Home > Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(12)

Billionaire Unbound ~ Chloe (The Billionaire's Obsession #8)(12)
Author: J.S. Scott

Maybe she was biased because she’d known Gabe Walker nearly his entire life, but she adored him. He’d be good for Chloe. She could see the difference between a man like Gabe and a man like Chloe’s former fiancé. The two were worlds apart.

Unlike James, Chloe had joined the group of vets in town, and she could easily put the position on hold while she took a new job opportunity. The group loved having her, but the practice would survive just fine without her.

“I’ll think about it,” Chloe promised as she finished the last gulp of her chocolate and got up. “I’d better get to bed. It’s late. You should be in bed, too.”

“I might be old, but I think I can function past midnight occasionally,” was Aileen’s smiling response as she watched her daughter take both mugs and put them in the dishwasher. “Sweetheart?” she queried tentatively.

“Yes?” Chloe turned to face her mom.

“You’ll find somebody someday who loves you exactly as you are. You don’t need to change. Your daddy thought I was beautiful, and perfect for him. Some man will feel that way about you when he’s the right man. When you find the right man, you’ll know it.”

“Gabe told me I was perfect once.” Chloe sighed.

Aileen’s brows rose. “Good. He was right.”

“He was drunk. It was New Year’s Eve.”

She smiled at Chloe. “Some men tend to be more honest when they’ve had a few drinks.”

“Did Dad tell you how beautiful you are only when he was drinking?” Chloe asked hesitantly, as though she wasn’t sure if she really wanted to know the answer.

“No. He told me every day,” Aileen answered, her heart still aching for her soulmate, even after so many years. She doubted that Gabe had said what he said only because he’d had a few. Thinking back, Aileen remembered Gabe having a few drinks at her party, but he had been a long way from being completely soused. “You are beautiful, Chloe. Believe me.” The protective mother in her might be biased, but she could see her daughter for exactly what she was: beautiful, intelligent, educated, and sweet—maybe sometimes too nice for her own good.

“Thanks, Mom. You’re beautiful, too. I’ve always wished I looked more like you.” Chloe walked over to her and hugged her before bussing her on the cheek. “Get some sleep. I’ll be fine.”

Aileen looked up into her daughter’s gorgeous, gray Colter eyes. “I know you will. It will just take time, Chloe. James was your one and only, but there are other guys out there. Decent guys. The right guy.”

“James isn’t my one and only anymore,” Chloe said adamantly. “He’s my history.”

“I’m sorry he hurt you, baby.”

“Don’t be. If he hadn’t given me a major wakeup call, I might have ended up married to him. At least I didn’t have to give him back a nice engagement ring,” Chloe joked.

Aileen hurt for her daughter. She could see pain in her pretty eyes, but Chloe, as usual, was denying that torment. James had never even bothered to give her an engagement ring. It wasn’t as if he didn’t have enough money to buy her something; James had just preferred to spend his money on himself. Her baby girl wouldn’t have cared if she’d gotten a small chip for a diamond. Chloe would have worn it proudly because it was the sentiment that counted.

Aileen wished she’d realized just how awkward Chloe had felt while she was in high school. Maybe she could have helped her back then and avoided the lack of confidence she sensed now.

If only I’d known then what I know now.

Aileen would have discouraged her daughter from getting starry-eyed over James.

“Make your next guy cough up at least a few carats next time,” she replied, thinking how much Chloe deserved someone who was willing to make a serious commitment to her and not to her money. She’d always suspected James saw Chloe primarily as his ticket to success and wealth.

Chloe nodded with a cheeky grin. “At least three,” she agreed. More seriously she added, “I’d like to get more involved in Asha’s charity for abused women. I know so many of those women have it worse than I did, and I understand why women stay in the cycle. Some of them don’t have a way out. I’d like to become an advocate. I’m not ready now, but I think I will be in the future.”

Chloe supported so many charitable causes that Aileen wasn’t in the least bit surprised at her selfless offer. She’d been so young when her daddy had died, but she knew her late husband would be proud of his baby girl. Chloe had grown up a socially responsible adult who would rather give her money away than spend it on herself.

“I’ll help more, too,” Aileen told Chloe encouragingly. “I already contribute to them financially, but I’d love to do more.”

Chloe beamed at her. “We’ll do it together.”

Aileen smiled back at her youngest. She had always been such a happy child, and she’d grown into a cheerful adult. She hid her pain well, but Aileen knew it was still there.

“Mom?” Chloe questioned.


“How long does it really take to fall in love?”

Aileen paused for moment before answering. Finally, she admitted, “I don’t know. I fell for your dad pretty fast. He had a ring on my finger within a month. Sometimes I guess you just…know. Two people are just connected in an unexplainable way. I know it doesn’t always happen that way, but that’s what happened with me.”

“That’s what happened with Lara and Tate, too. She says I’ll know when I find the right guy.”

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