Authors: Dahlia Rose
The Billionaire’s Baby
Copyright © February 2013 Dahlia Rose
Cover Art by Mina Carter
All rights are reserved. No part of this may be used or reproduced in any manner whatsoever without written permission, except in the case of brief quotations embodied in critical articles and reviews.
Springtime in New York was beautiful. Cherry blossoms in every possible shade of pink cascaded from trees as far as the eye could see, the air still held a hint of winter but the sun shone warmly and brightly, and one more thing: Springtime in New York brought tourists. Tons of them, flocking into the city to see the sights, stare up at the skyscrapers and shop their hearts out.
Adira was one of them and she felt such happiness that she wanted to throw her hat in the air like she’d seen on one of the American sitcoms. She’d saved for three years—three long years—working in the dress shop in Piccadilly Circle to get where she now stood. New York: The city that never sleeps. A fabulous place full of lights, sounds and smells she’d never experienced before. One little British girl in the middle of it all. She looked down at the address of her hotel on the screen of her phone. One very lost British girl.
She’d been walking for more than forty-five minutes and, of course, she’d managed to get lost.
Mum always said I had the directional skills of a mole
, she thought unhappily.
I can take a cab or soldier on
, she thought.
I’ll give it one more go
before I do that again
Adira crossed the street. Within only two days of being there, she’d learned that trying to hail a cab in the city was murder and when they heard her accent, the ride always seemed to take longer and the price more.
, she thought irritably. She walked down the sidewalk and turned.
Okay, I’m on forty-second street and my hotel is right off Times Square. Oh, bugger, I give up.
She said excuse me twice, but people were moving past so quickly they didn’t even seem to notice her.
She sighed loudly. She was starving, her feet hurt and she was lost. Finally, she saw someone stop in front of a store window. He was wearing an expensive-looking blue business suit. It was either ask him or get jipped on a cab. She was on a budget, so every penny counted.
“Pardon me. I was wondering if you could give me some help. I’m a bit lost,” Adira said.
Just standing next to the man she was dwarfed by his height and broad shoulders. But when he turned to face her, Adira forgot her words. The man in front of her was all kinds of sexy built into one really big package. His face was rugged and the smile on his face showed dimples. His warm honey-brown eyes and dark hair gave him an almost boyish kind of look. His skin was a wonderful light brown. She could tell he was Spanish. She shook her head as if to clear her wayward thoughts and he arched one well-groomed eyebrow at her.
“I’m sorry. Did you say you were lost?” His voice was like the smooth Caribbean rum her aunt had brought from the islands when she came to visit.
“Oh, yes. I’m trying to get to the Radisson off Times Square. I’ve been out taking in the sights and got a bit turned around,” Adira explained.
“You’re not too far away,” he said. “You have the most amazing voice.”
“Thank you, I suppose. Can you direct me?” God, she hoped he wasn’t some shyster trying to figure out if he could work a con on her. England had its fair share of bad areas and criminals. She was not naive.
“I’ll do even better. I’ll have my driver bring the car around and we’ll drive you there,” he said.
“Oy. I don’t know what you’re thinking, but I’m not the sort to take rides from strange men,” Adira snapped. “My mother taught me better. And what do Americans call it? Stranger danger, I think. Yeah, I’ll have none of that.”
He laughed and it was a rich sound that was all too pleasant on the air. “Stranger danger. I haven’t heard that in forever. Let’s remedy that. My name is Favian Rivera and who are you?”
“Adira Potts from England.” She stuck out her hand and he enveloped it in his big warm one. Her hand tingled and he held on a bit longer than necessary until she pulled away. “So, since we got that out of the way, any chance you’ll be giving me directions?”
“I can do better than that. I’ll walk you,” Favian said.
Adira shook her head. “You don’t have to. The directions will be just fine.”
“Isn’t that how you got lost in the first place?” He raised his eyebrow again.
“Good point,” she murmured. “All right, you can walk me there, and I thank you very much.”
“Lord, if you keep talking like that, I may be the one doing the thanking,” he said.
Adira looked up at him curiously. “What?”
“Do you not know how amazing your voice is?” Favian said.
“It’s my every day old voice, love,” Adria patted his bicep. “Let’s go.”
“You are a breath of fresh air in this town. I’m happy I decided to get out and visit the store today,” he said.
Adira instantly felt bad. “I am so sorry I’m taking you away from your shopping.”
He laughed. “You’re not. I own this store and a few others on this street.”
“Well, then, I’m sorry for interrupting your business,” she said.
“The pleasure is all mine, Adira,” he said. “This way.”
His long strides were hard to keep up with and Adira found herself practically running. Favian noticed and slowed down and she gave a grateful sigh.
“Sorry. I still move like I did in the military,” he said apologetically.
“You were in the army?” she asked, curious.
“Marines, Devil Dogs, get some, get some,” he said with a grin. “I was a gunny for twenty three years.”
“How does one run a successful business and still manage to serve in the military?” Adira asked.
Favian Rivera seemed to be the most interesting man she’d met in a long time. Adira wasn’t the type to have flings. She’d dated some in London, but she was more of a bookworm and men didn’t seem to find her attractive. It was okay until the date when they found out she had a brain and wouldn’t fall for their usual tricks. So her love life was sorely lacking.
“The convenience of technology helped, especially when I was stationed overseas in Afghanistan and Iraq,” Favian said. “Plus, my close friend stood in as CEO for me while I was away. Since I’m retired now there is no more of that.”
“That’s good. I’m glad you’re safe,” Adira said.
“You don’t even know me,” he murmured.
“I feel so sad for anyone who hasn’t come home,” Adira said. “What their families must go through. No one should ever have to feel that. I’m sure your family is happy you made it through.”
“I haven’t much of a family left, only my step sister Hillary. My mother died when I was ten and when I was sixteen my father remarried to Hillary’s mother. She’s thirty now, and only a few years ago our parents both died in a freak accident while on vacation. I take care of her because she was raised as my sister.”
“How very awful for you.” Adira felt sympathy rush through her. This was a complex man with layers of depth to him. She found herself attracted to him and not only because he was gorgeous as hell.
“It was a long time ago. I’ve made my peace.” He looked down at her and smiled. “And here you are. You were only two blocks away, of course.”
She looked up and saw the familiar sign of her hotel and then smiled at Favian. “Thank you, kind sir.”
He laughed. “May I kiss your hand?”
“It’s not required, but it’s a plus,” Adira teased and then shut her mouth quickly. She couldn’t believe she had said that and was openly flirting. He took her hand and she felt his warm lips graze her knuckles. Her heart sped up from the simple contact.
“Have dinner with me,” Favian said.
She looked up at him in surprise and then shook her head doubtfully. “Oh, I don’t know, love, why would you want to take me to dinner? I’m sure you have a cache full of elite socialites at your beck and call.”
A slow smile spread across his face. “You’d be wrong in that respect. I’m very particular who I spend my time with. You intrigue me, Adira Potts. Have dinner with me right here in Times Square.”
Do it. You deserve to have an adventure,
the naughty angel on her shoulder said.
Be good. You’re just
here to sightsee
, the good angel on the other shoulder said.
Oh, shut up
, she said to both of them.
come to sightsee, she, like most women, found herself daydreaming that some prince charming would catch her eye and, like in chick flicks, they would fall madly in love. She was too much of a pragmatist to have such fanciful notions, but why couldn’t she dream and pretend just for once in her life?
“All right, dinner it is. I shall be standing right in this spot at eight o’clock. Don’t be late,” she said primly.
“Damn, I just want to hear you call me daddy with that voice.” His voice sent a shiver up her spine and he kissed her hand again. “Eight o’ clock, darling Adira.”
She watched him walk away and practically danced her way to the elevator. In her room, she looked through her simple clothing to find something to wear for dinner. A plain red sheath dress was all she had and her budget couldn’t afford her buying a new dress. “I can’t believe you’re doing this,” she said to herself as she held the dress up to her body in the mirror.
She was so excited she decided to swim laps in the indoor pool before dinner, hoping to get rid of some of the nervous energy she felt. In a few hours she would be sitting across from sexy Favian Rivera.
An hour later, Favian walked into the set of offices he owned off Wall Street. Rivera Enterprises took up the entire fifteenth floor and looked over the hub of the Manhattan financial district. He ran the company like his father did—with a firm hand, but treating its employees well. Along with the stocks he owned and the different aspects of business the company had its hand in, including technology design, the line of shops turned a profit every quarter even though the economy was down. So much so that he was able to open two shops in Puerto Rico like his father had dreamed before his death.
“Favian, Hillary has set up shop in your office again,” Carol Wade, his personal assistant and right hand informed him as he came up to her desk.
“Lord, why?” Favian groaned. “What are we trying to save this month? Baby ducks, baby seals, baby seals that eat ducks, what?”
Carol grinned. “She has swatches of cloth, so who knows. You already know what I think about the situation.”
Carol was of the firm belief that Hillary needed to grow up and that Favian kept coddling her. Carol was more a mother to him than Tammy, Hillary’s mother, ever was. Carol had started out as his father’s secretary and the woman, now in her sixties, was his saving grace. She never had a problem putting Hillary or anyone in their place, including him, and he loved her for her straight-talking attitude.
“I’ll get her on her way. Can you tell Remy I need to see him in five minutes? Oh, and make reservations at Michelangelo’s for two at eight-thirty, secluded booth please,” Favian said.