The Stubborn BillionaireBy: Lexxie Couper
For Sami Lee and Jess Dee. I didn’t know either of them when I first started writing this book, but I’m pretty bloody certain I would never have finished it if it wasn’t for them. Better friends a girl could never find.
For Heidi. Who has been on this writing journey with me for nine years. One day, I’ll actually get to hug her in person.
And for every person who has ever read my books. Thank you.
“Three and a half thousand dollars?” Sienna Roberts gripped her phone tighter and stared hard at the large white canvas before her. Calm down. Just calm down. One, two, three, four—
“Then there is the issue of the girl’s broken wrist.” The prissy male voice on the other end of the line shattered any chance of keeping her poise. “Zachary is responsible for that as well, and her parents are threatening legal action.”
Oh, I bet they are.
She rubbed at her closed eyes with her free hand. Who wouldn’t think of suing when the target was the son of Platinum Joe, a man once the country’s most successful and outlandish talent agent? They probably thought they’d be tapping a gold mine.
She opened her eyes and let out a slow breath. “I know my brother isn’t himself at the moment”—she struggled to keep her voice calm—“but he’s not normally aggressive.” She focused on the pristine canvas before her. She seriously needed to regain control of her emotions. Not an easy task. Not when the predominate thought in her head was, I’m gonna kill him. Was her petulant half brother or reprobate father the walking corpse? At this point in time, Sienna conceded that either would suffice. “Are you sure Zach was involved in the fight?”
A snooty sniff came through the connection. What did Mr. Fenchurch look like? Clearly, he was one of those men who considered being the principal of an elite private school more important and worthy than being Mother Teresa. Definitely small in stature, receding hairline, uptight bowtie, and socks held up by suspenders… “Zachary is absolutely responsible,” Mr. Fenchurch blustered. Damn, was the very notion of Zach’s possible innocence tantamount to heresy? “He admitted to starting the fight. In fact, he boasted about it.”
She rubbed her eyes again. Oh, Zach. What am I going to do with you? “Why didn’t you call me when this happened? Surely I should have been informed straight away. Three hours after the event seems a little strange.”
A long pause stretched through the connection. “Zachary informed us you weren’t available. He said you were posing for a…ahem, a Playboy photo shoot.”
She almost dropped her phone. “A what?”
That’s it, Zach. You’re dead.
“It is of no consequence, Ms. Roberts,” Fenchurch hurried on, embarrassment clear in his thin voice. “The Point School is not here to judge the family of our students. We are here to educate the children of our community’s finest citizens. We are here to shape and mold our country’s future leaders. I’m sure you can understand Zachary has no place in such an environment. I’m afraid I had no choice but to expel him and send him home. We will not accept antisocial behavior on our grounds, regardless of the situation.”
She blew a puff of frustrated breath into her fringe. The situation. It always came back to the situation. The famous father with a major gambling addiction in jail for embezzlement, the trophy-wife stepmother dead from a heroin overdose, the estranged daughter lumped with her father’s exorbitant legal bills—how that happened, she still couldn’t work out. She had, after all, wiped her hands of her father over eight years ago. Plus, there was the extremely spoiled and overindulged half brother sent to live with her, intent on making life hell for everyone, and next to no money coming in because her once prosperous art career had seemingly gone the way of the dodo. That was the situation.
Add to that no social or sex life to speak of, and now a bill for 3,500 dollars to replace a musical instrument Zach didn’t even play, along with the threat of more costly court bills she couldn’t afford, and Sienna felt pretty damn miserable. This was just not her year.
She snorted. Hey, at least now I have a legitimate reason for sending Zach to a public school. If nothing else, no more ridiculously expensive monthly tuition fees, right?