Breaching the Billionaire: Alethea’s Redemption (Book 6 of the Legacy Collection)
Alethea is at a crossroad. For as long as she could remember, it was her and her best friend, Lil, against the world. Now that Lil has met Prince “I have my own helicopter” Charming and reconnected with her family, Alethea is on the outside looking in, justifying who she’s always been to people who have never understood her. When she uncovers a looming threat to Lil’s family, she’s determined to save them, even after they tell her not to get involved and assign their best man to stop her.
Marc Stone has been watching Alethea ever since she waltzed through his security system and right into his late night fantasies. As a decorated Marine, he’s seen war, but nothing could prepare him for this wild redhead. Strong. Beautiful. Flawed, and fiercely protective. Hard to love, and impossible to deny.
If she’ll stop fighting him long enough, he’ll show her just how perfect they are for each other. That is, if she doesn’t get them both killed first.
She couldn’t take any more. She shifted until she broke their connection, then continued to squirm until he released her enough so that her feet were firmly back on the floor. “Don’t. Don’t pretend this is anything but what it is. This isn’t a date. You’re being paid to keep me out of the way and that—” she waved her hand in the air beside her—“that was just the result of two people being thrown together in a stressful situation.”
He studied her face, then broke out in his cocky smile. “Your job must be more exciting than mine, because this is not the norm for me.”
She shoved him back a step. “You’re not funny.”
He closed the distance between them and was suddenly serious. “Well, now you’ve hurt my feelings. Looks like I’ll have to do my best to impress you with my other qualities.”
The evidence of the quality he was referring to nudged her sex, hard and ready, as he swept down and plundered her mouth with another deep kiss. A part of her clung to the knowledge that none of this was real, but the rest of her felt it was too good to pass up. These memories would have to sustain her, because she would never put herself in this situation again.
He stopped, raised his head with a funny expression on his face, and asked, “What are you thinking about?”
She tried to pull his mouth back down to hers and said, “It doesn’t matter.”
“Tell me,” he demanded.
Alethea wasn’t sure what reaction she expected to her refusal, but she didn’t expect him to pick her up, swing her over his shoulder, and carry her to his bedroom. He tossed her down on his bed.
Oh, no, he didn’t.
Oh, yes, he did.
This isn’t one of my fantasies. This is real.
Still naked, she was on her knees and scrambling past him, but he caught her, flipped her onto her back and, before she knew what he was doing, he’d secured both of her hands above her head with handcuffs.
Lying beside her, he said, “I know what you’re thinking—what man has handcuffs under his bed, right? They were a gag gift from a buddy of mine. I figured I should keep them here in case I had to ride out the apocalypse. In case things got boring.” He smiled down at her as if he couldn’t see the fury in her eyes. “Not that you’re boring. Trust me, you’re the opposite of boring, but you need to learn to trust people.”
Pulling against the cuffs angrily, Alethea snarled, “And you think this will do that? All it’s going to do is be my defense for why I strangled you the second I was set free. ‘Your honor, look at the bruises on my wrists. He had it coming.’”
Marc ran a hand up one of her arms to just below where the metal met her wrist. “You won’t have a single mark on you if you don’t fight it.”
She tried unsuccessfully to whip her arm away from his touch but was impeded by the restraint. “You might as well tell me not to breathe. I’m going to free myself and when I do, you will regret this.”
“I see the problem.”
“Thank God. You’re coming to your senses. Get the keys now and maybe, just maybe, I’ll forget this ever happened.”
Propped up on one elbow, Marc looked down at her as if she were a puzzle he was solving. “You can’t turn it off, can you? Everything is a fight to you.”
“Do these handcuffs come with earplugs? Because there are laws against torturing people with your psychobabble.”
Instead of rising to her taunt, he laughed. “I’m beginning to get you. Really get you. You’re scared right now, aren’t you? That’s why you’re on the attack.”
I’m not afraid of anything, but I’ll go along with this if it has the potential to provide a window of opportunity. “You don’t think that locking someone in a bunker, then tying her to a bed, is cause for concern?”
“I would never hurt you, Alethea. Do you believe that?”
She looked away. “Then let me go.”
He turned her face back to his and those beautiful blue eyes seemed to see her soul. “Just this once, let yourself be in a situation where you’re not in control.”
She shook her head.
He leaned down and whispered in her ear. “What’s the worst thing that could happen? You find you enjoy it?”
She glared at him.
When she didn’t say anything, he said, “If you really want me to take off the cuffs, I will. All you have to do is say it.” He ran a lazy finger over her collarbone and down the side of one breast. “Or you can trust me to take care of you. That’s what the cuffs are about. Trust. Yes, they leave you vulnerable, but everything that matters in life leaves you vulnerable. And sometimes you win by not fighting.”
His words washed over her, filling her with a warmth she couldn’t deny.
All I have to do is tell him to remove the cuffs and this is over.
No man controls me, not even for the sake of sexual experimentation.
I don’t do restraints.
So why am I not demanding my freedom?
He didn’t gloat as she would have expected a man to. Instead, he quietly waited for her decision.
An unexpected tear came to her eye and in a thick voice she said, “If you hurt me, I’ll kill you. Literally. Slowly. In the most painful way I can think of.”
Real shock showed on his face and he touched her cheek with a gentle hand. “Hey, it’s okay to be scared. Trusting anyone is always scary.”
He leaned down, took one of her breasts between his teeth, and pulled ever so gently on her nipple, sending a rush of heat straight through her. There was no denying how his touch affected her. She gasped with pleasure when he ran a hand down her stomach and cupped her sex possessively.
Waiting for her to say the words she didn’t want to say: “I hate you right now.”
He raised his head. “I can’t tell if that means, ‘Yes, keep going,’ or ‘No, get the hell off me, you pervert.’”
She rubbed her pelvis against him and moaned. To hell with being in control. Just this once, she wanted to be taken.
NY Times and USA TODAY Bestselling Author of the Legacy Collection and the Texan Nights Series
Ruth Cardello lives on a small farm in Northern Rhode Island with her husband, three kids, three dogs, two horses, and some assorted chickens. If there is a happier place on Earth, she hasn’t found it.
If you’d like to email her directly, you may contact her at Minouri@aol.com
Other books in this series
Book 1: Maid for the Billionaire (Legacy Collection)
Dominic Corisi knew instantly that Abigail Dartley was just the distraction he was looking for, especially since having her took a bit more persuading than he was used to. So when business forces him to fly to China, he decides to take her with him, but on his terms. No promises. No complications. Just sex.
Abby has always been the responsible one. She doesn’t believe in taking risks; especially when it comes to men – until she meets Dominic. He’s both infuriating and intoxicating, a heady combination. Their trip to China revives a long forgotten side of Abby, but also reveals a threat to bring down Dominic’s company. With no time to explain her actions, Abby must either influence the outcome of his latest venture and save his company or accept her role as his mistress and leave his fate to chance. Does she love him enough to risk losing him for good?
Book 2: For Love or Legacy (Legacy Collection)
Nicole Corisi will lose her inheritance if she doesn’t find a way around the terms of her father’s will, but she will have to partner up with her estranged brother’s rival to do it. As pretense becomes painfully real, Nicole will have to choose between Stephan and the family he is driven to destroy.
Stephan Andrade has been planning his revenge ever since Dominic Corisi unscrupulously took over his father’s company. With Corisi Enterprises gambling its reputation on the success of a new software network for China, Stephan finally has his chance to take back his legacy. Dominic’s younger sister, Nicole, asks Stephan for his help and provides him with an opportunity to exact his revenge on a personal level.
It all goes smoothly until he falls in love.
Book 3: Bedding The Billionaire (Legacy Collection)
Lil Dartley’s life is upside down. Her previously steadfast and predictable sister is marrying an influential billionaire and needs help planning the wedding of the century in less than a month. Years of middle class rebellion have not prepared Lil for handling diplomats or paparazzi.
Jake Walton knows a train wreck when he sees one. Lil was trouble from the first day he met her, but since her sister is marrying his best friend, he has no choice but to help her or this wedding will be in the news for all the wrong reasons. Teaching Lil how to fit into high society would be a whole lot easier if she didn’t drive him insane both in and out of the bedroom.
Book 4: Saving The Sheikh (Legacy Collection)
Rachid bin Amir al Hantan is fighting for the sovereignty of his small country. He needs to find some powerful allies – and fast. Attending the wedding of Dominic Corisi is as much about reconnecting with old friends as it is about celebrating nuptials. The last thing he needs right now is the distraction of a woman.
Zhang Yajun is a self-made billionaire who can’t believe she accepted her friend’s dare to kiss Sheikh Rachid before the end of the wedding.
When impulsive words lead to even more impulsive actions, these two will discover that sometimes the last thing you were looking for is the one thing that can save you.
Book 5: Rise Of The Billionaire (Legacy Collection)
Dreaming of Alethea gave Jeremy Kater the strength to survive a difficult childhood. Now that he has influential friends who owe him some big favors, he’s determined to become the kind of man Alethea would be interested in: rich and dangerous. Jeisa Borreto was hired to help Jeremy morph into that man. It’s a job she would enjoy, if it weren’t tearing her heart to pieces.
How can she help him change once she’s realized she’s fallen in love with the man he’s always been?
Hint: Sleeping with him doesn’t help.