Authors: Lena Skye
A BWWM BILLIONAIRE PREGNANCY ROMANCE By..
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Elena Parker loves her work as an artist but she has been struggling to pay the bills for a long time and is now desperate for a way to make ends meet.
So much so that she finds she is ready to take on the unexpected role of a surrogate mother for a rich man who desires a child.
Billionaire businessman Neal is the man offering Elena $1 million dollars to produce an offspring for him and he needs this baby to be born as soon as possible.
On the face of it, this should be a simple “
Baby Of Convenience
” arrangement for Neal and Elena however it soon becomes anything but that.
When Elena discovers Neal's true motive for wanting a child she discovers she has gotten herself mixed up in a dark world full of dark people who are willing to do anything to get what they want.
And for Elena and her baby there might be no way out....
A Baby Of Convenience © 2015, Lena Skye
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.
To my son, Neal,
I don’t know if you remember this, but when you were young, about five or six, you got this idea into your head that you could fly. You used to climb onto things – boxes, trees, ladders - and jump off with your hands spread out and your eyes closed. You mother thought your next attempt would be to try jumping off the roof. She got so worried that she made me have a chat with you, and when I asked you why you thought you could fly, you told me that you knew you couldn’t. You were just doing it so that I would sit and talk to you for a little while.
I realized then, that where you were concerned, I was guilty of neglect. I knew that as a father, I could have done better, but sometimes, when you are young and building a business out of nothing, you think you have all the time in the world. There were times I thought I would live forever, and I figured that there was plenty of time to make up for all those lost years. So I kept doing what I had been doing and eventually, you stopped jumping off things to get my attention. I think you realized it wouldn’t work anymore.
I’m not trying to justify my choices. I just want you to know what I was thinking at the time. I was thinking that if I built a successful enough business, then one day I could hand it over to you and George, and you boys would never have to want for anything the way I did growing up. I wanted to secure a future for both of you, I wanted you to have a safety net. I want you to know that this business that I built from nothing, became what it is today, because of you and your brother. The two of you were the driving force behind my ambition. My love for you was the hard days and the long hours and the endless meetings. Why do you think I named it ‘Hargrove Brothers’? This company was built on the last of my savings, my sweat and tears, but more importantly, it was built on you and George.
Find something you love to do, son. It doesn’t matter what it is. It doesn’t matter if it involves my company or something completely different. It doesn’t matter if it pays a lot or nothing at all. Do it because it makes you feel worthwhile. Make something of yourself. Lean on your brother when you need to, but let him lean on you too, and remember to always look after each other.
Neal read the letter one last time before he put it back in its envelope and into the top drawer on his writing desk. He walked back into his expansive living room and waited for his brother. As usual, George was running late. He switched on his flat screen and stared at the television without really listening. The noise crowded out his thoughts and he was grateful for the distraction.
He was starting to worry about his brother, when the doorbell finally rang. Neal picked himself up of the sofa and went to the front door. George was dressed immaculately in his navy blue business suit. Neal remembered the one; it had been a gift from their father. Still, his face was worn and tired.
“You look like you’ve had a bad day,” Neal observed as George walked in.
“Not bad,” George clarified, “just long.”
The brothers walked to the sofa where Neal had already laid out their takeout meal on the coffee table. George kicked off his shoes and unbuttoned his collar. He fell onto the sofa with a loud sigh and signaled to Neal to pass him his dinner.
“Chang’s?” George asked.
“Of course,” Neal confirmed.
“I don’t know why dad loved this place so much,” George said, taking a bite out of his stir-fried chicken, “they use too much oil.”
Then he said, almost as an afterthought. “Remind me why we do this every year?”
Neal smiled. “Because Dad loved this restaurant, and we thought it would be a good way to honor his memory.”
“Hmm… by eating food he loved, but we can’t stand?”
“A testament to our love and respect for him,” Neal said.
“Tell me,” George said in mock seriousness, “were we drunk at the time?”
Neal laughed, “Of course we were. Why else would we have come up with such a ridiculous way to honor the man?”
George laughed with Neal. George was always busy with the company, and Neal was always busy with traveling, socializing, or another one of his ten-minute projects, that usually ended up lasting only five minutes. But on this one night every year, they re-arranged their schedules so that they were together. They had come up with the idea a few months after their father’s death. Both were still mourning him, and neither one had figured out a way to let go of their pain.
So they came up with a plan of action. Each year, on their father’s death anniversary, they would get together, order food that their father loved and eat it while they exchanged stories about him. It hadn’t been a serious plan. It was simply a way of channeling their grief. It was a way to feel like they could do something about a situation over which that they had no control.
When their father’s first death anniversary came along, Neal and George both remembered their drunken plan and followed through with it, and it had been a surprising success. After eating, they bonded over their mutual distaste for the food they had just consumed, and that had inevitably led to stories about their father. They ended up talking the night away and somehow their father’s loss did not seem so fresh or painful. It was still there, but it was a shared burden now, and that made it lighter to bear.
“How long has it been?” George asked.
Neal knew what he meant, but he still counted internally before he answered. He had been only twenty-two, and George had been twenty-six.
“Seven years now,” Neal replied.
“Seven years,” George repeated, “seems like it's been longer.”
“Funny, to me it feels like it happened yesterday,” Neal said, but then he amended, “but then again, I didn’t have a business to keep afloat.”
“I was lucky,” George said modestly. “Dad handed me a well-oiled machine. I just had to pay attention, that’s all.”
“You were twenty-six,” Neal told him, “and you were not only handed a massive responsibility, but you were also given a small fortune.”
“I’m just saying,” Neal explained, “you could have done what I did… and pissed away your money.”
“You didn’t piss it all away,” George said gently.
“Because I had you there to rein me in,” Neal said honestly. “If it weren’t for you I would have blown that cash on drugs, booze and women.”
George laughed. “You make yourself sound more interesting than you actually are.”
That was just like George. He was modest even when he didn’t have to be, and he shied away from credit that he was rightfully due. Neal always felt woefully inadequate in his brother’s presence, but he loved George too much to feel any real envy.
“I did go through a phase,” Neal said defensively.
“A short one.”
“Fine, whatever – a short one. Still, I could have ended up on the streets.”
“From your drug habit, no doubt,” George laughed.
“Why is that so hard to believe?” Neal asked, attempting to kick at his brother and narrowly missing.
“You’ve tried pot, yes?” George asked.
“How many times?”
Neal hesitated. “Twice.”
Both he and George started cracking up at that. They laughed at themselves, each other, and the strange and unplanned route both their lives had taken. George had always had an interest in the company, but it had more to do with his father’s personal investment, than a genuine appeal for the sports equipment trade.
George had watched his father’s stringent work ethic and tried to emulate that as far as he could manage. He had taken on a series of internships in the company since he was old enough to have a summer job and, as a result, he began to enjoy the work and the atmosphere.
Neal, on the other hand, had never had the head for business. He was indecisive about his life and his future. He had no real goals or ambitions. He sailed along aimlessly, looking for the next adventure. He lived a life of privilege bought for him by his father and his brother, and because of that, he had nothing pushing him to make a decision or to stick to it. He held jobs when he wanted to, he left them because he grew bored. Neal was safe in his wayward lifestyle. He had the safety net that his father had set up for him, and his brother had secured.
“Let’s go to Hawaii next week,” Neal said spontaneously, “just us brothers, and maybe we can take Harry, too.”
George rolled his eyes. “Unlike some people, I have a job, and so does Harry.”
“You’re the president of that damn company,” Neal said dismissively, “you can take a week off.”
“If I took a week off, I might not be president for much longer.”
Neal sighed. “I guess that’s a no on Hawaii?”
“You guessed right.”
Neal nodded, stabbing his chicken and popping it into his mouth. George was right, they used too much oil.
“What’s happening with you at the moment?” George asked casually.
Neal knew what he was getting at, but he wasn’t in the mood to talk about it. “Did you read the letter dad left you?” he said, deliberately ignoring George’s question.
“Not this year,” George admitted. “I don’t really have to anymore. I know every word of that letter by heart.”
“Me too,” Neal said, “but it doesn’t stop me from reading mine every year, though.”
“I don’t know why you still read yours,” George said thoughtfully.
Neal wasn’t sure either. He knew that letter backwards and forwards now, and still, every year, without fail, he would spend at least fifteen minutes poring over it as though he could find some new meaning in its words. The truth was, Neal had always felt a distinct sense of unease tied to his father’s letter. It sprang from his little insecurities and the suspicion that his father had been trying to tell him something that he couldn’t yet understand. His ritualistic reading of it was his way of trying to decipher what he knew he was missing.
“Do I ever get to read yours?” Neal asked innocently.
George gave him a knowing smile. “You ask me that every year.”
“And every year you refuse me.”
“Exactly,” George winked at him. “Take the hint, little brother.”
Neal rolled his eyes, but dropped the subject. Somehow, Neal had come up with the reasoning that there was something in George’s letter that would help him make better sense of his own. His father was trying to tell him something, Neal knew that, but he had been so subtle about it, that his meaning was lost.
He could have been annoyed with George about his constant refusal, but he was too good a brother. Always supportive, even in disapproval. Always generous, even when Neal wasn’t deserving of it, and never judgmental, even though judgment was justified.
“How are things with Mallory?” Neal asked, in an attempt to show George that there were no hard feelings.
George gave a heavy sigh. “We broke up.”
Neal raised his eyebrows in surprise. “Since when?”
“Since she tried to get me to buy her an Aston Martin.”
“Seriously?” Neal asked incredulously.
“Yup,” George replied.
“Well,” Neal said teasingly, “can’t say I’m surprised.”
“Well, she was a model,” Neal said with a wicked smile directed at his brother. “I always wondered what she was doing with you.”
George landed a punch on Neal’s arm in retribution, but he laughed lightly.