Here's a tease for the Billionaire's Secret out this Friday!
Leila's in troubleeeee...;)
Excerpt from The Billionaire's Secret (Part Six)
It was the thing I’d wanted since I realized that my friendly cup of coffee with Whitmore and Creighton’s new client, action star Cade Wallace, had been a horrible mistake. I’d come to my senses too late, just in time for a photographer to snap enough pictures to tell a story. A story where I wasn’t Cinderella at all--unless Cindy liked to spread ‘em for any Prince that came knocking.
I thought I had time for damage control; to surprise Jacob with a nice dinner and after his belly was filled with steak and he had a glass of wine or two, explain myself. I thought I had time to ease him into the truth before he saw any photos of me staring into the eyes of a man I swore meant nothing. But Jacob was home and without saying a word, I knew something was terribly wrong.
I held my breath, hoping the savory aroma would sink in and he’d lose the scowl on his lips. Instead, it deepened.
“I picked up some Sullivans for dinner.” My stomach churned madly as I tried to explain. “I remembered you saying how you loved their prime rib so...”
I stopped talking as he ignored me completely. He put his briefcase down and eased out of his coat. He discarded it then turned back to me, loosening his tie. His movements were mechanical and precise, his face tight and void of any tell-tale signs of emotion. I tried to convince myself that he couldn’t know. There was no way the story, the pictures, could be live that quick...right?
He finally spoke, his voice low and dangerous. “Sullivans, huh?”
I bit my lip and nodded, surprised I didn’t draw blood. “I hope that’s alright.”
He opened his mouth and anger rippled across his face, but he hid it away almost immediately. He walked past me and whatever was on his tongue was left unsaid.
I drew a shaky breath and followed him into the dining room, wanting to get the truth out before I lost my nerve. Jacob was already seated, pouring himself a glass of wine. He didn’t even acknowledge me, eyeing the ruby red liquid before raising the rim to his lips. The coward in me wanted to say the words from where I stood, away from his steely gaze and in a somewhat close proximity to the exit. But running was the thing that had me sneaking out of the office to meet Cade, avoiding Jacob to minimize drama. I needed to look him dead on and explain myself. I owed him that much.
“I need to talk to you.” I hesitantly brought my eyes to his,expecting another peek behind the curtain, but nothing registered. His gaze shifted to mine and I was sure I’d see something in those pools of blue, but he was still playing his cards close to the chest.
Of course he is, I thought, dread pulling my heart to the pit of my stomach. Cold as ice is Jacob Whitmore’s default mode when he’s pissed.
“After the meeting with Ca--Mr. Wallace, I, um, we--” I swallowed the stumbled confession that rose in my throat. I just needed to get it out. “Cade and I had coffee and when I was leaving, I ran into a photographer.”
“And you’re telling me this because...” He held onto the last syllable, his dark eyebrows raising suggestively. “You want me to pay the photographer off?”
I pulled back, surprised and slightly offended by his callous remark. “Uh, no, I just--”
“Well then what’s done is done.”
I gawked at him, watching him scissor through the prime rib, mouth opening and closing, Adam’s apple bobbing. If I hadn’t seen the scowl on his face a minute ago, I would have thought it really was no biggie. But I’d seen the flash of anger. Of hurt. This was affecting him more than he let on.
“I’m sorry, Jacob.” It was a whispered plea, every ounce of me pouring into the words, begging him to look at me and see that I meant it.
“You have nothing to be sorry for.”
His smooth dismissal hurt, as palpable and real as a blow to the gut, but I kept trying. “It was just a cup of coffee.”
“Then why are you apologizing?” He snapped his napkin like a whip before dabbing the corner of his mouth. “I mean, it’s done. You had coffee, he whispered sweet nothings--”
“He did not whisper anything to me!” I said indignantly, heat burning my cheeks. I knew I had no right to be insulted or blush like he’d just called my honor into question when I did a fine job of that myself by meeting Cade in the first place. “It meant nothing.”
He let out a snicker that was deep and condescending. “You were millimeters from kissing him in one of them, Leila. That means everything.”
And just like that, the world stood still.
He’d seen the pictures.