Billionaire's Masquerade - Book cover

Billionaire's Masquerade

C. Qualls

Age Rating


When Carly starts her new job, she finds herself very attracted to a cute coworker but also drawn to a mystery man that she meets at her company’s masquerade ball. She’ll have to play detective to figure out who her masked lover is while juggling her flirtation with her sweet co-worker, learning the ropes of a new job, and dealing with an unexpected complication.

Age Rating: 18+

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Chapter 1


“Carly, get up. You’re going to be late for your first day.” Taylor pounds on my door.

I gasp and throw my covers off of me. “Shit!”

I am going to be late. I’m in and out of my shower in five minutes flat. I rake a brush through my hair, then scrunch in some mousse. So much for straightening my hair for my first day.

No time for a full face of makeup—I throw on a little smudge of eyeliner and some mascara. I grab my shoes and bag, then button my blouse on my way to the kitchen.

Taylor has a brown bag waiting for me. I grab it and a yogurt. “Love you!” I kiss her cheek, then rush out the door.

I throw everything onto the front seat of my car and pray she starts. After two clicks, she turns over. I let out a breath of relief and snap on my seat belt as I pull out.

I already have my name badge and security pass card, thank goodness. Traffic isn’t terrible and I pull in on time.

Catharine is the office manager. She shakes my hand in greeting, then leads me to a desk in a crowded workstation. After meeting the other three interns—Ronald, Grace, and Phillip—I’m shown around the office and we’re assigned our duties.

The internship is three months. If we have the chops for the job, we will be offered a position here at Gilman International. If not, well, obviously, we get the axe.

The work is pretty straightforward but clearly requires the degree that I just received. I spend lunch with the other interns. We discuss the job and work out how to best handle a few of the items we have struggles with.

Catharine is waiting by our station when we all return from lunch. “Mr. Gilman has a meeting this afternoon. Phillip, Carly, I need you to prepare conference room three. Mr. Gilman is very particular about how he likes things.

“Here is a list of everything that needs to be prepared. There are carts in the supply closet. You can find most of the items needed in there. Anything else is marked where you will find it. Any future lists will not have that information, so learn quickly.”

Phillip and I take the list and begin to look it over.

“You should all know—the last interns only lasted two weeks. Mr. Gilman will let you go on the spot if he thinks you’re not doing your job to his standards.” With that, she turns and gets back to her office.

“No pressure,” Phillip comments.

We would all laugh, but that warning is pretty ominous. We look over the list, then get up to the twenty-fourth floor of the twenty-five-floor building. This floor holds five conference rooms ranging in size from small to large and equipped with a variety of technical equipment.

We stop at the supply closet and figure out everything we need and begin piling up the cart.

“Coffee for Mr. Gilman. Kahlua-flavored. Keurig in break room twenty-fifth floor. I’ll rock you for it. I don’t want to screw that one up.”

I laugh at his antics. He seems like he’s going to be fun to work with.

“It’s fine, I’ll get it,” I tell him, then head up to the top floor.

As soon as I step out of the elevator, I’m greeted by a man with light brown hair who’s sitting at the lone desk. “May I help you?” he asks.

I give him a soft smile. “Yes. Thank you. I’m a new intern and I’m setting up the conference room. Can you tell me where to find the break room, please?”

“Through those doors. Tap your badge. Second door on the left, next to the bathroom,” he answers in a bored tone.

I nod a thank-you then follow his instructions to the break room. The room is empty except for an attractive man standing in front of the Keurig. He loads the last Kahlua-flavored pod in.

“Shit,” I curse to myself.

The man looks me over. “Is there a problem?”

He’s gorgeous. About six feet tall, and his blue shirt and smoke-gray slacks do nothing to hide his firm, muscular build. His hair is a soft dark brown and his eyes are the same warm color.

I swallow and shake my head. “No it’s okay. I’m just supposed to be getting coffee for Mr. Gilman’s meeting. He likes that flavor.”

The man gives me a sexy smirk as he leans against the counter with his arms crossed. “There should be more in that cupboard there.” He points behind me.

I turn to look through the cupboard.

“Are you new here?”

I find the box and bring it over to the counter. “I just started today. I’m an intern.” I begin filling the empty spaces in the rack, then return the remainder to the cupboard.

“I’m Matt.” He holds a paper coffee cup out for me.

“Thank you. I’m Carly.” I take the cup, then load the pod now that he has his mug of dark coffee.

“You know, his meeting isn’t for another hour and a half. He likes his coffee scalding hot.”

I stop what I’m doing and look at the clock. “Damn, you’re right. Thank you for saving my butt. I really don’t want to get fired on my first day.”

Matt chuckles and sips his coffee. “I think you’ll be all right. Catharine makes all the interns think Mr. Gilman is a prick. He’s actually a pretty nice guy as far as uptight business owners go. I doubt you can get fired over cold coffee.”

“I wouldn’t know. I still don’t want to get on his bad side, no matter how nice he may be.” I return the cup and pod. “I guess I’ll be back up here later. It was nice meeting you, Matt.”

He waves with his mug. “You too, Carly. Maybe I’ll see you around.”

He gives me that smirk again and I bite my lip. Oh, I hope so. That man is seriously the man of my dreams. Hell, he may be the star of all my future fantasies.

I get back to the conference room and look over the list. Phillip has put check marks on finished tasks. I pick a task and get busy.

With ten minutes to spare, I return to the break room and retrieve a coffee for Mr. Gilman. I place it at the head of the conference table just as the door opens.

I nod to the ladies and gentlemen as they enter. Matt is one of the last few to enter the room. This time he’s wearing a jacket. He gives me a wink, and I leave the room silently with a smile on my lips.

I let out a deep breath as soon as I’m in the elevator. Coffee can be a big deal for some people.

I make it to my desk and work on my assignments.

Catharine emerges from her office. “Phillip and Carly, Mr. Gilman is satisfied with your work today. Tomorrow, Grace and Ronald, you will have to set up his morning meeting.” She hands them their list of tasks. “I suggest you find out where everything is from your colleagues.”

We put our heads together and explain what we did and where to find everything.

It’s the end of the day, and the office begins clearing out. We look around, not knowing what we’re supposed to be doing.

Phillip grabs his coat and shrugs it on. “Go time. I’ll see you all later.” He grabs his things and heads out with the rest of the crowd.

Grace and Ronald are torn between leaving and waiting to be dismissed. I think I’ll keep working on my task. Catharine is still in her office.

Fifteen minutes later, we get a group chat alert.

CatharineFinish up whatever you’re working on, then fill out this form before logging out of your computer. Good work today. I will see the three of you in the morning.

Included is a link to a time sheet. I finish up my task, then fill out the form. Grace and Ronald both finish at about the same time. I grab my bag and wait for them to ride the elevator down.

Matt gives me a smile when the doors open. He moves to the corner and we all pile in, me right beside him.

“How was your first day?” he asks in a soft voice.

I turn to face him. “It was successful. I still have a job.”

Matt takes a quick look at everyone. “There are usually four interns at a time. Where’s your other person?”

I shrug my shoulder. “He left with the crowd earlier. The three of us decided to wait for Catharine to dismiss us.”

Matt nods and the elevator opens. “I guess I’ll see you around, Carly.”

Grace is waiting for me outside of the elevator. I give him a casual wave. “Bye.”

“Holy shit, he’s hot. Who is he?” she asks as we walk toward the parking garage.

I shake my head. “I have no idea. I met him earlier in the break room. He’s really nice, though.”

“No kidding. Nice and gorgeous. I hope you don’t mind if I go for him.”

That’s not a question; she fully intends to go for him whether I like it or not. Grace is really pretty with green eyes and long dark hair and a slim body. She would look perfect with him.

I’m not a fan of confrontation so I shrug and keep walking to my car.

“Bye, Carly. See you tomorrow.”

I give her a final wave and slip into my car.


“I’m exhausted,” I whine as I kick my shoes off and relax on the couch.

Taylor rolls her eyes. I know I shouldn’t complain; she’s been a nurse for sixteen years.

“You’ll get used to actual work in no time. What are we watching tonight? I doubt you’ll be making dinner. It’s your turn.”

I grunt and look up at her sitting beside me. “Can we order pizza?”

“Are you buying? Last I checked, interns don’t make much money.” She scrolls through the romance shows. “I’ll cook tonight. But you get the next two.”

“Deal. Ooh, North and South. Let’s watch that one. Richard Armitage is hot. I’m going to take a shower.”

I push myself off of the couch and grab my shoes. Taylor highlights North and South, and I slip into my room.

Taylor is my stepmom. My mom died in a car accident when I was three. My dad married Taylor when I was six. He took off during a midlife crisis and it’s been just the two of us for eight years now.

Taylor always treated me like her own since she couldn’t have kids due to the combination of a tilted uterus and endometriosis. Most moms don’t get to choose their kids. She chose me.

We actually look a lot alike with blonde hair and blue eye. But I have freckles across my nose and my hair is naturally curly where hers is pin straight. No one has ever questioned that she’s my mother.

I twist my wet hair into a bun and slip on a shirt and shorts to join Taylor on the couch.

“Really? Mac ‘n’ cheese?”

She shrugs. “You can make something else tomorrow. So how was your first day? Did you make any friends?”

I grab my bowl and dig in. “It was good. The other interns are iffy at best. I think one of them already lost his job. I did meet a nice guy. His name is Matt. I saw him a few times. He helped me find the coffee for Mr. Gilman.”

She nods along. “It’s probably a good thing he lost his job if he can’t even handle the first day. Is Matt cute?”

I roll my eyes. She chuckles, then turns on the show.

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