The Wrong Side of Midnight, страница 1часть #3 серии A Billionaire in Disguise
THE WRONG SIDE OF MIDNIGHT
A Billionaire in Disguise, Book 3
By Terri Marie
Copyright © 2012 by Terri Marie
All rights reserved.
This novel is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to real people, dead or alive, is strictly a matter of coincidence. Places and events depicted in these pages are from the author’s imagination.
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 / publisher.
Published by Gossamer Publishing
Cover design by:
To my wonderful children, thank you for understanding when I get chained inside my office for hours on end! You're the reason I'm able to pursue my dream. I love you more than words could say.
Books by Terri Marie:
The Shack, Merry and a Cat Named Cha-moan: (Children’s action and adventure written for the children in my life!).
They believed that The Shack was abandoned, but it wasn't. They were told to never go inside of it, but they did. They believed they could run really fast, but they had no idea...
Narrated by a thirteen year old boy, find out what happens to a group of best friends, on a magical adventure and the race of their lives. They must save their friends, their town, and all that they believe in, before everything...is gone.
Running from Beige, The Ties That Bind Series, Book 1:
Would you flee from the life you live in if you could?
Connie, Suzy, and Karen did. Through their desperate attempts to reclaim themselves, the paths of these three women become intertwined. They develop a friendship and sisterhood stronger than any of them imagined.
Refusing to let one another face any of their hardships alone, they set out together on a journey toward discovery, hope, and freedom. But what they don't expect are the heartaches, betrayals, and shattered lives that lie waiting.
Forbidden Disclosure, A Billionaire in Disguise, Book 1:
Francesco Giordano wants to retire and turn over his shipping empire to his only son Daniel. But the young, gorgeous, and sexy Daniel is more interested in fast cars, the family jet, and bedding women.
When Francesco decides the best way to make his son grow up is to change his identity and move him away from his Manhattan penthouse, Daniel's world begins to rock.
Sent to a little town in Tennessee, stripped of his family name and all access to money, Daniel finds himself on a mission to prove to his father that he can make it. If he doesn't, he risks losing the family business and billions of dollars.
Country life isn't setting very well with the fast-paced New Yorker, until he meets the woman who stirs up every one of his senses. Katherine is beautiful, sassy, and has no intentions of hooking up with the new stranger in town. She leaves without a word. Will Daniel risk it all to find her?
A Perfect Plan, A Billionaire in Disguise, Book 2
Parker and Russell Davis, identical twins, were used to swapping places in the business world, but drew the line when it came to fooling women. They're successful, rich, sexy, and used to tackling any problems that come their way.
But when a beautiful woman shows up threatening to ruin their plans for a big business venture, the twins know they'll have to break the rules.
Emily Carson isn't going to stand by while Davis Enterprises destroys her grandfather's land. She's willing to do whatever it takes to stop them. The fight is definitely on, and her hatred for Parker grows each day...or is it Russell?
Parker comes up with a perfect plan. He'll have to go out of his way to keep his real identity hidden from her. Pretending to be his brother is easy. Stopping himself from falling for the beautiful Emily is impossible...
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Terri Marie is currently working on Book 2 in The Ties That Bind, as well as the forth book in her new romance series, A Billionaire in Disguise. She resides in Michigan with her children.
"I love to write stories in different genres that paint you a picture, take you places you wouldn't ordinarily be able to go, and make you carry the characters in your heart and mind for years to come, just as I experienced when I created them. If a smile shines upon your face, a lesson is learned, and you want to sit down again and turn another page, then I am happy.
Thank you for your support and enthusiasm in my writing, and for your honest reviews. I read them all, including my emails, and if you contact me via my website, I will write back.
If I'm not writing a book I'm busy being a mom, which is indeed, my favorite part of life. More books are to come!"
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For my sister Linda who has been there for me without fail, supported all my endeavors with the upmost enthusiasm, and given me a great set of footsteps to follow. I love you!
Please enjoy excerpts from Author Liberty Blake and Author Mary Campisi at the end of:
"The Wrong Side of Midnight".
Chloe strolled around her parent’s mansion carrying a glass of orange juice and a slice of peanut butter toast while carelessly leaving crumbs in her wake. Even though she didn’t glance in the mirror when she climbed out of bed, her natural beauty, ruffled hair and all, was evident to everyone but herself. Being surrounded by the most exquisite furnishings and décor all her life had only served to magnify her feelings of emptiness. Living inside of a showcase made her adamant about not trying to fit the part. What Chloe wanted couldn’t be bought. Stopping to stare at paintings and statues, which had been shipped from all over the world, caused her to laugh at the ridiculous amount of money her parents spent to make their home look more like a museum than anything else. She lived here, but would never consider this as her home. The estate was large and sprawling, but it amounted to nothing more than a prison for the twenty-four year old. Being engaged to Edmund ranked right up there with her assumed prisoner status. She kept the large diamond ring he’d given to her upstairs on her dresser and only wore it if she was seeing him.
Opening the heavy front doors, Chloe let the sun hit her face. She closed her eyes and inhaled while the light danced off her long golden hair. She wished the hammering sounds would stop soon and stop interrupting her daydreaming. Sighing heavily as she shut the doors, a voice came from behind Chloe causing her to startle.
“Good morning, Miss Burlington,” said one of the security staff.
She smiled and then rolled her eyes after he’d passed by. Spies. She couldn’t wait for Becky, her best friend since first grade, to come over and cheer up her day. Best friends shared their laughter and joy, their sadness and secrets; but some of Chloe’s secrets never left her mouth. She knew she was getting close to her breaking point.
She was very wealthy and could definitely afford to live anywhere she wanted, but Chloe was tailgated, her friends investigated, and when security would show up to drag her back home, she wanted to bury her head in the sand. Being Chloe Burlington wasn't an asset. She was to stay out of the public eye and avoid cameras. The press knew the Burlington’s had a baby girl, but had no idea of what she looked like now. Slowly, every friend she made, other than Becky Lockhart, ran for the hills. She was encouraged to socialize with only people ‘of her own stature’, and the last thing she wanted was to hang out with anyone who represente
Chloe followed the sounds of the hammering and walked back to the front doors. She could roam the grounds, but if she left the gates of the estate, there were very strict guidelines. She followed the rules, only because fighting for her freedom and independence was such a fruitless effort. Exhausting. She couldn’t see any work crews, but it was possible the sounds were coming from the neighbor. She turned and walked back inside.
The only personal photographs on the wall were a family picture of her parents holding her when she was a baby and a large photo of her and Edmund after they became engaged. Chloe looked up at Edmund’s frozen smile with a horrible taste in her mouth. The pictures were hung in the entrance so that anyone who came over could see they were a happy family.
When she turned twenty-one, her parents went into a panic. They were terrified of their daughter not being married and carrying a name as prestigious as Burlington. She was shoved into a date with Edmund, whose parents are nearly as wealthy as Chloe’s. She thought he was a really nice guy on that first date, but by the second date, she hated him. She put up with Edmund, knowing it was perhaps her ticket to freedom. Truth be told, Chloe hated her life more and more each day.
Her serious face turned to nothing but wide smiles when she heard Becky’s Jaguar racing up the long drive. The two young women had become closer than sisters…just sisters with secrets. Chloe ran through the kitchen in her oversized pink t-shirt and out the side door to the pool. She entered the fancy pool room and quickly changed into her bikini. Chloe stepped back outside just as Becky was letting her designer cover-up fall off her shoulders onto the lounge chair.
“Where’s that hammering coming from?” Becky whispered as she placed her hands over her ears.
“Too much to drink last night?”
“Yeah, and don’t laugh at me. That wine tasting event…Oh God, I don’t want to talk about it.” Becky lifted up her sunglasses, grimaced, and then placed them back over her eyes.
Becky was five-foot-eight and much more fuller figured than Chloe’s five-foot-two slender build. She would never be caught dead in public without her face made up and appearance pristine. Becky thrived in her wealth and flaunted it whenever possible, which was such a big part of her personality, almost to the point of being gaudy. She was also the only one who loved the young heiress unconditionally. Chloe returned the love and friendship, gaudiness and all.
“That freaking hammering is going to make me shoot myself." Becky covered her ears.
Chloe laughed as she stood up to go investigate. She knew it wasn’t at her house because Becky would have told them to leave as soon as she drove up. She could picture her screaming at a work crew to the point of alerting security. Chloe was still laughing when she returned.
“I have no idea where the sound is coming from. It echoes.” Her friend was looking a little green around the gills. “Did you eat anything?”
“No, and don’t mention food. I’ll gladly take some coffee if Lois has any made.” Becky stuck her lip out like a little girl.
“I’ll go inside and look, if you promise to put your lip back in your head.” Chloe gave her a thumbs-up and walked into the kitchen. Lois, Chloe’s chef and life-long maternal figure wasn’t around, but the coffee was nice and hot. She poured two glasses of juice, decorating the rims with orange slices, then poured two mugs full of the aromatic brew and grabbed some headache medicine. She pushed the door open with her foot and stepped back outside carrying a tray. Becky grabbed the mug quickly, nearly spilling the coffee.
Chloe lay down on the lounge chair and closed her eyes. The hammering sounds were getting a little stronger, but the white noise of her thoughts spinning around in her head was even louder. Twenty-four years old, and the best she’s seen in this world is the gated community of Berkshire.
Chloe and Becky were privately schooled. They met through an arranged play date set up by their mothers, and they’d been inseparable ever since. Edmund, on the other hand, was a different matter.
“You there?” Becky laughed.
“Sorry, I must have dozed off. Feeling better?”
“Yes, but that pounding is on my nerves.”
Chloe smiled, stood up, and walked over to the edge of the pool. “Oh my, I found the hammering, Beck. There’re roofers on the neighbor’s guesthouse. Look at that…”
“Look at what?” Becky rolled over to see what Chloe was talking about. “What in the heck are you looking at him for? You’re practically married, though I must admit he’s quite the male specimen. However, you’re spoken for.”
“Well, my mother and father can marry Edmund. I’m certainly not.”
“The man on that roof is certainly not an Edmund.” Becky stretched her neck to get a better view. “Fine indeed…Wait, what do you mean you aren’t marrying Edmund?”
“My mother and father are in the same social circle as Edmund’s parents and they shoved us together. He doesn’t mind, but I do! They’re all filthy rich, and my parents found that pig to be acceptable. He only cares about my money and my looks. Seriously, that’s all he talks about. When I got my trust fund a few years ago, Edmund really started to pour it on thick.”
“You’re rich, too, so why are you judging him? That’s not like you.”
“Oh my God, look at that man…”
“Chloe, you seriously need to cool off. That guy wouldn’t be any good for you. Besides, if you think your parents are going to let you get hooked up with something like that, you have another thing coming.”
“I just want to be happy. I want someone to love who’ll love me back…someone who’ll acknowledge my heart, not just my looks, status, and my money.”
“You’re getting married,” Becky reminded her.
“I told you, I’m not marrying Edmund. As a matter of fact, today’s a great day to end things with him.”
“…Sweetie, do your parents know how you feel?” Becky sat up and took her sunglasses off. She'd never seen her friend this upset before.
Chloe felt her cheeks flush and eyes burn. She had no intentions of spilling what she’d been hiding inside these walls for all her life. Pretending to be happy in her engagement, pretending she was close with her parents and that they called her at least three times a week, had finally made her break. Slowly she turned her back to her friend and stared up at the neighbor’s roof. She heard Becky get up and walk toward her. She thought she could be strong, but as soon as she felt Becky’s arms go around her, she lost it. The tears came out in force.
“My parents don’t really know anything about me. Raised by nannies while they traveled all my life isn’t exactly anything to bond over.”
Not grasping the extent of what she heard, Becky tried to give the best advice she could drum up. “You have to tell them how you feel and that you’re breaking things off with Edmund.”
“I’m an adult. I don’t have to tell them anything. Do you know they haven’t bothered to call me in a very long time? They talk to the staff here at the house, but they don’t ever speak to me. I grab the phone from Lois if she’s talking with my parents. All I hear is them hanging up.” Chloe jumped in the pool to wash away the tears.
“I’m so sorry, sweetie, I had no idea…” Becky wiped the tears off her own face. “Why didn’t you say something to me?”
“Do you know how embarrassing and humiliating it is to say that my parents don’t care about me, don’t know who I am, when your folks are so kind and loving to you?”
Becky helped her out of the pool and they sat on the edge. She kept her arm around Chloe and let her head rest on her shoulder. They sat in silence for a long time, both lost in their own thoughts. The girls were very protective of one another, and Becky had to fight her str
“Love, I’m not trying to stick up for your parents, but you have to know that being this rich puts you in a different category. Poor people and rich ones don’t have a lot in common.”
“Don’t take offense to this, but you wouldn’t know, and neither would I.” Chloe stood up and dried off. “I’m going to go introduce myself when he gets off that roof. If things go badly, you can be the first one to say ‘I told you so.’"
Chloe dozed off and when she awoke, the hammering sounds were gone. She looked up at the roof and didn't see anyone. The sun was going down, and she began to panic. Dang, I missed him! She certainly didn't mean to sleep for so long. Then she heard the sound of a car motor and someone drive away. Maybe that wasn't him.
“You’re acting like a guy,” laughed Becky as she tried to lighten things up. “Besides, he’s going to be all grimy and sweaty, and probably smell.”
“I can’t help myself. Do you know when the last time was that a guy turned my head? Edmund might not be very great looking, but it was his personality that made him unattractive to me.”
“You went from this kind, polite, almost bashful girl to a heathen!”
“That’s okay, because this heathen is going on a mission. It’s about time I actually do something I want to do. If Edmund calls, tell him to go to hell. If my parents happen to call, tell them I moved.” Chloe took off in the house and changed into shorts and a baggy t-shirt, then hurried back outside and smiled at Becky.