The Millionaire & The Gentleman by Kimolisa Mings by Kimolisa Mings - Read Online

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Summary

Are His Secrets More Than She Can Handle?

Nia Armstrong, the founder of a growing beauty empire, is a self made millionaire, but her success in business does not translate over to her love life. Returning home to attend her beloved grandmother’s funeral, she is reunited with a childhood friend who has grown into everything Nia is looking for in a man.

The Gentleman has a secret, more like a few.

After much hesitation, Andy Smith agrees to join Nia as she travels through Europe acquiring new customers for her beauty lines. As they get to know each other, Andy refuses to share what he has been doing since graduating from college. What could he possibly be hiding? Will uncovering his secrets turn the elusive Andy Smith into Mr. Wrong?

When Nia discovers Andy’s secrets, can she look past what he is for who he really is, the man who loves her and who she loves…

Published: Kimolisa Mings on
ISBN: 9781310034695
List price: $2.99
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The Millionaire & The Gentleman - Kimolisa Mings

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One

Excuse me, Miss, the flight attendant leaned over a dark skinned woman who was bent over her lowered table. You are going to have to put those away.

With cell phone to her ear, Nia Armstrong looked up from her tablet. Hmm? it was only then that she noticed that the plane was taxiing to the end of the runway, and the final preparations for take off were under way.

Oh, yeah, of course, she said to the flight attendant. Then addressed her assistant on the other end of the phone call, Kris, I've got to go. I'll talk to you when I land, but have Accounts run through the numbers and I'll make my decision once I see the new numbers.

After receiving an affirmative, Nia disconnected the call, turned off her devices and stowed them away. It was going to be a long flight, but as soon as she could, she would be pulling out her laptop to work on the presentation for her trip to Europe. Sitting back in the leather covered seat of business class, she looked out the window as the plane began to hurtle down the runway, the view of John F. Kennedy International Airport becoming a blur as the engines roared.

Yes, Nia could have chartered a plane to fly home for Grandma Cora's funeral but she preferred to travel commercial. It gave her the opportunity to view her customers as they went about their business in their natural settings as opposed to numbers and graphs. She would be sitting at the gate, watching women interact with their friends and/or family and would grow her understanding of how they lived.

It's nice in here, isn't it? Nia turned to the person sitting across the aisle. An elderly woman with olive complexion, her white hair neatly tucked away in a bun and a warm, nervous smile on her lips.

Yes, it is, Nia replied over the engines as the plane leaped into the gray sky.

This is the first time I'm flying business class, the older woman admitted. Always passed it to go back there, she tilted her head in the direction of coach. But my son insisted that I fly up here when I come out to visit him.

That's nice of him, Nia said.

He says it's the least he could do, because if it weren't for his father and me, he wouldn't be where he is today, she said. Adding with chuckle, And trust me, it wasn't easy, Michael was a handful, but we raised him up right and now he can cart his Momma around in business class.

Nia smiled at the obvious pride the woman had in her son. Although she was polite and attentive, she wanted to get to work. The pilot had given the passengers permission to use their devices and the crew were busying themselves around the cabin.

I'm sorry, I'm Catherina Musso, the old woman continued. What is your name?

Recognizing that Mrs. Musso was the talkative sort, Nia resigned herself to a conversation that may take up the whole trip from New York to Kansas.

"Nia, Nia Armstrong, she replied.

What do you do? The question was expected.

I am the founder and CEO of NIA, a beauty line for women of color. This was Nia's go to response. Normally, she would get one of two responses. One would be recognition of her growing brand. This came from people who had heard of the line or actual customers. The other reaction would be a polite smile, something that translated to Oh, that's nice. What the people in the second camp didn't know was her company was a multi-million dollar company with aims of being listed on the New York Stock Exchange.

For some reason this didn't impress many people, but it was quite an achievement. All starting out with Grandma Cora's recipe for a hair butter.

With a polite smile, Mrs. Musso asked the dreaded questions, Are you married, dear? and Do you have any kids? Both of which received a no from Nia.

With a knowing nod, the older woman said, Too busy with your career, but don't wait too long. You don't want to end up alone in your old age. Mr. Musso and I had been together for 53 years and when he went to be with the Lord, my sons were there to make sure I was taken care of.

Returning the woman's smile, Nia said nothing. It wasn't the first time she had heard something like this and she knew it wouldn't be the last time during her week in Lambert, Kansas. Perhaps, it was best she got the first taste of what to expect, she was sure to hear it from her extended family, especially as Nia was her mother's only child.

The prospect of being under her mother's roof made Nia cringe inwardly. Yolanda Armstrong was not going to make her daughter's time back home an enjoyable one.

Two

All you've got to say for yourself is revenues are up in the last quarter and are projected to go higher, Yolanda Armstrong was in mid-rant as she stacked dishes from the night before when most of the family had come to visit. Nia, when people ask you how you're doing, they are not asking for a financial report on your company. They're asking how you are doing. Emphasis on you was like a teacher underlining the word with red ink.

Apart from her mother's biting monologue on the shortcomings of Nia's life, it was a beautiful Autumn morning. The sun lit up the recently remodeled kitchen that still had the memories of Nia's childhood haunting the nooks and crannies. There was the space she had inhabited when she scraped off half the skin of her right hip all in the name of a dare. Her mother scolded her as she tended to the wound while her father laughed as Nia recalled the tale of her winning the dare.

Her childhood into her adulthood was littered with memories like this. Her mother scolding and her father laughing, and today was no different. It was as though Nia had stepped back five, ten, twenty years in time. It all felt the same.

Come on, Yolanda, Douglas Armstrong looked up from his newspaper at his wife of thirty-six years. If the girl wants to gloat about her business, let her. For the record, it is good to know she's doing well for herself, unlike some of her cousins.

Talking about cousins, Nia's mother continued, choosing what suited her from her husband's contribution. Cherise had her fourth baby, a boy named Malique with a 'q'. I had sent you an email, but I don't think you got it seeing I didn't get a response from you.

It's probably still in my in box, Nia muttered as she swiped at the surface of her cell phone.

I sent it two months ago, Yolanda exclaimed. I swear if you put as much time and energy into your love life as you do in your company, you would be on your fourth child like Cherise. Or even married like Danielle.

Balking at what her mother said, Mom, you really don't expect me to have four kids? Do you? Nia spun around to look at her mother for the first time since she started going on and on.

Brushing the question aside as though swatting a fly, Yolanda said, No, four kids in this time and age is ridiculous, but it would be nice to have one or even two grand babies to liven up this old house. Turning to her husband for assistance, she said, Wouldn't that be nice, Doug?

Uh, uh, don't reel me into this one, he replied quickly. Whatever Nia chooses to do with her life is alright by me, as long as it makes her happy.

How can she be happy if all she has to warm her bed is a laptop? He mother started up again. She would have continued if it were not for the sound of classical music interrupting her.

Uh, Nia jumped up, looking at her phone. It's the office, I'll take it in the living room. Relieved, she hustled down the hall away from the kitchen.

Another successful rescue mission? Kris' cheerful voice came through the speaker of the cell phone.

Thank you, Kris, Nia said, crashing into an armchair close to the front window. From there, she had a view of the street and the entrance of the living room I thought I had gotten away from Mom reminding me of how much of a disappointment I am as a daughter.

Let me guess, she brought up Cherise and her fourth child, didn't she? As Nia's assistant, Kristina Park had access to Nia's email and had the task of sorting them, only sending emails that were important