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Her Lion Billionaire

By:Lizzie Lynn Lee

Chapter One

Charlotte Winters dreaded the moment when her friend Abby, the  receptionist at the company where she worked, brought a large bouquet of  red roses to her desk. She knew where those flowers had come from.  Daniel Addington. The same man who'd been flooding her with calls, texts  and gifts for the past ten days. Even though she'd made it clear she  wasn't interested in having further contact with him, the man didn't  give up. Daniel was the type of man who didn't take no for an answer. In  a normal situation, she'd have been swooning from his attention.

In a normal situation, yeah.

But she'd accidentally discovered his secret.

Surely this courtship was his attempt to buy her silence. She wasn't  going to blab about it anyway. Not that anyone would believe her. But  Daniel was quite persistent.

"Charlotte, it's roses this time." Abby pushed some paper out of the way  and placed the vase carefully on the desk. "Girl, you don't know how  lucky you are. I wish someone would send me flowers like this. They're  so pretty."

"Then you can have them." Charlotte eyed the bouquet with less  enthusiasm. The roses sure were pretty. They weren't the ordinary roses  that one could purchase in the grocery store or Walgreens. These were  high-end boutique grade. The semi-opened scarlet buds were large and  dark. The seductive aroma wafted from them like a secret message  intended by the sender of this bouquet: Hey, you see me. Can we talk?

She closed her eyes. No. No. Never.

When she opened her eyes, she found Abby staring down at her with a pout on her face.

"Aren't you happy that the famous Daniel Addington showers you with gifts like this?" Abby pressed.

"I'm flattered." No, not at all.

"I just saw his interview on the morning show. He's so gorgeous."

"He is." Honey, beauty is only a skin deep.

"He's a great catch, girl. You should grab this opportunity and make him  your man. The chocolates. Show tickets. Now roses. Isn't it obvious? It  seems to me that he really likes you."

"Nah. He's just being nice." Those are bribes.

"You say you just meet him last Sunday?"

Charlotte blinked. "Yeah. A car swiped my bike and fled. He happened to  be at the scene and took me to a hospital. I told him I was fine, but he  insisted. Like I told you, he's just being nice." Charlotte smiled  innocently.

It was a thinly veiled truth. They didn't make it to the hospital. After  the blue sedan had nicked her bike and sent her crashing onto the  pavement, a fancy black Cadillac had stopped behind her. She'd been  surprised when Daniel Addington got out, followed by his chauffeur.  She'd seen his face plastered on newspapers, the internet and TV. His  family owned the Addingtons, a big chain of luxury stores, hotels and  resorts, and he was currently the company president. He came from old  money with an Ivy League pedigree. Yes, he'd be a great catch. Charlotte  just hadn't expected that he was one of those people. Netherworlders as  Grandmaman called it. Nothing good would come out of it if she involved  herself with people like them. Her mom, for example, had been in a  mental institution for the past twenty-years because she couldn't stand  missing Charlotte's father.

When Charlotte was small, her mom had told her she was special. The  daddy she'd never seen was actually a Sandman. He ate people's bad  dreams and helped them sleep peacefully. Even at that age, Charlotte  already understood that her dad was a good-for-nothing man, thanks to  the daytime talk shows and soap operas her babysitter watched. What kind  of man had a kid and left his family without financial and emotional  support? A deadbeat jackass like her father, that's who .

Growing up in her grandmother's care, Charlotte vehemently resented her  origin. She couldn't live like a normal child. Even though she was only  half of whatever her father was, every time she touched a person, she  got a flashback of that person's memory, like a cinematic record playing  before her eyes. When she slept, she often wandered into that person's  dreams, witnessing the good and the downright disturbing visions. If she  touched ten people during the day, she'd roam into ten dreams in a  night, leaving her dazed, confused and twitchy all the next day.

Her power was weak when she was very young. Still, she had to distance  herself from others, making her a loner. After puberty hit and her power  became stronger, she wouldn't allow others to touch her. She didn't  want to know other people's business, nightmares and glooms-like her  high school principal, who yearned to be dressed like a baby, complete  with a big diaper and pacifier. Or her delinquent classmate who wanted  to stab every person he met with a sharpened fork.   





 

They were all too …  disturbing.

That was why, when Charlotte left herself unguarded after the accident  and Daniel touched her bare arm, she got an instant shock. Instead of a  glimpse of his dreams or memories, she saw his future-their future.  Together. What made it worse was that it wasn't only her that received  the premonition. Daniel saw it as well.

Freaked out, she ran into the park and hid until midnight before she finally mustered the courage to return to her apartment.

Who'd have guessed that America's favorite bachelor was a pureblooded shifter?

But her problems didn't end there. Two days after the accident, someone  returned her bike to her apartment, cleaned and fixed, and she started  getting calls and gifts from Daniel Addington.

That man.

But how had he found her?

Perhaps she shouldn't have been surprised. A wealthy man like him must  have a lot of connections. She'd talked to him briefly when he first  invited her to a dinner. She thanked him for his help and politely  declined his invitation. Then the gifts and unwanted calls started.

Gah, that man.

Charlotte was sure what he was doing was some form of harassment. If he  were a regular Joe, she'd have no problem calling the cops. But this was  Daniel Addington, and she feared his retaliation.

For the time being, Charlotte decided that avoiding him was the best  course of action. She hoped he'd get tired of her eventually and leave  her alone; a busy man like him must have plenty of stuff to do. He  couldn't just keep chasing after her.

Charlotte's smile wavered when Abby didn't look convinced. Her friend  kept scrutinizing her with one eyebrow arched as if to say: Honey, I  don't buy your bullshit.

"Tell me, the person who ran you off the street is actually Addington?"

"No!" Charlotte was scandalized. "Why would he do that?"

"I don't know. He was drunk or something."

"Abby, don't make things up. It was a guy in a blue sedan who skirted  too close to my bike. Addington happened to be there and helped me.  Besides, he doesn't drive. He has his own chauffeur, you know?"

Abby wrung her hands in frustration. "Then he must really like you. You should go out with him."

"No thanks. He's not an ordinary person like you and I. I just want my peace and quiet back."

"I can't believe this. Just when I'm happy that you finally get some romance action going. Charlotte, just look at you!"

"What about it?"

"I've never seen you dressed from head to toe in anything other than  black. You never wear makeup and always keep your hair in a tight bun.  You look exactly like a Sicilian widow in mourning. You wear those  hideous gloves even in the summer."

"I'm a germaphobe. People give me cooties. I'm scared of cooties."

"Right. My brother has mysophobia and has gone totally OCD. I've known  you quite a long time, and you aren't like him at all. But hey, I give  up." Abby raised her hands. "You know that I'm your friend, right? You  helped me a lot in the past, and if it wasn't for you, I wouldn't be  here right now. I'd like to do something back. If you're happy, then I'm  happy too."

Abby was the first person who was nice to her when Charlotte started  working for the company. As a bookkeeper, this job was perfect for her.  It didn't require too much human interaction, and she was practically  left alone the whole day. When she asked to be moved into the storage  room in the basement, her boss thought she was quirky, but he let her  have what she wanted anyway. She always came early and left late, did a  good job, and never caused trouble like the girls from the marketing  department.

"I'm already happy, Abby. I'm just not a people person. As long as I've got my job and this office, I'm a happy camper."

"Are you?" Abby asked sarcastically.

"Yeah."

"Okay. If you say so." Abby planted her hands on her hips. "What should I  tell him when he calls again? He knows that you weren't in any meeting.  I think he's already figured out your daily schedule."

Charlotte forced herself to smile brightly. "Transfer it to me. I'll tell him off myself."





Daniel Addington didn't try to contact her again for the remainder of  the day. It was too early to celebrate, but Charlotte allowed herself a  small measure of relief. Had he finally come to his senses and decided  to leave her alone from now on? It was too early to tell.

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