Authors: Cece Baker
A Billionaire’s Game
Novella by Cece Baker
© 2016 All rights reserved.
No part of this publication or the information in it may be quoted from or
reproduced in any form by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying,
recording, or otherwise without express written permission of the copyright
The characters and events
portrayed in this book are fictitious. Any similarity to real persons, living
or dead, is coincidental and not intended by the author.
The clinking of glasses quickly silenced the room and a
woman with shimmering, long chestnut brown hair and wearing a sleek black dress
stood up from her seat. She cleared her throat, smoothed the front of her
dress, tossed her hair behind her shoulder and raised her flute of champagne.
"To my dear friend, Thea and her soon-to-be husband, Landen.” Jill turned
slightly to look at the couple seated to her right.
“First a confession: Landen, I have to admit that it took
me awhile to learn your real name.” There were quiet titters among the guests
to this admission. “For the first three months of your relationship, I called
you the land, tree, dirt guy.” Laughter filled the room.
“In my defense, I really thought you were a landscape
architect. Since you are not, I wish to offer you my sincere apologies and I
promise not to call you that anymore.” Jill paused, looking down at the scrap
of paper she’d written notes on. “When I first saw you with my best friend, I
knew something was different. She was happy—happier than I've ever seen
her. Every time she spoke of you, her whole face lit up. Since I tend to be a
skeptic, my mind went directly to ‘What’s wrong with this guy?’ So, I checked
off my mental ‘Thea’s boyfriend’ list. Handsome. Check. Kind. Check. Funny.
Check. Smart. Check. Employed. Check. Wait! Employed! That was something new
for Thea—dating a guy with a job." At this the crowd laughed
Jill paused again, drew in a breath and continued.
"But seriously, thank you for being the person Thea was supposed to meet
and fall in love with."
Stopping to contain her growing emotions, Jill sighed.
"And Thea, a confession for you: When I thought Landen was a landscaper, I
was convinced that he was just another deadbeat that you are so good at
attracting. By the end of summer he'd be out of a job and living off of you.
Thankfully I was wrong. I've never seen you so happy and that makes me happy.
You deserve only the best in life. With Landen I know you'll find that.
“To you both, I wish much joy, laughter and love. May your
sorrows be few, and may you be slow to anger. Trust in each other, treat each
other with respect and you'll be just fine.” Turning to address the guests she
continued, “Please raise your glasses to my dearest friend Thea and her
gorgeous husband-to-be, Landen."
Cheers of "Here, here” and “to Thea and Landen,"
rang through the private dining room as glasses of champagne were raised and
clinked. "And, now for the best man. Drake, take it away." Jill moved
to sit back down in her chair as silence filled the room.
People began turning their heads and straining their necks
searching for Landen's brother. There were sounds of random coughs and chairs
scraping against the marble floor. One of Landen's buddies, Paul, stuck his
head in the room and shook his head and mouthed the words "I can't find
him," to Westin, the youngest of the three Ellsworth brothers. Immediately
Westin stood and interjected into the uncomfortable silence.
"Hi everyone. It seems my brother Drake is indisposed
at the moment so if you'll allow me, I'd like to make a toast to my big brother
and his beautiful bride."
Westin stood buttoning the jacket on his navy designer
suit and took a long sip from his water glass in an effort to give himself a
moment to think of something to say.
"Thea, uh, from the first
time I met you I knew you were special.”
He lifted his glass of Moet and continued with only a brief pause to gather his
thoughts. “And from the first moment that Landen saw you I knew he was thinking
the same thing. Actually, he was a goner.” Westin grinned at his eldest
brother. “I also thought, ‘This woman has no idea what she was getting into.’
Thankfully, even after getting to know the Ellsworth clan you stayed and gave
my brother a chance."
Westin paused again, changed his stance and continued.
"Landen, I am so happy that you have found this amazing woman to share
your life with, and I'm only a little bit jealous." Quiet laughter rolled
throughout the crowd
"Truly I couldn't be happier for you both. Please
raise a toast to my brother Landen and his beautiful bride." Again,
glasses were raised and clinked and shouts of agreement were heard.
The toasts continued on for at least another half hour.
Thea's mom, Landen's dad, cousins and friends added to the well wishes for the
As the rehearsal dinner came to a close, Jill West greeted
her friend, the soon-to-be Thea Ellsworth, with a tight squeeze. "So, your
last night in your own place?"
Sighing, Thea concurred, "Just me and Sinatra."
Sinatra was Thea's two-year-old orange tabby.
"Where is Sinatra going to stay while you're on your
"My mom will take him. He will be spoiled there, so
he'll love it," Thea said ruefully.
Jill murmured her agreement, then said, "Okay, if you
don’t need anything else, I'm going to head out and I'll see you tomorrow at
Putting her hand on the woman’s upper arm Thea said,
"Oh Jill. Thanks so much for everything you've done to help with,
well…everything. I know how you hate all this fru-fru stuff."
"You do know me so well,” crooned Jill. “For the record
I am stating that you, Thea, are the only person I would put on a frilly gown
for. And, you're welcome. It's worth it all just to see you so happy." The
women hugged tightly and bid each other good night.
Jill heard a knock at the front door. Puzzled, she glanced
at the clock and saw it was just after midnight. “Who in the hell could that
be?” she thought. She was leery of knocks on her door late at night because all
guests had to be buzzed up. She put her eye to the peep hole and saw a
tousled-looking Drake Ellsworth standing in the hallway. His shirt was
unbuttoned almost to his navel, tie gone and his hair looked like he’d just had
sex with a wild animal. “Maybe he did,” Jill thought, grimacing at the vision
in her head. Drake knocked again. “Yes. Yes. Keep your pants on,” Jill muttered
angrily. Then under her breath she added, "Or maybe take them off.” She
slid open the safety chain, turned the key in the deadbolt and opened the door
There was a pause as they both stood looking at each
other, taking in each other’s appearance. Jill was wearing a white tank top
with plaid pajama pants and brown fuzzy moose slippers. Drake still wore his
grey Hugo Boss suit pants and charcoal dress shirt. He’d tossed his suit jacket
over his right shoulder and held it in place with his index finger.
Drake Ellsworth, the second son of William and Caroline
Ellsworth, was a tall, muscled, cocky Adonis. His custom tailored suit fit his
chiseled frame perfectly. He exuded confidence and power.
Jill took in the sight of the gorgeous man standing at her
apartment door and was rendered speechless.
Before she was able to get a word out, her body was pulled
roughly into a tight embrace and she felt Drake’s mouth on hers. She tried
pushing him away, but his grip was too strong.
nothing gentle about this kiss. It was hard and rough. Drake grabbed Jill’s
hips and pulled them fiercely against his groin. He was hard.
Jill’s hand went immediately to his chest in an attempt to
push him away. Since he was stronger than she, their center of gravity shifted
and they tumbled unceremoniously into the hallway, Jill on top of Drake. A loud
“oof” came from Drake as he landed flat on his back, Jill on top and the air
knocked out of him.
“Oh my god! Are you okay?”
Slurring Drake said, “Baby… where are you going? Things
were just starting to get interesting.”
“Really?! Mr. Creep-wad creepy face,” yelled Jill as she
swatted him on his chest and crawled ungracefully off his body and stood.
“Help me up, Babe.”
“Keep calling me Babe and you’ll get nothing from me.”
“Geez,” Drake mumbled. “Kick a guy when he’s down, why
don’t you?” Jill raised an eyebrow in annoyance. Drake rolled to a sitting
position, stretched out his hand for help and when none came, he slumped
against the doorjamb and scooted his hard body upward until he was upright.
Drake drew in two deep breaths like he’d just exerted a huge amount of energy
in an effort to stand. “I’ll hold the wall up. ’K?” he slurred.
Jill ignored his attempt to be funny, murmured, “Get in
here,” and went to close and lock the apartment door. “What are you doing here
anyway? How did you get in? How did you know where I live? Are you stalking
“Babe. Oops, I mean lady. Lady, one question at a time.
You’re taxing my mental capacity,” Drake said as he stumbled to the couch and
plopped down, half lying, half sitting, legs askew.
“God. You stink,” she pronounced, her nose scrunched up in
He smiled sheepishly.
“What the hell happened to you at the rehearsal dinner
tonight? Everyone was looking for you. You were supposed to make a toast since
you are the best man.”
“Hey, I had things to do, business to attend to….” He
paused. “You know the drill.”
“You’re a piece of work,” Jill replied dryly. “So, why are
you here and how did you find out where I live?”
“A good reporter never reveals his sources,” Drake
responded drunkenly and then hiccupped.
“You are three sheets to the wind, you jerk.”
“That’s me, baby,” Drake crooned, dragging out the last
syllable of the word baby as if it were a string of e’s. “Oops. I mean, lady,”
again dragging out the last syllable.
Jill rolled her eyes. “Fine. You can stay here until you
sober up, but then you’re outta here. Got it?”
With sad puppy dog eyes he looked up at Jill and grinned.
Jill let out scornful sigh. “But before you pass out,
you’re taking a shower. You smell like you’ve been rolling in the gutter.”
Standing, Drake looked hurt, but responded with a snarky,
“Yeah, baby. You should try it sometime. Live a little. Oops. I mean lady.”
Jill grabbed his hand and pulled him into the bathroom and
instructed him to “remove his clothing.”
“But, lady, I’m just too drunk. You’re going to have to
help me.” Drake held his arms open wide as if beckoning her to come to him.
Angrily she moved forward, put her hands on his narrow
waist and unbuttoned the remaining few buttons on his shirt.
“What happened to your tie?”
“How the hell would I know. Isn’t that your job to keep
track of things like that. You are the lady of honor after all.” Drake
punctuated the thought with a hiccup.
“Maid. I am the maid of honor. Now, do your pants thing. I
mean, uh, you know, unbutton your pants.”
Drake grinned lasciviously, popped the button on his fly
and slowly unzipped his pants, his eyes locked with hers. He shoved his pants
down along with his boxers. They bunched at his ankles. “Oops. I forgot to take
off my shoes. Need your help, sweet pea.”
Groaning, she bent down trying to ignore his semi-erection
bobbing by her head. She untied the laces, slid his designer dress shoes off
his feet and then helped him step out of his socks. Leaning backwards to avoid
his glorious, now-full erection, she stood. Jill opened a cupboard, pulled out
a clean towel and placed it on the edge of the sink. “Here’s a towel for you
when you’re done.”
“Umm, lady, can you turn the water on for me?” Drake asked
like a petulant child.
Jill gritted her teeth, stuck her head into the shower
stall and switched on the water, testing the temperature. “You’re lucky I’m not
turning on the cold water, you know?”
Drake moved behind her, readying himself to step into the
shower stall. She turned to exit and ran directly into a very hard, very
muscled chest. Glancing upward she caught his eyes staring hungrily into hers.
Before she knew what was happening they were kissing again— wet, hungry,
passionate kisses. He moved her backwards, and the water streamed down on both
of their heads. Jill protested for a moment before she slid her arms up his
chest and around Drake’s neck and sunk into the embrace. He lifted her body,
and she reflexively wrapped her legs around his waist. She could feel the
evidence of his rock-hard erection against her sex.
Drake slid his hands underneath her shirt and Jill slid
down his body, arms in the air as he pulled the shirt up and off. Immediately
he palmed her soft breasts and his thumbs rubbed her nipples. They were hard.
Drake bent over, sucking her right breast into his mouth,
his hands running underneath the waistband of her flannel pajama pants, now
soaking wet, and grabbed her naked ass.
“Wait. Stop. Drake, don’t.” Jill pulled her head away from
his and wrenched herself out of his muscled arms.
“What the fuck?” Drake exclaimed angrily.
“I’m not having sex with you. I’ve been warned about you
and told explicitly to ‘stay away from Drake.’”
“I guess my reputation precedes me,” said Drake, slumping
his body against the wall of the shower stall.
Dripping wet, Jill grabbed a thin blue towel to cover her
naked chest and very responsive nipples. “Traitor nipples,” she thought.
Stepping out of the shower stall, she toed off her sopping
moose slippers and glared at the wet, virile, naked man in her shower. “You,”
she said pointing at Drake, “you need to…to…use soap. Lots and lots of soap,”
Jill declared lamely.
“Got it sunshine.”
Turning to leave the bathroom she muttered, “Whatever.”
Jill made it to her tiny bedroom, leaving a trail of water
in her wake. Her flannel pajama pants were soaked. She peeled off the offending
garments, dried her slender body and put on an ash grey tank and different
flannel pajama pants, these sporting pink flying pigs with wings. Barefoot, she
took her towel and wiped up the trail of water she’d left in her living room.
She dropped the towel just outside the bathroom door that had been left ajar.
The water was still running in the shower. “What was she supposed to do with a
drunk best man who needed to be presentable the next day at his brother’s
wedding? Coffee,” she thought. “Coffee would help." She pattered into the
kitchenette and dug the coffee beans out of the cupboard. She scooped a couple
spoonfuls of beans into the grinder and twisted the top to start the appliance.
A high-pitched whine filled the room.
“What the hell is that annoying noise!” shouted Drake
above the din. Jill turned to look at the man and just about choked on her
tongue. Standing before her was the ultimate specimen of man wearing only a
bath towel draped low on his carved hips. Drake Ellsworth was all muscles and
smooth skin, with just the right amount of hair on his chest and traveling
downward to his groin. Jill had a momentary thought that she’d like to lick
Shaking her head she replied, “I’m making coffee for you
to drink. You need to sober up for the wedding tomorrow, or did you forget
about that, too?” Jill asked accusingly.
“How could I forget that,” he slurred. “The golden boy
“Why do you call Landen a golden boy? It’s not like he’s
had anything handed to him. He worked his way up in your dad’s business.”
“I see you’ve drunk the Kool-Aid, too. My brother can do
no wrong. Even going up against my father in a battle royale at Ellsworth
Construction, and he still comes out smelling like daisies.”
“Roses. He always comes out smelling like roses.”
Shaking his head Drake spewed, “Whatever.” Abruptly
changing the subject he asked, “So why wouldn’t you have sex with me? Am I too
Jill looked down her nose at him even though Drake was a
good foot taller than her, and replied, “Let’s just say I know you’ve made the
rounds and don’t want you to share any of those skank germs.”
Jill filled the glass carafe with water, poured it into
the coffee maker and flipped the switch to on. The sound of a quiet release of
steam and subsequent dribble of liquid filled the apartment.
Faking offense, Drake replied, “You wound me,” and he
stumbled to the living room and flopped onto the couch.
“You gonna let me sleep in your bed, sweet pea?” Jill
heard as she reached into a cupboard and grabbed a mug featuring the cartoon
character Ziggy. She pulled the carafe, now half full, off of the burner and
filled the mug.
Walking into the living room, she said, “Sit up and drink
“If I drink coffee I won’t be able to fall asleep,” Drake
Sighing, Jill said, “Just drink it. Sober and tired is
better than drunk and well-rested.”
Sitting up straight, Drake saluted her and accepted the
steaming mug she offered. The towel around his hips parted to reveal the top of
his left thigh. He caught Jill looking and chuckled. “Like what you see? I
would be happy to show you more.”
Jill stepped away and went in search of a blanket. She
returned with a beige cotton one and tossed it over Drake’s lap. Then she went
into the bathroom, picked up his pants and dress shirt and draped them over an
easy chair just opposite the couch.
“Here are your clothes. These will have to do tomorrow since they are
all you have to wear. I’m going to sleep now and turning off the lights.
Goodnight.” Jill flicked the light switch to the off position and the room
“Hey! I thought we were going to talk some more. We were
just getting to know each other.” No response came and Drake heard the door to
her bedroom click shut. Whispering and dropping the drunk act he said,
“Goodnight for now, sunshine. Someday soon I’ll be tossing you in that bed and
having my way with you. Mark my words. Remember, I always get what I want.” He
took another slug of the dark brew, ran a hand through his wet hair and stared
aimlessly into the dark room.