Her first billionaire, p.1
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       Her First Billionaire, p.1

         Part #1 of Her Billionaires series by Julia Kent
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Her First Billionaire
Page 1

  “Hot, luscious piece of ass who can suck a golf ball through forty feet of garden hose seeks rippling-ab’d firefighter who has a tongue that thrums like a hummingbird and enjoys painting my toenails and eating Ben & Jerry’s out of the carton while watching Mad Men. ”

  Laura Michaels stared at the online dating site’s registration screen and frowned. That’s what she really wanted to write. Here was the truth:

  “Needy, insecure, overweight twenty-six year old Business Analyst with three cats, a corporate job with pension and no debt seeks Mr. Impossible for way more than friendship and lots of ice cream. I’m desperate for some physical affection and oral sex with a guy who doesn’t view it as some sort of favor he’s granting me, and then expects to be praised like he cleaned my toilet. One night stands are better than nothing as long as you brush your teeth. Call me!”

  Her best friend, Josie Mendham, punched her in the bicep. “You can’t say either of those!” Josie was Laura’s opposite. Where Laura was 5‘6”, Josie was barely tall enough to ride roller coasters. Remove the 1 from Laura’s size and you still had to go down to 2 to get Josie’s. Where Laura had long, curly blonde hair and bright green eyes, Josie was chocolate all around. “Mutt and Jeff” her mom had called them, and they’d been besties since eighth grade.

  Which meant Josie knew Laura too well. “You are going to do this, damn it,” she said, wagging a finger in front of Laura’s face. “No trying to be perfect. Perfect is the enemy of good enough. ”

  “I haven’t even found Mr. Good Enough!”

  “That’s because the hundreds of Mr. Good Enoughs have walked past you, Laura, and you’re blind to them. ” Josie nudged Laura aside and started typing, her long nails burning up the keyboard. How did she do that? Typing on the pads of her fingers seemed impossible, but Josie did it, keeping her manicure intact, little replicas of the famous grey necktie from Fifty Shades of Grey on each nail.

  The two had been out at a club the night before and Josie spent the night, waking up chipper and springing this online dating thing on Laura before she’d even had her first cup of coffee. As the machine gurgled and burbled, Laura willed it to hurry. Weighing out her entire dating future in a half-zombie state was not good.

  Laura knew she had to lie, but how much was acceptable? Could she shave off a few sizes, or would she need to hack off an imaginary arm and leg to make herself seem “fit” and “athletic”? The drop-down box with its built in descriptors seemed like judgmental torment. No choices were there for “zaftig” or “juicy” or “full figure. ”

  Being a size 18 with size F breasts wasn’t a crime, she knew; in real life she was fashionable and flowing, plump and pleasing, and could arm wrestle most guys into submission, but reducing her accomplishments, personality and, yes, body into a vocabulary designed by some Internet start-up team of nineteen-year-old dropouts from Stanford and Carnegie Mellon made her irrationally angry.

  No – rationally angry.

  Seeing little choice, she pointed to the boxes on the screen and told Josie, “Pick the word ‘fit. ’ I can deadlift 105 pounds. Which is,” she eyed Josie, “more than you weigh. ”

  Josie pointedly ignored her, biting her lower lip and deep in concentration. “Voila!” she shouted, her hands spread wide in a grandiose gesture. “There’s your ad. ”

  She announced:

  “Luscious, curvy Business Analyst seeks friendship and more. Financially independent and self-assured, I’m a fit woman who wants a man (or, more than one! YOLO!) for stimulating conversation…er, yeah. Conversation. Message me (or massage me!). ”

  “I can’t write that!” Laura groaned. “It makes me look like I want an orgy!” She squinted at the screen. “And what the hell is ‘YOLO’?”

  “Who doesn’t want an orgy?” Josie wiggled her eyebrows lasciviously and stuck out her tongue, waggling it like she was performing a very bad imitation of oral sex. “And YOLO stands for ‘you only live once. ’”

  “Cut it out. You’re turning me on. It’s been that long since I got some ass, and the last guy used his tongue like he was a Roto Rooter man. Like that. ” She pointed at Josie’s tongue and bent over, laughing.

  And then Josie, with a flourish, pressed the “Submit” button. “Thank you for joining – your profile is now live!” the screen read.

  “Oh, shit, Josie, did you just do that?” Laura sputtered, spilling creamy coffee all over her sleeve as she grabbed the mouse. “Fuck!”

  “What?” Josie batted her eyelashes. “Live a little. See who replies!” She grabbed her heavy, over-full Vera Bradley purse that they had discovered at a local thrift shop for $3. 99 and fingered her car keys. “Gotta go, Laura. And don’t you dare delete that. ”

  Laura laughed. “You know me too well. ”

  “No shit,” Josie muttered. Her face turned serious. “Really, Laura. You need to get out there. Some guy is being deprived of your awesomeness. And besides, your budget needs the break. ”

  “My budget?”

  “Yeah. What are you spending in batteries for Bob?”

  Confused, Laura shook her head. It was like Josie spoke a foreign language sometimes. “Huh?”

  “Your battery-operated boyfriend. You know – BOB. ” And with that she snickered, running for the door as Laura threw a section of a fashion magazine at her. Josie’s evil laughter filled the apartment as she ran down the hallway, the sound fading once she hit the stairwell. “Have a good day at work!” she hollered from the street.

  The coffee machine gave its death-rattle gasp that signaled the pot was done, and Laura went to drink it greedily, needing sustenance to kick her brain into gear. Enough caffeine and she could date anyone. Hmm, maybe she should do a search for baristas on that site. Free lattes would be a nice perk.

  Dylan Stanwyck couldn’t quite believe what he saw when he logged into the online dating site. Four months of weeding through so many crappy profiles had jaded him. Finding the right woman would be like coming across the proverbial needle in a haystack, but in this case he didn’t want to face any pricks.

  And yes, women could be pricks. So far he had been inundated with requests to chat, and he knew exactly why. Being a firefighter who competed in weightlifting competitions for fun, along with the occasional mini triathlon, made his pictures look quite nice. The problem with the women who were responding to him was that they were also the type to be drawn to appearances only. It seemed so shallow of him to think it, but sometimes being built the way he was could be a curse.

  Curse of the Jersey Shore chicks. Because that was the type who seemed to seek him out, like moths to a flame. A trashy, Snooki-like flame of ho-dom. When he would meet up with these women he found himself in some alternate universe, where they licked their lips and offered themselves up in the alley behind the nice tapas restaurant where he liked to take women. A few goat cheese stuffed dates and pitchers of sangria later and he was being humped up against a slimy brick wall next to the trash cans.

  And when he turned them down…he still had scars from one woman’s long, overdone nails raking his neck as she screeched, “You don’t know me!” over and over, requiring police assistance as passersby gawked, took pictures they probably uploaded to Reddit, and mercifully called 911 on his behalf.

  So when this new profile for Laura appeared, he peered at the description and leaned back in his chair, taking a deep breath. Cute. But not too cute. A little sassy. He liked sassy. He ran a hand through his thick, wavy hair. Time to get a haircut, dude. You look like a survivalist. And smell like one, too, he thought as he studied her picture and caught a whiff of himself. His morning run was done, 3. 8 miles logged on his online fitness program, and he reeked.

/>   She looked like a 1940s pin up girl. A little plumper, with soft curves to her shoulders, a fuzzy, lime-green sweater accentuating her breasts. Her jaw line seemed firm and gentle all at once, and what appeared to be naturally-blonde hair was swept up off her face in a pony tail. His mom would call her a “corn-fed farm girl” and those lips – lush and grinning a half smile that seemed to say “Kiss me, Dylan. ”

  Smart, too. A business analyst? Sounded suitably bland and yet signaled she was smart enough to carry her own in a conversation about something other than Kim Kardashian or Fifty Shades of Grey (really – why? Why had every date for the past two months mentioned it?). A real woman. What a refreshing change.

  So he continued reading:

  “Luscious, curvy Business Analyst seeks friendship and more. Financially independent and self-assured, I’m a fit woman who wants a man (or, more than one! YOLO!) for stimulating conversation…er, yeah. Conversation. Message me (or massage me!). ”

  Something fierce and hot inside him came to life. From that description it sounded like she…seriously? No way.

  “Mike! Hey, Mike! Get in here!” If there were a chance – any chance at all, here, then he had to act fast. Someone this amazing was about to get inundated by messages from needy weirdos.

  And he needed to be the first.

  His roommate wandered in. Where Dylan was all muscle and brawn, Mike Pine was tall and sleek, a marathoner’s body of long, lean tissue. Dylan’s dark, Italian, thick looks made him popular with women, but Mike was the golden boy, with blonde hair and blue eyes, the long distance runner with a soft heart, the guy women turned to and poured their hearts out, Mr. Sensitive to Dylan’s Mr. Conquest.

  Dylan tapped the screen. “Take a look at her. ” He smiled smugly as Mike’s eyes raced across the screen. They’d been waiting for a long time. Too long. His roommate’s expression told him everything he needed to know. Score! It might finally be time.

  “Do you really think that’s some sort of code for being up for a threesome?” Mike asked, eyebrows arched. “I don’t know, Dyl…I think it’s just some sort of joke she’s making. You know how nervous and weird people can be when they try to distill their entire life into a few sentences. ”

  Dylan chewed on the inside of his cheek. Bad habit. “Good point. Well, even if she isn’t into a nice menage arrangement, she is one fine woman. ” A low whistle escaped from his lips. “I have a project on my hands now, don’t I?”

  Mike nodded, peering at the screen, eyes lingering. “You are going to have a lot of competition. ”

  Dylan snorted. “Like I give a fuck. May the best man win. ”

  Mike went silent, then grinned, his fresh-faced boy-next-door look morphing into a Wall Street trader’s predatory smile that made Dylan suddenly uncomfortable for no reason he could pinpoint. “Yeah. I hope he does. ”

  Ding! The little chat box on the online dating site lit up like a Christmas tree. Laura sucked the last mouthful of her coffee and gaped at the screen. You have got to be kidding me, Laura thought. Already? She clicked and read a message from “9inluvr”:

  Hey, babe. I live in the city and so do you, so let’s hook up for some FWB action.

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