Billion Dollar Chance - Linnea May

Chapter 1


I can’t fuck this up. I absolutely can’t.

The nervous tremors in my hands have stopped, but my mind is whirling beyond control. My heart is thumping anxiously, sending a rush of blood through my veins that blushes my cheeks in a shade similar to my hair—fiery hot and treacherous.

I need to calm down before I go in. My bike has been parked for a while now; ten minutes, maybe more. Yet I can’t tear myself away from the bike rack. I’m still way too early, but I knew I would need the time to settle my nerves before I can face this.

Before I can face him.

My eyes trail across the parking lot and over to the grand government building that awaits at the other end. Is he already in there? Is he feeling the same way I am right now?

Does he even know?

It’s been years since we last talked. We parted, each went our own way, and eventually faded from each other’s lives. That’s just how it goes sometimes. It’s not like I stopped thinking about him, but I never expected to see him again.

And I definitely did not expect to see him today.

I can’t remember the last time I have been this anxious. My eyes are glued to the building in front of me, while I’m torn between the urge to bolt through the heavy wooden entrance to get it over with and the paralyzing fear of what lies behind those doors.

Today is important, to say the least. When my supervisor, Mrs. Glenn, asked me to come with her, I couldn’t believe my ears at first. I’m only an intern, after all. I may have been involved in the ‘Climate and Energy Action Plan’ for the District of Columbia since the beginning, but never in my wildest dreams did I expect to be present when our first draft was presented to the governor’s office. It’s a big deal.

No, it’s a huge deal.

It means that Mrs. Glenn trusts my expertise. She has always treated me as if I was a fixture in her department and not just an unpaid intern.

But this is taking it to the next level. This means she has plans for me. It means I may have a future at the institute, with a real job and a real income. If it weren’t for my parents, I couldn’t even have accepted this internship to begin with. My savings were hardly enough to get by for six months, especially in a place like DC. I could only convince them—and myself—that this was a good idea because there was a prospect for a permanent position with decent pay and the life I’ve always dreamed of.

The life I almost destroyed last year.

I exhale audibly before I close my eyes and hold my breath for a few moments. I count—one, two, three, four—desperate for reassurance and a clear head. God knows I’ll need it today.

Because it’s not just that. It’s not just that my professional future could rely on today or that I’m afraid to disappoint Mrs. Glenn. That alone would be enough to drive me frantic, but it wouldn’t throw me off the track to this degree.

In fact, up until a couple of days ago, I was doing fine. I felt prepared and more than ready.

But then I saw the list of participants. It was clipped to the agenda in our folder right on top and impossible to miss: a complete list of everyone who will be present at the meeting. My heart did a little hiccup with excitement when I saw my own name on there—and it dropped when my eyes trailed further down the list and latched on to a name I didn’t expect.

A name that changed everything.

His name.

Gabriel Boulder, Attorney Advisor for the Government of the district of Columbia.

At first I thought it must be a mistake, or a coincidence, a cruel joke by fate — anything but the maddening truth. I didn’t want to believe it was really him, even though it makes perfect sense. Gabe always wanted to get into politics, and last I heard he obtained his license to practice law in the district of Columbia a few years back.

I didn’t hear it from him directly, of course. We haven’t spoken in almost seven years—ever since I moved to the West Coast, leaving him behind. He never forgave me for that, despite our agreement. We were never in a relationship, not really. It was purely physical, unbridled lust and magnetic attraction. We were drawn