Home > The Billionaire's Christmas Bride (Big Bad Billionaires #3)

The Billionaire's Christmas Bride (Big Bad Billionaires #3)
Author: L. Steele

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"I am just a girl standing in front of a salad, asking it to be a doughnut."

-From Amelie's diary

 

 

Amelie

 

 

"Aww, they clearly like each other," the radio show host exclaims.

"They hated each other, couldn’t stop trading insults—" the male announcer interrupts her.

"Only it was all build-up, OMG…" the first announcer cuts in. "The feels, the emotions.. They wanted to stab each other, but turned out, it was a different kind of stabby that they had for each other."

"Is that what they’re calling it these days, Ivy?" The man snickers, "Good thing this is a late-night chat show."

"I can always count on you to keep me in line, Wolfgang," Ivy quips.

"Call me Wolf," the male announcer drawls.

"Right, well," Ivy clears her throat. " For everyone listening on this blustery night in the lead up to Christmas..." She pauses to take a breath, "The question I’d like to pose is, is it rude to interrupt someone mid-sentence by uh! distracting them? Email us, text us, call in and tell us after the break. This is Smile FM…"

I snort aloud, then switch off the radio tuned into the local radio station. The talk show hosts seem to be living in la-la land, or is it the Christmas spirit that’s affecting them? More likely, it’s the chemistry, between them, which not even the airwaves could disguise. Must be nice, to have that kind of sizzling attraction, huh?

The kind that makes you want to slap the man, punch him in the nuts, maybe; right before you jump on him, wrap your legs around him, and—

That…had been the kind of no-holds-barred romance I’d hoped for when I had met my ex. He'd done everything right, hadn't attempted to kiss me until our third date. In short, he’d been a gentleman…of the double-crossing kind.

Bastard had dumped me after three weeks.

He'd seen my name connected to all the notoriety that had followed my friend Victoria and her now-husband Saint’s wedding… His mother hadn’t been happy about it, and as he’d rushed to inform me, he couldn’t go against his mama’s word… So, I’d been dropped.

On the other hand, my fledgling pastry business had taken off.

Everyone wanted the desserts that had been featured prominently in the publicity accompanying the marriage… I had more orders than I could fulfill. I had worked around the clock in the lead up to Christmas. I’d fulfilled my last booking this morning and handed over the reins of the company to my assistant—yep, I made enough money in the last month to finally hire the intern who had worked with me since I’d started the business.

I can trust her to keep the business going, while I take some time off over Christmas and New Year’s. A few days of no work, no waking up in the early hours to bake… Not unless I want to do it for pleasure; and damn, if I am not going to bake the hell out of some new recipes that I want to try out.

I am going to use the next week to unwind, to reconnect with the girl I’d once been—carefree, happy, with hope in her eyes and a spring in her step—before business worries had taken over my life. I hunch my shoulders. At twenty-five, I am not that old… Except for the fact that I’ve never met a man with whom I’ve managed to hold a relationship down for more than uh—three months.

Well, to hell with that.

I am going to make the most of what I have. To start, I'll rejuvenate over the festive season, then bounce back into London all bright-eyed and ready to take the New Year by storm. Yeah! I turn off the highway, down the narrow road that leads me deeper into the countryside. My sturdy Volkswagen eats up the miles, until I get to a turn-off. I glance at the GPS… Yup, this is the road. Well, what the hell? I turn down the unpaved path. I’d wanted solitude. Guess I am getting it, one way or the other. I drive another mile, turn another corner…and drive up to massive gates.

I roll down my window, pull up the security app I’d installed on my phone, then reach out and wave my phone over the keypad in the wall.

The gates swing open. Awesome, and on the first try!

I continue down the driveway to a single-story bungalow, with a porch running around it, then park the car. I switch off the engine and listen. There… I can hear it… The silence. I can’t stop the smile that lifts my cheeks. Most people don’t like to be alone… Me? I thrive on it. As long as I can bake during the day, then curl up with my book-boyfriend in the evenings, with a glass of my favorite bubbly—champagne only, I’m strict like that—and surrounded by bubbles in a bathtub… Oh yeah, that would be a bonus. I push the door open, then walk around to retrieve my two suitcases. Don’t judge. I like to have the comforts of home with me when I travel. So, what if I am only a few hours away from home? I need my favorite set of PJs, my bath bombs, my wine...and this. I walk around to the front of the car, open the door to the passenger side, and retrieve my most prized possession, the tools of my trade—my pastry chef bag, without which, I never go anywhere.

Sliding the strap of my baking toolkit across my chest, my handbag over one shoulder, I begin to drag one of the suitcases…which promptly gets stuck in the muddy ground. I haul at it, there’s a cracking sound, then the valise dips to one side. Shit, did I break it already? To be fair, it had been a surprisingly cheap buy from the charity shop. I should have known better than to buy it, even though it had been marked down by about 70%. I wipe the sweat from my forehead. I straighten, take a step back, and instantly lose my footing. I hit the ground on my butt.

Bloody hell, this is all going tits over arse. A whistling sound emerges from the trees.

Goosebumps flare on my skin. Shit, is there someone…or something out there? It’s all well and good to want to be alone… But in the countryside? I hadn’t considered how…spooky it could all be. A low humming sounds in the distance. Is that a bird? A plane? Crap, there is no Superman around here to rescue me. I am on my own. Better get your arse in gear, woman. I jump up to my feet. Best get indoors, turn on some lights, then I can come back for my luggage.

A breeze blows and I hunch my shoulders. Damn it, how can I be warm and cold at the same time?

I take another step, trip over some rocks. Hell, I need lights, and fast. Okay, hold on, I’ve got this.

I grab my phone from my handbag, switch on the flashlight. A beam of light illuminates the way. I walk toward the patio, take the steps up to the front door, shove my hand into my handbag and scrounge around for the key. Where is it? Where the hell is it? There! I pull out the key and insert it into the lock. The door unlocks. Woo!

I push against the door, walk into a spacious living room. Switching off the light, I drop the phone into my handbag. Then I take stock.

There’s an unlit fireplace in the center, a settee beyond that, facing the door, complete with a rug in front of it. To my right are big French windows, to my left is a bookcase, with floor to ceiling shelves, filled with books. Yay, that’s another point for this place. Next to it is a small table with liquor bottles.

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