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Kian, p.1

Kian, page 1

 part  #1 of  Undercover Billionaire Series



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  Table of Contents


  ALSO BY MELODY ANNE The Billionaire Aviators Turbulent Intentions Turbulent Desires Turbulent Waters Turbulent Intrigue


  This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, organizations, places, events, and incidents are either products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Text copyright © 2018 by Melody Anne All rights reserved. No part of this book may be reproduced, or stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, or otherwise, without express written permission of the publisher. Published by Montlake Romance, Seattle Amazon, the Amazon logo, and Montlake Romance are trademarks of, Inc., or its affiliates. ISBN-13: 9781542046046 ISBN-10: 1542046041 Cover design by Letitia Hasser

  This one is for Chris. Very rarely do people enter our lives who we truly don’t want to live without. From the moment you stepped into my life, I knew you were that person. I adore you, Christopher. My world is a better place with you in it—always has been and always will be.

  CONTENTS Chapter One Chapter Two Chapter Three Chapter Four Chapter Five Chapter Six Chapter Seven Chapter Eight Chapter Nine Chapter Ten Chapter Eleven Chapter Twelve Chapter Thirteen Chapter Fourteen Chapter Fifteen Chapter Sixteen Chapter Seventeen Chapter Eighteen Chapter Nineteen Chapter Twenty Chapter Twenty-One Chapter Twenty-Two Chapter Twenty-Three Chapter Twenty-Four Chapter Twenty-Five Chapter Twenty-Six Chapter Twenty-Seven Chapter Twenty-Eight Epilogue ACKNOWLEDGMENTS ABOUT THE AUTHOR

  Chapter One “Dr. Forbes to ER STAT.” The voice boomed over the hospital speaker system at the same time his pager buzzed. It was a Friday night in Edmonds, Washington, and there was no time for rest, with traumas pouring in through the double doors. Kian was a trauma surgeon, and he loved the knowledge that he was capable of saving a life other doctors couldn’t. And when it came to the kids, he had an extrawide soft spot. Yes, he’d seen enough trauma to last a lifetime, but the hope that he could save one more child kept him moving forward. Kian swept through the corridors of the hospital as he thought about the fact that he was grateful to only work the night shift once a month. He’d paid his dues on nights and now enjoyed only being called in for special cases, but there was nothing that got his blood pumping more than a code-three ambulance coming through the doors. It wasn’t uncommon for the ER physician to consult with the surgeons, especially in cases of trauma. Kian screeched to

  Chapter Two No one ever wants to receive the call that Roxie Gilbert had. A far-too-efficient nurse had told Roxie that her sister had been admitted with life-threatening injuries and then wasn’t saying anything more. Roxie was well aware of this routine, as she’d been a nurse for the past six years. They weren’t telling her anything because they needed a doctor to pass along the information. She was left with no choice but to pace the worn floor as she waited for answers. She was left with nothing to do but think of the past. Roxie had run away from her small town of Edmonds to Portland four years ago—she’d run from her sister and from a life she’d once thought she’d wanted. She’d run from Kian Forbes. What had she done? What kind of person fled her only family? Roxie was afraid she’d never again be able to look at herself in the mirror, with all the guilt flooding through her. Tears continued to flow as she fought down nausea, fatigue, and anguish too great to describe. So, she paced

  Chapter Three Although Kian had never actually been hit in the face with a sledgehammer, that was the only equivalent he could think of to describe how he felt at this particular moment. It felt as if someone had come along and slammed a thick wedge of iron in his face, and now he was still reeling from it. His chest hurt, his body ached, and his face was tingling. He felt a mixture of sadness, regret, and disbelief, but mostly red-hot rage. This woman, this person before him, had been the only girl he’d ever given his heart to. And she had taken that gift, smashed it on the ground, and thrown it back in his face. His fingers twitched as he remembered the feel of the diamond he’d carried around in his pocket for months as he tried to come up with the perfect proposal. He’d known without the shadow of a doubt he’d make her his wife. And then she’d disappeared. At first, Kian had panicked. Something surely had happened to her. She wouldn’t have left on her own. They were happy, in love,

  Chapter Four The circles beneath Roxie’s eyes were growing deeper by the day, but she didn’t care in the least. What she cared about was that her niece was finally getting released from the hospital. Two weeks of sleeping on an uncomfortable couch so she could be by her niece’s side had been well worth the aches and pains in her body. Two weeks of seeing Kian every single day was playing havoc with her nerves, but even that she could deal with. They hadn’t discussed the two of them any further, and he hadn’t threatened her with taking Lily away, but his very presence was letting her know he wasn’t going anywhere. She didn’t want to even think about that at the moment. It was too much for her to process, and she wanted to feel a bit of joy that her niece would survive. But now it was time to tell Lily her mother wasn’t coming back to her. How was Roxie going to do that? Kian walked into the room and grinned as he sat down next to Roxie, far too close for her comfort. He easily reached o

  Chapter Five Lily was fast asleep when the three of them pulled up to Kian’s place, and Roxie was grateful. What had she been thinking? Maybe it had been a few years and she’d somewhat forgotten the wealth of the Forbes family. That had to be the only explanation for the awe she felt looking at the mansion Kian called home. She didn’t live in this world in any way. She was used to eating ramen and living on four hours of sleep so she could pick up extra shifts. Sure, she was a nurse, but that meant she had a lot of school debt to pay off, and she’d been on her own for a long time. Maybe one of the reasons she’d left Kian had been resentment. Everything came so easily to him. It wasn’t his fault he’d been born with money and respect, and it wasn’t her fault she envied him a little for it. It was just how life worked out. “Shit,” Kian mumbled beneath his breath, startling Roxie. “What?” she asked, afraid to wonder what he could possibly have to worry about. “It looks like my brothers are

  Chapter Six Dreams could be wonderful, or they could be terrifying. Because Roxie had always dreamed in color, which she was assured was a rare thing, hers were so much more real than the dreams of others. She also rarely tried to fight her dreams. She chose to go on the adventures her brain took her on. Stirring in her unfamiliar bed, Roxie wanted to fight the dream she was currently having. She didn’t want to face the reality her emotions were causing her to face when she needed a dose of fiction instead. Tonight’s dream was making her stir restlessly in bed. She tried pulling herself from the dream, but it was so real, so burdensome, she couldn’t get away from it. Her sister was at the end of a dark road, reaching out to her, calling Roxie’s name. No matter how fast Roxie ran toward her, she couldn’t catch her. Then, from a small opening in the wall, a huge man stepped out, a bloody knife in his hand. Roxie screamed at her sister to run as the man drew nearer, but Pam couldn’t hear

  Chapter Seven Roxie was unable to move. Panic began invading her senses as she realized she was trapped. Her heart thundered, and she snapped awake with a less-than-pleasurable entry into reality. Her eyes opening, the fogginess of her dream world was instantly snatched away as she found her gaze captured by Kian, who looked entirely too smug. “Morning,” he told her with a low growl that had her stomach doing tiny flips. Uh-oh. She instantly recalled her nightmare, and her rescue. Though she’d needed Kian with a desperation she wasn’t even remotely able to explain to him or herself, she also knew instantly it had been a mistake to fall back into Kian’s arms. It was going to mess with her head too much when she needed a clear mind. What in the hell was wrong with her? “T
hat was a mistake,” she said, her voice raspy. She chose to believe it was raspy from sleeping so soundly and not from crying out in pleasure. “Whenever I have a night like last night, I don’t ever think of it as a mista

  Chapter Eight It was always a surreal moment when you found yourself standing beneath a hastily set-up tent with rain coming down on the other side of it and people beside you whispering words of comfort you aren’t able to process in your fuzzy brain. Roxie wasn’t focusing on the closed box in front of her. No. That wasn’t her sister inside there. It was just a body, an empty vessel that had once held the spirit of her sister, a woman Roxie had been too selfish to get to know. The preacher spoke words of praise of Pamela as a strong woman who loved her daughter, who’d overcome great odds to be a person others were proud of. Roxie didn’t look away from the drops of water falling on the other side of the preacher’s head. When she squinted just right, she could slow down the motion and watch individual drops drip from the canvas and hit the ground. If only the preacher would shut up, she might be able to hear the splash. Why wouldn’t people just be quiet? Enough had been said already. “Ar

  Chapter Nine One Month Later As Roxie stood in the small house her sister had so lovingly decorated, had made into a real home, she had a difficult time not expecting Pamela to walk through those doors, her signature smile lighting her beautiful face. It was so much easier for Roxie to picture her sister when she was young, when neither of them had known how harsh the real world could truly be. Those days, they hadn’t been worried, hadn’t been burdened by the bad choices they’d one day make. That was how she wanted to remember her sister. Pamela had grown up and led a difficult life, and things had just begun to go a little bit better for her, only to be so prematurely snatched away in a moment that still didn’t have a resolution. Maybe that was why Roxie didn’t feel as if her sister was truly gone; maybe it was because she hadn’t been able to lay her memory to rest. Returning home to the city of Edmonds, Washington, hadn’t been easy for Roxie, especially with her past and all the memo

  Chapter Ten Kian wasn’t normally a patient man on any given day. With Roxie back in his life, his patience and attitude were being tested on a daily basis. The woman needed time to grieve and accept this new reality the two of them had been thrust into together, but he was done with her avoidance, and he was done missing out on his daughter’s life. Enough was enough. He’d driven by her small place several times, stopping often and pounding on her door. She was either very good at hiding, or she was making sure to be gone a lot. Being able to hide in the small community of Edmonds was pretty impressive. But now, seeing her so casually strolling in the park with his daughter was truly pissing him off. She could run all she wanted, but she could no longer expect not to be chased, not when she had the one thing in his life he wouldn’t give up. He’d been giving her time to accept what had happened, but because of his damn feelings for Roxie, he’d lost another month in the life of his daught

  Chapter Eleven Roxie was now very much aware of how someone escaping death must feel. Her heart was racing, her palms sweating, and her entire body shaking. She felt as if she’d just run twenty miles through a desert without water. She should have known better than to think she could avoid Kian forever. But being in this attorney’s office with him at her side was making the situation so much more real. He was Lily’s biological father—at least that’s what Pamela had told him in the hospital, and the fact that Sal said Kian was in her sister’s will pretty much confirmed that fact. Roxie didn’t have a chance at all in a battle with Kian. He had money, prestige, and was a doctor in demand. He was a Forbes, dammit, and that meant something not only in this small town, but all over the United States. Hell, probably all over the world. She wouldn’t be surprised if he went golfing on a regular basis with whatever judge was assigned to their case when he took her to court. Now, not only did she

  Chapter Twelve Relief. Sweet, blessed relief was what Kian felt at Roxie’s words. He hadn’t even realized he’d been holding his breath, but it escaped from him in a beautiful rush as she told Sal she was keeping the house, not putting it on the market. She and Lily were staying. He couldn’t miss any more of the firsts in Lily’s life, and he wanted her to know who he was and how much he loved her. He’d just met this beautiful girl and already she owned his heart. If he didn’t bring her into his life soon, then she’d never realize how much she meant to him or how much he wanted her. Yes, Roxie would be able to see Lily anytime she wanted—within reason—but Kian was well aware that wasn’t the same as waking up with the child every morning, or tucking her into bed at night, or having access to her company each afternoon. No, this was going to be very difficult for Roxie. On the other hand, he reasoned, she seemed perfectly capable of walking away from those she said she loved. Maybe he just

  Chapter Thirteen Kian almost felt the need to duck and cover as he entered the high school his brother chose to work at. What was wrong with Arden that he’d put himself through all this torture? His brother was a wealthy man; hell, they all had more money than anyone could ever spend in ten lifetimes, but they still found a love for life and for their individual passions. Arden just happened to think being a history teacher and football coach was about as great as it got. Kian normally didn’t seek his brother out at school, but he had to speak to him. Kian loved all his family members equally, but Arden might just edge out his other siblings as his favorite, even if he wouldn’t admit that anywhere but in his own head. The office staff knew Kian and had smiled with glee when they told Kian his brother was in the school cafeteria. They knew Kian would rather poke himself in the eye than enter that place. As Kian walked in, the noise level alone was enough to make his head spin. His muscl

  Chapter Fourteen There was a mixture of relief and apprehension filling Roxie as she walked from the interview with the emergency department at the same hospital Kian worked at. She’d applied at three other places, and none were hiring, telling her to come back in six weeks. She didn’t have six weeks to find work. She had to do it yesterday. She had a little girl to take care of, and no matter what her sister’s will had said, she wasn’t planning on sharing her with Kian. He was a doctor, for goodness’ sake, and busy all the time. She would calmly talk to him about Lily being raised by an aunt who adored her, or a nanny who didn’t have anything invested in her at all. Roxie would find a new job where she’d take as many night shifts as possible so she could be with Lily during the day. Kian, on the other hand, worked a massive number of hours. If the man wouldn’t be reasonable, then maybe a judge would see it in Lily’s best interest to be with family versus nannies. If Roxie truly though

  Chapter Fifteen Kian’s mind went blank as he pushed Roxie against the wall in the private on-call room. It was dark as midnight, and the only sounds were the rapid breaths escaping them. He was so hard and thick, he feared he’d explode from just the feeling of his clothed erection against her backside. “Are you playing games, Roxie?” he asked, his voice low and guttural. “I know how to play, too,” he insisted. He had the front of her body pressed against the wall, his own body acting as a cage behind her. Reaching up, he stroked a finger along the curve of her jaw and felt her tense beneath his touch. She wasn’t in any way repulsed by him. She was just as turned on as he was, and she was running. It was exactly what he should do. He had no business dragging her into this room. There was too much between them, too much lost. And their one night together already hadn’t fixed things. Even knowing he should let her go, he wrapped his fingers in her hair and pulled her head to the side as h

  Chapter Sixteen Lucian was on his feet as he paced back and forth in his office. Joseph and Sherman were sitting back, sipping on fine glasses of bourbon as they waited for him to gather his thoughts. He paced a few more times, and they knew they needed to give him space. “Why hasn’t that boy given an official marriage proposal yet? Too much time is wasting!” Lucian grumbled. Joseph smiled. He knew well how this worked. They were strong men, and they had equally s
trong-willed children. Joseph wouldn’t have it any other way. He loved his children and grandchildren. He was now itching to have great-grandchildren. Yeah, he knew he was greedy, but he could admit to that and even smile about it. “I think it’s amusing when he comes around, because you can clearly see his frustration. He wouldn’t be happy with a weak woman. Roxie is certainly his match made in heaven,” Sherman said. “It’s easy for you both to be calm; you get to be with your grandkids every single day,” Lucian pointed out. “I

  Chapter Seventeen Lily’s scream woke Roxie from a dead sleep, and she was on her feet and running before she was fully conscious. Rushing through her niece’s bedroom door, she found Lily sitting up in bed, tears streaming down her face. “What’s wrong?” Roxie asked as she moved forward and sat on the bed. Lily scrambled into her lap, practically crawling up her neck as she buried her face against Roxie’s neck and sobbed. Looking around, Roxie didn’t see anything indicating danger. Her skin was tingling, with the fight-or-flight mode fully in place. She rubbed Lily’s back as the child shook uncontrollably and mumbled nonsensical words. “It’s just a nightmare, little one,” Roxie assured her. Roxie rose from the bed and carried Lily with her to her bedroom. She propped a pillow up and leaned back against the headboard as she continued mumbling comforting words to the terrified child. After what had to be a half hour of sobs and muttered words, Lily gave a few hiccups and finally began to s

  Chapter Eighteen After putting in a security system for Roxie, Kian was able to leave town for two days for an emergency in California. But he was back now, and he’d insisted on seeing Lily. He was trying to give Roxie some space and respect, and trying to be patient, but that certainly wasn’t a virtue for him. Kian wouldn’t say life had been easy for him, but he’d been born with natural talent and the drive to succeed. It always seemed odd to him when others had to work so hard to make it in life. Didn’t everyone want to have all they could? Apparently not. Some just wanted to skate by. Kian wasn’t one of those people. Now he found himself more nervous than he’d been the first time he’d held a scalpel in one hand and the life of a patient in the other. He paced around the children’s park as he waited for Roxie to show up with Lily. He wanted to tell the child she was his; he wanted the world to know he was a father. But at least he was getting to visit with her. That was a step in the

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