Bound by the Millionaire's Ring

By: Dani Collins

“By all means, let’s make sacrifices of my brother’s innocent children before they’re a week old.”

She was only trying to help. Swallowing back a lump that formed behind her breastbone, she rose to walk a file to the cabinet in the corner, mostly as an excuse to put distance between them. “Do you have another suggestion?”


Oh, that supercilious attitude grated. If her father hadn’t badgered and cajoled, if Henri hadn’t offered her disgusting amounts of money, if she didn’t adore Trella and Angelique and now Cinnia, and want to protect her friends as much as Henri did, she would quit this job. Even this little bit of interaction with Ramon was too much.

“I’m all ears,” she said without turning around. She shoved the file into the cabinet, feeling a burning sensation streak down her back. He was not looking at her butt and she was not wishing he would. Seriously. She consciously tried not to tense, but she needed to resist him. She was so done with this man!

“Arrange a press conference,” he said. “I’m announcing my retirement from racing.”

* * *

Isidora had the nicest ass he’d ever seen—and he was a connoisseur.

When she turned with surprise, one arm remaining atop the filing cabinet so her buttons strained across her breasts, he stole an appreciative glance at that, too, before lifting his gaze to her astonished expression.

Auburn brows framed warm brown eyes. Her gold-tipped lashes were thick and lush. Her glossy hair, which had toned down from a bright copper as a child to a rich burgundy wine, was pulled back in a clip. He couldn’t help imagining it falling freely around those high, honey-toned cheekbones. She wore little makeup, needing nothing to give her skin that glow of health, or shape her plump lips.

He typically stuck with overt beauties, ones made with a generous hand that exuded sexuality. When it came to physical companionship, he preferred obvious women and uncomplicated encounters. Indifference was his goal. He didn’t objectify women, but they objectified him. He was fine with being trophy-hunted. He gave as much pleasure as he took and they both walked away unharmed and completely satisfied.

Isidora had never offered anything so simplistic. Her years of doe-eyed hero worship had reflected yearnings and expectations he could never fulfill. So he had done her an enormous favor five years ago. He had let her believe he had slept with her mother. That adolescent crush of hers had needed to be crushed.

She still hated his guts for it. Overnight, she had stopped accompanying her father to the office or Ramon’s races. She continued to visit his sisters, but sent regrets to any parties the Sauveterres invited her to attend. While completing her degree in public relations, she had maximized work-abroad opportunities. On the few occasions Ramon had crossed paths with her, she had left the room as quickly as she politely could.

That’s how he’d made such a study of her ass.

Her contempt had finally gotten to him last year, when he’d seen her at her father’s sixty-fifth birthday party. He had rivalries in business and on the track, but no one outright hated him. Isidora had been all grown up, incandescent in a sapphire-blue dress. Surely she was far enough past her childish infatuation to hear the truth and get over her anger.

“I want to bury the hatchet,” he had said when he’d cornered her into a waltz. “Let’s go somewhere private, talk this out.”

“Is that what you’re calling it these days? Burying the hatchet?” Her tone had been glacial. “No, thanks.” She had walked away before the song finished.

Still acting like a child, he had deduced, but he had her attention now.

“You’re retiring,” she repeated now, with disbelief. “From racing.”

“Si.” It was the least he could do for his family.

“But you’re still winning. Your fans will be devastated.”

“I have sufficient fame and money.”

“But... You love it. Don’t you?” She closed the file cabinet and faced him, weight hitched to one hip so her knee peeked out the slit in her skirt.

Definitely no longer a child, his libido took great care to note.

“It’s just a pastime.” Psychologists would say his need for speed was compensation for failing to catch up to Trella when she’d been kidnapped. That might have been true in the beginning, but he was genuinely fascinated by the mechanics of high-performance engines and loved competing. Nevertheless... “This is something I’ve been considering for some time. I’ll continue to sponsor my team and stay involved that way.” These were the pat answers he would give the press this afternoon.

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