Tuesday, March 5, 2024

Stolen by the Billionaire by Blair Babylon (Twisted Billionaires, #5) ~ @XpressoTours ~ Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

Stolen by the Billionaire
Blair Babylon
(Twisted Billionaires, #5)
Publication date: March 5th 2024
Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Romantic Suspense, Suspense

From USA Today bestselling author Blair Babylon comes a new edge-of-your-seat romantic suspense thriller between an Iowa farm girl and the ex-Navy SEAL billionaire who kidnaps her.

I am an American Navy SEAL, and I will not be blackmailed by a goddamn Russian mafia boss.

Years ago, I parlayed a loan into a billion-dollar crypto fortune. The head of the White Russian Syndicate is demanding I pay it back in illegal military-grade weapons, but I won’t. I will not be responsible for adding to the misery of innocents.

It’s time to hit back at the head of the White Russian Syndicate.

So I kidnap the mafia boss’s niece.

Who I did not realize is my best friend’s estranged little sister.

Who he’s never mentioned.

Not even once.

Sarah is a sweet little hayseed right off her Iowa farm, but when the mafia boss decides she’s a liability to eliminate, she becomes my responsibility to protect.

We’re on the run. But with each passing day, with each attack I defend her from, every hotel room with only one bed, I’m starting to fall for her.

The Russian mafia wants Sarah dead, and her brother is going to murder me when he finds out I’ve gone too far with his sister.

If you like:

✓ Enemies to Lovers

✓✓ Only one bed!

✓✓✓ On the run thrill rides!

✓✓✓✓ Hot, ripped billionaires

✓✓✓✓✓ Spicy stuff with ropes

You’ll love Blair Babylon’s Thrillers that Bang!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Blair Babylon writes bestselling romance books that will free your mind. These five star billionaire boss, enemies to lovers, friends to lovers, and romantic novels quickly turn into suspense thriller books that will make your pulse pound and soothe your heart. Whether the couple are trapped in a pretend marriage or there’s only one bed, Blair’s books are like romancing your own duke, mister, or billionaire. Some are an ugly cry, some are an affair to remember with a king or a prince, and some are a few shades darker, but all are unputdownable. Fans of E.L. James, Rina Kent, Nicole Snow, Sadie Kincaid, Catharina Maura, and Shantel Tessier will love Blair’s romantic books and romance audiobooks. Set your heart free with these fantastic, complete series!

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Read an Excerpt:

Blaze

Blaze Robinson crossed his ankle over his knee as he sat in front of his lawyer’s desk, trying to get comfortable but not fidget in the chair that was scaled for someone much smaller than he was. The squat seat made his knees stick up like a grasshopper, and his shoulders were broader than the chair’s back. He growled, “I am an American Navy SEAL, and I will not be blackmailed by a goddamn Russian mafia boss.”

The lawyer behind the desk, B├Čnh Huong, broke eye contact and looked down at the letter and documents he was holding. The corner of the paper in his hands wavered, and his fingers tightened. His hair on the top of his head stuck up where it had been cut too short. “This Mary Varvara Bell, whom you say is involved in organized crime, never specifically threatens you with physical harm in the letter. If she had, I would’ve recommended that you take it directly to the FBI.”

Blaze bent one elbow, squeezing his bicep. His suit jacket tightened around his arm, and he rubbed his chin. “We will not be involving the authorities.”

Dealings with foreign agents like Russian oligarchs could get his Top Secret security clearance revoked, even unwilling dealings.

“I’m shocked that she rejected your settlement offers,” the lawyer said. “They were overly generous, assuming she doesn’t want to go to court.”

“She knows I won’t.”

The lawyer glanced up at Blaze again before he hurriedly shuffled the papers on his desk. “I can’t believe a competent attorney allowed you to sign this loan.”

Blaze shrugged. “I didn’t have a lawyer. I was twenty years old and fresh out of BUD/S.” The elation and trauma of surviving the Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL training course, also called “A” school, had colored his perception with a blue sheen of invincibility for months. “I owned nothing except a few uniforms and my boots. It seemed low risk at the time.”

“But then the original signatory, Stanley Bell, died, and Mary Varvara Bell inherited the company.”

“Confiscated his assets in a hostile takeover is more like it,” Blaze muttered. She’d taken over the White Russian Syndicate in a maneuver like a military coup.

“And now she’s threatening you with fulfilling the conditions of this contract.” The attorney flipped his gaze up to meet Blaze’s eyes again. “You haven’t disclosed your financials to me, so I’m unsure what to recommend. Most career military people wouldn’t be able to come up with the money to purchase what she’s demanding unless they had invested the initial loan in something with a thousand-percent return,” he chuckled.

Blaze didn’t answer. He had accountants for financial advice.

The attorney rifled through the pages, referring from one text block to another. “The list of her demands in lieu of your assets will run to millions of dollars if not many millions. It’s twenty times more than what the initial zero-interest loan was for.”

“I’m aware of that.”

“I’m not even sure that some of these weapons she wants are legal,” Huong muttered.

Blaze knew a lot about weapons. “Some are not legal to buy or possess here in Illinois, but it’s relatively easy to purchase the equipment in other states or, for a few, other countries.”

Huong looked over the top of the pages at Blaze, his eyebrows raised in exasperation. “Is she trying to set herself up like Blackwater, or Academi, or whatever they’re calling themselves these days? This list looks like she wants to equip a private mercenary force. I mean, private warfare is a lucrative field, but this can’t be legal.”

“I could not discern her motives from the letter.”

This time, the lawyer stared straight at Blaze. “But you know why she wants military-grade weapons like this.”

Blaze didn’t know, but he had theories. The lawyer didn’t have a need to know his thoughts on the matter, so he just shrugged again.

All the possible reasons for Bell demanding that particular shopping list were detrimental for the world and the US, which meant Blaze’s US Navy SEAL brothers-in-arms would be in harm’s way if she got those weapons.

And that was unacceptable.

Damn, he wished he’d refused that stupid loan all those years ago. Nothing was free in this world. Nothing was even cheap.

Huong went back to scanning the documents. “All right, let’s go through the three basic parts of a contract, just in case we can break it. There is an offer and an acceptance on your and Stanley Bell’s parts, so it’s a quid pro quo agreement. That’s two of the requirements.”

Blaze waited. He could outwait anything. He’d spent fifteen hours curled around a sniper rifle one time, waiting for a terrorist to come out of a building, and he’d made the shot.

The lawyer continued, “As for consideration, the third component of a legal and binding contract, both the loan and repayment were something of value, so that just leaves your competence. You signed the contract when you were of legal age to do so and weren’t inebriated or otherwise compromised, right?”

Blaze nodded. He’d been stone-cold sober. Stanley Bell, the Malefactor, had been drunk. Mary Varvara Bell would waive that stipulation if he tried to take her to court over it, so it didn’t count.

“You received the money from Mr. Stanley Bell, Mary Varvara Bell’s predecessor in the company White Holdings LLC, so that fulfills their end of the contract and makes you liable for the later repayment clause. The contract is with the company, not with Mr. Bell, so you were not released from the debt when Stanley Bell died.”

That was where Blaze had made his mistake. When the Malefactor had died, he’d breathed a sigh of relief.

All four of them had erred in their supposed liberation. Tristan “Twist” King, Micah Shine, Logan Bell, and he had partied on Twist’s yacht in Monaco and toasted Stanley Bell’s probable descent into Hell.

But they’d breathed easy too soon.

The Devil always comes to collect a debt.

The lawyer shook his head. “I’m sorry, Mr. Robinson, but you need to liquidate all your assets and possessions and turn everything you own over to White Holdings. Otherwise, you’d have to figure out how to purchase this dictator’s wish list of weapons, ammunition, and sundry military items, including military-grade body armor and devices, and we both know that’s impossible.”

Not impossible. Just morally reprehensible.

And irresponsible on a global scale.

An irritated twinge snapped the corner of Blaze’s eye, and he rubbed the lid to dispel it.

Acquiring the military supplies and dumping them on Bell’s doorstep to discharge the debt wasn’t an option for Blaze. The guilt and shame would’ve been like his father was in the room and commenting on his homework or Little League game.

Huong tapped the documents on the desk, straightening the edges, and held the sheaf of paper out to him over the desk. “As your lawyer, I would advise you to discuss it with your financial advisors and determine which amount is less. If purchasing an army’s worth of weapons is less than your total net worth, then I would advise you to fulfill the contract. If your net worth is less, liquidate everything, hand it to her, and walk away. You’re young, not even twenty-seven. You have time to recover from this financial setback. Unfortunately, a lawyer can do little after a contract has been signed, particularly a contract as airtight as this one. Those are the rules.”

Blaze’s hands rested gently on the arms of the chair, not clutching, not cramping. His body was at ease, as were his mind and heart. “Rules? What rules are those?”

The lawyer shook his head like he was as exasperated by his uselessness as Blaze was. “Fighting this contract in court would be a waste of your money in lawyers’ fees. The outcome will be the same. Sorry, Mr. Robinson. I don’t make the rules.”

Rules. Fuck rules.

Blaze stood and straightened the slacks of the Armani suit he’d worn into the lawyer’s office. “Thank you for your time, Mr. Huong.”

The lawyer rose and extended his hand for a concluding handshake. “I’m sorry I couldn’t be of more help. If you need someone to draw up an NDA or negotiate with White Holdings on your behalf for a payment plan or time for you to liquidate, I can do that. I’m sorry I don’t have better options for you, but the only rational option is conceding.”

Blaze wrapped his much larger hand around the attorney’s and looked down at his lawyer. “A Navy SEAL always has options.”

“Contractually, you don’t. I’m sorry, but there’s no way you can win this fight in court.”

Like hell.

Out of sheer force of habit, Blaze recited, “No matter how much it hurts, how dark it gets, or how far I fall, I am never out of the fight.”

Huong jerked his hand out of Blaze’s grip and shuffled back from his desk, presumably out of Blaze’s reach.

Blaze didn’t realize he had growled the common inspirational SEAL quote until he noticed microdroplets of sweat welling from the pores on Huong’s nose and cheekbones and felt the dampness of the lawyer’s hand in his own palm.

Dammit, Blaze hadn’t meant to scare the guy. The lawyer was just doing his job.

Huong stared at his hands splayed on the wood of his desk. “Always a pleasure doing business with you, Mr. Robinson.”

Blaze nodded. “Likewise.”

He turned and left the office, walking through the rotating door of the lobby and into the Midwestern summer morning.

Sunlight reflected off the mirrored buildings crowding downtown Chicago, and a cool breeze skidded over Lake Erie and threaded through the grid of streets. A park down by the waterfront was lush with dark green grass and June flowers.

Signing that deal with the Devil seven years ago had been one of the greatest mistakes of Blaze’s life, but he would be damned if he’d go down without a fight.

Rules.

In warfare, the larger force dictated the rules of engagement.

US Navy SEALs were always the smaller fighting force, so a Navy SEAL was taught that they must break the rules to win.

Blaze knew how to break the rules. All the rules. Every time.

Mary Varvara Bell had threatened him, so he’d threaten something of hers.


Meet the Author:

"I'm passionate about books and literature. Books delve into what it means to be human and connect us to each other. I write intense, deeply imagined romance novels for serious readers because the world needs more love." ~~Blair Babylon

Blair Babylon is an award-winning, USA Today bestselling author who used to publish literary fiction. Because professional reviews of her other fiction usually included the caveat that there was too much deviant sex and too much interesting plot, she decided to abandon all literary pretensions, let her freak flag fly, and write hot, sexy, suspenseful romance.

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