Danielle desperately needs money for a medical treatment that will save her sister’s life. A billionaire advertises for a woman to be his wife for two years and produce his heir in exchange for ten million dollars. It sounds like the solution to her problems, but would he ever choose somebody with her poor background? And could she ever go through with a marriage, even a temporary one, to a cold man who swears he’ll never love her?
Age Rating: 18+ (Sexual Assault/Abuse)
The Billionaire CEO by Foxylady22 is now available to read on the Galatea app! Read the first two chapters below, or download Galatea for the full experience.
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I’m standing outside the well-known tall white-brick building downtown. Lined up in front of me and behind are women hoping to be one of the sixty who will be able to go into the building for this interview.
I pull my grandmother’s worn-out shawl tighter around me to help fight off the chilly, brisk breeze that continues to blow down the sidewalk, making me shiver.
Very polished ladies line the walkway in single file, and a red rope defines the boundary. Counting for the dozenth time, I can see my place is secured somewhere in the mid-thirties this morning.
I was here yesterday, trying to get this interview, but missed the cutoff by three people.
When I came back early this morning, half the limit was already reached as women flowed out of the parking lot, filing into the single line for their chance.
I watch as the sun rises over the city, chasing away the shadows that enveloped us this morning around 6 a.m.
I hear the door to the building clicking open finally at 8 a.m., and a woman steps out, looking frustrated that she has to do this again.
Her tone is flat and full of disgust as she speaks. “Ladies in line, you will be given a number from one through sixty. If you fall into that category, we will give you your next instructions.”
Another woman walks down the line, handing out little squares of laminated paper with numbers on them. I am handed number thirty-five, and a small smile creeps over my face.
I made it this time into the first sixty.
When the last number is given out, I hear women pleading with others, trying to buy their numbers, while others storm away with strings of cuss words flowing out of their mouths.
The lady in charge speaks again. “For those of you with numbers one through ten, go stand at the front desk now.” She opens the door, and the first ten ladies flow into the building.
“If you are eleven through sixty, find a seat down here in the lobby. We’re taking ten up at a time only, since Mr. Tucker’s waiting room can’t handle all you ladies at once.”
The rest of us enter the warm building, and I find a quiet corner under a clock mounted on the wall. I sit down on the plush cloth, settling into it since I know it will be a few hours before I’m called up.
Looking around at all the women now pulling out their laptops, iPads, or phones, tapping on them with their perfectly manicured nails, I scan the area.
The first ten ladies are huddled around the front desk, still waiting with hopeful eyes to be escorted to the elevator.
Zeroing in on the huge front desk with six ladies sitting behind it, my eyes travel the wooden planks that start at the top then slowly work their way down to the bright-white, polished floors that are so clean I can see my reflection in them.
Engraved in the middle of the desk in silver paint is the name of this place, Tucker Enterprises.
Finally, the flat-toned lady clicks her heels against the floor, leading the first ten ladies to the elevator as they talk to each other in chipper voices.
Every one of these ladies is here to answer the ad that the CEO himself put in the paper last week. Basically, he’s looking for a temporary wife to provide his heir for the future.
They will be married to each other for a maximum of two years, allowing the first year for the woman to get pregnant with his child, then the second to have it.
After she has conceived the child, the so-called wife will be moved to a penthouse to live in during her pregnancy.
After the baby is born healthy, she will be paid ten million dollars to start her new life.
Danny Tucker owns one of the biggest empires in the country and is the very definition of rich, if not even royalty. Every woman wants to be his; there’s nothing he couldn’t buy.
He owns tons of houses across the world, and there’s a rumor that he’s even looking into buying up multiple islands in financial debt.
The amount of money this man is willing to pay for a child is the only reason I’m sitting downstairs in his lobby, waiting my turn to see if I’m worthy of being tied to him for the two-year period.
My butt has started cramping from sitting in the chair for such a long period of time.
I get up to walk around, trying to stretch my legs, but I just sit back down, laying my head against the wall, closing my eyes, listening to the tick, tick, tick of the clock above my head.
When I saw the amount of money that he was offering, I knew it would be enough to pay for the treatments my sister needed and her surgery for a small tumor growing on one of her ovaries.
I don’t have any family because my parents were killed five years ago. We lived with my grandparents until they died two years ago, and now we live in the small mill house that they left to us.
I’m hopeful that he might pick me as his bride, but I’m not getting my hopes up to have them come crashing down on me when I’m rejected.
I must have fallen asleep. I wake up at the sound of the dinging of the doors to my right.
Cracking an eye open, I see the first ten females flowing out of the elevator.
Some have mascara running down their faces; others are red or have very pissed-off expressions written all over their faces.
Closing my eye again, since I have at least another hour or so before I’m allowed upstairs, I hear a lady sitting down somewhere near me, sniffing.
The next ten numbers are called, and they all file into the elevator for their turn at being hopeful brides.
“What did he say to you up there?” one lady sitting across from me asks.
“You only have five minutes with him. He looks at your résumé and then asks you a few questions. He even asked me if I was a virgin. Can you believe that?” She sniffs quietly.
“Who in the world would want a virgin, and even if he requires that, there’s no way anyone will meet that standard.
“Every woman here has probably had sex before. I know there’s no way I am,” the other lady who’s wearing a light-purple dress says.
“I don’t know if any of us will be picked. He just told everyone up there that he’ll talk it over later with his brothers and dad. If we’re picked, he’ll call us.” She wipes a tear off her face.
“What did you tell him?” She lowers her voice to a whisper, but I can still hear them.
“That I would love to carry his child, and that I love his brothers. That I just couldn’t wait to marry him and give him this child that he wants.” She bursts out crying even harder.
“What about the other women? Did they say that also?” She looks around the room, and my eye is barely cracked, watching this conversation.
“According to all the women that I talked to up there, we all just about said the same thing.
“Each of us would marry him, love him because he’s basically a celebrity, and each of us would love to have his child for him.
“It’s hard, you know. He’s all over the news, in magazines and also in the paper about every day, roughly. Any one of us would be in the spotlight for almost two years, then a ton after the divorce.
“The press would be wanting to know all the details about whether you get to see the child, how big they’ve gotten, does Danny try to rekindle the relationship you once had.”
She sighs then stands up, pulling her expensive fur coat around her body.
“I’m in the next group, so you’ll get a call when I’m done up there with him.
“Hopefully, I can land him, because I’ll use his money as much as I can before we divorce.” She giggles, putting her hand to her mouth.
Closing my eye back before they catch me, I drift back off to sleep before the next set comes back down.
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“Number thirty-five,” the receptionist calls out again in a cold, flat voice like she’s bored to death doing this again. “Mr. Tucker will see you now.”
My heart speeds up as I slowly stand and try to get my legs working because of the numbness set up in them. I try my best to look graceful as I walk to those huge doors looming in front of me.
I’m clutching the file to my chest while hoping that the answer to my prayers is sitting right behind those huge doors. I could swear that everyone in here can hear my heart as it pounds in my chest.
I walk by them in a simple blue dress and flat white shoes. Everyone else has on designer dresses and shoes, along with costly jewelry.
Taking a deep breath, I slowly push on the huge golden door handles that are at least four feet long.
As I enter the office of Danny Tucker, my legs start to shake a little, and my nervousness suddenly shoots up to the highest level I think it’s ever been.
I look around the office, and it’s breathtaking to someone who comes from nothing, as I do. The interior looks very expensive.
Men are sitting at a huge black table, facing the doors that are closing quietly behind me. On my side of the table is a huge black leather chair facing the long windows looking out over the city.
Against the wall are huge cabinets made out of black wood, and behind me is another wooden door, closed tightly.
Sitting down in the chair across from the men, I survey them one by one. An older man is on the end on my far right. He looks to be the oldest of the four, with gray hair and piercing blue eyes.
His face is pretty soft but has a powerful jawline. Only a few wrinkles tell me that he’s older.
Next to him is a younger man who looks no older than maybe twenty-five.
I look at him closely, thinking he could almost pass for a twin of the older man, but in a younger version. He has the same blue eyes with a smooth face, along with a lean body.
Beside him is another man who looks a little older. He has a very sharp jawline, thick brown hair, and piercing, hard brown eyes. He looks very familiar, but I can’t quite place him.
Just looking at his commanding posture makes a shiver run down my spine. The man looks deadly, like he’s ready to strike out at anything that he might consider not up to his standards.
The last man in the last chair looks to be the youngest of the four. He has brown hair, soft brown eyes, and a very handsome face with a soft smile. This makes me feel not so intimidated.
They’re all very muscular under their suits that hug each curve.
The last one is the one I like the most out of all of them. He doesn’t make me feel like I’ve just walked into a lion’s den, holding a huge piece of meat for them to devour.
“Sit down, miss,” says the oldest-looking of the men beside the father. “We don’t have much time. I’m only interviewing for a maximum of five minutes per person.”
I quickly sit in the chair, putting my file on the costly table. The coldest-looking man who looks like he could snap my neck at any time picks up the file instantly.
He opens it, and his eyes scan the contents. His face shows no emotion at all; his eyes look black as coal.
“What’s your name?” the elderly gentleman asks in a nice tone, like he’s trying to calm me down.
“Danielle Campbell, sir,” I reply quietly.
“Where are you from?” he asks.
“The north side of LA, sir,” I say in a quiet tone again, trying not to let my nerves get the best of me.
“You’re poor?” The man with my file looks at me with his stone face.
“Yes, sir,” I reply to his harsh tone. “I’ve always been this way. Having to work hard to get what I want.”
“Why did you answer his ad today?” the youngest of the group asks, leaning forward slightly.
My eyes swing in his direction. “I need the money. My sister is very sick, and I can’t afford her medications and her surgery to save her life right now. I’m running out of time to get this done.”
“Wow, giving us an honest answer?” the middle of the brothers asks.
“Here we thought that you’d say that you love our brother, that you can’t wait to marry him, giving him this child that he wants. That’s what all the other women who came in here have told us.”
“With all due respect, sir,” I say in a harsher tone, “how can anyone say they love a man they’ve never met or had a clue he wanted a bride until two days ago?
“What I read is that he’d never settle down, enjoying the high life without someone there to tie him down.”
The middle brother leans back in his chair, laughing hard, then locks his twinkling eyes onto mine.
“At least she’s honest about all of this, unlike all those other stuck-up women that were trying to make you see how perfect they were for you.”
“Shut up! We don’t have time for your input on this matter, Steven,” says the one sitting right across from me.
He looks at me and says, “Why do you need the money? I must tell you I want your honest answer, no tap-dancing around it at all. Understand?”
“My younger sister has leukemia, stage one, so I don’t have the money to pay for her treatments or medicine that she needs.
“There are hospitals around, but since she’s eighteen, she can’t get free treatment from a children’s hospital, and I can’t afford the airfare to take her anywhere else.”
I wring my hands slowly in my lap.
“So, you’re willing to marry a total stranger and provide him with a child to get money for your sister’s treatments and surgery, is that right?” he hisses slowly.
I look into his cold, dark eyes and nod. I’ve never backed down from anyone’s challenge, no matter how intimidating that person might be.
“Yes, sir. My sister is my life; I’ll do whatever she needs me to do to save hers. We have no one in our lives but us two, so I won’t let her down,” I reply, holding my head high.
“I see both your parents died in a plane crash, then your grandparents raised you until their deaths?” Danny asks me.
“Yes, they both had bad hearts, and they died of heart attacks within a month of each other.
“We live in the small house they left us in an old mill village,” I say, feeling ashamed of where I live next to these men that have everything their hearts desire.
“Yes, I can see how detailed your résumé is. There are also other things. You only graduated from high school, which means you’re not highly educated either. Have you ever been with high-society people?”
I narrow my eyes at this man who thinks that I’m not worthy of his even talking to me.
“No. Growing up, we didn’t have much money. I graduated with high honors from high school then was offered tons of scholarships from multiple colleges, including Harvard.
“I couldn’t leave my grandparents to raise my sick sister by themselves, so I took on two jobs to help pay for everything while trying to save for her treatments.”
“Is your hair color natural or dyed?” the youngest asks as he leans forward with his elbows on his knees.
Biting my lower lip, I slowly run my hand through my curly blonde hair that has streaks of a very light red tint.
“This is the natural hair color I was born with. My grandmother had that same color. It seems to skip a generation in our family; my father had dark-brown hair, just like his brother.”
“Besides being a virgin, there are no other qualities that you’ve shown me so that I would consider you for my wife. You lack the social skills to be in the circles that I run with.
“Even though you’re very polite, that’s not enough to make you my wife.” He looks at me with those cold eyes. His jaw is set.
He snaps my folder shut and lays it back down on the desk, then slowly slides it over the expensive wood toward me with a long finger.
“I have a business proposal for you, though,” the youngest one speaks up in a chipper tone.
“What’s that?” I ask, turning to look into the simpler eyes that don’t seem to care about how poor I am.
“I want to pay for your sister’s treatments. We have a ton of doctors that we can call right now and set up the appointment for you at whatever time of day would be acceptable.”
His eyes light up a little as he speaks.
I stand after picking my folder up off the desk that would easily pay for my sister’s treatment, looking at the four men whose eyes follow me as I get up. I smile at them, then shake my head.
“No, thank you. I came here to get the money the correct way.
“Not to become someone’s charity so that they can go brag to all their high-life society friends about how they helped a poor girl with her treatment because she wasn’t good enough to be in your circles.”
My voice is getting harder as I speak. How dare they try to use me like this?
I tuck my folder back up under my arm, then start to walk out the door, turning back to look at them over my shoulder.
They all look at me with shock on their faces, so I smile, holding my file tightly so nothing falls out of it onto their precious floors.
“Thank you for your time, gentlemen. Sorry that I couldn’t fulfill the credentials you put in the ad,” I say in a very nice tone.
“I’m not a charity case who will take a handout at the drop of the hat of some rich person who thinks they can use it as leverage, then hang it over my head.
“Even though my sister needs this desperately, I’ll earn it the old-fashioned way.”
I put my hand on the huge door with a gold plate on the inside of it and then push it open.
As I walk out, every head that remains from my group turns my way.
Their eyes are glued on me as I walk through the room with my head held high, not shedding a single tear like all the other women who came out that room.
I sit down in a chair, waiting until our group is finished and is escorted out of the building just like the first two. I watch as the doors that I’d hoped would bring me the answer to my prayers close.
Finally, we’re all loaded into the elevator while the lady punches the lobby button. The doors close, carrying all of us down thirty floors to the very elaborate lobby.
Walking over the very nice polished floors, then out the door to the streets, I sigh, dropping my head, then make the twenty-minute walk home through the busy streets that lead into my run-down neighborhood.
When I walk up onto the very tiny front porch, I’m hit with a huge hug from a very bubbly girl.
I go into our small four-room house and flop down on the old, raggedy couch that creaks beneath me like it’s going to fall apart.
Bailey bounds over to me with a glass of water and looks at me with those big, beautiful eyes of hers, smiling at me.
“Did you get the job?” she asks with a hopeful voice.
I shake my head slowly. I didn’t tell her the truth about what the job was. She would flip out if she knew that I was basically selling my body off to a wealthy man to get the money for her treatment.
I feel like a book from the library that we read in which a woman sells her body to a man as a surrogate to have his child, trying not to fall in love with him, but in the end, they do.
“There were other, more qualified candidates there who the men were looking at for the position. I don’t have enough experience for what it was calling for.”
Her smile fades a little, but she still looks at me as her savior.
“Are you hungry? I’m going to fix us dinner,” I say, slowly getting off the couch that has been in this house for as long as I can remember.
She nods, then follows me into the kitchen, where there’s a bag of ramen noodles. She starts the pot of water.
We try to eat what we have available. I go to the food bank once a week to get our food, but it’s just enough for us to barely survive on.
I fix the noodles, then we sit down at the small, two-seat table and start to eat.
Sometime later, there are two hard knocks at the front door just as we finish our meal. Then, there are two huge knocks again.
“I’ll get it,” Bailey says as she jumps up, taking off to the door.
I look over at the clock, and it’s almost 8 p.m. Who in the world would be coming over at this hour?
“Yes? Can I help you?” she asks in her sweet, bubbly voice.
“Does Danielle live here?” asks the voice I heard earlier.
I freeze at the sound of the voice, knowing who it belongs to, then wondering, Why is he here? What does he want? Did I leave something in his office that he doesn’t want to stay until I pick it up?
“Yes, please come in,” Bailey says in a pleasant voice.
I see her lead him into our small kitchen. He has his hands in his pockets, attempting not to touch anything.
I guess the house is below him, and he thinks if he touches anything, it might infect him with our lowlife dirtiness.
“Hello, Danielle. Your life is about to change forever,” he says as he looks me in the eyes.
“What do you mean? Did I leave something by mistake in your office?” I ask in a surprised voice.
“No, get your belongings together. You’re coming with me,” he says sternly.
I stand up, crossing my arms, narrowing my eyes at him.
“What? I’m not going anywhere with you,” I say harshly.
“Yes, you are. There’s no need to argue about this,” he says in a very demanding tone.
I grab Bailey and hold her close to me. I keep my eyes on this very tall man standing there, hovering close to us while still looking at me like a bug he would love to squish under his shoe.
“I’m not going anywhere with you; I can’t leave her behind. She can’t live here by herself.”
“You’re not going to leave her behind; she’s coming with us also. You both are, so go get your things, and let’s go,” he says in the same tone.
“What for? I didn’t get the job. I have to see what I can do now to help her,” I whisper sadly.
“You did get the job. Why do you think we’re here to get you? Gather your items, both of you, and let’s go. It’s getting late, and I’m ready to get home,” he says more sharply.
“What? So you’re saying…” I stop when I realize what’s going on.
“Well, I guess the best way to put it is that basically, you just won the lottery, because we will be getting married,” he says flatly, like it’s not what he really wants to tell me.
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