The Unknown Billionaire

By: Miranda P. Charles

(Captured by Love Book 6)



CHAPTER ONE


“I’m betting on Jarryd.”

Marilyn Grant frowned at the glowing Jade Renner-Bilton before nodding and calling up the Notes app on her phone. She opened the document where she recorded her friends’ bets for their Captured by Love game and tapped J-A-R-R-Y-D next to Jade’s name.

“Are you annoyed at me?” Jade asked in surprise.

She showed some teeth as she forced a smile. “No.”

Jade stared at her, confused. “You don’t want me to bet on Jarryd?”

“You can bet on anyone you want,” she said with a despondent sigh, letting her mask slip.

“What’s wrong?” Jade took her arm and led her to a wicker love seat on the patio by the back entrance of Rick and Lexie Donnelly’s house, where their gang of close friends and select relatives were celebrating an engagement and four pregnancies, including Jade’s.

Marilyn plonked herself next to Jade on the sofa. Good thing they were now out of earshot of their other buddies, most of whom were congregated in the expansive garden decked out with ample outdoor seating. Others were having a dip in the inviting swimming pool, enjoying the perfect Sydney weather on the second day of the Australian summer.

“I just don’t want to imagine him winning our Captured by Love game, that’s all,” she answered Jade truthfully.

“Why not?”

She let out a big exhale. “I didn’t want to tell anyone this because I don’t want to make a big deal of it, but Jarryd and I dated for three weeks. Then two months ago, he dumped me.”

Jade’s mouth dropped open.

“Apparently, we don’t have enough chemistry.”

“That’s what he told you?” Jade asked incredulously.

Marilyn nodded, glancing in Jarryd Westbourne’s direction. Her heart galloped at the sight of him lounging casually as he chatted with the other guys, his dark brown eyes slightly squinting from the brightness of the afternoon sun. She’d been tempted to comment that his newly trimmed black hair suited him when they’d greeted each other earlier. But all they’d exchanged was a brief “hey, good to see you”—their first verbal conversation since Jarryd had told her two months ago that, while he found her attractive, he didn’t think there was a spark between them.

Liar.

If there had been any more of a spark between them, they’d have spontaneously combusted.

Whatever his real reason, it sure as hell wasn’t the flimsy excuse he’d given her. They’d smouldered together, damn it!

Marilyn shook her head vigorously to clear the hurtful thoughts from her head. Argh, she hated that her feelings for the man hadn’t abated. Worse, seeing him today wearing a plain blue shirt that clung to his well-sculpted torso reminded her just how hot of a hunk he really was. And she so needed closure!

“Hey,” Jade said softly, placing a hand on her arm.

“Do you know if Lucas has ever mentioned my parents to Jarryd, since your husband is his bestie among us?”

“I don’t think so. Why?”

“Well, Jarryd has known from the beginning I’m well-off—having a big house and driving a luxury car—but I’m sure he thought that was due to me running a successful business brokerage firm. Two days after we had a conversation about my parents, he ditched me. So I don’t think he’d known before that I’m the daughter of the Grants of Grant Ace Holdings. I mean, my name doesn’t normally appear alongside Mum and Dad’s in the media since my business is independent from Grant Ace, and Jarryd probably didn’t have a reason to make the connection before.”

“Oh, honey. I know you don’t like parading the fact that you are Barry and Alice Grant’s daughter, but what makes you think that that’s Jarryd’s reason for breaking up with you?”

“I spent days and nights wondering what went wrong or what I might have done to turn him off,” she said glumly. “We were having such a great time getting to know each other, and it wasn’t until I mentioned my parents—specifically that they own several shopping centres around the world—that he suddenly started acting distant. Then he ditched me soon after.”

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