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Diana Fraser

The Billionaire's Contract Marriage (Paperback)

The Billionaire's Contract Marriage (Paperback)

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A hard-hearted billionaire, a secret heiress, bound together in a marriage neither wants.

Sebastian Richmond returns to England to take over the estate he’s inherited after his father dies, only to find his tyrannical father has played one last trick on him—he has to marry to inherit. And not just anyone. He has to marry the daughter of his father’s mistress. With a heart hardened by his cruel upbringing, Sebastian never had any intention of marrying. But now, it seems, he has no choice.

Indra Anand was seventeen when her mother became Charles Richmond’s mistress. Indra grew to love her step-father who doted on both her and her mother. He taught her how to manage the estate but she’d never imagined she’d inherit it. And she certainly never imagined he would be so cruel as to insist on marriage to the infamous Sebastian—his ruthless eldest son.

But Sebastian will do whatever it takes to inherit the estate which had belonged to his beloved mother’s family. Besides, marriages don't last forever—do they?

The Billionaire's Contract Marriage is the first book in Diana's British Billionaires series:

  • The Billionaire's Contract Marriage (Sebastian)
  • The Billionaire's Impossible CEO (Alexander)
  • The Billionaire's Secret Baby (Harrison)

 

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Bay Books (October 26, 2022)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Paperback ‏ : ‎ 190 pages
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 9.4 ounces
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 5 x 0.43 x 8 inches

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Excerpt

Indra glanced at the flash cars parked outside the stone portico of Richmond Manor and urged her horse to a trot. She had to get away. Away from the strangers who were walking through her house, stamping their muddy shoes on the valuable carpets, tossing coats on the back of chairs which her mother had once kept spotless, and filling the quiet with their deep voices and loud laughter. The worst of it was, it was more their home than hers.
As she emerged onto the grassy fields which surrounded the Georgian manor house, the trot developed into an easy rolling canter and, with every foot she put between her and the strangers, she relaxed a little. She grimaced. Strangers. They were her step-brothers. Men who’d avoided her beloved step-father while he was alive. But now he’d died, they couldn’t wait to return and claim what was theirs. Well, at least two of them had arrived, making enough noise, creating enough chaos to fill the large house. The third, the eldest and heir to the Richmond Estate, had yet to arrive. But he would. She knew it. And where would that leave her? Tension gripped her gut. She’d have to leave her beloved estate. She’d be left homeless, jobless and friendless.
She urged her horse into a faster gallop until the distance between her and the house stretched into miles and she was alone in the expansive Norfolk countryside. There was no sound of people or cars. Only the birds in the trees, and the whinny of horses grazing in a nearby field, competed with the pounding of Starlight’s hooves on the soft grassy ground, giving Indra the peace she craved.
As her breathing and movements became attuned to her horse, the tension lessened. The rush of air cooled her heated face and loosed her long dark hair from its slide until it fanned behind her like the wake of a boat, as she continued to gallop across the fields.
She slowed as she came within sight of a stand of trees, their bare branches stark against the gunmetal gray sky. This was as far as she could ride, before reaching the road where she’d turn back into another meadow which was part of the extensive Richmond Estate. As she reached the trees a flash of yellow caught her eye. A car, parked miles from anywhere? Her horse suddenly skittered, losing her rhythm, as a man jumped out from behind a tree and shouted. Starlight reared, and Indra fell to the ground with a heavy thud, winding herself. She rolled onto her side and gasped for breath.
As she caught her breath, she pushed herself onto her hands and knees, and looked at the man who was comforting Starlight. He had his back to her but she could see that, between his comforting words and firm but gentle touch, Starlight was beginning to calm down. More than she was, anyway. The familiar sense of panic, which had the effect of freezing her to the spot, filled her, just as it always did when she was confronted with something threatening. The man was tall with broad shoulders and looked more than capable of handling himself, and her, if he wanted to. Her heart thudded heavily. She glanced around. Could she run away? She wouldn’t get far without her horse. Calm down, she told herself sternly. She was here, in the Norfolk countryside she loved so much. And this man was obviously a visitor to the racehorse training center and had got lost. It was easy enough to do. He wasn’t about to attack her. But her fears weren’t so easily quieted.
She watched him intently, alert for any sign that he might make a grab for her. It had happened once and resulted in deadly consequences. She’d never let it happen again. But the man continued to focus his attention on calming Starlight. He was dressed in a smart suit, not the kind you’d wear for a walk through the rain deep in the Norfolk countryside. He was definitely a racehorse owner with more style than sense. But it wasn’t this logic which made her fears subside. It was his voice. She understood why Starlight was calming down, because the stranger’s quietly comforting words were doing something very similar to her. His tone was reassuring, and deeply soothing. This was a man who knew how to control things and, whether she liked it or not, he was controlling her nerves, subduing them, until they’d all but disappeared.
And then there was the obvious effect of his touch. Starlight’s eyes went from rolling back in her head with fear, to her lids drooping as the stranger gentled her with his hand. He slid one large hand up her neck, his long fingers splaying sensitively over the horse’s back and rump. A shiver ran down Indra’s back.
Pale misty raindrops were forming on the expensive silk of his jacket and hung on the dark curls which brushed his collar. She had a strange urge to do exactly as he was doing with Starlight, to reach out and run her fingers over his hair, to feel the texture of his curl and test its strength. Impulsively, she took a step forward. Everything changed in an instant, as he turned to her with a dark glower. Lips grim, eyes narrowed and dark hair, too long, falling over his face, he looked like the very devil.
“What the hell were you doing?” he asked, in a controlled but forceful voice so as not to frighten Starlight. “You would have knocked me over if I hadn’t jumped away at the last minute. And this is an expensive horse you’re riding. She could have been injured.”
Anger got the better of her fears and she tilted her chin to better challenge those dark, furious eyes. “What the hell am I doing? It was you, jumping out at me! You nearly killed us both!”
He didn’t reply immediately, as if struck by something. She could almost feel his arrogant gaze track over every inch of her petite frame. The fierce intensity in his eyes softened a little. She wasn’t sure which was worse and stepped away, reminded of how alone they were. But she stopped herself from backing away any further. That would make her look afraid, which could encourage him. She needed him to release her horse so she could get the hell out of there.
For a second, everything hung in the balance, and she couldn’t predict how he was going to respond. Then he looked back at Starlight. If she’d expected an apology, it looked like she was going to be disappointed.
“She looks familiar,” he said, running his fingers over her legs.
“Starlight?”
“Yes, I recognize her.”
“I doubt it. She never leaves the estate.”
The stranger raised a surprised eyebrow. “A horse this good? Why not?”
She walked slowly to the other side of Starlight from where the stranger stood, and slid her fingers onto the reins without him noticing. “Because she’s fine where she is. On the estate.”
“That’s the world’s loss,” he said, glancing at her before turning his roving eyes over Starlight’s flanks. “Because she’s a thoroughbred, all right. I recognize the markings. Her mother must have been Ladyhawk.” He jerked his head in the direction of the stables. “From Richmond.”
She frowned. How could this stranger know about Starlight’s bloodline?
“I rode Ladyhawk when I was a boy.” He returned his gaze to her, challenging her to put two and two together. She did. And she didn’t like the result.
Her grip tightened on the reins as she put the other hand on the saddle, and a foot in the stirrups. She sprung up and sat astride Starlight.
“You’re Sebastian Richmond,” she said.
“I am. And you are?”
She flicked the reins and shifted her body so the sensitive horse would understand her intentions.
“Me?” she said. “I’m nobody.”
She didn’t look at him again, just crouched over Starlight, urging her on as fast as she could gallop, over the fields, and away from the man.
Of all the ways she’d imagined meeting her step-father’s eldest son and heir, this scenario hadn’t even entered her mind.

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