The Billionaire Bachelor

By: Jessica Lemmon

She’d fit into Reese’s world—into his plan—seamlessly. At the mention of package, he pictured her again. She’d been a study in opposites: stylish in understated matching jewelry, high-end name-brand shoes and clothing, yet she’d been borderline unhinged. Soaked to the bone and in complete disarray.

Her honeyed blond hair had begun to dry—the ends curling against her shoulders, while her silk shirt was plastered to her body, her breasts in particular, nipples erect and staring him in the face. But her fantastic tits didn’t have his undivided attention. Through her shirt, he’d been able to see the outline and a dab of color on what appeared to be a tattoo.

A tattoo.

It’d taken Herculean willpower to return his gaze to her strongly arched brows and frowning full lips. And even more willpower to keep his mind from wondering what bit of ink she’d permanently etched onto her skin. A butterfly? A teddy bear? A pair of hearts? Merina was a beautiful woman. Seeing her disheveled and learning that under her prim-and-proper exterior there lived a wild woman was…fascinating.

It’d been a long time since anyone had fascinated him.

“You. Settled?” One of Tag’s eyebrows climbed his forehead. “With Merina Van Heusen?”

“That’s the gist.” Reese nodded.

“How? She has to hate you for trying to disassemble the VH.”

“A minor setback.”

Tag laughed so hard, he nearly toppled off his chair. By the time he righted himself, he was swiping moisture from his eyes and shaking his head. “Good luck with that, brother.”

Reese felt his mouth tug at the corners. He saw no other way. This would have to work.

“Merina sounds like the perfect option,” Alex interjected, and Reese breathed a sigh of relief. His father, his hero. If Alex saw this working, it would. They shared a brain for business, for negotiating. “She’ll do anything to keep her family’s legacy intact. And she’s tough enough to handle the press.”

“No kidding.” Reese grunted. In the short time he’d seen her, she’d barreled into his office unannounced, given his dinner date from last week an icy glare, and called him a suited sewer rat. Plus—

“She used the term horseshit,” Reese said, drawing the attention of the other men. “Who says that?” As he asked that question, he felt the corner of his mouth lift in amusement. When she said the word shit, her upper lip canted to one side, just a tad. Thanks to the rain that had washed away some of her makeup he’d noticed there was a tiny pale freckle at the corner of her mouth.


“Merina is tough, but also soft,” he said, dragging his thoughts back on course. “She dresses like a lady, handles herself like a woman, and doesn’t allow anyone to boss her around.”

“Including you,” Alex added. “But if you have her cooperation, sounds like she could smooth out your rough edges in the public eye.”

“Agree to what? What are we talking about here?” Tag, who was grinning in confusion, shook his head. “You going to demand she date you?”

“I’m going to ask her to marry me,” Reese stated, and his brother’s smile erased.

Alex smiled proudly. “Brilliant.”

“For six months,” Reese said. “An agreement that will end as soon as I’ve established my CEO status. Then we can quietly divorce, and I’ll sign over the Van Heusen.”

Jaw ajar, Tag looked from his father to his brother. “You’re both insane.”

“I’m desperate,” Reese said. It was the truth. “If I don’t convince the board to give me Dad’s position, they will appoint a CEO outside of this family.”

“That can’t happen.” Tag looked appropriately upset. None of them wanted anyone other than a family member running Crane Hotels.

“No,” Reese agreed. “It can’t.”

Alex was retiring in six months. He wouldn’t put off his retirement, a move that Reese supported a million percent. His father wouldn’t let the board bully him. “Start showing weakness, Reese,” he’d said, “and they’ll pick at your carcass the rest of your reign. We need them. But they need us more. We just have to make them see it.”

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