The Billionaire's Secret

By: Julie Farrell

Astrid tugged against him, stepping backwards, and crunching on broken glass. She squirmed in his grip. “Let go of me!”

He pulled her close and snarled in her face. “I’ve heard a rumor you’re planning to reject my project.”

“I can’t talk about it. Leave me alone!”

Astrid fought with the fear that was threatening to make her blackout with terror. She tried to scream, but no sound came out. She wanted desperately to knee him in the balls, but her fear crippled her.

Graves pushed her roughly – causing her to topple toward the car. She stumbled, realizing there was no hope – he was going to overpower her. She grabbed ahold of the car door, not giving in, when a man’s voice shouted. “Leave her the fuck alone, asshole!”

Astrid saw a man seemingly made of muscle appear from behind, grab Graves, and throw him easily to the sidewalk like a mannequin.

“I said leave her alone!”

Strewn on the dirty ground, Graves glared at the man. “Who the hell are you?”

Gasping for breath, Astrid gazed at her hero – he was handsome, tough, and rugged. She didn’t know who he was either, but she was sure glad he was here.

The man draped his arm around her shoulders, and she melted with relief at his safe, secure embrace.

“I’m her boyfriend,” he growled. “Now get the fuck out of here before I rip your fucking balls off.”

Graves scrambled to his feet. “Oh really?”

The man stepped forward – planting himself between Astrid and Graves, protecting her. “I said get out of here. Or you’ll be sampling the local hospital food through a straw.”

Realizing he’d lost, Graves stepped toward his car. He was a typical bully – happy to torment women, but not willing to tackle the six-foot wall of muscle that was now looming over him. He straightened his designer suit. “This isn’t over between us, Astrid. I’ll be paying you a little visit at home later.”

Her mind flashed with worry. “You know where I live?”

“I do.” Graves started to climb into his car, but – halfway in – he turned and eyed them suspiciously, knowing he was now a safe distance.

“Get out of here,” the man growled. “And if you go within a mile of her home, I’ll tie weights to your ankles and throw you in the goddamn Hudson.”

Graves didn’t move. “Funny, I didn’t realize you had a boyfriend, Astrid. From my research, I thought you were single.”

Losing his patience, the man lurched at Graves like a wild animal, making him stumble into the backseat. Graves scrambled to close the door, locked it, then gazed at them from inside.

Astrid glanced up at her hero. She realized she was shaking with fear. “He said he knows where I live.”

The man shot her a mischievous grin. “I guess we’d better make our relationship look convincing then, huh?” he whispered. “Don’t want him paying you a visit.”

“What do you mean?” Astrid asked.

“Trust me.”

He gazed deeply into her eyes. She studied his handsome features and gorgeous lips – losing herself in his perfect face. She was jolted from her trance as he threw his arms around her and pulled her close. Astrid understood what he was doing, and instantly relented. Her heart pounded double-time and she tensed as he lowered his face and kissed her hard on the lips – causing passion to flood over her body, making her feel light and weak – this time from lust, not fear. The world spun around her, fading into nothingness until there was only them and this glorious kiss, which she melted into like a warm winter bathtub.

The dank street fell away and the kiss increased in intensity – beyond what they needed to do for the benefit of convincing Graves they were together. The man pulled her even closer, and Astrid felt herself unwind into him. She groaned – causing their lips to vibrate together. He eased his tongue into her mouth, whooshing pleasure through her body – and unlocking a pent-up desire that had been dormant for far too long.

Their tongues clashed and writhed with passion. He tasted manly – and he smelled of masculine cologne, which bypassed Astrid’s rational mind and aroused her animal lust.

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