Matched to a Billionaire(6)

By: Kat Cantrell



“Do you take Leo as your lawfully wedded husband?” the minister intoned.

Dannie cleared her throat. “I do.”

With a trembling hand, she slipped a plain platinum band on Leo’s finger. Or tried to. She couldn’t get it over the knuckle and when he covered her hand with his to assist, she glanced up to meet his blue eyes.

That same odd shock she’d experienced on the stairs rocked her shoulders. It wasn’t awareness, but deeper, as if she’d just seen someone she knew but couldn’t place.

She shook it off. Nerves. That’s all.

Leo repeated, “I do,” his voice even and strong. Because he wasn’t nervous. Why would he be, with all that masculine confidence?

The platinum band he slid on her finger matched his and winked in the living room’s overhead lighting. She stared at it, transfixed by the sheer weight such a simple band added to her hand.

Divorce wasn’t an option.

Both she and Leo had indicated a strong belief in honoring commitments in their profiles and it had been the first thing addressed in their phone conversation. Leo had been far too generous in the original prenuptial agreement and she’d refused to marry him without serious alterations, namely that any future children would be provided for but she’d get nothing. In her mind, that was the best way to demonstrate the seriousness of her word.

Leo represented security, not free money. And in exchange for that security, she’d be the wife he needed.

This marriage was a permanent solution to their problems, not a love match. Which was fine by her. Leo would never leave her the way her father had and she’d never have to worry about whether he’d stop loving her if she screwed up.

The minister signaled the end of the short ceremony with the traditional, “You may kiss the bride.”

Oh, why had she asked for that part? It was going to be so weird. But it was her wedding. Shouldn’t she get a kiss from her husband? A kiss to seal their bargain.

Leo turned to her, his expression unreadable. As his lips descended, she closed her eyes. Their mouths touched.

And held for a shimmering moment, launching a typhoon of flutters in her abdomen. Maybe the possibility of having a whole lot more than just affection between them wasn’t as remote as she’d thought.

Then he recoiled as if he’d licked a lemon wedge and stepped away.

Their first kiss. How...disappointingly brief, with a hint of possible sparks she’d had no time to enjoy. Hadn’t he felt it? Obviously not.

Her mother and Elise clapped, gathering around her and Leo to gush with congratulations.

Dannie swallowed. What had she expected—Leo would magically transform from a venture capitalist into Prince Charming? Elise’s computer program had matched her with the perfect husband, one who would take care of her and her mother and treat Dannie well. She should be happy they’d have a fulfilling partnership.

She should not be thinking about how Leo might kiss her if they’d met under different circumstances. If they were getting married because they’d fallen in love, and during the ceremony he’d slid her a sizzling glance that said he couldn’t wait for the honeymoon.

She shouldn’t be dwelling on it, but the thought wouldn’t fade—what would his calm blue eyes look like when they were hot with passion?





Two


Daniella stood by the door with her hands clasped and chin down. Leo’s new wife was refined and unassuming, exactly as he had specified. What he had not expected was to find her picture had lied. And it was a monstrous lie of epic proportions.

She wasn’t girl-next-door attractive, as he’d believed. This woman he’d married radiated sensuous energy, as if her spirit was leashed behind a barrier of skin that could barely contain it. If that leash ever broke—look out.

She wasn’t merely gorgeous; in person, Daniella defied description.

The stuff of poetry and Michael Bublé songs. If one was inclined toward that sort of thing.

Even her name was exotic and unusual. He couldn’t stop looking at her. He couldn’t stop thinking about the way-too-short kiss he’d broken off because it felt like the beginning of something that would take a very long time to finish. His entire body buzzed in response to that concentrated energy it badly wanted to explore.

What was he going to do with a woman like that?

“I’m ready to leave whenever you are, Leo.” Her voice, soft but self-assured, carried across the foyer of Ms. Arundel’s house.

He was going to take her home. Regardless of having distraction written all over her, they were married.

His recon skills clearly needed help. Why hadn’t he met her first? Because he’d dotted as many i’s and crossed as many t’s as possible before fully committing to this idea. Or so he’d thought. Leo had spoken with other satisfied clients of EA International and then personally met with Elise Arundel several times. He had confidence in her ability to find the right match, and the thorough background check Ms. Arundel had supplied confirmed her choice.

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