Dirty Billionaire (Dirty Billionaire #1) - Page 25

He holds himself partially above me, our sweat mingling as his drips from his body onto mine. I decide, in that moment, that as long as he doesn’t jeopardize my career, I’ll follow his rules if he’ll let me relive this experience over and over again.

And so my addiction to Creighton Karas begins.

I’ve obviously been to New York before, but arriving on a private jet is completely different from arriving by tour bus or a commercial flight. Like the reverse of our trip to Las Vegas, we land at the private airfield, climb out onto the tarmac, and are met by a blacked-out, chauffeur-driven Bentley.

The short ride into Manhattan is uneventful, and Creighton is on his phone, responding to e-mails and things, and my presence seems to just fade away. But I’m not annoyed; I’m thinking too. I’ve got six songs to write and three weeks to do it. I have no idea what Creighton has planned for these couple of days in New York, but I’m going to sneak in a little writing time if I can.

Just as they did the first time I came to New York, the giant skyscrapers rising up from the concrete make me feel tiny in comparison. All the people bustling along the sidewalks—even at midnight, like now—move with purpose, intent on getting where they need to be. We slow in front of a tall building that’s brightly lit, and I have no idea where we are in proximity to the Plaza, but I suppose it doesn’t matter. The only part of the shiny gold address that registers with me is the large Fifth Avenue above the revolving glass doors.

Creighton tucks his phone away and pushes the limo’s door open before climbing out and offering me a hand. I take it, wondering if we’ll be walking into another media circus. Despite the late hour, cameras click and flash as we walk toward the doors, but this time Creighton doesn’t even slow to acknowledge them. They don’t come any closer, and I wonder why they’re staying back, until I see security hovering in front of the building.

A doorman swings open the glass and gold door, and Creighton thanks him by name. The fact that he knows the man’s name is a hugely positive sign in my book. An express elevator ride later, we walk into the penthouse, which comes as absolutely no surprise. It’s huge, especially by New York standards.

Dark wood and some kind of fancy marble stretch out in front of us, covered

by rugs that match the gray and white walls. But the centerpiece of the massive living room? The wall of windows looking out over the city. The view is amazing, even in the dark. It’s very much a man’s domain, though, overrun with black leather and glass. Splashes of color, mostly teal and red, are sparse, only in the artwork and a few pillows.

Overwhelmed, I hesitate, afraid to step inside with my boots on, but Creighton doesn’t share my reluctance. He pulls me inside.

“You’ll be comfortable here for a few days.”

Again, it’s not a question from him, but a decree. I can’t argue with him. I’m sure the place has every creature comfort invented.

“It’ll work,” I say, and Creighton turns his head to smirk at me before leading me toward the bedroom.

“You’re not wasting any time, are you,” I mumble under my breath.

“Unfortunately, I have to leave you and go to the office for a few hours. Something came up, and I need to handle it from there with my team.”

“You’re making them work in the middle of the night? And on New Year’s Day? That seems like cruel and unusual punishment.”

Creighton pauses in front of the king-sized bed with a sleek black headboard and footboard, silvery-gray bedspread, and a pile of pillows.

“They work when I need them to work. No one comes on board who isn’t willing to drop everything whenever I need them. The compensation they get is a fair trade.”

I shrug. I’ve got no response to that, because I assume he pays them more than I make, so it’s up to them what they put up with from him.

“Come. I want to show you your things.”

“My things?”

I follow him toward a doorway that leads into a walk-in closet that’s about half the size of the single-wide I grew up in. The size doesn’t stop me in my tracks, but the collection of skirts, dresses, tops, and slacks hanging in it does. My eyes catch on the shelves of shoes, purses, and accessories.

“What’s this?”

“Your wardrobe,” Creighton replies matter-of-factly. “I had it delivered New Year’s Eve.”


“On the flight to Vegas?” I’m so confused. When could he have done that? I don’t remember him

making a call, but then again I was buried in the prenup.

“No, before I went to the Plaza.”

“That’s crazy. You didn’t even know if I’d show. Plus, it’s kinda freaking creepy. I’m not some Stepford wife you can just dress up however you want.”

Creighton’s laugh fills the room. “If I wanted a Stepford wife, I would’ve picked one of the gold diggers out of the society crowd. You, my dear, are anything but. I knew that on Christmas Eve, and I know it now. If there’s anything that doesn’t suit your taste, it can be removed and replaced with something that’s more to your liking. But I think you’ll be surprised by some of the choices. Country chic, I think the consultant called it.”

Once again, I’m stunned. I’m still trying to figure out how to respond when Creighton releases my hand and turns for the door.

“I hate to leave you on your own, but I have to go. Don’t wait up for me, because it’ll be late. If you get hungry, the fridge is stocked.” He pauses at the doorway. “The bathroom is also stocked. I didn’t know what you would like on that front, but the selection should be adequate. Shower and relax. I’ll see you in the morning.”

Apparently I’m only capable of nodding. Creighton’s lips quirk into a smile, and then he’s gone. I’m still making my way out of the bedroom when I hear the front door shut behind him.

Well, I guess that’s that. I wander back out into the living room and pull my phone from my pocket. All my social-media notifications are still going bananas, so I ignore them, along with the missed calls and voice mails from a number I don’t recognize.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who would call me a dozen times and leave a dozen messages. I hope JC was right that no publicity is bad publicity.

Going to the window, I can’t help but feel like Rapunzel staring down from her tower, although with much shorter hair. Except in Rapunzel’s case, her tower was at least familiar. I’m completely out of my element here, and I’ve never felt every moment of my Kentucky upbringing quite so keenly as when I stand in this penthouse.