Authors: Sloan Storm
Bad Boy Billionaire Romance
Copyright © 2016 by Sloan Storm.
All rights reserved.
Published in the United States of America.
First published in September, 2016.
No part of this book may be reproduced in any form or by any electronic or mechanical means, including information storage and retrieval systems, without written permission from the author, except for the use of brief quotations in a book review.
This is a work of fiction. Names, places, businesses, characters and incidents are either the product of the author's imagination or are used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons living or dead, actual events or locales is purely coincidental.
HATING HIM WAS EASY… UNTIL LOVING HIM MADE IT IMPOSSIBLE.
Bastard. Hunk. Billionaire. My life was just fine before he swept me up – hauling me away in those thick, strong, tattooed arms and dragging me off to God knows where.
Now, it’s do what he says, when he says,
I’d run as far my legs would carry me, if only I could. Under the guise of protecting me, he’s locked me away at his opulent estate complete with everything a girl could want - except my freedom.
I mean, sure, it's almost impossible to resist his bad boy attitude, insane good looks and rock hard…
. Even so, I’m determined not to fall under his spell.
Unfortunately, my melting panties seem to have ideas of their own.
He’s the most dangerous man I’ve ever met. How could I ever trust someone like him to protect me from anyone -
It was supposed to be simple. Just do a favor for a friend - hell, a brother.
Everything went to plan. Well, almost. Once I got my arms around Tempest, nothing would ever be simple again.
Now she’s in danger and there’s no one who can,
, protect her like me. She talked tough but had a lot to learn about life’s harder edges. The problem is that unless you know what you're doing, those edges can cut and sometimes, much worse.
Normally, women like her don’t exist in my reality - except for one reason. But keeping her with me has nothing to do with getting her in bed. Combing my hair is harder than finding a warm body to fill that role.
Or at least, that’s how it started...
Now unless I can hear her scream my name for the rest of my life, I'll never be satisfied.
I won’t settle for anything less.
DON’T MISS OUT!
JOIN 1,000s OF OTHERS!
Thousands and thousands of readers can’t be wrong…
I swiveled my head.
Marry me? What?
No shit. There it was, pinched between his thumb and forefinger. A massive rock reflected rays of sunshine through the car window, causing it to sparkle and glimmer.
I blinked. For a couple of seconds, I just looked at it and then at him. Just then, his brand-new $200,000 Mercedes drifted off the highway.
“Todd! Look out!”
He snapped his gaze away from me and reached for the steering wheel, grabbing it with both hands. The car rolled across ridges of rumble strips, sending vibrations across my backside.
“Goddamnit!” he yelled. “Where’d it go?!”
I watched him reach down between his seat and the center console, thrusting his hand hard into the dark, foreboding crevice. Swallowing, I prayed I’d imagined the last few seconds of my life. Then, with a satisfied grunt, he pulled his hand out.
Almost as fast as the ring vanished, it reappeared in his hand, threatening me again. He might’ve had one hand on the wheel but if he wore a blindfold, I would’ve felt just about as comfortable. Now swerving the car more than ever, Todd looked at me, determined to finish what he started.
“Give me your hand.”
Stiffness radiated across my body. I froze in my seat. All movement stopped. Todd nodded at me, gesturing for me to lift my arm and extend my hand to him. The lifeless appendage hung heavy from my shoulder socket like a tube of granite.
There was no way in hell this was happening.
Oblivious to my hesitation, he began to drive the car with his knee. Reaching across the center console, Todd grabbed my hand and in a flash shoved the ring down my finger. The pressure of the move pinched my skin, amplifying my mental discomfort with a painful physical reminder. Once he’d finished, he let go of me and returned his attention to the road ahead.
I looked down at my hand. The ring was flashy, like nothing I’d ever pick for myself – not in a million years. It was heavy, not only in weight but also in expectations.
The inside of my palm started to sweat.
“It’s fucking stunning isn’t it? You never saw it coming did ya!?”
He wasn’t looking at me, at least not yet. I wasn’t sure what direction our relationship was headed -- or shit -- how much longer it might have even lasted!
So a proposal?
The idea hadn’t entered my mind.
However, the man who’d jammed the ring down my finger while never even bothering to stop the car to do it had changed,
, and in a way I didn’t like. He’d always been too cocky for his own good, but his behavior morphed into brashness, bordering on asshole territory at times.
“There. You see, babe? I’m telling you, all you have to do is stick with me, and I’ll take care of you. We’re going to be rich. You’ll never have to work again.”
It was the money. He’d come into it too quickly. The sudden success went to his head. However, the new car, the trips -- all of it -- they all paled in comparison to
. There was no bigger proof of his massive new ego than my irritated ring finger.
It has to be at least three carats. This is insane.
“Hey,” he spoke up, smacking gum between his teeth. “So what’s it gonna be, babe?”
I was only half listening. My mouth hung open. I could literally feel the inside of it drying up like the desert surrounding us.
Before I could choke out another utterance, his cell phone rang.
“Hold that thought.” He winked at me while he raised it to his ear. “This is Todd.”
I looked away from him and out the window. Scrub brush and copper colored hills whizzed by, painting a high desert canvas of multicolored streaks across the landscape. I bit my lip, glancing at him out of the corner of my eye.
No one needed to take care of me.
Things had been hard since mom died, yeah. Dad wasn’t around, but that still didn’t mean I was anyone’s charity case. He should have known better than to say something like that –– ring or not.
Speaking of that, I looked down again. Marriage was
to be about love. In a strange way, the feel of the ring wrapped tightly around my finger gave me sudden confirmation that what I had with Todd wasn’t that – not even close.
I have with him?
I drew a blank.
Okay, so he wasn’t the ‘one’, but I wasn’t a bitch, either. I didn’t want to hurt his feelings by turning him down flat. At the same time, I wasn’t going to be part of any charade. So while he chatted away, I racked my brain, scrambling for the right way to let him down gently. Unfortunately, he didn’t give me much time, hanging up a few seconds later.
I had to tell him I couldn’t marry him. I… I wouldn’t.
While I’d been lost in my thoughts, he’d jumped off 95 outside of Tonopah, taking 89 instead. I’d driven north once a month for more than three years now, and if there was one thing I knew, it was that this was the long way to Reno.
He grunted at me, staring down the road ahead. I noticed he was checking the rearview mirror –
. He’d been doing it since we got about an hour north of Vegas. His face wrinkled with focus and concern.
Todd ignored me and changed the subject, his tone gruff. “What about the proposal? What’s the deal?”
I swallowed hard, sucking in oxygen.
This was it.
Reaching down, I wrapped my fingers around the ring and began to tug on it.
No sooner did I mumble the first syllable than he punched the accelerator. The twelve-cylinder supercar took off like a missile, nearing one hundred miles an hour in no time. I snapped my head towards him. The expression on his face shifted from concern to panic.
“Shit,” he muttered, tightening his grip on the steering wheel. His knuckles whitened. All the while, he alternated a blinkless stare between the road streaking towards us and the vanishing remnants of it behind.
His discomfort got the better of me. I licked my lips and turned in my seat, looking out the rear window when I saw
closing on us and
was an all-black Rolls Royce Phantom with windows tinted so dark there was no way I could see inside. The car accelerated with unrelenting speed, like something a modern-day Grim Reaper might drive in a sadistic, twisted fairytale.
In the midst of my hypnosis, Todd yelled at me. “Get out of the way! I can’t see!”
While he spoke, I saw an arm emerge from the passenger side of the car. It held a gun – a gun pointed directly at
. Todd grabbed hold of me and yanked me down into my seat when I heard it.
Pop, pop, pop!
The sickening sound clattered inside of my head. Instinctively, I covered my ears and leaned forward in my seat for protection, screaming at the same time.
“Oh my God!”
Then a vicious and violent bumping sound came from the back of the car.
“The tire!” Todd yelled. “That fucker shot it out!”
I sensed the back of the vehicle losing traction while Todd fought to maintain control. The Rolls slammed into us, jolting me backward on impact. Rebounding from the impact, I pressed my palms flat against the dashboard, narrowly avoiding the windshield.
“Fuck!” Todd cursed, yanking the steering wheel with a savage tug.
The car limped off the highway, bounding down a frontage road. I don’t know how long he drove. It could’ve been a minute or ten, but it didn’t matter, because with each turn of the rapidly deflating tires we lost speed.
Soon, the damage grew too great. The tires exploded into shreds, thumping along the road beneath us. I grabbed hold of the door handle while the powerful vibrations of the wheel’s steel grinding on the dirt road’s surface rattled the teeth inside of my head.
Todd drove on as long as he could, until at last he came to a stop. A huge dust cloud swallowed us, blocking my view of the surroundings. Without thinking, I turned towards him and, making a fist, punched him in the shoulder with a series of quick strikes.
“What the hell is going on? Who is shooting at us?”
After the third blow Todd snatched my wrist, wrapping his fingers around it and squeezing, shaking it back and forth for emphasis.
“Calm the fuck down. Be quiet!”
He never blinked. I don’t think he even took a breath. His stare went straight through me. Stunned, I looked at his hand when a horrible realization hit me.
He knew exactly what was happening.
With all of my strength, I yanked my hand away from his grasp. “Don’t tell me what to do!”
He shook his head and leaned in towards me. “If you don’t listen to me, you
His words hung in the air but didn’t hold my attention for long. The sound of a clacking noise against the window shifted my focus. I swallowed hard and looked towards it. Just beyond the thin plate glass stood a man wearing a ski mask and pointing his gun directly at me.
“Get out,” Todd began, breaking my attention. “Keep your mouth shut.”
* * *
, he unlocked the door, and before I could even reach for the handle, it flew open.
“Relax, chica. Get out slow,” the gunman said, a thick Mexican accent hanging on every syllable. He motioned for me to approach him. “Come stand next to me. Don’t say a word.”
After a couple of cautious steps, I looked towards Todd. The gunman who pointed a pistol at him was not as polite.
“Where is it, homes?” he asked, shoving Todd with his free hand.
Todd scoffed at the question.
“Where’s what? Who the fuck are you?”
Without a word, the man stepped forward and pressed his pistol against Todd’s temple.
“Only someone as stupid as you would take the money he got for transporting stolen shit and spend it on a ride like this.”
Todd turned his head to say something, but before he could the man spoke again.
“We don’t have time to fuck around. Five seconds. Open the trunk or you’re dead.”
Todd raised his hands in mock surrender, trying to reason with the man.
“Look, I don’t know who sent you, but what’s in there doesn’t belong to them. I’m telling you, you are making a big mistake by…”
The gunman pulled the pistol away, and with lightning-like reflexes punched Todd across the face.
“That’s where you’re wrong – you’re the thief, esse! You don’t have to tell me anything. Do what I said. Open the trunk. Last chance!”
No sooner had he spoken those words than he confirmed my suspicion. Todd knew
what they were after, why they’d chased us down. Confused, I tried to wrap my mind around what was happening.
wasn’t a criminal. He wasn’t a thug. He wasn’t like all the guys who came into the casino – the tourists, the addicted gamblers, the middle-aged businessmen desperate to drown their dissatisfaction with life with cheap drinks and a weekend getaway in Vegas from the hellish obligations of home.
I refocused my attention on him.
Who was Todd?
For all I knew, he was a mild-mannered stockbroker with a slightly-higher-than-average-five-figure income. He’d come into the casino trying to get new business for his company. Imagine being so desperate for clients that you want to sign up cocktail waitresses!
Most of my coworkers laughed in his face and so did I, at first. But, I’d been around the game for a couple of years by that time. I knew my days as a server were numbered. Sure, I made a bunch of money, but so did lots of the other girls.
What did they have to show for it? The same as me.
So I decided – what the hell? I might as well do something productive with my cash. Who better to help me with that than Todd? Later, the other girls joined in. He’d made them money, too. Quite a bit of money, actually.
What reason did I have not to trust him? Hell, date him?
Fast forward to now. All that history rushed into the forefront of my mind. The money, the car. I looked down –
. Where had it all come from? It was obvious now that Todd was involved in some shady, shady fucking shit.
Just then, the gunman yelled at him, snapping me out of it.
“Open the fuckin’ trunk or so help me to fuck you’re dead, you piece of shit!”
I looked on in disbelief. None of this could be happening, should be happening. Insanity seemed like an understatement. Todd nodded his head, reached for the trunk and opened it. Stepping away, he raised his hands in the air again and pointed towards the back of the car.
“There it is, okay? Just take the case.”
The man shook his head. “Open it.”
Todd didn’t say a word, only shaking his head in response. Again, the gunman moved in his direction and jammed the pistol against the side of Todd’s head.
“If you don’t open it… she… dies.”
I die? Me!? Why do I have to die?