Cameron, Paige - The Billionaire Rancher Buys a Wife [Wives for the Western Billionaires 2] (Siren Publishing Everlasting Classic)

Wives for the Western Billionaires 2

The Billionaire Rancher Buys a Wife

Drake Terrell wins a bid to date Janice Dedrick. He expects a fun fling. She refuses his offer and ends their date early. Drake realizes she means more to him than he thought. He decides to pursue her seriously. Janice has doubts about his sincerity. She gives him an ultimatum: change his career, buy a ranch, and agree to have children before she'll consider him. She's bluffing, never thinking he'd do what she asked.

 

Meanwhile, she receives threatening midnight calls, and accidents, or real threats, begin to endanger her and Drake.

 

Drake calls his brother to help find the person trying to injure or kill them. As their love heats up, so does the stalker's determination. Can this rancher win Janice's heart and save her life?

 

Genre:
Contemporary, Western/Cowboys
Length:
42,180 words

THE BILLIONAIRE RANCHER BUYS A WIFE

Wives for the Western Billionaires 2

Paige Cameron

EVERLASTING CLASSIC

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

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A SIREN PUBLISHING BOOK

IMPRINT: Everlasting Classic

THE BILLIONAIRE RANCHER BUYS A WIFE

Copyright © 2011 by Paige Cameron

E-book ISBN: 1-61034-751-X

First E-book Publication: August 2011

Cover design by
Les Byerley

All cover art and logo copyright © 2011 by Siren Publishing, Inc.

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED:
This literary work may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, including electronic or photographic reproduction, in whole or in part, without express written permission.

All characters and events in this book are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead is strictly coincidental.

PUBLISHER

Siren Publishing, Inc.

www.SirenPublishing.com

Letter to Readers

 

Dear Readers,

 

If you have purchased this copy of
 
The Billionaire Rancher Buys a Wife
by Paige Cameron from BookStrand.com or its official distributors, thank you. Also, thank you for not sharing your copy of this book.

 

 

Regarding E-book Piracy

 

This book is copyrighted intellectual property. No other individual or group has resale rights, auction rights, membership rights, sharing rights, or any kind of rights to sell or to give away a copy of this book.

 

The author and the publisher work very hard to bring our paying readers high-quality reading entertainment.

 

This is Paige Cameron’s livelihood.
 
It’s fair and simple. Please respect Ms. Cameron’s right to earn a living from her work.

 

Amanda Hilton, Publisher

www.SirenPublishing.com

www.BookStrand.com

DEDICATION

To Teri. Thanks for everything.

The Billionaire Rancher Buys a Wife

Wives for the Western Billionaires 2

PAIGE CAMERON

Copyright © 2011

Chapter One

Janice Dedrick was next. Butterflies flitted about in her stomach. She questioned her own sanity. Whatever had possessed her to volunteer for this auction, even if it was for a good cause? The lights dimmed and the announcer said her name.

“Go on, Janice.” The coordinator gave her a gentle push.
I’ll never put myself in this position again
. She took two steps onto the stage and a spotlight hit her full force. A murmur rose from the crowd. The light followed her as she slowly walked across the platform to the catwalk.

Not being able to see the audience because of the lowered lights gave her the sensation of being lost in an unfamiliar place. Hundreds of eyes looking at her, but she didn’t know who they were. Her skin prickled with uneasiness.

“One hundred dollars,” the first bidder spoke out.

Finally, he’d have a chance to make her notice him. He’d win the date and take her for a lovely dinner. She’d look into his eyes and realize, as he had many years ago, that they were destined for each other. He’d have her full attention.

The emcee encouraged other bids. Janice tried to ignore the bidders and turned to walk back toward the stage.

“Five hundred,” a faintly familiar voice spoke with authority. But it couldn’t be Drake. He was miles away, doing whatever it was he did.

“Seven-fifty,” the first bidder said.

The man leaned forward to see who had dared to bid against him. The other bidder would ruin the perfect, beautiful plan he had to seduce the fascinating Janice. His hands curled into tight fist.

Shocked by the high bid, Janice tried to see who had bid, but the lowered lights hid his identity.

“One thousand dollars.” Total silence after that.

“Going for one thousand dollars,” the emcee said.

“Five thousand.”

There, he’d been pushed to his limit, but that ought to shut up the tall, dark man to his right. Who was he? He’d find out and make him rue the day he dared to try and win Janice, his Janice.

Both voices sounded familiar. One more so than the other. Janice was almost certain the higher bidder was Drake Terrell. But the other, she couldn’t quite place.

“Ten thousand,” said the man she suspected was Drake. His firm, decisive tone was meant to discourage the other bidder.

“We have ten thousand dollars bid by the gentleman standing to my left,” the emcee spoke, shock evident in his voice. “Going once, twice, and you have bought a dinner date with our delightful Janice Dedrick.”

Janice practically ran off the stage. Her face was hot and must look as red as a lobster. The other women crowded around, congratulating her on earning so much money for the hospital. But all Janice saw was Drake’s mocking smile the last time they’d met, and his words echoed in her head.

“I’m a determined man,” he’d said. “Someday, some way, you’ll give in and go on a real date with me. Those foursomes with our best friends don’t count.” Then he’d bent low and whispered, “I want you all to myself.”

She had no doubt Drake had bid that ridiculous sum of money. She’d avoided him as much as possible this past year. Ever since she’d met him at her best friend, Samantha and his best friend,
Jackson
’s home. She wasn’t certain why she didn’t want to date him. The man was handsome and rich, but he had a reputation for being a playboy, the last kind of man she needed to fall for. Perhaps her avoidance was a natural defense mechanism.

His determination had won out. She was obligated to let him take her on a dinner date. Still, ten thousand dollars seemed like an exorbitant amount even for him.

She wondered who the other man was that bid for her. She’d probably never know.

Janice changed into comfortable jeans and a sweater, excused herself, and hurried out the side exit. She’d parked her car two rows over. As soon as she got close, she saw Drake leaning negligently against her car door. He didn’t move aside. Just gave her that lazy smile that always kicked her heartbeat up a notch.

“I decided seeing you tonight and arranging our date in person was preferable to the telephone.” He glanced around the dark parking lot. “You shouldn’t walk to your car alone.”

“I know. Tall, dangerous men might be waiting in the shadows.”

He ducked his head toward her. “You think I’m dangerous?”

“I’m certain you could be.”

“What do you fear I might do to you?” His tone had gone low and seductive.

Steal my heart.
“Nothing,” she said firmly. “I’ve taken karate. No one will mess with me.”

“Don’t be overconfident.” Without seeing him move, he had rolled, swung his arms, and held her tight against his hot body.

“See. At this point, I have you at my mercy. Go ahead, try to escape.” He whispered the taunting words in her ear.

She tried to head butt him, kick him, all the moves she’d been taught, but it was too late. He had her totally controlled. She felt his hard arousal against her buttocks.

Tipping her head to the side and back, he brushed his mouth across her lips. When she opened her mouth to protest, he switched her around where she faced him. He still held her body clamped tight against his, as his tongue slipped between her lips to caress the soft interior.

One of his hands slid down her back and held her buttocks firm, keeping her body snug against his cock. He raised his head. His dark, mysterious eyes searched her face. “I’ve wanted you since I saw you that day at the top of the plane’s steps, when you arrived at
Jackson
’s ranch. I intend to have you. And you’ll want me, too, and beg me to take you before I do.”

She stomped his foot. “When hell freezes over.”

“They’re expecting a blizzard.”

She tried to stop herself from laughing. “Let me go, you idiot. You won dinner with me, not me for dinner.”

“Very funny, wait and see.” His eyes sparkled with mischief. He stepped back, freeing her. “I’ll wait. I want you safely inside your car before I leave.”

Her hand trembled when she went to put the key in the door. His warm fingers curled around hers, and the latch popped open. Quickly, ignoring her hungry body, she slid inside and pushed the lock button. She waved and began to back out. He motioned for her to stop. She punched the button to lower her window.

“Tomorrow is Saturday. I’ll pick you up at one in the afternoon. We’ll start our evening early.”

Janice started to protest, but remembered the large amount he’d bid. “All right, but you only bought my time, nothing else.”

His slow grin had desire curling inside her. “We’ll only do what you want.” He waved her on. “See you tomorrow.”

There she was, acting the whore again, just like before. He never had a chance with Mr. Billionaire Terrell bidding. They’d pay and he’d enjoy seeing Terrell’s blood flowing on the ground. Money never kept death away.

He slipped farther back into the shadows.

Janice forced herself to concentrate on driving. She kept thoughts of Drake pushed away, until she parked in her garage and went into the kitchen. She poured herself a glass of cool water and drank.
What have I done?
Drake Terrell was a dangerous man. A danger to her peace of mind and the comfortable world she’d built around herself after Ted, her fiancé’s, death.

Not that she was afraid to love like her friend, Samantha, had been. No, it wasn’t that. She liked order to her life, to know what to expect. No big surprises. Drake was the opposite. He fed on excitement, travel, danger. He exuded raw masculinity in spite of his sophisticated persona. She’d recognized those traits in him almost immediately on meeting him.

She put her glass on the counter and turned off the light to head for bed. Somehow she’d get through their date tomorrow and then be very careful to not place herself in this type of position ever again.

At midnight, her phone rang. Janice fumbled for the receiver.

“Whore. Bad things happen to people who are whores or use whores.”

Half asleep, the words weren’t clear in Janice’s mind for the first few seconds. When they were, she slammed the phone down. Shaking, she reached across the bedside table and clicked her light on.

Sitting on the side of the bed, she tried to calm herself. Her heart was racing and her empty house suddenly felt threatening. The voice had been muffled. Who in the world would make such a call?

When she had steadied her nerves, she turned off the light and walked around the house, double-checking the doors and peeking out the windows. A quarter moon shone between two large clouds. A neighbor’s dog barked, once, then went quiet.

She huddled on the sofa, a blanket wrapped around her, and a hammer from the closet in her hand. There’d be no more sleep tonight.

* * * *

She’d finally fallen asleep in the early morning hours and awoke with her neck twisted in an uncomfortable position. Even after a shower and exercise, tiredness still hovered over her. She wasn’t in the best condition to enjoy any date. She needed to be in tiptop shape to tangle with Drake.

Maybe she’d call him and reschedule their outing. Did she have his number? She searched her file—nothing. Samantha would know how to reach him. Samantha’s husband and Drake had known each other for years. No, she couldn’t involve them. She might as well make the best of it and get the date over with.

It was eleven already. Time to choose an outfit. She hadn’t thought to ask him how to dress, informal, formal. She had no idea. Black slacks and a nice sweater would fit most places, except for the ultra-fancy restaurants. She’d have him wait while she changed, if necessary.

Janice busied herself with chores, but the next two hours still crept by. Finally, he drove into her drive in a shiny, black sports car with the top down. Before he came to the door, she ran to her bedroom and grabbed a scarf. The doorbell rang.

“Good afternoon, you look lovely,” Drake said.

He wore faded jeans and a black shirt. The shirt was open partway. Dark brown hair showed between the edges. Janice suddenly had a strong impulse to rise up on her toes and kiss his arrogant mouth.

“Hold that thought.”

“What do you mean?” she blustered.

“It must have been sexy—you blushed. I can’t remember ever seeing the cool Ms. Dedrick show any discomposure. I like it.”

“I think I’ve dressed too fancy for wherever you’re taking me. Shall I change?”

His intense inspection of her outfit made her temperature rise at least ten degrees. The worst part was that he was fully aware of his effect on her. She saw it in his chocolate-colored eyes and the smile on his face.

“Sure, change into jeans, and bring a bathing suit along.”

“It’s much too cold out to swim.”

“We won’t be out in the cold.”

They must be going somewhere that had an indoor pool. She did like to swim. Deciding not to protest, she hurried to her bedroom and changed into jeans and a pink shirt, then wrapped her swimsuit in a towel. Picking up her purse, she joined him.

“Let’s hurry,” he said. “This is going to be fun.” His hand on her lower back, he guided her out and to the car.

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