The billionaires obsessi.., p.8
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       The Billionaire's Obsession, p.8
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         Part #1 of An Heir At Any Price series by Holly Rayner
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  AIDEN

  I got home from the office late the second day that Holly was living with me to find multiple boxes of Chinese food, enough to feed an entire family sitting on the dining room table with a note that said:

  “I hope you had a nice day. I didn’t know what you liked so I ordered a variety. Sleep well, Holly.”

  I smiled, because it was sweet, but I also had to grimace. Was I making a mistake with this naïve young lady? She’s only been here two days and it already seems as if she’s treating this as some kind of domestic partnership. Were my intentions so incredibly selfish that I failed to consider the emotional ramifications that this would have on her? I understood clearly that this was a business deal, and she said that she did, but did she really? A lot of women would be happy to do this for a large sum of cash and walk away. Holly didn’t seem like that type and ironically that was one of the reasons I picked her. I liked that although she seemed to be struggling and I knew she was taking care of her alcoholic mother, she didn’t seem overly attached to the money or the luxury that she suddenly found herself surrounded by. She still refused to let the driver run her around town and instead took a cab everywhere she went. She cooked and she cleaned up her mess. She made her own bed. To me, those were astounding qualities in a woman who was suddenly and completely relieved of the responsibility of doing any of that.

  I can tell when we’re having sex that to her it is more than just the act of conception. She looks at me with real emotion in her eyes and sometimes my guilt runs so deep that I can’t look back. The sex is phenomenal, the best that I’ve ever had…and I’ve had more than a few. Afterwards, she always snuggles into me, and damn it feels good but I wait for her to go to sleep and then I go back to my own room. Spending all of our nights together would add to her confusion. I don’t want to lead her on, that’s why I’d put everything into the contract and made sure that she understood all of it before we agreed to any of this.

  I went down the hall to her room. The door was left open a crack so I peeked inside. I could see her in the moonlight and the lights of the city coming in through her windows. She was lying on top of the bed with her long hair fanned out around her. She was wearing a night shirt that came to her knees and I could see the gentle rise and fall of her chest. I felt something stirring in my stomach; it was more than just desire…I ignored it. I’d had those feelings before, once. I’d acted on them and given away my whole heart, only to have it trampled and broken. I wouldn’t go through that again, for anyone. I wasn’t looking for a permanent hookup or even a long-term lover. The last thing I want now or likely ever again in my life is a permanent hook up with someone. I don’t want to give someone that much power and control over me…ever again, and most especially, I don’t want anyone to have the power to walk away with my child.

  I had spent a significant amount of time searching for the right woman. She had to be beautiful, intelligent, kind and of course, healthy. When I first saw Holly I was instantly aroused by her beauty and I hoped that she fit all of the other bills. I sat in that café for two months, finding out what I could, but the selection of my child’s biology required more than I could learn about her in an hour or two at the café. So of course, I had an extensive background check done on her. That was how I found out that she’d turned down several offers to colleges because of her high GPA in high school. That seemed curious so I delved deeper and found out about her mother’s alcoholism and how many times dear Holly had to bail her out over the years. Holly seemed to drink very little, have sex only when in a relationship, and only visited the doctor once yearly presumably for an annual check-up. I hadn’t cared about her mother’s problems once I had all of the facts.

  The fact that I was extremely attracted to her was going to help as well. She was not only gorgeous, but something about her just drew me in to the point of where I just had to have her. Even if she had said no to the proposition I would have still tried to bed her. I’m so glad she said yes, and that she wanted to try and conceive the old fashioned way. It’s exciting to me to know each time we could be creating life…my child’s life, not to mention how fabulous the sex is.

  I’ve done my best other than the sex to keep this relationship strictly business. I hope I’ve succeeded. I try to view her as just another of my thousands of employees. She has the most important job of course, so I want to reward her handsomely. I need to remember when I’m feeling overwhelmed with emotion, if we’re not fucking…to get the hell out of there.

  HOLLY

  I had just gotten a clean bill of health from my new doctor, but was unsurprisingly told that the pregnancy test was negative. It had only been three weeks, so neither Aiden nor I had even considered it a possibility yet. The good news was that he and I had fallen into a rhythm. We had a familiar routine that had begun one morning not long after the night I’d gone to bed without him and he’d stood at my door and stared at me for the longest time, watching me sleep. I hadn’t been asleep, I’d known he was there, but I’d made up my mind that any moves beyond the stipulations of our contract would be up to him from now on. I had emotions running rampant through my heart and my brain. It was likely if I acted on them, other than late at night when we were both in the throes of passion, that I would regret it. So I’d forced myself to pretend like this was only a job and that I was fine with it only being temporary.

  I think Aiden had noticed my retreat and I don’t know if it was due to emotions of his own, or a fear that I was going to give up and leave, but he’d begun being more attentive on his own. He wasn’t overly so, he didn’t whisper terms of endearment in my ear when we shared a meal or took a walk, but he started not leaving so early in the mornings, having coffee or breakfast with me on the terrace, sometimes having his driver bring me to different restaurants to meet him for lunch, and almost always making it home in time for dinner, or taking me out to eat.

  I was enjoying my new life. It was definitely the polar opposite of my old one. But the truth be told, I’d begun to feel so strongly about him that I’d gladly trade the luxuries for him to feel the same way about me. The fact that I still had so much time and he was beginning to open up and talk to me about things gave me hope.

  As I took my walk this morning I thought back on the conversation we’d had the night before. We were watching a documentary on the Discovery Channel about beaches and conservation and out of the blue he said, “I haven’t seen the beach or felt the sand since I was in high school.”

  I thought that was strange. He was obviously wealthy enough to go anywhere in the world that he wanted to. Didn’t wealthy people take regular vacations and wouldn’t some of those vacations inevitably land him on a beach or an island somewhere?

  “Why not?” I’d asked him.

  “Too busy with work,” he said.

  “Why do you work so hard?” I had asked him. “So many hours that you have no time for yourself?” Then without thinking about how it might sound I added, “When is enough money enough?”

  He looked at me with a hard expression. I was afraid that I’d made him angry. The silence was awkward and when he broke it he said, “When I was a kid, we lived like normal, middle-class people. My father worked on Wall Street and my mother was a stay-at-home mom. I had no idea what our financial status was really, but I would have never guessed rich. After my parents were killed, and I was staying with my aunt she told me that her father, who was also my mother’s father was a billionaire. She said that he had accounts set up for me all over the world, and that it was likely I was a multi-millionaire myself. I asked her why I never met him and why my parents never told me about the money. I guess when my mother and her sister were kids, my grandfather left them and his wife for an eighteen year old girl that he married and began a new family with. Out of his guilt, the girls and my grandmother were all given a large amount of money. My grandmother refused to touch hers so my mother and aunt did as well. They didn’t want anything from him since he’d been incapable of givi
ng them what they had needed the most before he’d walked out. My mother didn’t have any further contact with him, as far as I knew. She never talked about him in front of me anyways. My aunt says he never tried to contact them. It was as if he thought giving them money was sufficient to make them disappear. My mother died with all of her money in an account and it reverted to me. She and my father weren’t poor in their own right. I didn’t realize how wealthy I was for a long time. When I was 25, the rest of the accounts my grandfather secretly set up became mine too.”

  “So that’s what you used to start your business?”

  “No,” he said. “Like my mother, I didn’t want anything from that man. When she died, he didn’t even come to the funeral. He called me and said he was out of the country and wouldn’t be able to make it. That was the last time that I spoke to him. I tried to arrange for my attorney to return all of the money to him, but he refused it. I only used the money my parents left me to live on while I started my business on my own. That’s a big part of why I work so hard to keep it flourishing. It means something to me, not the money but the fact that I succeeded on my own. I also want the old man to know that I don’t want anything from him. I want that to be his last thought before he dies old and alone.”

  “Wow.” I hadn’t known what to say other than that. It helped explain a lot of his quirks like his emotional unavailability, his strong hold on his private issues and his fear of any kind of commitment. It also made me a little concerned about what his views on family bonds might be like.

  “Let’s go to the beach, Holly,” Aiden said, out of the blue.

  “Really?”

  “Yeah, really. How long has it been since you’ve gone to the beach?”

  “Quite a long time,” I admitted.

  “Then we both need to get away. I can only go for the day but let’s say we’ll leave around ten tomorrow and go out to the Jersey shore.”

  “That sounds great,” I told him, trying not to sound quite as excited as I felt.

  “I’d take you to my Island but we’d have to take a boat and it’s not really doable in a day.”

  I had to remind myself to close my mouth.

  “You have an Island?”

  “Yeah, it was a guilt present from the old man. He deeded it to me the day of her funeral. Another thing I wasn’t aware of until years later.”

  “A whole island?” I was having trouble wrapping my head around it. Who owns an entire island? I wondered if even Aiden knew how wealthy he actually was.

  ~

  Chapter Eleven

  ~

  So here I was getting ready for a trip to the Jersey shore with a man who owned an entire Island. It was somewhat surreal.

  “Are you ready?” he asked me around ten.

 

  “I’m ready,” I told him, still trying to contain my excitement. I hadn’t been on any kind of vacation since my father died over ten years ago. The thought of a simple trip to Jersey was thrilling to me.

  The driver took us to a place called Avalon. I had never been there of course, but I had also never heard of it. Aiden told me that King James I granted it as a Province in 1584 and that it was fishing and hunting area for those first two hundred and fifty years. In the 1800’s a developer had a vision to turn it into a resort destination. Since then it has become a tourist hotspot, but more of an upscale one than others that surround it.

  We were at a place called Seven Mile Beach. As soon as I stepped out of the car I could feel the cool ocean breeze against my face and taste the salty air on my tongue. The wind was blowing slightly and the waves were crashing in beautiful, serene arcs. We were surrounded by tall dunes and miles of pure, clean white sand. There was no commercial boardwalk and although the city of Avalon boasted a number of small boutique stores and several upscale restaurants, the beach was quiet and looked almost untouched. I could actually see whole seashells just lying out on the beach. I would have loved this place as a kid. I remember coming out with my father when I was little. We went to the boardwalk though and the seashells that hadn’t been crushed or picked over were few and far between.

  Aiden took my hand like we were lovers, or at least friends. I guess we were, in a way. We began to walk along the beach, stopping occasionally to look into a tide pool or to inspect an indigenous plant. I couldn’t remember when I’d ever felt so relaxed, and I knew that since I’d met Aiden I had never seen him so happy.

  AIDEN

  I don’t remember the last time I took the time to do something so relaxing. Maybe I never have. My ex-wife told me that was why she’d turned to my best friend. She said that I worked too much and made everything about business and money. She said that I didn’t know how to have fun and that’s what life was supposed to be about.

  I do remember that my life was fast paced while she and I were together, but I had taken time with the baby. I actually took a two week vacation when he was born and for the next two years…before she took him away from me, I made time to see him every day. I’m sure that if I had been given the chance, I would have continued to find time to spend with him, I could have learned a new way of life.

  But if I was being honest, she was right about me not taking time for her. I was under the assumption that she understood that I was doing what I needed to do for our family. She was an adult she should have been able to understand, right? I was creating a legacy that our son and his children and their children could live off of for generations. She didn’t understand though apparently. Instead, she hooked up with my best friend and had a baby she considered passing off as mine. Well, she did pass off as mine, at least long enough for her and her new man to save some money from the job I had given him. I still thought it was important to leave something for your family when you’re gone, I think never remarrying, and the contract that I have with Holly are my best bets. I will have my child and no one will be able to take him or her away.

  I stopped and sat on a rock while Holly explored, oohing and aahing at everything she saw. It was fun to look at things through her eyes. There was so much of life she had never experienced that it was almost like being with a child when she did. I slipped off my shoes and socks which was something else I hadn’t done before, at least not since I was a kid, and as I followed her along the sparkling white beach with the scent of the ocean in my nostrils, I realized that I liked it. The feel of the warm sand beneath my feet was somehow relaxing in itself. I looked at Holly, splashing barefoot along the edge of the blue-green ocean and I realized I liked her too, probably too much. But I understood that this was a business deal, a contracted arrangement. I was able to separate my emotions from my business. She looked at me then with one of her dazzling smiles and I found myself hoping that she truly understood it as well. Sometimes I was a little bit worried that she was getting too attached.

  “This beach is so pretty, and there’s hardly anyone else here. It’s like our own private island,” she said. Then, remembering what I’d told her earlier she added, “Oh not that having your own private island is anything new to you.”

  I laughed and said, “Well, it’s not like I’ve ever been there.”

  “Are you kidding? You have an island and you’ve never even seen it?”

  “I’ve seen photos,” I told her with a grin. “I don’t have time to be sitting around on an island. It’s pretty far out, not just a day trip.”

  “Well, it will be good anyways when you have your child. Imagine taking boating trips out to an island that your father owns and spending days exploring it. It makes me want to be a child again just thinking about it.”

  I did like the way she said, “Your child,” but I didn’t care for the fact that she was trying to tell me what I should or shouldn’t be doing with him or her.

  “I think having a child might decrease the amount of time I have to spend on an island, rather than increase it,” I said. That might not be the case, but I suddenly felt the need to make her understand that she wouldn’t have a sa
y in how the child was raised.

  She stopped walking and said, “Really? A vacation exploring with your child doesn’t appeal to you at all?”

  “He can explore, of course. I’ll send him with his staff.”

  “With his staff? Are you serious?” she laughed, but I could tell she wasn’t amused.

  “Of course, why wouldn’t I be? I’ll need a nanny and then when you throw in a driver and a cook…well, then it’s a full staff pretty much.”

  “But to say he’ll explore the world with his staff? Aiden you realize that children need their parents attention, right? Not just a pat on the head every now and again?”

  I felt the annoyance flare hotter. She really was trying to tell me how I should raise my child. The one that she was being paid very well to walk away from. It made me angry and I snapped at her, “You realize that you have no say-so on the subject, right? This will be my child, not yours and I will raise him as I see fit. I’d prefer that you kept your opinions on that subject to yourself.”

 
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