The Millionaire Affair (Love in the Balance)By: Jessica Lemmon
For Mom & Dad, and all the sacrifices you made (and continue to make) for me.
Love you guys.
Oh, Landon Downey. To understand this hero’s motivations, I had to first figure out one very important component: Why would a man voluntarily choose emotionless, controlled relationships when he’s from a close, loving family? The answer took me on a deeper, more emotional journey than I’d anticipated. And was so worth it. But, I didn’t find the answer alone.
Thanks to plotting partners-in-crime Teri Anne Stanley, Charissa Weaks, and Maisey Yates for helping me wrestle with the initial ideas for this book. Some I used, some I didn’t, but this book was a journey, and you all are a valid part of it. To my agency sib (and fellow extrovert) Tonya Kuper for beta reading and for loving this book. You’re encouraging and genuine—I’m blessed to know you.
My agent, Nicole Resciniti, who gushed over this story and made me feel as much a millionaire as Landon. My editor, Lauren, whose comments always cause me to smile. I love working with you both—you push me to mine for gold and when we find it, I’m reminded of the value of a team.
To my publicist, editing team, cover artists, and all the other hardworking people behind the scenes at Forever, thank you for all your hard work.
And to you, reader, for sharing this journey with me. Don’t tell Aiden or Shane, but I think Landon may have won my heart. If anyone deserves a happily ever after, it’s Landon Downey and Kimber Reynolds. I hope you enjoy reading their story as much as I enjoyed writing it.
Landon Downey clutched the baby name book From Abba to Zed to his chest and knocked on his girlfriend’s dorm room door. While he was certain he didn’t want to name their child Abba or Zed, he was also certain he couldn’t show up empty-handed. Not after the ugly way they’d parted last week. He should have shown up with something nicer than a book with a bent corner and a bouquet of half-dead flowers, but the twenty-four-hour convenience store on campus hadn’t offered many options.
He’d been an asshole. Rachel had come to him in full-on panic mode. Rightly so, considering the stick with two blue lines she’d carried in her hand. Landon had been severely hungover courtesy of a late party at Cliff’s house. At the moment she had burst into his apartment sobbing, he’d had two things on his mind: Where is the Tylenol? and I’m running late. Finals week had started with a bang.
While he’d hustled around the house looking for his books and swallowing a couple of pain relievers, Rachel had followed, irate by this bit of inconvenient news, angry because birth control was “supposed to work, dammit!”, and generally pitching a fit about how she had neither the time nor the patience to deal with a baby. “I won’t sacrifice my law career for a child I didn’t plan to have!” she’d said.
He’d hastily agreed while gathering his things—admittedly not the best thing to do—but he simply couldn’t focus on the huge, life-changing news she’d laid at his feet. Especially when he was running on only three hours of sweaty, post-drunken sleep and before he’d had a single drop of coffee.
Hindsight being what it was, he now knew what he should have done. He should have ditched class entirely. He should have stopped rushing and given Rachel his full attention. He should have reminded her they loved each other and they could work out whatever sharp curve life had thrown their way.
But he hadn’t done either of those things. Instead he’d agreed with her that yes, the timing was bad and yes, the birth control should have worked, and then he’d told her he’d see her after class. But he hadn’t seen her that night. Or the next. She’d managed to avoid him the entire week.
He knocked again.
Finally, the door opened and her roommate, Tina, blocked the doorway, her expression a mix of fury and protectiveness. “What do you want?”
Ignoring her tone, he held up the bouquet of flowers. “I need to talk to Rachel.”
“Maybe she doesn’t want to talk to you.”
“Yes,” came a small, tired voice from behind Tina. “She does.” Rachel patted her friend-slash-bodyguard’s shoulder and Tina stepped aside, shooting a final, wary look over her shoulder at him. He studied his girlfriend—probably now his ex-girlfriend given the way things were going tonight. Rachel was pale, her face splotchy, and looked like she had the flu. No, not the flu. Probably morning sickness.