The Millionaire's Forever

By: Sonya Weiss

His dark eyes traveled the length of her body in an intimate perusal before returning to her face. “What I wouldn’t have given back then to make you mine,” he said softly.

The admission surprised her. “Then why didn’t you ever ask me out?”

“And risk incurring your father’s wrath?” He shook his head. “No way would I have touched you. But now that I’m your boyfriend…”

Olivia took a step back, fighting to keep her words as civil as possible. “Has the sun in Texas baked your brain, darling? You are not my boyfriend.”

He moved past her with the walk of a man who owned the world and settled himself on the arm of the plush sofa pushed back against one wall. “That’s where you’re wrong, sweet Olivia. I’ve been your boyfriend since the moment you told that lie.”

She licked her bottom lip, her body heating to the temperature of lava when his eyes slowly followed the movement. Her wicked imagination could picture other things he could do to heat up her body temperature. Pull yourself together. How can I still have those old feelings for the guy-not-taken? Besides, they were worlds away from who they’d once been.

“How’d you know it was a lie?”

“I did my homework.”

Putting her hands on her hips, hoping she sounded firm rather than breathless, she demanded, “What do you want? Money? You want to blackmail me?”

He laughed derisively. “Sweetheart, I have more money than you could make in a hundred lifetimes.”

“What did you do? Branch out from arson to robbing banks?”

His laughter dissipated and his face darkened. He rose so swiftly that Olivia took a hasty step back. “I didn’t start that damn fire and neither did my friends.”

Olivia didn’t know what to think, what to believe about that. She’d wanted so badly to believe in his innocence back then, but when she’d gone to his house to ask him about the fire, he’d refused to talk to her. Later that week she’d seen the arson investigator’s report her father had left lying on his desk. Mason had bought gas in a container from a nearby gas station minutes before the fire. He’d hated her father and the deputies for always harassing him and his friends. The report stated that all four of the boys had opportunity and motive.

Mason and his three friends had been sentenced, but he’d received the harsher punishment. He’d run with a wild crowd of bad boys, but everyone knew he was the leader. His exploits made the rumor mill rounds and had mothers giving warnings to daughters that definitely went unheeded based on Mason’s reputation in high school.

“I think you should leave.”

He studied her, those dark eyes taking in the flush she felt creeping up her face. “You’re not worried that I’ll blow your cover? What would everyone say if the truth about your ‘boyfriend’ came out?” he mocked.

Damn it, he was right. She couldn’t let that happen, not now with her big break at hand. Her business would fold as fast as a wedding tent caught in the middle of a hurricane. She’d have to say good-bye to her dream of making Forever not only a tribute to her mother, but also the go-to place for one-of-a-kind wedding dresses. She’d lose credibility and become fodder for late-night talk show hosts. She cringed at the thought.

“If it’s not money you’re after, what is it?”

Mason moved closer and Olivia felt the heat radiating from his body. “You.”

As if. Her breath caught. “Don’t think for one second I’m available to become another tally mark on your sexual score sheet. I will not be pushed into sleeping with you regardless of your phony boyfriend announcement.”

“I’ve never pushed a woman into my bed.” His smile was pure confidence.

“That’s right, you’ve always had plenty of women, haven’t you?”

“There’s no reason to be jealous. From now until our relationship is finished, I only have eyes for you.”

“I’m not jealous and— What relationship?” Olivia asked as she realized what he’d said.

“Our relationship. I’m going to play the part of the very loving boyfriend you invented.”

Olivia hoped her thoughts in regard to his statement weren’t showing on her face. “Uh-huh, and in the rest of your fantasy, do hordes of women in skimpy French maid costumes grant your every desire?”

“It’s not a fantasy. I’m going to continue to play the part of your loving boyfriend and by the time our relationship ends, you’ll have agreed to sell me the land Butler Field Juvenile Correctional Facility sits on.”

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