The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden

For a while he’d regretted leaving so abruptly and had hoped she’d contact him. She had his business card, but he didn’t have a clue where she was from. It was only afterward that he realized that when they weren’t making love, they’d talked about his plans, his future. Maybe the fact that she’d been such a complete mystery had added to the way the memory of those two weeks still haunted him.

He shook his head. He’d certainly never expected to hear from her five years later. Obviously, she was in some kind of trouble. And he didn’t need this kind of distraction, regardless of how strong the pull of curiosity was.

He turned, sensing a movement in the doorway.

“Hello, Sam.” His assistant retreated discreetly, closing the door behind her.

His first thought when Camilla walked across his office toward him was that she was even more stunning than he remembered. He felt, suddenly, as if someone had punched him in the gut. There was a large diamond on her left hand, and her clothes reflected understated elegance. Whatever her problems were, it didn’t look like they were financial.

“Camilla.” He kept his tone even.

He gestured to a visitor’s chair and sat down behind his desk. She was still the picture of cool sophistication and class, even more so than the first time he’d ever seen her. He had a sudden flashback of her sleek blond hair mussed as he ran his fingers through it, those long legs tangled in the silky sheets, her porcelain skin flushed, her quick little intake of breath right before she… Get a grip, Sam, he told himself, and kept his face carefully without expression. There was some reason she’d shown up here today, and he doubted if it was to reminisce about ancient history.

“I didn’t expect to ever see you again.”

“You’ve done well for yourself,” she said, looking around the office.

He was annoyed by his own reaction to her, and his words came out harsher than he intended.

“What are you doing here, Camilla?”

She shifted slightly in the chair. “It’s a little hard to explain.”

“Look, I don’t have time for small talk. So why don’t you get to the point.” He sat back, ready to digest whatever legal problem was on her mind. He’d help her if he could, but only because he still felt bad about the way he’d ended it in Vegas.

“Fine.” She crossed her legs and leaned forward, looking him straight in the eye. “I’m here,” she said, “because I need you to marry me.”

The look he gave her made her feel like a witness being questioned in one of his trials. She’d gotten his attention, but the interested and slightly amused look had been replaced by eyes so hard that she felt as if his stare were physically pinning her to the chair. The last five years had transformed any lingering traces of boyish charm into chiseled good looks with a slightly dangerous edge. His gray eyes appraised her coolly. She could remember a time when they had darkened with passion. Eyes like storm clouds that reflected the swirling passions he’d aroused in her during that brief escape from the most desperate time in her life. His thick black hair, so perfectly in place now, had been wildly unruly and she resisted the impulse to reach out now, to lean across his desk and see if it still had the texture of silk as it slipped through her fingers. Rekindling an old romance was not what she was here for.

“Is this a joke?” There was no warmth in his voice.


“I spent two weeks with you in Las Vegas five years ago. I’ve regretted ending things the way I did.” He paused and glanced pointedly at her ring finger. “But apparently you moved on.”

The nerve of him. He was the one who dumped her, before she even had a chance to explain what was going on in her life, how badly she wished things were different. She hadn’t gone to Vegas intending to meet a man who’d turn her emotions upside down. But she’d felt a connection to Sam. She remembered how they’d strolled through shops on the Strip the last evening they spent together, and how sweet he’d been when she spotted a simple silver chain in a jeweler’s case, with two interlocking hearts. He’d bought it for her, fastening it around her neck, and she had felt like she could at least carry with her this one perfect memory. But the clasp must have broken sometime that night, because when she reached to touch the hearts as she lay in bed thinking about her future, the necklace was gone.

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