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Authors: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Her Tiger Billionaire

BOOK: Her Tiger Billionaire
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Published by Lizzie Lynn Lee. Copyright, Lizzie Lynn Lee. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author.

 

Lizzie Lynn Lee

http://ilizzie.com

 

Email

[email protected]

 

Editor

Chris Stout

 

Cover Artist

Lizzie Lynn Lee

 

This is a work of fiction. The characters, incidents and dialogues in this book are of the author’s imagination and are not to be construed as real. Any resemblance to actual events or persons, living or dead, is completely coincidental.

 

HER TIGER BILLIONAIRE

 

 

 

 

 

Stuck in a dead-end job and with a little brother who needs expensive medical care, pleasantly plump waitress
Annalise Conrad is at the end of her rope. Out of the blue, three men knock on her door and tell her that she has just inherited a great fortune. But the inheritance comes with a catch: Annalise must marry a man named Sven Torvik and stay married for a year, even if it’s just a
pro forma.

 

Ambitious, workaholic billionaire Sven Torvik is fulfilling a promise he made to his surrogate father Seymour Dune that he would take care of Dune’s estranged niece. The promise is that Sven will show her how to manage her wealth and Dune Industry. The method is unorthodox: Sven must marry her for a year in order to boost her credibility in front of the board of directors and to teach her everything she must know to run a multi-national company.

 

But when Sven sees Annalise—a cheery, innocent young woman with dangerous curves and alluring femininity, he can barely contains the beast within him. Sven immediately changes his mind. He’ll marry her for good, keeping her as his forever. Whether Annalise likes it or not…

 

 

One

 

 

Annalise
Conrad held the paper in front of her as if it was a ticking bomb ready to explode. The situation was surreal. And she wasn’t dreaming either. The document was a marriage registration. Once she signed it, her life would be dramatically changed. She would become the wife of Sven Torvik—the man who up until one hour earlier hadn’t existed in her life.

Sitting across her old kitchen table was Sven himself.
Annalise guessed he must have come from Russia or Northern Europe, where the sun was shy and the winter was brutal. The cool, expressionless manner emanating from him could really freeze a room.
Ice King
, Annalise secretly nick-named him. Sven Torvik was also a man of imposing stature. He was in his mid-thirties on paper, but he appeared to be in his late twenties.

Besides being very good-looking, he was also tall and athletic. When he had entered her kitchen,
Annalise noticed that his head almost touched the door frame. He must have been at least six feet five or more. He had dark auburn hair and piercing blue eyes. His wore a three-piece black suit that screamed expensive in every stitch.

He carried himself like those who lived in the upper crust of society. Every fiber of his being exuded raw power and absolute authority. Sven was supposed to be a man with great wealth, the kind of person who would never patron a lowly establishment like the diner where
Annalise worked. The way he wound his way into her little crummy apartment in the rundown part of Brooklyn on this cheery Saturday morning was sort of a miracle.

She had been reading the employment section of the newspaper, looking for a third part-time job, when someone knocked on her door. An impeccably-dressed handsome young man introduced himself as Sven
Torvik, and he was the executor of Annalise’s estranged uncle’s estate.

Torvik
came with two men. One was Torvik’s attorney, Hill Abbott, a man in his sixties with silvery hair. His friendly, grandfatherly demeanor had put Annalise at ease about welcoming strangers into her apartment. The third man just called himself Thompson. He was the city clerk whose services were engaged by Torvik and Abbott for a rare house call.

After the men were seated, the attorney explained to
Annalise that her mother’s older brother, Seymour Dune, had recently passed away and left everything to Annalise.

Annalise
was shocked. She had only met the man a few times when she was little. Uncle Seymour had always been an eccentric. He was a doctor and brilliant scientist, working for a giant pharmaceutical company. He traveled to exotic countries when he was young, and later on quit his job to establish his own company. From what she heard, Annalise knew Uncle Seymour was quite successful. But she hadn’t guessed he was
that
wealthy.

However, Uncle Seymour’s inheritance came with strings attached.

Annalise would be able to claim it
if
she married Sven Torvik for at least one year, during which she would take over as the chairman of Dune Industry. Sven himself was Uncle Seymour’s protégé, until he had decided to go solo and started his business. Uncle Seymour had requested that Sven would teach Annalise everything she should know about the pharmaceutical trade.

It took a good fifteen minutes for the news to sink in. She was surprised, happy, and then deeply concerned. She was glad she would receive some money that could be used toward her brother’s medical costs, but the joy quickly dissipated when she learned she had to marry a stranger for a year.

Uncle Seymour’s strings were a tall order for a reserved person like her.

The lawyer added that the married part was important even it was only a
pro forma
. By becoming Torvik’s wife, her position as chairman would be backed by Torvik’s credentials and influences. The board of directors and Dune Industry investors would have to think twice before they could plot something sinister to oust her from the company. Apparently, there had been constant struggles between Seymour Dune and the others for the past few years. Uncle Seymour had hoped Sven’s invisible presence would smooth out the tide for Annalise to sail on.

She focused her attention on the document before her.

The marriage registration had been prepared in advance. Some requirements had been waived due to the urgent nature of the business. All Annalise needed to do was to sign on the dotted line.

Still, she wasn’t sure that this was what she wanted to do. It didn’t feel right, marrying someone for money—even if it was money she desperately needed.

Her guests saw her reluctance. She hadn’t been given an opportunity to sleep on it at all. Torvik must have expected her to say yes on spot; therefore the city clerk was brought to her home.

Torvik
glanced at his lawyer, but didn’t say anything. After a minute of awkward silence, Abbott cleared his throat and offered a sympathetic smile.

“Do you need more time, Ms. Conrad?” he asked in the creamiest drawl.

“Just…just for a few more minutes, please.” Annalise scrutinized the document for the thousandth time.

I can’t do this. I don’t know this guy. What if he turns out to be a homicidal maniac? Handsome rich men don’t just come to my door step and want to rescue me from my problems…

Annalise pursed her lips. Her hands trembled.

But I must do this. These men are the only ones who can save Robby…

“If I sign this, my brother can stay in the hospital, right? He won’t be transferred into the county hospice?” she had to be sure.

“You have my guarantee. I even have the power to admit Robert into the best state-of-the-art facility. He will be treated by the best doctors in the country,” said Hill Abbott.

His reassurance made Annalise feel a little better. The main source of her woes was her little brother’s health. She and Robby were very close, especially after they became orphaned. Robby had always been an active child. But a year after their mother’s untimely death, Robby was diagnosed with leukemia. Then his kidneys started to fail. At fifteen, Robby spent most of his days in and out of the hospital. Money from their parents’ estate, and more recently from the sale of their house, all went towards the medical bills. And still, it wasn’t enough. Annalise had been working part-time to supplement the family income since she was in high school. She now worked full-time in a diner downtown. Five times a week, she also picked up a waitressing gig at a local dining hall. And still, even with all her hard work, she watched as her little brother slowly died.

Annalise
put the document down and picked up the pen. Despite the reassurance from the kind lawyer, she couldn’t shake the feeling that she was about to pawn her soul to the devil. But she’d be damned if she’d just sit around and do nothing. She would do anything for Robby. She had promised Mom she’d take care of him.

Annalise
signed the document.

Hill Abbott and the city clerk looked relieved. Thompson checked the document and pointed out where she needed to put her initials and additional signatures. After he was done, he put his stamps on the document and declared that Sven
Torvik and Annalise Conrad were officially husband and wife.

The attorney congratulated them. Sven smiled a little,
then his expression slipped back into unreadable mode. Annalise couldn’t force herself to look happy. She was too nervous. The uneasiness didn’t go away after the city clerk gave her a copy of her marriage certificate.

She wondered if she had just made the biggest mistake of her life.

 

Two

 

 

Sven
Torvik had never thought the day he became a married man would come, nor had he ever entertained himself with such a notion. Nevertheless, at this very moment, he was happy.

He was a practical man, not a sentimentalist. His business dealings and work occupied most of his time. And there were special circumstances that made him wary of taking a mate.
A secret that he closely guarded.

He dated.
Quite often, indeed. But if things got too emotionally involved, he broke it off. The fear that his secret would scare away the woman he’d formed an emotional attachment to prompted him to put up an invisible barrier.
You can get to know me, but never fall in love with me.
Because of that, most of his ex-girlfriends labeled him as a player. Sven was fine with that. Being condemned as a Casanova was nothing compared to the freak of nature he really was.

Sven wondered if the source of the warm and fuzziness he felt right now came from the woman he had married.

On paper, Annalise Conrad was his legal wife.

And on paper, according to the pre-
nups they had signed, he was only to teach her to run the company and then dissolve the marriage a year later.

Now that he’d met her in person, Sven had no desire to give her a divorce, no matter what. He planned to keep her as his.

Forever.

He had never believed the ‘love at first sight’ cliché. But when he saw her face to face, he was overwhelmed with an unexplainable feeling that she belonged to him. As
Annalise contemplated her decision, the beast under Sven’s skin threatened to take over. Wanting, wanting, and more wanting; the primal instinct within him nagged so severely he had almost lost it. Luckily, he was a master at concealing his expression.

Later that evening, after picking up
Annalise, Sven parked his vintage Bentley in his reserved spot. Now, in the passenger seat, his new bride looked tense.

“Why do I have to move to your house, Mr.
Torvik?” she asked in a small voice. “I thought this was only a fake marriage.”

Her reluctance was palpable. Sven could understand her hesitation. Marrying a man she’d just met that morning, and then moving in with him in the evening, could be a nerve-wracking experience.
Especially for a young woman like her. She’d just celebrated her twentieth birthday in the summer, but it seemed she was far more innocent than her age indicated. From the information he’d gathered, Annalise didn’t date or socialize much outside work. She devoted her free time to her little brother Robert.

“It would be odd for a newly married couple to live in separate residences, don’t you think?” he said.

“Yeah, but…”

“Secondly, our marriage isn’t
fake. Its legality is absolute in the eyes of the law.”

“But Mr. Abbott said it was a pro forma. He explained it to me.”

“Indeed. We’re married for the sake of fulfilling your uncle’s will perfunctorily, but it doesn’t make it fake.”

Annalise
quieted for a moment. “Why did you agree to do this?”

“I owe your uncle a big favor.” Sven leaned back and took the key from the ignition. “Fulfilling his wish is the only thing I could do to repay him.”

“Even when you have to marry a woman you don’t love?”

That blunt question made him grin. “I can learn to love you…”

Her face reddened in an instant. “Don’t joke about something like that. It’s not funny.”

“Who said I’m joking?” Sven found the way she blushed very cute.

“We’re too different. You’re a smart, wealthy man and I’m only a lowly dumb waitress. People like us could never be together. In real life, Cinderella doesn’t exist.”

“I think we need to work on your self-esteem issues. You’re a young, very attractive girl. I see no reason why men from different walks of life wouldn’t fall for you.” Sven unbuckled the seatbelt. “And there’s one more thing: quit your job.”

“Excuse me?”

“You certainly don’t expect that my wife would work as a waitress at a diner, do you?”

“Well, I…”

“I want you to hand in your resignation tomorrow.
Effective immediately.”


Kinda bossy, are you?”

“I’m the husband, aren’t I?”

Annalise shook her head. “I’m starting to think this is all a bad idea.”

“Come on, where is your sense of adventure? This should be fun.”

“So it’s all fun and games for you? I’m doing this for my brother.”

“I know. And your brother would want you to have a good time once in a while.”

She quieted again. “I guess you’re right, Mr. Torvik.”

“And another thing—
don’t call me that anymore. I’m your husband. Try calling me ‘honey’ or ‘darling’ or something.”

Annalise
looked scandalized. “I—I can’t. We’ve just met. It doesn’t sound polite.”

He smiled. His new bride was even cuter when he teased her. “No? Then how are we going to pull off a convincing marriage?”

“Uhm…”

He leaned closer to her. “Try it—‘Sven, honey…’”

“You’re having too much fun with this, aren’t you?”

Sven laughed. “You can tell?”

“It’s just… I’m confused. You were cold when we met this morning. You didn’t seem happy to be married to me, and now you act differently. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. I…I just don’t understand…”

“I see.” Sven sighed. She was surprisingly perceptive. Many women said he was a difficult man to approach on an emotional level, and when that woman finally got closer, he shut her down by putting a wall of thorns around him. But
Annalise was different. He felt comfortable being around her even though they just had met. Sven could be himself in her presence. No more mask. No pretense. “I came to your house with my lawyer and that clerk from city hall. I have an image to maintain. I’m a businessman. People won’t take me seriously if I get too chatty or too friendly.”

“Ooh. That makes sense. You let people think you’re a badass when you’re actually a really nice guy.”
Annalise nodded as if she’d just received a revelation. “Got it.”

“Badass?
That’s an interesting way to put it.” Sven was very amused now. He had been dubbed plenty of unsavory names thanks to his strict and ruthless business dealings, but nobody had ever called him “badass” before. He took that as a compliment. He could already tell this new chapter of his life with her would be exciting. “Are you ready, Annalise? It’s time to see your new home.”

 

 

His staff unexpectedly greeted
Annalise in the foyer. Sven had only told his butler Sebastian about the plan to marry Dune’s niece. Sebastian was one of a handful people who knew Sven’s secret, and he had worked for Sven since his company Synergy went public and made its first billion.

Sebastian had been surprised to learn Sven’s plan to marry, then overjoyed. The butler suggested a festive dinner to celebrate the occasion. Sven gave him permission, as long as Sebastian didn’t go overboard. No guests. Sven demanded absolute secrecy. The last thing he wanted was a horde of paparazzi hounding him before he made his formal announcement.

As soon as Sebastian opened the door, Sven could see that the butler had spruced up the posh Park Avenue residence as if they were holding Sven’s annual gala. The floor gleamed, and the crystal ware had been polished to shine. Redolently scented long-stemmed red roses in Baccarat vases graced the living room. The staff members—all present and accounted for—were dressed in their formal, neatly starched uniforms, ready to welcome their new mistress.

Annalise
was awestruck by the reception. “Is this your apartment?”

“Yes. It’s your new home now.”

“You didn’t tell me you have a butler.”

“I have a full staff. They will tend to your every need. What’s wrong?” Sven asked.
Annalise suddenly looked uncomfortable.

“I didn’t know you were
this
rich. I…I don’t belong here.”

“Nonsense.”
He took her arm and escorted her into the dining hall. “I hope you’re hungry, because Sebastian has prepared quite a feast despite the short notice. He’s a miracle worker.”

Sven gave an order to Sebastian to have someone collect
Annalise’s luggage from the car. She admired the elegantly decorated three-tiered wedding cake that was the centerpiece on the table.

“Shall we eat?” Sven asked.

“How many people are going to dine with us?”

“Just us.”
Sven pulled out a chair.

She sat. “This is an awful lot of food for two people. I hope you’re not throwing out the leftovers.” Her face reddened as her words trailed away. She bowed her head. “I’m sorry. That was impolite of me. I just hate to see food going to waste.”

Sven smiled. “Don’t worry. I’m sure Sebastian will figure out something with the leftovers. Won’t you, Sebastian?”

“Certainly, sir.”
The butler uncorked a bottle of vintage champagne and filled the crystal flutes.

“I’m…
uhm…not old enough to drink alcohol,” Annalise said.

“Didn’t you ever sneak a beer when you were in high school?”

“My dad actually gave me a taste one time. I didn’t like it, so I’ve never tried it again.”

“Not even when your friends were partying? Don’t worry, I won’t judge you. We were all teenagers at one point.”

She turned sheepish. “I wasn’t a popular girl, so I never hung out with a party crowd. Besides, I’m always busy with my part-time job.”

“To help pay your brother’s medical bills?”

“Yeah. Before Robby got sick, we had a mountain of Dad’s medical debts. He passed away from cancer, and we didn’t have good insurance.”

“Oh, dear.”
Sven hadn’t guessed she’d lived such a hard life. Robbed of her youth to help shoulder the family financial burden. “Did you mother ever contact your uncle for assistance?”

“Uncle Seymour?”
Annalise shook her head. Her long brown hair waved. “Mom wasn’t on speaking terms with Uncle Seymour.. Everything about Uncle Seymour was an off-limits discussion. That’s why I was so surprised to learn he’d passed away and left everything to me.”

“Your uncle was fond of you. You were his favorite niece.”

“I was?”

Sven nodded. “He always said you’re a special girl.”

“I only met him a few times when I was little. Mom said Dad didn’t like it when Uncle Seymour came to visit.”

“Why is that?”

“Dad thought Uncle Seymour was kind of kooky. But again, Dad disliked everybody. He was Mr. Grouchy.”

“I take it he was strict? He was in the military if I’m not mistaken.”

“Marine. He was a drill sergeant.”

Sven couldn’t help but cringe. “I bet you had an interesting time growing up.”

“Despite his grumpiness, he was the best dad in the world.”

Annalise
looked dreamy. She had a heart-shaped face with high cheekbones and eyes that could melt anyone’s heart. Her lips were naturally rouge, and curved upward into a perpetual smile. Her teeth were like pearls, white and shiny. Her pale skin was smooth and glowing. She didn’t wear makeup, but she was more beautiful than any women Sven had dated.

“I bet he was.” Sven gestured at her champagne. “Try it. It’s very special champagne.
1928 Vintage Krug. I keep several bottles for special occasions.”

Annalise
contemplated her glass.

“It’s all right. I gave you permission to drink. After all, it’s our wedding dinner. A little champagne is appropriate for such an occasion.”

She stared with child-like excitement at the bubbles in the flute. “You’re really taking this marriage thing seriously.”

“Naturally.
I’ve never been married before.”

Annalise
cut her gaze to him. Her big, doe-like brown eyes watched him with wonder. “You haven’t? Aren’t you going to regret this later?”

“Marrying you? No. I won’t.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“I just know.” Sven sipped his champagne. “Are you regretting marrying me?”

“Me?” She startled for a second and quickly shook her head. “I don’t know. I won’t—I think. It doesn’t matter to me as long as I can help Robby.”

“It seems you always put your little brother’s needs before your own.”

“Of course. Robby is the only family I have left. I promised Mom I’d take care of him. I’d hate to break that promise.” She paused. “I don’t know what I’d do if I lost him.”

Sven wondered just how much she had suffered beneath that bright smile and cheery façade. He covered her hand with his and squeezed it. “Don’t worry. I will do everything in my power to get your brother the best care. He’s a fighter, isn’t he? He won’t give up, and neither should you.”

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