The Billionaire's Secret

By: Julie Farrell

Behind her, Graves’ car drove away with a roar and a rev of the engine – embodying how frustrated he was. She realized they no longer needed to continue kissing, so she stepped away – her body trembling gently with the aftermath of the assault – or was it with passion from this incredible man?

She gazed at him and frowned, confused at the way he was staring at her – as if she was a goddess. That couldn’t be right…

She pulled herself up to her full five-five height, refusing to let him know the effect he’d had on her. “Thanks for helping me.”

The man caressed her cheek. “You’re very welcome.”

Her body tingled and she was overcome with the urge to elope with him. But she was far too sensible for anything like that.

“You all right?” he asked.

She nodded, trying to stop herself from shaking. He made her feel like a teenager in the presence of a rockstar. He was so strong and masculine. Yet there was a spark of kindness behind that tough expression.

She glanced at where Graves’ car was now wheeling around the corner, disappearing – leaving her alone. For now… But he knew where she lived!

“I’m Jake,” the man said, grinning. He held out his hand for her to shake.


They shook hands and laughed at this surreal formality – after such an amazing kiss.

She suddenly felt awkward, not knowing what to say. She didn’t want to say goodbye, but she could hardly ask him for his number, could she? He’d only kissed her to shake off Graves. It was unlikely that a guy like this would be interested in a woman like her. She knew from the amount of male attention she received that she was pretty, but this guy seemed like he’d flown in from an action movie – and she was a boring health-and-safety officer with anxiety issues and a crazy ex-boyfriend.

She gazed into his eyes. “Thanks again for helping. I guess I should get going…”

He placed a gentle but firm hand on her shoulder. “You look like you could do with a drink.”

She chuckled, trying to hide her apprehension at going home after Graves’ threat. “Yeah, I’ll probably crack open the vodka when I get back.”

He laughed. “Come on, there’s a bar on the corner of this street – let me buy you that vodka. Okay?”

She rubbed her forehead, feeling her mind unravel. “Graves said he knows where I live.”

“I know. I can see how shaken you are. Come on, let’s have a quick one, then I’ll take you home in my car and make sure he leaves you alone. You can trust me. I promise.”

Astrid nodded. For some reason she did trust this guy – there was something sincere about him. And that kiss had been mind-blowing. Her knees were still shaking...

“All right,” she said. “But I’m not sleeping with you – if that’s what this is all about.”

He burst into laughter at her candidness. “It’s not, I swear. I just want to make sure you’re okay.”

She smiled gratefully. “All right. Where’s this bar then?”

Chapter Two

As a private investigator, Jake was confident that he’d always get his man. And he usually always got his woman too. Right now his body and mind were hooked into Astrid… kissing her had only served to make him hunger for her even more. The fact that she was strictly off-limits suddenly seemed irrelevant, but Jake knew the truth wasn’t going to ingratiate him to her…

He’d been in this bar for a beer a few times before, and he was happy to be here with her now. It was a typical sports bar, with huge TVs suspended from the ceiling, rock music blaring, and baseball paraphernalia dotted around the walls. It wasn’t busy inside – just a few groups of guys were gathered at the far end, eyes glued to the game. Jake led Astrid down to a quieter area – away from the loud music and rowdy men.

He pulled back the wooden chair for her, and she eyed him up suspiciously, clearly not used to being with a gentleman.

“It’s okay,” he said. “Take a seat.”

She eased herself into the chair, still shaken from Graves’ assault. “Thank you.”

Jake sat opposite, playing it cool. “Hopefully Graves should leave you alone now. He looked shit-scared, right?”

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