Beauty and the Billionaire: Billionaire Boys Club Novel

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9780425269145: Beauty and the Billionaire: Billionaire Boys Club Novel

The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who are incredibly wealthy—but not always so successful when it comes to love...
 
Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that’s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family’s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love—until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her.
 
Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck—and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up, she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can’t ignore her new boss’s delectable body—or his barely leashed temper.
 
Hunter’s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it’s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises...

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About the Author:

Jessica Clare is the New York Times bestselling author of the Billionaire Boys Club novels and the Bluebonnet novels, and is featured in the anthology Hot Summer Nights.

Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Billionaire Boys Club

The Girl’s Guide To (Man)Hunting

 

 

Someone had entered the town house.

At the sound of voices, he paused in the foyer of the enormous home. Out of habit, he moved into a shadowy alcove, lest they catch him unawares and stop to stare at him. Even after years of being a scarred, ugly bastard, he was still bothered by the expressions people made at the sight of his face. It was easier to just blend in with the shadows until they were gone. He waited, his ears straining to determine who was there. The only people he’d expected to stop by were Logan’s assistant, who’d insisted on picking up some of his books for a donation, and the movers who’d come to clean out the rest of what was left in the house.

He’d thought the place would be empty, so it would be a perfect time for him to inspect it. He hadn’t realized someone else would be coming in, much less two women.

There was a shuffle of footsteps, and then the sound of a box thumping onto the ground.

“What is this place?” A soft, pleasant female voice asked. “It’s lovely.”

“Some dead celebrity’s home or something. I don’t care.” The other woman’s voice seemed full of laughter and amusement, but her tone was cutting. “All I care about is how we’re supposed to get these damned boxes back to SoHo. What the heck was Audrey thinking?”

“Could we call a cab?”

The women approached Hunter’s shadowed hiding place, and he stilled, waiting for them to pass without noticing him.

The redhead was standing not ten feet away from him, her head bent. He couldn’t see her face, but she was curvy and tall, her ass a perfect heart from where he was standing, and her hair was a brilliant shade of red. The other girl—a pretty brunette with wide eyes—balanced two boxes and was waiting for instructions from the other woman.

“I don’t know about a cab,” the redhead said. “That’ll clean us out, and I still want to order that pizza.”

“So?” the dark-haired one asked.

“Brontë,” the redhead said in a crisp voice, and Hunter came to attention. That was a familiar name.

But the redhead was still talking. “You have to understand something about my sister. She’s not the most practical creature.”

“She’s not? She seems practical to me.”

“Not when it comes to work. She thinks we’re mules or something, as evidenced by all this. And if I need to call and gripe at her to get her in line, then, by golly, I’m going to do it.” She put the phone to her ear. A few seconds later, she made a frustrated sound. “Voice mail. I can’t believe her. She said there were two boxes. Not five boxes of hardbacks. Does she think we’re bodybuilders?”

“It’s not that bad,” the brunette placated her, adjusting the boxes in her arms. “I’m sure we can manage.”

“I blame Logan Hawkings,” the redhead exclaimed, catching Hunter’s attention. “He thinks the world just belongs to him, doesn’t he?”

The look on the other woman’s face was sad. “I suppose.”

“Ugh. Look at that hang-dog expression. You’re still in love with him, aren’t you?”

The brunette turned sad eyes on her friend. “‘I hate and I love. Perhaps you ask why I do so. I do not know, but I feel it, and am in agony.’”

“Oh, quit quoting that crap at me. You’re being dramatic. He’s a jerk. You’ll get over him.”

The redhead turned, and Hunter got a good look at her face for the first time. She was unusual-looking, with a round cheeks smattered in freckles. Her expressive eyes dominated her face despite being hidden behind square, scholarly glasses. Her chin ended in a small point, and she looked fascinating. Smart. Annoyed. “Save me from rich, attractive alpha males. They think they’re the heroes from a fairy tale. Little do they know, they’re more like the villains.”

“That’s not fair, Gretchen,” the one called Brontë protested.

“Life’s not fair,” Gretchen said in a cheerfully acerbic voice. “I’d rather have a man who isn’t in love with his own reflection than one who needs hair product or designer labels.” She bent over, and that heart-shaped ass was thrust into his vision again, and his cock stirred with need.

“So you’d rather have a pizza guy with a weak chin and a knight-in-shining-armor complex?”

“Yes,” Gretchen said emphatically, and a dimple flashed in her pointed little face. “His looks aren’t half as important as his brain.”

So she said. Hunter knew from experience that what women said they wanted in a man was soon forgetten if his physical appearance was unappealing. Still, he was fascinated with her. She was brash and clever, and a little sardonic, as if she were as weary of the world as he was. He watched as the two women, arguing and laughing, stepped out of the foyer of the empty home with the boxes of donations that he’d left for Logan’s assistant.

Her name was Gretchen. Gretchen. He racked his brain, trying to think of anyone who knew a Gretchen. A lovely redhead with a charmingly unusual face and a cutting tongue. He wanted to know more about her . . .

Hunter touched the jagged scars running down the left side of his face and frowned. Would she find him as hideous as the rest of the world did? Probably. But she’d also said she could look past that. That she wasn’t interested in a face as much as the brain behind it.

He was curious whether she’d been telling the truth.

Not that it mattered, since she’d just walked out the door and he’d likely never see her again.

A half-buried memory stirred in the back of his mind as he stared at the now-shut door. The other woman had an unusual name. Brontë. He knew that name, and where he’d heard it before.

He dialed Logan’s number, still thinking about the unusual redhead.

“What is it?” Logan said. “I’m about to head into a meeting.”

“There can’t be more than one ‘Brontë’ running around New York, can there?” Hunter asked.

The voice on the other end of the line got very still. “Brontë?” Logan asked after a moment. “You saw her? Where is she?”

Hunter stared at the door, half wishing the women would come back through it again, and half relieved they wouldn’t. “She just left with a redhead named Gretchen. I want to know more about her.”

“About my Brontë?” Logan’s voice was a growl.

“No. Gretchen. The one with red hair. I want her.”

“Oh.” A long sigh. “Sorry, man. Haven’t been myself lately. She left me, and I’ve been going crazy trying to find her.” Logan’s voice sounded strained, tense. “I can’t believe she’s still in New York. Where are you?”

“At the townhouse on the Upper East Side.” Hunter had been overseeing it to ensure that nothing was out of place. Plus, he’d been bored and restless. And more than a little lonely.

He wasn’t lonely any more, though. He couldn’t stop thinking about that redhead. Gretchen, with her big glasses and pert comebacks and red hair.

“Your assistant didn’t come by to pick up the boxes,” Hunter said after a moment. “This Gretchen did, and your Brontë was with her.”

“I have to go,” Logan said. “I’ll call Audrey and see who she sent over.”

“Send me information about this Gretchen woman,” Hunter reminded me. I want her.

“I will. And thanks.” Logan’s tone had changed from dejected to triumphant. “I owe you one.”

“You do,” Hunter agreed. “Just get me information on her friend, and we’ll call it even.”

Things had suddenly gotten a bit more . . . interesting. Hunter glanced at the empty townhouse and smiled to himself, his mind full of the unusual woman who had been there minutes before.

Hunter Buchanan didn’t believe in love at first sight. Hell, he didn’t much believe in love at all.

But the moment he’d seen the tall redhead standing in the foyer of one of his empty houses, a box of books in her arms and a skeptical look on her face, he’d felt . . . something. She’d been bold and fearless with her words, something that attracted him as a man who clung to the shadows.

And when she’d admitted to her quiet friend that most men bored her and she wanted something different in a relationship than just a pretty face?

Hunter knew she was meant for him.

She was pretty, young, and single. She had a smart mind and a sharp tongue. He liked that about her. She was unafraid and laughed easily. Days had passed since he’d glimpsed at her and he still couldn’t get her out of his mind. She haunted his dreams.

Hunter was smart and rich and only a few years older than her. It shouldn’t have been unattainable.

Unconsciously, he touched the deeply gouged scars on his face, his fingers tracing the thick line at the corner of his mouth where damaged tissue had been reconstructed.

There was one thing preventing Hunter from pursuing a woman like that. His face. His hideous, scarred face. He could hide the scars on his chest and arm with clothing. He could clench his hand and no one would notice that he was missing a finger. But he couldn’t hide his face. When he chose to leave his house, people crossed the street to avoid him. Men frowned as if there were something unnerving about him. Women flinched away from the sight of him.

Just like the woman next to him currently was doing.

Brontë, Logan’s big-eyed girlfriend, sat next to him at the Brotherhood’s poker table. The dark basement was filled with a haze of cigar smoke and the scent of liquor. Normally the room was filled with his five best friends, but they’d gone upstairs to talk to Logan about the fact that he’d brought his new girlfriend with him to a secret society meeting. Brontë had stayed behind with him. It was clearly not by her choice, either. She sat at the table quietly, nursing her wine and trying not to look as if she’d wanted to bolt from the table once she’d gotten a good look at his face. Her gaze slid to his damaged hand, and then back to his face again.

He was used to that sort of thing. And he wondered if the redhead who was her friend would react the same way to his face.

Experience told him that she would. But he remembered the redhead’s sarcastic little smile and that shake of her head. The words she’d said.

“Save me from rich, attractive alpha males. They think they’re the heroes from a fairy tale. Little do they know, they’re more like the villains.”

And he found he had to know more.

“Your friend,” he said to Brontë. “The redhead. Tell me about her.”

She looked over at him again, those dark eyes wide and surprised, pupils dilated from alcohol. “You mean Gretchen?”

“Yes.” He knew her first name, but he wanted to know more about her. “What is her last name?”

“Why? How do you know about Gretchen?”

“I saw her with you the other day. Tell me more about her.”

She frowned at him. “Why should I tell you about Gretchen? So you can stalk her?”

Hunter glanced down at his cards and tried not to suppress the annoyance he felt at her caginess. Couldn’t a man ask a simple question? “I am an admirer of hers . . . from afar.”

“Like a stalker.”

“Not a stalker. I simply wish to know more about her.”

“That’s what a stalker would say.”

Hunter gritted his teeth, glancing over at her. She automatically shied back, her expression a little alarmed as she studied his scars. He ignored that. “Your friend is quite safe from my romantic interests. I simply wish to learn more about her.”

After all, what woman would want to date a man with a grotesque face? Only ones who wanted his money, and he wasn’t interested in those. He wanted a companion, not a whore.

“Oh,” Brontë said, studying her wineglass as if it were fascinating. “Petty. Her last name is Petty. She writes books.”

Now they were getting somewhere. He mentally filed the information away. Gretchen Petty, author. He could see that. “What kinds of books?”

“Books with other people’s names on them.”

He gave her an impatient stare, hating the way she shrank back in her chair just a bit. “A ghost writer?”

Brontë nodded. “That’s right. And Cooper’s in love with her.”

“Cooper? Who is Cooper?” Whoever it was, Hunter fucking hated him. Probably good looking, smug, and not nearly good enough for her. Damn it.

“Cooper’s her friend. It’s okay, though. He won’t make a move. He knows Gretchen isn’t interested in him that way. Gretchen likes guys who are different. She likes to be challenged.”

He snorted. Well, she’d definitely get a challenge with Hunter Buchanan.

They chatted for a bit longer, the conversation awkward. Brontë kept turning her face to the door, no doubt anxiously awaiting Logan’s return. Logan was a good-looking man, tall, strong, and unscarred. Brontë was a soft, sweet creature, but he doubted she’d ever look at someone like him with anything more than revulsion or pity.

He’d had his share of pity already, thanks.

“Gretchen Petty,” he repeated to himself. A ghostwriter. Someone who wrote books for others and hid behind their names. Why, he wondered. She didn’t seem like the type to hide behind a moniker. She didn’t seem like the type to hide behind anything. And that fascinated him. What would draw a woman like her to him? Did he even want to try? Did he want to see if she looked at him with a horror that she was trying desperately to hide for the sake of politeness, just like Logan’s woman? Or would she see the person behind the scars and determine that he was just as interesting as any other man?

He remembered the first time he saw her, standing next to Brontë in the foyer of an empty mansion. She’d declared, “I’d rather have a man not in love with his own reflection than one that needs hair product or designer labels.”

A plan began to form in his mind.

It wasn’t a nice plan, or a very honest one. But he didn’t have to be nice, or honest, if he was rich. The good thing about money was that it allowed you to take control of almost any situation, and Hunter definitely planned on using what he had to his advantage.

***

The Brotherhood played poker into the night while Hunter’s bodyguard stood at the door, keeping out anyone that would disturb them. They drank, they smoked cigars, and they played cards. It was one of their usual meetings, if one could ignore the quietly sleeping woman curled up on the couch in the corner of the room, Logan’s jacket acting as a blanket over her shoulders. Business was discussed, alcohol drank in quantity, and notes taken for analyzing in the morning. Tips were shared back and forth, investment opportunities and the like.

The Brotherhood had met like this once a week since their college days, vowing to help one another. At the time, it had seemed like an idealistic pledge—that those born with money would help the others succeed and, as a result, they would all rise to the top of the ladder of success.

It had been an easy vow to make for Hunter. When Logan had befriended him in an economics class, he’d been oddly relieved to have a friend. After being home schooled for the majority of his education, Dartmouth seemed like ...

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Descrizione libro Berkley Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who are incredibly wealthy--but not always so successful when it comes to love. Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love--until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her. Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck--and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up, she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can t ignore her new boss s delectable body--or his barely leashed temper. Hunter s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780425269145

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Descrizione libro Berkley Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . This book usually ship within 10-15 business days and we will endeavor to dispatch orders quicker than this where possible. Brand New Book. The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who are incredibly wealthy--but not always so successful when it comes to love. Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love--until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her. Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck--and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up, she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can t ignore her new boss s delectable body--or his barely leashed temper. Hunter s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises. Codice libro della libreria BTE9780425269145

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Descrizione libro Berkley Books, United States, 2015. Paperback. Condizione libro: New. Reprint. Language: English . Brand New Book. The Billionaire Boys Club is a secret society of six men who are incredibly wealthy--but not always so successful when it comes to love. Real-estate tycoon Hunter Buchanan has a dark past that s left him scarred and living as a recluse on his family s palatial estate. Hunter is ready to give up on love--until he spots an enigmatic red-haired beauty and comes up with an elaborate scheme to meet her. Gretchen Petty is in need of a paycheck--and a change. So when a job opportunity in an upstate New York mansion pops up, she accepts. And while she can overlook the oddities of her new job, she can t ignore her new boss s delectable body--or his barely leashed temper. Hunter s afraid his plan might be unraveling before it s truly begun, but Gretchen is about to show him that life can be full of surprises. Codice libro della libreria AAS9780425269145

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