Forever Branded (Billionaire Love Series #1)

BOOK: Forever Branded (Billionaire Love Series #1)
5.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




Jessa Eden




Jessa Eden


Forever Branded

2015 by Jessa Eden

Editing: Hot Tree Editing


This ebook is licensed for your personal enjoyment only. This ebook may not be re-sold or given away to other people. Thank you for respecting the hard work of this author.



This book is a work of fiction and any resemblance to persons, living or dead, or places, events or locales is purely coincidental. The characters are productions of the author’s imagination and used fictitiously.



Adult Reading Material



Check out my other stories:


Micah, The Fierce Falls Hard For Emma, The Brave

The Whore’s Consummation


I want to give major props to the people who helped me proof this story. I am very grateful for their contribution:

Nora Brechtel

Denice Clecker

Gabriela Glent

Diane Robson

Colette Trainor



Enjoy this intriguing story told from the perspective of two people, Marla and Beau.

































How long would you pine for someone you loved?




For me, I carried a torch twenty-two years, six months, and four days before I saw the love of my life again.

Excruciating, I know.

“Why would you do that?” you ask.

Because I’d had real love once. A heart-pounding, dizzying kind of love that comes once in a lifetime.

Yeah, it was that good.

Only I was too young and naive to appreciate the gift I had been given before I lost it.

Now, I knew what had been ripped out of my life.

The love of a man named Beau Shepard.

His departure was partly my fault.

But I won’t get into that just yet.

At the moment, I was on my way to celebrate the opening of my sister, Emma, and her husband, Micah’s, foundation. Fresh from getting married, having a baby, and adopting a little boy, they put this charity together after Micah had retired from his career as a professional hockey player.

They’d had a busy year.

I was so excited for them to enjoy this new chapter in their life. It hadn’t been easy for them to get to this point of happiness, but they had persevered and came out better for it.

Their love story gave me hope.

Meanwhile, they were throwing a big party at a fancy hotel in downtown Baltimore and I was running late for it.

I had a pretty good excuse.

Once a week, I volunteered with Meals on Wheels. My last drop off was always Mrs. Edwards and she was a talker. She lived in a cute little cottage style house in a cul-de-sac a couple blocks from my house.

“Oh, honey,” she started as she opened her ancient screen door. “I just can’t thank you enough for bringing this meal to me. You’re an angel.”

“My pleasure, Mrs. Edwards. I’m happy to help.”

“You know I have a granddaughter that looks just like you.”

“Paige?” I asked, familiar with the story.

“Oh you know her? She has the same pretty dark hair you do.”

“Thanks, Mrs. Edwards, but no, I don’t know her. You’ve just told me about her before. Anyway, I have to scoot. Lots to do today.”

Her round weathered face fell into disappointment. “Oh, please come in and have some lemonade.”

She looked so sad, how could I say no?

I just didn’t have the heart to deny a lonely grandmother company.

“All right,” I sighed. “One glass of lemonade and then I’ve gotta go.”

She clapped her worn hands together in delight. “Oh goodie...Let me tell you about my granddaughter...”

I knew I was running late, but I dutifully followed her in, knowing I would be there for a while. To tell you the truth, I didn’t mind. Her house always smelled of sugar cookies, reminding me of when my mom used to bake for my sister and me.

Mrs. Edwards whipped out her phone to show me pictures as I listened attentively to her update me on the rest of her family. Eventually, after “oohing” and “aahing” over pictures of her granddaughter’s graduation from beauty school, I was able to say goodbye and get out the door.

I raced home, stripped off my clothes as I walked down the hall, and jumped into the shower for a quick scrub. Afterward, wrapped in my purple terry cloth towel, I hemmed and hawed between wearing my little black dress or a more daring red cocktail number.

I wished I was more of a risk taker and enjoyed drawing attention to myself.

But that had never been my style.

Ultimately, I decided to play it safe and donned the black sleeveless frock. It was simple and elegant. Appropriate for an afternoon party.

I threw on some makeup, grabbed my purse, and headed out to my car. I backed out of the driveway and sped through the streets of Baltimore, trying only to be a half-hour late.

As I looked in my rearview mirror and attempted to put on lip gloss, I weaved in and out of traffic quickly. Okay, not so safe, but I was used to multi-tasking. I turned into the parking lot of the Baltimore Waterfront Marriot in record time, parked the car, and finished applying my pink gloss. I rubbed my lips together, smearing the gloss evenly.


I jumped out and locked the door of my red Honda Accord, hopped across the parking lot trying to put on a pair of nude heels, and dashed into the big conference room where the celebration was happening.

“Marla!” my baby sister greeted as I flew in, her blue eyes twinkling in pure joy.

“Emma!” I threw my arms around her like we hadn’t seen each other in years. In reality, I had just seen her a couple of hours earlier at the salon we owned together.

But that’s how it had always been between us.

Tight. Thick as thieves.

We were sisters through and through.

We shared the same smile, thick waist, and voluptuous hips. She was blonde, while I was dark-haired and brown-eyed. Slightly taller than me, Emma exuded a sweet goodness that had won over Micah Turner, the rugged ex-hockey player.

Speaking of which, her dashing husband wasn’t far behind his wife. He engulfed me in a big, bear hug. “Marla. Thanks for coming!” He shook me up and down as I tried to breathe through his enthusiastic embrace.

“Glad to be here,” I muttered through my squashed lungs. “I love supporting a worthy cause.”

“Good.” He put me down and grinned big. “We need you.”

It wasn’t hard to understand why my sister had fallen for his wicked charms. He was a tall drink of water with chiseled features, dark hair, and bright grey eyes.

I’d made him work damn hard in his quest to win Emma over, but now I loved him like the brother I never had.

He gave me another hug and set off to greet more people streaming in. Glancing around, I took in the cheerful vibe the conference room offered. Between the floral carpet, rose-colored walls, and a ton of sunshine pouring in through the many windows, it was a happy place to celebrate the birth of something great.

Plenty of people were showing up for the party. Big wigs, teachers, volunteers, and half of Micah’s former team were there to support the official opening of the Micah and Emma Turner Foundation.

So cool.

But for the time being, I was more concerned with the cuter things in life.

“Where’s the baby?” I asked my sister.

“Right here.” Emma grabbed him from Jedi, my other nephew, who was standing behind her.

She and Micah had adopted nine-year-old Jedi after his mom died of cancer. So sad. However, he was doing remarkably well under the love of his new family.

“Hey, Marla,” Jedi said as threw his arms around me.

“Hey, yourself. How’s school going?” I asked as I hugged him back.

“’s summer. I’m not in school.”

“Oh, that’s right. So, what are you up to?” I asked, taking in his camouflage cargo pants, tan work boots and tie-dye T-shirt.

“I’m playing baseball and hanging out with my friends.”

“Cool. I’m glad you’re having a great summer.”

“Tell her about the camp you signed up for,” Emma encouraged as she patted the baby’s back.

His green eyes glowed with life. “Oh, yeah. I’m going to Theater camp.”

That was definitely up Jedi’s alley. “You are? That sounds super cool.” I tousled his red hair, which was complete with a wayward cowlick sticking out the front. Somehow, it just added to his charm.

“Yeah, I get to fly on an airplane and everything,” he explained excitedly.

“Wow. Awesome.”

He nodded with a confident smile. “Yep, but for now, I gots to go meet me some ladies. I’ll catch you later.”

That boy was too much. Precocious in nature, he was always looking to practice his courting skills.

I just shook my head. “All right. Good luck with that,” I said as he left us to wander the room in search of women to flirt with.

Emma grinned as Jedi walked away. “That boy is going to a heartbreaker one day.”

I smiled back. “I agree. Let’s just hope he picks a good one.”

“Oh, he will,” Emma claimed decisively. “He’s a romantic at heart and believes in true love.”

“Yeah, that’s a good point. I hope it’s an easy road for him.”

“Love isn’t always easy, but it is worth fighting for,” Emma professed, fresh from her recent experience with Micah.

Oh, the perils of true love.

My long ago hurt tugged at my heart. “Yes, it is,” I sighed.

Emma didn’t really know what had happened to me. I’d kept it hidden all this time because I could never bring myself to share the trauma of losing Beau.

“Will you watch Josiah while I play hostess for a little while?” Emma asked, interrupting my sad musings.

“Of course, let me see the little munchkin.” I took Josiah from her, and his little hands immediately latched onto my hair as his mama left to attend to her duties.

He gurgled, his eyes bright with excitement as his little body wiggled about in my arms. He was absolutely adorable with these chubby cheeks and twinkling grey eyes, just like his daddy’s. He smiled big with one tooth sticking out of his bottom gum, making me melt as he tugged at my long, dark hair.

“You’re so darn cute!” I cooed as I kissed him gently on his temple, his sweet scent reminding me of my son, Charlie, when he was baby. He was all grown up now. He didn’t need his mama like he used to, which made me ache for a little one.

The chances of me being a mother again were pretty slim at the age of forty. But I was definitely grateful I had the chance to be Charlie’s mom.

For now, I loved being an auntie. It was the first time in my life I got to be the fun irresponsible one instead of playing the role of responsible sister, mother, or caretaker.

I’d worn that tedious title most of my life.



Calm in a crisis.

Translation: Dull and boring.

I wanted to let loose, and be wild and carefree. But life had not been kind to me that way. There always seemed to be someone or something I needed to take care of.

BOOK: Forever Branded (Billionaire Love Series #1)
5.43Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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