NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
He needed a wife on paper,
she needed a way to pay for school.
Neither bargained for the danger
their marriage-of-convenience brought on.
CEO Jack Sutton isn’t about to be backed into a corner by the stipulations of his mother’s will. She might have wanted to be sure he was married by the time he was thirty, but that doesn’t mean he needs to give in. As the head of a powerful venture capital firm, there’s one thing he’s learned. There’s always a way around anything standing in his way. This marriage clause is no exception.
Kelly Bradley got into the law school of her dreams, but the financial aid she was counting on didn’t come through. When she finds out Jack Sutton is looking for a wife in name only, she propositions him to get the funding she needs. What could be the harm in linking herself to a well-respected businessman for a year? It’s not like he’s hard to look at or tough to be around.
But will her fix end up costing a whole lot more than either she or Jack had bargained for? When her life is on the line, Jack finds himself racing to save the woman he’s fast losing his heart to.
Steamy romance meets heart-stopping suspense in the Sutton Billionaires Series. This is the first book in the series but it can be read as a standalone story with no cliffhangers. A shorter version of this book was previously released as Legal Ease, part of the Sutton Capital Series.
Lori Ryan is redoing the beginning of the Sutton Capitol Series adding more to a book and a series I love.
This first book is Jack Sutton, he’s a control freak about to lose his empire because of a stipulation in his mother’s will. He needs to be married by his thirty fifth birthday or he loses control of his company to his aunt.
An overheard conversation leads to a solution, but Jack has no idea it’s about to happen, the ensuing meeting with his aunt, cousin Cole and his ‘fiancé’ blindsides him and had me giggling the whole time.
This is a favorite scene.
Kelly arrived at Jack Sutton’s office a few minutes before three o’clock as she and Jennie had planned. She had run home to print up the marriage license application from the New Haven Office of Vital Statistics website, shower, and dress in black wool slacks and a fitted ivory cashmere sweater.
She left her hair down drying it with a roller brush so it lay in soft waves on her shoulders and went with light makeup she hoped like hell looked classy. Jack Sutton was probably used to classy.
The butterflies in her stomach seemed like they were dancing some sort of coordinated Macarena dance or something. It wasn’t pretty.
When Jennie saw Kelly step off the elevator her jaw dropped. “I can’t believe you’re going through with this. By the time I got back to the office, I was sure you’d chicken out.”
Kelly squared her shoulders and stood up to her full height. Not that she was tall at five four, but it made her feel better. “I’m not going to second-guess myself on this. If I keep moving without stopping too long to think about it, I can go through with it, so get me in there.”
Jennie raised an eyebrow and Kelly knew she’d owe her friend big time. The scene about to play out would essentially put Jennie’s job on the line. By getting Kelly in there, she’d be revealing she had spied on Jack. She had a week left in the temporary placement. With this move, she would most likely lose not only this placement, but any chance of getting a new placement through the temp agency as well.
So yeah, Kelly was going to owe her and then some. But Jennie had told her she was okay with that and Kelly believed her. Jennie got bored staying in one job for too long. She’d bounce back.
“Well, you may be off your rocker, but at least you look good. Jack’s Aunt Mabry and his cousin Chad are already in the office. They’ve only been in there for a minute, though,” said Jennie.
“Here goes nothing.” She took a deep breath and waited for Jennie to announce her.
With a huge grin on her face, Jennie pushed the intercom button on her phone and calmly spoke into the speaker. “Sir, your fiancée has arrived. Shall I show her in?”
Jack sat in his office with his aunt and cousin and wondered how the hell to explain that there was no fiancée. Andrew had sent a text at two o’clock saying he hadn’t found out anything more, but he was working on something. He just didn’t say what, so Jack had no idea if he should stall or just come clean.
He had actually been desperate enough to start calling some of the women he’d dated in the last year or so. He wasn’t exactly a ruthless player, although the tabloids tried to make it look like he was. Sure, he got around, had a few dates a month and slept with some of them, but those women all seemed shallow and fake to Jack.
Two of them didn’t answer the phone, one was gushing about her new husband and another had moved to London when she was offered a modeling deal with a European agency. That was as far as he got in his little black book before his aunt arrived— twenty minutes early. It seemed Chad had been with Mabry this morning because they arrived together and now they both sat, mother and son, looking expectantly at him.
“We’re here to meet Jack’s fiancée,” a smug-looking Mabry announced to Chad. Jack watched a bemused expression come over his cousin’s face.
Chad had to be wondering what the hell was going on. He and Jack were close. They were more like brothers than cousins, so if he were getting married, Chad would have been the first to know.
I’m never gonna’ hear the end of this from him.
So there they sat, waiting for an introduction to a fiancée that Jack had never mentioned; a fiancée Chad had never set eyes on.
Jack leaned forward in his chair, took a deep breath and prepared to tell his aunt there was no fiancée.
Or maybe he should see if he could get Chad out of the room first so he didn’t have to have this confrontation in front of his cousin.
Just then his secretary’s voice cut in, and he could swear he heard her say his fiancée was here.
Jack’s experience in business had taught him to school his expressions and hide his thoughts from those around him, and though he wanted to whip around and grab the phone, he didn’t. He quickly hid all emotion from his face as he listened to his secretary.
“Sir, did you hear me? Mr. Sutton? Your fiancée has arrived. Shall I show her in?” Jennie spoke again.
Andrew. Andrew must have sent him a fiancée. How in the hell had Andrew found him a fiancée? Really, how does one go about that, Jack thought.
Oh hell. He scrubbed his hand over his face as a possibility hit him. What if Andrew sent him a prostitute?
Jack stood and went to his desk, hitting the button on his phone to engage the intercom. “Uh, yes, send her in, please.” Jack forced the words out as his mind raced through the possible scenarios.
Jennie opened the door to his office and stepped aside and a dark-haired woman swept into the room as if she owned the place. She glided over to him, brushed a light kiss on his cheek, and casually handed him a stack of papers.
The soft scent of some kind of flower threw him off his game.
“Hello, sweetheart,” the stranger said to Jack before turning to his aunt and Chad. “You must be Jack’s Aunt Mabry and his cousin. He’s told me so much about you. I’m Kelly Bradley.”
She took the hand of a very stunned looking Aunt Mabry and pumped it before she turned to Chad, whose amusement had turned to confused surprise. Kelly shook his hand as well.
“It’s nice to meet you,” Chad said, but it came out more as a question than a statement. “I don’t know where Jack’s been hiding you,” Chad said with a huge grin on his face.
Jack was too busy trying to figure out who had just walked into his office… and what she was doing, to respond to Chad’s dig. This Kelly person had walked in as though she belonged there. As though she and Jack had the kind of intimate, close relationship that lets a woman waltz into a private family meeting and announce herself rather than wait to be invited and introduced.
Whoever she was, she was beautiful. Her hair was a deep chestnut color, and it fell down her back in loose waves over the soft ivory cashmere of her sweater. She had incredible, bright blue eyes and a light complexion with a sprinkling of freckles across her cheeks and nose. Her snug sweater showed off a soft, curvy figure that begged to be held.
Wherever Andrew had found her, he had done well. She was exquisite.
Jack tore his eyes off her and skimmed the papers in his hand while she stood chatting with his aunt and cousin as if nothing were out of the ordinary.
The papers appeared to be an application for a marriage license for the State of Connecticut. There was a yellow sticky note on the top page that said: One year of marriage for $ 154,000.
He quickly tucked the note in his pocket as his mind flew over possibilities.
Andrew had found him a wife for $ 154,000.
What the hell?
Had Andrew hired a woman from a call girl service? Asked some girl off the street?
As he did in all of his deals, Jack quickly scanned all potential scenarios in his head. He assessed and evaluated the merits or drawbacks of each. Obviously, if she were a call girl, the drawbacks were significant.
He was woefully uninformed, and that wasn’t a position he was used to being in.
What the hell should he do? He had no idea who this woman was, but he didn’t have a choice if he wanted to continue to head up the company his father had built. The company Jack had expanded and come to love. Now, he stood stiffly in his office as his head reeled from the sudden proposition in front of him…
Reason kicked in; he had to trust that Andrew wouldn’t have sent a hooker or someone he didn’t know. Could Andrew have found a willing friend of his? Or maybe an ex-girlfriend? How much would that suck? To marry one of his best friend’s exes and pay her to do it on top of that?
Jack hadn’t felt so off balance in his life. He suddenly realized that his supposed fiancée was talking to him.
“Jack? Honey, I need to know if you can make it to the courthouse to apply for the marriage license tomorrow? We both have to be there to get it. Does that work for you?” Kelly asked, indicating the papers in his hand.
“Uh, yes. Yeah, that works for me.”
Jack spit the words out through the haze in his head and turned to smile at his aunt and cousin. No matter what Chad’s relationship with Bryan Barton was, it looked as if Jack had just committed himself to a year of marriage with a stranger.
Lori Ryan. The Billionaire Deal: The Sutton Billionaire Series, Book 1 (Kindle Locations 384-455).
Oh the tangled web that entwines these two.
Kelly just wants law school paid for, and Jack needs a wife. Neither of them expect to fall in love.
This is an enthralling tale with plenty of suspense, drama, laughs, tears and sizzle.
5 Contented Purrs for Lori!
Lori Ryan is a NY Times and USA Today bestselling author who writes romantic suspense and contemporary romance with steamy love scenes and characters you won’t want to leave in the pages when the story is over.Lori published her first novel in April of 2013 and has fallen in love with writing.
She is the author of the Sutton Capital Series; the Heroes of Evers, Texas; and the Triple Play Curse Novellas, a set of novellas with sexy baseball players at their core as part of Bella Andre’s Game For Love Kindle World. She has also published in Melanie Shawn’s Hope Falls Kindle World and in Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Kindle World.
She lives with an extremely understanding husband, three wonderful children, and two mostly well-behaved dogs in Austin, Texas. It’s a bit of a zoo, but she wouldn’t change a thing. She loves to connect with her readers. Follow her on Facebook or Twitter or subscribe to her blog.