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Home > I Married a Billionaire: Lost & Found

I Married a Billionaire: Lost & Found
Author: Melanie Marchande

CHAPTER ONE

I woke up bathed in sunlight, splayed across a four-poster bed, on the third day of a vacation that cost as much as a brand new sports car.

Yeah, I was never going to get used to this.

I yawned, padding into the bathroom that looked like it belonged in a design magazine. I was told that the tile had been locally sourced and laid by celebrated artisans. It felt cold and jagged under my feet, a strange contrast with the overall luxury of the place.

After a quick shower, I walked back out into the bedroom, rubbing a towel through my hair. Daniel had gone out somewhere to "arrange the day." I knew better than to ask what that meant. He delighted in surprising me, and I was…getting used to it.

That's what I kept telling myself, anyway.

I hadn't slept this well in months and months. There was something to be said for being away from the realities of everyday life, even if my "everyday life" was about as arduous as rolling off a log. The truth of the matter was, being married to a business mogul actually did have its own unique stressors. I certainly preferred it to working nine-to-fives and wondering where my next student loan payment was going to come from, but at times I longed for a little variety. The charity dinners, the ever-present media buzz, the frantic late-night phone calls about some manufacturing issue that was going to delay the launch of the latest product by two months - oh no, surely the world is ending! - sometimes I just wanted to grab everyone by the lapels and shout you know none of this actually matters, right? Calm down!

For the first year of my marriage, I was simply playing a part. Daniel had hired me to be his wife so that he could stay in the country, and at first, that was all it was. But these things have a way of taking on a life of their own, and that certainly happened in our case.

By now, I'd stepped so comfortably into my role that it was hard to tell where Maddy ended and Mrs. Thorne began. Daniel and I were a real couple now, on a second honeymoon and everything, in a room with one entire wall that simply opened out over the sea. The outer wall of the pool just dropped over into nothingness. I wondered about the liability of it all, but apparently I was the only one who was worried.

I had to admit, it was nice. The concept had made me a little queasy at first, but it was hard not to be swept away by the incredible beauty of the place when I stood on the balcony and let the warm, gentle wind sweep through my hair. They could film a movie here, if only it didn't violate their many rules about quietness and serenity. We weren't even allowed to have the ringers on our phones turned on during our whole stay.

I thought it would bother Daniel more than it did, but he seemed to have a unique ability to switch off his work brain. Then again, this sort of environment could only be good for him in the long run - I was sure that, at some point while he was staring out over the ocean, he'd come up with the next big idea for a product that would make all the technology bloggers wet themselves with excitement.

A lot had changed in the past several months. I wasn't sure exactly what started it, but the media had either begun taking a much keener interest in Daniel and his company, or he was simply indulging it more. Either way, suddenly he was becoming a familiar face at the big tech conferences, and I couldn't buy milk and eggs at the corner store without seeing his name mentioned on the front of some magazine. It was a bit surreal, but I was mostly left out of it - which was fine by me. As time went on I sort of half-expected to get an email from some lifestyle blog wanting to do a feature on a billionaire's wife, but it hadn't happened. Yet.

After I'd pulled on a breezy sundress and run a comb through my hair, I heard my phone vibrating gently on the table. It was the latest and greatest prototype from Daniel's company, which he'd gently cajoled me into accepting after my old flip phone flipped so far open that it snapped in two. I had to admit it was pretty cool. It was just so much more than I really needed.

Then again, what part of my life with Daniel wasn't excessive?

It was a text from Emily, wanting to know if Daniel liked the new clothes she'd picked out for me. I remembered that I'd promised to text her as soon as we got in, but I'd been a little…distracted the night before. Emily was the boutique owner who'd helped me pick out the dress that I wore on my first "date" with Daniel. She'd outfitted me for the wedding as well, and I'd grown to trust her taste much more than my own. She was the first person I went to if I needed to look halfway decent, and she always did a fantastic job.

Yeah, I think it's safe to say he likes them, I texted back with a smile.

For this trip, she'd given me light fabrics in bright colors, soft and comfortable dresses that let me feel the sun and breeze on my skin. And, of course, a selection of lingerie. It was my second honeymoon after all.

A wicked smile crossed my face. On second thought, maybe it wasn't quite time to get dressed after all.

I pulled my dress off over my head and set it aside, rifling through my suitcase for another one of the delectable bra-and-panty sets that Emily had found for me. There was a lacy black one, but that almost seemed too formal for an early morning romp. I rifled through a few more items, until I came across a silky set in a rich fuchsia color. It even came with stockings and garters; perfect. I clasped the bra around my chest, trying not to fiddle with it too much even though the demi-cups barely contained my br**sts. The panties fit a little more comfortably, although they still felt like they were hardly covering any skin. I knew that was the point, but it was still strange to get used to. Before Daniel, I'd never dressed up for a man like this. It always seemed conceited, or somehow not worth the effort - I guess I was afraid of being laughed at, or rejected, or some other equally unrealistic fear.

I spent a few moments pondering the stockings and garter clips, then eventually decided against them. Just then, I heard Daniel’s key card click in the lock. I hurriedly finished and ran over to the pool's edge, sitting down and dipping my legs into the water, making as if I'd just been lounging here, waiting for him, in the world's most impractical hanging-around outfit.

I heard him pause just before locking the door behind him - taking in the sight of me, no doubt. My heart thudded in my chest. Why on earth did this still make me nervous?

I heard his footsteps come very close, and then stop. I looked to the side, and saw his bare feet planted on the floor just a few inches from where I sat. I let my eyes drift up to him, an innocent smile on my face.

"Thinking of going for a swim?" His eyes crinkled at the corners as he sat down next to me.

I shrugged one shoulder. "Care to join me?"

"I would," he said, leaning back and slightly to the side, so that he was very close to me. "But I think there are some activities that are better done on dry land, no matter how appealing the fantasy might be."

I had to laugh. He was right. I'd had pool sex once in my life, and that was one time too many.

He reached over and put his index finger under my chin, turning my face just enough to kiss him. His face had that unmistakable warmth that came from soaking up sunlight, and I brought up my hand to touch the side of it, running against the grain to feel that slight stubble that was always there, no matter how recently he'd shaved. He used a real badger brush and one of those old-style safety razors with the removable blades, claiming it was the best shave anyone could ever get. I wondered who'd taught him how to do it that way. His father? But I never asked.

His hand rested on my waist, sliding around to the small of my back and staying there for a while. He liked to touch me there, I suppose as a subtle message to me and anyone else who might notice - she's mine. And I had to admit, I didn't hate it.

I arched into his touch, subtly, parting my lips against his so that he could explore my mouth with this tongue. He never seemed to get tired of the landscape, as if there was always something new there to find. He pulled away after a moment, smiling down at the absurd little bow nestled between the cups of my bra.

"Nice touch, isn't it?" I grinned as he tugged at it gently between his thumb and forefinger. "I don't think it actually unties, though."

"What a shame," he said, his eyes gone deliciously dark. "I really wanted to take every little piece of this off you, one by one."

I swallowed. "It won't take long," I blurted. "There's really not much to it."

Ugh. Was that really my best line?

He didn't seem bothered by my moment of intense awkwardness, or maybe he was just used to them by now. He leaned forward, kissing me again and pushing me backwards, down, until I was lying beneath him on the cool tile that surrounded the water. I let my hand dip into the pool as he pressed his body into mine - at least one part of me could stay grounded in reality while I let myself be consumed with him.

With a sudden movement, he reached up and grabbed the straps of my bra, yanking them down and abruptly freeing my br**sts. I gasped a little, smiling when his eyes raked over me like he was seeing me for the first time. I had to give him that - in his arms, I never felt taken for granted.

On our first honeymoon, when we finally gave in to the chemistry that had been smoldering between us since we first started pretending to be in love, he'd told me that he'd been taught most of his sexual prowess by someone whom I could only assume was some sort of tantric guru. It showed. He approached sex like it was a performance, but not in a bad way - he played me like a virtuoso, in fact, tuning me gently when he sensed I was getting too far away from the experience. I wouldn't say that I used to dissociate during sex, exactly, but I had never really felt present either. Daniel had changed all that. He always noticed every minute change in my reactions, and would pull me back to him when I tried to pull away.

His favorite thing was to remind me to breathe.

I still forgot, sometimes. I would grow tense with the desire, or the anxiety of being so open with someone, or both - and I would hold on to each breath like it might be the last one I'd ever get.

His breath was hot on my chest as he pressed a firm kiss on my breastbone, just between the two soft swells. I squirmed. He was always paying attention to parts of my body that most men ignored, making frantic beelines for the hot spots and ignoring everything else. Even after the last year and a half, I was still comparing him to the "other men" who were an increasingly hazy memory in the back of mind. I wasn't sure why, exactly. It was like my brain was constantly trying to remind me to be grateful for what I had. Nobody else would treat you like this, you know. Nobody else will ever make you feel the way he does.

I knew that. I knew that. I didn't know why there was a small voice in my head that always wanted to remind me, as if I wasn't grateful enough. As if I didn't appreciate him.

Of course I did. Of course I appreciated him. I was still here, wasn't I?

Suddenly, Daniel jumped to his feet, extending his hand and pulling me with him. I heard myself let out a very undignified squeal as he grabbed me around the waist, hauled me off my feet, and dumped me into the pool before I knew what was happening.

I surfaced, spluttering, to see him grinning on dry land. I hauled back and sent a mighty splash of water in his direction, shrieking when he reacted by jumping in and grabbing me tightly, both of us laughing like it was the funniest thing in the world.

"Shhh," he said, at last. "I think you're violating the quiet rules."

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