Dirty Pleasures (The Dirty Billionaire Trilogy #2)

by Meghan March

BILLIONAIRE’S BRIDE FLYING COACH?

Holly Wix, newly married to billionaire Creighton Karas, was spotted on a commercial flight from NYC to Nashville, and our sources say she was flying coach. Is there trouble in paradise already? With a fleet of three Gulfstreams, you’d think the billionaire could have arranged a classier ride for his bride. We’ll be reporting back when we have more on the latest match to rock Music City.

The cab ride to the airport took the rest of my cash, and I’m lucky that I’m getting paid next week, because the last-minute flight maxed out my own credit card. I left my new Amex Black Card on the kitchen counter of my new husband’s Fifth Avenue penthouse.

Big sunglasses hide the circles under my eyes, and hopefully my identity. I thought I saw a guy on his phone staring at me a little too long, but I’m not worrying about it. I shouldn’t be that recognizable. This town is full of one-hit wonders, and I haven’t even had a chart-topping single yet. Plus, without all my stage makeup on and my hair in a messy braid, I just look like your average Midwestern girl.

I stretch, trying to work out the knots in my back after sitting through the flight with my arms practically tucked around my body. My middle seat in coach put me right between two very large men who smelled strongly of garlic. I thought about writing, but I didn’t want to move, let alone get my notebook out and have them stare at what I was doing. So I kept myself immobile, which explains the knots in my back.

Anyway, my thoughts were probably too jumbled to do anything more than massacre the song ideas I jotted down today while I waited for Creighton. I know I have a good one percolating, but it’s still just out of reach. I can’t find the right words quite yet, which might be to blame on my mental state.

But the upside is I’m back in Nashville, and Tana’s Range Rover is idling at the curb when I step out of the sliding glass doors of the airport.

The window slides down as she waves me over. “Get your ass in here before I get towed!”

I smile, relieved to feel a little of my shitty mood slipping away. Opening the door, I slide inside.

“Your luggage get lost?” She surveys the one small bag I shove down by my feet.

“Nope. This is it.”

Her eyebrows shoot up. “Oh, please God, tell me that he made you go naked and that’s why you have no clothes other than the ones you probably wore when you flew to New York on New Year’s Eve.”

Tana was aware of every intimate detail of my trip, and disagreed with my choice to bring nothing but myself.

I smile at her expression. “No naked rule. I just . . . felt like traveling light.”

Her eyebrows fall back into their normal position and her smile slips into a frown. “Please don’t tell me this has something to do with your mom and her hooking up with every man in town and letting them pay her way.”

And that’s the joy of having a friend who has plied you with enough wine to spill your whole life story. But in this instance, she’s not exactly right. The reasons I left New York are a lot bigger than that.

“Tana—”

“Damn it, Holly. I knew this was going to happen. I knew it.”

I really don’t want to have this conversation now, because Tana will want to dissect not only what happened with Creighton, but why I’m acting the way I am. I’m too worried about missing the bus to play along while she psychoanalyzes my actions in light of what she knows about my past. I love her, but I just can’t right now. So I tell her the truth.

“Can we hold off on this conversation until I’m not on the edge of being late for a tour bus leaving? I really, really just want to get to my apartment and grab my stuff so I can get on the bus and forget about everything but the music.”

“You’re not missing the friggin’ bus. I’ll get you home as quick as a cab would.” She gives me a side-eye. “But you’re gonna talk while I drive.”

I sigh and stare straight ahead as she pulls away from the curb and waves to the security guy eyeing her car suspiciously. Her head jerks toward me before she focuses once again on navigating through airport traffic.

“Talk, woman.”

“What do you want me to say?”

“That your husband knows exactly where you are, and you’re not a runaway bride.”

“Har-har. I’m hardly a runaway bride. That requires running away before the vows, I think.”

She cuts through my bullshit answer. “Does your husband know where you are?”

I fix my stare on the red light as we slow. “I left a note.”

“Which said?”

I should have known Tana wouldn’t drop it. She’s a damn bulldog about getting the details. If she weren’t my closest and possibly only friend, I’d tell her to back off. But instead, I tell her the truth.

“It said good-bye.” My reply is a mumble, because I know I’m about to get a verbal bitch-slapping.

Her screech, which is oddly melodic, fills the cabin of the Range Rover. “Why would you do that? Did he hit you?”

I swing my head to face her. “No! Of course not!” I can’t believe she’d even ask that.

She glances back at me before her eyes go back to the road, and we accelerate. “So then, what happened? He’s a billionaire, so maybe he was into that kinky Christian Grey stuff? Did he have a Red Room of Pain? Oh my God, he did, didn’t he? Did he spank you? Bring out his riding crop? Shit. That’s hot.”

I cover my face with my palm. I don’t even know where to start, but I have to say something or she’ll keep going. Her imagination is just getting fired up. And God knows I don’t want her to actually hit on the truth.

But how do I answer that? He did spank me, and I loved it. And then the . . . other stuff. Kinky billionaire, indeed.

“He didn’t get out a riding crop, and there was no Red Room of Pain.”

Thankfully, the answer stops her tide of kinky questions.

Shaking her head, she replies, “Well, that’s just damn disappointing. So, are you just crazy? Who walks out on a billionaire with a note that just says good-bye? Oh, and doesn’t bring anything with her? That’s evidence of crazy right there, if I’ve ever seen any.”

I decide that the truth is all I can offer in my defense. “Look, you know I need to be on that bus or I’m screwed. I couldn’t wait any longer, so I did what I had to do.” I turn and look at her. “I did exactly what you would’ve done in my shoes—what was best for my career.”