Proposal: The Billionaire’s Promise, Part One

By Lucinda Brazon

“Here are the keys.”

My hand shook as I held them out. That was my coffee shop, right there. I’d opened it when I was twenty, and it had taken three years of sweat, blood, tears and love to make it into something amazing.

And now it was gone.

Against my will, I felt tears spring to my eyes. I’d never wanted to sell. That had never been the plan – I wasn’t one of these cutthroat business types. I’d just wanted a cosy little coffee shop on the corner, a place where people could meet and fall in love and have a happy ending, just like in the movies.

Call me sentimental. Call me romantic. And call me devastated.

Devastated was an understatement, actually. I was so upset that I could barely look at the tall man who closed his hand around the keys, his fingers momentarily brushing mine.

“Are you OK, Miss James?”

The voice that broke into my thoughts was surprisingly low and warm. I looked up and met the eyes of Hunter Ellis, CEO of Ellis Coffee. You know, the coffee chain taking over the world. There’s an Ellis Coffee on every corner, and now Talia’s Place, my beloved little coffee shop, was going to become one of them. I tilted my head and took a peek at its shuttered windows behind me before mustering all my strength to speak.

“I’m fine. Honestly.”

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