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Billionaire Novelist 4 : Every Romance is a Revenge Fantasy

By:Mimi Strong

Part 1: Running Away

David Smith Wittingham

He walked up and down the streets of Montreal, looking in reflective surfaces for signs of David.

At a toy store, superimposed over a display of Legos, he saw Davey, age seven.

David Smith Wittingham's life had taken a dramatic turn three times, though the first was the only one not marked by a name change.

He'd been seven when his father's business took off, and the family prepared to move to a new house and neighborhood, for "security reasons" he couldn't wrap his young mind around.

Davey's parents promised amazing improvements, and it was true that the gifts of toys and new bikes didn't stop, but Davey was still unhappy, because soon another boy would be sleeping in the room with the tree mural his mother had painted. Someone else would take his desk at his school, and someone else would become Stuart's best friend.

Davey tried to run away from home, on his new BMX bike, but he only got as far as the outskirts of town. He was cold and hungry when a police car pulled up alongside him.

When the police brought him home, he found that his mother had been so distraught, she'd popped a blood vessel in her eye. Being so young, he couldn't have known the eye would heal over time. As he stared at that cloud of red in his mother's eye, so bloody and raw, he felt the true weight of guilt for the very first time.

It's all your fault, he told himself in bed that night. You're selfish and ungrateful, just like your father says.

The stinging red marks across his bu**ocks, from his father's belt, were his only comfort. He held his breath and tried not to feel anything.

They moved the next week, and he never saw Stuart or his old classroom again. His teacher hugged him goodbye, but he didn't cry.

At seventeen, a few people were still calling him Davey, but mostly to give him a hard time. There were only two people he'd take it from: his best friend Gunner, and his riding instructor, a woman named Brynn.

Brynn had long, red hair that fell in tight curls that bounced as she rode. When he arrived early for his lesson, which was most of the time, he got to observe Brynn teaching her equestrian vaulting class.

Brynn stood with a long whip in her right hand and a lead line in her left, as a gray Arabian gelding cantered counter-clockwise around her.

The young gymnasts in the club would approach the moving horse along the lead line, match his gait, then grab hold of the surcingle, a padded leather harness buckled tightly behind the horse's front legs. Unlike a saddle, the surcingle had no firm leather seat, but a blanket or pad rested on the horse's mid-back. 

With a hop, the girls would fly up onto the horse's back, thanks to the centrifugal force of him cantering in a circle.

Davey's favorite part of watching, though, was when another girl took over keeping the horse on pace and Brynn flew up on the Arabian to demonstrate a scissor-kick or other pose. Once, he'd seen her stand upon the horse's haunches while another girl sat in front for balance.

As the horse circled, its hooves loud upon the dirt ground, and Brynn stood with her arms outstretched, beaming as her red curls bounced, Davey wondered if he'd ever live long enough to see anything more beautiful.

Later that day, when she was giving him his riding lesson, he accidentally hit upon a sore spot in her psyche. Sensing the tug of a bite on his lure, he jiggled the line, pressing Brynn to admit why she'd given up her dream of competing professionally to "babysit a bunch of kids."

They were in the stables, brushing down the horses, the tangy smell of dried sweat in the air, and she let him have it.

"You're an arrogant little prick," Brynn said. "Rich kids like you think you have life all figured out. You think your money is going to get you everything you want, but you're still human, and you're going to f**k up every good thing that happens to you because you know you didn't work for it."

Davey grinned and took it all without a fight, because with the anger making her eyes flash and her cheeks turn pink, Brynn looked more beautiful than ever.

She was twenty-five, eight years older than him, but he was going to seduce her. She wore a ring, from another man, but they weren't yet married.

Homework came easily to Davey, so this would be the first true challenge of his life.

They parried for months, until Davey was eighteen. He was tall and strong, and girls threw themselves at him, but he only wanted Brynn.

She finally gave it up one Saturday, after a riding lesson. He knew from the moment he saw her that day what was going to happen. Instead of her usual loose-fitting, button-down shirt, she wore a scoop-necked top, bright blue, that showed off her freckles and pale skin as it brought out the sky in her eyes.

Brynn took his hand, and he let himself be led, head nodding down like a well-behaved gelding.

They went to a guest cottage on the grounds, where they found their way to a bed.