Home > Her Bossy Billionaire (Love in London #1)

Her Bossy Billionaire (Love in London #1)
Author: Natalie Anderson

One

 

 

No one could concentrate on dicing a million dried apricots in a place like this. Libby Harris sure couldn’t. Instead she gazed around the immaculate kitchen and laughed—again. She was here because a sporting legend loved her muesli so much he’d begged her to come to his home and make him some specially. Could the day get any better?

Frankly, after the last three weeks, she’d take all the joy from this she could. Even if no one else ever knew—even if she never made another batch again—at least she was helping someone one last time. And not just anyone either.

She glanced at Apricot Mountain and decided it would still be there in a few minutes—a quick peek around wouldn’t offend, right?

She all but skipped as she gave in to the urge to explore. The next room gave visual confirmation that it was indeed his apartment. Most others would use it as a living room, but here it was stripped bare of carpet. On top of the long, polished floorboards sat three rowing machines, a weights machine, a treadmill, a stationary bike, and a few other scary bits of equipment that she didn’t recognize but was sure would be pure torture to use. He could charge money at the door and offer it as a private training facility. Plus, if he succeeded in his sporting goals, people would pay squillions just to see him—he’d be the most wanted, highest-paid speaker on the after-dinner circuit. But he wasn’t in it for money and looking at this apartment, it was obvious he didn’t need more. Of course he didn’t, not with the family he had.

The floor to ceiling windows offered an amazing view over the park. She crossed the floor and opened one of them, stepping out onto the narrow-railed balcony—recent events had cemented a need for her to have an alternate escape route. The warm air breezed over her skin and she heard the gentle “pop pop” of tennis balls bouncing off rackets.

London in summer—strawberries, Pimms, strolls in the park—for that half-second she forgot her troubles and lived in the light, happy moment.

Beyond the park, the ultimate goal was visible. That wide ribbon of water curved through the city, flanked on either bank by beautiful buildings, both old and new. And adorning the scene everywhere were the signs, the bunting, the symbols of anticipation. Sporting glory would be just up the river. She breathed in deep, gazing out in adoration at the view. Brilliant, sear-your-eyeballs sunlight glinted off the windows of the buildings that stretched for miles. It was beautiful and no matter what her future held, she loved this city.

“Who are you?”

Libby jumped, spinning so fast she nearly ended up over the balcony. She quickly regained her balance, stepping into the room and staring in the direction of the booming, male voice. Blinded by the dazzling sunlight, she couldn’t see him clearly. But given the size of his silhouette, the guy striding towards her wasn’t national lightweight rowing favorite, Tom Barnes.

She dragged a breath into crunched lungs. “Who are you?”

“No, that was my question.” He kept walking, heavy-footed, assured. “I’m supposed to be here.”

“So am I.” She lifted her chin, defiantly sending out some attitude despite her mad blinking as she tried to restore sight.

“If you’re legit, what’s with the knife?” He came to a halt, sarcasm incarnate.

Startled, Libby clenched her fist—and felt the handle. OMG, she’d forgotten she had the small knife with her. How embarrassing. And he thought she was going to—what—threaten him? No way. Had he not noticed she was about a quarter of his size?

“You shouldn’t carry a weapon, especially as shakily as that. You’ll only be overpowered and have it used against you.” He lectured like he was addressing a bunch of school kids before they hit an after-prom party.

The unwanted advice tweaked her nerves but she also relaxed. He could hardly be a threat with that paternalistic tone. Well, she was no child, and while she might not have mega muscles, she had a mouth. “What makes you think you could get it off me?”

“Size and strength,” he answered easily, still a giant shadow, his features indeterminate because of the black spots dancing in front of her as her eyes took too long to adjust to the relative dimness of the room.

“Maybe I have speed,” she countered with faux confidence. “Maybe I grew up in a circus troupe and I’m an amazing knife thrower. Maybe you should be really worried right now because I have incredibly accurate aim.”

“I’d say that would be incredible.” More than a hint of laughter lightened his response. “Tell you what, I promise not to hurt you, if you promise not to hurt me. Deal?”

Libby didn’t have much choice—as quick as her mouth could be, her brain wasn’t giving her any more ammo.

“What is it you’re after, anyway?” he asked. “The most valuable thing in here is the rowing machine on the left, but I can’t see you lifting that easily.”

She supposed she might look like a burglar in her skinny black jeans, slim-fit black tee, black canvas sneakers, and tight, efficient ponytail that kept her hair out of her face and away from her food prep.

“You’re in my home,” he said firmly. “Why?”

She shook her head. “This isn’t your place.”

“No?” he asked unbelievingly. “Then whose is it?”

“Tom Barnes.”

Finally, after her five-hundredth blink, full Technicolor was restored.

Oh hell. She knew who he was. She’d seen his picture in the paper when Tom had won the European champs only a few months ago. There’d been a picture of Tom with his siblings—the pretty, petite younger sister and the drop dead gorgeous older brother that Libby and her workmates had all taken a second, third, and fourth look at. Rowing star Tom Barnes might be cute and heroic, but his big brother was all hunk and most definitely wicked looking.

Jack Barnes. She even remembered his name. How could she forget when he was the self-made billionaire who’d not just bankrolled his brother into this apartment, but who’d done all the nurturing of Tom for years.

Now her retinas burned more than when she’d been sun-struck mere seconds ago. Jack Barnes was the most gorgeous thing outside of air-brushed men’s underwear ad fakery. His coloring was sharp—dark hair and piercing blue eyes compared to the boyish Tom’s light brown tones and warm hazel eyes. Jack was taller, harder, sharper featured, and the cynical suspicion in his eyes just added to that aura of edge. And right now, with his brows pulled together and his narrowed gaze riveted on her, he simply looked dangerous.

“He invited me here,” she said in a breathy rush. Tom had been so enthusiastic when she’d said yes, he’d pumped a fist in the air. It didn’t seem like his brother was about to do the same.

“I can imagine he did,” Jack Barnes answered with a dry drawl. “But I can’t imagine he’d want you to walk around the place with a knife drawn. Doesn’t seem like his style.”

Heat swarmed from her belly to every extremity. It was hardly a knife, and to be busted snooping? By him of all gorgeous people? “I’m working in the kitchen. I just came in here to—”

“Nose around.”

“I thought I heard a noise,” she invented, running her hand down the side of her jeans. “Must have been you.”

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