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Billionaire's Perfect Bride

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Richard will always be mine, Elena," The corner of her lips curled up into a sly smirk. Advancing closer, she leaned in to whisper against my ear softly. "Even if I have to kill you to have him to myself, I'll do it." He's the man she's always loved. The man she's always felt strongly for. But he has eyes on one person only; her hot-shot surgeon sister. When her twin sister fails to show up on her wedding day, Elena has no choice but to step up to the occasion and take her place — but marriage to the noble Richard Delmonte is both exciting and torturous. The elusive, established billionaire mogul and one of the most eligible bachelor of New York is the only man she's ever loved. The only man who's ever filled up her nights. Yet he's madly in love with her sister. Now that her dream has come true and she's married to him at last, Elena vows to do everything in her power to win him over. Even if it costs bringing down the heavens for him.

Chapter 1

[Elena]

"The nerve of that jerk!" Talia screamed as she stormed into my office, slamming the door hard behind her. I dropped my pen and swiftly stuffed the journal I'd been scribbling plot points for my next book into my handbag. Dragging my eyes up, I exhaled softly, mentally preparing myself for what I was sure was to be another one of Talia's tireless rants.

I wondered who it would be about this time.

After a couple of months, I woke up this morning with a vague idea of what my next book would be about. And as I wrote that idea down, I was pleased to find out that my writer's block was now completely gone, everything seamlessly falling into place. I knew the exact direction I wanted my next book to go and was pumped to figure out a lot more as I wrote, but with my best friend here, there was no way that would be be happening soon.

"Not the best of mornings, I presume, babe?" I chuckled in greeting. There was only one person who could rile her up like this, and I had no doubt that whatever story she was about to tell was going be both funny and wild.

"Can you imagine? Phillip Rivers stole my original concept, twisted it on it's head, and presented it as his own! He won the project I've spent months preparing for — with my ideas. The board didn't even let me finish my presentation. They believed I copied Philip, meanwhile it was the other way around!"

I leaned back in my seat and allowed my gaze roam over Talia's disheveled, shoulder-length blonde hair — a few strands matted to her forehead. My best friend always looked flawless, but that was not the case today. Looked like Phillip got to her real good this time. They were always at each other's necks.

"Weren't you the one who sabotaged him the last time? You locked him in his office when he had an urgent meeting to attend and ensured he couldn't get out until twenty minutes after time, when you knew that lateness is one thing the clients loathe with a passion. I'd say he simply made things even this time."

Talia grinned wickedly, gave her hair a flip, and looked pleased as she recalled that particular atrocity. "Oh, I got him good. If not for that, he'd have beaten me to securing that resort deal for our company. That was a multi-million dollar deal, Elena. If I'd lost it, I wouldn't have gotten a promotion or a raise. It would've all gone to him. Honestly, I was kind of bummed that he made it so easy for me, leaving his office keys lying carelessly about. He's usually very clever."

"Mmm," I giggled, leaning in, and giving her my full attention. She wouldn't leave until she'd exhausted her time, complaining about her biggest rival in Delmonte Enterprises — one of the leading extensions of the Delmonte real-estate empire. The Rivers and Delmonte families had been close business associates and family friends since forever, but Talia and Phillip never got along no matter what. It seemed they merely existed to bring each other down.

"With a stunt like that, don't you think it's only natural that he retaliated?"

"So you're on his side now?" She scoffed, folding her arms across her chest and glaring at me as though I'd betrayed her. But I wasn't supporting either of them. Even though they fought tooth and nail with each other, they ended up bringing in the best deals to the company, working together as a team indirectly.

"You know I'm right," I shrug. "An eye for an eye. A tooth for a tooth."

"I want to get my lick back right this minute," she snapped. "That *ssh*l*. You needed to see the way he smiled so smugly at me as I was being escorted out of the boardroom. You have to help me, Elena. You can confront him for me."

I picked my pen back up, not even giving her plea much thought. "No, thank you. I'm good." Phillip and I barely talked, and I didn't want to overstep boundaries by encouraging his rivalry with Talia. Moreover, he had a reputation of being ruthless. A ruthless, cruel billionaire. Talia was the only woman who could rattle him and get away with it, and I doubted she knew the amount of influence she had on him. It was only a matter of time before their rivalry exploded into a full-blown attraction.

My phone bleeped just then, and I reached for it absentmindedly, my fingers turning numb when I caught a glimpse of the name on the missed call notification. Before I could think of what to do, it began ringing again, but I stayed put, staring at it helplessly.

"Elena?" Talia called, her voice soft, laced with concern. "What's wrong? You suddenly look...pale."

I looked up, snapping out of my daze, and tried my best to smile. How long had I been spacing out? And that too in front of Talia? "I'm fine, Tee. It's your cousin calling, anyway," I added before picking the call."

"Hey, Richard," I said coolly, my calm tone in sharp contrast to the loud thudding of my heart. It seemed like gas flRichard were going off in my stomach.

He chuckled lowly, setting my whole body on fire. A deep urge, one of painful longing lodged itself in my chest, made it difficult for me to breathe properly. "How's my sweetheart doing today? For a moment back there, I thought you weren't going to pick up. Where have you been? You don't even text like you used to. Since when did you start getting busier than me?"

I leaned back on my seat, and smiled. My cheeks, I was sure Talia could note, were surely tainted the brightest red. It'd been weeks since I last heard his voice. Writer's block did that to you, disconnected you from reality. "What's up? How have you been?" I asked, knowing that whatever new update he has about his life was going to hurt me. Richard never kept anything away from me. I knew of all his deepest, darkest secrets. Our friendship was that solid.

"Work's been draining the hell out of me. Seriously. I'm just glad Sarah's birthday is coming up in a few days and I'll finally get to take some time away from work to spend with her. Want to accompany me to go shop for a suitable birthday gift for her? I'm sure you'll know what she'll like best."

The rational part of my heart screamed that I should say no. Cut the call. Quietly block his line. But the stupid, loved-up part nudged me toward the other way. The last thing I wanted to do was accompany Richard to buy a gift for my cruel sister. I couldn't stand hearing him talk endlessly about her, seeing the love and adoration in his eyes. It broke my soul. But I'd rather see and spend some time with him while he gushes over her, than not see him at all.

"Sure. That'll be lovely," I said quickly, shutting my eyes to drive the tears back. "You'll pick me up?"

"You know it! Thank you so much, sweetheart. I owe you one. I'll be down there in an hour. See ya."

Chapter 2

[Elena]

"What on Earth does he want from you this time?" Talia scoffed, her eyes narrowed as I hung up and placed the phone back down on the table.

"Uh..." I trailed off, forcing a tight smile. I knew she wouldn't be pleased with what I was about to tell. "Sarah's birthday anniversary comes up in a few days. He needs me to accompany him to the store so he can get a present for her."

Talia snorted, gritting her teeth. "And you blindly agreed? What the hell is wrong with you, Elena?" She exhaled, running a hand through her hair, and when she spoke again, her tone was lighter. "You know what, call him up right now and tell him you won't be coming. She's his girlfriend, and he can always figure out what she'd love as a birthday gift. Why do you have to help him?"

"It's not a big deal, Tee," I said, even though I wasn't sure if it wasn't. It's been years, and I still give in to his wishes no matter what. I could disappoint anyone else but him. That goes to show ho

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