Title: Billionaire for Sale (slightly used)
Author: Judy Kentrus
Genre: Contemporary, Romantic Comedy
YOU’VE BEEN SOLD.
Lucien Behr’s world is shaken when he read the three words. This wasn’t supposed to happen. He’d specifically requested his name not be put up for silent auction at the Artis–Naples Philharmonic annual Spend the Weekend with a Bachelor fundraising event. He drew the line when it came to making himself available to the whims of a spoiled socialite. He’d only attended the event to honor the memory of his late wife.
Time stood still when Jonelle Madison walked in like a starlet strolling across the red carpet. Twenty years ago Jonelle had thrown his love back in his face because he didn’t have the money to keep her in the lifestyle she was accustomed. Now he has power, money, prestige, everything he’s ever wanted, but one thing. Her. What game was she playing? Most of all, would she, once again, turn his world upside down?
Janelle Madison has it all. A successful real estate business and a home in the Port Royal section of Naples. Raised with money, she’s comfortable with the success she’s achieved and is respected by her many friends. There’s one thing that would make her life complete. The love of Lucien Behr. The ten months they’d lived together during college had been among the happiest times in her life.
When his name appears on the date with a bachelor list, the annual fund raiser for the one of her favorite organizations, she sees it as her last chance to regain his love. She’s willing to give up everything she’s worked for, but first she’d have to get him to forgive her for throwing his love back in his face.
“Ladies and gentleman, our next winner has requested a change of music pace. When the song starts the gentleman will know her identity.”
The back of his neck itched. He was the next bachelor. The band started to play, Lonestar’s Amazed. He knew. He knew. As expected, her body language made a statement, not uttering a sound, strolling onto the dance floor. Like an actress, trolling the red carpet, she smiled and waved when her friends clapped and cheered her on. The bitch was totally in her element, content to hold the spotlight walking out to the middle of the dancefloor.
His eyes were fixed on the stunning black-haired tease from his past. She was cute back then, but the woman in the slinky, figure-hugging gown was beautiful. Still laughing, she twirled around, revealing the soft drape of glittery fabric that exposed her naked back. A fall of ruler straight hair, black as night, draped her shoulder. Diamond earrings graced her ears and a single strand of diamonds snaked around her left arm, from wrist to elbow. The sight of her took him back, back to a time in his life he thought he had it all, until she crushed on his heart.
She stopped twenty feet away and stared at him, wearing a challenging smile, but continued to sway to the music, waiting for him to come to her like some lapdog she’d paid for. It’s no wonder she didn’t slap a sold sign on his forehead. He’d come a long way and was no longer that vulnerable twenty-three year old. He could buy and sell half the people in this room. It was time to show her who he was.
He slowly stood up, raised his drink to her in a mocking salute, before finishing what was left in the glass. He deliberately took his time approaching the dazzling woman who greeted him with open arms and a big smile.
She tilted her head slightly to the side. “Surprised?”
If the devil was a woman, the “I’ve won” gleam in her golden brown eyes said it all. “What do you think?”
“I take that as a yes. Don’t be a sore loser.”
“This is how you get your kicks, fun and games.”
“Luc, it’s just a dance.”
Refusing will surely give her the impression she’s still the one in control. He stepped close and smoothed an arm to the back of her waist. The flat of his hand met the silky, warm skin of her back. She ignored his other hand and glided her arms over his shoulders, locking her fingers in the back of his neck.
So you want to play. His other arm drifted over her hip, erasing the distance between their bodies that at one time had joined all the way. Years had passed, but they moved together like they did so long ago, slowly, intimately. She’d always been able to feel the words of their favorite love song and swayed her hips so they’d brush confidently against him, knowing his reaction. Like now. Damn her! He didn’t back off.
The lyrics from the song I can feel how much you love me, filled his head.
It had all been a lie.
“Are you here for business or pleasure?” she asked, drawing him back to the present.
“A little of both. I’m staying at the Vanderbilt, but you probably knew that before you decided to, once again, make me appear the fool.”
“Luc, the last thing I want to do is make you appear the fool.”
“And why should I believe you? You’ve got the art of pretense and deception down pat. You and Nancy Jean were best friends in college. Did you put her up to this?”
“Absolutely not,” she lied and tightened her arms around his shoulders. The stiff tendons in his neck were a sure sign he was anything but relaxed. She inhaled deeply and recognized his Creed Aventis cologne, one of her favorite men’s fragrances. “This is the first time I’ve been able to attend the fund raising event in a couple of years. I’m very busy.”
“It takes a lot of hard work spending your family’s money. They’re in pharmaceuticals if I remember correctly.”
The sharp blow of his snide comment hurt, but what else was he supposed to think? You need to get him past the bitter hurt before he can heal and forgive you. You can do this. She forced herself to laugh it off. “It can be exhausting.”
“So I’m the unlucky sap who gets to entertain you this weekend. I can’t wait to read the list you prepared, considering you’ve done just about everything.”
“So you’ve been following me in the society columns. I’m flattered.” She purposely fluttered her long lashes.
“Don’t be. It just confirmed, for me, who and what you are. A spoiled, rich bitch with nothing better to do than spend your parent’s hard earned money.”
Damn, I should’ve worn a suit of armor to deflect his insulting barbs. I’m going to have to work harder to change his mind about me.
The song ended before she could defend herself and deliberately reached for his hand before heading for his table. And so it begins. Thank goodness she wasn’t afraid of a challenge. The rest of her life was riding on this crazy plan.
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Since I live in NE PA, old man winter gifts us with his signature, snow and ice from November through March and sometimes April. I like to relax in front of a fire in the fireplace, drink flavored teas and read books that are set in warm, tropical locations.
Why is your featured book a cure for the winter blues?
Billionaire for Sale takes place in Naples, Florida, at the Vanderbilt Beach Resort, a warm and beautiful location.
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Runs March 1 – 31, 2021.
Drawing will be held on April 1, 2021.