Title: The Billionaire's Claim: Redemption
Series: The Billionaire's Claim #2
Author: Nadia Lee
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: June 12, 2018
An angel. A virgin. My first love.
She was my life until she betrayed me ten years ago. So I built an empire and came after her, intent on vengeance.
Instead of giving me the nasty fight I expected, she gazed at me with tragedy in her eyes...then made an unexpected, gut-wrenching move that left me reeling...and vanished.
Elizabeth might've cut me out of her life, but I haven't cut her out of mine.
Nothing's over until I say it's over.
Note: The epic conclusion to Elizabeth Pryce-Reed & Dominic King's romance, which started in The Billionaire's Claim: Obsession.
"Nadia Lee keeps the stakes high and the sex hot as Dominic and Elizabeth work for their beautiful happily ever after!" - Selena Laurence, USA Today Bestselling Author
I pull a chair up to Elizabeth’s bed and start to read. The first book is about a couple that almost has sex—but doesn’t—with the girl hoping to never run into the guy again because she lied and then felt awkward about the relationship. So of course they run into each other again. I could’ve guessed that.
When I reach the first sex scene, I stop. “Well, here comes the good part. If you want me to continue, open your eyes,” I say softly. “Or else you’re going to miss out.”
Not even an eyelash flickers.
“Come on. You know you want me to keep going.” I skim a few paragraphs to see if the scene’s worthy bait. “Oh, look at that. He’s going down on her. Very dirtily, too.”
Only the rise and fall of her chest answers my futile coaxing.
Sighing, I put the book down. “All right, fine. You aren’t going to wake up for this. The scene’s okay, but you know what? You and I have had way better.”
Because we have. We might have difficulties, but a lack of chemistry has never been our problem. Our issue was more about trust…and an inability to see the full picture, because I’m starting to realize Elizabeth and I each hold five hundred pieces of a thousand-piece puzzle.
I reach out and cradle her hand in my palm. “We had better from the very beginning.” My voice grows hoarse, and it isn’t from reading. “A fifth of a second. That’s all the time it took for me to fall for you when you first showed up at the bar. My head was wiped clean of everything except you.”
She still stays quiet, and somehow her silence urges me to go on, makes me feel like I can open up and tell her everything in my heart.
“You’re probably wondering why I’m here. After all, you gave me the portrait—the thing that matters the most to you. And I swore I’d take it from you. Call me perverse if you want, but I need to know why you gave it to me.
“Why didn’t you fight for it? I expected you to. Part of me wanted you to…so I’d know I didn’t misjudge you when I thought you were an angel who could make Lucifer piss himself.”
I draw in a shaky breath. Jesus. This is hard. Is she not going to wake up at all? Dr. Raydor swears there’s nothing physically wrong with her. Cold fear slithers in my chest, and I start talking faster.
“You know that once I found out about the crazy deal surrounding the portrait, I went to see Julian? Since there are rumors of how much he doesn’t like his children, including you, I thought I could make him give me the portrait to spite you. Instead, he taunted me, saying Nate Sterling was there first. And I thought perhaps he came to see your father on your behalf.
“It was obvious your father doesn’t care about you, and he refused to hand it over. He didn’t believe I would use it to spite you, because I apparently owe you one for what happened ten years ago.” I lean closer, staring at her, desperate for any hint of acknowledgment. Don’t people usually respond in some minute way, even deep in a coma? An eyelid flutter or something? Or is that all just Hollywood bullshit? “I was too furious to notice the subtle nuance, but I realized later that he meant you did something for me for which I’m still grateful.”
She’s still quiet, her eyes closed.
I run a palm down my face. “Yu-Jin told me what happened ten years ago. Why didn’t you break my nose when I showed up at the charity dinner and said all those abominable things to you?”
Her fingers twitch in my grasp. Hope and despair war within me. Hope because maybe she’s waking up. Despair because I thought she moved yesterday only to realize I was imagining it.
My head bent, I bring her knuckles to my forehead. And I pray with what depraved soul I have left that she wakes up.
God or whoever is up there, if she wakes up, I’ll donate however much you want to whatever cause you want. I swear I’ll be kinder…nicer.
The word is so faint, at first I think I imagined it.
My head snaps up. Elizabeth is looking at me, her eyes winter gray, just like ten years ago. My heart hammers, and I blink a few times, wondering if I’m hallucinating again.
It’s possible. I haven’t had a decent meal in almost eight days.
“Water…” she says again.
No. I’m not dreaming. This is real.
I stare for a second, then jump to my feet and bring her a glass of water. I help her sit up a bit and drink.
Every movement of her throat is precious, and I exhale softly. Thank you, thank you, thank you.
After a few small sips, she pulls back a little, her shoulders rolled inward. She looks at me, her gaze wary. “Thank you. I guess?”
I ignore the shard of pain at the added “I guess.” Even now, she has doubts about my intentions.
No shit, Sherlock. You did your best to make a mess of the situation.
“I’m… My head hurts.” Frowning, she looks around the room. I’m glad I ordered some orchids and lilies. It looks slightly livelier than it would have otherwise. “Where am I?”
“You’re in a hospital. There was a concussion…some other injuries.”
“I see.” She slowly raises one hand and touches her temple. Her expression grows thoughtful for a moment, her brow furrowing. Then she turns to me, her gaze roaming over my face as though she’s seeing me for the first time.
My gut churns. Did she actually hear what I said earlier?
But the question that slips from her lips blows everything away.
“Who are you?”
New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Nadia Lee writes sexy, emotional contemporary romance. Born with a love for excellent food, travel and adventure, she has lived in four different countries, kissed stingrays, been bitten by a shark, ridden an elephant and petted tigers.
Currently, she shares a condo overlooking a small river and sakura trees in Japan with her husband and son. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading books by her favorite authors or planning another trip.
Stay in touch with her via her website, http://www.nadialee.net, or her blog http://www.nadialee.net/blog