Read Billionaire Romance: Christmas Surprise (Book One) Online

Authors: Violet Walker

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Billionaire Romance: Christmas Surprise (Book One) (2 page)

BOOK: Billionaire Romance: Christmas Surprise (Book One)
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“Dean. Harwood.”

“Dammit,” she collapsed back on the floor,
in no mood to deal with him today.

“I heard that.”

“Yeah well I wasn’t trying to be quiet. What
do you want?”

“Do you really want to do this through the
door?”

She smiled, his exasperation crystal clear
even with a door between them. “It depends on what you want.” Then
she heard it, a tiny voice on the brink of tears. She shot up from
the floor in one fluid move and yanked the door open. “Angel!” The
baby girl reached out to her nanny and wrapped her tiny arms around
her neck. Excited baby squeals pierced the air. “Come here, sweetie
pie,” she turned and walked into her apartment. “You can come
too.”

“Gee, thanks,” he grumbled and shut the door
behind him. He entered the room slowly and looked around, taking
note of the photos and artwork on the walls. “This place is
homey.”

“Okay.” She could hear the barely contained
disdain in his words. “So are you going to tell me why you’re here
or should I guess?”

“If I told you to guess, what would you
say?”

Krista nuzzled Angel close, taking in her
fresh baby scent and chubby baby parts. “I missed you, Angel baby.”
She kissed her fat little cheek and turned her attention to Dean.
“My guess, my
hope
is that you’ve decided to be a real
father to her. Barring that, I would say you’re here to admit
defeat and give Angel back to me .”

He barked out a laugh. “Good guess, but not
quite.”

She said nothing and let Angel’s baby noises
fill the room. If Dean Harwood thought she was going to sit around
and play some stupid guessing game, he was sadly mistaken. Finally,
the silence became too much for him and he sighed.

“Look I need your help okay? Angel knows you
and she loves you.”

“And?”

“And I need your help.”

Of course he did. That’s what the Dean
Harwoods of the world did: they hired people to do what they didn’t
want to do themselves. “For how long?”

“I’ll pay you, whatever you deem
sufficient.”

She scoffed. “How long?”

He raked both hands through his chestnut
hair in frustration. He wasn’t quite used to women questioning him,
harassing him, not willing to do his bidding. “Until I can handle
it on my own, I guess.”

“You mean until you can find an old woman
with no other obligations than to raise Angel for you?” Looking
over her shoulder at him, her gaze dared him to disagree.

“I have a job.”

“Don’t you have minions to do your bidding?”
Guys like him always had a handful of personal and executive
assistants following them around.

“Some things the boss has to do.” And what
he needed to do was get back to the office and finish these
negotiations. “So can you help? I’ll make it worth your while.”

Standing with Angel secure in her arms, she
whirled on him. “You think everything is about money, don’t you?
Well I can’t be bought by you or anyone else! If you want to pay
someone, go find your Mary friggin’ Poppins and get the hell out of
my face!” She kissed Angel and thrust her into his arms.

“I’m sorry, Krista, but I really need your
help. Angel needs you.”

And that was her problem. Angel was her
weakness and the arrogant bastard knew it. She had to place limits
on this help because she wouldn’t stay longer than she was needed,
longer than it was smart to stick around. The longer she stayed
with Angel, the harder it would be to say goodbye, and Mr. Hot
& Arrogant--well being around him wasn’t good for her mental
well-being. “You have until Christmas Eve. That’s three weeks.”

~

Dean’s life was back to normal. Mostly. With
Krista looking after Angel, he was able to focus on finishing off
the latest Harwood Industries acquisition. He hadn’t spent much of
the past few days with his daughter or her nanny, but he would
change that. Soon.

“Hey man, how’s the contract looking?”

Dean looked up and smiled into the piercing
blue eyes of his cousin, River, who was more like a brother to him.
River was the charm behind Harwood Industries while Dean was the
nuts and bolts guy. They were a great team. River schmoozed clients
in and Dean made sure the company got the best possible deal. “It’s
looking good. Have a seat.” He watched River fold his long lean
body into the seemingly-tiny office chair. “I think this will be
the last round of changes. The company will officially be ours
before Christmas.” He leaned back in his chair and returned his
cousin’s satisfied smile.

“We can announce it at the Christmas
Ball?”

Dean nodded. “Yes. The ball may actually be
tolerable this year.”

“Are you going to bring that adorable
daughter of yours and her sexy nanny?”

Dean tried to hide his visceral reaction to
his cousin’s words, but his fists balled up anyway. He didn’t want
anyone talking about Krista like that. She was his. At least she
would be. “Leave Krista alone.”

Ebony eyebrows raised, River’s blue eyes
sparkled with amusement. “You’ve already claimed her? I can respect
that.”

“No. I didn’t say…dammit, River.”

His loud laugh boomed loud in the big
office. “Hey man, I’m just glad you’re interested in something
besides business. Speaking of, did you get the paternity results
yet?” Dean shook his head and River sighed in frustration. “What
the hell, Dean? With our resources you could have those results in
24 hours, so why the delay?”

He couldn’t explain it himself, but it
didn’t take a genius to figure it out. “I haven’t done the test
yet.”

River frowned and then understanding dawned.
“How long is Krista staying?”

Dean shrugged, not wanting to answer the
question. He and River were close and never lied to one another.
“Three weeks. Christmas Eve is her last day.”

River unfolded his long body. “Then you’ve
got your work cut out for you, don’t ya?” With a casual wave, River
lazily ambled through the office door and down the hall.

Dean didn’t really understand his cousin’s
words but he knew he wasn’t ready for Krista to go yet. He had no
idea what he would do with her, but he needed to keep her under his
roof. Within his reach.

That much, he knew.

~

Krista was enjoying herself, dammit.
Spending her days with Angel, bundled up and roaming Dean’s
ridiculously large estate was amazing. Every day there was
something new for her and Angel to explore, and despite Dean’s
neglect, Angel was blossoming under Flora’s love and care. The
woman had taken to both Krista and the baby as though they were
already family.

She was stripping Angel out of her heavy
coat, hat, scarf and gloves when Flora came over to pinch her
chubby baby cheeks. “Oh even cold as a block of ice, she’s the most
beautiful baby the world has ever seen.”

Krista smiled. Angel kicked her legs and
giggles, the love between her and Flora went both ways. “She is
adorable, aren’t you baby?” More kicking and giggling and squealing
followed. Krista hoisted the baby up on her hip and slid her into
the high chair at the tall counter. Even though Dean was never
around, he’d made sure Angel had every little thing a baby could
possibly need. The chair was high end cherry wood with hand-carved
engravings around the legs and the tray. “Here you go sweetie,” she
placed a few chunks of fruit in front of Angel and watched her
attack them with a smile.

“Here’s some hot tea for you, sweet girl.”
Flora sat tea in front of her and watched. “He’s a good man, you
know.”

Now it all made sense. She wondered why
Flora was hovering more than usual. “I’m sure he is, Flora. But is
going to be a good father?” That had been her concern even before
she met the arrogant man, but three days under his roof, and she
was rethinking her impulsive decision to give Angel to her
father.

“What he needs,” Flora slid a mouthwatering
bowl of stew at her, “is a good woman who will help him,
show
him how to be a good father.” She gave Krista a pointed
look.

She needed to quash those thoughts right
away. “That won’t be me Flora, whatever you’re thinking. He thought
I was after his money and I’m sure he still does. He needs to learn
how to be a father for Angel and for him. No one else.”

Flora looked at her for a beat and then
burst out laughing. “And that’s exactly why he needs a woman like
you. The women he dates, a term I use loosely mind you, only care
about his money and his status. You don’t seem to care at all about
those or him. You’re perfect.”

Now it was Krista’s turn to laugh. “You’re
sweet, Flora, but that’s not going to happen.”

“Never say never, dear. Now I better get
started on dinner, so you two eat up.”

She watched the woman head to the other side
of the kitchen where a pile of vegetables sat in a colander
awaiting her sharp knife. No matter what she thought, Krista knew
Dean wasn’t the man for her and she wasn’t the woman for him. He
was handsome and there had been a few sparks of chemistry between
them during their brief encounters, but he couldn’t help but
question her motives regarding his money. She didn’t need that in
her life.

She needed to make sure he knew how to take
care of Angel so she could start the next chapter in her own life
story. She would say goodbye to the sweet baby she’d cared for
since birth and find a way to heal her heart. Every day she came
downstairs with Angel on her hip and regretted that she’d ever
tried to do the right thing. She should have just done as Karen had
asked and raised Angel on her own. Dean left for the office before
they were awake and most nights he came home well after Angel’s bed
time. Usually she was up, but in no mood to deal with him she
curled up with a book on her bed.

She’d plowed her way through several Jane
Austen novels, using her lengthy evenings to job hunt and read the
books she didn’t have time for. As a young woman, she’d gone
through a list of the all-time greatest books while she cared for
her grandma during her last days. One day, she would have a life in
which she was the star, not one where she watched the only person
who’d ever cared for her slowly die of cancer. Or one where she
watched someone else’s child grow into a beautiful young woman.

No, her new life would be all about her.

At least for a little while.

Chapter Three


D
o you have a boyfriend?” Her frown
alerted Dean that he probably shouldn’t have just blurted the
question out of the blue.

“Excuse me?” Arms crossed defensively and
that small chin tilted up, he could tell she was ready to
pounce.

Dean sighed, knowing he had overstepped the
boundaries she was determined to set between, them but he needed to
know and he knew it was for more than professional reasons. He’d
keep those to himself. “I just want to make sure we have your full
attention until Christmas Eve.” Maybe longer, but he’d worry about
that part later. “I need to know you won’t run off and get married
next week.”

Her laugh was humorless. “That is definitely
not
going to happen, so don’t worry your pretty little head
about it.”

“You think I’m pretty?” His laughed but he
was under no illusions. Krista was here for Angel, not him. He
could live with that—for now—even though it did sting his male
pride. She was a beautiful, if strange, woman. She was freakishly
small, like an elf. Her hair was too blonde, almost golden and it
was way too curly, standing nearly a foot from her head. Those big,
watery blue-green eyes made his protective instinct kick into
overdrive, and her sweet nature with Angel was awesome. She was
born to be a mother, a caretaker, and he was surprised to find she
wasn’t taken.

She scoffed and let a small smile creep
across her face. “I think you are
something
Dean.”

He didn’t think she meant it as a
compliment, but that flare in her gorgeous eyes told him she was
attracted to him. That he could work with. “So if you don’t have a
boyfriend, or a girlfriend, why do you need to be gone by the
holiday?”

Krista set her silverware on the edge of the
plate, wiped her mouth and focused on Dean. “Because I need to
figure out the rest of
my
life.”

He nodded. “Maybe I can help. Tell me what
you want to do.”

She sighed and he could tell she wasn’t
comfortable talking to him, but there was a moment, a tiny spark in
her eyes, that told him she would tell him. “That’s the problem; I
don’t know. I spent most of my early twenties taking care of the
grandmother who raised me. She was sick for six years before the
cancer took her, and when she died I had no real skills because I
took care of her. Then Karen hired me to care for her mother, who
died just after she found out she was pregnant. So she kept me on
and I took care of Angel. Now I finally have my life to myself and
I have no clue.”

“None?” He figured she was ashamed or
embarrassed to tell him.

“I’d like to travel, but I’m not sure it
would be wise.”

“Financially you mean?” She nodded. “I’m
sure Karen left her estate to you.”

She bristled. “She did, you prick, and I put
it all in trust for Angel.” She stood up, slammed her napkin down
and stormed out of the room.

“Damn.” He hadn’t meant it that way, but his
past comments came back to haunt him. Of course she thought the
worst of his comments. Hadn’t he done the same to her within
seconds of meeting her?

He needed to apologize. Now.

Dean found Krista in the library, perusing
his fiction section. “Krista, I’m sorry.” She stiffened at the
sound of his voice but she didn’t turn around or acknowledge his
words. “I know you have no reason to believe me, but I didn’t mean
it that way.”

“Then how did you mean it?” Her voice was
laced with steel and she still wouldn’t let him see her face.

BOOK: Billionaire Romance: Christmas Surprise (Book One)
9.57Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
ads

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