Home > Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(15)

Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(15)
Author: J.S. Scott

This is a new start for me. I’m going to treat it like an exciting experience.

She took a deep breath, enjoying the crisp, cool air of fall in the Rocky Mountains. Her back to Gabe’s door, her eyes scanned the mountains and the vivid red and orange of the leaves still left on the trees. Most of them were falling now, but traces of Colorado in autumn still remained.

“It’s so beautiful here,” she whispered to herself, feeling like after so many years, she was finally…home.

Gabe owned a lot of property, and his acreage spread farther than her eyes could possibly see. The barns and buildings were nicely maintained, and the fenced pastures held some of the most gorgeous horseflesh imaginable. She’d done her equine residency at a prominent horse farm, and at first glance, she could already see that Gabe’s place was state-of-the-art, and he hadn’t worried about cost when he’d built his home or his ranch.

Not that he needed to worry about money.

He didn’t.

And it showed in all of the little details she could visualize.

Quit stalling, Chloe. Ring the damn doorbell.

She turned and determinedly put her finger on the button to summon someone to the door, wondering curiously if he had staff for his enormous mansion.

Strangely, the home wasn’t pretentious. It was definitely big, but Gabe had used natural colors and native plants, and the well-kept mansion seemed to complement the landscape rather than stand out like a sore thumb. Other than the fact that the place was gigantic, it seemed to belong here.

She startled as the door suddenly swung open and she saw Gabe grinning at her.

“I’m glad you came,” he said simply in that husky drawl that always made Chloe’s female hormones do a happy dance.

“Me, too,” she answered honestly. She was glad to be here, away from town, ready to do a job she’d always wanted to do. Chloe was almost certain she’d feel guilty about taking the large salary Gabe had offered.

He opened the door wider and motioned for her to come in. She smiled back at him because it was nearly impossible not to. His mischievous grin was pretty infectious.

Almost the moment she stepped through the door, she was met by more than forty pounds of muscles and fur. A Border collie barked enthusiastically as he jumped from the ground and bounced off her body several times.

“Chase! Down!” Gabe commanded sternly.

Chloe was delighted, and she dropped to her knees and let the intelligent black and white dog sniff her before she stroked a hand over his fur. “He’s adorable.”

“He’s a pain in the ass sometimes,” Gabe grumbled.

The canine calmed quickly, laying down and rolling over so Chloe could scratch his belly. She wasn’t fooled for a minute by Gabe’s negative comment. The fondness in his tone was evident. “I take it his name is Chase?”

“He got that name because the fool chases just about anything from rabbits to bears. He doesn’t exactly know his limitations. Or his size. Or his strength.”

“He’s sweet,” Chloe cooed as she gave the dog a final scratch before rising to her feet. “I’m sure he’s very intelligent.” The breed was exceptionally smart.

“He is,” Gabe confirmed before adding, “When he isn’t chasing after something that’s likely to get him killed.”

Chloe laughed, charmed at the relationship between Gabe and his dog. The man obviously liked to complain about the canine, but his affection and concern for Chase was pretty evident in his tone.

She followed him as he motioned her forward, leading the way to the kitchen.

“You want coffee?” Gabe pulled a mug out of the cupboard and then hesitated.

“I’d love some, thanks. I didn’t have a chance this morning. Zane called, and we talked for so long I didn’t get a cup before I left.” She stepped forward. “I can get that.”

Gabe gave her a stern look. “You’re a guest. Sit down and relax.” He motioned toward the kitchen table.

She sat, but answered, “I’m not a guest, Gabe. I’m an employee.”

“You’re a vet, more of a consultant than an employee, and I don’t pay you to get coffee.”

Chloe propped her elbows on the table and watched as he prepared her mug of desperately needed caffeine. It was nice to have a man do something for her. She’d fetched most everything for James when they were together.

Gabe looked pretty comfortable in the kitchen. For a man his size, he did everything with a slow, natural grace that surprised her. He had to be a few inches over six foot, and his body was bulky—all of it pure muscle. Dressed in a pair of jeans and a casual gray pullover shirt that was obviously donned for warmth, he looked amazingly handsome and irresistibly touchable.

He wasn’t attractive in a sleek, wealthy sort of way. He looked like a rugged, masculine guy who was comfortable with himself no matter what he was doing.

“Cream and sugar?” he asked.

“Just a little bit of creamer,” she answered automatically. Although she preferred her coffee loaded with cream and sugar, she’d learned to drink it almost black. James had conditioned her to take in less calories and refined sugar.

She thought about that for moment before she retracted her answer. “On second thought, load it with both.”

Gabe turned and grinned at her, as though he knew exactly why she changed her mind.

“How do you really like it?” he asked curiously.

“Loaded,” she affirmed.

“Good girl,” he said in a supportive voice, scooping more sugar into her coffee. “Old habit?”

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