Submitting to the Billionaire(6)

By: Georgia Le Carre

He shakes his head the way someone who has lost everything would do.

“What’s the matter? Don’t you feel well?”

“I feel sick to my stomach with what I’ve done.”

My stomach drops. “What have you done, Nigel?”

He slaps his hands on his cheeks and looks at me, his eyes distraught. “I have to tell you something, Star,” he says, his voice cracking.

In a split second two scenarios cross my mind. He’s lost a lot of money at the brokerage, or, oh God, he’s got another woman. I’m strong enough to handle the money thing, but not the other woman.

“What is it?” I ask nervously.

“I’m in trouble.”

“What kind of trouble?”

“Big trouble,” he says swallowing a large mouthful of air. “I’ve been such a fool, Star. Such a colossal fucking fool.”

For a moment, the horror of anticipating what he is going to tell me, dumbfounds me. In my mind I hear him saying I cheated on you, Star. It was just a one-night stand. Or worse. I’ve fallen for someone else and I’m leaving you.

I just stare at him, hardly daring to breathe.

He opens his mouth. “I owe money. A lot of money.”

My breath comes out in a rush of sheer relief. Okay. This, I can deal with. I take a few shallow breaths and straighten my spine. This I can definitely handle. “Do your bosses know yet?”

He frowns. “Bosses?”

I stare at him. “At work?”

He shakes his head slightly. “This is not work, Star. This is my personal debt.”

“A personal debt?” I ask. I feel confused and frightened suddenly, as if I am standing on shifting sand. “Why did you need a personal debt, Nigel?”

He doesn’t answer me straight away. Instead, he stretches out a hand to cover mine.


He removes his hand, and my skin feels cold and empty. My mind goes blank as I watch him buy time by swallowing the last cold coffee dregs.

“I’m a gambler, Star. I owe four hundred and fifty thousand pounds.”

Chapter Five


Don’t Speak

His words don’t even register. I shake my head. I can’t have heard right. “What?”

“Oh, darling,” he croons. “Don’t look at me like that. You know I can’t take it.”

“What are you talking about, Nigel?” I ask slowly.

“I’m an addict. I’m addicted to gambling,” he mutters.

“Gambling?” I repeat stupidly.

He nods, a pained expression on his face.

“What? At work?”

“No.” He exhales loudly. “In casinos.”

I stare at him blankly. Nothing makes sense. We’ve been to a casino once. Two years ago. We sat together at a blackjack table. Nigel refused to play, but I did. He looked on with a slightly disapproving expression as I played three rounds and gleefully collected my winnings. Three hundred pounds. “But you don’t even like gambling!”

He runs his fingers through his hair. “I like it too much.”

“Since when?”

He shrugs. “Recently. It started off as just a little fun, small amounts, letting off some stress. You know the intense stress I’m under in the city.”

“Stress?” I echo.

“You have no idea how much stress I have to cope with at work. It wrecks you.”

“What? I begged you to leave your job, but you insisted that you thrived on the high-powered stress. Your exact words were, ‘Thank God stress is not a woman, or I’d have to fuck her.’ So don’t you dare tell me that you started gambling because of the stress.”

“Well, whatever the reason was, I started gambling, okay,” he cries. “It’s not really my fault. I was only gambling small amounts. Everything would have been fine if this stupid guy at work didn’t tell me about a place where we could make a killing. That’s where it all went wrong. I was so sure I’d get it all back. I was so close to winning, Star. You don’t know how close. If only I could have had another chance …”

“I don’t believe this,” I whisper to myself.

“I wanted to tell you.”

I gaze into his eyes. There is a hint of recklessness in them. The ability to put everything on one throw of the dice. I wonder why I never noticed it before. “So why didn’t you?”

“I was afraid. I didn’t want you to love me less. I love you so much, Star.”

“Who do we owe this money to?”

Something flashes in his eyes. “You don’t owe anyone, Star. It’s me and only me, who owes this debt.”

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