Her Tiger Billionaire(4)By: Lizzie Lynn Lee
“I’m the husband, aren’t I?”
Annalise shook her head. “I’m starting to think this is all a bad idea.”
“Come on, where is your sense of adventure? This should be fun.”
“So it’s all fun and games for you? I’m doing this for my brother.”
“I know. And your brother would want you to have a good time once in a while.”
She quieted again. “I guess you’re right, Mr. Torvik.”
“And another thing—don’t call me that anymore. I’m your husband. Try calling me ‘honey’ or ‘darling’ or something.”
Annalise looked scandalized. “I—I can’t. We’ve just met. It doesn’t sound polite.”
He smiled. His new bride was even cuter when he teased her. “No? Then how are we going to pull off a convincing marriage?”
He leaned closer to her. “Try it—‘Sven, honey…’”
“You’re having too much fun with this, aren’t you?”
Sven laughed. “You can tell?”
“It’s just… I’m confused. You were cold when we met this morning. You didn’t seem happy to be married to me, and now you act differently. It’s like Jekyll and Hyde. I…I just don’t understand…”
“I see.” Sven sighed. She was surprisingly perceptive. Many women said he was a difficult man to approach on an emotional level, and when that woman finally got closer, he shut her down by putting a wall of thorns around him. But Annalise was different. He felt comfortable being around her even though they just had met. Sven could be himself in her presence. No more mask. No pretense. “I came to your house with my lawyer and that clerk from city hall. I have an image to maintain. I’m a businessman. People won’t take me seriously if I get too chatty or too friendly.”
“Ooh. That makes sense. You let people think you’re a badass when you’re actually a really nice guy.” Annalise nodded as if she’d just received a revelation. “Got it.”
“Badass? That’s an interesting way to put it.” Sven was very amused now. He had been dubbed plenty of unsavory names thanks to his strict and ruthless business dealings, but nobody had ever called him “badass” before. He took that as a compliment. He could already tell this new chapter of his life with her would be exciting. “Are you ready, Annalise? It’s time to see your new home.”
His staff unexpectedly greeted Annalise in the foyer. Sven had only told his butler Sebastian about the plan to marry Dune’s niece. Sebastian was one of a handful people who knew Sven’s secret, and he had worked for Sven since his company Synergy went public and made its first billion.
Sebastian had been surprised to learn Sven’s plan to marry, then overjoyed. The butler suggested a festive dinner to celebrate the occasion. Sven gave him permission, as long as Sebastian didn’t go overboard. No guests. Sven demanded absolute secrecy. The last thing he wanted was a horde of paparazzi hounding him before he made his formal announcement.
As soon as Sebastian opened the door, Sven could see that the butler had spruced up the posh Park Avenue residence as if they were holding Sven’s annual gala. The floor gleamed, and the crystal ware had been polished to shine. Redolently scented long-stemmed red roses in Baccarat vases graced the living room. The staff members—all present and accounted for—were dressed in their formal, neatly starched uniforms, ready to welcome their new mistress.
Annalise was awestruck by the reception. “Is this your apartment?”
“Yes. It’s your new home now.”
“You didn’t tell me you have a butler.”
“I have a full staff. They will tend to your every need. What’s wrong?” Sven asked. Annalise suddenly looked uncomfortable.
“I didn’t know you were this rich. I…I don’t belong here.”
“Nonsense.” He took her arm and escorted her into the dining hall. “I hope you’re hungry, because Sebastian has prepared quite a feast despite the short notice. He’s a miracle worker.”