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Home > Romancing the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #5)(11)

Romancing the Billionaire (Billionaire Boys Club #5)(11)
Author: Jessica Clare

His lips twitched in amusement. “So, who did you curse?”

“My father. He’d left my mother again and she was depressed.” He’d left her mother a lot in those days.

“What did you curse him with?”

This time, Violet’s mouth curled in a wry smile, remembering her childhood anger. “I believe I demanded that his peepee fall off.”

“I have an incredible urge to cross my legs and slide farther away from you.”

“You’re lucky there’s not an Etch A Sketch handy.”

He laughed, his smile so utterly brilliant that it lit up his entire face. In that moment, he wasn’t Billionaire Jonathan Lyons, daredevil and mogul. He was just nineteen-year-old Jonathan who’d made her heart flutter.

Like it was fluttering right now.

She took a big gulp of the coffee and turned to stare out the window, not caring that her mouth burned on the heat of the drink. The last thing she wanted was to get cozy with Jonathan again. “At any rate,” she said, turning her voice back to that cool diffidence, “we need to head to Alamagordo, New Mexico.”

“Is that where you grew up?”

“Yes.”

“Is the Etch A Sketch still there?”

“No. My mother made me dig it up and then told my father about it when he returned a few months later. He didn’t care. In fact, I seem to recall that he corrected me on my curse and said that the Romans would have never marked such a spot, as it defeated the purpose of the curse.”

“So he turned it into a lesson?”

“It isn’t a lesson if you’re already aware of the facts.”

“So you marked it on purpose? Did you want him to find it?”

She had. She’d wanted her father to realize how furious and hurt she was that he’d left, and that Mommy spent all day in bed, crying and nursing a bottle of rum. She’d had no outlet for her anger, so she’d carved that symbol angrily into the tree, hoping that her father would return home the next day and ask about the symbol. What’s this, Violet? And then she could show him.

But he hadn’t returned home until months later, and he’d never noticed the tree. It had been her mother, giddy with excitement that her husband was home and paying a bit of attention to her, who had brought up Violet’s curse. Isn’t that precious of our Violet?

That was pretty much how her entire childhood had gone. Her father would leave. Her mother would drink. Violet would rage. Her father would return. Her mother would smother him with affection. Then he would leave again. All through this, Violet built resentment for her brilliant, flawed father.

“Violet?” Jonathan asked in a low voice. “You okay?”

“Alamagordo,” she said flatly. “I agreed to be your guide, not your entertainment.”

He sighed with resignation, and she felt a bit like an ass**le.

THREE

Violet was rather alarmed to see that the limo didn’t head to Detroit Metro Airport, but instead went to a smaller airfield. “Where are we going?”

He gave her that cocky look that made her nerves grate. “The airport.”

She gritted her teeth. “What airport is this?”

“A private one.”

Clearly. She peered out the window at the small hangar. “We’re not taking a commercial flight?” She’d been hoping for a multitude of passengers and some in-flight magazines to distract her from her company.

“Since we’re just heading to New Mexico, I figured I’d fly us there.”

Fear made her eyes widen. “What? We’re not going to have a real pilot?”

He turned that intense, cocky look on her. “I am a real pilot, Violet. I fly my planes all the time.”

“Yes, but . . .” She trailed off. It seemed rather impolite to say I don’t want to leave my life in your hands. But what choice did she have? She could refuse and turn around and leave . . . and then everyone in the school district would resent her.

Yeah, like that was a choice. Violet sighed. “If you crash, I’m going to be furious.”

“I’ll take that into consideration.”

She gave him a sharp look to see if he was joking, but . . . he didn’t seem to be. With a sigh, she continued to stare out the window and bit back any comments or concerns she had about taking a small plane.

A half hour later, when she saw the actual plane itself, Violet gave a moan of distress. “You’re kidding me, right? It’s so small.”

“Not that small. This is one of the bigger in its class,” Jonathan said, staring up at it with what looked like affection. “Socata TBM 850. Turboprop. We’ll have enough fuel to make it to New Mexico without having to stop and refuel.”

Violet stared at it, then at Jonathan. “And you’re the pilot.”

“I’m the pilot.”

She shook her head as he pulled out the tiny staircase for her to get on board. The plane was red and white, and she counted three windows going down the body. As she climbed on, she couldn’t suppress another moan of horror. The interior was about the size of her hatchback, all beige leather, and seemed barely big enough for the bucket seats inside. “I can’t believe we’re flying in this thing.”

“I won’t let anything happen to you,” Jonathan said. “Just get in already.”

Reluctantly, she did so, heading for one of the back seats.

“In the front,” Jonathan said. “I’m going to need company to keep me awake while I fly.”

“I hope you’re joking,” she snapped. When he only winked at her, she sighed and headed to the front, squeezing into the passenger seat. She wasn’t relieved to see the massive control panel at the front or the twin sets of steering-wheel thingies. It only made her more upset. What if Jonathan couldn’t fly and she had to take over? They’d die for sure; she had no idea how to fly a plane.

“Can’t you have a private jet like every other billionaire?” she grumbled while he slid into the front next to her.

“It’s more fun to fly your own toys,” he told her with a grin, buckling in. “You get to really appreciate them.”

“Appreciate is not the word I’m thinking of,” Violet muttered, and made sure her seat belt was on tightly. Then, she closed her eyes and began to bite her nails, praying that the flight would be over soon.

The weather was great all the way across several states, and the flight itself was a breeze. Jonathan tried talking to Violet at first, but when it became clear that she was surly with anxiety, he left her alone and she fell asleep. So instead, he just watched her as she dozed, slumped over in the copilot’s seat.

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