Submitting to the Billionaire(8)

By: Georgia Le Carre


He looks back at me sadly. “But I knew that I would only be leaving you in a bigger mess because the money has to be paid back. One way or another.”

“Who do you owe the money to, Nigel?” My voice sounds distant, calm, rational, even though I feel as if we are standing at the roof edge of a sky-scraper in high winds.

He pauses and clasps his hands so tightly, his knuckles become white. When he speaks, there is an odd expression in his eyes. “Nikolai Smirnov.”

My brow furrows. “Who is he?”

His eyes narrow. “You don’t know him?”

“Why would I know him?” I ask, confused.

His mouth turns down at the corners. It’s a strangely sulky expression, and my brain notes it with surprise.

“You tell me,” he says.

“Stop playing games, Nigel. What the hell are you talking about?” I ask, barely holding onto my temper.

“Maybe you know him by a different name? Russian, tall, at least six feet three or four. Broad, very fit—”

I shake my head impatiently and interrupt him. “I don’t meet men. You know that. Why would you think I would know him, anyway?”

He makes a dismissive movement with his head. “Forget it. He’s the owner of the gambling club I was telling you about before. I’ve met cold bastards before, but he fucking takes the cake.”

My eyes widen. “Did he threaten you?”

His voice is bitter and a touch frightened “Yes, he wants his money. I told him I’d get it somehow. I just needed a bit of time, but he had his men grab me and hold me down on a smelly pool table. You don’t know how terrified I was. He came close to breaking my hands with a fucking hammer.”

At that strange, surreal moment, I feel no love in my heart for my husband. He seems like a stranger. Someone I never knew. Someone who just smashed my wonderful life into a thousand pieces. “Why didn’t he, then?”

He looks down at the table and his hands become fists. “Because …”

That coldness in my heart grows. “Because what, Nigel?”

Tears crawl down his cheeks. “Because he wants you.”





Chapter Six





Star





His words don’t make sense. My whole body feels like it is on fire. I’m an ordinary girl. I live an ordinary life. All of this is unbelievable stuff. Stuff of gangster movies.

“What?”

“He wants you,” he repeats glumly.

“Me? What do you mean me?”

He covers his face. “Fuck, Star. Do I have to spell it out to you? He wants you … your body.”

I frown. “My body? Why would the owner of a gambling club want my body?”

“You don’t need me to tell you why.”

“But he doesn’t know who I am. I could be a frumpy, middle-aged housewife for all he knows.”

His brow furrows. “I’m beginning to think that someone is jealous of me. They know that the most important thing in my life is you, and the best way to destroy me is to get to you.”

Nigel goes on talking, but I stop hearing him.

“He didn’t use the hammer because you agreed to let him have me, didn’t you?” I ask, my body crawling with revulsion.

“No,” he denies, looking at me with wide eyes, and shaking his head vigorously.

“Oh, my God. You damn coward. That’s what last night was all about, wasn’t it? You thought you could manipulate me into selling my body to pay off your gambling debts.”

Suddenly, the light goes out of his eyes. He just looks defeated. “No, Star. I meant it all. Every word I said. I’m not giving you away to anyone. I love you. He let me walk because I told him I would persuade you, but I have a different plan.”

“What plan?” I spit. I don’t believe him anymore. He’s lied again so much I feel as if I’ve been married to a stranger.

He looks me in the eye. “Last night was me saying goodbye. My life insurance is worth one million. If I die in an accident tomorrow the mortgage on this house will be fully paid, and you will be the beneficiary of a million pounds. You’ll be able to pay my debt off and still have half a million and some change in your bank account.” He smiles.

I stare at him in utter disbelief. This is just becoming more and more surreal. “Are you completely mad?”

“Far from it. I want to make it right for you.”

“You want to make it right by killing yourself, and leaving me a widow?”

He stares into my eyes. “This is the only way to save your father.”

I feel that like a shot in my solar plexus. My dad. Oh, God. My dad.

“Remember, I always said I’d die for you. You always used to scoff that you’d have to see it to believe it. Now you know that I meant every word.”

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