Home > The Billionaire's Kiss (The Sherbrookes of Newport #14)

The Billionaire's Kiss (The Sherbrookes of Newport #14)
Author: Christina Tetreault

Chapter 1

 

 

Most days, her condo’s windows provided Juliette Belmont with an excellent view of Central Park and the city as a whole. Today gray skies and a torrential downpour that mirrored her mood obscured it. Closing her eyes, she pressed a palm against the cold glass while her mom continued to berate her over the phone. Well, perhaps berate was too harsh a word, but at the moment, Marilyn Belmont was sharing her true feelings and holding nothing back.

I get it, Mom. Can we move on now? Juliette resisted the urge to tell her mom to shut up. She might be an adult, but there were still some things you didn’t say to your mother. Still, she wished her mom would put a sock in it. Especially since it wasn’t as if Juliette didn’t already know she’d royally screwed up. And if it was possible to travel back in time, she’d do so and tell Daniel Green to take a hike the night he approached her. But she couldn’t change the past, and her mom’s lecture only made her feel worse.

“I know you wanted to do some campaign work for your uncle, but under the circumstances, I think it’ll be better to wait a little while.” Mom had moved the conversation on to a slightly different topic, at least.

Uncle Warren, or President Warren Sherbrooke, as most of the world called him, certainly didn’t need her help, but she’d been looking forward to assisting him. Unlike many of her family members, she hadn’t helped with his campaign efforts the first time he ran for president. Now that he was running for a second term, she wanted to do her part.

“Your dad agrees with me,” her mom continued.

Wow, big surprise. Her parents—whom she adored—rarely disagreed on anything.

Juliette rolled her eyes and looked at the ceiling. The way her parents were acting, one would think she’d committed armed robbery or something.

“This should all be old news in another month or two, and then you can help out.”

Juliette hoped so. Although accustomed to having her face on the covers of magazines and all over the internet, she wasn’t used to such negative publicity. And that was all she’d been getting since the first photos of her and Daniel and the story came out.

“I’ll let Francine know I won’t be attending the fundraiser this weekend,” Juliette said, finally able to get a word into the conversation. Up until now, she’d managed only a handful.

“Great. And once this little situation passes, your uncle will be delighted to have your help. While I have you on the phone, have you thought any more about coming to work at the foundation?”

Ever since her older sister, Courtney, had taken a position at the Helping Hands Foundation, her mom had been after her to join them. While the foundation was a wonderful organization and she didn’t mind helping with its various fundraisers, she wasn’t sure she wanted to work there full-time.

If she was being truthful, she wasn’t entirely sure what she wanted to do anymore. She had no intention of admitting that to her mom. While Marilyn had never come right out and said it, Juliette knew her mom wished she’d pursued a career in something other than modeling—a career she’d loved until recently.

Nope, if it’d been up to her parents, she would have joined Sherbrooke Enterprises like her older brother and so many of her cousins after graduating from Columbia with a degree in marketing and a minor in dance—a degree she’d only pursed because her dad thought attending Columbia was a far better idea than Juilliard, her first choice of colleges.

Not that any of it mattered now, because she had a career most could only dream of, and if she woke up tomorrow and decided she needed a complete career change, she could have a position at Sherbrooke Enterprises with only a simple phone call. Honestly, though, any position that required she spend hours sitting behind a desk didn’t appeal to her, and she didn’t know how other people did it.

Since the weather made it impossible for her to enjoy the view, she turned away from the window. “A little, and I’m going to pass at least for now, Mom.”

“Well, if you change your mind, my offer stands.” A hint of disappointment laced her voice, but she didn’t press the issue. “Can we expect to see you soon?”

Although she called New York City home, she spent a decent amount of time at her parents’ house in Massachusetts. At the moment, she had no desire to be there. “I’ll let you know.”

Before her mom posed any additional questions, the doorbell rang, saving her. Few people visited her without calling first. “Mom, I need to go. Someone is at the door. I’ll call you later this week.”

After disconnecting the call, Juliette left her cell phone on an end table and crossed the living room.

Please don’t be Scott. She adored her older brother, but this afternoon she wasn’t up to facing him. He’d called her Wednesday after the first pictures of her and Daniel hit the internet. She’d let his call go to voice mail. The message he left merely said to call him, so she didn’t know what his take was on her current scandal. But her brother was as straitlaced as they came. Never in his life had the media printed anything negative about the guy.

Holly Lambert, who lived on the floor below her, stood on the other side of the door. She’d met Holly while doing her first runway show in Milan. At the time, Holly had already been on her way to being a household name even though she had only started modeling the previous year. They’d been close friends ever since.

While Holly regularly visited and never called first, Juliette hadn’t expected to find her ringing her doorbell today. The last time they spoke, Holly was vacationing in Anguilla.

“Hey, when did you get home?” She stepped back so Holly could enter.

“Yesterday. I thought about coming up to see you, but it was late.” Holly didn’t wait for Juliette to tell her to make herself comfortable before entering the kitchen and switching on the single-cup coffee machine. She treated Juliette’s condo as her second home. Actually, she spent more time at Juliette’s than she did her place.

“You saw the pictures?”

Holly nodded. “Did you really not know he was married?”

The comment caused her to grind her teeth together. She would have thought Holly knew her better than that. Sure, she dated a lot and rarely stayed in any one relationship for too long, but she never played the role of the other woman. There were plenty of single men in the world, so she saw no need to spend time with married ones.

Juliette shook her head. “It’s not like I have a background check done on every man I go out with, and he never wore a ring.” In the future, perhaps she should, though, and save herself from facing this issue again.

“But didn’t you ever see any hints of a woman at his house? Clothes in the closet, makeup remover in the bathroom?” Holly removed a cup from the cabinet and pressed the brew button on the coffee machine. “She must have stuff there.”

She hadn’t been thinking about a coffee, but now that she smelled it, she wanted a cup. Juliette retrieved her favorite mug from the cabinet and placed it under the machine before selecting a dark roast coffee pod from the stand.

“I didn’t exactly go snooping in his closets, Holly. And we spent a lot more time here than we did at his place.”

“Next time you get involved with a man, maybe you should take a peek.” Holly sipped her coffee and leaned back against the counter. “Considering all the time you spent together, I’m surprised Daniel’s wife didn’t learn about you two sooner.”

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