Bedding the Billionaire
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Lil looked at the six ivory, leather seats that flanked a lushly-carpeted, center aisle and turned back to Jake. “You got me a helicopter?”
Jake shrugged. “I heard you hate flowers. The interior is completely soundproof so you don’t have to worry about headphones for Colby.”
“This is crazy.”
“No, this is how we start over.” He handed her a card. “Call this number and a pilot will be here in about thirty minutes. Boston to New York takes about an hour and a half, but you’ll never fight traffic. Colby’s car seat will clip right in.”
“So you want me to come down to New York more often?”
“If you want to. Or I’ll come up here. I know how to be your lover. I’m working on the rest of your list.”
Oh, God, he’s serious.
“I have one other surprise,” he said.
Lil wasn’t sure she could take another one, her heart was already beating double-time in her chest. “I’ve hired a real estate agent and he compiled a list of lofts available in both Boston and New York.”
A loft? Had Jake decided that instead of marrying her he would stash her somewhere convenient? “I don’t think–”
Jake pulled her against him and tipped her chin up so she was looking at him. “Let me do this for you. I know you want to do everything yourself, but it will just be a large empty space. You’re the one who will have to hone your craft and fill it with artwork.”
“What are you saying?” Then she understood and gasped, afraid to believe she had heard him correctly. “You’re looking for an art studio for me?”
“If you want one.”
“If I want one?” She laughed and cried at the same time. Somehow this man saw past what she said and knew her heart. She wasn’t walking away this time. “Okay.”
“Okay, you’ll accept the helicopter? Okay, you’ll let me buy you a studio?”
“Okay, I’ll marry you,” she said simply.
He swayed a bit on his feet then crushed her to him.
She added, “I do love the helicopter, but what really got me was…”
“My charm?” he asked with a tint of humor.
She shook her head with a smile. “Not quite.”
He gave her a playful squeeze. “My persistence?”
She laughed up at him. “It took you long enough to show up here.”
He smile back at her, knowing that she would eventually tell him what he was waiting to hear.
Lil looked him in the eye and said, “What got me was how well you know me. Not the me I pretend to be or the one I was convinced I had to be–just me. Somehow you sorted through all the crap I said and heard what I needed.”
Jake shook his head and said, “I hate when Dominic is right.”
That piqued Lil’s curiosity. “About what?”
Jake leaned down and kissed her until she forgot what they were discussing.
Until her only thought was that dreams really do come true.
When he finally rested his forehead on hers and their ragged breathing began to calm, he said, “I know you’re looking for a hero, Lil, but you’ve already earned that title. Our server is clean and ready to go online, issue free.”
Even though the topic meant downshifting a bit emotionally, Lil know it needed to be discussed before they could move forward. “I’m so glad. Jeremy had the solution?”
“He had a large piece of the puzzle. My parents worked the rest out. However, his insight was invaluable as far as debugging the system in time to meet our deadline.”
Lil absently played with the hair just behind one of his ears. “Speaking of you parents–are they staying for the wedding?”
“I have no idea. For now, they are staying with the Andrades. It’s going to take us a while to put the past behind us, but they seem to sincerely want to be part of my life.”
“You should have Dominic invite them, Jake. They’re family.”
He smiled down at her. “Is this what I’m signing on for–a lifetime of you telling me what to do?”
“Absolutely,” she said without missing a beat.
He sobered suddenly and said, “I love you, Lil.”
She kissed his lips softly. “And I love you, Jake.”
“Do you want to go back to work now?”
Lil rubbed herself playfully against him. “Surprisingly, not as much as I thought I would.”
Within moments she was grateful that Jake had invested in a large and remarkably private helicopter interior. He whipped open the door and laid her across the off-white carpeted flooring.
With precision, he undressed himself and then her. Then his hands slowed as they explored her, worshipped her, guided her to a place where coherent thought was no longer possible. Although the passion remained strong between them, this time there was no need to rush. Knowing that they had the rest of their lives added a depth to their lovemaking. Each touch meant more. Each kiss lingered longer so they could savor it.
He paused to put on a condom and whispered against her lips, “I want to do this right. First marriage and then a houseful of kids.”
She laughed against his lips. “Don’t you mean first marriage, then sex, then kids…”
“Oh, no, I never agreed with that order,” he said and claimed her mouth with his.
She lost herself in his touch, his kiss, the feel of him teasing her wetness and said, “I could be persuaded to your way of thinking.”
“I’ll do my best,” he said, and his best did not disappoint.
Completely spent, she collapsed onto his chest. He rolled onto his side and tucked her head onto his strong bicep. “Convinced?”
She winked at him and said, “I’m not sure yet. We might have to do that again.”
He growled down at her and said, “Really?”
“The whole thing or just that last part. Whatever.”
He ran a teasing finger from her jaw, lightly across the swell of her breasts and down the curve of one of her hips. “I’ve always loved helicopters, but now I have an even deeper appreciation for them.”
Lil reached down, wrapped her hand softly around the part of him that was already coming back to life and asked, “Is your private jet this comfortable?”
He hardened in her hand. “I’ll have new carpeting put in all of my vehicles.”
A good idea, but one that would have to wait.
For now, the helicopter provided just enough privacy for Lil to confidently trail kisses down Jake’s flat abdomen and lower.
The noise of three generations of Andrades was not as overwhelming as Jake remembered it being, especially not since it included a dash of Corisis and even some Waltons. The rehearsal dinner was certainly not a high society event, but it was filled with laughter and plenty of children.
Colby bounced happily on Jake’s knee while the main course was being served. Other families might have sent the children to another room to eat, but the Andrades merely extended their table and their hearts to include all in what could only be described as a feast.
Lil was seated next to him, happily chatting about babies with one of Stephan’s cousins.
Victor Andrade stood at the head of the table and the room fell silent. “It is my great pleasure to open my home–well, the Andrade home–” His brother raised a glass of wine to him with a tolerant smile. “…to our new family. Some people become family through blood. Some people through marriage. Others find their way into your life and your heart through friendship. Raise a glass to all of our family tonight…those who share our name and those who we have come to care deeply for. There is no greater fortune than to be surrounded by so much love. Dominic and Abby, may your life and your table always be as full as it is tonight.”
Dominic raised his glass and drank to the toast. Everyone followed suit. Abby used her napkin to wipe away tears that were running freely down her cheeks.
Jake looked to his left and saw his parents watching him quietly. He lifted the child on his lap and held her out toward his father. “Dad, do you want to hold her?”
His father took her into his arms as if she were the most fragile of creatures. “So, this will be our first grandchild?”
Jake’s heart swelled. “Yes. Lil had the biological father sign off his rights before she was born. I’m going to adopt her the same day I marry Lil.”
His mother took her from her husband and hugged her. “Jim, it looks like we’re going to have to start believing in Santa Claus.”
His father turned and looked at his son and said, “We will, Jake. This time we will. I could even write an algorithm to prove how he could make it around the world in one night.”
Colby reached out and pulled on her future grandfather’s nose. He laughed, “This one is going to be trouble, Jake.”
Jake smiled and glanced at Lil. “Just like her mom.”
Lil turned around when she heard Jake’s voice. “What are you talking about?”
Jake put his arm around Lil and said, “How every life needs a little chaos.”
“Wait, I’m the chaos? You’ll pay for that!”
He laughed. He didn’t mind the way she doled out punishment.
In fact, he rather liked it.
His father asked, “Jake, whatever happened to Jeremy? We haven’t seen him in days.”
“It seems that his makeover is going to take longer than we thought. The consultant we hired thought it would go faster if he was on site for a while.”
Lil laughed. “Sounds serious. He’s that determined to get Alethea?”
Jake nodded solemnly. “Men will do all sorts of crazy things for women. He did give me a gift, though, before he left.”
Lil cocked her head to the side.
Jake took out his phone and said, “He hacked into a certain news station’s files and made a ring tone for me. Now whenever you call me, I hear this.”
Lil’s voice played clearly from his phone when he pressed a button. “Of course I find Jake Walton sexy, who wouldn’t?”
Lil slapped his shoulder. “Out of that whole interview, that’s all you heard, wasn’t it?”
Jake nodded with a huge smile on his face.
He played it again and held the phone out of her reach when she grabbed for it. “It’s all that mattered.”
Lil met her sister’s eyes in the mirror and dabbed a happy tear away before it could smudge her makeup.
“Are you sure the veil is on securely?” Abby asked.
“I can have the stylist check it again, but I think short of stapling it on, it’s as secure as it gets.”
Abby turned and Lil was once again moved by the glow on her sister’s face. The paparazzi would love her – not that they would have a chance to snap a single photo. With the Andrade’s blessing, the couple had flown less than a hundred guests to Isola Santos for a highly private wedding. Immense air-conditioned tents covered the lawn and led to a discrete area that would allow the couple to marry with the ocean as a backdrop to their ceremony. There was only one photographer and he’d signed a non-disclosure contract.