Home > Bare Skin: A Billionaire Romance

Bare Skin: A Billionaire Romance
Author: Leah Holt

Chapter One


One night, that's all it was supposed to be. An evening to celebrate the next chapter of my life, the turning leaf of all my hard work.


I could wish for it, I could pray for it. But I knew it took more than that, it took determination, and a backbone.

Both of which I had, both of which I knew were buried and eager to shine. It was just finding my voice, taking control; not standing down and accepting an answer of 'No.'

I was going to fight for it. I had to, there was no other option. This was it, this was my time.

It's now or never, Lo.

Every day I spent countless hours with my face plastered in blank space. Paint turning strands of hair into clumps of sticky knots, and tinting my skin more colors than the rainbow had to offer.

And why?

Because my entire world revolved around my art. The one and only thing that brought me peace, and let the pain of my life disappear into strokes on the canvas.

“Willow, let's go, the cab is here.” Beth barked from the doorway. Her cayenne colored hair was pinned back, sides slick and shiny from layers of hairspray.

The bright yellow dress wrapped her body like a ray of morning sunlight, all while leaving very little to the imagination. Her chest was plumped up so high it almost touched her chin, the second skin faded out right at the crease of her ass cheeks.

Just how she liked it.

Attention, and getting every last ounce she could; doused her self esteem, and purged her veins on a daily basis.

It didn't matter where we went, or what we were doing. If it was going to involve any other set of eyes besides her own, then she flaunted herself like a peacock during mating season.

Beth was my best friend, raised in the same small town as me, but we lived completely different lives. I'm honestly surprised we'd stayed friends for so long. No one else stayed by my side, but she did.

She was a wild fire, fed by alcohol, dancing, and men. Beth never thought anything through, always acting first.

I loved that about her, but I can't lie... I've always worried it would get her into trouble.

My role was to be her ground, her role was to put excitement into my life. She was the spark and I was the fuse.

I'd never been that much of a free spirit. I tended to think twelve steps ahead, and my brain ran through every damn scenario that could ever happen.

Even if the possibility of something happening held the same remote chance as a blizzard in the desert.

But it was always there, eating away at my insides, making the decisions for me. That inner voice, the small scream that would hold my attention and make me run the other way.

Maybe I should've gone into the insurance business?

My keen sense of danger, and faltering need for excitement would've played well in that business.

We were complete polar opposites, but complimented each other in the same breath.

Without her in my life, I probably would have shriveled up, turned eighty well before my time, and ended life living in a small apartment filled with cats.

Don't get me wrong, I love animals. But I never want to find myself having conversations with my cats and throwing them birthday parties.

God no. Not that.

Grimacing at the thought, my nose scrunched tight, head shaking the disturbing image from my head. “I'm coming, I'm coming.” I said, holding a slight edge to my voice. “You know, the club isn't going anywhere.” Popping my feet into black heels, I grabbed my white clutch off the table.

“No, it's not, but the guys might. And I don't know about you, but this vagina,” she said, circling her hand in front of her waist. “Is in desperate need of some attention.”

“My God, Beth. Seriously?” Giggling, I tightened the ponytail high on my head and shifted my A-line skirt.

“Yes, I'm serious. Girl, you know Keith and I broke up four months ago, I don't want to dry out. There's no room for dust in that area, I'm too young for that.”

“You're sick, you sound like a horny dude.”

“No, I sound like a woman who wants to stay active.” Before I could even retort to her comment, Beth's mouth twitched. The telltale sign she had more on her mind. “Are you really wearing that?” Cocking her head, she eyed my body.

“Yeah, why?” Holding my arms out, I looked myself over. A soft blue button-up shirt covered my torso, the black skirt hugged my hips and flared out just above my knees.

What's wrong with this?

No, I wasn't exactly letting anything hang out, and maybe I did look better fit to be sitting at a meeting or behind a desk. But I was never a flashy person. I would choose yoga pants and a tank top over any piece of fabric that could barely pass as underwear.

“Because it looks like you pulled it from your grandmother's closet. Come here, at least let me sexy you up some. We want to pull guys to us, not have them ask us to watch their table because we look like responsible elders.” Her hands flew up mid sentence, fingers popping buttons on my shirt.

Before I could even react, my breast were half out, skirt tugged up above my bellybutton, and she was trying to tear a slit high up on one thigh.

Really? Tits and ass... She always defers to tits and ass.

Like we need the wandering eyes of womanizing men.

“You need more skin, Lo. I don't know why you feel the need to cover your body up this way. You should wear it proudly, it's killer, and it'll get you some cock.”

She totally has the mind of a dude. Who thinks like that?

Only Beth.

Glancing in the large mirror on the wall of my small studio apartment, I let out a heavy breath. “Did you fix me? Am I no longer boy repellent?”

Tilting her head, her lips curled to one side. “It's better, let's go.” Throwing the door open, Beth walked with the strides of a super model.

Which fit her perfectly, because that's what she was.

Tall, slender, and appearing like she stepped right off the runway no matter where she went. If she was going to the store, she would still fix spikes to her heels, and layer her body in designer clothing.

Her hair was always pristine, not a single strand was ever out of place, like she spent every morning in the salon. While I on the other hand, just enjoyed bumming around in sweatpants and bedhead.

And if I felt the urge to dazzle myself up for a field trip to the grocery store, I would grudgingly throw on jeans.

Modeling fit Beth like a glove, she could binge on the camera lens, and feed her addiction of the eyes with every flash of the bulb.

As for me, I barely broke five feet, had curves that my Aunt Claudette always pointed out as being 'great for baby making,' and a less than full chest.

But I was never out to be eye candy.

Then again, I never really made the effort to be. Plain, that was the best word to describe me. I was plain and unexciting.

Exactly the thing that happened when you're raised by your grandmother, and had a wardrobe that was best left in the seventies.

I know they say trends come back, but not my grandmother's. That one stayed right there, and I was the loving recipient of the time warp.

It wasn't flattering, and I never turned any heads. Unless it was for a good old fashioned point and laugh from the boys I grew up with.

Not exactly the type of attention a young girl wanted, but it was what it was.

Slipping into the taxi, Filamore City was sparkling like a tree at Christmas. Lights were flashing in all directions, people swarmed the sidewalks like schools of fish.

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