Jackson Brent knows the numbers. There are nine hundred people in the world who are richer than he is. Fourteen days before his critical new product launch. And one woman he can’t forget.
When the tech billionaire collides with his teenaged crush, he sees his chance to possess the woman he wanted years ago. Offering her a job as his date for an important conference, he sets the boundaries with a contract forcing the wild rock chick to play by his rules.
Meghan Paige has plans of her own. Running from a bad relationship, all she has left is a beaten-up guitar and battered dreams of stardom. She desperately needs the money Jackson offers, but besides singing, there’s one other thing she’s good at — rule breaking.
“Jackson thinks he can use his fortune to control me? Buckle up, Billionaire, I’m about to rock your world.”
*** This novella is currently exclusively available in the Billionaire Ever After boxed set ***
Running after the thief who’d stolen her day’s earnings, Meghan thought of the advice her grandmother had given her. “Hard work always pays off.”
Grandma clearly hadn’t known what the hell she was talking about. The proceeds from Meghan’s hard work were currently in the hands of a teenaged boy who was racing too far ahead to catch, and about to disappear for good.
Meghan had been mid song when the boy had snatched her upturned cap from the ground in front of her, so she was running awkwardly, clutching her guitar. With one last, breathless curse, she gave up the chase. The thief turned the corner, gave a final glance over his shoulder, and was gone.
Five hours of busking, singing her heart out to indifferent passers-by, had been wasted. Tonight she’d have to sleep in her car. Again.
“Thanks a lot, jerk,” she muttered.
A woman who was walking past gave Meghan a sideways look, probably wondering if she was crazy. Meghan had been wondering the same thing. She was twenty-nine years old, and as hard as she’d worked, she was further away from achieving her dream than she’d ever been.
Disgusted, she trudged back to where she’d left her car.
Five days ago, Meghan had packed her belongings into the back of her rusty Toyota and peeled rubber out of Melbourne. She’d gotten as far as Sydney, a good a place as any to start over. Although she’d always dreamed of being a rock star, right now she’d settle for a steady income and a place to sleep that didn’t have seat belts.
Meghan put her guitar into its case and made sure it was secure on the back seat before getting in the car. Then she pulled out her phone and called up Geena’s number. Geena was an old school friend, and the one person in Sydney she’d kept in touch with. But instead of hitting the button to dial, she stared at her phone, arguing with herself.
Which was worse, asking for help, or spending another restless night on the passenger seat? If the last few years had taught her anything, it was that she couldn’t count on anyone but herself. Not that she thought Geena was anything like either her ex-boyfriend or her ex-agent. She could trust Geena. But the thought of telling her friend she was homeless and needed a place to sleep still made her nauseous.
Meghan dropped her phone onto the passenger seat. When she was back on her feet with somewhere to stay, that’s when she’d call Geena. Then Meghan would be able to meet her for a drink without asking for any favors, or feeling like a failure.
What she needed right now was to follow her plan.
She tapped the steering wheel, counting off the steps she’d take. First, she’d go around all the bars and clubs that hosted live bands, and convince one of them to take a chance on a singer they didn’t know. A regular gig would be a million times better than playing her guitar on a street corner, begging coins from passing strangers.
Step two would be to get her own place. Just hers this time. No more lying, deceitful, destructive men would be allowed in the door.
Step three, she’d get a real record deal from a real record company. Either under her own steam, or by partnering with an agent who wasn’t out to screw her.
As bad as the last few years had been, they’d be a lot worse if she didn’t learn from them. From now on, she was taking control of her life. She was damn well going to turn things around.
Meghan attempted to start her car, pumping the accelerator while she prayed for the unreliable engine to turn over. Two false starts, then the ignition caught and her car lurched forward into the busy Sydney traffic.
Into the path of an expensive-looking Aston Martin that was going too fast to stop.