Authors: Jodi Cooper
Romance: The Damaged Billionaire
Romance: The Damaged Billionaire
Copyright © 2015
Published by Run Free Publishing
All rights reserved.
No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form or by any means without the prior permission in writing of the publisher.
This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to any person, living or dead, is purely coincidental.
Other titles by bestselling author Jodi Cooper:
Hired for the Billionaire’s Pleasure
The Billionaire’s Demands
The Billionaire Games
The Exclusive Club
The Billionaire’s Mansion
Return to the Billionaire’s Mansion
Interviewing the Billionaire
The Billionaire Actor
The Billionaire’s Assistant
The Secret Billionaire
Bad Boy Biker
The Billionaire Boss
The Billionaire’s Holiday Mansion
The Billionaire’s Wish
Romance: The Damaged Billionaire
This is cruel.
My heart skips a beat as I stare at my pathetic boyfriend, Jack, standing next to my evil stepsister, Joanne.
I can sense that something terrible is about to happen. The smirk on Joanne’s smug face says it all.
“What’s going on?” I ask slowly.
“There’s no easy way to say this Lara,” Jack avoids eye contact with me. He has never been good with confrontation.
“Just tell me what’s going on Jack,” I say slowly.
“I… um…” Jack can’t get the words out.
“He’s leaving you for me,” Joanne bluntly answers for him.
My eyes almost pop out of my head, “Jack?”
He doesn’t answer.
“Jack?” I question again. “Is this true? Are you dumping me for my stepsister?”
“Um… Yes,” he gulps.
Not her. Anyone but her.
“You’re doing what?”
“I’m leaving you for your stepsister. You’re always so busy at the hospital and you don’t have time for our relationship. I was lonely. Then your stepsister started coming around and one thing led to another and, well, I like her – a lot. She is the one I want to be with. I’m sorry to have to tell you this way but it’s just how it is,” he says looking at me with concern.
“Okay,” I say in a drawn out tone, trying to resist the urge to punch Joanne in her small little petite jaw.
“Okay?” a confused look crosses Jack’s face. “That’s all you have to say? I’m telling you that I’m leaving you for your stepsister and that we’re not going to be together anymore, and all I get is an ‘okay’?”
I nod my head.
“Yes, that’s all I have to say. What am I supposed to do? Cry? Beg you not to leave? Because if that’s what you’re waiting on then you’re going to be standing there for a long time.”
I’m not going to give either one of them the satisfaction of thinking that they have the upper hand on me.
“Come on, Lara. Don’t be so passive. I know that you’re torn up over this,” says Joanne with a smirk in her eyes. “Stop trying to be brave because I know that soon as Jack and I walk out that door you’re going to be a wreck.”
“Actually… no, I’m not. If he thought that you were the better choice then I definitely know that he’s not the one for me. Jack you can get your stuff and leave and take her with you,” I defend myself.
Truth is, no matter how much it is inevitable, breakups still hurt.
Yes – I will be crying once they leave the apartment, but I’m not going to let them know that.
I thought that I had hit the prize when I had found Jack - handsome, intelligent and funny. It’s a pity he turned out to be a wimp.
“What are you waiting on? If you’re in love with her then move your stuff out of my apartment and into hers. It’s not that hard. You have ten minutes because after that my show starts and I don’t want either of you in here.”
Jack sighs and goes to the back of the apartment to pack his stuff, but Joanne doesn’t take her eyes off me.
I stare back at her and coolly drink my glass of wine. She is looking to see if I am going to breakdown in front of her but I won’t. My feelings with Jack were beginning to fade and frankly, this was a lot easier having to break up with him myself because I sucked at stuff like that.
Jack comes back out the room with a large suitcase and rolls it to the door.
“I’m sorry that it had to end like this,” he says. “But I thought you would put up a fight for me.”
“Why? You already made your decision? What more did you want me to do?” I ask him.
“I don’t know, but I never thought that you would let me go so easily,” he says.
I wave my hand at him as they leave the apartment. I finish off my wine and let out a sigh.
I know that Joanne hates me but I never thought that she would sleep with my boyfriend.
But then again, I would put nothing past her. She hates me and I hate her. It’s the one thing we have in common.
I flip through the mail, noticing that my magazines have come in and I see a picture of billionaire Archer Phillips on one of the covers. Now that’s the kind of guy I need in my life. I’m pretty sure that being his girlfriend would be a lot better than Jack’s girlfriend any day.
I walk into the living room and turn on the TV to watch my favorite show to forget that this day ever happened.
Things will get better.
I still have my job, my health, and I’ve just made a new investment in a technology company that I’m sure will provide a silver lining to my life.
My mouth drops open as I read the medical file.
My new patient is
Archer Phillips - the infamous billionaire playboy, charming socialite and headline hunter.
The man whose father left him a billion dollar pharmaceutical company - which supplies almost every hospital and pharmacy in the US. It was a big responsibility when it was handed to him ten years ago, when he was just eighteen years old. He was expected to rule the company with the same vigor that his father did. He was expected to be shaking hands with Presidents, holidaying in the Swiss Alps and working twelve hours a day.
Problem was, Archer wasn’t ready for that life.
Saying he liked to party would be a massive understatement.
That’s what we all saw in the newspapers every weekend.
The papers loved him and he seemed to love having his face in the paper – along with a string of stunningly beautiful women.
I thought he would have grown out of it. I thought the responsibility of running a billion dollar company would have taken precedence over wild parties.
But ten years later, it seems nothing has changed.
And by the way he has acted in that decade, I am surprised that he was still able to grow the business even further.
He must have amazing staff working for him.
According to his file, Archer was admitted after he fell off of a balcony at one of his fancy parties over in the Hamptons - aka Rich People County.
Of course, he was drunk.
The fall must have been quite high because he has caused injury to his lower back.
The notes also state that he also can’t remember much about what happened, so he may also have slight amnesia or could be suffering from shock. My guess is that it’s a little of both. He’s also on tons of painkillers to ease the pain of the injuries he’s suffered.
I place the file down and walk toward the hospital bed.
This isn’t just any hospital bed either. This hospital room would be like a fancy hotel for the average person. I work as a nurse in the best hospital in the country.
And I love my job.
As I look over the still body of Archer, even through all of the cuts and bruises, he still looks impossibly handsome.
Even more handsome than the pictures I have seen in the papers.
His body is strong and toned and he has nothing but muscles on top of muscles.
In my lonely moments, I often had fantasies about Archer Phillips.
Some of those fantasies included Archer riding a white stallion and rescuing me from an oncoming stampede of horses. He rides up on his beautiful horse, picks me up in his strong arms, and we ride to the sunset together.
With as much medicine they had to give him to sedate him, he wasn’t going to be waking up any time soon.
I knew that it was going to be very interesting considering he came into the hospital yelling and trying to throw his money at us all. I don’t know if it was the alcohol or all the pain that he was in, but he really came off as a snobby jerk.
It was a quiet night in the ER before he came in the ambulance. His party crew came shortly behind him.
It took us two hours to calm them down and clear them out of the waiting room because they were upsetting all of the other families that were sitting in there.
And once Archer came out of surgery we felt it was good to keep him sedated and away from the crowd just for the sake of peace.
Besides no one in his little crew would’ve been able to see him anyway because it was hospital protocol to only allow family in the room when a patient was dealing with a major injury and none of them were family.
We tried to call his mother but she said that she was so tired of Archer’s antics and was not leaving her charity event to come babysit him. Needless to say his family are a real piece of work. And since he didn’t have a wife and kids, the only ones allowed in and out of the room are the nurses and the doctors.
I take another glance at him in all his sexiness and I can’t help but think of my ex-boyfriend Jack, who was also very handsome and charming, and how he ran off with my stepsister Joanne.
Jack leaving me was the beginning of the downfall in this story that I call my life.
After Jack left me, I lost all of my savings in an investment for a technology company that went horribly wrong. They went bankrupt two weeks after I gave them my money and I was devastated. They assured me that it was a good investment but apparently they didn’t how to manage money.
Now I have to pay back a huge loan that I took out to invest in it in the first place and it was a lot of money. I took out a twenty-five thousand dollar loan and I had no idea how I was going to pay it back.
Luckily I still have my job because right now being a nurse was the only thing that was keeping me sane in this cold and crazy world. Plus, I love my job and helping people, despite everything that has happened to me over time because I still have faith in human nature.
Archer wakes up from his sedation and is looking around the room in panic. I can tell that he doesn’t know where he is and I don’t want him to make any sudden movements because it will injure his back even more and that’s not what I want.
“You’re in the hospital. I will go get a doctor to explain to you what has happened to you,” I say softly so as to keep him calm.
He looks me over and what looks like a smile crosses over his face. “And you are?”
“I’m Lara. Your nurse for the night,” I say. “I’ll be the main one helping take care of you until shift change and then you’ll get a new one.”
“Okay,” he says. “Can I get a cup of water? My mouth is really dry.”
I walk over beside the bed where there is a small pitcher of water and some plastic cups. I pour him some and place it to his lips so that he can drink a little bit and place it back down on the stand.
“Is that better? Or would you like some more?”
“No, that was enough thank you,” he says softly.
“Well I’m going to get the doctor so that he can explain to you what exactly is going on,” I say as I stare at him.
He seems a lot nicer than he did when he first came into the hospital yelling and screaming at everybody about who he was.
He nods his head at me and I walk out of the room to look for Dr. Williams, the doctor who was on call tonight.
He was not only the best doctor in the hospital, but also the best looking doctor.
Dr. Williams has the look of seduction about him - soft curly brown hair, dark brown eyes and a delicious body.
All of the nurses want him but he has never shown any of them any attention. Rumors had it that when he went out on the town, twenty women would instantly surround him, everywhere he went.
He was the reason a lot of patients came to this hospital and why the hospital always got a lot of funding.
Archer was lucky to have him overseeing his care but I am sure that the hospital wouldn’t have had it any other way, with Archer being who he was, and Dr. Williams of course being Dr. Williams. I see him at the nurses’ station writing in a file with a serious look on his face.
“Dr. Williams, Archer Phillips is awake now and would like to speak with you,” I say as I stop right beside him.
He smells like a hint of peppermint as usual and I can never figure out why. I have always wanted to ask him but I think that it would be slightly unprofessional.
“Thank you. I’ll be right there,” he says as he closes the file and looks up at me. “Is he calmer than he was before or are we going to have to sedate him again?”
“He’s calm. I think that he was just in shock about what happened to him,” I say.
“Good because I didn’t want to deal with any more craziness tonight,” he says firmly.
I nod my head and walk back into Archer’s room with the charming Dr. Williams right behind me.
Archer is struggling to reach the remote that controls his bed and I rush to give it to him so he doesn’t injure his back any further. He smiles and adjusts his bed a little to get a little bit more comfortable and then places the remote back down. He stares at Dr. Williams for a while, probably wondering who is the model playing doctor at the hospital.
It was a common reaction from people but they usually got over it pretty quickly once he started to speak.
“Hello Mr. Phillips, my name is Dr. Williams. I’m here to inform you that the fall you took has torn a number of the muscles in your lower back. Do you remember much about the incident?”
Archer shakes his head solemnly.
“You have hurt yourself fairly badly, Mr. Phillips. You will be required to wear a back brace for at the least the next two weeks and you won’t be allowed to do a lot of movement during that time. It may be best if you have someone stay with you while you’re in pain. I would suggest an in-home nurse or a close friend who wouldn’t mind doing things for you because if you aggravate or strain those muscles any more than they already are, then you will be right back in this hospital again.”
Archer nods, taking the information in. “Do you know what happened to me?”
Dr. Williams sighs, “Reports are that you had too much to drink and you fell off a balcony. When you arrived, it certainly appeared that you were affected by a high amount of alcohol consumption.”
Archer nods slowly again.
“Is there someone you would like me to contact?”
“Um…” Archer considers his thoughts, “No.”
Lying helpless on the bed, the partying billionaire looks vulnerable and alone. I almost feel sorry for him.
“Anyone at all? Someone that could look after you perhaps?” Dr. Williams asks again.
Archer shakes his head.
The pity in Dr. Williams voice is clear, “Then I would recommend a home nurse. They will know the proper ways to help you. They will also take care of you better than a friend would.”
Archer looks at me and then at Dr. Williams.
He doesn’t say anything for a while but it looks as if he’s in deep thought about something.
“I’ll have that one,” he arrogantly nods his head towards me like I am something off a menu.
“I assume you mean Miss Lara here?” Dr. Williams is obviously surprised by Archer’s firm statement.
“I want your nurse right there to look after me for the next two weeks. I will pay her very well and I will also make a large donation to your hospital if you allow it to happen,” he says.
“Um…” Dr. Williams brow furrows, “We usually don’t loan out our nurses to patients because they are needed here at the hospital at all times because we are a busy hospital…”
“You know who I am, don’t you?”
Dr. Williams sighs again, “I will discuss it with some members of the board and will let you know what they have to say about your request.”
“I will need an answer quickly. I have no intentions of staying in this hospital much longer and would like someone who already has knowledge of what’s going on with me, working with me,” he says as he shifts in his bed.
Pain registers over his face but then it disappears.
“Of course Mr. Phillips. Let me make some calls now and I will be right back with you. I’m sure for you that it won’t be a problem though, Mr. Phillips,” says Dr. Williams as he leaves out of the room with a wink at me and in return, I roll my eyes at him.
I look at Archer in disbelief.
Why would he want me to come take care of him in his home?
He has enough money to hire enough private nurses to answer to his every beck and call.
Hell, he has enough money to hire all of the nurses on the east coast to cater to him.
But if the job was paying as well as he claims, then I’m definitely not in any position to turn it down.
Damn that bad investment.
I don’t like swimming in debt and that’s exactly what is going on right now.
I thought that once I had finally paid off my student loans and avoided credit cards, that I would be in the clear, but I was wrong.
Now I had a twenty-five thousand dollar loan dangling over me and I don’t like it one bit. That was one decision that I wish that I could take back.
Let every bad decision be a great life lesson,
my grandmother used to say. That’s exactly what I had to do with the loan.
Learn from it.
“Do you have a husband? Kids?” Archer asks me without looking me.
He hasn’t even bothered to ask me my name.
“No, no husband and kids. I haven’t made it to that point in my life yet.”
“No,” I sigh.
“Good?” I question but he doesn’t answer, “Mr. Phillips, I’m curious as to why you would want me to be your in-home nurse when you could hire any amount of private nurses?”
“As I said to the doctor, I want someone with knowledge of my situation already.”
“I’ve only just read your file, Mr. Phillips. I do not have an intimate knowledge of your situation.”