Burning for the Billionaire 3 - Page 5

“Starting over is hard.” I sigh. “But I feel like I shouldn’t be complaining because I’m alive.” I gaze down at the floor. “I feel guilty every time I complain, so I mostly keep my feelings to myself.”

Maybe a therapist would tell me that’s why anxiety and nightmares have become a fixture in my life.

“Thanks for listening,” I mumble and hastily sit down. When I chance a look around, I see understanding on everyone’s faces. They get it. The tension seeps out of my shoulders and I think I breathe a little easier.

“Thanks for sharing, Grace,” someone says.

Andrew smiles and nods. “Never feel guilty for feeling like your world is falling apart sometimes,” he tells me, then looks around the room. “It happens to the best of us.”

He offers more encouraging words that resonate with me, and by the end of the meeting, I feel about five pounds lighter. I even stick around to chat with some of the others and indulge in the refreshments. Just as my conversation with Susan ends, Andrew walks over.

“Grace, you seem to be doing better today,” he observes.

I beam. “After getting over my stage fright, I am. Public speaking isn’t my forte.”

He chuckles. As I bite into a sugar cookie, he watches me intently. My eyes dart from side to side and heat infuses my cheeks.

Blinking, he says, “I’m making you uncomfortable. I’m so sorry.”

“Er... no, it’s fine.” Not really. I get uneasy under anyone’s scrutiny.

“You just remind me so much of her. I got lost for a moment.”

“Her?”

“My daughter.” His eyes cloud with sadness. “The one I lost in the fire.”

I almost choke on the cookie. He mentioned that in the first meeting. Christ. I don’t want to be the one to conjure up bad memories.

“I’m so sorry.” I feel silly for saying that. Being sorry won’t bring his kid back.

“No, I’m sorry for making things weird.” He laughs, but I hear the sorrow in it.

Now I know why he’s been sneaking peeks at me since my first time here. It never came across as creepy, but I wondered about it. My heart melts and aches for Andrew at the same time.

“You didn’t make things weird,” I reassure him.

He seems to relax. “You said you’re in college, right?”

I nod. Maybe not for much longer if I can’t pay tuition.

“Sarah would be in her second year.”

Since Andrew seems comfortable talking about his daughter—I suppose that’s how he copes with losing something so precious—I jump into the topic with him. Apparently, it’s my air of shyness, my smile, and the way I wear my hair that reminds him of his daughter. She sounds like a lovely girl.

I get so comfortable chatting with Andrew like I never could with my father, I share how I’m struggling with finding a job that would facilitate me going to school full-time. “That’s unfortunate,” he says, frowning.

He seems so genuinely bummed on my behalf that I almost smile. “It’s frustrating.”

“I’ll keep my eyes and ears open.”

“That would be great.” I pull my phone out, eager to exchange phone numbers because I’ll take any help I can get in that arena. “Do you mind taking my number? You can call or text if you hear about anything.”

“Sure.”

I rattle off my number just as Ethan, my not-so-subtle admirer, approaches us.

“Did you say you need a job, Grace?” He smiles at me.

Andrew’s eyebrows go up. Clearly, Ethan was shamelessly eavesdropping.

“I did.”

Andrew gives me a small smile and bows out. “See you at the next meeting?”

“Of course.”

Tags: Hope Paris Billionaire Romance
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