The sexy Billionaire's Club takes Texas in ROCKED BY THE BILLIONAIRE by Mandy Baxter.
Bad-boy Luke "Lucifer" Blackwell is living the life. Being the lead singer for the rock group Riot 59 has brought him everything he could ever want—billions of dollars, endless parties, and enough groupies to last a lifetime. But when Luke's wild life starts to wear him down, he returns home to Texas—and ends up in the arms of the one woman who's always made his heart beat faster than a pounding drum…
Kayleigh Taylor likes being a small-town girl, so she's always been wary of Luke Blackwell's fast-paced life—and of Luke himself. Fully expecting never to see the sexy singer who broke her heart years before, Kayleigh is completely shocked to find him back home, avoiding the spotlight and pursuing her instead. Kayleigh knows this can't be right--his heart was always devoted to his music. But as they spend more and more time together, Luke is awfully convincing that his heart belongs to someone else…
About the Author
Mandy Baxter lives in rural Idaho. She’s a part-time pet wrangler, a full-time sun worshipper, and only goes out into the cold when coerced. She loves black clothes, pink appliances and thinks junk food should be a recognized food group. In the summer, she can be found sitting by the lake, enjoying the view from her dock. She is the author of The Billionaire's Club: Texas series from St. Martin's Press.
Read an Excerpt
Rocked by the Billionaire
A Billionaire's Club: Texas Novella
By Mandy Baxter
St. Martin's PressCopyright © 2014 Mandy Baxter
All rights reserved.
The tires of Luke Blackwell's rental screeched on the pavement. He brought the car to an abrupt stop outside of what was once Joe's, the coffee shop and bakery where he'd spent most of his formative years playing guitar and singing for extra cash. Now a trendy wine bar and bistro, only the brick façade was left to remind him of his past as he tracked the woman darting across the street toward the building. His gut clenched at the sight of her, his mind flooded with memories of bare skin, panting breaths, and endless hours of teenage lust that had fueled more than a few of his Top 40 hits. God damn. Just thinking about Kayleigh Taylor got his blood up. Seeing her in the flesh was enough to cause his cock to perk up like a hound after a rabbit even eight long years later. He guessed she'd kept to her word and stayed close to home. And here he thought returning to his old stomping grounds to lay low for a while would be boring.
He'd done his damnedest to fly under the radar of the media, his manager and publicist, and just about everyone else who had nothing better to do than look through the window of social media for a peek into his life. The band was on hiatus—between records and tours—and Luke knew that he needed to get away from the clusterfuck that threatened to take his career down in a tailspin. If he didn't take the time to gather his wits and form a game plan away from the spotlight, the stress of it all was going to send him over the edge. He needed to get his shit straight. Now. Before he lost it completely and someone checked him into one of those facilities where celebrities went to get a little R & R.
After watching Kayleigh duck into the building where they'd spent so much time together as kids, Luke wondered just how much peace and perspective he was going to get on his little reality check. Without thinking, he pulled off the street and into a parking space in front of the building and cut the engine. Ryder wasn't expecting him until tomorrow so it wasn't like he had to hightail it out to the ranch anytime soon. Only his immediate family knew he was coming to town and he'd wanted it to stay that way.
What would she think, seeing him again after he'd walked out on her? He'd been a stupid kid with a wild dream and more ambition than brains back then. Now ... ? Now he was the fucking master of all things rock. A king, worshipped on the stage and off. Luke was far from hard-up and never lacking for female companionship. He didn't need the complications that hooking up with his high school sweetheart would bring but, damn. He couldn't resist the opportunity to see her again. Smell her intoxicating scent. Allow himself to be entranced by the sweet tenor of her voice. There'd been a time when he would have sold his soul for just another night with her. Sort of fitting for the infamous "Lucifer" Blackwell ...
She was the inspiration for every word he'd ever sung. Every note he'd ever strummed.
Luke pulled open the glass door and walked inside. The space had been totally renovated, the back corner that had once been set up for open mic night now sported a mahogany bar and wine tasting station. No longer greeted by the aroma of coffee grounds and yeast, he was welcomed with heady oak and tapenade. As he approached the counter where Kayleigh stood with her back to him, a bottle of wine clutched in her fists, he was overcome by the sweet fragrance of sage and lilacs. His gut bottomed out as another barrage of memories burst from a single spark into a raging inferno. But that was the thing about Kayleigh Taylor: she took him immediately back to a time and place when he'd been a wild, reckless kid. And so fucking in love that he didn't know up from down.
Luke took his time. Watched her. As she dug through her purse, she knocked into an empty display table to her right and then tripped on her own foot as she tried to regain her balance. Totally oblivious to the world around her, he had forgotten how she had a tendency to get wrapped up in her own head. Luke suppressed the chuckle that built in his chest. She might have traded in English toffee lattes for wine, but there were some things that not even the passage of time could change.
Her hair was a little mussed, as though she'd been running her hands through it, and her shoulders hunched. Tired? Stressed? Had her day gone to shit, or were the auburn locks just wind tousled? Luke's feet itched to take a step closer to her and he obeyed his body's command. One step. Another. Until he stood right behind her in the checkout line. Empty-handed. As though that wasn't lame as fuck.
Words formed and dissolved on his tongue. Could he simply start up a conversation with her after leaving her alone all those years ago? He swallowed down a snort. He was Lucifer Blackwell, for shit's sake. Women threw their goddamned panties at him. Showed up in his trailer buck-ass naked, more than willing to fulfill every single one of his fantasies. In less than a decade, Luke's life had turned around. No longer the poorest kid in town with barely enough food to keep him full, now he had fame, more money than he could spend, and willing pussy in spades. He sure as shit had no reason to feel unsure anymore. So why did his goddamned heart feel like it was trying to pound right out of his fucking chest?
Why was currently standing in front of him in line, digging through her purse.
* * *
Kayleigh was beginning to think that kindergarteners were scientifically engineered to suck the life right out of her, leaving behind a dry husk of a woman with the mental capacity of a zombie. They were cute little buggers, but man did they tire her out. She'd left work and headed for the bistro with one thing on her mind: wine and how many glasses it was going to take to erase her hectic week. As much as she wanted to avoid the renovated coffee shop where she'd spent most of her teenage years—and every summer during college—it was the only place in town that sold the Merry Edwards Olivet Lane pinot noir that Spencer had specifically requested for tonight's dinner party. Did that make him a wine snob? Probably, since a bottle of Boone's Farm from the Quickmart would've gotten the job done for her.
The place was almost unrecognizable from the space it had once been. But despite the fancy plaster and paint, the high-end sofas and local art on display, she could almost smell the dark roast of coffee and her eyes inevitably wandered to the far corner where Luke used to play, his eyes glued to her like they were the only two people in the world ...
"Can I help you?"
Kayleigh started as the cashier broke her from her reverie. Talk about being a nostalgic sap. She handed over the bottle of pinot and continued to root around in the bottomless pit that was her purse for her debit card. A line had formed behind her and her cheeks grew hot with embarrassment. "Sorry," she mumbled as she continued to dig. Good Lord in heaven, she really needed to clean out her purse. Besides too many tubes of lip balm and gloss, she was carrying around an extra pair of shoes, an empty bag of Swedish Fish, an unopened package of raw almonds, three packs of gum, and a Snickers. If anyone got a peek inside, they'd be sure to discover the bar by which she set her snacking priorities.
"I used to know a girl who said that when a guy shows up with a bottle of wine it's because he's hoping to get her out of her panties in a hurry. So in the interest of expediency, why don't you let me buy the wine?"
A long, muscular arm marked with tattoos reached over her and handed a stark white credit card to the cashier. Kayleigh's stomach toppled over her hips and landed somewhere near the soles of her feet. Her spine went starch-stiff as she took in the sight of the cashier, the other woman's eyes glazed over as a silly grin spread across her face.
Holy crap, that voice. Her own words quoted back to her in an almost lewd tenor rippled over her skin like rings on a pond, stretching outward until she was covered from head to toe in microscopic tremors. She didn't dare turn around. Couldn't. She was more afraid to confirm with her eyes what her ears were already telling her. It was impossible. Just, no.
"Aren't you a sweetheart!" The cashier gushed, effectively ignoring Kayleigh as if the floor had opened up and swallowed her whole. Big surprise there. Standing out amidst their present company was like being a twenty-watt light-bulb in the presence of the sun. "And ohmygod, can I just tell you that I absolutely loved your last album!"
Well, no need to turn around now to confirm that the one man she never thought she'd see again was standing right behind her, close enough that she could feel the heat from his body buffeting her back. Kayleigh took a step to the right, anything to put a little distance between them. Besides, it wasn't like the starstruck cashier was even remotely interested in dealing with her anymore.
Indecision warred within her, the need not to turn around and face him greater than her desire to hang around and accept his charity. Stupid freaking pinot! While the cashier continued to gush, proving her fan status by reciting lyrics and band trivia to Luke, their small talk faded to the back of Kayleigh's mind. She closed her eyes, blocking everything out. The old, if I can't see it, it's not there tactic seemed to work well enough for five-year-olds. Maybe she could get it to work for her as well. She gripped the straps of her purse to keep her hands steady even though the rest of her was shaking like a leaf. Every woman's fantasy was to run into her ex looking fabulous: thin, put together, and eat-your-heart-out gorgeous with an equally yummy stud attached to her arm. Too bad she was currently rumpled, wearing ten hours of exhaustion and the curves of almost a decade's worth of unhealthy eating habits. Not to mention she was covered with dried glue and glitter from today's art project. Totally impressive. Gah!
"If you've closed your eyes so you can picture me naked, you should know that all you have to do is ask to get the live show."
The remains of her splattered stomach rocketed up into her throat with the force of a projectile being launched into space. Cocky. Well, at least one thing about Luke Blackwell hadn't changed over the years.
"Or ... maybe you're simply deep in thought."
Kayleigh's core clenched as the rough tenor of his voice vibrated over her skin. Blocking him from her vision only heightened the allure of the voice she'd heard countless times on the radio. And damn it if he wasn't better live.
"My manager has been suggesting meditation for years. It's never worked for me, but maybe that's because I've never tried it in the middle of a crowded bistro. You might have something there, baby."
Baby? An angry flush settled on her cheeks. He had no right to call her anything but Kayleigh. Or Miss Taylor. God, he'd probably get off on that ... Oh good Lord, would you suck it up already and just look at him! You'd think that laying eyes on Luke Blackwell would cause her flesh to melt, or catch fire or something. Though, he was the only man who'd ever truly commanded her attention. Left her speechless. The only one to ever make her body tingle with sparks of electricity. The only one to shatter her heart into millions of tiny pieces.
And after eight years, it seemed that his effect on her hadn't diminished in the slightest.
Her eyes snapped open but she kept her gaze averted. "Funny, I'm the one buying the wine tonight. So I guess that means I'm trying to get someone out of their ... uh, panties." Well, that was smooth. Rather than backpedal, Kayleigh sprung to action like a reanimated corpse, digging through her purse in a disjointed, frenzied effort to keep her gaze anywhere but focused on him.
"Sounds like a party," Luke remarked, smooth as aged bourbon. Even with her gaze averted, she knew his eyes had narrowed with humor, his full mouth spreading in a sensual smile.
"Let me pay you for the wine." She'd let him continue on with his current train of thought over her dead body. "I'm sure I've got a few twenties in here somewhere ..." She felt like an animal caught in a trap, readying to gnaw its arm off in order to break free. "I just have to find my wallet ..."
"Are you going to look at me anytime soon or are you going to keep pretending that I'm not standing right in front of you?"
Damn it. Kayleigh let out a gust of breath that did nothing to slow the pace of her racing heart. Her eyes met his torso first, every bit as lean and muscular as she remembered, and up past the wide breadth of his chest and shoulders. She'd forgotten how tall he was. How overwhelming his presence. He towered over her, and she had to crane her neck up to meet his face. As though she couldn't help it, her eyes narrowed into a squint as she took in his whiskey-brown eyes, strong, square jaw, and full mouth. Exactly like looking into the sun.
"So, how've you been, Luke?" It took an actual effort to push his name past her lips. It felt stiff and rusty, like an old screen door that hadn't been used in a while. Her heart clenched at the sight of him as memories—mostly painful ones—assaulted her. It wasn't fair that he could look so self-possessed, so goddamned gorgeous after so many years living the fast and loose life of a rock star while she was the one who looked as though she'd been ridden hard and put away wet. What in the hell was he doing here, anyway? Shouldn't he be off in some hotel somewhere, sleeping off a night of hard-core partying beneath a pile of naked groupies?
"You've got something in your hair."
Kayleigh's breath left her lungs in a nervous rush as Luke reached out. His touch was gentle, slow as he brushed his fingertips through the length of her hair. Heat rose to her cheeks and she thought she might pass out from embarrassment. God only knew what was floating around in the tangle of wild curls. Dried macaroni? Tissue paper? Glue? A groan rose in her throat and she swallowed it down. Somehow, almost a decade later, Luke found a way to add insult to injury.
He inspected the glittering plastic disk and a smile lit his handsome face. "Sequins? You leadin' a double life I don't know about, Ms. Taylor?"
Sweet Lord, that drawl. It was like fresh honey out of the comb, sweet and thick. The sort of cajoling tenor that could convince a woman to do just about anything. "You don't know a damned thing about my life." His sultry Texas charm might have coaxed the panties off droves of women—her included—but not anymore. Sexy and as tempting as the devil himself, he'd earned the nickname "Lucifer" long before he'd become famous. Though at thirteen, the moniker had been given to him more for his mischievous nature than his sex appeal. She dug through her purse, working hard not to lose her cool and finally found her wallet. Tucked in a side pocket were three twenties—her latte and snack money for the next couple of months—and she slapped the bills into his palm. "For the wine." His fingers grazed hers and Kayleigh suppressed a pleasant shudder as she turned away.
Luke wrapped his long fingers around hers and held her fast, pulling her gently back to him. "I just got into town and you're gonna turn away, just like that? Let's go get some dinner." He flashed her a wide grin. "Maybe we could share the wine after?"
So, so confident. Typical. It was her turn to feel smug for a change though. Kayleigh squared her shoulders and returned his smile. "No can do, Blackwell. I've got a date."
Excerpted from Rocked by the Billionaire by Mandy Baxter. Copyright © 2014 Mandy Baxter. Excerpted by permission of St. Martin's Press.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
Eight years ago Luke Blackwell walked away from the love of his life to pursue his musical dreams, and make something of himself without the aid of his families fortune. Leaving Kayleigh behind was the hardest decision he has ever had to make, but at the time he thought he was doing what was right for both of them... but he couldn't have been more wrong! He has dated other women, and had countless one night stands in an attempt to rid his memories of her from his mind, but no matter how hard he tries she always remains there in the back of his mind and is the muse for every song he writes. Living in the public eye, and keeping up with appearances for so long has started to take a toll on him and it's starting to effect his work, so his band mates and manager kindly suggest he make some changes or he is out of the band, so he decides it's time to go home. He is hoping a trip home will give him the reboot he needs, and hopefully help get his creative mojo back on track, and the possibility of seeing his muse again could certainly change his mood too... that is if she'll even agree to see him! Kayleigh Taylor lost a part of herself eight years ago that she has spent everyday since trying to replace, but no matter how times she tries to bury the memories of him, and move on, they always find a way to resurface. The day that Luke Blackwell walked away from her to pursue his musical dreams, he completely destroyed her, and she has yet to find a way to forgive him. While she is happy for him and his successes she can't help but feel disappointed that he didn't think she was worthy of sharing that part of his life with him. Seeing his face plastered on magazine covers with other woman hurts far more than it should, especially since their sharing a part of his life with him that she always thought she would be there to experience. Just when she finds it in herself to move on and date someone new, Luke decides to waltz back into her life and ask for a second chance... leaving her to decide if she should let the past stay in the past, or give him a second chance to possibly break her heart. Once again Ms. Baxter has completely won me over with one of her sexy Texan Billionaire's, barely a chapter into this story and that smooth talking Texan accent got to me and had me swooning!! As much as I tried to dislike Luke for breaking Kayleigh's heart he found a way to sneak in and totally redeem himself, between his take charge alpha demeanor and smooth one liners I was a goner!! As soon as I read the synopsis for this one I knew I was in for a real literary treat, and I am happy to report that my instincts were on point, this story had it all and SO MUCH MORE!! I have to say this is definitely one of my favorite second chance love stories to date!! If you haven't had the chance to acquaint yourself with Ms. Baxter's Billionaire's I encourage you to remedy that immediately!!! Not only are you missing on some exceptional toe curling romance, but your also missing out on the opportunity to meet some truly charming southern gentlemen that are destined to leave an indelible impression on your heart!
Rocked by the Billionaire is my favorite of the Billionaire’s Club: Texas series. Unlike his brothers in the previous two novellas, Luke grew up with the girl who had his heart. Unfortunately, at eighteen Luke was ready to leave their small town behind to prove that he wasn’t the piece of white trash good-for-nothing troublemaker so many of his peers believed him to be. But Kayleigh loved small town life and didn’t want to leave, so Luke left her behind without a look back, breaking her heart in the process. Eight years later he’s back in town to get his life back in order and one of the first things he sees is her and he realizes that she still owns his heart and he wants her back. I think that the reason I loved Rocked by the Billionaire so much is that I could relate to Kayleigh and her frustration about how much of a hold Luke had over her after so much time, even after breaking her heart. I believe many women have that guy that makes us lose our mind and common sense when he blows back into our lives. I do and any time we run into one another, I’m right back to being the 20 year-old girl I was when we were together. Adding to the feelings of nostalgia, Ms. Baxter also infuses a TON of sexual chemistry between Kayleigh and Luke. The sex scenes are panty-melting hot. Good grief! And that punch was perfect! Of course the author gives the couple the happy ending they deserve. I’m just sad that Luke is the last of the Blackwell brothers bringing the series to an end, but at least Ms. Baxter has another series available that I’ll have to check out. I received a complimentary copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. Reviewed by Angela at Crystal's Many Reviewers!
Reviewed by Annie and posted at Under The Covers Book Blog Amanda Bonilla has saved the best for last. ROCKED BY THE BILLIONAIRE hooked me right in with its sexy as hell hero and endearing heroine. Luke is tired of the fast life and is looking for more than just the groupies around him. he remembers someone from his past who he still hasn’t been able to let go of. But when Luke comes back to town and sees Kayleigh again, he learns that she doesn’t want anything to do with him anymore. Kayleigh has built a life that fits her. It doesn’t have flash or cameras and she has children calling her name, not women. But if Luke and Kayleigh share one commonality, it’s that they haven’t been able to get over one another. As much as Kayleigh tries to convince herself that she doesn’t feel something for Luke, it’s there. It’s evident in all the pages of this novella. What I loved most about this story is Kayleigh’s realness. She comes across as well-developed and endearing. So even as Luke pulls his seductive dance, she has her head on straight and doesn’t allow her to woo him. She kind of makes Luke work for it a bit. And I really, REALLY liked that. This story was definitely my fave of the bunch. It has all of things I look for in any story, not just a short story so the fact that Bonilla is able to condense everything in this neatly made package is even more impressive. *ARC provided by publisher
I have to say that of the three books in this series, this is not my favorite one. It seemed like it was short and rushed. It started out interesting, with the heroine, Kayleigh, stopping to pick up wine while Luke, our hero(and burned out rock star) sees her go into the store. What happens afterwards just seems rushed, from the first time they have sex to the resolution at the end). I really enjoyed the previous two books so I was a little disappointed. Good read but not what I expected.
Received an ARC copy from Netgalley for a honest review. First book for me by this author but won't be the last. I enjoy reading second chance love stories and this one was wonderful. Storyline was short, well written, contained a little heartbreak, passion and love. Characters were easily liked and realistic. I liked that Luke and Kayleigh were honest with each other even if it hurt the other one. Would recommend.
I have completely enjoyed reading each of these billionaire novellas. This one was great and as completely entertaining as the other two. This is a great second chance story and I couldn't help but want to see Luke Blackwell and Kayleigh Taylor get their deserved HEA. Mandy Baxter is definitely one of my favorite new to me authors of the year and I can't wait to read more from her.
Luc grew up on the wrong side of the tracks and was made fun of growing up... As soon as he had his high school diploma in hand he left town (and Kayleigh, the only girl who mattered) and didn't return for eight years... When he came home he was rich, famous and ready for a major breakdown... A lawsuit where he was alleged to be a father of a baby and a lack of ability to write anything new, Luc was a mess... A reunion with Kayleigh started out OK but things happen and if you read this short story you will find the answers... I like to keep books of less than 100 pages in my library for when I don't have a lot of time... I will now look into the others in this series for that very purpose...
Have you ever read a book and thought “I’ve read this before?” Yeah, that was me and Rocked by the Billionaire. While I had never read this particular book before, the story was so similar to many I read in my teens that I was bored. The entire way through – well, except for the moment I wanted to kick the heroine for dumping her boyfriend just because the ‘hero’ was back in town. But that wasn’t the only thing that kind of drove me nuts. The writing style was reminiscent of young adult novels – and that turned me off instantly. When I want to read a YA book, I read one. I don’t expect that kind of writing in an adult book. In the end, I would classify this book as erotica and not erotic romance – because the focus was more on the ‘have to get the woman into bed’ than on the romance. And here you can see why it being written in a young adult style would bother me – young adult literature and erotica do not mix. If you are looking for a simply written, uncomplicated erotic story with teenage-style reactions in adults, this may be the book for you. Reviewed by a-nony-mouse for Crystal’s Many Reviewers *Copy provided for review*
"I don't want to leave on a bad note. It just doesn't sit right with me. I don't want you to be in trouble and I want the best for you, so I respect your decision for the breakup. I hope you can find someone that lifts you up and supports all your decisions in camp and whatever else you decide to do. I don't care what anyone says. You're a great guy, I can see it. Lastly, I wanted to thank you for all of the days we spent together. It was such a blast and will be great memories. I do not fit in at Camp Athens however, and I'm sure it's best if I leave. Farewell, Kenneth. I wish you the best!"
Nope. Rose crumbled it. She ruined it for me. Sorry. She posted a huge rant on me about us, and it pushed me off the cliff. This is done. Bye.