The Billionaire's Heir: Billionaire Obsession

By: Julie Farrell

Chapter One

Samira led her dappled horse through the golden corn in the sweltering sunshine trying to relax – but it was hard when the man was following her. He’d been tailing her every day for the last three weeks whenever she’d left the ranch-house, and today he was riding behind her on his horse – keeping his distance. She hadn’t had the chance to look at him properly yet, because his face was always obscured by his cowboy hat, but somehow he reminded her of Ivan. Not that Ivan would’ve worn jeans and a Stetson – he’d loved his designer suits too much.

Sadness surged into her throat. She felt as if part of her soul had been ripped out. Ivan’s tragic death fifteen months ago had left a Grand-Canyon-sized hole reverberating around her tender heart – and worse, she felt terrible for what she was doing with Mr. Langdon. But she had no choice. This game was called survival. And was it really so bad, living here on this peaceful Laredo ranch, pretending to be Mrs. Langdon? She was free to explore these lush surroundings as much as she wanted, as long as she didn’t leave the ranch without Mr. Langdon’s permission.

But why had her new fiancé arranged for this cowboy to follow her around?

The sun shone intensely overhead on this hot June day, warming Samira’s brown skin as she strolled onward. She felt like a nomad in her long cotton gypsy dress and bare feet, traipsing through the long grass, tickling her toes. There were no clouds in the deep blue Texas sky, and the motionless air rippled with heat haze. Coming here to sit by the shimmering creek each day helped to ease her heartache – it made her feel connected with nature – with her true self. She hated living this lie, but what choice did she have?

She rubbed her horse’s velvety nose and tethered him to a tree, then she laid her scarf down to sit by the wide fast-flowing creek – watching as it wound through the pasture –listening as it trickled over the rocks. The water was moving rapidly today, simmering with white foam on top of the clear stream. Samira wiped away the beads of sweat from her brow, wishing she could jump in and cool down, but she couldn’t swim – it was deemed immodest in Iran for girls to wear a bathing suit. How she hated that place. There was no way she was going back there – not even now her college funding had been cut and she was technically illegal. Thank goodness she’d met Mr. Langdon on the train six months ago, changing her life forever…

Samira grabbed a book from her bag and tried to ignore the eyes of the man behind her, which drilled into her as he sat up on his horse, watching. She was uncomfortable under his scrutiny, and she was desperate to ask Mr. Langdon why this guy was following her, but she was reluctant to upset her new fiancé. He seemed nice enough, but he seethed under the surface of that friendly fa?ade, and she couldn’t risk him kicking her onto the streets. She’d just have to figure this cowboy out on her own…

She focused on her book and started to relax in the sunshine, but her muscles coiled like a startled cat as the guy behind suddenly let a shout of distress. She shot up and saw his horse was rearing – trying to throw him off. Without thinking of her own safety, she rushed to help.

The frantic horse reared again. This time the cowboy was bucked off and he thumped to the ground – landing with a thud on a soft patch of grass. The horse was a strong muscular beast and – despite now having thrown his rider – he neighed and whinnied wildly, rearing on his hind legs and kicking his front hooves violently – almost striking the strewn man in the face.

Samira saw that the man’s hat had flown off, but she didn’t get the chance to look at him, because her mind was absorbed with calming this distressed animal. She halted in front of the horse and stood firm. “Woah, boy… calm down…” The horse reared again – less passionately this time. Samira stood her ground and shouted. “Stop this silliness!”

The horse jolted, lurching and trying to scare her, but she refused to be intimidated. She stared deeply into his gorgeous brown eyes, searching for the sanity behind his wild stare.

“No,” she said, pointing her finger. “You stop this right now.”

She raised her palms to shoulder height to show him she meant no harm. He tensed his strong velvety back to lunge again, but he realized he’d been beaten, so he flitted back and forth, pawing at the grass and dispelling his nervous energy. Eventually – after shuffling on the spot a few times – he relaxed and stood still, submitting to her.

She watched him carefully for a moment, checking he was calm, then – maintaining eye contact with the beast – she stepped forward and scooped up his reins, patting him tenderly on his soft damp face.

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