Billionaires In Love: Beauty and the Billionaire

By: Glenna Sinclair

Chapter 1

The world swung and tipped in a way that felt both fun and scary as I swirled the last of the beer in the bottle, the glass clinking heavily against my teeth. A burst of laughter made me turn slowly, ponderously, to see just what was so funny. Was it me? Was it the bottle against my teeth? Even as I could still taste the crisp carbonation of the beverage in my mouth, I wanted another.

I felt like I could drink all night. It made it easy to forget about how stupid my parents had been. There wasn’t a damn thing wrong with a cold beer—especially when I was enjoying it in the company of good friends.

“I’m gonna slap that look off your face if I see it again,” Caro warned me, shaking her finger so vigorously it made me a little dizzy to try and follow it.

“What look?” I asked, belligerent. I knew exactly what look she meant. It was the look that knitted my features together when I thought about things that pissed me off. Tonight’s subject was definitely my parents denying me the right to attend the very party I found myself so drunk at.

“That one,” she insisted, poking me hard enough on the nose that I felt the cartilage pop. “And if you don’t stop it right this minute, Amanda Beauty Hart, I’ll tell your parents myself what a party pooper you are.”

“Stop!” I hissed, glancing quickly around, trying to see if anyone had heard her. “Don’t say that stupid name.”

“It’s your name, Amanda,” Caro sighed. “Aren’t you ever going to get over it?”

Amanda I could deal with. And Hart wasn’t bad either. But sandwich Beauty right in between those two and it equaled the most ridiculous name in the history of the world. I hated it with a passion and did all that I could to keep my peers from knowing my middle name.

I’d gotten up the courage exactly once to ask my parents what they’d been thinking when they inflicted such a name on me, but their answer had done little to satisfy my angst.

“I guess that means Beauty’s in the eye of the beholder,” my dad had joked, earning him a sigh from my mom.

“You’re already beautiful on the outside, sweetheart,” my mom had explained. “We just wanted to remind you that it’s important to be beautiful on the inside, too.”

They didn’t have to remind me by giving me that name. I didn’t know how to feel beautiful on the inside, and I certainly didn’t feel beautiful on the outside. I felt most comfortable in a t-shirt, my brown hair was almost always in a messy ponytail, and I was hopeless at makeup.

“That’s it!” Caro declared, whirling away and yanking me from my angry ruminations. “I’m calling your parents!”

“Don’t you dare!” I cried, chasing her across the messy kitchen, bumping into the counter, a chair, and a fellow partygoer. I couldn’t plot my course correctly, and my legs seemed to have minds of their own. “Caro! My parents will murder me if they find out I’m here!”

“They will not,” she scoffed, waving her phone at me.

“Well, they’ll ground me for the rest of my life,” I said. That was much more feasible.

“You’re going to college at the end of the summer, stupid,” Caro said. “They might say you’re grounded, but they can’t actually do anything to you once you go away to school.”

She had a point, but it still made me cringe to imagine my parents showing up to the party to drag me home. They’d denied me permission to come here, and I’d promised them I’d stay home. But the siren’s song of a house party full of the friends I’d made in high school—complete with beer and missing all parental supervision—was too strong to resist. I wanted to see everyone in one place one last time before I went away to college. And when my parents decided to go out to dinner and a movie, I stayed home just long enough to see their car roll out of the driveway.

“Just don’t call them,” I begged Caro.

“I wouldn’t actually call your parents,” she said, rolling her eyes at me as she shoved her phone back in her pocket. “I just want you to have a good time and not be all mopey.”

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