Wednesday, April 17, 2013

The Billionaire's Promise Excerpt!

Here's an excerpt from The Billionaire's Promise (Part Eight)!


The room was dead silent, the uncomfortable quiet after a gasp reverberated around every square inch of the penthouse before settling back on me.

I didn't move an inch.  My lips were frozen in an O of shock and horror. My fingers gripped the edge of the table, glued to it like it was the only thing that was keeping me from falling right to the floor.
I could only imagine the expression on Jacob's face. He'd been combative since his mother surprised us, stepping off her gilded throne to dash what would have been a great morning.
Alicia Whitmore eyed me patiently, like she'd just asked me for the weather and not the number that would make me walk away from her son.
"How much do you need to start your own business and forget this whole marriage thing, Leila?"
I closed my mouth and swallowed, feeling nauseous. Her proposition was just as vile the second time around. "Mrs. Whitmore--"
"Alicia," she interjected coolly, showing a crack in her glass facade. "I'm about to write you a check for more money than the average person will see in several lifetimes--I think we should be on a first name basis."
"You can't possibly think..." I covered my mouth, trying to stifle the cry that rose in my throat. It's pretty obvious what she thinks of you, Lay.
"I think you're a smart girl.” She ran a quick hand through her short hair, black and gray waves falling effortlessly back in place. “Industrious. Why else would you sign a sexual contract with a man you hardly knew?"
Her words were a slap across the face, red and stinging. The last thing I wanted was to show her that she'd hit her mark, but I felt the tears pool in my eyes. I wanted to say that what Jacob and I had was more than words on a page. I wanted to tell her that this was our home and she didn't have to like me, but she would respect me. I wanted to stand up and order her to get out. The things I should have said raced through my brain, begging me to put her in her place, but I couldn’t make myself say a damn thing.
I scrubbed my hands over my face, wishing this was all a dream. A nightmare. I knew meeting her wouldn't necessarily be pleasant. Jacob told me about her preference for the company of those worth more than God and in Alicia Whitmore’s book, everyone else was just there to wait on her hand and foot. I'd been prepared for snobbery. An air of condescension. But not this.
"Mrs. Whitmore...I don't...I couldn't--"
"I'm aware that this is probably a lot to digest, but I'm about to change your life, dear. Even the craziest number can be made a reality." Her eyes slanted to her son. "If Jacob is making you nervous, I could just leave it blank."
She said it so flippantly, like she was used to her pen making her problems go away. How many people found their name on that 'pay to the order of’ line? What astronomical number did they sell their soul for?
"Have you lost your goddamn MIND?!" Jacob roared, putting words to the hurt that rendered me speechless. Anger tightened his handsome features. His aqua eyes were scorching flames. His nostrils flared like he had red in his sights. His jaw was a razor’s edge, sharp and unyielding. He was in a t-shirt and lounge pants but he may as well have been decked out like a gladiator, blazing into the coliseum to defend my honor.
Alicia pursed her lips into a crimson line and turned her attention to him. "I've abided the reception I received since I stepped through the door Jacob, but I'll be damned if I will tolerate your attitude for one more second."
Jacob jerked up from the table. "My attitude? After you’ve come here and spoke of things someone like you could NEVER understand--"
I snapped out of my daze, jumping up and moving to him. Things had already been said that couldn’t be taken back and I didn’t want him to say or do something he’d regret. "Jacob, it's alright--"
"It couldn't be further from alright, Leila!" he snapped. "My mother has insulted us both." The rage in his voice changed, cutting deeper, hurt ebbing and weaving in his tone. "I'm used to being hurt by her, coming second to a man who couldn't stand the sight of her, believing that she regretted my very existence because the little time my father could spare had to be shared with me." He shook off my hand and took a step toward her. "I can take your bullshit. Years of dealing with it ensured my immunity to your poison. But I will not allow you to hurt Leila."
"Hurt her?" Alicia snorted. "I'm about to change her life!"
I whipped to face her. "No--Jacob changed my life. And not because he gave me a job, because he gave me his love. I don’t want your money. I want your son." I crossed my arms, finally finding my voice. "I think you should leave."
She stood her ground. "I don't believe your name is on the deed--"
"But my name is," Jacob growled behind me. "You can go back the way you came or you can be dragged out of here kicking and screaming. I'd hate for security to dirty up your suit."
"Jacob, you wouldn't do that,” she scoffed, flinging her bejeweled hand like his threat was the most ridiculous thing she’d ever heard. “Not to your mother. I’m your family."
His voice was cold as the grave. “What do you know about family? The nanny’s you hired so you didn’t have to put up with me were more family to me than you ever were. And Leila? Leila is all the family I need.”