Love me if you dare: Alpha Billionaire Romance (The Secret Matchmaker Book 5)

BOOK: Love me if you dare: Alpha Billionaire Romance (The Secret Matchmaker Book 5)
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Love me if you dare

The Secret Matchmaker Series Book 5

L.N. Pearl

 

Copyright © 2015 by L.N. Pearl. All rights reserved worldwide.

No part of this publication may be replicated, redistributed, or given away in any form without the prior written consent of the author/publisher or the terms relayed to you herein.

All characters appearing in this work are fictitious. Any resemblance to real persons, living or dead, is purely coincidental.

***

Book description:

Business is tough. And now, I know why.

I thought I knew what I was doing, but when Asher introduced me to his friend, a serial entrepreneur worth several billions, I realized I had a lot to learn. Much more than I expected.

In fact, he nearly destroyed my dream and I’ll have to make a very important decision; one that will determine my entire life. With or without Asher.

Note
: this is the last book in the series. Contains explicit language for a mature audience only.

1 - Asher

I couldn't come down from the clouds. Lila wasn't with her ex-boyfriend after all, and there was a chance, a good chance I hoped, that she would be mine soon. The make-up sex at the spa yesterday was amazing and the images of her delicious neediness left me completely useless at work all day.

The plan had been to spend the night together, but between Gisele wanting to meet with her, and a blow up with one of my clients, our evening together had to be shifted.

I glanced up at the clock on my wall and let out a long growl. We were having a BBQ at my house at four that afternoon so that Lila and Kazu could meet each other, and the relationship could begin to develop.

Lila was brilliant and so full of energy where her business plans were concerned, but she had no real knowledge of the proper preparation and execution of a Japanese Onsen.

Kazu on the other hand did have that knowledge, and being an entrepreneur himself, he seemed more than willing to come to the house to meet with us.

I invited Carl as well to keep things light. It was more for Kazu, not that the other man seemed to need comfort for a light hand. He was a businessman himself. He was as used to meeting new clients and working with strangers as much as I was, so there shouldn’t be an issue.

"Sir, there's a call on line two for you. It's Mr. Barnes." A pretty temp who was filling in for my secretary stuck her head in the open door and smiled.

"Take a message. I won’t be taking any more calls today. I'm actually packing up now. I have dinner guests coming." I stood, making the decision to get the hell out of there. I wasn't doing much good anyway.

I hadn't been able to think about anything but Lila since seeing her the day before. My confession of love had shocked me as much as it had her. She needed to hear it, and where she hadn't returned the confirmation of her own feelings, I was okay with giving her a little time and space.

She wanted me involved in her life and her future from what I could tell, and that would suffice for now. However, I couldn’t lie to myself: I wanted more, and the uncertainty of her feelings for me left me anxious, which I hated.

For the first time in my life, I felt something that I had always resented:  neediness.

Let's hope that’s not going to become a new personality trait of mine.
I sighed at the thought and finished packing up.

My personal chef had been given the evening off to keep things as casual as possible. Plus, the confidential nature of our discussions left me wanting to keep the information between the four of us.

I waved casually to the temp at the desk as I walked out of the office and towards the elevator, my thoughts skipping back to the sound of Lila's sweet voice, beckoning me to give her more.

I had so much built up and locked inside of me that I wanted to unleash on her, and yet I knew that to do so would push her away from me. She was independent and adventurous, but having been badly hurt, was defensive and withdrawn as well.

"How to break you down, pretty girl?" I mumbled and walked into the elevator as an attractive young woman glanced up from her phone. Her cheeks colored pink and I chuckled.

"Sorry. New girlfriend has my head spinning."

"Lucky girl." The woman murmured and turned to face me, obviously expecting me to make a comment.

I smiled, surprised at myself because it was a polite and totally innocent smile. I wasn’t trying to seduce or charm her. I smiled because I was happy. I was a different man because I had Lila in my life and didn’t need anyone else. Wasn’t it crazy what love could do? 

I chuckled and slowly shook my head, "Nope. I'm the lucky one."

***

"Hi. Come on in, baby." I opened the front door to the house and reached for her, taking her hand and pulling her to me. "Damn, I missed you."

She chuckled and brushed a soft kiss by my lips before walking into the house. "I saw you yesterday, remember?"

"How could I forget?" I spoke to the empty space in front of me as I stared at the large circle drive in front of the house. I closed the door and turned to find her moving through the various rooms in an inquisitive fashion.

"I love it here. It's beautiful and modern, but so peaceful. Did you decorate it yourself?" She turned and paused by a large bookshelf in my living-room. Her slacks were fitted beautifully, and complemented the dainty double laced top she wore. Her dark hair was down and moved across her back as she turned and began to slowing drag her fingers over my treasures.

"No. I had it decorated. An interior designer came out and asked me three hundred thousand questions before finally deciding on a color palate and design layout. I gave her the go ahead and moved out of the way." I walked toward her, wanting one more kiss before firing up the grill. "Spend the night with me tonight. I don't want you to go."

She flushed and repressed a smile, trying to be mysterious. "Let's go out grab a drink after this and we'll talk about spending the night together later."

I pulled her to me and pressed my lips to her, taking my time to kiss her slowly and sensually. Her soft quick breathing told me I was doing exactly what she wanted. "What if I change my mind by then?"

"I’ll take the risk. Besides, I think I know how to make sure you don’t." Her hands slid around my waist and moved to cup my ass tightly.

I growled and licked at her mouth before brushing my nose by hers. "I'm excited for you. Kazu is a good man from what I can tell. Carl is coming too, just to keep things less formal for this first meeting."

"Are you going to leave me alone with Kazu?"

I shrugged. I didn’t know if that was what she wanted or if the idea made her nervous. "I’ll do whatever makes you the most comfortable. This meeting is for you, so if you need space, I’ll leave you alone with him."

She bit her lip. "I’m nervous. I think I’d prefer to know that you’re around in case I say anything silly."

"You won’t. And I won’t be far anyway."

"Do you think he’s going to ask me tricky questions?"

I paused, thinking about it for a second. "I don’t know what he’ll do. Keep in mind that as a potential investor, he has the right to be picky with you, though."

"That’s why I’m nervous. I’ve never done business before."

I reached for her hands and squeezed them. "Relax, Lila. He won’t test your business knowledge. Most likely, he’ll test
you
. As a person. How can you go wrong when all you have to do is be
you
?"

The doorbell rang and she squeezed my hands harder. "Oh my God. What if he doesn’t like me? As a person?"

"In that case, we’ll move on. You’re overthinking it. Take a deep breath. You’ll be fine."

She closed her eyes and exhaled slowly. "Okay. Thank you."

"Now, go and open the door for him. Impress him. You’re the best."

I kissed her and watched her walk towards the door, her hips swaying in a way that gave me butterflies in my guts. She was so damn hot.

I worked on getting everything out of the refrigerator and laid out on the counter as I listened to the two of them work through introductions. If she hadn’t told me she was nervous, I would have never guessed. Lila acted like a pro, friendly and likeable, beautiful and determined.

From what I could see, she didn’t need me.

Once the grill outside was on, I grabbed three glasses and a bottle of red wine from the kitchen and finally went out to greet my guest.

"Hi, Kazu. Sorry I was busy with the grill. Thanks for coming tonight." I wiped my hand on a yellow towel beside me and shook his hand firmly.

"My pleasure. What a beautiful house you have here. Very masculine and powerful. It definitely reflects the owner’s personality." He smiled kindly, his demeanor immediately comforting.

"Thank you. It needs a woman's touch, but I'm hoping Lila can help me with that once she moves in." I smiled and glanced over at her. The way she looked at me left me breathless.

"Oh." Kazu turned to Lila and raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I see. You’re a lucky man."

"I am," I answered before she could. She was looking down, but I could see that her face had turned red.

"Is she the one you mentioned during the golf game?"

"She's the one, yes. She completely ruined my plan for an uncomplicated life."

Kazu and I laughed, but Lila cleared her throat, punching me playfully on the shoulder. She grabbed a glass and poured wine into it. "I think it’s time for you to have a drink, gentlemen."

"Absolutely." Kazu smiled at us and we all touched glasses, when his phone buzzed. He looked at it and frowned. "Oh, excuse me. I have to take this. I’ll be right back."

Lila and I watched him go in silence, and once he was out of sight, she turned to me and whispered, "How did I do?"

"You’re doing great so far. No need to freak out, he’s very friendly, see? I told you it would be fine."

She tapped her fingers on her glass, clearly nervous. "Friendly doesn’t mean he’ll invest in me."

I rubbed her arm and lowered my voice. "This is business. Remember... it's nothing personal. If nothing works out, just remain open and stay positive. A
no
today, can become a
yes
tomorrow."

She nodded and looked down. "You’re right. I’m a bit sensitive with everything that happened between us. You were matched perfectly with Sofia, you know. I’m trying to be the best I can for you. But it’s hard."

I put my glass down and kissed her softly. "Hey… what are you talking about? You’re perfect. Stop comparing yourself to Sofia. I chose you, not her, remember? I know what I’m doing."

"I don’t want you to regret your decision."

"I won’t. Not ever." I wiped a tear at the corner of her eye just as the smell of burning meat assaulted my nostrils. "Shit, the BBQ."

Lila and I rushed outside and I popped the lid open just in time to flip the steaks, when Kazu joined us.

"Sorry about that. I’m in the middle of a big deal, so I couldn’t avoid taking that call. By the way, I got a text from Carl. He said he texted you too, Asher. He's sick and isn't going to make it. Food poisoning or something."

"Damn. I'll call him later."

Kazu took a sip of his wine before turning to Lila. "Alright. Let’s talk business, shall we? I'm interested in hearing your plans for the Japanese Onsen. I've been in hundreds of them in Japan and my parents even owned one for a short time when I was a boy. They can be incredibly time consuming if not done right."

"I imagine so." Lila glanced at me and I nodded to encourage her.

She walked Kazu through her business plan as if she was born to sell. It was brilliant and her confidence left me lost to her. She was gorgeous to look at, much more interesting than I’d initially given her credit for, and so much more than I deserved.

My thoughts moved back to Geoff and the revelations at the funeral home. My future didn't have to be anything like his life had ended up. Lila and I could change it, every bit of it. I was almost afraid to hope for such a remarkable transition.

Kazu was nodding, genuinely interested. "I love your initiative and drive, Lila. You're going to do well in anything you put your mind to. If you want the Onsen, you'll have it. I have no doubt." He smiled and paused, and I knew something else was coming.

So did Lila. "But?" A flash of anxiety crossed her face.

"But... I don't think Beverly Hills is the place for you. It's already overrun with spas and resorts, and honestly, the type of person that would rush to your establishment isn’t the type you'd be looking to serve. As least from what I can tell."

"And not to be a downer, but we might as well throw in the current condition of the real estate market here right now. It’s terrible." I had to add my two cents because Lila deserved the complete truth. It would not help her to be shielded from these realities.

"This is true." Kazu glanced toward me, and then back at Lila. "You're going to need a substantial amount of capital for a project like this, Lila. In order to just break even, your prices are going to have to be astronomical. It can work, but you’ll have to have exceptional service and staff, which never comes cheap. It’s a nice idea on paper, but I’m a little concerned about the execution and the ultimate profitability of the project."

Lila nodded, her face a mask of professional indifference, but I could sense her disappointment. "I understand."

I put my arm around her and snuggled her into my side. "You okay?"

She nodded again and Kazu continued. "These things are never easy to hear, but I’m here to help. Believe me, you don’t want to be stuck with a failing business for decades."

"I totally agree. Thank you for your feedback, I appreciate it very much." Lila forced a smile, but I could tell she was hurt.

I kissed her as she glanced up at me. "We'll figure it out, babe. No giving up."

BOOK: Love me if you dare: Alpha Billionaire Romance (The Secret Matchmaker Book 5)
2.56Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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