The Billionaire's Forbidden Desire

By: Nadia Lee

She nodded before she could catch herself.

“Figures.” He chuckled.

There was something bleak in his laugh. Nothing about him indicated he was a bum or an alcoholic. The watch on his wrist was fairly new and expensive, and there was a vitality to him that said he didn’t indulge in vices that could hurt his health. So what could make somebody like him drink so early?

Probably something as bad as what she was going through.

His belly growled, dragging her attention back to the present.

“When was the last time you ate?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Don’t remember. It’s not important.”

Not important? Hunger was a nasty companion, always gnawing at your gut. She knew because she’d been hungry for years in order to keep her weight down. She ate better during the off-season, but even then she’d never allowed herself to really cut loose. “Can you make it back to your hotel?”

His eyes swept around their surroundings. “Probably.”

She worried her lower lip. “Want to have dinner at my place?” She almost smacked herself as soon as she asked. It wasn’t like her to be so impulsive, especially with men she didn’t know very well.


That wasn’t the response she’d expected. “On what?”

“On whether you’re going to serve rabbit food.”

She choked back a laugh. The stuff she generally ate would probably be considered rabbit food by this man’s standards. But why should she continue to live on salads? Her competitive career was officially over. She didn’t have to diet anymore.

“No,” she said, making up her mind. “No rabbit food.” She could do whatever she wanted.

“Well then.” His dimple showed again. “I’ll take you up on it.”

She nodded, picking up her shoes. “I’m Sophia.”


Chapter Three

They walked to the vacation rental in silence. He didn’t try to touch her or stay too close to her, although her whole body was sizzling with electric excitement.

She wasn’t sure why she was so hyperaware of him. Was it because he didn’t treat her like she was made of eggshells? Everyone, including Chad, tiptoed around her. It was actually nice to be with a person who didn’t know her history and treated her normally.

Like she wasn’t damaged.

It didn’t take long before they reached the rental house. It was a two-story structure with panorama windows and yawning decks that faced the beach. The modern design showed off its clean and minimalist lines.

Dane stopped in front of the door. “You sure about this?”

“What do you mean?”

“What if I’m a serial killer?”

She laughed. “I’ll take my chances.”

Right on cue, the glass door to the house opened. Chad stood at the threshold, glaring at both of them. The muscles in his arms bulged as he crossed them.

Dane let out a low whistle. “I take back my previous assessment. You’re not dumb.”

Chad eyed him. “What the heck is this thing?”

She rolled her eyes. “He is a person, not a ‘thing.’ We met on the beach. He helped me, so don’t be mad.”

“Helped you with what?”

“She was jumping and spinning and almost fell,” Dane said before she could give Chad some made-up story.

Chad’s face softened. “Aw, Sophia.”

“I was just having fun, running around in the sand, and lost my balance. It’s nice out here,” she said quickly. He’d seen her do her vertical leaps, and she didn’t want him to feel sorry for her. She was sick of people feeling sorry for her.

Dane’s gaze bored into her. Her mouth dried, but thankfully he didn’t contradict her, and she let herself relax as much as she could. Inside she felt like someone had tightened a corset around her lungs, and she didn’t know why except that it had something to do with Dane.

Sighing, Chad moved aside to let them in.

She walked past him, not meeting his eyes. He worried about her—he’d been more like a parent than her real father and mother, who’d never had the time.

He was the one who’d taken her to every practice, every competition, every training session since she’d started skating. He was the one who’d sat by the rink, brought her tissues and water, and did all the things skating moms did for their daughters. Plus he’d scared the crap out of would-be stalkers with his flat stare, even though that hadn’t discouraged every creep. Some had perversely considered it a challenge, an opportunity to prove their dedication to her…although none had ever tried twice.

“Dane will be joining me for dinner,” Sophia said.

Top Books