The Billionaire's Sweet Surprise (2 page)

BOOK: The Billionaire's Sweet Surprise
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Malvagio, the secret, members-only elite club owned by him, Nolan and Laird Teichert, was once again, on the market. This was not going to go over well with Emma and Lana.

“I knew he didn’t have the stones to own Malvagio but I went against my better judgment and accepted the bid,” Nolan said, just as pissed. “Damn it. This club is becoming like an unlucky penny that we just can’t get rid of.”

“The only saving grace is that it’s still making money hand-over-fist,” Dillon said. “But I don’t have to stress that distancing yourself from the club is a smart thing. Not only for your marriages but for Buchanan Enterprises, as well.”

Sutton Buchanan, a recent addition to the Buchanan Enterprises board, didn’t see the problem, nor would he, given the fact that he was not quite as reformed as the rest of them.

“Maybe this is a sign that the club should stay in the family,” he suggested. “Identities are hidden and the club is by invitation-only. I say we fold the club into a Buchanan Enterprises holding and enjoy the cash raining from the sky. Seems like a solid investment to me.”

Vince scowled at his cousin. “Nolan, Laird and I — the owners of the club — are not selling to Buchanan Enterprises. Dillon is right, we need to wash our hands of it.”

“Why?” Sutton asked being deliberately difficult.

“Because my wife and her sister were assaulted there and it’s no longer appropriate for our lives,” he answered coolly, hating that Sutton never missed an opportunity to be an ass. Somethings never changed.

Sutton chuckled as he cast an amused glance Dillon’s way. “Remember when Vince had balls?”

“Cut it out,” Dillon warned. “The last thing I need is you two idiots trying to break each other’s jaws in my office. Look, we’ll put the club back on the market, quietly and discreetly, of course, but in the meantime, we need to have someone manage it.” He looked to Vince. “Seeing as neither you, Nolan or Laird are interested in managing the club, maybe Sutton should take over until we can secure a new buyer.”

Sutton managing Malvagio?
Aww, hell
. That idea made him want to eat glass but what choice did he have? He looked to Nolan. “You okay with that?”

“No,” Nolan answered sourly but he’d already come to the same conclusion. Sutton was the best choice for a temporary solution to a sticky problem. “But I guess it’s the best option.”

“Gee guys, I love your vote of confidence. Makes me feel all soft and squishy inside,” Sutton quipped with a twist of his lips.

“Cut the crap, Sutton. There will be rules. Lots of them,” Vince said.

Sutton rolled his eyes, bored. “You and rules. No wonder there are so many dungeons at the club. You, my cousin, have control issues.”

Good God, he hated Sutton. The smug bastard had always been a pain in the ass.

“I mean it, Sutton. The only way I’m agreeing to this is if you agree to follow
our
rules. Otherwise, I vote we shut down the club and let it rot. I don’t care how much money it brings in.”

Nolan, the cooler head between the two, stepped in. “Dillon is right. There’s no sense in cutting off an easy cash flow if we don’t have to.” To Sutton, he said, “Vince is right about you following the rules we’ve already established. That will keep things moving smoothly and without incident. We don’t want another situation like we had with Preacher getting in.”

“That’s the guy who went all crazy on your wives?” Sutton asked.

“Yeah.”

“Whatever happened to that guy?” Sutton asked.

Dillon shot Sutton a quelling look. “He was taken care of.”

Vince smirked. Dillon may have become more civilized but he was still enough of a bad ass to shut down Sutton’s wise-ass remarks.

“All right, for the time being, you can manage the club but if I hear of one misstep, I’m shutting it all down. Got it?”

No one argued his terms, which was good because Vince wouldn’t have listened. There were some things that were nonnegotiable.

Dillon nodded. “It’s settled then.”

“I can go over the responsibilities and expectations if you want to get back to Emma,” Nolan offered. “I know you’re probably itching to get back to the house.”

Vince rose, grateful. “We’re in the final stretch. Thank God. My nerves can’t take much more of this.”

Both Dillon and Nolan, who had children of their own, understood but Sutton just looked at him with pity. “Better you than me, cousin. You’ll never see me tied down and neutered.”

“Like anyone would have you,” Vince muttered as he grabbed his leather jacket. “Sutton, I’d question the sanity of any woman who’d stay with you longer than it took to throw away the used condom.”

“Speaking from experience?” Sutton mocked and Vince had to leave before he ruined the carpet with Sutton’s face.

He and Sutton had never really gotten along, too much alike Nolan always said but he hated to think he was anything like Sutton.

But you couldn’t choose your family. More’s the pity.

Now that the East Coast Buchanans were taking their seats on the Buchanan Enterprises board, they were going to be around a lot more.

God help them all.

If it wouldn’t bankrupt the company, he’d urge Dillon and Nolan to buy them out.

He didn’t want the cousins mucking up the good thing they had going.

Sutton was a bad influence — one he didn’t need around his family.

 

Bookmark: 4

 

-4-

 

Emma was sore, a little flustered, and a lot embarrassed.

Lana tried to pick up her spirits with the offering of a chocolate shake. “You were doing really good until you tried that spinning thing. Honestly, you could’ve pulled it off if it weren’t for your belly getting in the way, which is something I warned you about in the first place.”

“No gloating,” Emma said, accepting the shake and slurping loudly. Not even chocolate could ease her ego. “This was a terrible idea,” she mourned, feeling like an idiot. “Did you see the instructor’s face? I think she was having an aneurism trying not to laugh.”

“To be fair, it was pretty funny.”

Emma shot her sister a dark look and Lana instantly sobered.

“Okay, so you tried something a little crazy and you, sort of, failed at it, doesn’t mean you can’t try again once you’ve had the baby.”

Tears pricked Emma’s eyes. “I just want to feel normal again.” She groaned as her back spasmed, clenching her muscles like a vise. “And my back is killing me. I feel like an 80-year-old woman.

“Cut yourself some slack. You will get back to normal, after you push out that tiny bundle of joy currently sucking up all your brain cells.”

Emma stared down at her huge belly and started to sob. “I’m so ugly. I don’t know why Vince even finds me attractive. My boobs are so big I can’t even find a bra that fits right and my hips have ballooned to the point that I could probably push out an elephant.” She sniffed back a hiccup, as the worst embarrassment ever popped from her mouth with an aggrieved groan. “And I have…
hemorrhoids
!”

“Yeouch,” Lana grimaced. “That’s rough.”

“I know! How sexy is that?”

“Not very. Unless you’re into that sort of thing. Wait, is that a
thing
? God, I hope not.”

“It’s not a thing for me. No one told me that it would be this way. I thought it would be all glow-y skin and maternal happiness. Instead, it’s been swollen ankles, gas, hemorrhoids, and break-outs. I’m a hormonal mess!”

“Yeah you are,” Lana agreed, shocking a hurt gasp from Emma. “What? Did you want me to lie or tell the truth?”

“I don’t know,” Emma admitted, adding, “Well, maybe you could soften the truth a little?”

“Okay, all those things being true the best part and the part I would cling to if I were you, is that it’s all temporary. The baby is going to be here soon and then you’re going to forget all about those things that were making you miserable. At least that’s what they say. I don’t know for sure because, obviously, I don’t have any kids — and after watching you go through all this, I’m not sure I want to, so thank you for that — but the point is, stop stressing over the little stuff.”

“Have you ever had hemorrhoids?” Emma asked with a glower. When Lana shook her head, she said, “Then you can’t say it’s included in the ‘little stuff’ column. My butt will never be the same.”

“I didn’t need to know that about you.”

Lana’s chagrined laugh coaxed a smile from Emma. “You’re probably right,” she admitted sheepishly and Lana wrapped her in a hug. Emma sighed. “I’m sorry for being neurotic. Baby brain and all that. Forgive me for dragging you to that pole dancing class?”

“You’re forgiven. On an upnote, I have the image of you trying to gyrate on a pole while nine months pregnant. That’s an image that I will never forget.”

Emma laughed. “You’re welcome.”

Lana released her and said with a frown. “I wish you and Vince had decided to find out the sex of the baby. I’ve been going crazy trying to find cute neutral gender outfits. How am I supposed to win the Coolest Auntie award if I can’t deck the kid out in the best clothes?”

“I know. I kinda wished we’d found out but it’s too late now. I didn’t realize the suspense would be so hard to take. But Vince really wants to be surprised so I let him have that one.”

“Well, four more weeks and we’ll know,” Lana said, sighing. “I guess it’s gender neutral for now.”

Emma nodded then rubbed her sore behind. “Next time I get a crazy idea in my head, please try to stop me.”

“Yeah right. Like that’s going to happen,” Lana quipped. “Let’s go. If we don’t get you home before Vince, you’re going to have fun explaining this outing. I’m surprised he doesn’t have a GPS tracker for you.”

“He does.” Emma laughed, lifting her phone. “But I turned it off without his knowing. I love him to death but he does go a little overboard now and then.”

“Stalker material.”

Emma pushed at Lana with mock outrage. “Watch it, sister. That’s my husband and I adore him. Besides…that one-track mind obsession is pretty hot in the bedroom.”

Lana clapped her hands over her ears. “Stop before I gag.”

Emma just giggled. At least she could still laugh at a few things. Maybe with a little distance, she could even laugh at her pole-dancing fiasco.

Maybe
.

 

Bookmark: 5

 

-5-

 

Vince didn’t want to upset Emma, particularly when she seemed down already, but he had to tell Emma the bad news about Malvagio.

Best to get it over with.

He climbed onto the bed and joined his wife where she was reading.

“Sweetheart, have I told you how much I love you?” he started out, smoothing his hand across her belly.

She graced him with a short smile but continued reading. He hesitated. Maybe he ought to wait and tell her.

The news wasn’t likely to improve her mood. He knew of a sure-fire way to perk her up. He began to pluck at her nightgown with the intent of seeking out her sweet pussy but she pushed him away with a small shake of her head.

Okay, what gives
? His greedy little wife never refused a little oral loving.

“What’s wrong?”

“I’m trying to read,” she answered but there was a sadness to her voice that immediately worried him.

“Are you sure? You seem like something is bothering you.”

“I’m fine.”

Uh oh. In his experience when a woman uttered those words, things were
anything
but fine. “Emma, look at me. Is everything okay? Is it the baby?” A flutter of fear followed his anxious question but her annoyed expression told him it wasn’t the baby. “All right then, what is it?”

She put her book down with annoyance. “I’m trying to read and you keep interrupting me.”

Vince accepted her huffy answer and rolled away, still bothered but she was definitely being a prickly pear.

Had he done something wrong?

He racked his brain for anything that he might’ve inadvertently done to upset his woman.

Did she already know about Malvagio? How? He cast a confused look her way but she was oblivious to his concern. “That must be some pretty good book,” he noted with forced cheer. “I don’t think you’ve ever pushed me away like that. I must be losing my touch.”

“I don’t have the energy to deal with any male ego right now,” she said without an ounce of sympathy. “I really just want to finish this chapter and then go to bed.”

Should he push the issue? Or just let it lie? Maybe he ought to tell her his news since her mood wasn’t likely to get any better. Well, that was chicken shit.

Yeah, well, he had to call it as he saw it. “Are you hungry? Need anything? Chocolate? Strawberries? The blood of your enemies?”

At that she cracked a reluctant smile and she put down her book for a minute. “I’m sorry. I’m in a terrible mood.”

No argument there. “What can I do to help?”

“Nothing.”

“Impossible. There has to be something I can do to help you get through whatever you’re feeling.”

She shook her head, growing frustrated. “Vince! Maybe it’s not about you. Maybe it’s about me and I want you to just stop pestering me about it.”

“Okay, calm down, tiger. I just want to help.”

“I don’t want your help. I want…” she stopped, seaming her lips together before uttering a small growl and returning to her book. “Just leave me alone for a little while. I’ll be fine.”

There was that word again.
Fine
.

He was out of his element. He needed reinforcements. “I hear you loud and clear. Enjoy your book, sweetheart,” he said, risking a quick peck on her forehead. “I’m just going to go downstairs for a bit. Ring me if you need anything.”

All he got in response was a subtle head nod. That’d better be the world’s most amazing book or else his pretty, preggo wife was totally lying.

Because she didn’t seem
fine
at all.

 

Bookmark: 6

 

-6-

 

Vince bounded down the stairs and found Nolan in the study, which was perfect because Vince might’ve pulled him out of bed for this.

He poured a brandy and downed it, needing something to calm him. “I’ve got a situation and I’m trying not to overreact but I might’ve already done that so I need you to talk me down from the ledge.”

BOOK: The Billionaire's Sweet Surprise
10.39Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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