SECRET BABY (A Billionaire Romance)

BOOK: SECRET BABY (A Billionaire Romance)
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub




















STEEL - A Billionaire Romance


CHANCE - A Stepbrother Billionaire Romance







(A Billioanire








Mia Carson






All Rights Reserved




“I’m on my way!” I exclaimed as I climbed into my car.


“I can’t believe you haven’t left yet,” Nikki grumbled through the cell, which was pressed to my ear.


“I know, I know, but I’ll only be five minutes late. You won’t even have time to order drinks,” I answered as I pulled out of my driveway. “But if you do, order me whatever you’re having!”


Nikki laughed and replied, “I’ll order you a shot for every minute you’re late.”


“Um, no,” I answered, giggling. “And aren’t we going to Hibachi? Do they even have shots?”


“Sake, maybe. I don’t know. I’ve never ordered drinks there,” Nikki reasoned. “Regardless, we’ll have something. Now move your ass!”


“Stop being so bossy, birthday girl. I’m ten minutes away.”


“See you soon!”


After she hung up, I tossed my phone on top of my bag in the passenger seat. I smiled as I drove, so happy that it was a Saturday. The football game had been more than an hour’s drive away, so I didn’t get home until almost 1:30 the night before. Thankfully, my dance team rode with the band, which meant I didn’t have to drive. After unloading, my girls had wished me a good night, and I had trudged to my car and driven the fifteen minutes home with almost closed eyes.


But after sleeping late, I was refreshed and ready to party with my teacher pal, Nikki. I pulled into the parking lot of Hibachi a few minutes later and parked in a space so far away from the front door that I worried my shoes might wear out.
Worth it
, I told myself as I walked to the front. I had choreographed the dance for the pep rally earlier in the week, so I had sat on my couch all day and watched several recorded programs on my DVR rather than working out like I normally do.


I walked inside, and a hostess greeted me immediately. “Hello, miss. Will there be only one today?”


“No, I’m with some friends. They should already be here,” I informed her. I straightened the straps of my blouse as she glanced at her list. My skinny jeans fit perfectly on my long legs, which was why I’d chosen them, and the bright red blouse with giant, white flowers was just right for this kind of evening. Warm fall night, drinks, and good food. And I hoped, after dinner, a little bar-hopping to end the night.


“Ah, you must be with Nikki and her party?” the hostess asked, her eyebrows raised questioningly.


“Yes,” I replied, smiling.


“Follow me, please. I’ll take you right back,” she told me as she turned and hurried in the other direction.


I heard my friends before I saw them, and giggled. I tapped the hostess on the shoulder. “I can find them.” She smiled at me and nodded, handing me my napkin-wrapped silverware before leaving me.


The restaurant, one I rarely went to because of the high prices, was beautifully decorated in red and black glass. Tasteful wooden centerpieces surrounded by black placemats bedecked the tables. I glanced around the main dining area as I headed for the more private, secluded tables in the back. I saw no one I recognized and felt relieved. It drove me crazy when I ran into students at restaurants. Or anywhere in public, really, which is why I didn’t live in the same town as where I taught.


I stepped into the enclave where Nikki had reserved a table for eight. I raised my arms over my head and yelled, “Dear Lord, what is all this racket?” Everybody at the table turned and laughed, and hugs were exchanged all around. I plopped down in the seat next to Nikki and handed her the gift I’d brought.


“I told you no gifts! Ooooh, it’s heavy!” Nikki laughed as she opened the bag and tossed out paper. I smiled when she pulled out a blue elephant figurine for her collection. She shrieked, “Mel, it’s perfect! Thank you so much!” She threw her arms around my neck, nearly giving me a concussion with the heavy figure.


“I saw it and knew you’d love it. You have an empty spot on your windowsill at school,” I told her as I placed my napkin in my lap.


“Ugh,” she replied, rolling her eyes dramatically before looking at me. “Mrs. Smith told me I have too many figurines. She said they’re a fire hazard because they block the window.”


I joined her in the eye roll, a temporary scowl on my face. “Are you kidding? Didn’t she get her principal’s certification last week?”


“Principal Smith,” Nikki giggled. “That sounds absolutely awful! She sure thinks she is the principal. Has she said anything else to you about your outfits?”


“Not a word. I’m the dance teacher, not an English teacher. I can’t wear heels and a skirt while teaching square dancing to a bunch of whiney teens.”


Nikki laughed. “As if she has room to talk. Did you see the jeans she wore yesterday?”


“Moose knuckle!” I screeched, making the universal hand gesture for the tight jean phenomenon, and we collapsed into gales of laughter. “Those pants were so tight her vagina was outlined!”


Our laughter subsided, and she introduced me to the people she’d invited—mostly friends from college who I learned quickly were all married and would not be joining us for drinks after. The waitress brought our drinks. Nikki had ordered us both gin and tonics. Grateful, I tasted the drink and looked around at Nikki’s friends. I lapsed into silence and listened. Two were new moms, and two had only been married a short time. Nothing but baby talk and married-life talk.
I need another drink
, I thought as I controlled my facial expressions.


Nikki caught my eye and winked. She knew exactly what I was thinking. But she and I were at an age when all our friends were either getting married or having babies. I was sick of baby showers and bridal showers and weddings. I’d been to three over the past year and had just about decided to ignore the next friend who got married. Jealousy was beginning to rear its ugly head in my heart, and avoidance was my best option.


“Hey.” I summoned Nikki’s attention with a wave of my hand, “I just noticed your sister isn’t here.”


“She just texted. She’s running late, and she’s pissy,” Nikki sighed, her happiness dampened, hopefully only briefly.


“What’s she pissy about?”


“Who knows? I just hope she cheers up for my birthday dinner,” Nikki murmured quietly so only I could hear it. I nodded sympathetically. Jenny, her sister, was a real Debbie Downer and could ruin an evening faster than Principal Smith’s jeans could chafe her inner thighs.


Twenty minutes later, Jenny hurried in and threw herself into an empty chair across from Nikki. She didn’t say hello to anyone. She stared pointedly at Nikki, who was watching the chef prepare our food over the fire. Finally, Nikki stood and walked around to the other side of the table to speak to her sister, which irritated me. Why hadn’t Jenny walked around to Nikki? As I watched, the sisters shared a quiet conversation that ended with Jenny crossing her arms while Nikki tried to calm her.


That damn woman is going to ruin Nikki’s fun
, I grumbled internally.
. Jenny notoriously caused issues at social gatherings. She always needed attention and was so different from Nikki that I often wondered if one of them was adopted. I never voiced that opinion, of course. Nikki and I were pals, but that was a comment only said to a best friend.


Nikki moved back to the seat beside me, looking miserable. When Jenny left the table for the bathroom, I leaned over. “Everything okay?”


“She’s pissed that we didn’t wait for her,” Nikki mumbled unhappily.


“She was twenty minutes late, Nikki. She shouldn’t expect that,” I told her quietly, determined for Nikki to see that she wasn’t in the wrong.


“I know, but I still feel bad. She’s my sister.”


“And she’s doing her best to ruin your night. Don’t let her,” I ordered. We were close enough that I could say


Nikki looked at me, a defense ready on her lips. My expression plainly told her my feelings, as it always did. She nodded. “You’re right. It’s my night, not hers. I deserve to have fun.”


“That’s the spirit!” I quipped, throwing a fist into the air excitedly. “I’ll order us two more of these gin and tonics, and we’ll keep this party going,” I told her with a wink and signaled our waitress, who scurried off quickly to retrieve our drinks and those for a couple other gals at the table.


The chef was hilarious, tossing food into our mouths and making slightly inappropriate jokes. Everyone laughed and responded with more inappropriate jokes. Luckily, our table was at the back of the restaurant. Jenny made sure to huff occasionally and refused to laugh or even smile. Her scowl was a constant reminder to Nikki that she was unhappy. Nikki ignored her, for the most part, and I was proud of her for enjoying herself.


As we tucked into our meals after the chef left, I ordered a water to make up for the two drinks I’d already had. My phone pinged in my pocket, and I thought about ignoring it, but I’d been waiting on a text from my mom about her dog, who had been sick. I glanced down at my phone and saw a name I hadn’t seen in a few months.


Hey, gorgeous! What are you doing tonight?


Nikki had seen me read the text. “Who’s that?”




“Really?” she asked with a sideways glance.


I rolled my eyes, a little annoyed. “Don’t get excited. I’m not getting involved in that mess.”


“Yeah, but would it hurt to see what he’s doing? Maybe he has some single friends we can go hang out with.”


I groaned in indecision. I didn’t want Richard assuming I wanted to see him. I’d made it clear I had no interest in dating him. He had way too much baggage—the man had left his wife over a year ago but wouldn’t divorce her. I’d been furious when I’d found out and so grateful I hadn’t slept with him. Just gone on a date, which had made me feel lower than pond scum.


Nikki reiterated, “Come on. Just see what he’s doing. If he’s hitting you up for a booty call, tell him to fuck off.”


I laughed loudly. Nikki rarely used curse words. Jenny looked at us and rolled her eyes, clearly unhappy and wanted others to join her party. Willpower held my mouth closed. I returned my attention to Nikki. “So if he’s doing something fun with friends, you’ll come, too?”


Nikki stared across the table at her sister. “I’ll go. But I might invite Jenny, if that’s okay.”


I groaned internally again and nodded. “Yeah, sure.”


Right now I’m at a birthday party. What’s going on?

We’re at a karaoke bar downtown. Called Torro’s. Y’all come up and show off.


I’ll ask my friend. It’s her birthday. Who all is there?


A bunch of people. I’ll get the first round to celebrate her birthday!


“Okay, so they’re at a karaoke bar called Torro’s,” I told Nikki, smiling mischievously.

BOOK: SECRET BABY (A Billionaire Romance)
10.76Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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