My Billionaire Fake Ex
She’s a housekeeper to the stars. He’s got a big fat family mess on his hands. When unexpected romance strikes, no one’s gonna get away clean.
Bel Air, California. Driven, coffee-loving, new puppy parent Ayla Duran should be finishing up her psychology degree and helping patients heal. Instead she’s cleaning the homes of the rich and famous, working off a devastating debt her father left behind and secretly battling her own fraud issues. Then the parents of her top client burst in on her cleaning up his bedroom—and her world turns upside down.
Already exasperated by his over-the-top parents and loud, sprawling family, Greek billionaire Dimitri Galanis is stunned to learn he’s been roped into an imminent arranged marriage. Even worse? His parents are paying off every woman he’s ever met to stay away. So when he catches security video of them giving breakup money to his housekeeper and terrifying her dog, inspiration strikes. Ayla Duran is the perfect fake ex-girlfriend for him to fake attempt to win back—just long enough for the wedding to be called off.
Ayla does her best to ignore how her heart flutters whenever Dimitri is near—or how quickly their play-acting turns to passion. But when Dimitri’s spurned fiancée threatens to ruin Ayla’s fledgling career and out her as a gold-digging fraud, Ayla and Dimitri are forced to accept how different their two worlds are…and that this is one mess that might not be possible to clean up.
Launching September 6!
My Billionaire Fake Ex is the steamy and laugh-out-loud second book in the Must Love Dogs romantic comedy series. If you like new-puppy-owning heroines, surly heroes with boisterous families, and humor with a blush of steam, then you’ll adore Jennifer St. James’ breath of fresh air.
Read an Excerpt
~ DIMITRI ~
The persistent chime of my security alert is the only thing that could possibly cut through the jackhammer pounding against my skull. I pry one eye open and scan the room over Shar’s soft, well-toned shoulder, barely visible among the mound of pillows. Galadriel lays tumbled on the other side of her, the expansive bed of the Ritz more than enough to handle both of LA’s finest debutante philanthropists. They don’t move. They won’t for a while.
I smirk as I uncoil from my own pile of pillows and swipe my phone off the nightstand, punching keys as I stagger into the bathroom. It’s barely six fucking a.m., the sun only now rising, and there is really only one set of chimes that could yank me out of bed this goddamned early in the morning.
The one that indicates my parents are breaching my house.
“Gamóto,” I mutter as I pull a robe free of a hook and lash it around me, snagging a water bottle as I head out to my suite’s private balcony. I want my full computer set up, all screens live, but my state-of-the-art security system does its job even on my phone screen. The foyer cameras catch my mother in full hysterical outcry as she enters the house with my father, Magdala’s hands already flapping, my father staring around balefully at the wreckage.
I survey it as well, with much more satisfaction. Last night’s party was epic—making the most of my Bel Air mansion and its pools, its party rooms, its endless supply of booze and food. The guests hadn’t constrained their consumption to the dining areas, and why should they? Life is meant to be lived.
My parents are arguing now, and I sit back in my lounge chair, taking a long swig of my water. Good, they should be angry. That will teach them not to interfere with my…
I freeze as a new creature enters the frame. A small, furry, caramel colored…dog? The dog skids to a stop in front of my parents, clearly frightened, then tears back off to wherever it came from. Who the hell has left a dog in my house?
My parents look at each other, their eyes radiating dismay as they then shoot their gazes upward. I know what they’re thinking. I’ve only lived with them my entire childhood. I hate dogs—all pets, really, but especially dogs. I refuse ever to have one. And now there is a dog in my house.
To my parents, that can mean only one thing.
They take off for my private rooms.
“Gamóto!” I curse again and scroll through the camera feeds, some of them capturing my parents racing through the house, some of them catching the tiny ball of fuzz on legs. I reach my bedroom suite first, only to see that not only is it as appropriately wrecked as it should be after a party…it’s also occupied.
A woman in a tight black tank top and black yoga pants kneels on my bed, wrestling my enormous decorative pillows into position. I can’t see her face, but her long, tawny brown hair is swept back into a messy ponytail, earbuds sprout from her ears, and her ass…
Well, her ass is exceptional.
My parents burst into the room a second later. With a grin, I click on the sound.
“What are you doing here!” My mother shrieks, and the woman whirls so quickly, she lands square on that exceptionally fine ass in the middle of my creamy satin sheets. She isn’t wearing socks or shoes—which only makes sense, since she’s in my bed. But why is she there? She looks vaguely familiar, but she wasn’t at the party the night before. I would have remembered that. Hell, if she’d been at the party, I might have stayed.
Then I see the hamper at the side of the room, and it clicks. This woman is my housekeeper. I vaguely remember a photo with the bio that approximates the gorgeous creature kneeling upright amid not nearly enough pillows on my sheets. But…she brought her dog? To my house?
Don’t dogs shed? Especially a dog like the one currently hiding under the bed, its springy caramel-colored hair probably spontaneously molting in the middle of all the chaos. I suspect the poor dog has never experienced histrionics like Magdala Galanis in full, hand-waving outcry.
I hold up the water bottle to my forehead as my mother’s accusatory wails fill the air.
“You! Who are you? You are this—this Galadriel Sensa? No. No, she is blonde. Someone else?”
I gape as the woman’s eyes flare wide. Galadriel Sensa is currently tangled up with her best friend Shar twenty feet away from me—the two of them deeply in love and needing me last night only as a handy colleague with a suite at the Ritz, not a lover. How do my parents know anything about Galadriel?
The housekeeper seems equally confused. “What? No. I’m Ayla. Ayla Duran. I’m the—”
“I cannot hear it. I will not hear it!” My mother bursts into tears as my father glowers from the doorway. Ayla stares in slack-jawed confusion, clearly searching for the right thing to say. Then my mother reaches her hands up in exhortation of the heavens and my father bolts forward. I’ve seen my mother do that before. It’s time for evasive action.
“Magdala—Magdala! Enough,” my father commands. “We are here, you are here, and this young woman should not be here.”
He turns his steely eyes on her, but Ayla is shaking her head, still clutching a pillow. The dog wisely remains beneath the bed. “What? No! No, I’m supposed to be here. It’s my—”
“She has a doggggg.” My mother keens, and if anything, Ayla looks more panicked.
“I’m so sorry!” she blurts, dropping the pillow and doing a credible job of slipping and sliding out of the sea of satin to reach the plush carpet. She looks around wildly for the puppy, but the dog isn’t an idiot. It’s nowhere to be seen. “I just adopted her, and she’s still quite young—I couldn’t leave her. She’s very well-behaved. She won’t hurt anything.”
“Dimitri hates dogs,” my mother wails, as if that explains everything, and clearly the housekeeper knows who signs her checks because now her hands come up as well.
“I’ll never bring her again! I’ll kennel her, I promise. But she’s really sweet and her name is…Daphne. Well, I think it’s Daphne, It’s kind of—”
“Gregor—stop her. Stop all of this. Dimitri cannot marry this woman!”
I freeze. The woman freezes. My father, looking like nothing so much as a man who wants the chaos to disappear into thin air, pulls out a slim leather folio from his jacket.
My eyes narrow.
Son of a…
“Ayla Duran,” my father says officiously in his thick Greek accent. “You will leave our son to his life, yes? You will not marry him. You will not date him. You understand?”
“But I…” Ayla inhales in a deep breath. “I’m not dating him. I wouldn’t. I’m certainly not going to marry him. I would never—”
I scowl as my father cuts her off. “We are in agreement, then. Good,” he decides, but my eyes stay pinned on the housekeeper.
What does she mean, she’d never date me? I’m Dimitri fucking Galanis, billionaire financier and LA’s fucking philanthropist of the year. I have women falling all over themselves to be seen within five feet of me. And this woman, this housekeeper, won’t date me? Wouldn’t even consider it?
My father gives her what is obviously a check, and the woman nearly blanches with shock. But she doesn’t give it back. So, what, she will accept money from my parents in return for not dating me, but she won’t give me a chance?
“I don’t—Seriously, I’m not…” she sucks in another deep breath, finally lifting up the check with shaking fingers, but my father turns on his heel. Meanwhile, my mother flaps her hands at the housekeeper with such vigor Ayla steps back, and the little furball chooses this moment to burst out from beneath the bed, yapping and making a run for my mother.
I quirk a smile as my mother turns and flees. Then Ayla drops the check to race after the puppy.
The room is empty, but I keep the camera focused on the check. With a few clicks, I zoom in closer. Closer still. Until I finally see what I need to see.
Ayla Duran has accepted $100,000 not to date me. Certainly not to marry me. Because these are things she would never do. It doesn’t matter if she cashes the check, rips it up, or frames it on her wall. She has accepted it, taken it from my parents. She has rejected me without seeing me, without ever speaking one word to me. She has turned aside my attention as if it is party trash. As if nothing I could do could seduce her, entrance her, or convince her to be mine.
I take a deep drink of water, then smile out over the LA sunrise, feeling better than I have in a long, long time. Ayla Duran is about to learn how convincing I can be.