Authors: Julie Farrell
The Billionaire’s Heir 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…
If you haven’t yet read Ivan and Samira’s story so far, you can do so for free by going to
Samira led her dappled horse through the golden corn in the sweltering sunshine trying to relax – but it was hard when the man was following her. He’d been tailing her every day for the last three weeks whenever she’d left the ranch-house, and today he was riding behind her on his horse – keeping his distance. She hadn’t had the chance to look at him properly yet, because his face was always obscured by his cowboy hat, but somehow he reminded her of Ivan. Not that Ivan would’ve worn jeans and a Stetson – he’d loved his designer suits too much.
Sadness surged into her throat. She felt as if part of her soul had been ripped out. Ivan’s tragic death fifteen months ago had left a Grand-Canyon-sized hole reverberating around her tender heart – and worse, she felt terrible for what she was doing with Mr. Langdon. But she had no choice. This game was called survival. And was it
so bad, living here on this peaceful Laredo ranch, pretending to be Mrs. Langdon? She was free to explore these lush surroundings as much as she wanted, as long as she didn’t leave the ranch without Mr. Langdon’s permission.
But why had her new fiancé arranged for this cowboy to follow her around?
The sun shone intensely overhead on this hot June day, warming Samira’s brown skin as she strolled onward. She felt like a nomad in her long cotton gypsy dress and bare feet, traipsing through the long grass, tickling her toes. There were no clouds in the deep blue Texas sky, and the motionless air rippled with heat haze. Coming here to sit by the shimmering creek each day helped to ease her heartache – it made her feel connected with nature – with her true self. She hated living this lie, but what choice did she have?
She rubbed her horse’s velvety nose and tethered him to a tree, then she laid her scarf down to sit by the wide fast-flowing creek – watching as it wound through the pasture –listening as it trickled over the rocks. The water was moving rapidly today, simmering with white foam on top of the clear stream. Samira wiped away the beads of sweat from her brow, wishing she could jump in and cool down, but she couldn’t swim – it was deemed immodest in Iran for girls to wear a bathing suit. How she hated that place. There was no way she was going back there – not even now her college funding had been cut and she was technically illegal. Thank goodness she’d met Mr. Langdon on the train six months ago, changing her life forever…
Samira grabbed a book from her bag and tried to ignore the eyes of the man behind her, which drilled into her as he sat up on his horse, watching. She was uncomfortable under his scrutiny, and she was desperate to ask Mr. Langdon why this guy was following her, but she was reluctant to upset her new fiancé. He seemed nice enough, but he seethed under the surface of that friendly façade, and she couldn’t risk him kicking her onto the streets. She’d just have to figure this cowboy out on her own…
She focused on her book and started to relax in the sunshine, but her muscles coiled like a startled cat as the guy behind suddenly let a shout of distress. She shot up and saw his horse was rearing – trying to throw him off. Without thinking of her own safety, she rushed to help.
The frantic horse reared again. This time the cowboy was bucked off and he thumped to the ground – landing with a thud on a soft patch of grass. The horse was a strong muscular beast and – despite now having thrown his rider – he neighed and whinnied wildly, rearing on his hind legs and kicking his front hooves violently – almost striking the strewn man in the face.
Samira saw that the man’s hat had flown off, but she didn’t get the chance to look at him, because her mind was absorbed with calming this distressed animal. She halted in front of the horse and stood firm. “Woah, boy… calm down…” The horse reared again – less passionately this time. Samira stood her ground and shouted. “Stop this silliness!”
The horse jolted, lurching and trying to scare her, but she refused to be intimidated. She stared deeply into his gorgeous brown eyes, searching for the sanity behind his wild stare.
“No,” she said, pointing her finger. “You stop this right now.”
She raised her palms to shoulder height to show him she meant no harm. He tensed his strong velvety back to lunge again, but he realized he’d been beaten, so he flitted back and forth, pawing at the grass and dispelling his nervous energy. Eventually – after shuffling on the spot a few times – he relaxed and stood still, submitting to her.
She watched him carefully for a moment, checking he was calm, then – maintaining eye contact with the beast – she stepped forward and scooped up his reins, patting him tenderly on his soft damp face.
“You silly thing,” Samira said. “What was that all about?”
The man behind her spoke with a deep husky voice. “I think it was spooked by a gust of wind. Dumb animal.”
Samira turned and looked at the man strewn on the grass. He’d planted his hat back on his head now, obscuring his face again, but Samira noticed he had a beard – which she hadn’t realized before.
“He’s not a dumb animal. He’s got feelings and fears – just like us all.”
The cowboy shook his head as he scrambled to his feet. He was tall and muscular – simmering with sexual allure. “Well, I sure do appreciate you helping me, ma’am.”
The tension between them buckled, and Samira’s adrenaline turned to lust. “No problem. In future, you need to show him who’s boss. Okay?”
He nodded under his hat. Samira glanced at his strong hands and was assaulted with a flash of those gorgeous fingers caressing her desirous body – helping her forget her worries.
She was desperate to see his face – to look into his eyes – but the wide brim of his hat obscured his features. She was overwhelmed with a ripple of lust from being this close to such a handsome and mysterious stranger. An intense sensual energy emanated from him – one that she hadn’t known since… No. She pushed away her desire. He wasn’t to be trusted. Why he was following her? What did he want? Was Mr. Langdon testing her somehow? She opened her mouth to ask him, but he snatched the horse’s reins from her and started to walk away.
“Thanks again,” he muttered.
“Wait,” Samira said.
He halted but didn’t turn to face her. “Yeah?”
“What kind of a cowboy
you? One who can’t even control a horse…”
She watched the muscles in his back flicker under his shirt. “I’m just a farm hand, ma’am. No one.”
He glanced back, obscuring his face with his shoulder and his hat – studying her with dark eyes. Then he tugged the reins of his now-docile horse and they walked together across the meadow.
Samira stood glued to the spot, watching him leave and suppressing the desire to run after him and demand answers – as
as suppressing the desire to run after him and kiss him wildly; ride him hard.
She let him go. He’d been following her every day for three weeks now, and she realized it would be better to approach
like a wild horse – gently and subtly. Now that they’d broken the ice, maybe she could find out who he was and what he wanted.
One thing was for sure, she hadn’t felt such an intense attraction for anyone since she’d lost her beloved Ivan. And truthfully, she couldn’t wait to see this guy again. Her heart pounded with excitement. How funny would that be? Having an illicit affair with the guy her fiancé had hired to follow her…
She shook her head and turned back to the creek with the intention of sitting down and forgetting him for now. But as she halted at the edge of the water – the same place she stood every day – the earth suddenly collapsed, causing her to fall abruptly. She clawed the air and cried out in shock as her body plunged toward the water.
“Help!” she screamed.
Time slurred as she swooshed downwards. Her heart thrashed painfully as a riot of fear rushed into her mind. Why the hell had the ground given way like a trapdoor? It had been solid yesterday!
She screamed as her body crashed into the icy water, and she was immediately struggling against the current, gulping down lungfuls of air and kicking her legs to try to stay afloat. But she couldn’t swim! The water dragged her under and she panicked as she realized the bottom of the creek wasn’t in reach. She was going to drown!
... She had too much to live for…
With all her might, Samira tore her way back up to the surface, kicking like a phoenix rising – but her muscles were tiring and the fast-moving water crashed painfully against her body, pulling her in too many directions at once. She thrashed her arms and legs desperately, feeling her body sink deeper into the abyss as her face dunked under the gushing flow.
Her vision blurred at the edges and she tried to shout – but her mouth filled with ice-cold water – then she could no longer fight against the torrent, as the world turned black.
Oblivious to everything around him, Ivan led his unruly horse away from the woman he loved – feeling raw emotion pounding in his heart. What the hell was he doing walking away from her when all he wanted to do was wrap her in arms and kiss her for eternity? He smiled affectionately. She hadn’t changed at all – still as feisty and beautiful as ever. She looked amazing in that white dress, with her long bottle-blonde hair flowing free.
This meadow was far away from the big ranch-house, which suggested to Ivan she wasn’t totally happy living there and came here for an escape. The staff quarters were located out here – consisting of twenty-or-so little wooden cottages, where the ranch-hands and their families lived. Samira had always loved nature, and Ivan imagined she came here because she loved the colorful flowers and the bright green fields all around. He pictured her picking the flowers and dreaming of him…
He resisted glancing back. But seeing her again was like winning the gold medal – it was like stepping into paradise. He was desperate to embrace her and kiss her; to make love to her out here in the pasture. He wanted to find out what she’d been doing all these months – what she was doing on this ranch. He needed her to know he’d never stopped thinking about her – not for one second.
But it wasn’t something you could just blurt out, was it? “Hi, babe. You know you thought I was dead? Well, actually, here I am…”
But for now he felt triumphant to have found her. He’d spent the last sixth months operating on a different level of reality, where all that had mattered was his obsession with finding her.
Thank goodness Tariq had vaguely known she was on a Texas ranch. It’d at least given Ivan something to go on. And his family had generally been supportive of his obsessive search for her, although they were worried about
urgently obsessed he’d become. The only times he’d been away from Texas recently was when he’d gone back to see the family in New York for birthdays.
– that reminded him, he needed to go back for Adam’s wedding this weekend. He’d only just got here yesterday afternoon, and he was reluctant to leave without Samira, meaning he now only had four days to tell her everything and convince her to come with him.
Maybe he should hurry this reunion up...
For months, he’d traveled from ranch to ranch, taking on work as a hired hand, telling the ranch managers that he knew how to handle a horse. That clearly wasn’t true – he hadn’t ridden for years before he’d gone undercover as a cowboy. But he’d learned quickly, for survival – discovering that it took brute strength and guile to be a ranch hand – instead of his usual intellect and charm. Luckily, he was pretty good with his hands, so he’d been able to pull it off. But truthfully he couldn’t wait to get back into his business suit – and Samira back into his arms.
He’d avoided making friends, preferring to be on his own so he could focus on his search for her. He’d physically and mentally exhausted himself on this mission – but he’d ensured he’d kept in good shape for her – knowing how much she loved lying in his sculpted arms – which were desperate to hold her.
He swiped a glance at his horse, who was looking innocent after all the bucking and rearing. “Did you know it was her?” he asked the horse. “Is that why you behaved so bad? To get her attention?”
The horse snorted and shook its head in the heat.
“I know,” Ivan said. “I need to figure out how to tell her the truth without freaking her out. But let me tell you now, horse, I can do it without
The horse whinnied in reply, and Ivan smiled, forgiving him for throwing him off. But… actually, it hadn’t been the horse that had made the noise. Ivan stopped dead. A woman was screaming…
Samira! He let go the horse and bolted back to the creek, rushing through the long grass, which suddenly seemed thick and obstructive like tar. His heart plunged to his knees as he saw her struggling in the water, and he remembered she couldn’t swim.
! The current had swept her twenty yards downstream, and her flailing body was losing strength against the pounding rapids.
Without thinking, Ivan ripped off his shirt and jumped into the rushing icy water. Using all his power to struggle against the rapids, he propelled himself through the thundering water that splashed up into his eyes, blinding him. He fought against the tide refusing to let it beat him, slowly making progress – drawing on all his frantic strength.
He caught her up and shouted above the roaring water. “Samira – grab my hand!”
His heart sunk as he saw she’d blacked out, so he reached out to grab her, but she slipped from his fingers as the rapids pulled her away.
He urgently pushed himself after her, and thankfully her unconscious body was swept against a boulder, giving Ivan the time to reach out and pull her into his arms. Treading water like crazy, he hooked one arm around the boulder and paused to catch his breath, panting heavily and holding on tight as the water pounded hard – preventing them both from being dragged under again. He gazed at Samira and realized she was still out cold – her head had dropped back, and she was flopping against him like a ragdoll. Her beautiful face dripped with water, and her eyes – which were usually so full of fiery fight – rolled back lifelessly.
Devastation twisted in his chest. No way was he losing her! He pushed himself off the boulder and positioned her head above the surface as the slipstream carried them further up the creek. Allowing the water to carry them, he paddled his feet toward the bank, where he pulled Samira out of the roaring creek and onto dry land.
Ivan was trained in basic first aid, so he gently laid her on the grass and put her in the recovery position, kneeling beside her – dripping wet. She looked beautiful; peaceful – as if she was sleeping. He lowered his face to her mouth and realized she wasn’t breathing. Oh
…. He forced himself to remain calm as he pinched her nose, then pressed his lips against hers – breathing into her lungs in the way he’d been shown.
Even in this utter panic, Ivan relished the feel of pressing his mouth against those succulent lips. His mind washed with love and affection. He’d missed her so much – and he wasn’t losing her now… He shifted position and pressed his hands on her chest – pumping, one, two, three, four – trying to stir her into consciousness. During those long and lonely nights he’d fantasized about touching her; holding her close. Fucking her into a frenzy…
Saving her life hadn’t been part of his plan.
“Come on, Samira. You’re not leaving me now, baby.”
He bent to resume the mouth-to-mouth, but her eyes flew open and she gasped in panic, then she coughed hard. She instinctively rolled onto her front, allowing a puddle of water to flow from her mouth. Then she crashed to the grass and panted with relief.
“Welcome back,” he whispered.
Still staring at the grass she whispered. “Ivan?”
He pulled her damp body close and kissed her hard. Her lips acquiesced, and she groaned gently, flopping in his arms and giving herself to him entirely. Ivan pulled away and ran his fingers through her damp hair – but he saw she’d slipped off again into a dreamlike stupor. Her eyelids were closed and she looked half-drunk. Ivan kissed on her forehead, satisfied she was okay.
There were no hospitals for miles around this secluded Texas ranch, so there was only one place to take her. Dripping wet himself, he stood and quickly grabbed his discarded shirt then wrapped it around her. He glanced around for his horse and realized it’d wandered off. But Samira’s horse was tethered to a tree, so he picked her up and carefully draped her over the saddle, then climbed up behind her.
As he reached for the reins, he was tempted to ride out of this ranch and into the sunset with her, but she needed somewhere more comfortable than a horse to recover. So, easing the horse into a gentle walk, he steered them to his cottage, feeling as light as the midday sun about having her back in his life.
Now there was just the matter of letting