Authors: Julie Farrell
The Billionaire’s Heart by Julie Farrell
All rights reserved. This book or any portion thereof may not be reproduced or used in any manner whatsoever without the express written permission of the publisher except for the use of brief quotations in a book review. Fonts used with permission from Microsoft.
Copyright © 2015 by Julie Farrell
Billionaire Tycoons, billionaire brothers, billionaire bachelors…
Fear pounded hard in Samira’s chest as she clambered to her feet on the soft sand of the secluded Los Angeles beach. Yesterday at college she’d had a run-in with the approaching gang of jocks, and now they’d got her alone. She didn’t want trouble, and she certainly didn’t want to risk getting kicked out of UCLA. That would mean deportation back to Iran – the thought of which filled her stomach with a heavy dread…
She stood tall and braced herself, watching the guys swagger towards her, dressed in their swimming trunks and showing off their waif-like bodies like badges of honour. This stupid little gang of frat-boys hardly possessed a toned muscle among them, but there were too many of them for Samira to tackle single-handedly.
She shivered. Although the sun was shining in her eyes, it was slightly too cold to be wearing a bikini today, but Samira was determined to wear hers every day while she could. She glanced down at the vintage polka-dot design, feeling proud of how her curvy body filled the stretchy material like an Arabic version of Marilyn Monroe. There were no ‘morality police’ harassing Californians – no one threatening to arrest non-scarf-wearing women for indecency. Samira prayed that she would never encounter those hypocritical bigots again for as long as she lived. But she knew she’d have to return to Iran one day. This fact hung over her head like the executioner’s axe that had murdered her parents…
The jocks halted several feet away, sizing her up like cowardly hyenas on a lame gazelle. One of them broke off and stepped right in front of her, almost nose-to-nose. Samira took a step backwards on the sand. This guy was called Danny and he’d made the mistake yesterday of coming-on to Samira in the college corridor. His words had been sleazy and his intention had been clear – to intimidate Samira for a cheap laugh in front of his buddies. But she wasn’t the timid little thing he’d hoped, and she’d brushed him off with a few choice words of her own, humiliating
instead. And now he was here for revenge.
“Hey, it’s our pretty little math geek,” Danny said, swiping his scruffy blond hair out of his eyes. “You wanna repeat what you said to me yesterday, sugar? Or are you ready to apologise? I know
way you can say sorry – right guys?”
His friends laughed, egging him on.
Samira inhaled deeply, trying to stop her knees from shaking. “Go back to your volleyball game. I don’t want to hurt you.”
Danny sniggered raucously. He turned to his audience. “Hey, guys, she said she doesn’t wanna hurt me!”
of you,” Samira called over.
Danny turned back to face her. “Hey, baby, why don’t you
Samira clenched her fists. She knew her Iranian accent was heavy, but her English was perfect. “Tell me, Danny, did your mother inform you that you are attractive to women? Because you know she lied, right?”
Danny faltered. “Suck my cock, bitch.”
“Oo, what intellect. What other great gems you got for me, huh?”
He grabbed his junk and bounced it in his hand. “Right here, baby.”
Samira threw her hand to her curvy hip. “Listen, donkey-fucker, once again you’ve mistaken me for someone who enjoys sex with animals. But if you ever found yourself in bed with me, you wouldn’t know what the hell to do. I’ve met little boys like you before, and the only action you’ll be getting today is when you go fuck your buddies in the seedy little backroom you crawled out from.”
Danny gazed at her aghast. “What’s wrong, honey, you frigid, or something?”
“No, I enjoy sex very much thank you. With real men. But the idea of
coming anywhere near me makes me sick.”
“How about I
you what a real man I am, then?” Danny reached out and grabbed Samira’s wrist, making his friends cheer. She yanked her arm from his painful grip – employing a move she’d learnt during her illegal self-defence classes back in Iran, then she bent to pick up her bag – intending to leave. But as Danny signalled to the other guys for help, she realised she was in danger – there was no way she could tackle all eight of them by herself. She instinctively balled her fist and pulled back her arm – aiming to slug a punch on Danny’s smarmy face. If they were planning to take her down, she was going down fighting.
She dropped her bag back to the sand and braced herself to be attacked, but the sound of another guy approaching made her look around. “Hey, assholes – leave her alone!”
Danny glanced up and his friends halted like statues. The world took on a soft focus as a tall dark stranger stepped over to join them. He was gorgeous, with his six-foot muscular body, brown curls, and kind face. He looked older than these silly boys by quite a few years, and he was ruggedly handsome. He was dressed in blue jeans and a casual shirt, but Samira imagined he’d look hot in anything from a sharp suit to oil-smeared coveralls.
The handsome stranger slotted himself between Samira and Danny, towering down on him. He seemed to be made of muscle. But he was clearly very agile, too – the sort of guy you needed on your side in a fight. His posture was open, challenging the jocks to take him on.
“You wanna harass someone, boys?” he growled. “You’re welcome to harass me. Want some?”
Danny looked like he was about to pee his pants. One of his friends ran forward and grabbed his arm to drag him away. “We didn’t mean anything. We were just being friendly.”
“Just being friendly?” the stranger said, following the boys as they tripped over each other to get away. “You were making this young lady feel uncomfortable to fuel your own sad little egos. But
can play that game;
feel fucking uncomfortable. You want me to?”
“No, no, please… sorry…”
“Good. Now leave this fucking beach, and leave
alone. If you ever
to her again without her permission, you’re fucking dead. Understand me?”
Samira’s heart fluttered with relief as the boys fled to leave the beach – obeying the orders of her handsome saviour with their tails between their legs.
The stranger turned back to Samira and his tough-guy posture softened. He gazed at her with his gorgeous blue eyes. “You okay, Miss?”
She shrugged, trying to act cool. “Yeah, I was doing alright – I’ve dealt with plenty of idiot-boys in Iran.”
His lovely face lit up. “Iran? Wait, you’re not Samira, are you?”
She frowned. “Yes?”
“Oh my god, I’m Ivan – Tariq’s friend!”
“Ivan, no way! It’s so great to meet you!”
Samira’s body filled with delight. She’d been looking forward to meeting Ivan for a long time now. He was her cousin Tariq’s childhood friend, and the two men had come to California to get away from New York for a couple of weeks to work on some mystery project together. Samira was happy for them to stay in her three-bedroom home – which Tariq was so generously funding. Her cousin had worked hard to help her gain a visa to study in America, so allowing them to stay for a while was the least she could do. She wasn’t expecting them to arrive until later, but she was grateful that Ivan had been walking on the beach when he had…
Ivan offered his hand to shake. His grip was firm and commanding. Samira was still trembling after the scuffle with the boys – but her trembles were
due to Ivan’s tantalising touch, which made her want to do anything for him.
He held her gaze in his. “The pleasure’s all mine, Samira. Thank you so much for allowing us to stay with you. I sure do appreciate it.”
“Oh, it’s no problem. Tariq’s told me so much about you! Come here…”
Samira reached out and hugged him. It felt natural to do so, even though she was dressed in her bikini. His arms fell around her, making her body flush with arousal.
definitely wouldn’t be allowed in Iran.
Ivan held her close, resting his strong hands on her bare back. “It’s great to meet you... Tariq forgot to mention how beautiful you are. And how blonde.”
She chuckled at his comment on her hair colour. Back in Iran, Samira would’ve been in trouble simply for going outside without a headscarf, so when she’d first arrived in America she’d taken delight in dying her long thick jet-black hair a vibrant platinum blonde. It earned her a lot of looks around campus – but not for reasons of immorality. She wore her blonde tresses with pride. Here in America people could dye their hair whatever colour they wished. She loved this sweet land of liberty.
The hug broke apart and they stared at each other in silence.
“So…” Samira said. “Welcome to Los Angeles.”
Ivan chuckled. “Thanks – it’s great to be here.”
“Hey, would you like to walk back to the house with me? I’d like to go say hi to my cousin, but… Just in case those guys are still around?”
“Sure, I’d love to.”
Samira quickly threw on her summer dress, which was low-cut, short, and made of clingy material. It showed off her curves, making her feel sexy and empowered. Hopefully Ivan would be impressed…
She smiled coyly. “Let’s go.”
They walked bare-footed along the soft sand together, side by side. Samira could see Ivan’s bulging muscles under the short sleeves of his casual shirt, and she suppressed a desire to give his biceps a squeeze. She focused her attention ahead. The brilliant blue sky was turning orange and pink as the sun set over the crashing waves, giving the beach a romantic vibe. Samira wondered whether Ivan was attracted to her.
“I really do appreciate you stepping in back there,” she said. “I need to stay out of trouble – I can’t let anything jeopardise my opportunity to study in this wonderful country. If I lose my college place, I’ll get deported. And I don’t want that.”
“I’m pretty sure you didn’t start that fight back there, sweetheart,” Ivan said, smiling kindly. “So what are you studying?”
“Applied mathematics,” she said.
Ivan laughed. “No way!”
She raised a cool eyebrow. “I’m not sure what’s so funny about that – unless you think I’m some kind of oppressed woman with no education. You forget where algebra first originated, huh?”
“Let me guess… Persia?”
“Correct. So you do know something of my country.” Samira absent-mindedly tucked her long hair behind her ear, unable to suppress her flirting. This guy was
“I like to think I’m knowledgeable about my best friend’s home country,” he said.
“Huh! My cousin left with his parents when he was child. He knows nothing of the reality of Iran.”
“Well, he knew enough to help you get outta there, right?”
“Yes, that’s true. Did he tell you why I had to leave?”
Ivan frowned with concern. “No? He just said you’d come here to study.”
Samira decided not to elaborate – she hadn’t told anyone in America her reasons for leaving Iran in such a hurry, and although she sensed she could trust Ivan, she’d only just met him. She changed the subject. “So tell me about yourself, Ivan.”
“Well… the reason I laughed when you said you were studying math is because that’s what
She grinned. “Oh cool, so you’re a math geek, too, huh?”
“I sure am.”
They shared a playful smile. Samira felt as if she’d known him forever, but he was also mysterious. It was exciting. The breeze rustled through the palm leaves and tickled her skin with warm prickles, so she hugged herself around the triceps and gazed up at Ivan, wishing he would put his arms around her. But they’d only known each other five minutes… Literally.
He looked away and focused ahead. “So how do you like America?”
“I love it. I’m hoping to be allowed to stay here after my studies.”
“You don’t wanna go back to Iran, not ever?”
“Never. It’s just not my kinda place, you know? Too conservative.”
“Hmm… Tariq says
can’t go back after the way his parents left so quick.”
“That’s true. And of course there’s the matter of Tariq’s… persuasion.”
Ivan smiled. “You can just say he’s gay – it’s not a taboo here, not really. ‘Specially not in LA.”
“It’s good that you don’t mind.”
“Why would I mind? It’s his business what he does with his… you know.”
Samira laughed. “I know. But some men, they feel threatened if a man prefers the company of other men.”
“Well, I prefer the company of women, so do you feel threatened by me?”
“No, of course not.”
“Well, there you go.”
The air became chilly as they headed away from the beach, so Samira rummaged in her bag to grab a cotton scarf, which she draped around her shoulders. “I wish these things could be so accepted in Iran.”
He raised a playful eyebrow. “Well, if you’re so reluctant to return to Iran after your studies, what you need is a rich American husband who’ll marry you after you graduate, huh?”
Samira chuckled. “Is that a proposal?”