Authors: Jessica Hawkins
Tags: #romance novels for adults, #erotic romance serial, #money, #Forbidden, #taboo romance, #angst series romance, #adultery, #billionaire alpha male erotic romance, #erotic romance series, #infidelity, #cheating, #los angeles romance, #novella romance erotica, #forbidden romance books, #romance novels with angst, #possessive alpha male books, #Hollywood, #wealthy hero, #Alpha Male, #angst erotic romance, #indecent proposal, #books about affairs romance, #explicit romance novel, #unfaithful, #romance books about affairs, #love triangle, #bartender, #explicit romance novels, #angst, #billionaire alpha male romance, #millionaire, #Secret Baby, #money sex, #social class romance
“Enough,” he snapped. “She is my family. And she’s yours too.”
“Not for a goddamn second, never was.”
“Just until her inheritance ran out, right? Then you had no use for her anymore.”
“You always take her side.” She panted slightly. “I don’t want to get into it. I’m not feeling well.” She coughed unconvincingly into the receiver. “Florida. That’s where I want to be. With my sister.”
“Florida,” Beau said, taking a breath. “Fine. Make the arrangements this weekend, and I’ll write the check.”
“Thank you, honey. I love you. I’m still in shock—I know you told me this was going to happen, but it’s a lot to take in.”
Beau pinched the bridge of his nose. “Are you going to be all right?”
“I’ll be fine. I should go lie down, though. I love you.”
“Call me when you know more.”
Beau hung up the phone. It occurred to him she didn’t have to make the arrangements if she didn’t want to, and neither did he. He definitely didn’t want to. He’d start interviewing secretaries first chance he got, and then it’d be someone else’s problem.
Beau picked out two more quarters and punched in the number to his landline.
“Can I pick out my yacht yet?” Brigitte answered, her flowing French accent distinctly different from his mom’s harsh tone. “Ibiza is calling my name.”
He smiled, shaking his head. “How’d you know it was me?”
“Who else would be calling?”
“So,” she urged, “how’d it go?”
“It went. Holy shit did it went.”
She laughed joyously into the phone. “I knew it. I fucking knew it. Remember, I told you, the night you started working on this—I said, this is the golden one, Beau. I just knew—listen, meet me on the corner of Sunset and La Cienega. We need drinks.”
“Brigitte, wait,” he said before she could hang up.
“Don’t walk tonight. I’ll get your cab.”
The line clicked. Beau hung up too, flagged down a taxi and took off for Sunset Boulevard.
Brigitte grabbed Beau’s wrist, forcing his drink in the air. She raised hers with him. “To success,” she said. “You’ve earned it. You deserve it. And you’re going to
it.” She clinked their glasses before downing her shot.
Beau, on the other hand, held his Macallan Cask Strength under his nose, let the pungent aroma sink in. It was a top-tier single malt, and he’d been salivating over it since he’d learned of its existence. Tonight would be his first taste. He just hoped his credit card would go through when the bar closed out his tab.
He took a sip, savoring its caramel-vanilla smoothness, the liquor so rich, he had to close his eyes when he swallowed.
“How about that chick?” Brigitte asked.
Beau looked immediately. He’d been anticipating this Macallan a long time, but pussy was always king. Or queen. Brigitte aimed her freshly-filled shot glass at a redhead across the bar.
He hummed dubiously. “She reminds me of Karen.”
“The psycho stalker from a couple years ago?”
“She wasn’t a stalker. Just really enthusiastic.”
“Redheads are out,” Brigitte decided.
Beau scanned the crowd. Brigitte liked this game, because Beau was rarely satisfied with anyone. He found faults like he was paid to. Brigitte ate that up like candy, feeding her ever-thriving self-esteem. But tonight, Beau wasn’t going to be picky. He’d earned this, a nice, easy, no-strings fuck, and he’d take the first attractive girl who bit.
He spotted a blonde in an orange tank top that showed off a golden tan. “She’s pretty.”
Brigitte craned her neck. “But she’s so tall. You like short girls.”
He looked down at Brigitte, who, like him, was seated on a stool. She only came up to his shoulder. “No, I don’t.”
“Fine, fine.” She cupped her hand around her mouth. “Hey, you. Blondie.”
The girl glanced back. When she realized they were looking at her, she turned around.
“Over here,” Brigitte said, waving.
“Calm down,” Beau muttered. “This isn’t a rodeo.”
The girl clutched the strap of her purse and came a little closer. “Do I know you?”
“My brother needs to get laid.”
“Christ, Brigitte.” Beau glared at her a second before turning to the blonde. “I apologize. She was just kicked out of the circus.”
“I'm sorry to be forward,” Brigitte drawled, as if it took great effort to say. “What’s your name?”
“Hannah, the thing is, my brother’s celebrating. And he’s just looking for someone easy tonight.”
Beau sighed and held up his glass to the bartender. “I’ll take another.”
Hannah rolled her eyes and turned away. “I’m not drunk enough for this.”
“What if I told you he’s a millionaire?” Brigitte called after her.
She stopped. The music lulled between songs, but the bar remained loud with conversation.
“And in about five seconds,” Brigitte continued, “I’m going to move on to the next girl.”
Hannah turned sideways, eyeing Beau. Not many girls had walked away from him over the years. “Is that true?” she asked.
He didn’t respond at first. He was fascinated by the look she was giving him, her lips parted, an eyebrow arched high. So torn about whether to believe them. Hollywood had no shortage of wealthy men, but this was a dive bar he and Brigitte had grown fond of. Millionaires didn’t hang around here. Not that he technically was one yet—he had a few hours to go.
“What can I say?” He shrugged. “My sister moves fast.”
“No, not that…” Hannah turned fully around. “I mean the millionaire thing.”
Beau knew what she meant. “Can you give us a minute?” he asked.
She hesitated, looking between the two of them. “I mean, I believe you. Your suit’s expensive.”
He touched his tie. A couple years ago, when he’d started meeting with potential investors, he’d dropped a lot of money he didn’t have to get this suit custom made. It was part of his visualization, projecting a certain image.
Hannah came closer. “It fits you like weapon.”
He narrowed his eyes, pulling back a little. “What does that mean?”
“I don’t know. It just came out. I guess, like, you could really hurt someone looking that good.”
“All right,” Brigitte said. “Time to move along. We’ve seen enough. We’ll call you.”
Hannah’s brows gathered as she looked at Brigitte. “
Are you, like,
girls to sleep with him?”
Brigitte knocked back another shot and slammed the glass on the bar. “No. I was k—”
“Wait.” Hannah’s eyes widened. “
this an audition? Because I’m actually an actress—”
“Hannah.” Beau couldn’t tell if she was embarrassed, but he was embarrassed enough for all of them. “Excuse us. Please.”
She frowned, her bottom lip out. She walked a few steps away, still close enough that he could call her back without raising his voice too much.
Brigitte grinned at him. “I knew you were bluffing. You never like them easy.”
“And you know everything I like?”
“I do. I could find you the right thing for tonight, but I won’t. You know why?”
He invited her to keep going with a nod of his head.
“Because the right thing is to hang with me. You have the rest of your life to get laid.”
He shook his head in disbelief, glancing at Hannah as she idled near by. “I knew it would be easy, Brigitte, but that? That was nothing. I literally made no effort.”
She nodded sympathetically, like this was a huge problem. “A lot of things are going to be like that for you now. You have to be careful who you tell. Look, why don’t we head home for the night? Blockbuster’s still open. We can grab a movie.”
He set his elbows on the bar. “You go ahead. I’ll come home soon. I just want to sit and enjoy this feeling a little longer.”
She rubbed his shoulder. “It’s huge, Beau. This might be the best day of your life. Although, I think you have a lot of those ahead of you.”
He smiled gently at her. He really had no one else to share this with, so he was glad she was there. But he’d had a couple drinks, and he was feeling pensive. “I hope so.”
She didn’t move right away. “I can sit with you,” she suggested.
“I think I want to be alone a little bit.”
“What’s wrong, am I—what’s that word again?” Her accent thickened when she asked him for expressions—on purpose, he was sure. She requested this one frequently. Also on purpose, he was sure, just to hear him say it.
“Cockblocking. And no. You were right—I have the rest of my life for that. Tonight will be known as the night I became a millionaire and tasted the best liquor of my life.”
“All right,” she said, somewhat reluctantly. She offered her cheeks, and he kissed them each. “Come home soon, all right? I’ll wait up.”
When he was alone, he ordered his third Macallan of the night, third Macallan of his life. This time last year, he’d been neck-high in code for the website he’d just sold. He’d spent four straight weeks on it, looked up and thought—
where did August go?
Beau still had to quit his two part-time jobs. Since the deal that’d fallen through last year, he’d been trigger shy. He worked construction in the valley on the weekends, because otherwise, he’d never get outside. Not with the manic way he worked. The second was as a temp developer for a software company. He’d worked temporary jobs for years, jumping around companies in Los Angeles, soaking up anything he could. He’d learned a lot about management and corporate structure that way, and now that he was capable of creating his own company, he was going to put it to use.
Beau got up and paid for his drinks. His card went through, and he still had another hundred-and-fifty dollars in his wallet. Hannah had been lingering, making eye contact with him, but he went for the door instead. He still had the urge to get off—he had it bad, actually—but not with someone who’d practically gotten on her knees right there in the middle of a bar. Despite what he’d thought about making tonight easy, that’d never do it for him. He’d rather go home alone.
Beau walked along Sunset Boulevard, half-assing his attempts to grab a cab. It was a nice night, and the Strip was busy, even though it was Tuesday. Some of the bars had live music and he’d catch a few seconds of it as he walked by.
He checked his watch and did a double take. It was 11:58 P.M., later than he’d thought. And two minutes until his new life began. Beau stared at it, swallowing dryly, the alcohol making his head swim. He kept walking, glancing at the time every few seconds. This was a moment he’d never experience again, no matter how much money he made in his lifetime. And he knew this was only the start.
The clock ticked and ticked and ticked—and suddenly, it was midnight. Beau took a deep breath and looked directly up at the stars. He’d done it. All those sleepless nights, the hours upon hours of coding and reading and applying—he’d fucking earned all that money, and nobody could have a single dollar of it unless he deemed them worthy enough.
Neon flashed in the corner of his eye. He looked down at the building he stood in front of. On the brick wall was an LED sign, pulsing hot pink, the word
Don’t you want a girl tonight?
The sign could’ve been a figment of his imagination, a hallucination his body had dreamed up. Cat Shoppe was real, though, a small but somewhat famous strip club on Sunset Boulevard.
Twenty-seven years old, and he’d never even been inside one. Didn’t see the point. He liked to touch the things he paid for—he liked to flirt with girls who blushed, smiled and flirted back because they wanted to, not because they were paid to. But it was midnight on the dot, and the most thrilling moment of his life yet, so walking into that club seemed like the logical next step. So Beau paid the cover charge, and the bouncer pulled aside the red rope, gesturing him inside.
Beau stepped into a hallway that was pitch black, except for some blinding lights flickering from behind a curtained doorway. Music thumped, vibrating his shoes. Beau walked closer, drawing the fabric drape aside. The club was gaudy, a mish-mash of neon colors and questionable-looking people. There were multiple platforms with dancers on them. The girl on the stage closest to him was topless, writhing against a pole. He watched for a second and looked away.
It wasn’t his scene. He thought about leaving, but a waitress approached him with a tray in her hand. “Drink?” she asked. Her upper lip disappeared when she smiled. “Or something else, handsome?”
He looked her over, her costume covering only what it had to. He stuck a hand in his jacket and got his wallet, reminding himself it was midnight and he was filthy rich. One more drink, just to toast himself, would put him in a good place after the three he’d already had. “Scotch,” he said. “Neat.”
She took his cash and walked away. The music slowed, and the lights stopped flashing. Some of the girls got off their platforms. The announcer called everyone’s attention to the main stage. Beau looked, since he was just standing awkwardly near the entrance. A beaded curtain acted as the stage’s back wall, and when the spotlight hit it, it twinkled with little white reflections.
He inclined forward slightly, waiting. The beads parted, and a girl stepped out. He noticed her body first, couldn’t help himself in the state he was in. It was hard not to with her long, svelte legs. She wore a pair of furry cat ears on her head, the same black color as her hair, which curled past her shoulders in soft waves.
Beau had to shield his eyes. She shimmered when the spotlight hit her. Her bikini must’ve been millions of little diamonds, she was so bright. The music boomed suddenly, loud and obnoxious, but the girl calmly took the pole and moved her hips side to side, hearing something else.
She turned her head slightly and looked directly at him. Her hips slowed to a stop, her mouth slackening. He could see, even from there, how piercingly blue her eyes were. She didn’t move an inch, as if waiting for his direction.