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Breathless In Love (The Maverick Billionaires #1)(5)

By:Bella Andre & Jennifer Skully



Not because she didn’t deserve more, but because she did. So much more than a fundamentally broken man like Will could ever give her.

He slowed after the last turn, heading back to her brother. Back to sanity for both of them.

For now.

She let her arms drop, and her sleeve brushed his arm as she said, “That was fast.”

She was trying for a noncommittal tone, but he could hear the breathlessness she was trying to hide. She might normally be good at hiding her feelings, but Will was too interested in her to miss one single thing. Especially the thrill of the speed still coursing through her veins.

“Too fast? Or just right?”

Her eyes met his and sparks jumped between them again. Sparks that had been there from the very first moment they’d looked at each other.

Finally, she admitted, “It was good,” her words a little huskier than he imagined she wanted them to be.

Ahead of them, Jeremy was hopping, skipping toward the car. He looked so happy. Which, Will was glad to see, made Harper very happy, too.

They rolled to a stop and he said, “Let me give you a hand.”

But she didn’t wait for his chivalry, simply unbuckled before he could help her and said, “I’m fine, thanks,” then turned to grab the roll bar and hoist herself up.

Jeremy ran over to them. “Wasn’t it cool, Harper?”

“I enjoyed it.”

Her answer was far too tight-laced, but Will knew that for a few moments out there, she’d been one with the car and the rush of speed. Just as he had.

“But once was enough,” she added, smoothing her jacket, then her skirt, and finally her hair.

“Once is never enough,” he said softly.

Despite how hard she was working to rein herself in, he heard her breath catch on the slightly sensual undertone to his words. Will knew that if her brother hadn’t been standing right there, he would have done something crazy, like grab her and kiss her.

No, he wasn’t good enough for her. But that knowledge didn’t keep him from wanting her. If anything, he was even more powerfully drawn to the good in her, to the sweetness and warmth she shared with her brother.

“I don’t have to be anywhere special for another couple of hours. I can show you the Aston Martin at my place.”

In truth, Will had a dozen important things to take care of today, but Jeremy was like a bright, mystical sphere that beckoned him closer, a breath of something clean that made him feel young instead of jaded.

And then there was Harper.

Beautiful, unique Harper with all that tightly leashed passion inside of her just waiting to be set free...

“We really can’t,” she protested at the exact moment Jeremy said, “That would be way cool.”

The traces of the woman with her arms over her head in his car were disappearing fast. Much too fast, as she said, “We’ve imposed long enough. This was far more than we expected.”

“Spending time with both of you hasn’t been any imposition at all.” He grinned at Jeremy. “No one has ever enjoyed my cars as much as you have. And the truth is that I like showing them off.”

“Can we, Harper? Please.” Her brother rocked on his toes, hands behind his back, his notebook clutched tightly in his fingers.

“You can follow me over in your car and leave when you’re ready,” Will added.

“Where do you live?” Her tone was wary, but at least she wasn’t still completely shutting down his idea.

“Portola Valley.”

Jeremy’s notebook was now tucked under his arm, his palms pressed flat together. He stood right in front of Harper mouthing, Please, please, please.

Will knew it was dirty pool to let Jeremy do all the convincing, but the boy wanted it as much as Will did. He recognized the moment Harper relented. She shot out one sharp breath, and shook her head in a quick move as though she was telling herself she was an idiot—or a softie.

“All right. But we can’t stay long, Jeremy. Mr. Franconi is a busy man.”

“I thought you were going to call me Will.”

“Sorry, I forgot.”

But he knew she hadn’t. She didn’t forget a thing, he could easily see that. She was simply trying to put distance between herself and that fast ride in the car. And him, most of all.

“We’ll follow you,” she said, “but please don’t drive too fast or I might lose you.”

Oh, he wasn’t about to let her lose him. Just like he wasn’t planning on losing her. “No fast driving on the way over,” he promised.

One thing she’d learn about him was that he always kept his promises. Will had been anything but honest in his youth—far from it, as he’d done countless things that had given Susan and Bob gray hairs—but they’d also been the ones to teach him the power of his word. Will hadn’t broken a promise since he was eighteen. His tattoo burned on his arm as a perpetual reminder of the things he’d done and the people he’d hurt.

“Can I go with Will?” her brother asked.

“Jeremy,” she admonished softly. “You shouldn’t invite yourself along like that.”

“But I already invited myself to see Will’s cars,” Jeremy said logically, “and he said yes to that.”

Jeremy certainly had a way about him, Will thought with a smile. The kid’s great attitude was contagious. “No problem, buddy, you can drive with me.”

As for Harper, he’d make sure she drove with him again, too. Only next time, he’d take her so far and so fast, and make it so good, that she wouldn’t dream of asking him to slow down.





CHAPTER FOUR


It wasn’t just a house. It was a whole compound. The private road leading to Will’s home was a twisting half-mile up into the hills, past rolling fields of grass, scrub, trees, and other natural vegetation. Harper followed his car into the circular drive surrounding a rock fountain.

The house was like something out of a Frank Lloyd Wright photo book, with a wide, sweeping pathway of slowly rising brick steps surrounded by meticulously shaped flowering shrubs and artful rock formations. What she could see of the massive house was on two levels, one set farther back than the other, almost as if they were completely separate. A continuous line of windows flowed across the front, turning fluidly at the corners. Perched on a hill, there was an expansive valley view out the back. From the angle of the house to the drive, she could see an infinity pool, water pouring over its edge like a waterfall. Below that was a putting green.

Sticking behind Will, she steered her car into another drive, around a rock garden adorned with cacti and succulents, and headed up an incline. The garage he’d spoken of was actually two buildings, one opposite the other. She counted eight doors in each as she tailgated Will into the interior concrete pad between the two structures. One door slid up silently, and he pulled the Challenger inside.

She climbed out of the modest sedan she’d purchased several years ago based solely on its excellent safety record, and her heels clicked on the concrete as she headed to the open garage door. Lights came on inside, revealing several expensive cars whose value she could only guess. Probably a million dollars in gleaming metal, at the very least.

Will swept out a hand. “Welcome to my playground.”

Jeremy was already racing down the row of cars. “It’s down there.” Will pointed. Then her brother was gone, shooting toward the silver Aston Martin he’d been drooling over for ages.

“I see he likes speed,” Will mused, “in more ways than one.”

“After the accident,” she said softly, “he had to learn to talk and walk again. So now he feels he has to keep moving so his joints don’t rust up like the Tin Man.” Those were Jeremy’s words, ones that always made her smile.

Will turned his gaze from Jeremy to her. “What happened?”

Harper swallowed, feeling herself choke up. It had all been a long time ago, yet the kindness in Will’s eyes touched her. “A car accident when he was seven. A speeding teenager in his daddy’s sports car.” A teenager from a family that had nowhere near as much money as Will. “Jeremy was on his bike.”

“I’m sorry, Harper.” He looked upset on their behalf. And more than a little angry, too. “I can’t imagine how difficult that was.”

“He was in a coma for several weeks and suffered brain damage. In many ways, it’s like he never grew older than seven.” Jeremy would perpetually be a child. But he was alive. And she was more than grateful for that. “He’s a happy guy, though. And he’s doing well. I love him just the way he is.”

“He’s a good kid. Your parents obviously did a great job helping him through.”

“They did,” she agreed, still watching Jeremy skip around the Aston Martin, examining every detail. She’d already told Will this much of their story, so she might as well finish it for him, even though sometimes it felt like there was nothing else to her but this tale of one crash after another. “Our parents died a few years ago in a plane crash. So he’s all mine now.”

Will had come closer to her while she spoke. She was average height, but he was so tall, so strong, that he made her feel petite. “That must have been really hard on you.”

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