The Billionaire's Secret Wife

By: Nadia Lee

There’s probably another flight leaving for L.A. soon. O’Hare was a huge airport. If not, she’d just check into a hotel and catch the first flight out.

A few moments later, the cabin door swung open and three men in uniform entered. TSA or ICE, she thought, her tired eyes bleary and unable to focus. She should sleep and eat better, but she hadn’t been able to do either since November.

They came down the aisle and stopped at her seat. “Vanessa Pryce?” one of them asked.


“Would you mind coming with us?”

That had an instantly sobering effect. “What’s this about?”

“We can’t say.”

She narrowed her eyes. “Won’t say” would be more precise. The men’s expressions showed zero emotion, nothing she could use to figure out what was going on.

“Can I bring my purse and laptop bag?” she asked.

“Yes, of course.” They stepped back.

She pulled out her bag, her mouth set in a tight line. Curious stares from other passengers burned her like a brand, and she suppressed a sigh. The one time she flew on impulse, and this was what happened. She pushed down her irritation and embarrassment. It was probably a mix-up. They were probably looking for another Vanessa Pryce, one who was probably some sort of dangerous fugitive.

The men escorted her all the way through the concourse. Many people didn’t even pretend to look away. Why should they? It wasn’t every day you got to watch a woman get dragged away by a team of uniformed government men.

“Do I get a phone call?” she asked finally.

“You can call whoever you like.”

There was no one else to call except Rosenbaum, McCraken, Wagner and Associates. They were her family’s lawyers, and they’d know what to do. She didn’t feel comfortable representing herself, especially not while she was drunk and tired.

They led her to the other side of the security line. She was getting her phone out when they said, “Have a nice evening.”

She turned back toward them. “Wait. Aren’t I under arrest?”

One of them cracked a small smile. “What gave you that idea?”

She raised both of her eyebrows. They had to be kidding. All that humiliating display for this? “Can I have your names?” She’d sic the family lawyers on them.


She stilled at the familiar voice, then turned, the three men forgotten. Justin watched her, his eyes hooded. A long black coat covered his lean body, and his mouth was set in a tight line, not a hint of softness or welcome in his expression. It made her feel small and uncertain. Why had she thought it would be such a great idea to fly out to Chicago? It would’ve been better if she’d stayed in L.A. and gotten drunk with her friends instead.

Except she didn’t want to talk about her parents with anybody in L.A.

“What are you doing here?” Vanessa asked. “You aren’t…” She stopped, taking a quick glance around the arrival lounge. No one in Justin’s family flew commercial. The Sterlings had more money than they could spend in ten lifetimes.

“I’m here to pick you up.”

Then it hit her; he was the one who’d sent those men. She waited for anger to surge, but instead resignation pooled in her belly. He’d made it clear how furious he was with her. “You’re dead to me” was pretty final.

Now his gaze was raking over her. “If you were going to come to Chicago, you could’ve at least dressed for the weather.”

“Oh.” She looked down at her dark navy skirt suit and open-toe stilettos, perfect for February in L.A.

“Do you have anything warm in your luggage?”

She shook her head. “I didn’t really, you know. Pack.”

The muscles in his jaw bunched, but he came over and draped his own coat around her. It was toasty and smelled of winter and chocolate and Justin. In his Italian suit, Justin’s shoulders looked so wide and comforting. Before she could get a hold of herself, tears sprang to her eyes, and she blurted, “My parents are divorcing.”

Something shifted in his expression, and she could swear she’d glimpsed a hint of softness underneath the hard mask. And it only made her want to cry harder because he’d been such an amazing friend and support to her, and she’d pushed him away.

“I’m sorry.” She wiped the tears. “I shouldn’t have come.”

There was a long, agonizing moment, and she wondered which way it was going to go. “No, it’s okay,” he finally said. “We can talk in my car.”

“Where are we goi—?”

“Where else? To my place.”

Chapter Two

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