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Billionaires. Bad boys. Bleeding hearts.
These outsiders are known as the Bad Boys of Wall Street and every book in the series features glittering Manhattan skyscrapers, swoon-worthy heroes, and a guaranteed HEA.
The Princess of Manhattan.
That’s what the tabloids called me. The rag mags. The publications posing as news.
And really, could I blame them? That’s what my parents created me to be. They raised me like a rag doll with a porcelain head. Fit to toss around as needed. Always picture perfect on command.
No emotion. No reaction. And always at the ready.
Thank God I’d been practicing the subtle art of turning my emotions off with the flip of a switch for my entire life. Because I needed that porcelain control when Axel Fairchild, my first love, my only love, and my ex-boyriend, walked into the boardroom of Margulis Realty.
“Good god, Allan Margulis! What a joy to see you again!” Axel strutted into the board room with every ounce of earned swagger. At just over six feet tall, Axel was a broad-shouldered badass. He always had been. A gorgeous, dark-furred dog trotted along beside him, ears at attention.
Electricity zipped through the air. Every inch of me wanted to crumple at the sight of him. To crawl to him on my knees, to beg for one last touch from him. To do anything to make up for all the years we’d lost, for my actions that had robbed us of a chance to be together.
From the outside, my position on the board was just one more piece of the perfect puzzle I’d been assembling my entire life. Next quarter, I’d become CEO. I was mere steps away from accomplishing every last item on my professional to-do list. And at age thirty-one, no less.
And while the tabloids loved to comment on the picture-perfect princess life—with exceptional attention paid to my business-casual wardrobe—they had no idea what the reality was.
I wasn’t a princess.
I was a prisoner.
And this board room was my cage.
My wardens—sorry, fellow board members—were stretched out along the edge of the table. It wasn’t just my father, but also my husband Eli, as well as two others, Robert and Frank, who were outside majority shareholders like Eli. But based on the way Axel focused on Allan, you’d think no one else existed.
My father let out a low chuckle, tapping the end of his pen against the side of the table. “Mr. Fairchild. What an unwelcome surprise.”
Axel flashed a devilish grin. He hadn’t looked my way yet, and every inch of me was anxious to make eye contact.
Axel had grown up in nearly every way possible. It had been eight years since I told him we were over for good. Eight years since I’d last heard that cocky, rough-silk voice that acted as both balm and sandpaper, depending on who it was directed at.
Eight years since my heart had last felt full.
Axel loomed larger now. It wasn’t just the expensive, tailored gray suit or the neatly trimmed dark blond hair that suggested daily maintenance. He’d bulked up. Muscles filled out the suit, suggesting an altogether new terrain underneath. New tattoos crept from the sleeves of his suit coat and past the collar of his button-up, licking up the sides of his neck.
Axel was a new man. A self-made man.
He was exactly the man I’d hoped he would become if I removed myself from his life.
Eli turned to me, his brows drawn together. One strand of his blond hair had slipped from his immaculate updo, the same swept back, high class Hamptonite style he’d adopted about five years back and hadn’t budged from.
“Am I missing something?” Eli asked, his eyes sliding back toward Axel. “Why is this hillbilly in our board room?”
“May I sit? I’d love to chat business.” Axel gestured at the row of empty chairs facing our side of the table. “I’ve got an offer I think the board will be keen to accept.”
“Absolutely,” Frank said, gesturing to the seat across the table from him.
"But send that dog outside,” my father said, practically in a growl of his own.
“Oh, gosh. Sorry, Mr. Margulis.” Axel rolled out a leather chair and settled in, expelling a satisfied sigh. “He’s my emotional support animal.”
Eli hefted with a laugh. “Figures a guy like you would need some extra support in this line of work.”
Axel’s gaze didn’t waver from my father. And now his game was clear. He was ignoring this end of the table. My heart rate increased, helplessness taking over.
I hadn’t expected to be face-to-face with him like this. Not today, not ever again. Not after what I’d done to him.
But now that he was so close, all the dormant truths and unspoken sentiments were clamoring to escape. Things I was forbidden to admit. Truths that were kept back so that our current reality could continue.
After so many years protecting these truths behind the bars of my heart, I couldn’t remember whose reality would come crashing down if they were revealed: mine or his.
Continue Reading The Price of Revenge, if you love:
- Self-made alpha billionaires
- First loves turned exes turned enemies turned lovers again
- Scorching second chance romances
- Found family
- All the opulence of upper crust Manhattan
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I loved this book and it was such a fantastic start to a new series. This book was angsty, emotional, and steamy. This book hooked me from the first page and there was so much that happened between these two in the past. The pain, anger, and chemistry between the MCs was intense and I could not get enough of this couple!"
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "I love the rival’s daughter trope especially with billionaires. It feels like if Succession was a romance and I live for the thrill of boardroom takeovers. Cora and Axel were college sweethearts who broke up traumatically. Years later, Cora is married and Cora’s dad owns the building Axel wants, the tension and the sexual chemistry is off the charts from the moment Axel and Cora are in the same room again." - Goodreads Reviewer
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "The plot of this book was so good, especially with keeping the issues within the business and yet making it easy for a lay person to understand. Cora and Axel’s inner thoughts and their memories were amazing at showing how deep their love for each other runs. From Cora’s necklace, to the beach glass and every other little moment we see over time, I couldn’t help but love Cora and Axel! I can’t wait to finish this series!"
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ "With the dual point of view and the twists that happened in this book, I had trouble putting it down. Cora’s parents and husband, Eli, made me want to strangle them and hope that Cora got away from them. The last 20% part of this book had me at the edge of my seat waiting for the crazy stuff to happen and it was so worth it to binge. Some things are worth losing for the sake of love and freedom." - Amazon Reviewer
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Get the entire Bad Boys of Wall Street series for 35% Off (Digital Download Only)
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Books Available in Bundle
- The Price of a Promise
- The Price of Revenge
- The Price of Passion
- The Price of Infamy
- The Price of Forever (PRE-ORDER, releasing May 2024, will be delivered automatically to your e-reader in May)
Chapter One Look Inside
Chapter One Look Inside
“Wait, Axel. I’m almost there.”
“Yeah? By the goth guys playing accordion or up by the vegan punks?”
Cora laughed in that way that sounded like angels sighing. Through the phone, I could hear the churn of the ocean on the West Coast. “The vegan punks.”
“Shit, girl. You're almost there.”
Cora’s wispy breaths through the phone grew more labored. I pinched my eyes shut so I could imagine her—traipsing through the sand on Venice Beach, squinting against the
too-bright sunshine of a November California day, which she claimed was against
nature for the born-and-bred New York native that she was. She lived in Stanford, but liked to make the trek to LA on occasion for the shopping and the beaches.
“Hurry it up, sweet cheeks,” I chided, grinning to myself as I sat on Coopers Beach in the
Hamptons. This was our thing. The way we stayed connected, despite the staggering distance. Twenty-five hundred physical miles meant nothing if we were both standing on beaches facing the ocean. It was the voodoo that kept us
together while we weathered grad school on opposite coasts.
Weekly beach visits and the occasional cross-country visit. But only when we could find the right alibi.
“Okay. I’m here.” She sighed exaggeratedly and this time, I imagined her slumping down into the sand. In my mind’s eye, I was there with her. Ready to catch her, to wrap my arms around her and find that perfect nook where she existed in my arms. The one that let me bury my face in the side of her lush, dark- chocolate locks and get drunk on her sweet clementine scent. Holding her like that was the only way to calm my racing heart when my anxiety stalked like a predator. When she was
in my arms, I felt like I could fully grasp the roots of my future; like I could look up and watch the blossoms of my happiness unfold.
One of the many ways I knew Cora wasn’t just a good fit for me but the one and only.
I planned to tell her soon. The moment the ring arrived and I could scrape up the money to fly out there again.
“Good.” I rested my elbows on my knees, phone pressed to my right ear as I stared out at the cobalt waves churning under the gray late-afternoon haze. The salty breeze, both humid and cold, bit through me, but Cora’s low hum wrapped me in its warm
embrace. “I can almost see you.”
“Yep. I think I can see you too,” she said with a throaty laugh. She had the husky voice of a
young blues singer, both ethereal and erotic at the same time. Paired with dark, glossy hair and sage green eyes that doubled as a fucking defibrillator, she was jaw-dropping. A total knockout. And one hundred percent mine.
“How many fingers
am I holding up?” I lifted my index finger. This shit never got old for us. A year and some months into our grad school careers, we needed anything that minimized the crushing weight of the distance.
I lifted my middle finger to join the index. “Correct.”
Her soft laugh floated through me, dispelling all the stress I’d brought from the week. Seconds into our calls, everything in the world felt right. Just as if we were at the
“You’d tell me I was right even if you didn’t have any fingers.”
“Well, sweet cheeks, it’s because you’re always right,” I told her. I dropped a hand to the sand, beginning the absent-minded search for sea glass. The other important ritual of our beach visits.
“Well you’re right about one thing, at least.”
The smirk on her face was evident in her voice. “And what’s that?”
“Being with me.”
This was the part where I’d wrap her into my arms again and we’d fall back onto the sand and stay there for a long time, possibly until dusk, or until the weird goth guys ran us off with the shitty accordion music (if we were in LA). But I couldn’t, and my chest throbbed with the absence of her heat there. Time wasn’t making things better or easier. In fact, each additional day away from her only proved how much I didn’t want a life without her. We’d spent our third anniversary on opposite coasts, wishing we could tonguefuck each other though FaceTime. I didn’t want our fourth to be more of the same. I gathered my jacket tighter
around me as a brisk wind whipped down the beach.
“I miss you, Axel.”
I could hear the deep well of emotion in her voice. My cheeks twitched, caught between a smile and a grimace. “I miss you more. I’m gonna come out there again soon. Then we can visit that other beach you like to visit. What was it? Glass Beach?”
She sighed contentedly. “You’ll love it there. It was a gold mine for Axel-blue glass. When
do you think you can come?”
“Once I get paid, I’ll buy the ticket.” My throat tightened, and I looked down at the
fine-grained sand between my bent knees. My internship updating the business plan of a Manhattan-based tech company barely paid the bills. I lived mostly off stock dividends, cryptocurrency funds, and sheer ingenuity. The truth was that I had to finish paying off her ring before I could even hope to afford another plane ticket. “And if that doesn’t cover it, I’ll hit up Trace.”
Cora sighed. “Let me put it on my credit card—”
“No. Your dad will flip if you do that. I don’t need him having any more ammo against me.”
A heavy silence thudded between us. Her father gathered ammo against me like a doomsday prepper. I needed to convince him to focus on a new delusion, because I was about to piss him off by asking his daughter to marry me. He’d be pissed no matter what—I
just needed to make sure that it was more on the side of the fleeting annoyance end of the scale rather than the nuclear meltdown variety.
Cora’s dad was the type of man to let his nuclear meltdown spill out and affect society. Killing flora and fauna in its wake, rendering entire landscapes barren and radioactive. The man owned a real estate empire that made sheikhs salivate. He had resources at his disposal that I had only dreamed of. The type of money that led to Cora’s actual and profound bewilderment when we started dating and she found out I had a job. Why on earth would you work during college? she’d asked me. Her silver spoon naivete was only the first of the million differences between our upbringings.
But the depth of our connection—our love—surpassed all the differences. Even her father’s ticking
closer and closer to radioactive status didn’t matter.
Cora was mine; I was hers. We both knew it, and it didn’t matter what he thought.
“I can come back east,” Cora blurted after our silence had bled into the rush of waves on our respective coasts.
“He wants you to focus on school.” That was the excuse her father always had when she wanted to fly home for a visit. Allan insisted on going to California whenever Cora wanted to see them. The man owned property in Los Angeles, which was where Cora stayed whenever she made the trek from school to Venice Beach. But he also
owned Cora’s current home in Stanford, as well as untold amounts of other properties anywhere he happened to glance. Cora could stay wherever she damn well pleased, wherever she wanted to go. I knew how to read the subtext. His express goal was to prevent Cora from seeing me.
“Axel, I can just buy the ticket. Let him rant and rave. I don’t care.”
A smile twitched at my lips. I’d always suspected I’d find the best woman in the world to have at my side. I just didn’t know she’d be so badass to fling herself face first into a radioactive mess on my behalf.
“You know he’s gonna get mad…”
“I don’t care. Let him get mad. This long-distance shit is killing me.”
My fingers connected with a fragment of beach glass, exactly what I’d been searching for. I picked up the smooth remnant. It gleamed translucent blue in the gray day. “How mad is he gonna be when we start having kids?”
She chuckled softly. Maybe it sounded a little sad. “He’ll love them anyway. I know he will.”
I studied the pretty sea glass before chucking it away. It wasn’t the right one. It needed to be green—a blend of emerald and moss. To match Cora’s eyes. I dragged my
fingers through the sand again, searching for the next piece. “How mad will he be when we get married?”
My entire body was tense, waiting for her response. She had no idea the ring was in transit. No idea that I planned on asking her within a matter of months, not years. No idea
that I physically could not wait any longer than necessary to know that she would be my wife someday.
Her silence felt like an eternity. Finally, she said, “Not mad enough to not come to the wedding.”
“You think?” My fingers connected with another piece of sea glass. Clear. I chucked it.
“How could he miss his only living child’s wedding?”
She had faith in her old man. I, however, did not. “I’d fucking hope so.” My fingers returned to the sand.
“We’ve got plenty of time for him to come around to all of these ideas,” Cora said.
Except we didn’t. Not now. Not when my proposal rattled around inside me like energy particles inside the Hadron Collider. This shit was going to burst out of me. Once the
ring arrived, it was game over. I’d been stalking the perfect engagement ring for months and had pounced on it like a lion in the fucking Serengeti when I found it, the perfect pear-cut halo twist for my Cora.
The sound of accordion music swelled in the background from Cora’s end. I laughed,
remembering how weird those artists were the last time I visited Venice Beach. Goth dudes on stilts playing Ariana Grande on a goddamn accordion. I never saw shit like that growing up in the rural outskirts of Louisville. There was a lot of shit I didn’t see growing up in rural Kentucky, though. And a few things I
wish I’d never seen.
But we’d discovered threads that tied Cora and me up tight like a pair of running shoes.
We were both in the “living sibling” category. A designation neither of us ever
wanted. But there was one critical difference.
She knew how her brother died. I’d never know where my sister went to or what sort of misery accompanied her to her final days.
“Ooh, I think I found your eyes.” Cora’s breathy excitement made me perk up. There was always an unacknowledged race to see who could find the other’s eye color first in the
sea glass. We collected the glass, kept it as an homage to our love. Ten equally beautiful deep moss green pieces were tucked away in the apartment I
shared with my brothers. It was one of the few things they didn’t know about me,
and I liked that Cora got to have a part of me that even my two best friends—my
brothers—couldn’t access. Cora kept her Axel-blue sea glass in a velvet bag that she hid in her lingerie drawer for no other reason than she thought I’d like to be next to her panties. And trust me, I really did like the Axel-inspired sea glass living with her panties.
“Is it a match?” I asked.
“Yep. I think it is.” The smile was evident in her voice. Just then, my fingers connected with another piece. Perfectly emerald moss, with a touch of transparency that made
it a shoo-in for adding to my collection.
“I found your eyes too, babe.”
She hummed happily. “See? It’s God letting us know that distance means nothing when it comes to our love.”
I didn’t believe in the God part, but I sure believed in the rest of it. “Distance…time…nothing
can come between us.”
The words felt like an edict, reinforcing the truth so that neither of us forgot it. So that
it became a weapon that we both could wield in the war that was sure to unfold soon.
Because no matter how much we loved each other, no matter how close to our MBAs we crept, only one thing truly stood a chance of coming between us.
Allan Margulis and his iron grip on his daughter.
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