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His Ex's Well-Kept Secret

By:Joss Wood

His Ex's Well-Kept Secret
Joss Wood

       She's keeping this billionaire's son a secret...

Down-on-her-luck heiress Piper Mills will do anything to help her  baby-even strike a deal with the devil who impregnated her! Due to a car  accident, Jaeger Ballantyne has no memory of the passionate night he  and Piper shared...or that he's Ty's father. Purchasing Piper's heirloom  sapphires is the only thing on his agenda...until seducing the  green-eyed temptress takes over.

Piper's falling for the stubborn tycoon, even as she continues to guard  her secret. Can a man with no memory of their past find a way to forgive  her so they can create a future?





"I'm not asking you to marry me, Piper, or even date me," Jaeger replied.

This wasn't how the conversation normally went. He usually fielded the  demands about when he'd be calling, when their next date would be. He  didn't particularly care that the shoe was very firmly, and  uncomfortably, on the other foot. "I was just wondering if you'd like  to-"

"Hook up again sometime?" Piper tipped her head and the corners of her  mouth lifted. When she exposed her neck he wanted to nibble on her  collarbone, kiss that spot under her jaw. "Thanks, but no. Hooking up is  not something I make a habit of. This interlude will be a lovely  memory, but re-creating this back home won't work for me."

Piper stood up and pulled the knot on her robe, allowing the sides to  fall open. With a small shrug the robe slid down her arms and then to  the floor and she stood in front of him, gloriously naked. She straddled  his thighs and gently touched his mouth with hers. "If this is all the  time we have, then we're wasting it."

She was the perfect one-night stand; she'd let him off the hook with no  drama and little fanfare and he should feel grateful, he thought,  lowering her to the bed.

So then, why didn't he?

* * *

His Ex's Well-Kept Secret is part of the Ballantyne Billionaires series-A family who has it all...except love!





Dear Reader,

Meet the Ballantynes!

Jaeger, Beckett, Linc and Sage are the heirs to a family empire built on  fine gemstones. Raised by their uncle Connor, they are Manhattan  royalty, and they have it all: wealth, prestige, smarts and good looks.  They haven't been quite as successful at love...finding it or keeping  it.

His Ex's Well-Kept Secret is Jaeger's story. He's the family gem hunter,  traveling the globe to source exquisite and exceptional stones for  jewelry destined for their high-end worldwide jewelry stores. Jaeger is  back in New York City when Piper, a woman he met-and spent the night  with-in Milan reappears in his life. She desperately needs to sell her  cache of inherited rare and exceptional Kashmir sapphires. It should be a  simple transaction, but Jaeger doesn't remember her from Milan. Neither  does he know Piper brought back more than a memory from their time in  Italy. Jaeger wants to buy her sapphires; Piper wants to keep her  secrets. They both want each other.

Jaeger, Piper and Ty are characters who are going to stay with me for a  long time, so look for their brief appearances in Beck's, Linc's and  Sage's books.

I'm having such fun writing about the Ballantynes and I very much hope  you enjoy them, too! Connect with me at www.josswoodbooks.com, on  Twitter, @josswoodbooks or Facebook at Joss Wood Author.

Happy reading,

Joss







Prologue

In the presidential suite of a boutique hotel on the Via Manzoni, the  most luxurious hotel in Milan, Jaeger Ballantyne ran his hand down a  slim female back, the bumps of her spine pearls under satin skin.

The fine cotton sheet covered Piper's hips and draped her butt. Jaeger  couldn't stop touching her, loving the feel of her warm skin under his  rough hand. He'd had women in his hotel room before, probably more than  he should have, and while Piper was not the most beautiful female he'd  ever had in his bed, she was certainly the most magnetic. Since the  moment she'd stumbled into his life a day and a half ago, he'd thought  of little else.

Exceptional gems-the cut and sparkle of diamonds, rubies, opals,  emeralds and a dozen more-captured and held his attention. Women? Not so  much. Like diamonds destined for the mass market, they were generally  nicely cut and well polished but nothing exceptional. And when he did  find one a cut above the rest, he enjoyed her and quickly moved on.                       
       
           



       

But for some reason, he kept thinking of Piper as a flawless, colorless  diamond, the rarest type on the planet. Ridiculous, because he knew  there was always another gem to discover, and he never lost his head  over sparkly stones or the sweeter-smelling sex.

Piper Mills made him wonder if walking around headless was a risk he was prepared to take.

He should have been back in New York City already, Jaeger thought,  irritated with his overthinking. He'd originally intended to be in Milan  only for the previous evening. But when he'd seen Piper at the Milan  branch of Ballantyne and Company, her long legs under a short skirt  captured his attention. They'd been designed, he was convinced, to wrap  around his hips.

The intelligence in her light green eyes intrigued him, and the splash of freckles across her nose charmed him.

Her body had him wanting to make her scream until the whole of Milan knew his name.

Piper had mentioned owning ten blue stones that family legend said were  sapphires, but he was too fascinated by her face to pay much attention.  Then she smiled and a tiny dimple in her right cheek flashed, and all  thoughts of carats and color disappeared. His breath hitched, his vision  swam and he knew he was not leaving the city until he'd taken her to  dinner.

And to bed.

Fast-forward thirty-six hours and three dates-dinner, lunch and another  dinner-and they'd shared some very hot, very fun sex. Jaeger's thumb ran  over her right buttock, flirted with the curve at the top of her thigh  and back up again.

Best day and a half of his life, by far.

Jaeger bent down and placed a kiss on the ball of her shoulder, pulling a  long curl the color of a newly minted penny off her face.

Piper rolled onto her side, and when Jaeger looked into her eyes, he  felt like he was walking in a mysterious forest. Her gaze bounced away  from his face, ricocheted off his body and focused on the watercolor  painting on the far wall. So the very sexy Ms. Mills wasn't very good  with post-sex conversation. Why did that make him smile?

Piper sat up and pulled the sheet to her torso. "Um...this is awkward."

"It really doesn't have to be," Jaeger assured her.

Piper tucked the sheet under her armpits, pushed a hand through her hair  and adjusted the sheet again. "Can we have a quick chat about why I was  in Ballantyne and Company?" Piper asked.

Jaeger could think of a better use of their time, but if talking about her stones made her feel at ease, then he was all for it.

"Okay, let's talk sapphires." Jaeger rolled off the bed, snagging his  boxers from the floor. He pulled them on and walked over to the bathroom  to pluck a blindingly white cotton robe off the hook behind the door.  He opened the robe and Piper, self-conscious, left the bed and hastily  slid her arms into the sleeves. Jaeger turned her around, covered her up  and tied the belt across her narrow waist.

Resisting the urge to lower his mouth to hers, Jaeger took her hand, led  her into the living room of the suite and dashed the remains of a  vintage Cabernet into a wineglass for her. Piper took the glass and  curled up into the corner of the couch, tucking her bare feet, tipped  with red-hot toes, under her butt. Along with every other inch of her  body, he'd tasted those toes. He'd kissed his way up her calves, tasted  the sweetness of her inner thighs, the heat and spice of her core.

And he desperately wanted to do it all again.

He would; the night wasn't over yet.

Deciding he needed a whiskey, he poured two fingers into a glass, sat  down opposite her and mentally begged her to make it quick.

"As I said, I have some sapphires that have been passed down through my mother's family."

"How many stones are we talking about?" Jaeger asked, resting his forearms on his thighs.

"Ten. There were twelve, but my mom sold two, thirty years ago, to give my father the money to start his business."

He realized he knew nothing about her or her family. You don't need to; you're not going to see her again.

"Most of the stones are around an inch, some bigger, some smaller," Piper continued.

A sapphire longer than an inch? He didn't think so. "Are they cut? Uncut?"

"The smaller stones are cut. There's one that's...spectacular."                       
       
           



       

Jaeger knew people exaggerated, particularly when it came to gemstones.  The stones were probably half that size. He looked at Piper and sighed  when he saw the blissful look on her face. If she were anyone else, he  would bluntly have told her the gems were probably fake. A cache of  sapphires like she was describing would have been well-documented.  Unless you enjoyed royal connections, exceptional and important gems  were rarely passed down a family line.

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