The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden

She saw something change in his eyes, as if he were aware of her thoughts, and for one crazy moment she thought he might reach across the seat and pull her to him, his mouth taking possession of hers. And she imagined herself kissing him back.

The chemistry between them had always been explosive. That was the one thing, it seemed, that hadn’t changed. Her mouth went dry and she could feel her heartbeat racing.

Then the valet opened the door and she was standing in front of the hotel, watching Sam drive away. And wondering if that moment of connection had been just her imagination.

Olivia jumped up the second Camilla opened the door.

“Thank God. I’ve been so worried.”


“Sound asleep.” Olivia settled back down onto the bed. “Well? What happened?”

“He’s really angry. But I think he’s going to help us. I have to meet him at his office tomorrow morning.”

“I still think we should try to come up with another solution. You’re JD’s mother. They’re not going to be able to take him away from you.”

“You know what kind of people they are.”

Olivia rolled over on her back, stared at the ceiling. “Yeah.”

“Besides, it’s too late now. I can’t untell Sam about JD, and he wants to be part of his life.”

“I guess. I just wish for once you’d put what you want first.”

Camilla walked over to the bed, sat down, and gave her sister a hug. “Taking care of you and JD is what I want. And after a year or so, it’ll all blow over and we can go on with our lives.”

“Maybe,” Olivia said. “I don’t think they’ll ever leave you alone.” She lowered her voice, glancing over at the connecting door. “Not unless you tell them Danny wasn’t really JD’s father.”

“He was JD’s dad. In every way that counted,” Camilla said, stroking Livvy’s hair. “I owe Danny at least this much.”

“Yeah,” Olivia said. “Good luck explaining that to your new husband.”

Sam leaned back in his chair. The Camilla he remembered had been sweet and fun, with a touching vulnerability just beneath the polish. The Camilla who’d shown up at his office two days ago had concealed her pregnancy from him and married someone else just a week after the two of them had been together in Vegas. Despite being furious that she’d kept the knowledge that he had a son from him, there was no question he was still attracted to her. There’d been a moment last night when he’d had the urge to kiss her, just to see how much of the chemistry they’d had in Vegas was still there. But this morning the cold light of reality had set in.

He’d been searching the internet for information about Camilla Winthrop—Camilla Billington Winthrop—and it was worse than he’d thought. Her father had been an investment banker who supported his family in a lavish lifestyle. Then the market crashed and the authorities started taking a closer look at his business practices. It was reported that he lost his own fortune as well as the fortunes of a number of his clients, although rumors persisted that he’d managed to squirrel away a couple million dollars in an offshore account, earning him the nickname Bilkington in some quarters.

He died in a car crash before the indictments had ever been issued. He and his then-10-year-old daughter Olivia had been picking up Billington’s wife from an exclusive rehab center. The couple had died in a one-car crash en route to their home in Connecticut, which was by then listed for foreclosure.

He clicked through to the next article. Although nothing could be proven, there were strong suspicions that Billington had intentionally driven his car off the road, intending to commit suicide and take his family with him. The reporter noted that the couple’s only child had been the sole survivor, and that she was listed in critical condition. The wife had a daughter from a previous marriage, Camilla, who couldn’t be reached for comment.

Now that was interesting. So she hadn’t been Billington’s daughter after all. But she hadn’t minded using his name while he was flying high.

A child could never be blamed for their parent’s irresponsible or even criminal behavior. But still. A disturbing pattern was starting to emerge.

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