The Billionaire's Ruthless Affair

By: Miranda Lee

Chapter One

I SHOULD BE HAPPIER, Alex thought as he picked up his mug of coffee and carried it out onto the terrace of his penthouse apartment, shivering slightly when the crisp air hit his face. Not that it would be cold for long, the sun already peeping over the horizon. Winter in Sydney was a picnic compared to winter in London. He was glad to be back home. But not all that happy, for some reason.

Alex surveyed the panoramic view of the city skyline, telling himself that a man would have to be a fool not to be happy when he’d finally achieved everything he’d ever vowed to achieve.

At thirty-four, Alex was no fool. He was, in fact, a very successful businessman.

A Rhodes scholar, Alex had first become an entrepreneur back in England over a decade earlier, going into partnership with his two best friends from Oxford in a dilapidated old wine bar, which probably should have been demolished, but which they’d turned into a going concern. As it turned out, one wine bar had eventually become two, then three, then ten, till finally they’d formed a franchise.

Sergio’s idea, that.

Alex smiled for the first time that morning. Thinking of Sergio always brought a smile to his face. Jeremy, too. Yet those two were as different as chalk and cheese. Sergio was inclined to take life way too seriously at times, whereas Jeremy... Lord, where did one start with Jeremy? Though some people might describe him as a playboy, Alex knew Jeremy was a decent man at heart, generous and loyal, though with way too much charm and money for his own good. And he’d have even more money now, the recent sale of their wine bar franchise having made them all billionaires.

Alex’s smile faded somewhat as he realised that the sale of their franchise had now severed the main connection between the three men. Whilst he didn’t doubt they would always remain friends, it would not be the same as when they’d gathered together in London on a regular basis. Sergio had now returned to Milan to take up the reins of his family’s ailing manufacturing business, whilst he himself would have no reason to return to England.

Still, that was life, Alex supposed. Nothing stayed the same. Time and tide waited for no man, he knew, a quick glance at his watch showing that it was almost eight.

He was going to be late for work, which was a rarity.

Harry would be wondering where he was. Alex hoped she wasn’t upset over the way he’d spoken to her yesterday. Not that she’d seemed offended. Though relatively young, she was without doubt the best, most sensible PA he’d ever had.

Gulping down the rest of his coffee, he hurried back inside, stashed his mug in the dishwasher, snatched up his phone and keys, then headed for the lift. Just as the lift doors opened, his phone rang. A wry smile lit up Alex’s face when he saw that it was Jeremy.

Speak of the devil!

‘Jeremy...mate...I was just thinking about you.’ Alex strode into the lift and pressed the button for the basement car park.

‘That’s a worry,’ Jeremy replied in that deeply masculine voice which always surprised people. ‘Haven’t you got anything better to do with your life? You should be out there making more millions. Though, perhaps not. You’d only give the lot away.’

Alex grinned. ‘You’ve been drinking, haven’t you?’ It would be late evening in London.

‘You could say that. I’m at a party. An engagement party.’

Alex suppressed a groan at the thought that another one of Jeremy’s brothers—perhaps even his mother or father—were on their way to the altar again. You didn’t have to look far to understand Jeremy’s negative attitude towards love and marriage. Clearly, he didn’t trust either to last.

Alex wasn’t into love and marriage himself, either, but not for reasons of scepticism and cynicism. He knew full well that true love existed and lasted, if you found the right person. Alex just wasn’t interested in finding his soul mate. He had personal reasons for staying a bachelor, the main one being the promise he’d made to his mother on her deathbed.

‘God made you extra smart for a purpose, son,’ she’d told him with her last breath. ‘Promise me you won’t waste your talents. Use them for good. Make a difference.’

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