Tempting the Billionaire

By: Jessica Lemmon



For my husband, John, who has always believed in me and my abilities. You are a shining example of a hero. You’re right, babe, this is “our” book. I love you.





Acknowledgments




Thanks to God, who knows my heart and has seen fit to “throw open the floodgates” on my behalf. You are truly awesome!

Thanks to:

My agent, Nicole Resciniti, for believing in me and working so hard to help my dream become a reality!

My editor, Lauren Plude, your love for this book is humbling. Thank you for championing me and for taking a chance on me. Who knew I could edit at lightning speed?!

Everyone at Grand Central who had a role in publishing this book, thank you for your hard work.

My critique partners: Jeannie Moon who offered helpful fashion advice for Shane such as “Black is for undertakers,” and “Lime green? Really?” And for suggesting the electric wine opener—it led to a great scene. Michele Shaw, for staying up waaaay past your bedtime to read for me. I still owe you a few dollars for the clichés.

Best friend extraordinaire by day, highly fashionable beta reader by night, Niki Hughes, you ROCK! KnowhatImean?

“Daddio” Terry Long—seeing you proud makes me proud…I make no promises on the yacht.

Mom (Melodie) and Ted Brewer—for supporting me in all I do…sometimes, quite literally. ;)

Fellow writers at the OVRWA, for never being short on advice and support. And a special shout-out to Melissa Landers for helping me with that darn query letter!

Fellow leaders, consultants, and customers I met while in PartyLite—without each and every one of you, I wouldn’t be who I am today. Thank you.

Friends and family, online and off, for your constant cheerleading. There have been a million tiny moments, a thousand kind words, hundreds of retweets and “likes,” and all of them are stored in my heart.

My husband, John, who is awesome enough to get mentioned both here and in the dedication. You not only stood by me while I chased my dream but celebrated it as if it was your own. Here’s to many, many more celebrations and life-changing moments together.

Last, thanks to you, dear reader, for taking a chance on a new author. The idea of my book being published started out as a very big, very faraway dream. That journey officially started in 2010, and now you’re holding that dream in your hands. May Shane and Crickitt find a permanent spot in your hearts, and on your “keeper” shelves!





Chapter 1



Oscillating red, green, and blue lights sliced through the smoke-filled club. Men and women cluttered the floor, their arms pumping in time with the throbbing speakers as an unseen fog machine muddied the air.

Shane August resisted the urge to press his fingertips into his eyelids and stave off the headache that’d begun forming there an hour ago.

Tonight marked the end of a grueling six-day workweek, one he would have preferred to end in his home gym, or in the company of a glass of red wine. He frowned at the bottle of light beer in his hand. Six dollars. That was fifty cents an ounce.

The sound of laughter pulled his attention from the overpriced brew, and he found a pair of girls sidling by his table. They offered twin grins and waved in tandem, hips swaying as they strode by.

“Damn,” Aiden muttered over his shoulder. “I should have worn a suit.”

Shane angled a glance at his cousin’s T-shirt and jeans. “Do you even own a suit?”

“Shut up.”

Shane suppressed a budding smile and tipped his beer bottle to his lips. It was Aiden who dragged him here tonight. Shane could give him a hard time, but Aiden was here to forget about his ex-wife, and she’d given him a hard enough time for both of them.

“This is where you’re making your foray into the dating world?” Shane asked, glancing around the room at the bevy of flesh peeking out from the bottom of skintight skirts and shorts.

“Seemed like a good place to pick up chicks,” Aiden answered with a roll of one shoulder.

Shane tamped down another smile. Aiden was recently divorced, though “finally” might be a better term. Two years of wedded bliss had been anything but, thanks to Harmony’s wandering eye. Shane couldn’t blame Aiden for exercising a bit of freedom. God knows, if Shane were in his shoes, he’d have bailed a long time ago. This time when Harmony left, she’d followed her sucker punch with a TKO: the man she left Aiden for was his now former best friend. At first Aiden had been withdrawn, then angry. Tonight he appeared to be masking his emotions beneath a cloak of overconfidence.

“Right,” Shane muttered. “Chicks.”

“Well, excuse me, Mr. Moneybags.” Aiden leaned one arm on the high-top table and faced him. “Women may throw themselves at you like live grenades, but the rest of us commoners have to come out to the trenches and hunt.”

Shane gave him a dubious look, in part for the sloppily mixed metaphor, but mostly because dodging incoming women didn’t exactly describe his lackluster love life. If he’d learned anything from his last girlfriend, it was how to spot a girl who wanted to take a dip in his cash pool.

He’d only had himself to blame, he supposed. He was accustomed to solving problems with money. Problem-free living just happened to be at the top of his priority list. Unfortunately, relationships didn’t file away neatly into manila folders, weren’t able to be delegated in afternoon conference meetings. Relationships were complicated, messy. Time consuming.