Tamed by the Billionaire

By: Judy Angelo

(The BAD BOY BILLIONAIRES Series)




CHAPTER ONE





Roman Steele stared across the boardroom table at his long-time business associate. “So basically you’re telling me she’s a spoiled brat.”

The older man frowned. “Since you put it so bluntly…yes, I guess that’s what I’m saying.” Richard Van Buren laced his fingers across his stomach and leaned back in the chair. “She’s getting me worried, Roman. She’s all grown up now. She can’t keep behaving like this.”

“Don’t you think you’re being melodramatic?” Roman asked, slightly amused. “You said she’s grown now. I would think the realities of life would calm her.”

“That’s the problem. I haven’t exposed her to any of those realities.” Richard shook his head then sighed. “Ever since her mother died when she was six I’ve been spoiling Serena, letting her have her own way. Trying to make up for the loss of her mother, I guess.” His eyes took on a distant look and his voice trailed away.

“But you went overboard?” Roman prompted.

Richard grimaced. “I let her run wild for years. I thought with the supervision of the housekeeper she would be alright. After all, girls are supposed to be easier to raise than boys, right? Guess I was wrong.” Richard smiled ruefully. He reached into his breast pocket and pulled out a brown leather wallet from which he took a small photograph. He slid it across the table. “This is my Serena when she was nineteen.” He shrugged. "It's a couple of years old."

Roman picked it up and found himself staring at the smiling face of a girl sitting on the back of a shiny black stallion. She was breathtakingly beautiful with long chestnut hair floating around her heart-shaped face and a pretty pout that drew attention to the pink petals of her lips. Her eyes were the exquisite blue of the Pacific Ocean and in them was a bold defiance that spoke of the girl's confidence and spirit.

Roman raised his eyebrows. “So this is Serena,” he said, almost to himself. “She’s a beauty.”

“That’s the problem,” Richard said grimly. “She’s beautiful and she knows it. And she's also the daughter of a wealthy man who spoils her." His face turned sad. "This is not how I want things to be. I want my daughter to be prepared for the world. When I pass on she’s the one who’s going to take charge of the company and right now she’s not prepared for any of that.”

Roman tore his gaze away from the photograph and looked back at Richard. “You talk as if you plan to leave soon,” he said with a chuckle. “You’re as healthy as a horse.”

“Yes, but you never know...” Richard tapped his silver pen on the table, his weathered face thoughtful. “Serena is finishing up college in a week. She’ll be twenty-one with a Bachelor's degree in art history. She didn’t even do her degree in business like I told her. How prepared can she be to take over the business?" He shook his head then smiled wryly. "I can’t even rely on her to find a suitable husband. She’s shown no interest in the guys who've come knocking. She'll probably keep rejecting them for years to come.”

“So what are you going to do about this?”

Richard shrugged. “Short of forcing her into marriage with a man with some business sense, I have no idea.” Then he grinned at the preposterous idea. "If only we were back in the nineteenth century."

Roman sat back and looked keenly at Richard. He could see that despite his attempt at humor the older man was distressed. They'd just finished up a business meeting where they'd discussed a possible collaboration between both their companies. They were considering a partnership in the development of a new line of skin care products. Out of the blue Richard started talking about his daughter. The situation was obviously weighing heavily on his mind.

“So let me get this straight," Roman said, folding his arms across his chest. "You have a daughter who likes to have her own way. She doesn't listen to you yet you give her whatever she wants. You’ve been doing this for the past twenty-one years and now you want her to settle down and get involved in the business?”

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