Authors: Glenna Sinclair
A Billionaire Romance, Part 2 of 3
All Rights Reserved
. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.
I was dreaming—a beautiful, wonderful dream—and then my world turned into a nightmare.
Five months ago, I was just a kindergarten teacher, finishing up the spring semester at a small private school in a suburb of Los Angeles. And then everything imploded. My mother got cancer and that led to a desperate need to get money and that led to me volunteering to be a surrogate for the actress, Aurora Parker, and her ultra-famous, billionaire husband, Nicolas Costa. But, of course, it couldn’t all go smoothly. Right before the first insemination attempt, Nicolas came on to me in the same house he shared with his wife, then my mother died of a heart attack the night before she was supposed to start chemo, and then Aurora died a week later of an apparent drug overdose in New York City. It was all too much and I took off, well aware that the insemination had worked and I was pregnant. I didn’t think Nicolas would want the baby after all of that.
But, of course, I was wrong.
Nicolas followed me to Texas and insisted I return to L.A. until the baby’s birth. If I didn’t, he wasn’t going to hold up his end of the bargain I’d made with Aurora—that I would be allowed pictures and the occasional visit. And once we were settled in his house—the same house he once shared with Aurora and the house my mother’s best friend, Constance, worked as the housekeeper in—he dragged me off to a new doctor who quickly discovered that I wasn’t just having a baby, I was having twins. Plus, I have gestational diabetes that requires up to five shots a day to keep my blood sugar in tight alignment.
My mom used to say Murphy’s law ruled my life. She wasn’t kidding.
But last night, things seemed to be getting better. Nicolas and I sat down to dinner together. It was awkward, at first. But then…when he was touching me, it was like all common sense just disappeared. And he was so gentle, so kind and considerate. It felt like we’d actually made a connection for the first time since we met. He took me to bed and we lay in each other’s arms until the wee hours, touching and whispering to each other. Then I fell asleep and dreamed that the babies were here, sleeping happily in perfect white cribs and Nicolas had his arms around me, telling me what a wonderful life we were all going to have together. The dream made me smile, even in my sleep. But then it turned into a nightmare with a knock on the door. Nicolas’s bodyguard, Adam, was there, telling him the police were there. And then:
I was headed down the stairs with Adam when I heard a deep voice reciting the Miranda Rights in the entry way. I pulled away from Adam and rushed to the bottom of the stairs, just in time to see a cop in a cheap wool suit put Nicolas in handcuffs.
“Nicolas Costa, you’re being arrested for the charge of murder in the first degree,” the detective said.
“Nico!” I cried.
He looked at me, a lost little boy with shame coloring his face.
“Take her out of here,” Nicolas said roughly to Adam.
I felt Adam take my arm, but all I saw was Nicolas being escorted out to a police cruiser.
Now I was at Constance’s, curled up on the couch in her cramped living room, trying not to hear—but watching every second of the news reports on Nicolas’ arrest.
“Police aren’t commenting at this time,” the pretty blond reporter was currently saying, “but sources close to the case say that police have found evidence that Nicolas Costa was in New York City on the night his wife died despite the fact that he told investigators he was home alone that night. The source states that a witness has come forward, claiming that he saw Nicolas Costa at the restaurant Aurora Parker had just left when she died in the back of her chauffeured limo. And another witness claims that Nicolas Costa threatened his wife on several occasions, most notably the night before her trip to New York City.”
I shook my head, tears threatening, as I sat back and ran my hand slowly over my swelling belly.
“Did he really do it?”
I glanced at Mercedes, Constance’s thirteen year old niece. She, along with several cousins and Constance’s two teenaged sons, lived in this tiny apartment with Constance. It was like trying to study in a frat house. There were so many people I could hardly think.
,” Constance said, shooing Mercedes away. Then she picked up the remote and turned off the television. “You’ve done nothing but watch this stuff for two days,” she said to me.
“What else is there to do?”
Constance set a plate of tamales in front of me. I looked at them and my stomach clutched. I shook my head. If I ate, I’d have to take a shot, and I really didn’t want to do that.
“You need to feed those babies,” Constance said.
I ran my hand slowly over my belly. “They seem to be growing fine whether I eat of not. I’ve gained five pounds since I got out of the hospital.”
“Because they’re taking what they need whether you eat or not. But that won’t last long.”
I just shook my head and reached for the remote. The television popped back on and the outer gate of Nicolas’ house flooded the screen. I sat forward, staring as a dark car pulled slowly to the gates and the gate slowly began to slide open as reporters surrounded the car.
Constance just shrugged, as she watched the screen too.
“I have to go.” I jumped to my feet and grabbed my bag, shoving the few things I’d removed—my blood sugar meter, a book, a couple of clean shirts—back inside and slid my feet into sandals.
“I’m sure he’ll send for you when he’s ready,” Constance said.
I shook my head. “No. He’ll want me to stay as far away as possible.”
“Then maybe you shouldn’t go.”
“But he needs me.”
I headed for the front door, but Constance grabbed my arm.
“Ana, think about this. This man has been accused of killing his wife. Do you really think he’s the kind of man you want to be with right now?” She touched my belly. “These babies are the most important thing in your world right now. Maybe it would be best if you stayed here and let people who love you take care of you.”
“These babies are Nicolas’. I should be there.”
“Ana, you’re just a surrogate.”
“I know that.”
I dragged my fingers through my dark hair, my thoughts whirling in a million different directions. However, they all kept coming back to Nicolas alone, dealing with the darkest moments of his life in that big house without anyone who cared about him. I needed to be there. I needed to show him that I cared.
Constance stood in front of me, her experienced eyes watching me. And I could see in them that she knew it was already too late. Even I wasn’t quite sure what my feelings for Nicolas were, but I knew I had them. And I knew they were deeper than those of a girl who had a crush on the man whose child she’s carrying. All of this began as a means to an end, a way to get the money my mom would need to survive her cancer. But then I met Aurora and I really wanted to give her the gift of a child. Nicolas made it weird when he kissed me, but I still wanted to help Aurora; I still wanted to make her dreams come true. And then she was dead and I was alone with this baby that Nicolas didn’t even know about. And then he found me and made me feel things I’d never felt before…never have I ever hated someone the way I hated Nicolas for taking control of my life and bullying me into coming back to L.A. Never have I ever hated someone so much for making me dependent on them—I’ve never been so dependent on someone, so dependent on a place to live, transportation, medical care, clothes, food, and everything else. But…never have I wanted to be near someone the way I wanted to be near Nicolas. Never have I wanted a man like I want Nicolas.
I was falling for him, and I hated myself for it almost as much as Constance clearly disapproved of it.
“You know he’s a good man,” I said softly. “You were the reason I volunteered to be their surrogate in the first place.”
“He was a good man. Once.” Clouds danced over Constance’s face. “But you don’t know what happened in that house over these past few years, what I heard between him and his wife. I never told you or your mother some of the worst things.”
“It was a bad marriage.”
“It was more than that.”
I shook my head. “I don’t care. I’m going back there, and I’m going to help him through this because it’s the right thing to do.”
“But what about all of this?” Constance asked, gesturing to the television. “What about this investigation?”
“He didn’t do it.” I looked at her, expecting her to agree with me, but she avoided my gaze, as though she didn’t want me to see what she was thinking. And that made a cold shiver run down my spine. “Constance, you know he didn’t do this.”
“I know they had a fight that day.” She crossed her arms over her chest, a defiant set to her chin. “I know he told her not to come back if she left. And I know he told her he would kill her if he ever saw her again.”
I wanted to deny what she’d said. I wanted to tell her that she had no idea what she was talking about. I wanted to defend Nicolas with every inch of my being. However, there was this little voice at the back of my mind reminding me that Constance has never told a lie in her life. She was one of those who was convinced that God could hear every word falling from our lips and that he would strike her dead where she stood if she uttered a lie. I also knew how bad Nicolas’ marriage was those final years. He’d told me. So it was possible. But…
“That doesn’t mean he did what they’re saying.”
Constance inclined her head slightly.
“She was alone in the back of that limo when the driver discovered she’d overdosed. And it was an overdose. Who can say that she didn’t take the drugs of her own freewill?”
“But what if she didn’t? I never saw any evidence that she was using illegal drugs.”
“Maybe she hid it well.”
“Maybe.” Constance studied my face for a long second. “But that doesn’t mean he didn’t do this, Ana. And by going back to him, you could be placing yourself in danger.”
I nodded. “I could be. Or I could be abandoning an innocent man.”
I brushed past her, and—this time—she didn’t stop me. I wrenched the front door of the apartment open, and Adam immediately stepped into my path. I hadn’t even been aware that he was still around.
“Shouldn’t you be at the house with Nicolas?”
“He wants me with you,” he said in a low, clipped voice that matched his bulky, Neanderthal-like appearance perfectly.
“Well, I’m going to the house.”
“No, ma’am,” he said. “He wants you to remain here until this thing blows over.”
“That could take months, and there isn’t enough space here for me and these twins,” I said, drawing his attention to my belly as I brushed my hand over it. “So, take me to the house or I’m going back to my empty apartment in Texas and you can explain to him why I left the state.”
Adam studied my face for a long minute. Then he nodded, stepping aside and gesturing for me to lead the way.
At least one man in my life knew how to listen to a lady.
He was standing in the living room when we arrived, ironically in the same place he’d been that night four months ago—it seemed like so much longer!—when I came by to see Aurora and he claimed she was out, then kissed me like we were lovers instead of virtual strangers.
“They let you out.”
He looked over at me, his eyes red-rimmed, his jaw sporting the beginnings of a heavy beard, the result of two days without a razor.
“What are you doing here?” He looked over at Adam, gesturing with the hand that held a tumbler that was full to the rim of something dark—bourbon, maybe?—sloshing some of it over his hand. “I told you to keep her away from here.”
“We came in through the back,” Adam said. “No one saw us.”
“I don’t fucking care,” Nicolas said, his voice cracking a little as it rose in pitch. “I don’t want her here. What part of that did you not understand?”
“I insisted,” I said, approaching him cautiously. “I wanted to see you, to make sure you’re okay.”
He laughed, even as he raised the glass to his lips. He swallowed the whole glass in one swallow, nearly falling over as he stepped backward to grab the bottle and pour some more. It was pretty obvious he’d been drinking for a while. That scared me more than I was willing to admit to myself. A man doesn’t drink like that unless things looked really bleak. Or he was feeling guilty about something.
“Let’s go upstairs,” I said.
He looked at me, his eyes moving over the length of me in a very pointed way. “Not in the mood, sweetheart,” he said. “Thanks for the offer though.”
“I wasn’t suggesting…”
There was no reason to continue my argument. He wasn’t listening. He’d turned back to the bar and was pouring himself another drink. As I watched, he swallowed two more tumbler-sized gulps as he stood there, or swayed there might have been a better description of what was happening.
I moved up behind him and lay my hand on the small of his back. He stiffened immediately as though my touch was the last thing he wanted, but I stayed close to him and whispered softly near his ear, “You’re making a fool of yourself, Nicolas. Do you really want to do that in front of Adam and God knows who else is within earshot of you?”
He glanced at me, pure hatred filling those perfect brown eyes of his. That hurt, stabbing through me like a hot knife through butter. However, it got his attention.
“Let’s go upstairs and get you cleaned up.”
He poured himself another glass of booze and swallowed it again, tossing his head back to make sure he got every last drop. And then he stepped back and held his arm out to me.
“As you wish.”
I took his arm, and he walked surprisingly steady until we were halfway up the stairs. And then he leaned heavily against me, his steps growing more and more unstable with each step. I wasn’t sure I was going to get him to the bedroom without him falling over, but I did. I helped him to the bed and sat him on the edge of it before I went back to close the door.
“Fucking paparazzi,” he muttered when I came back to him. “Can’t even threaten my own fucking wife without them going to the cops and claiming I killed her for her life insurance or some such nonsense.”
He nodded, the movement causing him to fall back against the bed. I leaned over him and tugged at the buttons on the front of his dress shirt. It was the same shirt he put on in a hurry the morning the police came to search the house. The morning he was arrested.
“That’s their witness, you know. A fucking photographer who supposedly overheard me tell Aurora I was going to kill her as she got into the car to leave for the airport that last night.”
“The news says that someone came forward and said they saw you at the restaurant she was eating at right before she died.”
He looked at me, clearly struggling to focus. “Waiter,” he mumbled. “Thought I gave him a big enough tip to come down with a little amnesia, but I guess not.”
I looked sharply at him, as I finished unbuttoning his shirt, spreading it open to reveal his perfectly sculpted chest. Even now, even with everything that was happening, I wanted to run my hands over it, to feel his muscles, his heart, under my hands. Instead, I turned my attention to getting his expensive Prada shoes off his feet.
“You were in New York that night?” I asked.
“Yeah,” he mumbled. “Wanted to convince Aurora to give me a divorce, once and for all. I surprised her at the restaurant. I knew she would dine alone in a private room, knew it was the best chance I had of ever getting her alone. But she laughed when I told her what I wanted, and then she threatened to steal the baby she was so sure you were carrying away from me. But I was the one who wanted the baby in the first place.”
I had his shoes off, and I started to work on his pants. He looked up at me, a pleading look in his eyes.
“Come on,” I said, taking his hand and pulling him to a sitting position. I slid my arm around his waist and helped him to his feet. We managed to get into the bathroom where I helped him out of his underwear. He leaned back against the counter while I started the water in his walk-though shower, taking only a second to admire the lovely marble that lined the walls and the floor. Then, I undressed and returned to him. His eyes were closed, his breathing slowed, as though he’d managed to fall asleep naked, reclining against the counter. I paused for a second, admiring his body. Him. He was a beautiful man. His bronze skin, the fine sprinkling of dark hair across his chest, the strip of hair that led the eyes to his beautiful cock…I never imagined I would ever be with someone even remotely like him. My last date before all this happened? He was a math teacher at the junior high my elementary school fed into, complete with the heavy-framed glasses and pocket protector in his shirt pocket.
I moved close to him, my ever expanding belly reaching him before the rest of me. I touched his face and whispered his name, “Nico?”
He peeked at me from under impossibly long eyelashes.
He nodded, pushing himself unsteadily to his feet. I slid my arm around his waist and walked him to the shower, grateful that it wasn’t part of a bathtub like it always had been in the house where I grew up. Getting him over the lip of a tub would be almost impossible. But the walk-through didn’t even have a lip at the entrance to the shower; it was so perfectly designed that a subtle slope in the floor made a lip unnecessary.
He groaned when the water hit him, first along his side from a low set showerhead, and then near his face from the showerhead that was set more traditionally at the center of the back wall. The water was warm and actually felt quite good on my body. He didn’t seem to moan after that initial splash. He raised his face to the water, his eyes closed and his mouth open. I watched for a minute, spellbound by the sight of him. Even drunk and vulnerable he seemed more virile and powerful than any man I’d ever known.
I grabbed a sponge and doused it in liquid soap. After I had a good lather, I began running it slowly over his back. His muscles were tense at first, but slowly began to loosen up. He leaned forward and braced himself on the wall, a sigh escaping his lips. I couldn’t resist running my soapy hand over his ass, my fingers exploring places they’d never really had access to before. He turned and looked down at me, his expression unreadable.
“What are you doing here?” he demanded.
“You brought me here. Remember?”
“No, I mean
. I was in jail for two days. I’m under investigation for murder. I can’t leave the state. Probably not even the county. You could have gone back to Texas and there’s nothing I could do about it.”
It had never, honestly, crossed my mind to leave.
I pressed the sponge to the center of his chest and watched the lather bleed over his skin. “Nothing has really changed. If I left, you would eventually be cleared and come after the babies, and I wouldn’t see them again.”
The tension came back into his shoulders, but he didn’t move away or react in any other way. He watched me as I continued to wash his chest, my hand slowly wandering down toward his hips. His cock was responding to my touch despite the excessive amount of alcohol he’d drunk. It made my lower belly tighten in response, my thighs quiver with need. Something about being near him made me more focused on sex than I’d ever been before. I always thought there was something unusual about me in that I wasn’t as fascinated with the subject when I was a teen as my friends. Even when I was around Kelly—who focused on sex so much she was going crazy with her self-imposed celibacy—it just didn’t seem as important to me as it did her. But when I was around Nicolas…
hello, inner slut!
He brushed a strand of hair from my face. “They think I killed my wife.”
I looked up at him. “I know.”
“Aren’t you afraid? Aren’t you worried that if I killed her, that I might not think twice of doing the same to you?”
I thought about that for a second. It seemed logical, really. Anyone who killed the woman he once loved, the woman he swore to love for the rest of his life, wouldn’t think twice of killing his surrogate. But the problem with that was that Aurora died of an overdose.
“I don’t think you did it.”
He made a sound that was kind of a cross between a chuckle and a groan. “You’re the only one.”
“How can you force someone to take an overdose of cocaine, anyway?”
Nicolas shrugged. “They’re saying that it wasn’t cocaine that killed her. They’re saying she was given an overdose of Xanax.”
“How do they know she didn’t take it herself?”
“They have a waiter who claims he saw me slip into her drink. Plus…” He hesitated, almost as if he didn’t want to say what came next. He sighed, his hand brushing against my face before he pulled away and turned back to the showerhead, letting the water wash the lather from his skin.
“What?” I asked, moving against his back, my belly brushing just above the curve of his ass.
He just shook his head. He was clearly done talking about it.
He reached for a razor from the shelf built into one wall of the shower, but missed. It clattered to the floor as he lost his balance and barely caught himself against the wet tile. I retrieved it and filled my hand with a little shave cream.
“Let me do it.”
“I’m not a child,” he said, but he didn’t seem terribly adverse to the idea. He leaned back against the wall, as I reached up to apply the cream. I’d never shaved a man before. I’ve never even seen a man shave. None of my lovers—all one of him—ever stuck around long enough to shave in front of me. And I didn’t know my father. So it was a little tricky, running the razor over his angled jaw as opposed to my thin, but short, legs. But there was something decidedly sexy about leaning my naked body up against his to reach his handsome face.
I touched my fingers to his naked flesh in the spaces the razor cleared, not sure what was better, his naked flesh or the bristles of his heavy five o’clock shadow. The naked skin was what I knew, what I loved about the way his features seemed to radiate virility. But the five o’clock shadow added a little mystery, and the feel of those bristles against my skin offered a new sensation that made my blood boil.
“Why are you being so nice to me?” he asked softly, as I made one last pass along his chin.
“Why shouldn’t I be?”
He kissed me in response, pushing me back against the far wall. I wrapped my arms around his neck, pulling him down to me as my body curved to welcome him. He leaned into me—maybe to keep from losing his balance—and buried himself against me. It felt so good, so familiar, to have him touch me, to feel his need in every inch of me. Was it really possible to want someone this much? I knew he was drunk; I knew that I should take him to bed and let him sleep it off, but logic disappeared the moment I saw his naked body reclining against the counter.
He held himself steady with one hand against the wall. The other hand began to explore my body, moving slowly over one breast before sliding down my side to my hip. He tugged me closer to him, his hand sliding over my ass as he pulled me as close to him as my swollen belly would allow. The angle was off. He lowered himself, moved his hips this way and that, but my belly just refused to get out of his way.
With a groan of frustration, he turned me around. I faced the wall with some hesitation, missing immediately the feel of his lips on mine. But then his hand reached around and his fingers found my clit. And that was absolutely mind blowing…every nerve in my body seemed to explode, sending sparks of pleasure from my belly to my toes and fingertips, tingles rushing over every inch of my scalp.
And then he slid his cock inside of me and my heart practically stopped for all the beats it missed. I pressed my hips back against him, anxiously awaiting the rhythm my body knew was coming. But he stood still for a long moment, his finger pressed hard against my clit, but also not moving. I could feel his breath, hard and quick, against my shoulder. And then he bit down, a slow groan escaping his lips. It was like he was struggling to get control over himself, as though he was so turned on that just sliding inside of me was enough to set him off. And that thought made my juices run like they’d never done before, my muscles clutch his cock as though they never intended to let him go.