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The Billionaire's Caregiver
From Agony To Ecstasy
The Billionaire's Wish
The Billionaire's Secret
Boxed Set Series
Beautiful Disaster Book #1 The Billionaire's Caregiver
Beautiful Disaster Book #2 From Agony To Ecstasy
Beautiful Disaster Book #3 The Billionaire's Wish
Beautiful Disaster Book #4 The Billionaire's Secret
People often think a new beginning is something that happens when there is a tragedy. Shelby Watson, on the other hand, disagreesentirely. Sometimes, a new beginning can simply happen to someone, and not be some epiphany out of the ashes of what was once a mess.
Simply put, life happens, but starting over is never easy. Shelby sighed and stretched out her legs on the sofa. Tomorrow, she would start again. Never one to be defeated, she knew she could pull herself out of this “new mess” she was in.
There was something about the way her big toe poked through the worn socks that made her rethink that idea entirely.
“ You and me, Dobbs...she scooped up her puppy who had buried its head under the thick blanket. “All we really need is each other.” Dobbs was a Chihuahua mix. Shelby found him by the door of her apartment one day, and when she opened her apartment door, he ran right in, in front of her.
He had been there since. It may have been the forlorn look he had about him that Shelby found endearing, or just the fact that he was standing there soaked to the bone. Whatever it was, Shelby knew she couldn’t leave him out there, so let him stay.
The sound of banging caused Shelby to wince slightly. The pipes in this old building were always making some awful noise whenever someone was taking a shower. Shelby looked around at her efficiency apartment.
Clean and tidy it, was her home. She lived in the 3rd block of town. The lower the number indicated the worse sections of town. This was no exception. Her neighbors all consisted of drug dealers and prostitutes, though none unfriendly. Shelby would work early mornings and try to be home before dark. As long as she kept to herself nothing bad would happen to her…well less likely to, anyway.
All of the details of her life had changed now. The part-time morning job she had been able to find, she had lost. Nothing of her doing, simply a cut in positions at the senior home she was working at. They had pulled her aside that morning and given her the bad news.
“ Shelby, your work here has always been wonderful. I hope you realize this is not a reflection on the quality of your work. It's simply based on the financial needs of the company.” Dr. Brenner sighed and looked over at her as he delivered the news.
“ Many of the seniors are moving into better equipped facilities and they…well they already have staff there. He ran his thin bony fingers through is even thinner hair.
It was obvious to Shelby this wasn’t something he enjoyed doing and decided to help take the pressure off.
“ I understand Dr. Brenner. I really do. I just don’t know how I'm going to make it now.” Life had always been a series of ups and downs for Shelby, and this was just one more set back. She stood to stand and extended her hand to Dr. Brenner.
“ Thank you for helping me get things going here Dr. Brenner. The last three years have been wonderful. I hope you will let me use you for a reference.” He stood and methodically pumped her hand, covering the hands with his other one.
“ I really am sorry, Shelby.”
There was a sense of helplessness that Shelby felt when she headed home. Now, she and her pup gracefully sat on the old worn sofa she had gotten from the thrift store down the street. Shelby decided it was time to start sorting the factors of her life out. She jumped up and grabbed her notebook from the counter.
Determined, she created her spreadsheet, lists of bills, things to do, what not to do, etc. Balancing her checkbook, Shelby calculated that she was ok for the next three weeks, but when the rent was due, she would be in trouble. She walked into her kitchen and pulled some canned spaghetti from the cupboard, methodically putting them in a bowl and then the microwave.
This is not where she envisioned herself a few years ago. She had big plans to go back to college to get her graduate degree in nursing. She was barely scraping by, but she knew that her resilience was powerful and that she would make it through. The one thing she was sure of was that she would not cry about it but would just keep moving on.
The next day things seemed bleak. Shelby walked to the corner store and bought a newspaper and began sifting through the want ads looking for a job. She wasn’t above doing anything and would do whatever necessary to keep things going. Sitting on her foot, she took notice of anything related to her field first.
Under the dark header she saw an ad for a home health nurse. Perfect. She picked up the phone and called, but was greeted by a nasty voice.
“ Kayla I told you I can’t do this with you right now. You will just have to trust me. It's better this way.” Shelby winced at the explosion.
“ I’m sorry Sir. I think I may have the wrong number, I was calling about an ad.” As she began to cradle the phone back into the receiver, she heard him yell.
“ Wait yes, Oh God I'm an idiot. Miss…Miss?” He was obviously flustered.
“ I’m here.”
“ Good. I’m terribly sorry. Your number was just like someone else’s, and well… Ok, so yes, can you come out today? I need to wrap this up before I leave this weekend, and I have only gotten a few responses.”
Encouraged, Shelby shot up out of her chair. “Yes, of course I can, what time?”
“ Um, let me think.” She heard shuffling on the other end. “How about now?”
“ Now?” Shelby looked around mentally, figuring out what to wear." Sure now is good. I just need an address.”
After getting all the necessary information, Shelby changed into a light grey dress and black boots. Shelby pulled her hair back and gathered up all of her references. As she started to walk out, she grabbed her purse and said a silent prayer.
“ Wish me luck Dobbs, this is for dinner tonight.”
Maneuvering her car down the highway was easy. Shelby loved road trips and had been into the town of Fauquier many times. Often considered the “rich” area, she never had much opportunity or reason to come this far out before.
Today was different. She had an interview, and hoped it would fix this mess she was in. Pulling down the long winding road into the countryside, Shelby admired the houses as she passed them. Most of them were old, and laced with gingerbread latticework. They looked warm and cozy. At the end of one street in particular, Shelby found the house she was looking for.
All she could do was stop the car and look up in awe. There is no way, she thought to herself. The magnificent mansion was on top of a ridge high above the roadway. There was a winding back entrance that was gated, and the front lawn was landscaped perfectly. Shelby glanced over at her car with it's rusted out fenders, and wondered if she really knew what she was doing.
With a sigh, she pushed her glasses back up and drove up the driveway. She pulled off to one side, straightening her dress as she stood and shut the door. She mentally prepared herself for whatever was on the other side of the door, took a deep breath, and knocked.
Billionaire, Michael had never been more frustrated in his life. He was handling the merger of two companies, trying to line up a meeting with his partner, and simultaneously trying to find someone who could come sit with his grandmother. At 40, Michael was all business with dark hair and eyes and didn’t have time for anything frivolous. His grandmother was his only soft spot. She had raised him, and her encouragement is what created the man he was now.
Suddenly ill, the doctors believed she had a stroke, and now she was in bed and unwilling to do anything. He glanced over at the clock. Where was this girl anyway? She seemed interested, but was probably another "no show." He started gathering up some paperwork just as there was a knock at the door.
Shelby waited patiently. When the door finally did open, she found herself stunned for a moment as she looked at the most handsome man she had ever met. Tall and dark, he was almost like a sculpture. Trying not to stare, she attempted to recover quickly.
“ Hello, I’m Shelby. We spoke on the phone.” She held out her hand to him.
Michael took her hand, shaking it lightly. He was not without his own reaction to her. Small and petite, she had hair piled on top of her head. It was dark brown and a wonderful accent to her almond-colored eyes. She wore little makeup, and was a natural beauty.
“ I’m glad you’re here, though I thought you would have been here sooner.” Shelby frowned at the gruffness in his voice. He wasn’t as pleasant as she had hoped.
“ I’m sorry, I was coming from Manassas.” She tried not to take offense, as he was obviously very busy.
“ I see. I am looking for someone to care for my grandmother. Full-time and an occasional Saturday. I try to be here on weekends as often as I can, and she has another nurse as well. I need someone who can try to get her to do more, or at least want to. She had a stroke a month ago and the doctors think she should be fine to get out again, but she is simply laying there.” He paused to look her over.
“ You're very small. Are you sure this is something you’d be interested in?”
Shelby felt the anger rise. “Mr. Jameson, I can assure you that I am very capable, despite your opinion of my small stature. Would it be possible for me to meet your grandmother? I think it’s always important to see how well I click with someone.”
“ Sure that’s fine. She knows you’re coming. We can head upstairs in just a few moments. I’d like to ask a few more questions first, if that’s ok?”
“ Certainly.” Shelby relaxed slightly. The fact that this guy was an ass made the fact that he was gorgeous much easier to look past.
“ Ok so I see you are working with Everest Healthcare. Do you plan to continue to do that as well?”
“ If so, this may be a bad idea. I really need 100% attention for this. My grandmother is very important to me, and multitasking is something most people think they are good at, but sadly…” he looked her over once again, "are not."
Fuming, Shelby responded in clipped tones. “No, I am no longer there. I was let go recently.” Before she could elaborate, Michael interjected quickly.
“ Why? Was there some sort of horseplay or something? I won’t tolerate any of that at all, Miss Watson. I simply won’t. You do seem rather young, and I can understand if this is something that you don't feel you can handle.”
He stood up as if he was dismissing her entirely.
Panic set in but even that wasn’t enough to calm her anger. “Mr. Jameson, I have been working at this for a long time. I am not young, as you so nicely put it, and as a matter of fact, I'm 33. I love this type of work, and the reason I was let go was for budget cuts, not horseplay. Perhaps if you allowed people to answer your questions without simply writing them off, you would have more candidates for this position.”
Shelby stood to leave.
Fire and ice. That was all he could think of. She was absolutely adorable when she was mad. He could see how her nose slightly turned red as she had been giving him a piece of her mind and although not used to being talked to like that, he gained a new kind of respect for her.
“ Point taken, Miss Watson. Shall we go meet my grandmother?” He held the door to the hallway for her and allowed her to pass as he made his way up the stairs motioning for her to follow. Shelby was surprised she had even gotten this far. He was a real piece of work, this guy. Money did that to people, she thought, and could only assume that was it. Along the hallway there was artwork. Some bright, some dull, and some muted. It was a lot to take in. As they rounded the top of the stairs, Shelby looked down and couldn’t help but think that her meager apartment would fit in the foyer below.
Nancy Jameson was in good spirits. She wanted to do more, but her body just wouldn’t allow her to. Besides, when she is here like this, Michael comes around more. He was her only grandson and always had been her favorite.
She had three granddaughters, but they all had their own families, and were too busy to ever visit. Michael had always been special. He had dark coloring like his grandfather and was just as stubborn. She smiled warmly as Michael entered the room with a petite brunette in tow.
Nancy didn’t miss the sparks that flew from the young lady’s eyes as Michael made some comment on how he could show her how to use the elevator if need be.
“ Grandmother this is …I’m sorry what your name was again?” He did look guilty so Shelby took pity on him and extended her hand to Nancy.
“ Hello my name is Shelby, how are you?”
“ Well I’m in this bed deary so not very good, I suppose.” She winked at Shelby and smiled wide.
“ My grandson feels like he needs to find someone to watch over me and make me do things I am not ready to do. I suppose that’s why you’re here my dear. Come over here and let me get a look at you.”
Having taken an immediate liking to Grandmother Nancy, Shelby complied and walked over towards the bed. Nancy noticed how her grandson followed Shelby’s every move. This was interesting indeed and was exactly the distraction she needed!
After a while of discussion and rules, Shelby stood to leave. “It was very nice to meet you Miss Jameson.”
“ Now Dear, if you’re going to be here with me all the time, I insist you call me Nancy or Grandmother, whatever suits you.”
“ Grandmother, no one has offered Miss Watson a job yet. I hardly think she needs to start calling you Grandmother.” Michael chuckled.
“ Michael Dear, it is my money is it not?” Grandmother smiled up at him lovingly and patted his hand on the bed. “So, I say she is hired.”
“ Shelby that is if you will take the job of course.”
Never a person to have nothing to say, it took everything Shelby had not to laugh at the interplay. It would seem that Grandmother Nancy was the only one to bring Michael down a peg or two. If for that reason alone, Shelby would take the job.
“ I would love to Nancy.” Shelby smiled up at Nancy and then at Michael.
There was some mix of being irritated by his grandmother’s words and being floored by the smile that Shelby gave him. He didn’t know what to say. After clearing his throat, he kissed his grandmother on the head and turned to leave.
“ Miss Watson, if you will kindly follow me back down stairs, we can go over pay and hours, and so on.”
Shelby said her goodbyes again and followed Michael down the stairs. He even smelled good, like leather and soap. What was most adorable was the way his hair curled in the back of his neck just slightly. What in the world was wrong with her?
Never suckered in by the connection between men and women, she usually had a fairly good grasp on self-control. Sure she had met a few nice guys and done her share of dating, but that was a long time ago and there had been no one in at least three years. Maybe that was it, she needed to get out more.
Offering her a chair, Michael detailed the terms and pay of the job. More money than she could imagine, Shelby sat stunned while he rambled on.
“ Miss Watson is that acceptable?” She glanced up at him sharply. Oh no, what had she missed.
“ Yes of course, that’s more than fair.”
“ When can you start?” He watched her closely. He could almost watch the play of emotions she was thinking and feeling.
“ Anytime is fine. I don’t live far, even if I was late today. So I am free anytime.”
“ I’m not sure if you realize that this job is more than just being here from one time to another. Obviously, you will have to move in here, as that is part of the deal.” He moved to gather up his things and glanced at his watch. He was already late and was starting to get irritated, as this matter should have been handled over an hour ago.
“ Oh no, I can’t do that Mr. Jameson, I have my own place. I’ll stay there.” He was surprised. He had seen the worn shoes she was wearing, and heard the racket her poor car made as it climbed the hill to the house. He just assumed that she would be more than happy to move in.
“ Suit yourself, but I may need you sleep over on occasion. Is that fair?” He caught her eye again and reached out to shake her hand.
He was all business and it suited him. She reached out and felt the warmth as he took her hand in his. She felt like he lingered perhaps just a second longer than normal; but it was probably just her imagination. There was something powerful about the way he carried himself. Like right now, just staring at her. Closing her eyes for a moment, she managed to get out “Of course.”
After saying their goodbyes, Shelby made her way to the car and headed home. What was it about Michael Jameson that made her crazy? He was arrogant, stubborn and bossy. He was also handsome, loving to his grandmother, and made her feel safe. All of that from one visit. Thankfully, he didn’t live in the house year round, or she would be in trouble for sure.
The next few months were a flurry of activity. Shelby commuted every day to her job with Nancy which she loved, and had enough money to pay up her rent for a while. Michael and she spoke on the phone almost every day discussing Grandmother's day and how things were going. He typically had a joke to tell, but on some days, he was distant and moody.
Either way, they had come a long way and she considered him a friend. Gone was the canned spaghetti, and Shelby was actually able to cook food for herself. Even Dobbs was happier. She had just settled down to watch TV for a bit before turning in when the phone rang. It was a frantic Michael.
“ Watson, my grandmother seems to have had a heart situation of some kind. I am in town and headed to the hospital and she has asked to see you.” He was obviously in pain as he choked it out. Despite their differences, Michael had been nothing but nice with her and she didn’t want to see him hurt. Worry was a motivator for Shelby and she immediately started to change clothes as he talked.
“ ..wanted to know if she had been acting differently lately or anything?”
“ NO no she’s been fine, and we have actually been walking a few times and…”
He cut her off immediately. “You had her walking? What in the world, Watson were you thinking? She wasn’t ready for that. Just come to the hospital as soon as you can.” He hung up leaving Shelby stunned.
She was frustrated herself wondering if he was right. She gathered up her purse and headed downstairs. Trying to avoid the people in the halls, she made it to her car safely and let out a deep sigh. Unfortunately, it was not meant to be. As she turned the key nothing happened. Slowly, she laid her head on the steering wheel. What now? She jumped out to look under the hood. Apparently, sometime during the night, someone had stolen her battery… now she was stuck. Knowing she could never forgive herself if she didn’t see Nancy, Shelby made her way back to her apartment and called him.
“ Yes What!” He yelled into the phone.
“ Michael, please don’t yell at me.”
“ Oh it’s you. I’m sorry, Watson. The number thing again. Yes what’s up?”
After much explaining, it was settled that Michael would come by and pick Shelby up on his way. She wasn’t too far from the hospital herself but at night it was better to ride with someone. A few minutes later Shelby heard the knock on her door and opened it to a disheveled Michael. He was a mess, worry etched on his face, but handsome as ever.
Michael took in the apartment, if that’s what you call it. Small but tidy, he imagined she could do just about everything. His issue was with her neighbors.
“ This..is where you live, Shelby?” He gestured to the occupants sitting in the halls and the loud music.
“ Yes why?” Shelby had her pride. This was her place and it wouldn’t sit well if he was insulting.
“ I’m terrified for my safety out there. I can’t imagine how you’ve made it all this time. You’re so small and there are at least 20 people just hanging outside.”
“ I am not so small and I am just fine. Let’s go.” She crammed her gloves into her purse and yanked open the door leaving it open so he could follow.
In the car Michael looked over at her. She had her signature bun in place and there was a pained look on her face. Obviously, he had hurt her feelings.
“ Look Watson, I’m sorry. I didn’t mean anything by it. I just worry. I mean grandmother worries about you is all.” She had noticed the slip he made and smiled inwardly. He cared.
They arrived at the hospital and Nancy looked tired, but was noticeably happy to see her two favorite people. These two sure move slowly and I’m not getting any younger, she thought. She smiled at them both. What a striking couple they make. This little heart “issue” was just what was needed to bring them together for a while.
“ Oh my dears, I’m so happy to see you both. They say I’m ok but are keeping me for a few days for observation. Can you imagine two whole days? I’ll be bored out of my mind.” Truthfully, she was glad. She had been feeling uncomfortable today but she knew Michael was coming to town and wanted he and Shelby to spend some time together.
“ I’m just glad you’re ok.” Shelby was concerned at how pale she was. “This is my fault. We shouldn’t have been walking this week.”
“ Oh pish posh. It’s probably just gas or something.” Michael rolled his eyes at his grandmother.
It was at that time that the nurse came in.
“ I’m sorry, but you’ll both have to get going Mrs. Jameson need to rest...”
They said their goodbyes and headed out front. Michael was very quiet, brooding again over some business merger gone wrong or something. She glanced over at him and he was caught up in thought, so she let the ride continue on in silence.
They pulled into her apartment complex and Shelby began to open the door.
“ Wait, Watson I’m going up with you. I need to make sure you get in there in one piece.”
“ You don’t have to do that Michael, I’m fine.” She started walking and he followed anyway.
As they reached the top stairs of the building, a man reached over and touched Shelby on her leg making her jump. Michael immediately jumped.
“ Don’t touch her!” he moved between Shelby and the man.
“ Michael it's fine. He is harmless.” Secretly, she was touched that he jumped to her rescue.
Opening the door, they went inside. Michael was again impressed by the simple charm of her place. He sat down on the sofa and was greeted by a flying ball of fur. “Oh my, what is this?” He scruffed the dog on the back of the head and it bounced off.
“ You once told me you had a dog but I hardly think that little thing qualifies, Watson.” He smiled up at her.
Shelby had moved to the other end of the couch. “He is something, that’s for sure.” She giggled as they watched him get into a fight with a dog toy.
“ You should just move into the house with us, Shelby.” Hearing these words, Shelby caught her breath. She even noticed he had used her first name.
“ Why would I do that? I’m perfectly fine here.” What she didn’t say was that she couldn’t handle watching him with the various women he dated. She cared too much about Grandmother Nancy to ruin her relationship by being too close to him.”
At that moment there was an obvious gunshot. Michael jumped up, and in his demanding voice she had grown to love he simply stated, “Get some things, Watson you’re going with me.”
The ride to the house was uneventful. Shelby knew he was mad, but to be honest, she wasn’t sure why. He parked his car in front of the house and they went inside together. "You can have the room down here. I'll sleep upstairs and you know your way around. I’m getting a drink, I certainly need it.”
She could use one herself, she thought as she went into the spare room downstairs. Changing into pajamas, letting her hair down, and tucking Dobbs into the bed, Shelby decided to go into the den where Michael was and get that drink. If, for any other reason but to calm her nerves. Knowing they were here alone was setting her on edge.
He was sitting in the leather-bound chair by the fireplace. He already had a drink, or was it two? Nothing could prepare him for her entrance. It felt like someone had punched him in the stomach. She was in all pink and her hair was flowing down her back. This casual image of her was one he had played out in his mind during one of their conversations on the phone. He had thought about it …and now here it was.
He watched her walk over to the bar, pour a drink for herself, and tip it back. Impressive he thought. He stood up and moved closer to her. He could see all the shades of auburn in her hair when he was up close like this, she smelled like honeysuckle.
“ You’re moving in here, Watson.” He said it with a finality that only made her angry.
“ You can’t tell me what to do, Michael. I work for you, but you don’t own me.” She was flushed with anger as he turned towards her.
“ You could be killed, Watson. That place is dangerous, men groping you in the halls and gunshot…real actual gunshot, Watson.” He ran his hand though his hair.