The Mediterranean Billionaire's Blackmail BargainBy: Abby Green
Dante took the folder and flipped it open, not one shred of the surprise he felt at learning this information showing on his impassive face. He’d know a lot more than that in twenty four hours. ‘That’ll be all for now.’
He went into his study and poured himself a measure of cognac. Sitting down at his desk, he flicked through the papers. After a while he sat back and looked out of the huge window which had a view over the darkened lake, the glass in his hand. He was glad he’d followed his instincts in not calling the police straight away.
Much to his chagrin, he had to concede that she hadn’t been talking complete gibberish. He ran a hand around the back of his neck. Unfortunately, he knew exactly who Melanie Parker was. And, if what this woman said was true—if her sister was in hospital, claiming to be pregnant—then things could get very sticky. Obviously the Parker sisters were going for the jugular. Who else knew about this? There was only one thing to do. He would have to keep Alicia Parker close, until he got to the bottom of this mess and discovered the real truth. Until he found out exactly what it would take to nip this in the bud.
His mouth twisted after he downed the last of the dark liquid. With the news of his new love affair no doubt hitting the newsstands within the next twelve hours, it wouldn’t be hard to keep her close. A sudden image of her naked breast made his hand tighten on the glass. The last thing he needed right now was a libido brought to life by this…stranger who was threatening the equilibrium he so favoured in his life. But already his blood felt hot running through his veins, his heart picked up a rhythm and, as if possessed, when he closed his eyes all he could imagine was going back upstairs, wrapping a long skein of rippling hair around his hand, bending down and taking that lush, soft mouth with his. He wanted to taste her again, wondered if she would feel tight around him…
Not used to such carnal images invading his thoughts, he stood, agitated, and strode across the room, poured himself another shot, swallowing it back in one gulp. There was no doubt about it, they must be working as a team, the two sisters, or friends, whatever they were. It wasn’t even a particularly sophisticated scam, but it was a scam nonetheless and one he would reveal quite effortlessly. His insides lurched at the thought that someone believed he could be stung—again.
He’d learnt his lesson the first time round.
This was not the time to become embroiled in some tabloid hell, fielding false accusations of fatherhood. These women—Alicia Parker and Melanie Parker—were obviously determined to see him publicly humiliated in order to extract money and, with the negotiations so close, no doubt the story of the accident was a ruse to inspire urgency.
If there was ever a time in his life when he needed calm waters, this was it. Too many people depended on him to let a stupid news story created by gold-diggers mess things up. He walked back to the desk and picked up the phone, making the first of a few calls.
ALICIA stood by the window, the spectacular view outside going unnoticed. It was early the following morning. She was back in her own freshly laundered clothes. She’d tied her hair back in a plait and it hung down her back, between her shoulder blades. She felt tense and worried, wanted to call the hospital to see how Melanie was, see if she’d woken up.
In the cold light of day she couldn’t believe everything that had happened. And couldn’t believe that she’d slept for almost eight hours straight. Dead to the world. In his house. She’d fought the tiredness for the longest time, sitting on the floor with her back against the wall, watching the door, but her eyes had kept closing, her head jerking.
She’d tried not to give in, had told herself that she’d only close her eyes for a few minutes…but, unable to resist the lure of hot water, even just washing her face and rinsing out her underwear, the soft robe, the even softer bed…she’d fallen into the abyss that had been calling her for weeks now. Here of all places—some protective older sister that made her. Maybe it was the effects of her lingering cold as well. She was useless. She should never have come, never have left—
The key turned in the lock and she jumped around, her heart lurching crazily. Dante D’Aquanni stood in the doorway. He took her breath away. He was even more shockingly handsome in the stark daylight. Dressed in black trousers, a dark grey shirt, he looked effortlessly cool, stylish and very much the successful businessman. And he also looked extremely annoyed. Any wish to try and make him see reason flew out of the window and Alicia felt her spine straighten; the familiar pain in her lower back made itself felt again, like a dull ache. She knew she shouldn’t have been doing so much, not to mention scrambling through bushes, only to be thrown over this man’s shoulder. Her insides went hot at the thought of that, cancelling out the pain.