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Matched to a Billionaire(7)

By:Kat Cantrell





Three


The scraps of silk had definitely not been in Dannie's suitcase when she packed it.

She fingered the baby-doll lingerie set and noticed the note: "For a red-hot wedding night. -Elise."

Dannie held up the top. Such as it was. Black lace cups overlaid red   silk triangles, which tied around the neck halter-style. Red silk draped   from the bust, allowing a flirty peek at the tiny G-string panties   beneath. Or it would if she was insane enough to actually wear something   so blatantly sexy for her husband.

This lingerie was definitely the ticket to a red-hot wedding night. For   some other woman, not Daniella Reynolds. Dannie had married a   workaholic. With her eyes wide-open.

She tucked the sexy lingerie into the very back of the drawer she'd   designated for sleepwear. Ha. There'd be no sleeping going on if she   wore that outfit. She sighed. Well, it would be the case if her husband   pried his eyes off his bottom line. And was attracted to her. And they   shared a bedroom.

And what exactly had she expected? That Leo would take one look at his   new wife and fall madly in love? She needed to get over herself and stop   acting as though Leo had taken away something that she'd never planned   on having in the first place.

Elise, the eternal optimist despite being perfectly aware Dannie and Leo   had only met that same day, couldn't have known how things would shake   out. It was still depressing to be so soundly rejected. How would  there  be a possibility of children if they didn't share a bedroom?

Dannie slammed the drawer a little harder than an adult probably should   have and stomped to the bed to finish unpacking her meager wardrobe.

If she was going to be alone, this was certainly the place to do it. Her   bedroom rivaled the finest luxury suite she'd ever seen featured in a   movie. She didn't have to leave. Ever. There was a minibar with a small   refrigerator, fully stocked. An electronic tablet lay on the bedside   table and she suspected Leo had already downloaded hundreds of books   since her profile had said she liked to read.                       
       
           



       

The entertainment center came equipped with a fifty-inch flat-screen TV,   cable, a DVD player, a sound system worthy of a nightclub and a fancy   touch-screen remote. The owners' manuals lay on the raw silk comforter.   Of course. Leo never missed a trick.

She wondered where he kept the owner's manual for Leo Reynolds. That was   something she'd gladly read from cover to cover. A forty-seven-point   profile only went so far into understanding the man.

There had to be more to Leo than met the eye, because no one voluntarily cut themselves off from people without a reason.

By the time she folded the last pair of socks, the hour had grown late.   Leo's parents were due in thirty minutes. She called her mother to see   how she was getting along with the nurse and smiled at the effusive   recounting of how her mother's new caregiver played a serious game of   gin rummy. Her mother sounded happy.

Relieved, Dannie went into the bathroom, where she had left half a   cosmetic counter's inventory strewn across the marble vanity. She took a   few minutes to organize it in the drawers, which had built-in   compartments of different sizes. The bathroom alone was bigger than her   entire apartment.

Dannie agonized over what to wear and finally selected a simple pale   lavender skirt and dove-gray button-up shirt. Her small wardrobe of   coordinated pieces had been another gift from Elise. She was between   sizes so everything had to be altered, adding yet more cost to the   already expensive clothes. Shoes, however, posed no problems whatsoever.   She stepped into a pair of calfskin sling backs that fit as if they'd   been custom-made for her foot, then redid her chignon and makeup.

Who was that woman in the mirror?

"Daniella Reynolds," she whispered to her reflection, then said it   louder to get used to the sound of it. Only telemarketers and her   grandmother called her Daniella. She liked the way Leo said it, though.

Since it was far past time to assume her duties as hostess to Leo's parents, she navigated downstairs with only one wrong turn.

Leo was not in the lavishly appointed living room. Or the kitchen, or   any of the other maze of rooms on the first floor. Finally she spied his   dark head bent over the desk in his study, where he was clearly   engrossed in the dollar signs marching across his laptop screen.

Leo was working. Gee. What a shock. Why hadn't she thought to check his study first? Wishful thinking?

For a moment, she watched him, curious to see her husband unguarded.   Towering bookshelves lined the room and should have dwarfed the man in   it. They didn't. Leo's persona dominated the room. He'd shed his suit   jacket and rolled up his shirtsleeves to midforearm. With his hair   slightly rumpled, he was kind of adorable.

He glanced up with a distracted, lopsided half smile and her stomach   flipped with a long, feminine pull. Okay, he was more than adorable. He   was quite delicious and thoroughly untouchable, a combination she   suddenly found irresistible. Her inner Scarlett conjured up a naughty   mental scenario involving that red-hot lingerie and Leo's desk. Hey,   here's a bottom line you can check out.

"Busy?" she croaked and cleared her throat. Duh. Of course he was.

"I'm, uh, just finishing up." He shot a furtive glance at his laptop as   if the screen contained something shamefully un-work-related.

"What are you doing? Watching YouTube videos?" Shut up, Scarlett. It was   none of her business whether he was monitoring stock prices or   carousing in a role-playing-game forum. "I mean..."

Well, there was really no recovery for that slip.

"No." He shut the lid and she thought that would be the end of it. But   then his mouth twitched. "I mentor college students online. I was   walking through a business plan with one. Via chat."

"That's wonderful." What in the world was shameful about that? "They   must really pay close attention when they see your name pop up. That's   like winning the mentor lottery."

Her new husband was so generous and kind. Of course he was. Elise wouldn't have matched her with this man otherwise.

"I mentor anonymously."

"Oh. Why?"

"The business world is-" Flustered, he threaded fingers through his   already slightly rumpled hair and she itched to smooth it back for him.   "Let's just say my competitors won't hesitate to pounce on weakness. I   don't present them with any."

Mentoring the next generation of businessmen could be perceived as a   weakness? "Richard Branson mentors young kids. I don't see why he can do   it, but you can't."

"He's considered successful." The unspoken I'm not hung in the air, but   Leo stood and rolled his sleeves down, then rounded the desk, clearly   signaling the end of the conversation. "Shall we?"                       
       
           



       

Her mouth fell open and she clamped it closed, swallowing the dozens of   questions that sprang to her lips. His expression had closed off and   even she could read the tread-with-caution sign. "Of course."

The doorbell rang and she trailed Leo to the foyer to meet Mr. and Mrs.   Reynolds. Leo introduced his parents and Dannie shook hands with   smiling, silver-haired Mr. Reynolds.

The spritely woman with Leo's dark hair bounded into the house and swept Dannie up in a fierce hug. "I'm so happy to meet you!"

"I'm happy to meet you, too, Mrs. Reynolds." Dannie breathed in her new   mother-in-law's perfume, which reminded her of vanilla cookies.

"Oh, please. I'm Susan."

"I'm sorry, but I was expecting someone..." Cold. Unforgiving. Judgmental. "...older."

Susan laughed. "Aren't you sweet? Come with me to the kitchen and let Leo talk to his father while we fetch drinks."

After a glance at Leo to gauge the appropriateness, Dannie followed   Susan into the kitchen and proceeded to watch while Leo's mother bustled   around gathering glasses and chattering as if they were old friends.   Obviously Susan felt comfortable in her son's house. Unlike her son's   wife. Dannie wouldn't have known which cabinet contained glasses.

"I apologize for missing the ceremony, Daniella." Susan handed her a   glass of tea and touched her shoulder. "It was a stupid, useless   protest. But I'm mad at Leo, not you."

"Oh." She had to find a new response. That one was wearing thin. But it had been so appropriate. All day.

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