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The Protective Billionaire

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An actress with a dangerous stalker and the billionaire who wants to protect her.

In hiding from her stalker, actress Aubree Nichols holes up in her friend’s mountain cabin. Then, while on a walk on the wooded property, she catches a glimpse of a man nearby. Terrified that her stalker’s found her, she overreacts.

Billionaire Cameron Shah just wants to enjoy the solitude of his new mountain cabin. But when his beautiful yet baffling neighbor threatens him with a branch, he’s intrigued. Too bad she won’t tell him her name.

When Cameron cooks up a plan to help Aubree, she has to decide if she wants to stay in hiding forever, or if with Cameron’s help, she’s ready to come out of the shadows.

This is a clean and wholesome standalone romance.

Scroll down to read the first chapter.

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Chapter 1

Aubree Nichols tugged the ball cap down over her chin-length white-blonde hair before climbing out of her car and making her way inside the grocery store. It wasn’t that she didn’t want anyone to recognize her as the former actress from the daytime soap Love & Lies—normally she loved running into fans. No. It was for another reason entirely. A reason that had nothing to do with taking selfies with fans and everything to do with staying hidden from her stalker.

A bell tinkled against the glass door as she pushed it open, then she walked inside the small market. It was early in the morning—too early for most people. Just the way she liked it.

Keeping her head down, Aubree wrestled a cart away from the row of carts that were jammed together, then made her way to the produce section. As she picked up an avocado and gently squeezed, testing for ripeness, resentment toward her stalker made her squeeze a little too hard. Fortunately, the avocado was nowhere near ripe so she didn’t do any damage. 

Still, her resentment lingered. If it wasn’t for Tyler, she’d be home in Los Angeles, blissfully living her life. Okay, maybe her life wasn’t completely blissful—after all, Tyler’s constant harassment had led the producers to kill off her character on the soap. At least, that was what she believed. They’d claimed it was what was best for the storyline and that her character wasn’t that important. It was true that her part was small, but it had been her regular gig for the last six months. Regardless, now she had no job and no income and her small savings was rapidly running out.

Before she’d gained a stalker, she’d lived without fear. Now though, she and her dog Maya were hiding in her friend Janie’s unused cabin in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas until Tyler could be found and taken into custody.

Desperately hoping that would be soon, Aubree forced all thoughts of Tyler out of her head and focused on something safe—the weather. The weather wasn’t threatening her, wasn’t claiming she was engaged to him. And it wasn’t breaking into her house and digging through her most personal belongings.

With a shudder, Aubree looked toward the large glass windows that fronted the store, concentrating on the gorgeous day. Thank goodness it wasn’t the middle of winter. Then she would have to trudge through the snow. Not something this Southern California girl would appreciate at all. 

Instead, it was May. Snow remained in the highest elevations, but where Aubree was staying the temperature was cool but comfortable.

Frowning at her plight, Aubree bagged three avocados, then grabbed a bag of spinach leaves before moving on to the tomatoes. Nothing like a big green salad to make her feel better. That and a piece of dark chocolate.

She went to the dairy section and put a half gallon of almond milk into her cart, wondering if her former co-workers were missing her—because she missed them and her job desperately. Then she made her way down the canned goods aisle.

* * *

Cameron Shah parked his black Jeep, hopped out, then strode into the market. He had a lot of groceries to buy and didn’t want to take a lot of time to buy them. The pantry in his newly purchased cabin was nearly empty, and besides a few drinks, his fridge was bare as well. He’d always disliked grocery shopping. Maybe it stemmed from his childhood when there never seemed to be quite enough food and each shopping trip was like a giant math test where he had to help his mother decide what to put back when they added up the cost and knew they couldn’t get everything they needed.

Money was no longer an object, but those lingering memories had him checking prices on most items before placing them in his cart. He was worth over a billion dollars now, but he still couldn’t shake the feeling that it could all come crashing down.

He rolled his shopping cart up and down the aisles, stocking up on protein-packed foods as well as carb-loaded items. Though he spent the bulk of his time at his desk, at twenty-eight, he had energy to spare and running helped to keep his athletic body trim.

Pausing to look over the different cuts of meat, Cameron thought about his job. But it was more than a job. It was his life. As the developer of several wildly popular gaming apps, he got a thrill every time he saw someone playing one of them, often having to stop himself from peppering players with questions about what they liked or disliked about the games. Holding back a grin, he placed several packages of meat in his cart. 

It was early and the store was nearly empty, so when he turned down the cereal aisle and saw a woman using the bottom shelf as a step to reach a box on the top shelf, he kind of gawked for a second. She was petite—couldn’t have been much over five two—and slender. A ball cap obscured her face, but he was able to see the smooth skin on her jaw, and her full lips drew his attention as well. Form-fitting jeans accentuated her trim hips, and as she reached upward, a strip of tanned skin appeared between her jeans and light blue t-shirt. With her left hand she gripped an upper shelf, the toes of her tennis shoes clinging to the bottom shelf, and with her right hand she struggled to grab a box that was just out of her reach.

I should help her.

When the thought came to mind, Cameron felt like an idiot for watching her struggle instead of going right to her aid. Moving forward with purpose, Cameron said, “Let me help you with that.”

As his deep voice pierced the silence, the woman screamed, and before Cameron knew what was happening, he saw her tumble backwards, landing on her rear end on the hard floor of the market.

Feeling like her fall was somehow his fault, and worried that she’d hurt herself, he hurried toward her.

* * *

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