Her Lion Billionaire

By: Lizzie Lynn Lee

Chapter One





Charlotte Winters dreaded the moment when her friend Abby, the receptionist at the company where she worked, brought a large bouquet of red roses to her desk. She knew where those flowers had come from. Daniel Addington. The same man who’d been flooding her with calls, texts and gifts for the past ten days. Even though she’d made it clear she wasn’t interested in having further contact with him, the man didn’t give up. Daniel was the type of man who didn’t take no for an answer. In a normal situation, she’d have been swooning from his attention.

In a normal situation, yeah.

But she’d accidentally discovered his secret.

Surely this courtship was his attempt to buy her silence. She wasn’t going to blab about it anyway. Not that anyone would believe her. But Daniel was quite persistent.

“Charlotte, it’s roses this time.” Abby pushed some paper out of the way and placed the vase carefully on the desk. “Girl, you don’t know how lucky you are. I wish someone would send me flowers like this. They’re so pretty.”

“Then you can have them.” Charlotte eyed the bouquet with less enthusiasm. The roses sure were pretty. They weren’t the ordinary roses that one could purchase in the grocery store or Walgreens. These were high-end boutique grade. The semi-opened scarlet buds were large and dark. The seductive aroma wafted from them like a secret message intended by the sender of this bouquet: Hey, you see me. Can we talk?

She closed her eyes. No. No. Never.

When she opened her eyes, she found Abby staring down at her with a pout on her face.

“Aren’t you happy that the famous Daniel Addington showers you with gifts like this?” Abby pressed.

“I’m flattered.” No, not at all.

“I just saw his interview on the morning show. He’s so gorgeous.”

“He is.” Honey, beauty is only a skin deep.

“He’s a great catch, girl. You should grab this opportunity and make him your man. The chocolates. Show tickets. Now roses. Isn’t it obvious? It seems to me that he really likes you.”

“Nah. He’s just being nice.” Those are bribes.

“You say you just meet him last Sunday?”

Charlotte blinked. “Yeah. A car swiped my bike and fled. He happened to be at the scene and took me to a hospital. I told him I was fine, but he insisted. Like I told you, he’s just being nice.” Charlotte smiled innocently.

It was a thinly veiled truth. They didn’t make it to the hospital. After the blue sedan had nicked her bike and sent her crashing onto the pavement, a fancy black Cadillac had stopped behind her. She’d been surprised when Daniel Addington got out, followed by his chauffeur. She’d seen his face plastered on newspapers, the internet and TV. His family owned the Addingtons, a big chain of luxury stores, hotels and resorts, and he was currently the company president. He came from old money with an Ivy League pedigree. Yes, he’d be a great catch. Charlotte just hadn’t expected that he was one of those people. Netherworlders as Grandmaman called it. Nothing good would come out of it if she involved herself with people like them. Her mom, for example, had been in a mental institution for the past twenty-years because she couldn’t stand missing Charlotte’s father.

When Charlotte was small, her mom had told her she was special. The daddy she’d never seen was actually a Sandman. He ate people’s bad dreams and helped them sleep peacefully. Even at that age, Charlotte already understood that her dad was a good-for-nothing man, thanks to the daytime talk shows and soap operas her babysitter watched. What kind of man had a kid and left his family without financial and emotional support? A deadbeat jackass like her father, that’s who .

Growing up in her grandmother’s care, Charlotte vehemently resented her origin. She couldn’t live like a normal child. Even though she was only half of whatever her father was, every time she touched a person, she got a flashback of that person’s memory, like a cinematic record playing before her eyes. When she slept, she often wandered into that person’s dreams, witnessing the good and the downright disturbing visions. If she touched ten people during the day, she’d roam into ten dreams in a night, leaving her dazed, confused and twitchy all the next day.

Her power was weak when she was very young. Still, she had to distance herself from others, making her a loner. After puberty hit and her power became stronger, she wouldn’t allow others to touch her. She didn’t want to know other people’s business, nightmares and glooms—like her high school principal, who yearned to be dressed like a baby, complete with a big diaper and pacifier. Or her delinquent classmate who wanted to stab every person he met with a sharpened fork.

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