CHERISHED (By the Alpha Billionaire #3)

 

 

CHERISHED

by the Alpha

Billionaire

Part 3 of the Alpha

Billionaire Series

 

ROSSI ST JAMES

 

 

 

 

COPYRIGHT 2015 ROSSI ST JAMES

 

ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

 

 

 

 

All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form without written permission from the publisher or author. If you are reading this book and you have not purchased it or received an advanced copy directly from the author, this book has been pirated.

 

 

 

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, and incidents either are the product of the author’s imagination or, if an actual place, are used fictitiously and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, business establishments, events, or locales is entirely coincidental. The publisher does not have any control and does not assume any responsibility for author or third-party websites or their content.

 

 

 

DEDICATION

 

To my dogs, Sunny and Cloudy, for letting me bounce ideas off you when I write myself into a corner.

Rossi

DESCRIPTION

 

Life as Maisie James has known it, has officially come to a screeching halt. But in a good way. She’s tasted caviar, and she’ll never go back to catfish as long as she lives.

After a whirlwind five days in New York with billionaire Sawyer Thomas, she’s finally accepted the fact that life must go on. It’s not practical for her to want to be with him. It’s not realistic. Never mind that she can’t get him out of her head – or her heart – no matter how hard she tries.

But Sawyer and Maisie will soon find out, the heart wants what it wants, and screw anyone or anything that stands in its way.

AUTHOR’S NOTE: Part 3 of 3 of a new mini romance serial. HEA with No cliffhanger. Approx 40 pages. Intended for adults only due to sexual content.

 

EXCERPT

 

“Get in here.” I grabbed his navy silk tie and pulled him into my apartment, locking the door behind us. We stumbled onto the couch, where I pushed him down and fell to my knees.

I had to have him. F*ck grading papers.

I unzipped his bulging pants as he melted back into the sofa. “F*ck, Mouthy, look what you do to me.”

 

TABLE OF CONTENTS

 

ONE – MAISIE

TWO - SAWYER

THREE - MAISIE

FOUR - MAISIE

EPILOGUE – SAWYER

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

THANK YOU

 

 

ONE

 

MAISIE

“Can I come in?” Luke asked.

I held the door open just a few inches. “What for?”

“I want to apologize to you, Mais,” he said. “I never wanted us to go down in flames like that.”

“Could’ve fooled me.” I rolled my eyes. “It’s late. I’m going to bed. I don’t need your apology, Luke. I need you out of my life.”

“You’re so stubborn,” he said. “Will you please just let me apologize?”

“You’re not sorry you fucked my stepsister. You’re sorry you got caught.”

I wanted to slam the door in his face, but then I saw something in his eyes I’d never seen before.

Tears.

Real tears.

I didn’t want to be the asshole in the situation. “Five minutes. That’s all you get.”

I held the door wide and let him pass through. It was odd. Just a couple weeks ago, we were sailing along like we’d always done. For five years it was the two of us and our cozy, worn-and-faded-jeans relationship. I never saw the Sara thing coming, though I probably should have.

Sara was all tan skin and dark hair. Her long lashes were naturally curly and wide smile and perfect teeth took up her entire face when she grinned. Tall and lithe, she moved with an innate elegance I could never mimic. Women wanted her and men wanted to be her.

Our parents had been married since I was twelve and she was eleven. We were both only children and thrilled to have sisters. We were close. Until she hit puberty and gained five inches on me. It was like walking around in her shadow constantly. Her supermodel looks made me feel like the Hunchback of Notre Dame, hobbling behind her in the hallways at school.

But when I started dating Luke, he claimed he didn’t see in Sara what all the other guys saw. He made me feel like the prettiest girl in our entire school. He ignored her whenever he was with me. I felt lucky to be with a guy like him.

“What changed, Luke?” I asked, tucking a strand of blonde hair behind my ear. I could give two shits about his apologies. I just wanted answers. “You always used to tell me Sara was nothing compared to me.”

He knew how insecure I got when it came to how people constantly compared us. It wasn’t fair. I was curvy and blonde. She was tall and dark. We were apples and oranges, but people compared us anyway because they were assholes like that.

It also didn’t help that my dad and her mom were teachers at our high school. Everyone knew them. Everyone knew us. Our family was very prominent in our little Missouri town.

I couldn’t count how many times I’d over heard, “Oh, Maisie and Sara are stepsisters. Must be hard living in Sara’s shadow. Maisie would be so pretty if she just lost some weight. She’s got a pretty face, even though Sara’s a little bit prettier.”

As years went on, and I went off to college, I thought I’d shed that insecure part of me. I forced her to grow up and bury the hatchet. Forget what people said. It was none of my business anyway. I came back home, where Luke was working as an electrician for a his dad’s business, and found my teaching job. We were happy and comfortable.

And then Sara came home from college, claiming she couldn’t find a job in her field, never mind the fact that she had a bachelor’s in English Literature. She’d interned at a publishing house one summer, but apparently she didn’t impress them enough to be offered a job upon graduation.

“You changed,” Luke said.

His words caused me to take a step back, almost choking on my own words. “
I
changed?”

“Yeah,” he said. “You stopped being affectionate with me. We stopped having sex. You stopped being fun.”

I raked my hand through my hair. “We stopped having sex. How is that my fault? If anything it was both of ours. And just because you’re not getting laid doesn’t give you a free pass to go out and fuck someone else.”

“You’re right,” Luke said. “I should’ve dumped you before it went that far with Sara.”

“Wait,” I said with an incredulous glare. “How long had you been talking to Sara behind my back before you fucked her?”

He shrugged. “Look, Mais, I’m not here to go over every excruciating detail of what I did. I just wanted to say I’m sorry.”

“I want to know.” I crossed my arms and glared at him. He took a seat on the sofa, the very one we used to spoon on as we binge watched Walking Dead and Breaking Bad every weekend.

“Maybe a few months, I don’t know.” He held his head in his hands as he sighed.

I wanted to know how it started. Who initiated it. The whens and wheres and all the whys. But then I realized it didn’t matter a damn bit. What had been done had been done, and there was no changing any of it now. We couldn’t go back, and I didn’t want to.

My heart warmed over as I thought of Sawyer. His five days of passion and intimacy and kindness showed me that I deserved more than to spend the rest of my life in a relationship with someone like Luke.

I wanted to love again. I wanted fireworks and excitement. I wanted butterflies.

“You should go,” I said, heading to the door and turning the handle.

He stood up with reluctance, our eyes meeting for what I hoped was the last time ever. “I just want you to know that I’m sorry I hurt you. I really did love you, Maisie. But I guess it wasn’t enough.”

Looking into Luke’s eyes was like looking at a stranger. His sheer presence annoyed the ever loving hell out of me. The man I’d have spent my life with had done me a favor by cheating on me, because I never belonged with him in the first place.

“Thank you, Luke,” I said with a sincere smile. “Thank you for not loving me the way I deserved to be loved.”

His brows furrowed, as if he were confused.

“You showed me that I can do better,” I said. “I hope you and Sara are very happy together. Please send her my regards at Christmas. I won’t be attending this year.”

As far as I was concerned, Sara was just as much to blame as Luke was. We had a bond. A sisterhood. We’d grown up together, and I loved her. Aside from constantly being compared to her, I actually liked having her as a sister.

Not anymore.

I ushered Luke out the door and locked it behind him, closing the door on us once and for all. It felt freeing, as if new life had been suddenly breathed into me. Those days spent with Sawyer in Manhattan were life altering.

Suddenly my apartment felt too small, my quaint, small town life felt suffocating, and my safe little routine felt impossibly boring. Just like that I’d outgrown my life. My mind raced a million miles a minute. It was as if I was changing from the inside out, and every cell in my body was morphing into someone I barely knew but was beginning to love.

I slipped off my pajamas, threw my hair in a top knot, and got dressed. I needed a stiff drink to calm my nerves, and I needed a friendly ear to talk me off the ledge. If I woke up tomorrow feeling the same way, I knew what would happen.

I’d march myself into the principal’s office first thing before class and declare that I was finishing out my contract through May. After that, I’d move. Manhattan sounded nice. Sure it was expensive, but I had a cousin there. I could crash on her couch while I looked for a job. There were schools on every corner of that city.

I needed to do whatever I could to get myself out of my hometown and into a life that better suited the woman I was becoming.

***

“So, Lydia,” I said to my best friend as we perched upon bar stools. I’d called her on the way to the Moonlight Lounge and dragged her out with me. I’d filled her in on my trip to New York the night I came back. “Do you think I’m crazy? Do you think I’m behaving irrationally?”

Lydia pursed her lips and shrugged. “I mean, quitting your job and moving across the country on a whim is a little bit crazy, but I never really though this small town life suited you. I always thought you were settling for Luke, I just never said anything.”

“Why not?!”

“You seemed happy.” She flipped the drink menu open and perused the martini section.

“I wasn’t,” I sighed. “I was just…comfortable. I realize that now.”

I peeked over her shoulder, my gaze landing on the description of a lemon drop martini with a splash of cherry grenadine.

“Look who it is,” Lou said as he strutted toward our end of the bar. An amused smirk claimed his round, pudgy face. “Just missed your friend.”

The color drained from my face. “What friend, Lou?”

“That guy, um, the one you were talking to in here last week,” Lou said, wiping his hands on a towel.

“Uh, the rich looking one. The one with the airplane,” he said, scratching his balding hairline.

“Sawyer?”

“I don’t know his name, but yeah, if that’s who was in here last week.” Lou shrugged.

“He’s in town?” Lydia had to practically pick my jaw up from the floor. “Lydia, I have to find him.”

She flashed a knowing smile and nodded, closing the drink menu.

“Lou, is he staying here tonight? At the hotel?” I asked. “You have to tell me.”

“I think so?” Lou said. “I’d assume so. He didn’t really say much. Just had a glass of single malt scotch and left. Seemed down about something.”

I handed Lydia my keys, grabbed my purse and headed to the lobby, where a pimple-faced teenage clerk greeted me with bloodshot eyes.

“I need to know which room Sawyer Thomas is staying in,” I said.

“Um,” he said slowly, his eyes skating between my face and the door of the bar I’d just flown out of. “I can’t give out that information, ma’am.”

I hated being called ma’am. I was only twenty-three. “Look, you tell me which room he’s staying in, and I won’t tell your boss that you’re stoned out of your fucking mind right now.”

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