The Billionaire's Forbidden Desire

By: Nadia Lee

“Let it go.”


She dragged in air, the sound loud and shuddery. “I know you think about Paris. Stop it. Get rid of that damn Lamborghini. That whole thing is in the past, and we took care of it.”

Dane almost froze.

The incident didn’t plague him the way it used to, but he still thought of it from time to time. It had been his fault—he’d caused the crash due to carelessness. He’d never told anybody how he’d felt, not even his best friend. Still, he should’ve guessed Shirley would know. She seemed to know everything about him.

“Not your fault…just bad luck. Five million dollars is more than enough to make up for it.”

Dane recoiled, his heart thudding. He’d never asked the lawyers how much the accident had cost. Money had never been an object in his family, but five million? What the hell could have happened to the other party? The family lawyers were ruthless, and would never have allowed that kind of payout unless there was no other way to reduce the damage.

Shirley squeezed his hand again. This time, her grip was so feeble he could barely breathe. “You’re the best thing that’s happened to this family. Don’t ever forget it.”

She was the only one who thought that, his stern but loving grandmother. Everyone else in his family probably wished he’d never been born. He knew his parents did.

She let out a soft sigh, her grip loosening. And then Shirley Pryce was no more.

Dane swallowed hard, his eyes burning with unshed tears.

Intellectually he knew Shirley was old and had lived a full life, but emotionally…

He looked around. If he hadn’t made it in time, she would’ve died alone.

He fell to his knees and pressed his forehead against her papery knuckles. If he stayed like this she might just reach over and caress his head, tell him everything was going to be fine the way she’d done so many times when he’d been a child.


A soft touch on his shoulder startled him. He blinked.

“Sir, are you all right?” the nurse asked again.

“I’m fine,” he answered automatically. His legs felt rubbery, but he stood up anyway.

The grandson that Shirley Pryce had been so proud of would never show vulnerability to another.

His family dutifully showed up at the funeral, even though the weather sucked—skies the color of granite and rain, the bane of all Californians. Stoic and serious in their black suits and dresses, they stood under umbrellas in the drizzle like so many mushrooms.

Dane curled his lip at how ridiculous they sounded as they read scripted eulogies. His mother even held a pristine silk handkerchief in her perfectly manicured hand…as though she were actually planning to cry at some point.

When it was his turn, he got behind the microphone and looked at the small crowd for a few moments. Then he said, “Shirley Price had more balls than all of you put together, and I can never hope to meet the high expectations she set for me.”

Gasps could be heard over the rain. His mother turned pale with embarrassment. She was always embarrassed about him for not being the kind of son she’d needed to keep his father from straying.

When the funeral ended, a few sycophants came over to say a few words of faux condolence. But not one of them had felt anything for Shirley. How dare they show their faces?

“You know I’m here for you,” one of them said.

It was all he could do to not spit on the man. “Fuck off,” he snarled.

Dane spun on his heel and walked away fast, away from the farce before he did something he might regret later. He dug his phone out of his pocket and dialed his office.

“Cancel all my appointments for the next three weeks.”

There was an infinitesimal pause. “Understood,” his assistant said. “Where can—”

He hung up and turned off the phone. He was finished.

Chapter Two

Sophia Reed drew warm, salty air into her lungs. The pristine beach called out to her, its waves gentle and edged with light white foam.

Still, the knot in her chest wouldn’t ease.

“You okay, champ?” came a low, gruff male voice.

She forced a smile. “Fine, Chad. I’m just enjoying being here again. It’s nice to escape the cold.” Mexico was where she’d come to recuperate after the accident a few years before. “Why don’t you go on ahead? I know you’re tired from the flight. I’ll take a short walk and then head back.”

Her bodyguard-slash-chaperone looked around, brows furrowing. Sunlight reflected off his head, which was as dark and as shiny as a bowling ball. “You shouldn’t be out here alone.”

“You think my stalkers are hiding behind there,”—she gestured at a nearby palm tree—“waiting to pounce?” She’d been having stalker issues for years. “I doubt they’re still interested now that I’m too…” She waved a hand, unwilling to say the rest—too damaged to be in the spotlight.

Top Books