The CEO's Fantasy

By: RG Alexander

Prologue




Our favorite Billionaire Bachelors were spotted this weekend at Warren Industry’s annual charity gala.

Yes, the country’s most eligible bad boys are all in town again and they each decided to go stag—that is, sans their usual sugary arm candy—signaling to single Cinderellas everywhere that these princes are on the market once more. Surprised? If you are, you haven’t been paying attention. This fierce foursome goes through women like…well, let’s just say if I had a nickel for every time a heart was broken by our charming scoundrels, I’d be a billionaire too, and between globetrotting and manicures, I wouldn’t have time to fill you in on every last detail of their infamous adventures.

I dare you to send Ms. Anonymous your nickels.

But potential sudden windfall for yours truly aside, this relationship update leads me to today’s question:

We know every debutante’s mama wants a piece of their action, but if you could choose without repercussions, which of the Billionaire Bachelors would be your fantasy? The true hardcore cowboy who has enough land and employees to start his own country but no dancing partner for his special kind of two-step? The musician with a royal pedigree, a wild streak and a vast fortune at his disposal, who’s never been seen with the same woman twice? His best jet-setting buddy who can claim no less than five estates, four degrees and three charges of lewd public behavior on his record? Or the sweet-talking, picture-perfect tycoon-cum-philanthropist who used to be the baddest of the bunch but put those days behind him when he took over as CEO of his family’s company? (Or did he?) His public image has certainly been polished to a dazzlingly dull shine, but is the strain of the straight and narrow getting him down? If his grim countenance and lack of companionship of late are any indication, perhaps it is.

So ladies, pick your fantasy lover—rocker, rancher, rebel or reformed rogue. Glass slipper shopping is a dangerous sport to be sure, especially with prey as slippery as these particular animals, but I’ll still wish all my readers happy hunting.



Dean Warren crumpled up the gossip page of the newspaper he’d been handed and drank the rest of his scotch in one go, reaching for the bottle that had been left for him at the table.

“Happy hunting, my ass.” Someday he was going to find Ms. Anonymous and tell her what she could do with her column. In graphic detail. As it stood, he’d be spending more time at his office, and his assistant would be busy for the next month fielding personal calls and invitations instead of working, the way he did every time the columnist mentioned Dean in her article. He’d ask for another damn raise and Dean would give in, because he would rather pay the man more money than allow his secretary, Mrs. Grandholm, to take on the burden alone. She was a national treasure and too close to her well-deserved retirement to start worrying about his love life again.

“I don’t think reformed rogues are supposed to swear,” Peter Faraday admonished, grinning at the others around the dining table in the private room Dean had reserved for the four of them. “But then, I’m not sure his image would keep its sparkle if Anonymous knew where he was right now. This place is more my speed, according to her. Speaking of, did you notice how she always finds a way to use the word lewd in connection with me? Every damn time. What’s that about?”

“She obviously knows you well,” Henry Vincent offered helpfully from his chair. “Maybe you got her mother arrested, you cad, after convincing her an orgy in a public fountain was harmless fun. Now, because of your indecency, we’re being punished with this flagrant example of stereotyping. Rocker, rancher, rebel, reformed rogue…” He snorted. “As a writer, I commend the clever alliteration, but she makes us sound more like Ken doll collectibles than men. I’m not just a piece of beefcake performing on a stage, you know. I have feelings. I’m a complicated man with a dark, mysterious soul. I’d be more than willing to show her, if she’d like.”

Peter groaned. “Dude, give it up. Co-writing song lyrics doesn’t make you a writer. And there’s nothing mysterious about you other than why you brought that to dinner and why we’re here instead of Dean’s townhouse. I thought you wanted to stay under the radar this trip.”

“I picked the restaurant,” Dean assured him. “Henry told me he wanted real food, Tracy always enjoys a show with his meal and I didn’t think you’d care. To put your mind at ease, Franco’s is the best kept secret in the city. He wants privacy to work on his gastronomic masterpieces, and I have a fondness for his seared scallops, so it works out perfectly. No one who comes here discusses it, and no one who hasn’t knows it exists. It’s about as under the radar as I could manage on such short notice.”

“Your pick, huh? For us? And I’d been told you’d lost your touch.” Peter leaned back in his chair and smiled wickedly. “I’m not convinced your chef was thinking about his culinary art so much as his personal sexual fetish when he designed this place.” He waggled his brows. “You have to admit crème brûlée and whips and chains don’t normally go together.”

“Few interesting things do,” Dean murmured, glancing toward the floor-to-ceiling one-way mirror Peter was gazing through—the one giving them a private view of an erotic exhibition. And it was pure exhibition. A nude woman, her nipples pierced and her arms and inner thighs covered in irezumi—Japanese tattoos—was chained to a St. Andrews cross, being thoroughly and patiently played by both a male and a female dominant. She was writhing in pleasure, her body artistically marked with welts from the man’s whip and bruises from the female’s pinching fingers. She had given herself over to them, but she was the one in control.

There was a time he would have wanted to capture this moment with his camera. To frame the ecstatic submissive’s expression that told him she was as excited by the knowledge that strangers were watching her as she was by her partners’ actions. It was the only reason she played here instead of in the privacy of one of the more secluded dungeons. She wasn’t doing it for money—participants here volunteered—but for the thrill.

Sadly, he was neither thrilled nor aroused in return. He felt no twinge of curiosity. No interest—sexually or otherwise.

Hell, he was grim.

Dean lifted his glass toward his friends as a distraction. “To things that don’t usually mesh.”

The other men hoisted their drinks in response. They were an unlikely group personality-wise, each leading very different lives. It had been a year since the four of them were last together, so when Henry let him know they were going to stay in town for a while after his company’s event, Dean had streamlined most of his month’s schedule in order to accommodate them.

He hadn’t realized it, but he’d definitely missed having them around—the three people he trusted completely and could be himself with. His friends.

Henry Vincent had been touring more on than off for years, Tracy Reyes was often neck deep in maintaining his land and cattle empire, and Peter rarely stayed in one place long enough to meet for drinks. Dean had known Henry and Peter since they were children, but it wasn’t until they met Tracy in college and rented a house together off-campus that they’d bonded over beer, basketball and their love of trouble.

Those days they’d been wild and careless—and Dean had, indeed, been the baddest of the bunch. The one to introduce quick-study Tracy to all manner of vices, the one who rivaled Peter for public spectacles and Henry for his luck with the ladies. Back then he would have laughed over a harmless article like this. Or paid someone to write it. Back then he hadn’t cared what people thought or why a woman wanted him, as long as he got his way.

The last fifteen years had changed him, the last five even more—not that anyone had noticed. The knowledge left a trace of bitterness on his tongue and in his heart. No matter how straight the path he walked or how many accomplishments he had under his belt, he would always be seen as the baddest of the bad. To the board of directors, his uncle who pulled their strings, and to any woman he found remotely attractive, the thoughtless words of one loquacious gossip columnist would always matter more than his actions.

It made him wonder, not for the first time, why he tried to so hard to toe their line. To be better than his father had been. To be known for something other than his social life or his grandfather’s success. To win the board over to his side. The task was Sisyphean bullshit.

He stared at his glass morosely until a heavy sigh made him look up. Tracy was studying him with concern. He took off his ever-present hat and ran his hands through his short, thick waves before he addressed Henry and Peter. “If you two would just settle down, start thinking with the head on your shoulders and stop fucking your way through the phone book like Dean and I have, the gossip would die off pretty quick.”

Wishful fucking thinking.

“Don’t play the gentleman hayseed everyone seems to think you are. We won’t let you get away with it.” Henry reached into the ice bucket filled with beer he’d requested and pulled out a new bottle. “We know what she means when she says special two-step. Case in point, Dean picked this place with you in mind, and I’d be willing to bet you’re on speaking terms with at least one of those lovely kinksters in the other room.”

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