His eyes flashed anger and he knocked some pots down, making them crash to the floor to get everyones attention.

”But the guests, they expect to have most of their meals here, ” Paige squeaked.

Shock coursed through her body.

His head snapped to her. ”Then give them vouchers to a restaurant where they can go eat until this disaster is cleaned up. ” Going over to a pot filled with food he dumped it into the sink and turned to the chefs.

”As of this minute the kitchen is closed, ” he said and walked out, followed by Paige.

”Mr. Maestri, ” she called out as she tried to keep up with him. ”Do you realize the cost of that? Not to mention all the people who will be out of work until its cleaned, the kitchen help and the servers. ”

”Then the sooner they get it cleaned the sooner they can get back to work. And don you ever question me again Paige, I won tolerate it. I hope Ive made myself clear. ”

His angry glare into her eyes made her take a step back and she looked away.

”You have, ” she said, looking back up at him.

”Good, now lets check out the rooms. ”

She took notes as fast as she could, he had even more changes he was making. Her fear was that the hotel would have to be shut down while all the repairs and changes were being done.

If that was the case would he be willing to continue paying their salaries? She would have to find the courage to ask him.

It was past noon and she was beginning to feel weak from lack of food. When he suggested they stop for lunch she had no idea he intended for them to dine together. He took her arm and led her outside and hailed a cab.

”Shall I meet you back here after lunch? ” she asked, looking confused when he opened the cab door and motioned for her to get in.

”Well eat together, that way we can go over a few details, ” he answered, getting in next to her. He felt the friction between them when his thigh was up against hers, that was until she moved further over.

Stopping at the Hilton she looked over at him. ”We
e eating here? ”

”Yes, do you have a problem with it? ” he asked, curious.

”Its just that we
e not properly dressed. ”

”They know me very well here, it won be a problem. ”

God, he was so smug. It was like he thought that everyone should drop what they are doing just to cater to him and she wanted to wipe that smug look off his face.

They were given a seat by the window, he ordered a bottle of wine and ordered for the two of them. He didn even ask what she wanted which angered her and spoke a little too harshly.

”Im allergic to shellfish. ”

Clearly, he was not pleased with her tone of voice, his dark eyes narrowed when he looked back at her. Handing the waiter the menu changed the order to the special of the day.

”I suggest you watch your tone around me, Paige. ”

Lifting the glass of wine to her lips she took a sip before speaking.

”Some of the work that you want doing means the hotel may have to be closed for at least a week or two. Will you still pay the wages to the staff while they are off? ”

”I suppose I could do that. ”

She smiled, not expecting him to give in so easily. ”Thats wonderful, thank you. ”

”Regardless of what you think of me, Im not completely heartless. ” He knew that she didn expect this from him and was pleased by her reaction, one of surprise followed by a smile. ”Do you have a boyfriend? ”

”My personal life is none of your business and has nothing to do with why we are here. Can we please just stick to the renovations? ”

”I like to get to know the people Im working with. You can either tell me or I can have a private investigator get me all the facts on you. Save me the time and trouble, answer my question. ”

”No, I don have a boyfriend. My last relationship was three years ago when I was eighteen. It only lasted six months. ”

”Why so short? ”

”He left me for an older woman, one who had lots of money. ” She stopped talking as the memory was too painful.

She had given her virginity to him, thinking he was her one and only true love. He broke her heart but she forgave him like she always did to anyone who hurt her.

”You are very young and beautiful, you will find someone else. ”

”Im not looking, ” she said, setting her glass down when the food arrived.

They went over what had to be done back at the hotel while they ate.

An elderly woman walked past their table and as she was reaching into her pocket to take out a handkerchief some money fell on the floor, she hadn noticed. But Paige did.

Getting up she bends down, picking the fifty dollar bill calls out to the woman.

”Madam, you dropped this, ” she said and handed it to her.

”Oh thank you, dear, that is so kind of you to give it back to me. ”

e very welcome, ” Paige said, giving the old woman a big smile.

Gabriel turned his head to watch her and waited for her to come back.

”Why would you bother? you could have just kept the money. ”

”Its called doing the right thing and the money doesn belong to me. Would you not have done the same thing? ”

”I would not waste my time over a mere fifty dollars. If people are stupid enough to leave money laying loosely in their pocket then they deserve what they get. ”

e so cold, what has turned you into such a cynical man? ”

”Life, ” he replied. ”If you
e finished well go back to the hotel. I have some numbers to give you to call. ”

”Calls, what calls? ”

”Ill be leaving tomorrow for about two to three weeks. You will have to call the contractors, painters and pick out the new furniture. ”

Seeing the haunted look on her face he continued speaking. ”I will make arrangements for someone to take over your duties, it will give you time to do the job Ive handed you. ”

She couldn believe the audacity of the man to just assume she would do it. But on the other hand, he had made it clear he didn care what someone thought, he just expected them to do what he told them to do. Something told her that nobody ever said no to him.

Back at the hotel, they go up to his suite.

”If that will be all Ill be leaving now, ” she said after he gave her a list of numbers to call.

”One more thing Paige, ” he said as he moved closer to her.

Before she could stop him he backed her up till she was leaning up against the wall. The palms of his hands rested on the wall on either side of her, she was trapped.

”What the hell are you doing? ” she snapped, fear raced through her veins.

”Do you still want to save the hotel? ” he asked, his eyes moved down her face to her lips.

”You know I want nothing more than to have the hotel stay open. ”

”Well, there just might be a way. ”

She felt the heat from his body, his warm breath on her face as he leaned in even closer, their bodies almost touching. Curiosity overtook her fear and she had to ask him.

”How? ” A tremor ran through her when she saw the lust in his eyes.

”Im willing to make a deal with you, one that will benefit both of us. ”

”What kind of deal? ” she asked, her voice shook when she spoke, not sure if she wanted to hear what he was about to say.

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