The Billionaire Goes For Broke: Book 1: London

The Billionaire Goes For Broke

             

Book 1: London

 

 

 

By: Madison Rain

 

 

Michael Castle is a self-made success. His software company is a thriving enterprise with offices in Palo Alto, California and London. He has earned the bragging rights of being one of the richest people in the world. There is nothing he can’t have. Or is there?

Regardless of all that goes right for him, some things just are out of his control. His entanglement with fashion blogger Victoria Collinger spirals away from him. Danielle is alluring and will take him in anytime he wants, but this would complicate his relationship with his senior manager Steve. And just trying to find some escape from the drudgery of dealing with business problems is an issue. Thankfully he has his private island to escape to.

He runs with the fast and wealthy London crowd for enjoyment, and his home is to die for. Yet even with these fantastic status symbols of a single hot bachelor, there is one thing that nags him more and more. Whatever became of Jenn?

 

 

 


Copyright 2016 by Madison Rain

All rights reserved.

 

Except for review quotes, this book may not be reproduces in whole or in part with the written permission of the author.

 

This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual people, places, or events is purely coincidental, except where scenes are based on historical or real places to provide background for the story.

 

 

 

 

Chapter 1

 

 

Michael Castle was swirling a finger of Scotch around in the crystal whiskey glass in his hand. He was in his new digs, and it was barely five in the evening, but Michael didn’t think much of having a drink a little on the early side. This was a celebration. Another new acquisition, which meant that the software company his own was competing with for the last few months was now a part of his brand. He scooped up the competitor when there was a drop in its stock price. Michael chuckled softly to himself at the thought that a few years ago he had set himself a task of taking ten years to gain market monopoly in providing software security. He was steadily achieving that in less than five.

Michael tipped the glass into his mouth and in one quick swing had emptied it. He felt the warm amber liquid course through his throat and as an immediate effect, it tingled his fingertips.

“Michael!” He heard a voice behind him and turned to find George Manfield at the door.

“Good evening George.” Michael smiled and raised his empty glass at him.

“When I heard Michael Castle’s moved into Chelsea, I couldn’t help but stop by and have a look at the place. This is magnificent!” George had walked in, his eyes darting around the room, making quick mental notes of the polished white marble floor and the rich red-gold curtains on the windows.

“You’re very welcome.” Michael led him to the bar he had arranged to be installed in the room that morning. An army of crystal decanters lay waiting on the wooden counter; Single Malt from Edinburgh, Triple Distilled Whiskey from Dublin…and the list went on.

“Glenfiddich?” Michael asked, reaching for another glass. George nodded and smiled and Michael poured a generous finger into the glass and handed it to him. They clinked their glasses together.

“Welcome to the neighborhood Michael.” George said cheerily and Michael half-smiled. They took large sips of their respective drinks and Michael led the way again, across the drawing room outside to the long wide balcony which ran along the length of the room. Freshly painted and squeakily cleaned French windows were kept open for them to simply step through.

“This view is absolutely stunning!” George sounded excited as he rushed to lean over the wrought-iron railing and look over the massive rectangular courtyard and beyond, the pristinely maintained Kensington Gardens. Marble fountains adorned the courtyard downstairs and water sprouted from the mouths of fairies and skimpily clad maidens.

“Who are your neighbors?” George asked, turning to look back at Michael.

“I don’t know them yet and I hope I don’t have many” Michael said and George laughed. George was an English country boy, went to a strict boarding school, while his family boasted of sprawling property all over the most expensive neighborhoods of London. Fortunately, George wasn’t one of those people, that London was full-to-the-brim with - posh Britishers who snubbed a self-made American man like Michael. George rejoiced in it instead, was increasingly fascinated by the wealth that Michael had managed to amass at such an early age, and encouraged him to spend more time in London.

As for Michael, as his company flourished and grew by leaps and bounds every day; he himself had less to do every day. This meant that just spending time in his penthouse in Manhattan didn’t give him enough to do. He wanted more. Visiting London just for business trips wasn’t enough anymore, he wanted to get to know the city, spend some actual time here. Buying this house in Chelsea, in the heart of affluent London was the most obvious choice for him. Now he had something else to do, besides looking at people jogging in Central Park from his bedroom window in Manhattan.

“So how do you plan on dividing your time between Manhattan and London?” George asked, sipping from his glass. Michael sighed.

“Now that I have a house here, I can spend more time in London. I don’t think I’ll be visiting America very often in the coming year, other than for work.” Michael said and noticed the gleam in George’s eyes. He was clearly happy to hear it. Michael knew he was well liked in his new circle of friends, the ones whom George had introduced him to. They were amazed by Michael’s ability to spend money endlessly, that the money was all his, and  that he had grown up in a small one-bedroom apartment with his single mother in Chicago. Michael Castle was a curiosity to his new London friends, someone who could be the heart and soul of the party. He was rich, but he didn’t have qualms of showing up at a regular nightclub in Soho, or walking down Oxford Street and shopping for clothes off the counter. George and his childhood friends had appointed family tailors, never attended a social event they had either not made a booking for or been invited to. Michael Castle was a wild one, for them. They didn’t know what they could expect from the night if he was around.

“So are you planning on setting up a London office as well?” George asked, pulling out a chair from the circular chair and table arrangement at the corner of the balcony.

“No. I don’t want any office-duty to have to attend to while I live in London. I have Steve for that. No, my headquarters will remain in Palo Alto; I’ll just conduct meetings remotely from here in case of an emergency.” Michael sat down too, twirling the whiskey in his glass again. It was still a bright sunny day out in London, and Michael could already feel that happy lightness in his head he always felt when he was drinking Scotch. He looked over at George, who was now admiring the flowering vines that had been neatly decorated and designed to cover the walls of the balcony. He had lost Michael’s train of thought.

“So do you have a garden downstairs too?” George asked instead and Michael nodded.

“At the back downstairs, yes. I think I’ll host a barbecue tomorrow.” Michael said and George nodded furiously. He liked the idea.

George was lost in thought again. There was nothing the man liked more, than admiring and studying stunning architecture, a well decorated room and making mental calculations on the net worth of a house. Michael chuckled to himself again, how did he end up here? This was his lifestyle now. How did this happen?

He caught his own reflection in the French windows he was sitting across from. Tan patent leather Oxford shoes, steel-grey pants made of fabric that felt like butter to the touch. A white shirt that he’ll only wear once, or maybe twice if he could identify it in the long corridors of shirts in his walk-in closet. Yellow crystal cufflinks twinkled at his wrists. His hair was jet-black, wavy and neatly brushed back away from his forehead. His amber eyes were like his mother’s, green on some days, and blue when his mood was dark. His jaw was chiseled and beginning to take on a shade of light gray at this time of the day. He could still see the remnants of his college football days. He had a fullback’s muscular shoulders and wide chest. Under his clothes, Michael Castle looked the same; but right now, he didn’t really recognize himself. When he was a boy, he didn’t know a single person who could even afford the kind of watch he was wearing at the moment.

Only a few minutes later did he realize that George had been speaking. He snapped himself out of his thoughts and paid attention.

“You
have
met Victoria Collinger, haven’t you?” George asked and Michael took another sip of his whiskey.

“Yes, Victoria. Richard introduced us the other day.” Michael said, watching George’s face break into a smile.

“She is quite a woman, isn’t she?” George’s eyes were twinkling as he spoke of her. Michael laughed; there were many ways of describing a woman like Victoria, it was hilarious to him that George couldn’t think of any other word than “quite”.

“She is curious, yes.” Michael said, placing his empty glass on the circular coffee table in front of them.

“She’s made quite a name for herself in the fashion industry. We all expected her to simply marry rich and grow into an old socialite like her mother and aunts.” George laughed a little as he spoke. Michael raised his eyebrows.

“What does she do?” He had met Victoria, but only briefly. It was enough time to be left intrigued by her though.

“She started off by blogging about fashion trends. She has a few photographer friends who took pictures of her for the blog. Now she’s the most popular fashion blogger in the UK and apparently that comes with a lot of perks. Women all over the world hang by her every word. Or so I hear.” George leaned in towards Michael. “She’s single by the way. Or at least, she’s not serious about anybody.” He added. Michael laughed again and leaned back in his chair.

“What are you trying to say George?” He asked.

“That, I think I’m going to ask her out to lunch.” George was blushing now. His long pale neck had turned red, his face was flushed and his hands kept flying to his thinning fair hair. Michael’s smile disappeared, he hadn’t considered George to be talking about himself and Victoria. George barely ever spoke about women. Why did he have to suddenly pick one whom Michael had his eyes on?

“So you’re interested in her?” Michael asked, suppressing a nervous gulp. He couldn’t remember the last time he competed with another man for a woman. Besides, Michael always won. The problem was that Michael liked George, they were friends, probably the closest friend he had in London. He didn’t want to win against George.

“That’s what I’m saying old chap. So, should I ask her for lunch? I could make a booking tomorrow at Aqua Shard. No woman can so no to Aqua Shard.” George looked more nervous than he had ever looked before. Michael took in a deep breath and tried to smile. Michael himself, would do it differently, if he wasn’t interested in Victoria he would have advised George differently, who clearly needed a lot of advice.

“She won’t say no.” Michael said instead and watched as George’s nervousness dissipated a little. He trusted Michael’s judgements.

“I’ll have to get some new clothes. She’s a fashion blogger! Can’t have her writing about the ghastly clothes that she might judge me for. Any advice?” George asked, leaning in again. He was hanging on Michael’s every word.

“Just keep it simple George.” Michael was struggling. He didn’t want to entirely ruin George’s chances, he was a friend. But Victoria, with her long waist-length chestnut hair, her endlessly long legs…she was delicious.

“Yes, of course. Keep it simple.” George was mumbling to himself now. Michael studied him closely. George went to Eton College, was classmates with royalty, and yet had no self-confidence when talking to women. How had this happened to him?

“You’ll be fine. Speak to her first, make the booking and then I can swing by at your place this evening and we can decide what you should wear.” Michael felt instantly better when he said this. He had to give George a fair shot. He remembered the way Victoria had licked her small pink mouth as she spoke to him. Had she done the same with George? Either way, Michael always won, and if he did win he would have to win fair and square. Which meant, that George had to take her out, put his best foot forward and then give Michael a chance to prove himself. Just like George got a kick out of admiring architecture and decorated rooms, Michael got a kick out of sweeping a girl off her feet. Especially when it was done as effortlessly as possible.

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