Home > Dirty Money (Roughneck Billionaires #1)(9)

Dirty Money (Roughneck Billionaires #1)(9)
Author: Jessica Clare

She looks adorably flustered again. “I really should not date clients, Mr.—Boone,” she corrects, and sips her wine to cover her nervousness.

Her glass is gettin’ mighty empty, so I pick up the bottle of wine and refill it, then gesture for the waitress to come and take our order. Not that Ivy’s even looked at her menu. I just need to get food in her before she gets tipsy. “Then don’t date your clients. Date me.”

“Oh, but I need you to be a client.” She seems troubled. She must want the sale.

“I still want to buy a house from you,” I tell her. I think about it, and then add, “A golf course, too.”

“A golf course?”

“Yeah, I decided I want one.” One in particular. So I can raze it to the fucking ground. “Doesn’t change the fact that I want you, too.”

But she looks worried. “I don’t know that I should be your realtor and date you. It feels like a conflict of interest.”

“All right, then, marry me.”

Her eyes go wide. “Excuse me?”

“Marry me and you can shop for your own home.” I like this idea. The moment I say the words, they feel right. I’ve found the one for me. I’m convinced. The only one that still needs convincing is her. Marriage seems like a fucking brilliant compromise to me, and I get her in my bed that much faster.

Win-win situation right there.

“I can’t.” Ivy gives a graceful little shake of her head, and she pushes away her wineglass. “I really can’t. To all of this.”

I’m pushing too fast, too soon. I know that, but pushing normally gets me what I want. So I continue, doing my best to be charming. “Is it because there’s someone else?”

“That’s not the point—”

“So there is someone else.” I fight the stab of jealousy I feel at the thought of Ivy in someone else’s arms. Some other bastard undoing that sleek, elegant ponytail of hers and rumpling her.

“There is not,” she says firmly. “Not that it’s any of your business.”

“Then it’s me that turns you off?”

“No,” she says quickly, and then the flush colors her cheeks again when she realizes she just admitted she likes me. “It’s that I just met you, Boone. I don’t know a thing about you—”

“Not true,” I say, spreading my hands wide. “Didn’t I just tell you my life story?”

“You told me a bit, but I don’t know anything else. I don’t know your likes, your dislikes, if you have family beyond your brothers, anything.” She looks more and more flustered with every word, and I admit it’s fascinating to watch. It’s like she doesn’t want to hurt my feelings, or she’s trying to reason with herself why it’s a bad idea to turn me down. “I don’t know your birthday, or your religion, if you’re allergic to anything—”

“I’ll bring a doctor’s note—”

She makes an exasperated sound. “You know what I mean! We don’t know each other. How can you possibly propose marriage to me an hour after meeting me?”

Because I know. I know that she’s mine like I know when there’s a gusher of a well under the ground. I just know.

She can fight . . . for a time. I’ll get her to change her mind. “The offer will stay on the table,” I tell her. “No pressure. You can just tell me when you’re ready to get married.”

Ivy huffs with irritation, crossing her eyes at me. It’s so childishly silly in comparison to her elegant demeanor that I throw back my head and laugh. I love it. I love discovering these new facets of her personality. I’m fascinated by her already, and I can just see that fascination growing with time. But I’ll let her fight it for a few days if she must. “Would you be more comfortable if we just talk about houses, then?”

“Yes.” She rummages through her bag and pulls out a pen and paper. “Now please, let’s talk about what kind of house you want and stop talking about how you’re going to get me to marry you.” Her eyes are sparkling with amusement as she says it, which tells me she’s not taking me seriously. That’s all right; I’ve mentally filed away every bit of information she’s thrown at me tonight.

She needs to know my birthday and personal information about me.

She needs to know my history.

She needs to meet my family.

I can do that shit.

And as I do, I’m going to seduce her. She needs pretty words? I’ll give her pretty words. She needs flowers and jewelry? I’ll give her those, too. She needs my face between her legs? I’ll fucking tongue her for hours on end and love every moment of it.

I can win her. I know I can. I’ve gotten everything I’ve ever wanted as long as I fought for it, and I fully intend on winning Ivy Smithfield.

Chapter Five

Ivy

My sister’s car isn’t on the stretch of highway she described to me, which means it was likely towed away. That means a ticket for vehicle abandonment and an impound fee that I don’t have. I should be really upset right now, because my bank account can’t handle a new tire, much less extra costs on top of that.

Strangely enough, though, it’s barely on my radar. I don’t give it a second thought as I drive home, past the suburbs, exit off the highway, and then head down a familiar gravel road. The rocks thunder against the undercarriage of my car and I swerve heavily to the right, then the left automatically. It’s a private road and the potholes here won’t be fixed by the city, and they’re big enough to lose a tire in. I’m on autopilot, though; I don’t need to think as I’m driving, which is good because my mind is fixated on Boone Price.

I . . . received a marriage proposal from a billionaire tonight. It’s so strange.

Not only that, I turned it down. Part of me wonders if that is crazy. If I shouldn’t have agreed to it, regardless, and walked away a few weeks later with whatever chunk of his money that the prenup would have gotten me. That’s mercenary, but it’s hard not to be mercenary when your bank account is empty and the bills keep piling up. I didn’t take him up on it, though. For some reason, it’s weirdly important to me that Boone not think I’m just after his bank account.

Or rather, I’m interested in his bank account, but only in how it can help him purchase a house.

And then, of course, I’m thinking about Boone again. Despite his uncouth appearance, Boone can be real charming. I ponder this as I drive up to the single-wide that I call home. The lights are on, which means Wynonna’s home, too. I should have bailed on dinner the moment he started hitting on me, but he never pushed so hard that I felt uncomfortable. Just hard enough to let me know that he meant business. Once I firmly established that I would not be marrying him, we talked about houses and what he’s looking for.

Boone pretty much just wants one thing: grandiosity. So tonight, I’m going to start scouring the Internet for the biggest, most impressive houses that South Texas has to offer.

Riiiight after I tell my sister about the bizarre day I’ve had.

I park my car in front of the trailer and head inside. Wynonna’s sitting tucked on the small plaid sofa in the trailer, a stack of books in front of her and her laptop open on a nearby table. She looks up at me, surprised, when I open the door. “You’re home late.”

“It has been a weird, weird evening,” I tell her, sitting down at the small, built-in corner table that acts as a kitchen in our tiny trailer. “Did you change your flat? I passed the spot on the highway you said it’d be at and I didn’t see it.”

My sister looks upset. “No. Do you think someone stole it?”

I shake my head. “More like it got towed by the city. Don’t worry, we’ll figure it out in the morning.” I don’t want Wynonna to stress about money—I’ll do all the stressing when it comes to that. So I nudge the stack of books on the table. “Did you find the right books for your classes?”

“Sort of? They’re an edition or three out of date, but I’m hoping the majority of the text is fine, because they were also cheap. I’m willing to take that risk.” She pats the stack of books. “Twelve bucks for all of these.”

“That’s wonderful!” Books are so expensive, and it was a worry we both had. “One problem down.”

“Yep.” She crosses her legs and gives me an expectant look. “So tell me about your day. Did you find another meth house in the suburbs?”

“Weirder than that,” I tell her. “I got a new client today.”

“And?”

“And he took me out to dinner.”

Her brows go up. “And?”

“And he’s a billionaire.”

Her eyes get huge. “What? Get out.”

“I’m serious! His name is Boone Price and he works in oil. He told me all about it.”

This time, Wynonna gives me a skeptical look. “Reba, are you sure someone’s not playing a joke on you?”

“Call me Ivy, you doof. And I’m sure. Everything he told me was legit.” I pat the table. “Bring your laptop over here.”

She does, and we immediately pull up dozens and dozens of webpages all about Boone Price, the Price brothers, and the “21st Century Spindletop.” In a way, I’m relieved to see that everything he told me was the truth, but now I’m also completely intimidated once again. He’s all over Wikipedia as one of the richest men in the United States, the oil well is the biggest producer on US soil in a century, and there are endless financial articles about wells and roughnecking and rigging and how people can become a billionaire like Boone Price. My sister skims a few articles and then goes back to Google and clicks on “Images.”

“What are you doing?” I ask.

“Checking out his face.” She squints at the photos, frowning at the laptop. “That’s not him, is it?”

   
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