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The Millionaire Affair

By:Jessica Lemmon

The Millionaire Affair
Jessica Lemmon

 ACKNOWLEDGMENTS


Oh, Landon Downey. To understand this hero's motivations, I had to first  figure out one very important component: Why would a man voluntarily  choose emotionless, controlled relationships when he's from a close,  loving family? The answer took me on a deeper, more emotional journey  than I'd anticipated. And was so worth it. But, I didn't find the answer  alone.

Thanks to plotting partners-in-crime Teri Anne Stanley, Charissa Weaks,  and Maisey Yates for helping me wrestle with the initial ideas for this  book. Some I used, some I didn't, but this book was a journey, and you  all are a valid part of it. To my agency sib (and fellow extrovert)  Tonya Kuper for beta reading and for loving this book. You're  encouraging and genuine-I'm blessed to know you.

My agent, Nicole Resciniti, who gushed over this story and made me feel  as much a millionaire as Landon. My editor, Lauren, whose comments  always cause me to smile. I love working with you both-you push me to  mine for gold and when we find it, I'm reminded of the value of a team.

To my publicist, editing team, cover artists, and all the other  hardworking people behind the scenes at Forever, thank you for all your  hard work.

And to you, reader, for sharing this journey with me. Don't tell Aiden  or Shane, but I think Landon may have won my heart. If anyone deserves a  happily ever after, it's Landon Downey and Kimber Reynolds. I hope you  enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.

~Jess





PROLOGUE


Landon Downey clutched the baby name book From Abba to Zed to his chest  and knocked on his girlfriend's dorm room door. While he was certain he  didn't want to name their child Abba or Zed, he was also certain he  couldn't show up empty-handed. Not after the ugly way they'd parted last  week. He should have shown up with something nicer than a book with a  bent corner and a bouquet of half-dead flowers, but the twenty-four-hour  convenience store on campus hadn't offered many options.

He'd been an asshole. Rachel had come to him in full-on panic mode.  Rightly so, considering the stick with two blue lines she'd carried in  her hand. Landon had been severely hungover courtesy of a late party at  Cliff's house. At the moment she had burst into his apartment sobbing,  he'd had two things on his mind: Where is the Tylenol? and I'm running  late. Finals week had started with a bang.

While he'd hustled around the house looking for his books and swallowing  a couple of pain relievers, Rachel had followed, irate by this bit of  inconvenient news, angry because birth control was "supposed to work,  dammit!", and generally pitching a fit about how she had neither the  time nor the patience to deal with a baby. "I won't sacrifice my law  career for a child I didn't plan to have!" she'd said.

He'd hastily agreed while gathering his things-admittedly not the best  thing to do-but he simply couldn't focus on the huge, life-changing news  she'd laid at his feet. Especially when he was running on only three  hours of sweaty, post-drunken sleep and before he'd had a single drop of  coffee.

Hindsight being what it was, he now knew what he should have done. He  should have ditched class entirely. He should have stopped rushing and  given Rachel his full attention. He should have reminded her they loved  each other and they could work out whatever sharp curve life had thrown  their way.

But he hadn't done either of those things. Instead he'd agreed with her  that yes, the timing was bad and yes, the birth control should have  worked, and then he'd told her he'd see her after class. But he hadn't  seen her that night. Or the next. She'd managed to avoid him the entire  week.

He knocked again.

Finally, the door opened and her roommate, Tina, blocked the doorway,  her expression a mix of fury and protectiveness. "What do you want?"

Ignoring her tone, he held up the bouquet of flowers. "I need to talk to Rachel."

"Maybe she doesn't want to talk to you."

"Yes," came a small, tired voice from behind Tina. "She does." Rachel  patted her friend-slash-bodyguard's shoulder and Tina stepped aside,  shooting a final, wary look over her shoulder at him. He studied his  girlfriend-probably now his ex-girlfriend given the way things were  going tonight. Rachel was pale, her face splotchy, and looked like she  had the flu. No, not the flu. Probably morning sickness.

His heart lurched in a not entirely uncomfortable way. A baby. He  clutched the book to his chest, still hidden behind the sad bouquet of  dyed purple and pink and royal blue daisies, and forced the words out of  his throat. "Can I come in?"         

     



 

She pushed a lock of long, brown hair away from her face and shook her head.

Okay. She was angry. But he could get past angry. He'd thought a lot  about their predicament, about the unexpectedness of raising a child  while they were in college-of getting married way, way sooner than he'd  planned. She'd have to drop some classes as her pregnancy advanced,  though he knew she'd insist on working after. Meanwhile, he'd hustle to  finish his degree. He'd landed an internship at an ad agency in Chicago  that sounded promising. The two-hour train ride from campus would be  inconvenient, but he was willing to commute. When the internship turned  into a career, she could finish out her degree and he could balance the  rest. They'd make it work.

Rachel, like him, was far too logical and pragmatic to allow her future  to be compromised. Besides, people dealt with unexpected pregnancies all  over the world, all the time.

We'll make it work, he told himself again.

"Come on, Rachel. Let me in. It's one in the morning and I'm standing  out here getting eaten by mosquitoes." When she didn't smile, he said,  "We need to talk."

"There's nothing to talk about."

Was she joking? There were fifteen things to talk about. He knew because  he had a typed list in his back pocket. "Yes. There is," he told her.  "Plans need to be made. Plans for us."

"There is no us," she said, her face a placid mask.

He blinked, taking in her puffy, red eyes and curled upper lip. She was …   leaving him? What was she going to do? Raise his child without him? No,  no. He wouldn't allow it. She was angry; saying things she didn't mean.  First, he'd talk his way into her room, give her the name book, then  pull out the list he'd made and they would work this out.

"If not for us"-he swallowed thickly and tried again-"then for the baby."

She lifted her chin, her eyes filling with tears. "There is no baby."  She shot him the coldest, hardest glare he'd ever seen. Landon's heart  dropped into his stomach, the air snagging in his lungs.

Then she slammed the door in his face.





CHAPTER ONE


16 years later.

Another shout sounded from beyond the bathroom door and Landon reached  out and silently flicked the lock. He didn't know how long he could  remain in here undetected, but it was worth a shot.

"Hang on," he said into the phone.

His sister, Angel, chuckled. "Where are you, anyway? You sound all echoey."

He pressed his cell phone to his cheek and lowered his voice. "Echoey is not a word. I'm hiding in the bathroom."

She barked a laugh. "From our nephew? Landon, really."

"I think I bit off more than I can chew," he mumbled, pacing the tiled  floor. On his second pass between shower and sink, he noticed the ruckus  that had driven him in here had stopped. Suspicious. He shushed Angel  and held his breath, pressed his ear to the door to listen. Nothing. He  unlocked it and poked his head out.

"Hello?" she whispered.

"He's gone into stealth mode," he said quietly. She erupted into another fit of laughter. "Send reinforcements."

Tiptoeing in his socks through his bedroom, he sidled along the wall and  around the dresser. Back pressed against the bedroom door, he peeked  into the hallway.

"Rawr!"

A blur that may well have been his life flashing before his eyes nearly  took Landon's head off. He stilled the object with one palm-a plastic  light saber-and Lyon grinned up at him, a gap where one of his front  teeth should be. Thankfully, the tooth had been missing when he got  here.

"You're dead!" Lyon shouted.

"Not in the hall." His voice held a comical tremor. "You're going to break something." Like my nose.

"Okay!" With that, Lyon turned on a heel and went tearing down the hallway, swinging the light saber with renewed vigor.

"Do you want Auntie Angel to talk to him?"

Landon stepped into the hallway and, with one more cautious look over  his shoulder, made a break for the kitchen. "I can't get anything done  with him here," he said as he neared the end of the hall. "How did you  keep him for two weeks?"

The way he'd said it made two weeks sound like two years. May as well  be. Lyon had thwarted both attempts at getting on his company's  conference call and several other attempts to check his e-mail from his  phone. "Seriously, did you drug him or something?" he asked, only half  kidding.

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