The Taming of the Billionaire

The Taming of the Billionaire

by Jessica Clare

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Overview

The New York Times bestselling author of The Billionaire and the Virgin returns with a tale of Shakespearean-style seduction...

Edie's an overbearing cat behaviorist who's not big on people. Magnus is a newly-rich game developer who likes to be in control. When the two of them meet at Gretchen and Hunter's masquerade engagement party, the loathing is mutual. Unfortunately for them—and everyone else—they're in the wedding party together and must deal with each other for the next few months.

But when Magnus's younger brother falls for Edie's sister, he begs for his brother's help in concocting a plan to win her over. If Magnus can keep the prickly Edie occupied, his brother will have time to woo Edie’s sister. Of course, Magnus isn't interested in the slightest, but Edie is...intriguing. And stubborn. And smart. And sexy. And they might have more in common than they thought.

Before long, it becomes a challenge between the two of them to see who will be tamed first. But how’s Edie going to react when she finds out that Magnus is using her? And how’s Magnus going to handle the fact that he’s fallen for a cat lady?

Praise for the Billionaire Boys Club novels

“Blazing hot.”—USA Today

“A fast, sexy read.”—Fiction Vixen

“Great storytelling…delightful reading…It’s fun and oh so hot.”—Kirkus Reviews

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780698186941
Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
Publication date: 07/21/2015
Series: Billionaires and Bridesmaids , #2
Sold by: Penguin Group
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 247
Sales rank: 39,323
File size: 590 KB

About the Author

New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Jessica Clare writes under three pen names. As Jessica Clare, she writes erotic contemporary romances, including the Billionaire Boys Club novels and the Hitman novels with Jen Frederick. As Jessica Sims, she writes fun, sexy shifter paranormals, and as Jill Myles, she writes a little bit of everything, from sexy, comedic urban fantasy to fairy tales gone wrong.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

“Watch your feet,” Bianca told Edie as they approached enormous Buchanan Manor. She took her sister’s arm in hers, trying to help her up the tiered entryway with its big rock staircase. “Can you handle these steps? They’re kind of narrow—”

“Christ, Bianca. I’ve got a limp, not a goddamn peg leg.” Edie shook off her sister’s clingy arm with annoyance. Bianca always did this. She treated Edie like she was made of glass instead of someone who had a bad knee. Most of the time she ignored it, but heading up to the big house, she was nervous as it was, and Bianca’s Florence Nightingale act was getting old. Most of the time, her limp wasn’t even that bad.

Bianca gave Edie a wounded look and withdrew her hands. “I’m sorry. I was just trying to help. I know your leg gets tired.”

“I can handle five steps,” Edie grumped, though she was already feeling guilty. She was in a bad mood and taking it out on Bianca. It wasn’t her sister’s fault that Edie was nervous and jittery tonight in the face of a big party. Edie wasn’t a fan of mingling or social events, and adding in the forbidding-looking Buchanan Manor just took things to the next level. The house was enormous and gothically creepy, despite the well-manicured gardens and the fleet of cars parked along the long circle drive that spoke of many other guests.

But she wasn’t doing this because she wanted to party, Edie reminded herself. She was doing it for her friend Gretchen.

Her knee flared with pain at the top of the steps, but she ignored it, because damn it, she wasn’t going to lean on perfect Bianca as they went in. Instead, she straightened her long oversized black tunic sweater, striped leggings, and her chunky necklace. It wasn’t all that dressy so she’d paired it with a colorful scarf in her wavy hair as a nod to a special occasion. Bianca, of course, looked like utter perfection with her smooth blonde waist-length hair and her navy boatneck top and matching fitted mermaid skirt. Bianca wore four-inch heels, because of course she had to look glamorous even though Edie was the one invited to the party. Edie herself was in orthopedic shoes. It was either that or her knee would give out midway through the night.

Not that she was bitter about that kind of thing.

Bianca’s long fingernails picked at Edie’s shoulder. “You have cat hair on you.”

She pushed aside Bianca’s hands. “I always have cat hair on me. No one will care.”

Bianca’s big, sad doe eyes fixed on her. “You know I care, Edie. What if there are cute, eligible men here?”

She wanted to make a face at her beautiful sister. The moment Bianca had heard that Edie’s friend from college was marrying a billionaire, she’d clung to Edie, insisting that she go to the party because poor Edie’s foot would surely ache if she drove herself and what if she had to stand on her feet for too long? She’d need help back to the car if her leg gave out and Bianca, of course, would always selflessly be there for her sister.

Right. Bianca was “selfless” all right, because she liked to be seen as the sweet, giving, angelic sister. Edie knew her sister was more interested in finding out the net worth of any guys at the party, even though she’d never say such a thing aloud. Bianca kept calculating thoughts to herself, because they weren’t ladylike. But Edie knew her transparent sister well. Bianca didn’t have to say a word and Edie could tell all the thoughts going through her lovely head.

And if Edie was covered in cat hair, it didn’t matter because no one would ever look at Edie while Bianca was around anyhow.

Except for maybe a cat.

Edie rapped the brass knocker on the big wooden door of the manor house.

“This is so elegant,” Bianca murmured, smoothing her hair. “So very Downton Abbey. You think they have servants?”

“No, I’m sure Gretchen cleans seventeen bathrooms by herself,” Edie said sarcastically.

“Seventeen bathrooms? Really?”

“I’m guessing.” She eyed the windows of the manor house, what she could see from the entrance. How many rooms did this place have? The size of it rivaled freaking Buckingham Palace or something.

But in the next moment, the enormous door opened and Gretchen peered out onto the steps. Her eyes widened behind black-rimmed nerd glasses and she lit up. “Ohmigod! Edie! You’re here!” She flung herself forward, wrapping her arms around Edie’s smaller frame. “It’s so good to see you! Was the drive long?”

Edie pried herself out of Gretchen’s exuberant embrace, laughing. “About four hours. But of course, seeing you is worth it. How are you? How’s Igor?” She studied Gretchen. Her friend looked fabulous, her face glowing, her red hair bouncing around her shoulders like a fiery cloud. She wore a plain black dress, which didn’t surprise Edie. She and Gretchen were on the same wavelength when it came to “dressing up.”

“Ha! Of course you’re asking about that little skin-bag the moment you get here.” She grinned and gave Edie a happy little shake, then tilted her head as she noticed Bianca. “Oh. You brought someone. Hi, Bianca.” Her tone changed, her happy smile growing a little more forced. “I didn’t know you were coming.”

Edie winced. She loved Gretchen, but Gretchen didn’t like Bianca. “I needed someone to drive,” Edie said, making an excuse for her sister, who wanted to be at Gretchen’s party more than Edie did. “You know how long drives hurt my leg.”

Gretchen blinked. “Of course. I’m just . . . We now have an odd number of guests.”

“Oh, I don’t have to go to the dinner,” Bianca said in a soft, sweet voice. “I’ll be perfectly fine in the kitchen. Please don’t change your plans for me. I would just feel terrible.

“No, it’s okay, I guess. Just keep your mitts off of the scarred-up one. He’s mine and I’ll cut you if you even look at him sideways.”

Bianca’s big eyes went wide. “Um.”

“She’s joking,” Edie told her sister. “Aren’t you, Gretch?”

“Sure. Joking.” Gretchen gave Bianca her most evil looking smile and waved them in. “Come on. You can meet the other guests.”

Edie limped forward, eyeing the foyer as they walked in. Double staircase, lined with red carpet. She sincerely hoped she wasn’t going to have to go up that. “Nice house.”

“Oh, it’s a beast,” Gretchen said easily. “Comes with the man, though, so I don’t mind it so much.” She shut the door behind Bianca and Edie and then paused. “So. Before we go in, I need to talk about my fiancé.”

That sounded ominous. Edie kept her face carefully bland. She’d googled Hunter Buchanan on the Internet but hadn’t been able to find any pictures of him. Was he super old and Gretchen was marrying him because . . . money? It didn’t sound like something Gretchen would do, but Gretchen thrived on impulsive decisions and she was impossible to predict.

“I’m sure he’ll be lovely,” Bianca said in a sweet voice.

“Actually, he’s not,” Gretchen told her bluntly. “Which is what we need to talk about.” Her gaze fixed on the two women. “Hunter’s a bit shy. He doesn’t like it when people stare at him, because he’s got a lot of scars and he’s missing a few fingers. I’m telling you now so you’re not surprised later. And I’m also telling you because he’s camera shy and if you guys are hoping for some sort of singing-or-dancing-down-the-aisle bullshit, it’s not going to happen. In fact, if anyone suggests it, I will rip your tongue out.” She eyed Bianca. “I’m very protective of Hunter, and the only reason we’re having a big wedding is because I want it and because he wants to make me happy. If it was up to him, we’d bring someone here and get it done in an afternoon.”

“I’m sure he’s fine-looking,” Bianca continued in her little-girl voice, but Edie put a hand on her arm to shut her up.

“No staring,” Edie repeated. “Got it. As for the whole singing and dancing thing . . .” She gestured at her leg. “If they do that, they’re counting me out, too.”

“Oh, right.” Gretchen brightened. “That makes you even more perfect for my motley wedding party.”

“But—” Bianca began.

Edie squeezed her arm again. One of the reasons that Bianca and Gretchen didn’t get along was that Bianca was convinced she could make everyone love her with a few sweet words, and Gretchen loathed fakeness. It would be best to keep the two apart and, not for the first time, she regretted bringing her younger sister. But she needed Bianca here, sadly. And she liked that she didn’t have to do this alone. “It’s your wedding, Gretchen. It’ll be exactly how you want.”

Gretchen beamed at Edie. “I fully intend on being a bridezilla. I mean, why not, right? A friend of mine just had a big destination wedding and it was awesome, but I think I want to have things here so Hunter doesn’t feel quite so out of his element.”

Edie glanced around at the big house as they walked down a long hall, thankfully not up a staircase. “You could certainly hold a lot of people here.”

“Indeed,” said Bianca, who clearly didn’t know when to keep her mouth shut. “There’s a very gothic, old world look to this place that’s positively charming.” Her gaze fell to a Chinese vase on a nearby table and Edie could practically see the dollar signs tallying in Bianca’s eyes. “Have you considered renting it out for weddings?”

“God, no,” Gretchen said, giving the sisters a horrified look. “I barely want to have my own here. Luckily the rose gardens are flat-out magnificent.”

“Your cat?” Edie inquired again.

Gretchen blinked, clearly distracted. “Oh, right. Sorry, I just have a lot on my mind today. Come on up to the bedroom. Igor’s probably commandeering the blankets.”

“Oooh, the bedroom?” Bianca cooed. “We’d love to.”

Gretchen changed direction, heading down an entirely different hall. This corridor had paintings lining one wall and heavily draped windows along the next. Artful end tables rested along the wall every few feet, and each one had a vase filled with roses of different varieties. “This is mine and Hunter’s private quarters,” Gretchen explained as they walked. She gestured at doors as they passed them. “That’s his gym, and over there is his office.” At the far end of the long, winding hall was a huge pair of double doors. “And the bedroom,” she said, heading for it.

Edie’s leg was aching from all the walking, but she did want to see the cat. Most of the time, she liked cats more than people. When Gretchen opened the double doors to the room, she eyed it as she would for her own cats. There was a deluxe cat fort set up in one corner of the room, and a perch set against one of the massive windows, which made Edie happy. Curled up in the center of a massive bed was a beige wrinkly bag of flesh that stretched his long legs as Gretchen went and picked him up.

“Iggy doesn’t mind it here, but he tends to get lost so I try to keep him confined to this room,” Gretchen explained. “The house is just too big, and this room’s practically a thousand square feet as it is.”

Igor, Gretchen’s hairless sphinx cat, looked good, and Edie smiled. He’d been a rescue that Gretchen had taken on a few years ago because Edie already had too many cats, and at the time he’d been skinny and miserable, with a nasty skin infection. Now he was sassy and fat, and as Gretchen held him in her arms and rubbed his wrinkly head, Edie felt a happy pang of seeing a happy cat with a loving owner. She’d put the two together.

“Can I pet him?” she asked as Bianca wandered past, admiring the room.

“Of course,” Gretchen said, “But I’m not sure that he likes strangers, and he hasn’t seen you in years. I know he’s still getting used to Hunter.”

Edie reached out and held her fingers close enough for Igor to sniff. The cat gave them a cursory whiff, then hissed and batted Edie’s hand away with his claws.

Gretchen hauled him away from Edie with a wince. “Yeah, he’s not Mister Friendly.”

“It’s okay,” Edie said with a laugh, wincing at the scratches the cat had left. “He probably smells my cats on me and that’s making him anxious.” She put her fingers to her mouth and sucked on the welts.

“I’m so sorry—”

“I’ve had worse in my line of work. No big deal.” Edie gave her a grin to ease her fears. “It’s a perfectly normal reaction to strange-smelling people invading his space. I’d love to see you and Hunter interacting with him, though. Maybe I could—”

“No,” Gretchen said, depositing the cat back on the bed. “You’re not here to analyze us, Edie. You’re here as a guest. And speaking of, we should probably get back to them. Hunter’s going to wonder where we ran off to.” She smiled, her face softening at the mention of her fiancé.

They left the room and Edie continued to suck on her fingers as Gretchen chatted on about the different wings of the house and the days the cleaning crew came by. Bianca’s big eyes were wide as she drank it all in (no doubt storing information for later use) and Edie was content to let them talk. Her knee was aching something fierce at this point. Four hours in the car in a bent position wasn’t good for it, and now walking around was making it worse. She needed a nice long soak and some Tiger Balm, but the night had barely started. This was why she wasn’t fun at parties.

“Here,” Gretchen said as they turned a corner. “We’re in the red dining room. It’s just down this way. I—”

“Actually,” Edie said, interrupting. She held up her bleeding fingers. “Can I run to the restroom and grab some Band-Aids? I’ll catch up with you guys.” It’d give her a chance to rest her knee before going in and enduring the rest of the evening.

“You want me to go get it for you?” Gretchen asked. “I don’t mind—”

“Oh, no, I can do it,” Edie said quickly, already hurrying down the hall. “I’ll just run to the restroom and catch up with you and Bianca.”

“Go to the kitchen all the way down the hall,” Gretchen called after her. “I keep the Band-Aids in there.”

Edie gave her a thumbs-up as she walked, footsteps determined, down the long hall. She didn’t glance backward until she heard Bianca’s and Gretchen’s voices recede. After a few more moments, she looked backward and sure enough, she was alone. Whew. She sat down on a settee against the wall and rubbed her knee, trying to ease the ache that throbbed under the scar tissue. Stupid knee. Stupid body that had to fail on her.

Her fingers were no longer bleeding after a few minutes, but since she’d bailed for a Band-Aid, she might as well find one. Hauling herself back to her feet, she headed back down the hall again, looking for a door that might lead to a kitchen. One door at the end of the hall looked promising as it had no handle, but instead, swung on its hinge. That seemed like a kitchen door. Edie limped toward it.

And then paused.

There were voices coming from inside. Masculine voices.

“So . . . what about Daphne?” one voice said.

Edie heard the sound of what sounded like a bottle being opened, and then a pause. “Daphne’s not in the wedding.”

“No?” the first man said. “Damn. I wanted to meet her. She’s hot.”

“She’s a fucking mess,” said the other. “Rehab. Gretchen’s leaving her alone for now.”

“Well then, what about the other bridesmaids?”

A third voice came in, a deep baritone that was instantly recognizable. “Is pussy all you think about, Asher?”

“Why you blaming me? Levi here started it.”

“Everyone knows brides pick hot chicks for the wedding party.” That one was the one named Levi.

“Yeah, but you haven’t met Gretchen, have you?” said the one she guessed must be Asher.

“No, why?” said Levi. “She insecure?”

“She’s weird,” said that abrupt baritone voice. “He’s trying to say her friends are probably fucking weird, too.”

“Oh no,” Levi groaned. “Seriously?”

“Probably cat ladies or some shit,” said the baritone voice again. “Cat ladies and astrologists. So your dick is just gonna have to wait for some other opportunity.”

The other two voices laughed, and Edie brimmed with rage at the men. How dare they? From what Gretchen had told her, she and Hunter were insanely happy. And Gretchen was just picking her friends to be in the wedding with her, like any joyous bride-to-be. Did it matter if they were weird?

Most of all, though, she resented that fucking cat-lady remark made by the guy with the baritone voice. Because fuck him. Just because girls happened to like cats didn’t mean they were hideous unlovable creatures. He was probably an ugly slob himself. Her nostrils flared with anger.

“Come on,” said Levi. “You know the groomsmen always get to nail the bridesmaids.”

“You’d probably rather keep your dick to yourself,” said Baritone. “Gretchen’s a pretty decent girl and she likes Hunter, so what the fuck else matters?”

“Tits,” said another. “Tits matter.”

“Shut the fuck up,” said Baritone with a laugh. “Or I’m gonna insist you hook up with the cat ladies. Just don’t get them too excited or you might end up with a hairball on your—”

That was it. Edie shoved the door open and stormed through, ignoring the flare of pain her knee threw at her. She was good and pissy now. How fucking dare these assholes come into Gretchen’s house and judge her and her friends? They were her goddamn guests.

The kitchen was utterly silent at her arrival.

Three men lounged in the room, two leaning against the marble countertop island in the center of the kitchen, one at the fridge getting another beer. All three straightened at the sight of her.

She gave them her most withering glare and limped forward.

“Can I . . . help you?” the baritone rumbled, and she turned to give him the full fury of her cat-lady wrath. It was a shame that such an unpleasant man was so appealing-looking. Dark, short-cropped hair capped his head, a little too long to be a buzz cut, and a little too short to be anything else. His jaw was wide, his features too blunt to be handsome, but his eyes were an incredible shade of greenish-brown that were so vivid they practically glowed, and were framed by dark lashes. He smiled at her to make her easy, and his whole face lit up with that smile.

He might have been appealing, but he was also a world-class jerk. She gave him another icy look that made the smile on his face disappear. “No, you cannot help me.”

As she stormed past them and began to slam open drawers, she noticed out of the corner of her eyes that the men were exchanging looks. She suspected they knew she was a bridesmaid and that she had overheard them, and were probably now trying to figure out the best way to extricate themselves from the situation.

She knew she came off as an abrasive, bossy bitch. She also didn’t care. Impressing these men? Not on her list of things to do that day.

And they just didn’t know when to take a glare for an answer. “You here for the engagement dinner?” one asked as she rifled through a drawer.

Edie looked up and gave him a nut-withering stare just as her fingers closed over a Band-Aid. With her prize in hand, she lifted her head high, straightened her cat-hair-covered clothing, and walked back out of the kitchen, taking care to hide her limp as much as possible.

As the door closed behind her, she heard one of the men say, “What did I tell you? The bridesmaids are gonna be weird.”

“Christ,” said another.

Full of indignation, Edie limped back toward the red dining room, wrapping the Band-Aid around her finger and blistering the three men in her thoughts. Why did guys have to be such jerks the moment anyone’s back was turned? Also, who told those guys they were getting laid? Really. Being in the bridal party did not automatically make her someone’s date.

It wasn’t too hard to find the red dining room again. After returning down the hall, Edie just listened for the low buzz of voices. She pushed the door open and gave Gretchen a smile as she slipped into the crowded room. Her friend looked excited and nervous all at once. She didn’t need to know about the horrible things the men in the kitchen were saying. This was her night and it was going to be an awesome one, damn it.

“There you are,” Gretchen said, hurrying back over to Edie and taking her arm. “Come on. I want you to meet my Hunter.” She gave Edie’s arm a meaningful squeeze as she pulled her through the mingling people in the room. Off to one side, Bianca was talking with a man, a wineglass in her hand. Jeez, how long had Edie been gone that Bianca had already found someone to latch on to?

“Hunter, this is my friend from college, Edie. She’s the one who gave me Igor.” She moved to Hunter’s side, releasing Edie’s arm, and gave her friend a challenging look.

Edie could see why Gretchen was practically bristling. Hunter was . . . well, “unpleasant” to look upon would be the kindest way to put it. Deep, gouging scars bisected his face and made one corner of his mouth pull down in a ghastly fashion. Edie offered him her hand to shake, and noticed he was missing his little finger. No wonder Gretchen was so fiercely protective of him. People could be cruel when they perceived a deficiency. Edie and her leg sure knew about that. “It’s very nice to meet you,” she told him. “Gretchen speaks very highly of you.”

“Oh?” he asked, voice rich and velvety. He looked over at Gretchen again, gaze heated, and Edie nearly swooned at how he looked at his fiancée. It was like he wanted to eat Gretchen up with a spoon. She wished a man would look at her like that, damn it.

“You must have the patience of Job for putting up with Gretchen,” Edie teased.

He gave her a stiff smile, his scarred mouth curving a little. “Not patience, just love for her.”

Gretchen put her fingers to one side of her mouth and mock-whispered, “And I suck a mean cock.”

Hunter’s face turned a blotchy red, which, Edie was sure, matched her own. “God, some people never change,” Edie commented.

Gretchen just gave Edie a radiant look, clearly in love. “I hope you won’t mind that we did assigned seating tonight. I thought it’d be good to get everyone used to one another over the next year. Plus, I’m totally matchmaking.” She gave her friend an outrageous wink. “Lots of good bachelors here tonight, if you’re interested.”

God, no. “I’m not,” Edie told her, and tried to keep the smile in her voice. “But I’m sure Bianca will be.”

Gretchen wrinkled her nose. “Which is why I didn’t invite her. Oh well. She can sit with Cooper.”

“Can you show me where I’ll be sitting?” Edie asked, because her knee was throbbing.

“Of course,” Gretchen said, and stood on her tiptoes to give Hunter a kiss right on his scarred cheek. Then she turned to Edie and gestured at the lovely table.

The long wooden dining table was set with seven seats on each side and one at each end of the table. Edie’s assigned seat was stuck somewhere in the middle of things, which made her cringe because if she had to get up for any reason, it’d be a mess. But she said nothing and sat down at her place, noting she was sandwiched between a “Magnus” and a “Reese.” She looked around for Bianca, but she was still in a corner, lost in conversation with a guy. Since there were both booze and bachelors here, she’d probably ignore Edie for the rest of the dinner.

A sour-faced butler swung by and filled Edie’s wineglass. She thanked him and took a sip, feeling conspicuous as the only person seated at the table. Hopefully something would happen to rescue her soon.

She shouldn’t have thrown the thought into the universe; no sooner did it cross her mind than the dining room doors swung open and the three men she’d run into over in the kitchen came in. The guy with the bright green-gold eyes met her gaze and gave her a challenging look as he sauntered into the room behind the other two, then took a swig from his beer. Ugh.

“Are you guys all beer’d up?” Gretchen called. “Okay, let’s everyone take our seats, then. Look for your name card and please make yourself comfortable. Once we’re all in place, we can start with introductions.”

Edie waited, watching as the others in the room shuffled around the table, looking for their names. She began to inwardly cringe as the guy with the green eyes moved around the table slowly and began to head in her direction. Keep on going, she thought. Keep on going. Karma surely couldn’t be that cruel—

He pulled out the chair next to her and flashed her another grin. “Looks like we meet again.” He set his beer down on the table next to her.

She picked up her wineglass and took another swig, ignoring him. This evening was rapidly going from bad to worse. As she watched, others sat, and she fixed her gaze on a pregnant woman who looked like Gretchen—had to be Gretchen’s younger sister Audrey—being helped into her chair by a handsome man with a rakish goatee. He gave her a kiss on top of her head and then moved to the far side of the table, sitting next to Edie. “Hey there, lady. Hope you don’t mind if I sit with you?”

“Fine with me,” she said, forming a smile for him. At least there was one person she’d be able to talk with tonight. She’d just have to pointedly ignore the beer-drinking caveman on the other side of her.

A moment later, everyone was seated . . . everyone except Gretchen and Bianca. Bianca blinked her big dark eyes and gave Gretchen a sad little smile. “I know I’m interloping on the party. I’ll just go wait in the kitchen or something. You guys have fun without me.”

A few of the men made protesting sounds. Edie noticed that one man in particular got up, as if about to offer his chair.

“Oh, stuff it, Bianca,” Gretchen said, her tone irritated. “Go sit in my place. I’ll come sit with my honeybun here.” She went to Hunter’s chair and promptly dropped into his lap.

“All right,” Bianca said in a shy, kittenish voice. She gave everyone a tiny little smile and then sat in the spot at the very end of the table—next to two men who lit up at the sight of her. Yeah. Edie wondered how it was that Bianca hadn’t been invited to the party and was suddenly everyone’s favorite, whereas Edie was one of the freaking bridesmaids and she was stuck between a married guy blowing kisses at his wife and a beer-drinking jackass who was disappointed he wasn’t going to get tits.

Just her lucky day. Maybe she could feign sickness and go hang out with Igor for a bit. She’d take a few scratches in exchange for the cat’s company. Cats didn’t lash out because of pettiness. Cats didn’t demand to see tits.

Edie definitely preferred cats to people.

With a little wiggle atop Hunter’s lap, Gretchen picked up a wineglass—either hers or Hunter’s—and tapped it with a fork. “Okay, everyone. We called you guys here today because we wanted to talk about the upcoming wedding. If you’re here and you have a vagina, you’re a bridesmaid.” She pointed her fork down the table. “Except for you, Bianca. You’re not invited unless we need another usher or some shit.”

Bianca just gave a shy smile, but Edie noticed that one of the men looked aghast at Gretchen’s ballsy words. Edie just sipped her wine and tried to hide her smile. It wasn’t that she hated Bianca—Bianca was family. Of course Edie loved her. But she also kinda loved that Gretchen saw through Bianca’s bullshit and put her in her place.

“So,” Gretchen said, gesturing with her fork. “Penises, you are groomsmen. And since Hunter and I are going to be super picky about how this wedding is run—”

Audrey coughed into her hand. “Cough-bridezilla-cough.”

Gretchen reached over and thwapped her pregnant sister on the head with her fork. “That’s right. Bridezilla. I don’t care. It’s my wedding, and we’re going to do things the way I want, or else I will make people miserable. And that includes dressing my cat up in a clown outfit and making people pose with him as punishment. Feel me?” She cast a baleful look down the table. “Okay, good. Now, since several of us are new to each other, why don’t we go around the table and introduce ourselves? I’ll start.” She hopped to her feet, and beamed down at Hunter. “I’m Gretchen. I met Hunter when he brought me here to his house under false pretenses and we boinked like rabbits until he decided to put a ring on it.”

A few people choked on their drinks. Edie just grinned.

Gretchen pointed at her fiancé with her fork. Hunter cleared his throat. “I’m Hunter, and I decided to put a ring on it.”

“Good job, baby,” Gretchen said. She gestured at her sister. “Let’s go this way.”

Audrey got to her feet slowly—not an easy trick considering the size of her belly. She pushed a few wisps of carrot-colored hair away from her freckled face and sighed. “I’m the long-suffering sister of the bride,” she said, and put the back of her hand to her forehead, eliciting a few chuckles from the group. “And Gretchen has asked me to be her matron of honor, which is both sweet and a little terrifying.” She grinned at her sister. “I couldn’t be happier for these two, though, and I feel like this wedding is going to be wonderful and a match made in heaven.”

Someone made gagging noises, and the room erupted in laughter, including Audrey. Okay, so they had a group of clowns tonight. That could make things fun.

Next went a man named Cooper, who introduced himself as Gretchen’s old boss and a college friend who Edie vaguely recognized. He talked about working with Gretchen, and her dedication to her work and to Hunter, and how lucky Hunter was, going on and on to the point that it got a little uncomfortable. Eventually he sat, and the next person stood up. Kat Geary was Gretchen’s literary agent, and her speech was short and funny. From there, things picked up. There was Chelsea, who was cute and bubbly and rambled on and on as if she were terrified of silence. There was Asher, a good-looking man who made a total bro-speech and was one of the guys who Edie had seen in the kitchen. He seemed nice enough in his spiel, which just convinced Edie that no one could ever really know what a man was thinking. Then, a tiny little woman with a big dark ponytail stood up and said her name was Greer, and she was a wedding planner as well as Gretchen’s friend. Next to Greer was Levi, who was one of Hunter’s biggest and oldest clients, and a good friend.

Levi also stared at Bianca the entire time he talked.

Bianca, of course, sat at the foot of the table and smiled prettily as everyone spoke, but when Levi gave his speech, she gazed up at him as if he were the only man in the world. Edie could pretty much see the hooks sinking into him. Poor man wouldn’t know what hit him.

On the other side of the table, there was a geeky young woman named Taylor who seemed a little shy. Sebastian, who was rather abrupt and succinct and unfriendly, who seemed an odd choice for a bridal party. There was sweet dark-haired woman named Brontë who quoted Aristotle and mentioned that Gretchen had been in her wedding, and next to her was her husband, Logan, who was also one of the groomsmen. Then there was the man next to Edie, Magnus, who mentioned he made video games for a living and was sincerely happy for his friend Hunter. Edie did her best to keep in her feelings, even though she knew Magnus was a big fat liar. Now wasn’t the time. She wasn’t like Gretchen, to bluster and shock people with her words. Gretchen had a big mouth but she also had a big heart.

Edie? Now, Edie had a cold, bitter heart and she liked to remember grudges.

So when it was her time to stand up and make a toast, she awkwardly rose to her feet and lifted her glass. “I’m Edie King, and I’m an old friend of Gretchen’s. As for what I do?” She let her gaze deliberately swing around the room and landed on three people in particular. Asher. Levi. And then, Magnus. The three men drinking beer. “My profession is a feline behaviorist. I guess you could say that I’m what you call a cat lady.”

Somewhere down the table, someone spit out his beer.

Chapter Two

Magnus would give the cat lady credit—she had fucking stones the size of boulders. Sure, he still didn’t like her, but the way she’d archly delivered her set-down during the toastings? It was beautifully done, even if it was passive-aggressively aimed at him. Magnus enjoyed that sort of thing, and he enjoyed the way Levi got all flustered and Asher kept staring at his beer. They knew they’d been acting like dicks earlier in the kitchen with their sexist commentary, but Magnus tended to blow that sort of shit off. Levi was a dreamer who chased after anything with a skirt, and Asher, well, Asher had recently had his heart broken by his childhood sweetheart. So if he was desperately trying to score some bridesmaid pussy, Magnus couldn’t blame him.

He was pretty sure the cat lady was having none of him, though. Which kind of made him laugh inside. Not that he was interested in the cat lady himself. She was cute enough, in that scholarly, boho-nerd sort of way. He was a man, and a man’s brain had a “fuck switch” every time he saw a woman. The fuck switch either went On or Off depending on how the woman looked, and his fuck switch was definitely on for the cat lady, because she had a nice pair of tits under that ugly dress-thing she was wearing, and a perfect heart-shaped little face that was marred by her perpetual scowl. Magnus’s dick’d do her, because his dick liked interesting things, and she was interesting. Magnus’s brain, not so much.

As the evening wore on, the iciness from his dinner partner continued, and it destroyed even Magnus’s budding appreciation for her. Because when he was stuck between a married couple and a woman who ignored him?

It made for a long fucking night. He was glad when the party finally ended and he was able to collect Levi and get the fuck out of dodge. He’d spent half the night sucking down beers and mentally trying out a few new concepts for The World, because his thoughts always turned to it.

Both he and Levi made a living creating IPs—Intellectual Property—for video games. They’d become famous five years ago when an online computer game of theirs became so big that it was soon showing up in every toy store as merchandise and phrases like “Loot is for suckers” became part of the Internet consciousness. A big gaming company had noticed and had bought the rights to the game for two billion dollars, unheard of at the time. Then, Magnus and Levi had created a second IP and sold the rights to the concept for several hundred million.

Now, he and Levi were working on the newest—The World. It was an alternate-reality type of game where you could choose the path in history for your countries, and the game would alter itself and the levels and classes for your characters based on the “historical” timeline. It was tricky to figure out, mechanics-wise, but Magnus loved a challenge.

He handed his keys to Levi as they left Buchanan Manor. “You didn’t drink, right?”

“My night to be sober,” his younger brother said. Normally he’d bitch and moan about the fact that he didn’t get to drink at a party, but tonight, he was strangely quiet. In fact, he was smiling.

Magnus frowned at Levi. “You feeling okay?”

To his surprise, Levi turned to him and threw an arm around Magnus’s shoulders. “What did you think of her?”

“Who?”

“The sister. The one who works with the cats.”

The ice queen who had sat next to Magnus all night? “She’s cute enough, I guess. Might want to remove that Popsicle out of her ass first, though.”

Levi looked confused. “You didn’t think she was warm and gracious?”

“Fuck no. I mean, I get that she was cute, but damn, man, she was being stone cold the entire night. Didn’t talk to anyone.”

“Are we . . . talking about the same girl? Bianca?”

Who the hell was Bianca? Magnus had to think back, and he vaguely remembered a girl with big brown eyes, pale blonde hair, and a coquettish, tiny smile that he’d instantly found cloying, the same way he found most perfumes cloying. “Oh. That one. She’s a cat lady, too?”

Levi laughed, the sound giddy. “She works with the cat lady. Something about her leg being bad, so Bianca helps take care of her. She’s so selfless.”

“Great,” Magnus said flatly. “Good for her.”

“No, bro, you don’t understand,” Levi said, moving in front of Magnus and putting his hands out in front of him. Okay, apparently Levi wanted to stop and have a conversation in the goddamn driveway.

Magnus glared at his dramatic younger brother. “What don’t I understand?”

Levi just grinned and clasped Magnus on the shoulders. “I’m in love.”

Oh, here we fucking go again.

Though only a year and a half separated Levi and Magnus, they were completely different, personality-wise. Magnus was the workhorse. If the best way to figure out something was to throw himself at it for sixteen hours a day, then that was what he’d do. Levi, however, was a dreamer. He was the one with his head in the clouds, who slept until noon, and didn’t hit a single fucking deadline that Magnus set for him.

But when Levi came up with an idea, it was a fucking game changer. It was why Magnus put up with him despite carrying the majority of their “partnership” on his back.

The most annoying thing about Levi’s dreaminess, though, was his ability to fall in love at the drop of a hat. Levi fell in love like some girls changed hair colors. Today, it was Bianca. In two weeks, it’d be Clarice, or the barista at the coffee shop with the cute nose ring. Or it’d be a fan who ran into him at a party and decided to show her gaming appreciation by kissing him in a dark corner all night.

Levi was easy to impress, and he loved ladies.

Magnus, well, Magnus worked.

Levi also fell out of love as quickly as he fell in love, so most of the time it worked out for the best. Levi would be impossible for a few days, and then he’d inevitably get his heart broken—Levi also had a pattern of falling for unattainable girls. He’d mope over his lost love for a few days, and then he’d get back to work with a new passion for creation, and things would move along once more.

Which was why Magnus just rolled his eyes as he got into the passenger side of the Maserati. Let Levi fall in love. He’d be done with what’s-her-name in a few days and ready to get back to work.

And Magnus? Well, Magnus would just continue doing what he did. He’d wake up at six A.M., put in his sixteen hours, and keep on going. Because that was the only way to get anything done in their business. And hey, their business arrangement was a bit unorthodox, but it worked for them. And that was all that mattered, right?

***

Three days later, Magnus went and knocked on the door to Levi’s suite. “It’s fucking two in the afternoon, bro. Are you ever coming out of there?”

Impatient, he waited a few minutes, tapping his foot. When there was no answer from within the room, he lifted his hand to give another impatient knock—

And Levi opened the door, a sullen light in his normally happy eyes, his sandy blond hair a mess. “What do you want?” he said in a subdued voice.

“I want you to work on The World with me? You know, mapping out the AI of the Huns? Remember that part?”

Levi’s mouth pulled down in a sad frown. “I can’t work when my heart is broken.”

Magnus groaned. “Fuck. Not this again. Still stuck on this girl? She’s just a pretty face. Let it go.”

“She’s not just a pretty face,” Levi protested. “She’s Bianca.”

As if that explained it all.

“Is she coming to map out the AI for the Huns for me, then?” Magnus asked, and Levi gave him a dirty look.

“You don’t understand.”

“I sure don’t—”

“Bianca loves me, too, but there’s a problem.”

“Of course there is.” Because there was always a problem when Levi fell in love. “This one married, too?”

He gave Magnus an insulted glare. “Of course not. Bianca would be completely devoted to any man she was married to.”

“Sure she would,” Magnus said, letting the sarcasm drip through his voice. Levi was such a dreamer when it came to women, unlike Magnus, who was a die-hard cynic. He knew how relationships with women went. They’d date a little, things would get a little more exclusive, and the next thing Magnus knew, he was having to check in if he wanted to scratch his ass and finding her toothbrush tucked next to his. Women didn’t believe in “casual.” They believed in first dates and then showed up with a bag of their things so they could lay claim on you. And that was not for him. He liked being able to do his own thing, and he sure didn’t like answering to anyone. The moment a woman started to get clingy, Magnus shut things down. He had Levi in his life, and trying to get his brother’s head out of his ass was a full-time relationship as it was.

“You just don’t understand,” Levi said in a mournful voice. He raked a hand through his messy hair and then retreated back into his room. “I need her.”

“Need her? For what?” He followed his brother into his room, amazed at how Levi managed to trash a two-thousand-square-foot room in the space of a few days. “You need to pull your shit together, man. And look at this pigsty. That’s unfair to the staff for you to be such a pig.” Just because they were rich now, Magnus hadn’t forgotten what it was like to pick up after himself. Levi, on the other hand . . .

Levi turned and flopped onto his back on his big bed. “Like I said, I need her.”

“For fucking what? Is she going to pitch in with the new project? Because I fucking need you to help me with this new IP.”

“She’s my muse. I can’t work without her.”

His muse? Fucking seriously? Magnus began picking up some of the laundry strewn all over the floor of his brother’s room and tossing it onto the bed—and onto Levi. “Fine. I give up. You’re clearly not going to work until you get this newest girl out of your head. So go fuck off and see her or something. Forget all about deadlines or anything. Jesus.”

“That’s just it,” Levi said in a mournful voice. He didn’t even move a muscle when Magnus tossed an old towel on him. “I can’t see her. She won’t leave her sister’s side.”

“Then she doesn’t want to date you,” Magnus said bluntly.

“She does,” Levi said. “She just can’t leave her sister’s side. Her sister’s a workaholic, just like you.” Levi sat up slowly on the bed, his eyes wide. “She’s a workaholic like you. Magnus, this is perfect!” He rolled off the bed and sprang to his feet, crossing the filthy room to grasp his older brother by the arms. “Can you date Edie for me?”

“What? What the fuck are you talking about?”

“Can you date Edie for me?” Levi repeated, as if it were the most sensible suggestion in the world. “We get Edie occupied, and I can have Bianca. If Edie’s out with you, Bianca can be out with me. It’s the perfect solution.”

Magnus shrugged his brother’s hands away. “The perfect solution . . . if you’re high on something. Why would I want to date Edie? She was a pit-viper at the damn dinner party the other night.”

“I’m sure she has a softer side if you flirt with her,” Levi continued, undeterred. He grabbed a shirt off the floor and shrugged it on, then began to button it up. “That’s just what I need. I need a distraction for Edie. If you can keep her preoccupied, I can spend time with Bianca. Then we both get what we want.”

His brother was flat-out crazy. Magnus crossed his arms. “You have a flaw in your plan.”

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The Taming of the Billionaire 4.4 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
OMG. Love Magnus and Edie. Grechen and Hunter. The series is awesome in parts. Don't hastate in buying, read and injoy.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Great book. Captured me from the start. Love this series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just like all her other books, jessica clare brought it. She has yet to disappoint me with any of her billionaire books!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved this book! There someone out there for everyone !
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I love how the story went from love story to selfish brothers and sisters and great friends for both of them
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Jessica Clare knows how to bring love and laughter to life.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved it . I laughed and cried a true love story.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Magnus and Edie are great together, wasn't sure about the cats though. Still was shocked he was okay with all of them, but worked out fine. Loved seeing a man work hard to get the girl back, and be crate about it and not just sexually. So hot and happy Edie got her man.... I'm not looking forward to a book about her sister bianca, the word it to full of those kids of girls already and I will skip that one for sure. Loved Gretchen n hunters story though and can't wait for their wedding and maybe a little bells for magnus and Edie to??
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Did they really have to rescue every old and sick cat in New York?
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Marlene976 More than 1 year ago
Taming of the billionaire is the 2nd installment and spin off of The Billionaires boys club series. This new series centers around the engagements and weddings of the crew from the first series. We meet Magnus and Edie and they meet each other at Gretchen and Hunters's engagement party and their first meeting is well not good. At this same party we are also introduced to Edie's sister and Magnus's brother and this first meeting starts off much better and soon a plot is hatched that will throw Magus and Edie together. I like Magnus, even though he did not make a good first impression, I thought he would be more in tune with his own strengths in the gaming world however it was a good plot addition in that it is Edie who sees him clearly (in that regard) and opens his eyes to his own self worth; and later he does the same with her so they complement each nicely. The dialogue is snappy, they have great chemistry and even though Edie could come off crabby she is a very caring person, her sister on the other hand.... well dont get me started.... It is always fun to catch with the characters from previous books and I like that some of the action is in the same time frame as other ones so it is not as if years have passed between stories. A great addition
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I am a cat and dog lady. Had polio as a child. This was close to home. I loved it.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Loved it very cute andd funny
gdsnv More than 1 year ago
I received a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. I liked Magnus and Edie. They both have a lot to protect about themselves, despite thinking they have it all. Besides, I am a cat person. I can’t say I like Edie’s sister or Magnus’s brother, though. To me, that means that Ms. Clare did an amazing job of creating the secondary characters! I did like the book and will continue with the series.
Sandy-thereadingcafe More than 1 year ago
3.75 stars--THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE is the second installment in Jessica Clare’s adult, contemporary Billionaires and Bridesmaids-a spinoff series from her Billionaire Boys Club erotic, romance series -that will focus on the upcoming nuptials of the Billionaire Boys and the women that they love. Many of Jessica’s Billionaire premises have a fairy tale or Shakespearean-esque quality to the story. This is billionaire video game producer/inventor Magnus Sullivan, and feline behaviorist Edie King’s storyline. THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE can be read as a stand alone without any difficulty. Told from dual third person perspectives THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE follows the building relationship between Magnus and Edie. Edie and Magnus are first introduced at Gretchen and Hunter’s (Beauty and the Billionaire) engagement party, and everything went downhill from there; but when Edie’s sister Bianca, and Magnus’s brother Levi wanted to keep their own relationship a secret from Edie, Magnus is pushed into seducing Edie to allow her sister some alone time with Levi Sullivan. What ensues are Magnus’s plans to keep Edie occupied, never intending to fall in love with the hard nosed, out spoken, and physically damaged cat whisperer. Edie is not very well liked by most of the storyline characters. She has had to endure years of pain and heartbreak, and has developed a rather acerbic personality to help her overcome everything that has gone wrong. An accident, years earlier, has left Edie scarred and in constant pain, and her sister Bianca, has been by her side the entire time. But things are not always as they appear on the surface-Edie and Bianca’s relationship is a co-dependency that hurts our storyline heroine. Magnus, along with his brother Levi, are self-made billionaires in the world of computer gaming. But Magnus struggles with Levi’s lack of dedication to his work, and Levi’s inability to stay focused-in this, the sibling dynamics is less than conducive to a successful partnership. Like Edie and Bianca’s relationship, there is something darker beneath the surface. Many, if not all, of the Billionaire Bad Boys couples play a secondary and supporting role throughout the story. We are also introduced to several potential and upcoming storyline characters in the form of Hunter’s groomsmen and Gretchen’s bridesmaids who may or may not have already hooked up in one way or another ;) . Edie’s sister Bianca cannot be trusted; and Magnus’s brother Levi is a piece of work. THE TAMING OF THE BILLIONAIRE is an entertaining retelling of Shakespeare’s The Taming of the Shrew. There are moments of heartbreak and sorrow; romance and love; family and friends blended with lighthearted teasing and intense pain. The characters are charismatic and animated; the romance emotional and seductive; the happily ever after is inspiring and inventive. Jessica Clare’s billionaire storylines are a go-to read every time.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Wasted Money and time