The Beautiful Billionaire
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Estelle Bladwyn has a certain type— a little older with a little less demanding job and knows his way in bed. When she bumps into a hot thirty-ish man on her not-so-romantic-getaway on an island, he does check two on her checklist, and exactly what she wants for that moment. One thing that doesn’t set right— their growing attraction is overwhelming, and her life is already complicated. But who can deny someone like Linden, who held you captive with his eyes, caged you in his arms, and still promised you a good time? Gabe Linden is getting old and still single and done with hookups and doing favors. When some big guns like Moses Braddson, a man he looks up to, he just can’t say no to. The only problem is he hasn’t taken the job yet— he knows he’s already failing it. Looking into her celadon blue eyes, he sees right into her soul. There’s no way he’s letting her go, even by means of breaking his number one rule— The beautiful billionaire is his to keep.
“What a surprise when I checked my schedule for today.” I rose from my seat to meet Moses Braddson, one of the world’s most powerful and influential billionaires, and he was standing before me, aging like a fine wine.
“How are you, Gabe?” We shook hands before he pulled me into a hug like how he did to his son, Striker Cade, one of my brothers and best friends.
“I’m good, boss. Thank you,” I replied as I pulled back. I still wondered what this visit was all about. He always called and met me in his estate if he wanted to talk, so Moses being here perplexed me.
“Can I offer you something?”
“Gabe, I’m like your father, and you’re still calling me boss and treating me like one.”
“I owe you—”
He gestured for me to stop. “You don’t owe me anything. I am the one who owed a huge debt to you.”
“If you mean Cade, I will always protect his ass, take a bullet for him because that’s what brothers do, boss. I call you boss because I have a huge respect for you, and you’re my best friend’s father.”
“Thank you. I know I can still count on you no matter what.”
“Of course. Since I can’t offer you anything, may I ask what this surprise is all about?”
“Walk with me.” As he slipped a hand into his pocket, he went to the door, and I left no choice but to follow him.
“Of course.” I buttoned my dark blue Italian suit and followed him out of my office.
It never ceased to amaze me every time I was on the seventh floor overlooking the full view of Wade Lounge of my new building that had just opened eight months ago. My dearest sweetheart London, Striker’s wife, called it a fancy donut because of the design, while I called it state-of-the-art.
Since The Firm signed a multi-million dollar contract with Hover Defense and Security, my life changed drastically. I built my own building and hired thousands of people. I opened five more HQ in other states and countries, and the Firm was officially named Osmium Resource Group.
“This is really a great view,” Moses looked at the glass roof where he could see the clear blue sky, the offices across us, and the lounge I named after my fallen brother.
“Come on, boss. Just spill it out. What do you have in mind?” I stopped before him.
“I heard you declined the job Gustav gave you two weeks ago.”
I sighed. “You came all the way here for that?”
“No, Gabe. I want to know why?”
“I could have emailed you and explained the reason in two pages.” My face broke into a smile. “And yes, because he didn’t want my men to do the job. I’m done doing favors. And I don’t know him personally to do what he asks—” I stopped when I realized what I said. I sighed, and he seemed to understand my point. “Boss, I only do favors for my family without a thought. You know that.”
“I know. Thank you for doing that to Lake.”
I wanted to roll my eyes because that was classified unless Lake told him. Before I could say something more, he already said what I had in mind. “I know everything.”
“Then you know why I declined.”
“You just told me.”
“You know that was not the real reason.”
“I know that too. Remember why my son left for Winterbourn after rescuing London? Because she was too young for her, and he thought she didn’t deserve someone like him.”
“Whoa!” I raised my hand. “Boss, a client is a client. I’m the boss, and I follow that rule every day. I declined because I have tons of work to do in my office, and the teams have all their assignments; that left me and Jasper to handle the office job.”
“I call it bullshit.”
I shrugged. “Just say it already.”
“You’ll thank me later.”
“Now you sound just like Linus.”
He chuckled. “Gabe, take it as your vacation.”
“You know I don’t have to ask your permission if I want a month-long vacation, right?”
“Because you worked so hard for the past years. Your company is in good hands. You deserve a whole year off.”
“I can’t call it a vacation when I have to find a woman in hiding. What’s that call me? A bounty hunter?”
Moses laughed. He found it funny. “She’s a pretty bounty. When I first met her, she was just in high school, and I imagined her and Striker to be together.”
I sighed in defeat, surrendering to my newly appointed job. “Fine.”
“She’s with her loyal bodyguard.”
“I know what to do. Gustav filled me in. I will just snap her bodyguard’s neck, roofie her, put her in a crate, and hand deliver her to her father. Why did she run away anyway? Who’s handling her business?”
“People, she pays to do the job, and she can do her job anywhere in the world.”
“Good for her.”
“Do what’s necessary, Gabe. Just bring her here safe.”
“If you say so, boss.”
“Thank you, Gabe.” He offered his hand for a handshake.
“Of course.” I gripped his hand. “Don’t tell Cade about this. Just tell him I’m on a business trip.”
I just stepped into the private jet when my phone rang. It was Striker calling me. Of course, I should expect by now that Moses would never keep a secret from his son.
“Cade,” I answered with disinterest.
“Business trip, huh?”
“Don’t what?” I could see him grinning at me.
“I know you know what’s this trip all about.”
He laughed out loud. My ear began ringing. “Do you need help?”
“Fuck you.” I went to the chair after the flight attendant took my duffel bag.
“I love you, too, brother.”
“It’s your Pa’s fault. And you know I can’t say no to that old man.”
“He’s sitting next to me.”
“Of course he is.”
“Well, good luck. If you need help, just make SOS out of the seashells. We’ll be there in a jiffy.”
“You’re enjoying this, aren’t you?”
“You’re gonna have fun. Enjoy and collect some cute colorful tiny umbrellas—”
“Fuck you, Cade.”
“Seriously, though. This is an easy job.” He had no idea what I put myself into, but I wasn’t going to tell him that, to make more fun of me.
I thought of it as another job, like I did more times than I could count. I was on a solo mission this time but I did my assignment.
“I’ll see you soon, brother.”
I took a nap after the take-off because I needed my strength. I would be working alone, and I didn’t know how long to convince the subject to get home. Looking at these pictures on her Instagram account, I knew she had that fierce fire in her.
As soon as the jet landed at Trapani airport, I was picked up by my contact and traveled to Marettimo by ferry, where the subject was at this moment.
I typed a quick message to Jasper, the COO of Osmium. Jasper had been running the HQ in Canada for the last two years. When we changed the name and transferred to our new building Osmium, I promoted him. He had changed a lot and helped Feds catch bad guys. He redeemed himself, and I couldn’t be prouder, and so as his sister Sadie, who was married to my brother Cenric Wollf.
LINDEN: Keep my location off the radar. Only Sax and Kye know from the ORG.
JASPER: Done. Contact me if you need anything. Be safe.
LINDEN: I’ll be fine. Thanks.
First, I had to blend in. I took a quick shower and changed into something suitable for the evening. A bar a few blocks from my hotel was a little remote but closer to the villa where the subject stayed.
The sun just began to set, and the view of the ocean was spectacular in an orange and blue hue.
I realized Moses was right. I might need a vacation after all. After being honorably discharged from the service, I quickly went to work when Cenric hired me and Beck as his bodyguard. Since then, I have never stopped working for almost five years. I hadn’t any regrets, though. I met good people and found new friends and family.
Someone said the fruit of labor was the sweetest of all pleasures, and I agreed. Despite many obstacles and rejections, I wouldn’t be here today without my hard work, dedication, and determination. My brothers— I owed them big time.
Despite the spectacular view from the outside of the bar, where open tables under umbrellas, I went inside. It was crowded with local patrons and tourists. The musicians were playing local music on the small stage.
The stools were almost occupied but one. And just what I expected, I would find my subject here in a pretty floral dress with her watermelon caipiroska. She crossed her long shapely toned legs, showing off those creamy thighs. But Quinn Hunter was nowhere near her.
I drew a deep breath before occupying the stool next to her that caught her attention. I was welcomed with her big, round dazzling Celadon blue eyes, reminding me of a hot young Hollywood actress. Her feature was just stunning.
It had been a long damn time since a woman interested me like this.
“Sorry, is this seat taken?”
Her skeptical eyebrow arched, and she shrugged. “You found me.”
“Congratulations. How much my father paid you? I’ll make it double—no three times. Just leave me alone.”
I played a decoy. “How much what?”
“Oh, come on. You’re an American, and you—” She inspected me from head to toe. “Obviously, in the military—”
“Well, thank you for your service, sir.”
“And you work—”
“I was just asking if the seat was taken, lady. And I came here to order a drink and spend my days on this beautiful island since my boss literally forced me out of work to have this vacation.”
She shut her mouth closed and swallowed. So, she bit it.
I was aware I had caught the bartender’s attention, so I ordered my drink. “Negroni, please.”
The bartender took my order and went to mix my drink. But before that, he bounced his gaze between me and the most beautiful lady in the bar tonight.
She cleared her throat. “Um. This is a free country. The seat is yours.”
“Thanks.” I quickly sat before she changed her mind or, worse, left.
“Sorry. I’m kind of cynical to see a big guy like you and an American.”
“All good.” I briefly looked at her side before I faced the bartender who just placed my drink.
“Are you sure you wanna go alone?”
“I’ll be fine.” I looked at Quinn through the mirror as I did my final touch on my makeup. His tall and athletic physique stood at the door with brows squeezed together. His brown eyes pinned at me.
Quinn Hunter had been my bodyguard for three years. He was loyal and dedicated and would do anything for me, even maybe catch a bullet— I hoped it would not come to that. When I had a conflict with my father, Quinn stayed even if Gustav Bladwyn was the one who hired him. I couldn’t ask for a better man to protect me than Quinn.
“You know what to do,” he prompted, unimpressed.
I sighed as I picked up my panic button. “Yes, sir.”
“I’m serious, Estelle. Unless you wanna go back to your father.”
“I just want a drink and walk down the beach alone.”
“Are you,” he said hesitantly. “Going to bring home a date?”
His question made me laugh. I turned to face him. His expression didn’t change.
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