Christmas Eve, Twelve Years Ago
What in the hell was I doing?
Basically, I was freezing my ass off looking for a runaway girl in the
middle of a snowstorm on Christmas Eve. What really pissed me off was
the fact that she was a spoiled eighteen-year-old female who I’d never
liked in the first place.
My nickname for her when were kids had been Cruella de Vil for as long
as I could remember, and I referred to her by that name so often that I
almost failed to remember that her real name was Harper Lawson. She was
the second youngest member of the Lawson family, friends of the Colter
family for as long as I could remember.
That’s why I’m out here freezing my balls off on Christmas Eve.
There was very little I wouldn’t do for my mother. But right at the
moment, I wished I didn’t love her quite so much. I never had been
able to tolerate seeing my mother upset. And, since the spoiled brat’s
mother was best friends with mine, of course Mom was worried.
Call me an idiot, but I volunteered for this torture just so I didn’t
have to see the stress on my mom’s face.
I hadn’t seen Harper Lawson in years, even though she lived in another
small town fairly close to where we did in Rocky Springs, Colorado. I
was on college break, and Harper had just graduated from high school.
Thankfully, Mom had stopped trying to push a friendship between me and
the younger Lawson girls when I was still in grade school, when I
finally told her how much I disliked Harper because she was downright
mean. Her younger sister, Danica, was a heck of a lot nicer, but I
hadn’t seen much of her, either. I had run into the Lawson brothers
occasionally, but because we went to different schools, we barely knew
any of them.
Only Harper had ever irritated the hell out of me. She’d always gone
out of her way to be a child dictator, and she flaunted her parents’
wealth like it made her better than anyone else. It hadn’t mattered
that the Colters were wealthy, too. She’d been equal opportunity nasty
to every person she came into contact with when she was a kid.
Judging by my current frigid trek through the snow, she hadn’t changed
one damn bit.
I smirked as my rubber boots plowed through the deep snowdrifts on the
sidewalk, finding it hard to believe that Harper might actually be in
the Denver homeless shelter I was looking for during one of the nastiest
blizzards we’d seen in a long time.
Apparently, she’d run away after her parents had finally set their
foot down on her endless spending of money she hadn’t earned. They’d
taken away her credit cards, her brand-new car she’d gotten for
graduation, and most of her extravagant purchases because she had no
desire to go to college. Obviously, she figured that since her parents
were rich, she didn’t need an education. Her plans were probably
focused on becoming a rich socialite for life.
Fuck! I hated rich kids with that attitude. I busted my ass in college,
and not a single Colter child had ever felt entitled. We were all either
working on our careers, or planning our own futures. We had a lot of
money, but not a single one of us ever considered just being idle.
I’d heard the Lawson brothers were all going to college. But Harper
apparently didn’t want to work that hard.
Really, I was kind of surprised that her parents had never recognized
how self-centered their daughter was before now.
Once the Lawsons had realized how incredibly spoiled Harper was, and
that she’d never planned to get any higher education, they’d finally
decided to cut her off. Harper had immediately balked and run away from
home. Well, technically, she wasn’t a runaway. She was eighteen, so
she wasn’t a juvenile. But she sure as hell acted like one.
Who in the hell ran away just because mommy and daddy took away her car
and her credit cards?
“She’s still a spoiled brat,” I muttered irritably as I kept
walking through the drifting snow, the cold starting to whip right
through my winter jacket and jeans. “If Mom hadn’t been so freaked
out, I would have stayed warm and comfortable at home, celebrating
Christmas with my own family instead of worrying about somebody else’s
Unfortunately, Aileen Colter worried about everybody. My mother was one
of the most caring people I knew, and the glue that held our family
together after my father had died years ago. She was such good friends
with Harper’s mother that she was horrified at the thought of a young
woman lost somewhere in a blizzard by herself.
I was a sucker. The sad look on my mother’s face had prompted me to
jump into a helicopter from Rocky Springs to Denver with a storm coming
in, just to find some obnoxious chick who couldn’t function without
her luxury vehicle and credit cards.
I finally located the makeshift shelter, grateful for the warmth once I
There were bodies everywhere, most of them on sleeping mats with a
blanket on the floor. Because of the weather, I knew most of the
shelters were overloaded.
I scanned the people on the floor, some of them sleeping, but many
sitting up with a blanket around their body.
My heart sank as I saw the people in tattered clothing, and inhaled the
stench of unwashed bodies.
Was this the best they could expect on Christmas Eve? Just stepping into
the place reminded me of how damn lucky I’d been. The Colters were
ungodly wealthy, and because my father had already passed away, that
wealth had been distributed to all of his kids and my mother.
At the ripe old age of twenty-two, I was already rich, but I’d never
for a moment not considered working, or getting a college degree. My dad
had been an educated man, and I knew he’d wanted the same for all his
children. My identical twin brother, Marcus, had taken over my
father’s legacy, while the rest of us were busy planning our destinies
by continuing on to college. Marcus had it the worst, trying to go to
school and keep up with what was happening with our dad’s
international business interests. I knew as soon as my twin graduated,
he’d be traveling the world.
And damn…I was going to miss him.
“Can I help you? I’m afraid we don’t have any space left.” The
female voice was low and compassionate.
The middle-aged woman smiled at me, a sympathetic smile that I didn’t
“No, ma’am,” I answered reassuringly, wanting her to know she
didn’t have to put me up for the night. “I’m looking for someone.
I don’t need to take up one of your beds.”
Fumbling in my coat pocket, I drew out the latest picture of Harper, her
graduation photo. “Have you seen her?”
The lady took the picture and examined it closely. “Looks a little
familiar. But I can’t quite place her. We’ve taken in a lot of young
I took the photo and put it back in my pocket. “Mind if I look around
a little?” Jesus! I hoped the tip that had come in about Harper being
in this place hadn’t been wrong.
The overworked woman shrugged. “Feel free to search for your friend.
I’d like to see one less person be alone on Christmas.”
I nodded, and then made my way around the large room, my eyes scanning
all of the desperate faces occupying the space. Finally, I did a
double-take on one solitary female, almost discarding the notion that I
might be looking at Harper.
The young woman had the same blonde hair, and was probably about the
same age. But everything else about her was…wrong. I edged closer to
her and her position sitting across the room against the concrete wall,
her arms wrapped around her body like she was cold.
As I approached, I could tell she’d been crying. “Harper?” I said
her name in a loud voice from several feet away, and she immediately
turned her head to look up at me.
She frowned and swiped away the remnants of her tears as she answered,
I nodded, unable to look away from the tortured look in her dark-green
eyes and the despair I saw there.
Christ! It was really Harper, but she looked nothing like her
sophisticated picture. She was in a pair of ratty jeans and a sweater
rather than designer clothing. She was wearing no jewelry, not even the
diamond pendant or the rings I knew her parents hadn’t taken away. And
her angelic face was completely devoid of makeup. Her blonde hair hung
down to her shoulders with a natural curl that was far more attractive
than the upswept, sophisticated style in her picture.
I crouched next to her. “I’m here to take you home. Your family has
been worried sick.”
She shook her head. “I can’t go back there.”
“You can,” I said firmly. “Problem is, we may have to stay in
Denver tonight. I’m not sure we can get back to Rocky Springs in this
weather. But at least we can vacate this bed so somebody else can use
She slowly nodded, and then rose to her feet. “That would be good. So
many people are in need of a warm place to be right now. I’ll go with
I took her hand simply because she looked so damn lost, and led her
toward the door of the shelter, giving the woman running it a large
donation before I hauled Harper out the door after she retrieved a
jacket that wasn’t going to be nearly warm enough for the current
Guiding her a few blocks away to the hotel room my brother Marcus had
been able to procure before I’d started searching for Harper, I
suddenly remembered it had been the only available room in Denver.
Because of the snowstorm and the holidays, everything had been booked
Once we entered the room of the somewhat rundown hotel, I informed her,
“We’ll have to share. This was the only available room we could
Excerpted from "The Billionaire's Christmas Virgin" by J.S. Scott. Copyright © 2016 by J.S. Scott. Excerpted by permission. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher. Excerpts are provided solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.