The Billionaire’s Game – Chapter 1

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The Billionaire's Game
The Billionaire’s Game (L.A. Players #3)

Mason Kilborne grimaced as he read the text. It was from the actor Michael Sorensen, star of the small independent film Mason agreed to help bankroll when it went two weeks over its filming schedule and half a million dollars over budget. To express his gratitude, Michael promised to treat him to the services of his favorite escort.

Mason Kilborne grimaced as he read the text. It was from the actor Michael Sorensen, star of the small independent film Mason agreed to help bankroll when it went two weeks over its filming schedule and half a million dollars over budget. To express his gratitude, Michael promised to treat him to the services of his favorite escort.

Bloody idiot. He’d brushed off the offer as a joke. The actor had been drunk —and high, if Mason’s suspicions were correct — at the time. There had been no reason to take him seriously. Yes, everyone knew Michael Sorensen had a penchant for escorts. But just because he paid for sex, it didn’t mean everyone else did.

Mason, least of all.

There were already too many women more than willing to get into the sack with him. It was the money. He had no illusions about that. He knew women found him attractive, but Hollywood was full of good-looking people.

No, it was the money. And the power that came with it.

People were shallow creatures, after all. And in L.A., you’ll be hard-pressed to find a single soul that wasn’t desperate for either money or fame or sex. Not his friends. Not even his own cousin Jamie who ran his own film production company.

He tried calling Michael once. Twice. All he got was voicemail. He had no choice but to leave a message that he had no use for Michael’s girl, and that under no uncertain terms should Michael send her to Mason’s place.

“And for God’s sake, maybe if you showed up on the set on time, you’ll be able to keep to the schedule,” Mason added before hanging up.

Even if Michael never got his message, it didn’t matter. Mason was spending the rest of the weekend in his estate in Hidden Hills. He’d lent the apartment to Jamie who needed a new place to host his party tonight after his wife caught the flu earlier this week.

Where was Jamie anyway? He was supposed to come by at eight a.m., and it was nearly ten. Mason tapped the button for the reception desk on the intercom.

“Edgar?” he said. “I’m expecting my cousin Jaime Kilborne and his assistant. Just send them straight up.”

“Will do, Mr. Kilborne,” Edgar replied.

Mason made a mental note to let his cousin know the escort might be dropping by tonight. Even if she lost him as a client, at least she might enjoy the party.

He walked toward the balcony, yanking his shirt off. He tossed the shirt over a bench between the pull-up bars and the treadmill. It was a beautiful sunny morning and when the weather was this good, he preferred working out in the open air. Clad only in his grey gym shorts, he positioned himself under the pull-up bar. He grabbed the bar with both hands a little more than shoulder width apart and slowly lifted himself.

***

Ines managed to clean up her make-up as she drove without getting into any accidents. It was a bit reckless, she knew, but she had no time to stop and find a ladies’ room. The skin on her face was on the oily side, and after a night sleeping in her makeup, it was all hopelessly smudged. According to her mom, it was the Asian genes Ines had inherited from her father. “On the plus side,” she added with an envious sigh, “you probably won’t get a wrinkle till you’re forty-five.” Being half-Filipino was great for aging gracefully, not so much for keeping her make-up from sliding off her face.

The apartment building on Wilshire was just as grand as Ines expected it to be. The driveway snaked around huge twin fountains, and the wide front doors opened up to a large reception area with dark gleaming marble floors and an arched ceiling.

She gave the valet the keys to the Porsche and walked inside to the receptionist behind the desk. Nervous and self-conscious about the evening dress she still wore, she blurted out, “Jamie Kilborne. Penthouse.”

The middle-aged man in the dark suit gave her a wide smile. “Ah yes,” he said. “Mr. Kilborne is expecting you. Take elevator six down there.” He gestured behind him. “It goes straight to the top floor.”