The Millionaire's Deception

By: Wendy Byrne


She smiled and shook her head. “I was a good little Italian girl, after all. You don’t want to know about the scene with my parents when they figured out I wasn’t a virgin anymore.” Seriously, did she have to tell him about losing her virginity? Had she gone stark raving mad? Talking to a serial killer/bank robber about her deflowering seemed akin to prancing around naked in front of him, followed by a lap dance chaser. Could she get any more obvious she wanted a piece of him?

“How did they figure it out?”

“My mom said she could sense it in the way I walked.” She closed her eyes and giggled.

He finally stopped laughing long enough to ask, “You never explained the nickname Titi.” Was it her imagination or did his gaze zone in on her chest?

She glanced downward and laughed. “As you can see it has nothing to do with my large breasts or lack thereof. The boys used to say I always smelled like spaghetti. Not too surprising since I practically lived in this restaurant and my pops was always cooking gravy, as we Italians call it.”

“I’m going to have to check that out.”

While she turned, thinking he was referring to the kitchen, he sneaked in close and nuzzled her neck. She could have sworn her heart stopped when his lips hovered above the sensitive pulse. Hormones went on high alert and were doing a fire drill in anticipation of the blast. “Ah…” was as intelligent a response she could utter.

“Smells like citrus if you ask me.” His lips were inches from her face and his pepperminty breath washed over her. Was it her imagination or did it seem like he was about to kiss her?

Kill. Me. Now.

Killer instinct. Check.

Seduction 101. Check.

Women loved the neck thing. And she smelled incredible, so it wasn’t a hardship.

“I…I…think…” She made a waving motion with her hand and scooted away without finishing the remainder of her thought.

Rafe had pondered the idea of kissing her, but held back. Too soon. This whole thing was about pacing. A roomful of people, a woman he’d known all of two hours—add in some time for reflection for her to think it through—and she’d wonder about his motivation. He didn’t want that.

Either through circumstances of his birth or true to his astrological sign of Taurus, he was stubborn and determined in everything he undertook, and he wouldn’t give up until he had her signature on the contract. Ambitious and craving the stability of a healthy bank balance translated into his being a shark. A little flirting to grease the wheels was kosher, but he’d never crossed that line before and gotten emotionally involved in one of his business acquisitions.

Still, he couldn’t help but admire the slight sway to her hips as he indulged himself and watched her walk away. Frankie was unique, that was damn sure.

He spotted the hint of tears in her eyes as she talked about her parents. That kind of unconditional love and guidance was something he couldn’t relate to, but that didn’t mean he didn’t understand it. He’d grown up in the school of hard knocks, and it had made him a better man because of it. Unlike his father, who couldn’t seem to keep a job. Or if he managed to get one, they’d still barely survived because good old dad drank away most of his paycheck.

As for Rafe, once he set a goal, he did everything to achieve it. “Determined” seemed too passive a word to describe his commitment to set a different path for his life than the one he’d been given.

He pulled out his phone. It had been a stroke of genius to yank some wires from his bike, making it inoperable. He’d expected to seal the deal in a matter of hours and be on his way back to New York. But this little Italian vixen was more of a challenge than he’d thought.

Right now he needed to focus on his objective, but so far he hadn’t found anything that helped him uncover her weakness. There had to be a kink in that perfect armor she presented to the world. It wouldn’t take him long to find it.

Being able to spend more time with her was the bonus of his plan.

I’m in, he texted to the execs at Probst.

Get it done by the end of the month and we’ll triple your two million dollar fee was the response.

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