Home > Waking Up With a Billionaire (The Overnight Billionaires #3)

Waking Up With a Billionaire (The Overnight Billionaires #3)
Author: Katie Lane

Acknowledgments


Writing is a solitary job, but it takes a village to get a book published. And I’m very fortunate to have such a great village:

My agent, Laura Bradford, who keeps my feet firmly planted on the ground so my head can remain in the clouds.

My editor, Alex Logan, who fits together all the puzzle pieces and keeps me on the right track.

All the copy editors, proofreaders, cover artists, publicists, and sales reps at Grand Central, who work so hard and efficiently at their jobs.

The Land of Enchantment Authors, who are not only my writing support system but also my dear friends.

The ladies of the Dog-Eared Divas book club, who never let me forget the reason I started writing in the first place—the desire to give my readers the same feeling of contentment I get when I finish a good book.

My family, which loves me despite the craziness of deadline week, and keeps me smiling and feeling so blessed.

And last but not least, my readers. Your love of my characters and stories is what keeps me seated at my laptop and tapping away. Thank you for all your support. Mwah!

 

 

CHAPTER ONE

 

The lobby looked like a Concord grape that had been stomped beneath a boot heel. Variations of the color purple were splattered everywhere. The polished marble floors. The plush velvet couches. The contemporary light fixtures. The highly polished surface of the reception desk. Even the dress of the svelte blonde who sat behind it. And if there was a color that Chloe McAlister hated most, it was purple.

Purple was the color of her childhood bedroom. The color of Napa Valley at dusk. And the color of bruises. Deep, painful bruises that faded from view, but never from one’s heart. Standing in the midst of all that purple, Chloe felt slightly sick to her stomach. For a second she thought about turning tail and walking right back out the tall glass doors with their stenciled-on lips. Unfortunately, if she wanted to overcome the past, she needed to deal with the present. At the present moment, she needed money.

Fidgeting with her bangs, which she’d just butchered that morning, she walked to the receptionist’s desk, where the blonde was talking on the phone. The receptionist watched her approach, her gaze sliding over Chloe, who no doubt stuck out like a withered raisin on the vine in her basic black secondhand dress and scuffed high-heeled boots. The blonde looked away. The snub didn’t bother Chloe. She had spent the last six years of her life trying to blend into the woodwork, trying to be someone no one took note of. She stepped up to the high counter of the desk and cleared her throat.

The blonde ignored her and continued her conversation. “I think he’s so much sexier now. I mean he was sexy before, but now he’s like a hundred and ten on the hot-o-meter. And the way he looks at you with those eyes. It’s like he’s consuming everything about you all at once—and not just your looks, but your secret desires and naughtiest wishes too.”

Chloe rolled her eyes. “Excuse me.”

The blonde stopped talking and sent Chloe an annoyed look. “I’ll have to call you back, Tiff.” She placed the receiver in the cradle. “Can I help you?”

“I’m here to see Mr. Grayson Beaumont.”

“Do you have an appointment?”

“No. But I’m friends with—”

The woman didn’t let her finish. “It doesn’t matter who you’re friends with. You can’t just walk in and ask to see one of the owners of the biggest lingerie company in the world. You have to have an appointment. We can’t just take walk-ins. What do you think this is…Supercuts?” She swept her hand in a dismissive gesture. “Come back when you get a clue.”

Chloe’s hands tightened into fists. But before she could do something really stupid—like pop the rude receptionist in the mouth—a delivery guy pushed Chloe out of the way with a bouquet of white roses in a huge rubber ducky with a little blue sailor’s hat. While the ducky was cute, the roses were all wrong. Chloe would’ve filled the sailor duck with Shasta daisies and ocean breeze orchids. Or at least something more whimsical and fun.

“Another flower delivery for Deacon and Olivia Beaumont,” the guy said. “And I’ve got three more in the truck.” He set the ducky on the counter, but when it blocked his view of the receptionist, he moved it to the floor at his feet. “With all the deliveries I’ve made in the last two days, you would think that the Beaumonts just gave birth to the next crown prince of England.” He smiled at the blonde and winked. “So have you thought about it, beautiful? Are you ever going to agree to have drinks with me?”

The blonde tipped her head coyly. “I told you that I have a boyfriend.” She sounded about as sincere as when she’d asked Chloe if she could help her.

The delivery guy rested his arms on the high counter and flexed his biceps. “So what? I’m talking about drinks, not marriage. What is one drink going to hurt between friends?”

“Well, maybe just one drink.” The blonde pulled a business card from the holder and wrote down her number while the flower delivery guy tried to peek down the neckline of her dress. With both preoccupied, Chloe saw an opportunity and took it.

Bending down, she scooped up the floral arrangement and headed for the elevators. The old security guy who sat on a stool didn’t even raise an eyebrow. In fact he got up and pushed the elevator button for her.

“You know that Mr. and Mrs. Beaumont aren’t here, right?” he said. “They’re both home with that brand-new baby, so you’ll have to leave it with their assistant, Ms. Wang—or I guess I should say Ms. Melvin. She got married to one of the company lawyers not too long ago. Me and the missus got invited to the wedding, and let me tell you, that was quite the shindig. But not as big of a shindig as when Mr. Nash Beaumont married that pretty little writer.”

Chloe had been invited to the wedding. In fact she was supposed to be a bridesmaid for Eden, alongside their other friend Madison. But that was the bad part about blending into the woodwork. It was hard to keep your friends. Especially when Eden had just sold her first book and gotten married to a panty billionaire, and when Madison was one of French Kiss’s supermodels.

“That’s sure one big rubber ducky.” The security guard continued to talk. He reminded Chloe of her grandfather—white hair, a ready smile, and lots to say. “You know what they named him?”

“Uh…no.” She glanced over her shoulder and was relieved to see the delivery guy still flirting with the receptionist.

“Michael Paris,” the security guard continued. “Michael, after the man who started the French Kiss lingerie company, and Paris because that’s where the idea for the company came from. And because Paris and Helen are famous lovers—and all the Beaumont men are named after famous lovers.” He counted off on his fingers. “There’s Michael Casanova, who started the company, and his brother, Don Juan. And then there’s Don Juan’s three sons—Deacon Valentino, Nash Lothario, and Grayson Romeo—who inherited the company and run it now.”

This wasn’t news to Chloe. Everyone knew about the Beaumonts’ middle names. It was hard not to when each brother had his own lingerie line named after him. Women all over the world wore bras and panties from the Valentino, Lothario, and Romeo Collections—Chloe included. But only because she got them free from Madison. Okay, and maybe because they were pretty.

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