Dirty Billionaire (Page 27)

The press keeps firing questions, and Creighton answers them in vague generalities. He skillfully dodges the ones about JC, but he never looks away from me while he does it. I swear I hear the camerawoman directly in front of me sigh.

When we climb into the limo, I’m feeling very uncertain about this whole thing. My plan only included using Karas as leverage to free myself from the disaster with JC, along with the added bonus of having some phenomenal sex. But now that the wedding is over, I have no idea how this is going to work, despite his promise earlier.

I think part of my problem is that Creighton’s motives are still a complete mystery to me. The sex can’t be anything out of the ordinary for him, so is this all nothing more than a billionaire’s whim?

But that look he’s still giving me as we speed toward the airport, that soft one hinting at more going on behind the surface? What the hell is that? Is he still in acting mode?

And why do I care so much? I need to focus on my agenda and let him deal with his own crap. But that damn look . . .

“What?” I ask, unable to handle his scrutiny for another moment.

“What?” he replies with a shake of his head.

“You’re staring at me.”

His smile stays soft. “I’m faced with a beautiful woman. How could I not stare?”

“The press is gone, Karas. You can tell me the truth.”

The smile dies, and I feel guilty that I’m the one who killed it.

“You’re a bit of a firebrand,” he says. “You know that, right?”

“I don’t even know what that means.”

His next words surprise me. “I think I’m going to like being married to you, Holly. And I think if you remove the stick from your ass for a few minutes, you might find that there’s an upside to being married to me too. Life is short. We have to suck it dry while we can.”

I ignore his fortune-cookie philosophy and say, “I do not have a stick up my ass.”

“Well,” he says with a chuckle, “I suppose I can personally attest to that.”

Heat streaks up my body, and my cheeks flame. But even more than that, warmth flutters through my chest. It’s like being in ninth grade and having the captain of the varsity football team tell you he likes-you likes you. I shouldn’t care. I don’t even know him. And yet he’s my husband.

“You know what I mean, Holly. I get that you’re protective of your career, but you need to unbend your spine a bit and settle in for the ride. You might find you’ll enjoy where it takes you when I’m the one driving.”

“I’m settled,” I say.

“Sure you are, sweetheart. I think if I touched you right now, you’d bite off my hand.”

The stupid fluttering in my chest gives me this insane impulse to bring back his smile. And prove him wrong. I wouldn’t bite off anything if he touched me.

I unbuckle my seat belt, intent on changing this conversation the only way I’ve learned so far.

When I drop to my knees on the floor of the limo, Creighton surprises me by lifting me up by my armpits and depositing me sideways on his lap. “I appreciate the offer, but I’ll take a rain check.”

“But I thought—”

He presses a finger to my lips. “I think we’re going to change this up, Holly. New rules.”

“I don’t like rules.” The words come out garbled around his finger.

He smiles that freaking smile again. “And maybe that’s the problem.”

My confusion must show on my face, because his finger leaves my lips to smooth the space between my brows where my worry line always creases.

“We both know that you’re a capable woman and your career means a lot to you.”

I open my mouth to respond, but he presses that finger to it again before I can speak.

“Let me finish.” He waits, and I nod. “I’m a dominant, take-no-shit kind of guy, and winning is incredibly important to me. When you get to my level, it’s not about the money, it’s about the win.” He skims a thumb along my cheek. “I don’t want to spend our time together fighting for supremacy, so here’s my proposal: You let me lead. You don’t fight me on every little thing, and you bend when I ask you to bend.”

I feel my eyebrows inching up toward my hairline as he continues.

“And in return, I’ll give you everything you could ever possibly want or need.”

When his hand drops from my face, I take that as a sign that I’m now allowed to speak. “You mean, in exchange for my self-respect and free will.”

Creighton shakes his head. “No. In exchange for your cooperation and trust.”


“Just give me a chance to show you what I mean, Holly. I don’t want a docile little Barbie doll. I still want your spark and your fire. I don’t want to tame it; I just want to guide it. And at the same time, I’ll take every burden that’s been weighing you down, and make them mine.”

It’s his last sentence that captures me—along with this rare glimpse of a side of Creighton Karas that few probably ever see. He’s quite possibly the most capable man I’ve ever met, and the idea of turning my problems over to him is incredibly seductive. I can almost feel the stress begin to fade away at his words.

I look up into his dark brown eyes and give him the only possible answer.


I’m going to own this woman—body, heart, and fucking soul.

My first act of complete trust in Creighton is boarding the jet without asking where we’re going. He said he’ll have me back in Nashville by the night of the fourth, and I’m going to take it on tentative faith that he will. A private jet should make that easy, I would hope. My plan is to get started on those songs I owe Monty, but Creighton has other ideas.