The Hotel 3 (The Billionaire Seduction)

By: Lola Darling

Chapter One

It’s been two days since Dominic discovered the secret I’ve been hiding from him: that the first night we met, I was hired to get compromising photos of him. Two days since he threw me out of the Rexford hotel and swore he never wanted to see me again. Two days of me wallowing in a heartbroken mess around my apartment until my roommates must be sick of my forlorn crying.

“We’re going to need a Sherpa to come navigate this mountain of Kleenex.”

Emily brushes wads of tissue off my bed before sitting next to me. I wipe my eyes with the back of my hand and take the steaming mug she offers. I think I smile. I don’t know. My face is so tight from dried tears, I feel like I’ve had botched plastic surgery.

“What’s in the mug?” I take a sniff. “Smells good.”

“One of my secret tea blends.”

“Made with unicorn tears and rainbows?”

“Of course. And also honey and green tea to soothe your throat.”

Her soft voice brings fresh tears to my eyes. I don’t deserve her kindness. At least, that’s how the sick, twisted sensation in my gut makes me feel. Because of me, Dominic may lose control of the hotel. I deserve to be miserable.

Plus, I miss him. A hell of a lot.

A plopping noise makes me look down, and sure enough, I’m crying in my tea.

“Hey,” Emily takes the mug and runs a hand down my hair. “I know it hurts, Jules.”

“Understatement.” I lean against her shoulder. “It feels like he ripped out my heart and stomped all over it then left it bleeding in the gutter with all the Rexford’s dirty garbage.”

I see him every time I close my eyes—the blend of shock and anger on Dominic’s face as his ex-wife, Lillian, revealed everything. The way he looked at me when I admitted I helped set him up. How he smirked when I tried to confess my feelings for him.

In that moment, I lost everything. My internship, my career, and the man I love.

It couldn’t get any worse.

“He won’t call me back,” I admit. “I’ve left messages.” It dawns on me that I haven’t checked my phone in a half hour. I scramble to get my cell, but Emily stops me.

“He hasn’t called, Juliet.”

“How do you know?”

She just shakes her head, and I crumble a little more.

“He won’t call, will he?”

She tries to look supportive, but I can tell, she doesn’t believe me. And if my ‘bright side only, glass half full’ friend can’t find it in her heart to lie, there’s really no hope for me. My heart cracks again. Dominic Rexford has washed his hands of me. How can I blame him? I helped his ex-wife strip him of control over his own empire. Thanks to me, he’s lost everything that he held most dear.

I just wish I’d known. The first night we met, it was just a job: my cousin, Callie, was sick, so I filled in for her acting as a honeytrap for her private investigator boss. I was supposed to flirt with the target, let them get photos of him kissing me, and make a quick exit. I didn’t expect Dom to be so sexy, so magnetic – all my rules went out of the window when I followed him upstairs. It was just one night, I told myself. Nobody would ever know.

I didn’t realize that my incredible one night stand with him was going to have consequences like this.

I didn’t expect my love would ruin him.

Pressing the heels of my hands to my eyes, I force down another wave of tears. I’ve never felt this way before, and I don’t know what to do. I need to do something, to fix it any way that I can. But, how?

An apology won’t mean a thing compared to his lost empire. I don’t think Hallmark makes a card for this kind of thing.

I lean over the side of my bed and grapple for the neck of a wine bottle. It’s empty—so is the next one I reach for, and the one after that. I don’t have to check the cookie bags or the pizza box on my floor. I know they’re empty, too.

Emily stands and starts to collect the trash. “You’ve gone on one hell of a broken-heart bender.”

“It’s not over yet.”

She bypasses the mountain of snot rags to grab my garbage can. “Believe it or not, you’ll get through this, Jules. Things like this just make you stronger.”

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