Wanted: A Monster Billionaire Romance - Jani Kay
The sunlight hit my face and I squinted as I stepped outside and drew in a deep breath.
Ah, fresh air.
During the last five years, my cage hadn’t been completely indoors, though it might as well have for all the freedom the exercise yard gave me.
The world smells different when a man is free. Cleaner to be sure, and full of possibilities.
Inside, the air was stale. Stagnant. It smelled of piss, punctured lives, and withered dreams.
The far north wing of the prison was dedicated exclusively to white-collar criminals and there, anything could be bought for a price. I wouldn’t say I lived in luxury, but the conditions on that end of the grounds were far more comfortable and the rules more lenient than where the rapists and murderers were housed. Yet, my freedom of choice had been taken from me and that was the one thing I’d learned to value.
A few moments earlier when those metal bars clanked closed behind me for the last time, I vowed I’d never let anyone lock me up again.
Most inmates accepted the small stipend given to them by the prison and took a bus to their next destination, but I wasn’t most prisoners. I had money, and I intended to use it. I’d arranged for a cab to pick me up because a limo would’ve been ostentatious and might have sent the wrong message, like I wasn’t remorseful for my sins.
I was sensitive to that, even though I’d never committed a fucking crime.
I, Foster Cruise, am innocent.
It was as true five years ago as it was now, yet nobody believed me. Story of my life.
Nobody knew better than me that looks were more important than the truth. Hell, appearance is everything.
I learned that important piece of information after I’d been convicted for helping one of the most notorious thieves in the world, my boss, bilk hundreds of people out of their life savings. I hadn’t known a thing about it, but the authorities claimed that my boss, Arnie Hirsh, had taken their money, claimed to invest it, and had basically stolen it for himself.
A red, white, and blue cab pulled up next to the dark gray prison building just a few feet outside the electric fence topped with loops of razor wire.
I slid into the back seat and slammed the door shut. I never wanted to see that damn place again.
“Where to?” the cabbie asked, looking at me in the rearview mirror but not making eye contact.
“The airport.” No sense going back to where I used to live. Everything I owned was in storage, except for the one suitcase I had with me. Plus, the last time I was in New York, everywhere I went, people were ready to tar and feather me. My face had been plastered across every television news station and all over the internet. It was one of the reasons I’d grown a beard while inside. People were less likely to recognize me, especially on the other side of the country.
A few hours later, as I settled into the comfortable first class seat on the airplane, I took pity—for a moment—on those poor bastards sitting in coach. Was it my imagination, or had the airlines made the seats smaller back there? It looked like first class was getting even more luxurious. I placed the noise cancelling headphones over my ears, reclined my chair to a practically laying down position, and flicked through the new release movie menu for something to distract me from the constant chatter in my brain about both my past and my future. For a few hours, I didn’t want to think. I just wanted to sip on some decent Scotch and relax after I quenched my thirst with an ice-cold beer. Later, when I felt more relaxed, I’d access the internet to check the latest news.
Glancing around the cabin, there weren’t any women who caught my eye. Not that I was looking for a mile-high encounter, but it had been a long five years with nothing but my hand to keep me company. I may have been hard up, but at least I didn’t look it. My clothes were probably a bit dated, but most people weren’t as knowledgeable about fashion as I was. Keyword: was.
Thank God, I’d picked up some magazines at the airport. That would help catch me up, and when I got to California, I’d go on a shopping spree. Build a new wardrobe from scratch.
To be a new man, I needed new clothes. Hell,