Would you run into a burning building to save the ones you love?
It’s a question we’ve all asked ourselves. But many of us never get to know for sure.
We can only hope that we have what it takes to sacrifice ourselves for what matters.
Ever since the fateful day when my father was first diagnosed, I mulled that question over and over in my mind. How far would I be willing to go to save him?
He was the only family I had since my mother walked out on us. He was my entire world as far back as I could remember.
And yet there was nothing I could do to save him from his deadly disease.
At least not until I met… Him.
Mason Campbell. The Devil in Armani.
Wealthier than the Queen of England herself, and twice as powerful.
Everybody knew Mason Campbell.
From the women who swooned over him to the men who fought for a chance to sit at his conference table.
They said he was more dangerous than any criminal.
They said his fortune was acquired through blood, violence, and deals with devils the world over. I wasn’t sure how many of the rumors to believe.
I knew he sounded like the kind of person I should stay far, far away from.
But he was the only one paying a high enough salary to pay my father’s mounting medical bills.
Which is how I came to be working for The Devil himself.
Little did I know what would come to pass.
That I would soon get the chance to know for sure…
Would I sacrifice everything to save the ones I loved?
“Ms. Hart. You’re late.”
I stood on the doorstep of the most prestigious hotel in London, staring into the deadly silver eyes of my boss, the mysterious billionaire Mason Campbell.
Like always, he looked like an angel fallen to hell in his perfectly-trimmed designer suit, his bulging muscles threatening to tear through the fabric.
Without so much as a hello, he turned and walked back inside, leaving me standing by the door with my heart threatening to explode.
I followed him inside to the living room, which was luxuriously furnished and had a magnificent view from the balcony windows.
I peered around the dark shadows of the room. In the month since I’d started working at Campbell Industry, I’d never been called to his private hotel room so late at night.
I half expected some goons to be waiting in the corner to put a bullet in my head and throw me in the Thames. But it appeared we were alone.
He turned to give me his signature icy, calculating stare. It was cold inside, but every part of me felt suddenly hot and sweaty.
I sat down reluctantly, perching on a sofa while Mr. Campbell stretched out with insolent ease in another chair.
Crossing his legs, he stared at me, and his fingers slowly drumming on his thigh made my stomach tighten.
I didn’t know what I expected when I came here.
It was bloody three in the morning!
Normally, if my boss tried calling me that early, I would happily ignore it, no matter what he wanted.
But my boss was Mason Campbell.
And you didn’t say no to Mason Campbell. Not if you wanted to live a long and happy life.
I inspected his face, hoping to find some clue as to why he brought me here.
“Do you drink, Ms. Hart?”
He stood up and poured himself a drink from a crystal tumbler.
“No,” I said, my mouth dry. I would have loved a drink, but I had a weird feeling this was some kind of test. And if I failed, I would probably never see the light of day again.
Despite my answer, he poured me one anyway.
He brought it over to me and slammed it down on the table in front of me.
Then, instead of returning to his chair, he sat down next to me on the couch.
I grabbed my glass and stared directly into it. But I could feel his silver eyes staring hard at me. He held his glass, but he never took a drink.
“Why do you think I hired you, Ms. Hart?”
I tried to think of the reason. Why did this man, who could have anyone he wanted, bother to hire me?
My mind went crazy as the cold steel of his gaze penetrated me.
“I…I don’t know, sir.” I didn’t want to bullshit an answer.
Mason Campbell would see right through me.
But being honest didn’t exactly help me.
This man was used to being at the top. He was so powerful no one would dare anger him in any way. That meant that he was used to having smart and intelligent people around him.
I wasn’t sure if Mason hated liars or stupid people more.
“Why did you hire me, sir?”
He put his drink to the side, untouched, and leaned forward, his elbows on his knees.
I tried to ignore the bulge of his biceps through his shirt
I tried not to look at how it was unbuttoned, and it gave me a peek at his muscular chest.
“I’m asking the questions tonight,” he said sternly.
I took a sip and swallowed hard, choking on the bitterness of the alcohol.
“Do you have a husband, Ms. Hart?” he asked me.
Why did he want to know that?
“Answer me,” he pressed. “I don’t have all night.”
“No,” I said, “I’m not married.”
“Do you have a boyfriend?” he asked.
I could feel my heart racing faster and faster.
“No,” I said again.
“How about a lover?” he asked.
“Mr. Campbell. This is…this is getting very personal,” I stammered.
“Yes or no,” he said, leaning closer to me until I could smell the alcohol on his breath.
“No,” I finally said, my voice shaking.
“Very good,” he said.
Why the hell did he care?
“So I can assume that you are fully committed to your work,” he continued.
“You’ve made sure of that,” I shot back.
“Well, you’re about to get a lot more committed,” he said.
“What does that mean?”
He stood suddenly, and as he walked away from me, I was finally able to breathe for the first time since I got to his room.
After a long silence, he spoke.
“I have a proposition for you, Ms. Hart. One which you cannot refuse.”
The sound of my alarm sliced through my dream like a knife, waking me with a jolt.
For a while, I just lay in bed, staring up at the grey morning light seeping onto the mold-stained ceiling of my apartment.
I didn’t remember what I had been dreaming, only vague shadows, loud angry voices, and the beeping of medical instruments.
I suppose it was to be expected that I’d have nightmares on a daily basis now.
My father’s condition was worsening, his medical bills were stacking up on my kitchen counter, and now I had an interview with the most powerful and dangerous man in the UK. It was a wonder I was able to sleep at all.
At the thought of the interview, I felt like I was going to throw up. I forced myself to sit up.
Today was the day. Today I was interviewing to work for The Devil of London himself.
It took me ten minutes to get ready. I straightened my spine and smoothed my worn-out gray skirt that reached my knees.
My light blue blouse was tucked inside my skirt. My cheeks were rosy, setting off the sparkle in my hazel eyes which slanted slightly upward and were thickly fringed with lashes.
You can do this, Lauren, I thought to myself. But the encouragement did little to calm my nerves.
I took a taxi and when I told him where he would take me, he looked shocked.
He asked me again where he would take me, and I told him the address.
“Are you sure that is where you want to go, ma’am?” he asked, unsure of himself.
“Yes,” I said, growing annoyed.
He didn’t say anything afterward, but I would occasionally catch him looking at me through the rearview mirror as if he couldn’t believe I was going to such a place.
He stopped the car across from Campbell Industry.
When I was about to ask him why he wouldn’t drop me off near the building, he said, “Sorry, ma’am, but no taxi is allowed near the building. I have to drop you off here.”
My mouth shaped into an O, and I shook my head in disbelief.
I walked out and readjusted my blouse. If anyone stopped to observe me, they would see nervousness oozing off of me.
Campbell Industry stared down at me. It was a huge building that had about sixty floors.
It was large, wide, and intimidating. If the rumors were true, though, the exterior was nothing compared to what was happening inside the building.
I carefully strode past a security guard at the entrance and into the building.
I was met with a lot of people that were strolling around in their expensive, neat clothes and I felt self-conscious about what I was wearing.
They seemed to be on edge, like they were holding the entire world on their shoulders.
I went directly up to the receptionist nervously. She was a redheaded woman, dressed elegantly in blue.
Her hazel eyes sized me up, her expression filled with pure distaste.
“The coffee shop is down the street, ma’am,” she said with a hint of a slight Italian accent.
“What?” I asked, confused.
She stared at me as if I were a dimwit.
“Isn’t that where you want to go?”
“No. I’m here for an interview.”
She raised her perfect eyebrow, her mouth curving up. “Oh?”
Sizing me up again, she clicked her tongue before meeting my gaze again.
I wanted to punch her face. She didn’t think I belonged here. How dare she!
The receptionist inhaled dramatically before plastering on a fake smile.
“Twentieth floor. Take a left and you’ll find yourself among the lot that are here for the interview.”
My lips twitched.
Was she insinuating that there were a lot of people for the interview and I had zero chance of getting it?
“Thanks,” I gritted out.
“Good”—she looked me up and down again, her smile turning upside down—“luck.”
I was feeling a bit miffed, but I tried to calm myself down and made my way into the elevator. My back hit the wall and I closed my eyes.
Was this such a good idea after all?
I wanted to leave, but I knew I had to stay. This was the only place with a good salary.
I was doing this for dad. I shouldn’t be thinking twice about working here.
Working here? You don’t even have the job yet, and you don’t know if you’ll be the lucky one.
Tightening my eyes, I hoped this interview would be a success. I couldn’t afford to mess it up.
Dad’s life was on the line here.
You will do great if you’d just calm down and believe in yourself.
“Aren’t you going to get off?” I was startled by a man’s voice beside me.
I realized that I had reached the twentieth floor and I mumbled a quick apology to the older man in a gray suit and stepped out.
The entire left wall was a huge window and I stared at the amazing view of London.
I followed the instructions the receptionist told me and true to her words, there were a lot of people.
There were so many that I wasn’t even able to see the end of them. And they all wore nice clothes.
A group of girls spared a glance at me and I heard them laugh a little.
Just because they were looking sexier than me and were dressed in nicer clothes didn’t mean I should be treated this way.
I pushed my way through tons of bodies, trying to find a place to sit.
I spotted an empty chair at the end of the room and made my way to it. But before I could sit, a man beat me to it. He shrugged his shoulders at me and I glared back at him.
I turned to go back to where I was, but before I knew it, I was being pushed by bodies in different directions.
I found myself being pushed through a silver door at the end of the room.
The door shut automatically. I panicked when it wouldn’t budge at all. I tried again, but the same thing happened. It just wouldn’t budge.
I turned around to see where I was, and I found myself in a long, dim hallway with an elevator at the end of it.
I heaved a sigh of relief. A way out. It slid open when I pushed the button, and I quickly hurried inside.
I went to press the twenty-first-floor button, but there was only one button in this elevator, with a Campbell logo on it.
My face screwed up.
Deciding that it would be best to go there rather than stay here trapped with no way out, I pushed the button.
My heart started to race for some reason, and I found my hands shaking slightly. It felt stuffy in here and I felt like there was a presence of something terrifying.
What the hell was wrong with me?
The elevator stopped and it slid open. I got out as quickly as I got in. Maybe I would be able to breathe in here.
What was this place?
I scanned my surroundings and my jaw dropped.
The office was gigantic and breathtaking. Everything in here screamed wealth.
The white leather seats were shining. I didn’t want to touch them in case I ruined them.
And the view…it was just amazing.
I gasped when my eyes caught a painting on the wall. I realized that it was the painting that had been the talk of the whole country after it sold to an anonymous buyer for a billion pounds.
A billion pounds.
There was a fireplace and a large flat-screen TV on the wall. Literally everything in the office was white. Even the pens were white.
I heard the door being burst open and several footsteps. Before I could even realize what was happening, I felt a hand clamp down on my shoulder, pushing me roughly to the floor.
And then I felt something cold and hard pressing into my forehead. It was the barrell of a gun. Holy shit.
This totally happens in movies. There was no way this was real. No way was I on the floor with a gun to my head like a bloody criminal.
I attempted to raise my head to see who was holding me at gun-point, but it was pushed back down. I winced and gritted my teeth.
“State your reason for being in a private office before I blow your brains out,” a deep voice barked out.
I shook in fear.
“I…I got lost. I didn’t know I wasn’t supposed to be here.
“I’m sorry. Please don’t shoot me,” I pleaded as I closed my eyes and prayed to God that I wouldn’t end up dead, staining the floor of this pristine office with my blood.
“Get her up, Gideon,” another voice said. A chill blasted me, making my heart beat fast in my chest. There was something brooding and dominant about the new voice, like a powerful force yearning to prove its fury.
At his words, I felt the strong arms of the man named Gideon pull me to my knees, his gun still pressed against my temple.
When I saw the man in front of me, the one who was giving the orders to Gideon, I swear…
His powerful pose was enough to force me to my knees, even without a gun to my head.
He breathed hard, his broad, well-muscled chest rising and falling as if he’d just run a marathon.
He was dressed in black from head to toe, wearing a suit that could barely contain his powerful arms.
His face was carved by the gods, with cheekbones that would make any man or woman jealous, a straight nose, and thick red lips.
And his eyes.
Oh, God, his eyes were pure silver.
They were the most intense, yet cold eyes I had ever seen in my life.
He raked his fingers through his dark hair, his silver eyes ready to devour any poor soul stupid enough to glance his way.
His glare was fierce enough to wipe out the existence of mankind.
It was him. Mason Campbell. The most vicious, sexiest man alive.
“Now,” he said, his voice rumbling like thunder before a storm, “you have ten seconds to explain why you’re in my private study.”
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