New York Times and USA Today Bestselling Author Julia Kent writes romantic comedy with an edge, and new adult books that push contemporary boundaries. From billionaires to BBWs to rock stars, Julia finds a sensual, goofy joy in every book she writes, but unlike Trevor from Random Acts of Crazy, she has never kissed a chicken.
Shopping for a Billionaire’s Fiancée gives near-billionaire Declan McCormick the chance to tell his story in this continuation of the New York Times and USA Today bestselling Shopping for a Billionaire series.
Excerpt 1 from Shopping for a Billionaire’s Fiancee:
Something feels off. I sit up, moonlight streaming through the expanse of glass behind my headboard, the ticking silence of the middle of the night grey and ethereal. My mouth is dry and my skin tingles with danger.
My own home isn’t safe.
Clicking sounds in the distance pierce my closed bedroom door. I quietly open my closet and pull out the aluminum baseball bat I store in there for moments like this.
Whatever this is.
Later, I realize I should have called 911. But when you’re in the haze of being woken by a home invasion, you don’t think clearly.
Besides, evolution has primed me for this very moment. Testosterone oozes out of my pores. This is a moment men imagine from the time they’re small little beasts with superhero capes and nerf guns.
Defending our turf.
Quiet as a ninja, I walk on the balls of my feet, opening my bedroom door and proceeding down the hall. Andrew is silent, too, his feet hanging off the end of my couch, the blanket pooled on the floor beneath him. His mouth is open and he’s drooling a little, my nice leather sleek and shiny in the moonlight.
He’s useless against the seven-foot, muscled cat burglar who is obviously here to steal my soul and my valuable electronics.
My eyes dart to the door, where an inch of light from the hallway peeks in, illuminating the library table where I dump my mail.
A knee appears, with a shiny high heel at the foot.
Interesting cat burglar.
Then more knee. A thigh. Hips that make hot blood pound through me, the rest of Shannon entering the room on tip toes. She rotates and closes the door with such precision I start to wonder if she breaks into people’s houses for a living.
I flatten myself against the wall where she can’t see me, and slowly set the baseball bat on a small wool area carpet. We’re both creeping around my apartment in silence, but for very different reasons now.
She cuts behind the couch and stands in front of the breakfast bar, slipping off her trench coat.
Oh, sweet merciful universe.
She is naked except for the high heels.
Merry Christmas in August.
Those come-fuck-me pumps are candy apple red and scream out my name. No, really. I can hear them, tiny little voices that only my now-rising-to-the-occasion little head can hear. It’s like those shoes communicate on a radio frequency that my testicles can tune into.
And...I’m at attention.
What is she doing here?
“Shannon?” I whisper, stepping out into the moonlight, hoping I don’t scare her.
She startles and freezes, hand on one breast over her heart. Her hair is loose and flowing, and she’s curled it. She painted her face, eyes big and bright, lips red and stunning.
She shifts her weight to one hip, eager and a little shy, but also bold.
“Let’s make up,” she says, squaring her shoulders. “And happy birthday!”
Oh, man. That’s right. I’d completely forgotten.
Andrew’s head pops up from the other side of the couch and he gapes at Shannon. “Dec? You hired a stripper? I knew you and Shannon were on the outs, but damn, man, you can’t just—”
“AAAAIIIIEEEEEEEE!” Shannon screams. If this whole marrying a billionaire and working in corporate America thing doesn’t work for her, she has a future in horror films.
Excerpt 2 from Shopping for a Billionaire’s Fiancee:
Shannon has no idea how many layers of beauty she has. And that’s exactly why she’s so exquisite.
When I was sixteen, the year before my mother died, Mom took me and my little brother, Andrew, to New York City for a long weekend. Pulled us out of school over the objections of the headmaster at our academy.
Mom didn’t care. We spent three nights at the Waldorf Astoria, skated at Rockefeller Center, had the best seats at the top Broadway musicals, and dined on the finest footlongs you could get for $3. Loaded with mustard and sauerkraut, plus a cream soda or two.
(Do you have something against footlongs? Too bad. Two teenagers can only handle so much caviar and lobster.)
What I remember most about that trip, and what Shannon reminds me of every moment I look at her, was our trip to the Museum of Modern Art. Mom insisted we go, and Andrew and I rolled our eyes like sets of dice at a craps table.
And then I got it, right there in front of a Vincent van Gogh masterpiece. In art history class we’d covered this painting in detail. We were taught the biography of Van Gogh, how he came to create the series of paintings, his motivation, and his flaws.
We’d dissected the meaning so thoroughly that I felt like I could recreate the art by automation, our elite prep-school instruction clinical and impeccable.
Standing in front of the painting, a few feet away, with my eyes trailing the curve of brush strokes, my mind taking in the nuance of color, my senses dazzled by the sheer essence of the whole, I halted. Froze. Was completely in the painting’s spell.
You can study something in the abstract. Know it’s real somewhere out there in the world, and understand intellectually that what you read in a book or what you’re told by someone else is true.
You have to stand in front of it and have it stare back at you, though, to really know it.
That’s how I feel when I look at Shannon. Every single time my eyes find her. Shannon’s smile is warm and sweet, yet better every time she flashes it at me.
Her honey-colored hair shines in the sunlight but looks richer when it’s tangled, in bed, highlighted by the moon and messed by me. Those warm eyes see only me when we’re together. That luscious body craves my touch. My hands. My...all of it.
When I’m with her, the world is more nuanced. Deeper. Authentic. Real.
She’s a work of art, one of a kind. And one I get to hold next to my body, tuck away in my heart, and...grow old with.
I have planned the perfect proposal. No footlongs and sauerkraut, unfortunately, but plenty of lobster, caviar, champagne and—her favorite—tiramisu. (What is it with women and tiramisu? It’s cream, cheese, sugar, cake and rum, not some magic potion that generates mouth orgasms.
My Y chromosome scratches its head in confusion, but hey, if it’s her favorite...I give my woman what she wants.)
Dad gave me Mom’s engagement ring, platinum and diamonds galore, a monstrosity he’d bought for her nearly four decades ago as his business took off. The ring is designed to impress. I doubt Shannon would care if I slid a giant hard-candy ring on her finger instead of a three-carat diamond.
And, frankly, I don’t care, either. But the thought of my Shannon sharing such an important part of my mother’s life makes my chest swell. Only Shannon—and my mom—can do that. Only love can do that.
Plus, Marie will pass out when she sets eyes on that rock, and that will give us two minutes of blessed silence. That woman talks more than Kim Kardashian flashes her naked ass on the internet.
“It’s not as if your brothers are planning to tie themselves down to one woman any time soon, if ever,” Dad had said when he gave it to me. He’s about as sentimental as a pet rock. After having it resized to fit my future fiancée, it was ready to rest on yet another McCormick woman’s finger.
It was going to be calculatedly perfect, down to the color of the tablecloth and the freshness of the roses.
And it was perfect.
Until Shannon swallowed the ring.