The Billionaire Boss's Forbidden Mistress

By: Miranda Lee

CHAPTER ONE

LEAH DIDN’T STOPswimming till a full twenty laps were behind her.

Satisfied with her workout, she stroked over to the side of the pool and grabbed the silver handles on the ladder. As she hauled herself upwards out of the water, her gaze connected with her left thigh and the rough ridges of white skin that crisscrossed it.

Leah didn’t look away, as she usually did. Instead, she forced herself to study the scars in the early morning sunshine.

They had faded quite a bit over the past two years. But they were never going to go away, she accepted as she climbed out on to the tiled pool surround and reached for her towel.

Leah sighed. She wished her disfigurement didn’t bother her so much. It seemed pathetic to be upset about a few wretched scars when the car accident that had produced them had taken the life of her mother.

Nothing compared with that tragedy, not even Carl leaving her a few months after the accident. Though she’d been shattered at the time.

Leah clutched the towel tightly in her hands, rubbing at her scars less than gently as she recalled the expression on Carl’s face when he’d taken his first good look at her scarred leg. He’d been utterly revolted. And repulsed.

He’d made excuses not to make love to her for weeks after she came home from hospital, till finally he’d announced that he wanted a divorce, saying it was because she had changed.

Leah agreed that she had. During the long, painful weeks she’d been in hospital, she’d found a different person inside herself. A better person, she liked to think. A person with more character, and insight, and compassion.

Carl claimed she’d become far too serious and was no fun any more. Leah’s desperate argument that she’d just lost her mother and was naturally feeling sad made no impression on him at all.

His leaving her had nothing to do with her personality having changed, she thought bitterly. It was all to do with her scars. And her limp.

Well, the limp had long gone but the scars would never go. Not the scars on her legs. Or the scars on her heart.

Still, she’d finally come to terms with Carl’s calling it quits on her. After all, what woman would actually want to stay married to a man who could not tolerate a wife who was no longer physically perfect?

Which, before the accident, she had been. Or so she’d been told all her life.

Leah had been the image of her mother, a natural blonde with lovely green eyes, perfect teeth and skin, and a very pretty face and figure. Leah had grown up taking her good genes for granted. Taking her privileged lifestyle for granted as well.

As the only child of one of Sydney’s most successful stockbrokers, she’d never wanted for a thing. She’d been spoiled rotten all her life, her pampered upbringing producing a precious little society princess who thought the world was her oyster. Working for a living had never been on Leah Bloom’s agenda. She had a monthly allowance, plus a credit card. Why work nine to five in some dreary job?

When people had asked what she did for a living, she had told them she was an aspiring writer, a minor ambition that had come to her during her last year at school when her English teacher complimented her on one of her creative writing assignments. She’d even attended a fiction-writing course at one stage, bought herself a computer and started a chick-lit novel, which was little more than a diary of what she did every week.

Which meant extremely silly and shallow, Leah decided in hindsight.

How could it be anything else when her lifewas silly and shallow, every day filled with shopping and charity luncheons and idle hours spent in beauty salons getting ready for the evening’s outing. By the time Leah was twenty-one, she’d been to more parties and premieres and black-tie dos than she could count.

Falling in love and marrying Carl had been the icing on her seemingly never-ending cake. He’d been attractive and charming and rich.Very rich. Leah’s family didn’t mix with any other kind.

Carl had been thirty when they married, the heir to an absolute fortune made in diamonds. She’d been twenty-three.

They’d only been married for six months when the accident happened. Way too short a time for Carl to fall out of love with her. Leah had long come to the conclusion that she’d just been a trophy wife, a decoration on his arm to show off, a possession that he’d only valued when she’d been glitteringly perfect.

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