The Mediterranean Billionaire's Blackmail Bargain

By: Abby Green

Had he really kissed her? And had she clung to him so helplessly?

The hall around her swayed, went into double vision, and this time she couldn’t stop it.

When she came round, she was sitting on the chair with her head between her legs, a large hand clamped to the back of her neck. She was mortified and felt like protesting vociferously—she didn’t faint! She’d been through unspeakable horrors in the last year and had developed nerves of steel. And yet here, surrounded by luxury, she’d fainted within minutes.

Alicia saw the black clothed legs and shoes of Dante D’Aquanni beside her. She saw another pair of feet. She muttered something unintelligible and tried to move. The pressure of the hand eased. His hand. She looked up; the kindly, matronly face of the housekeeper looked at her. She felt like crying. They spoke in Italian above her head.

With little ceremony she was pulled up again, her head swam and, before she knew which way was up, she was over Dante D’Aquanni’s shoulder, dangling inelegantly against his back. He strode across the hall and started climbing stairs.

‘What the hell do you think you’re—?’

‘Be quiet. This will help the blood get to your head and restrain me from doing something I’ve never been tempted into before. When was the last time you ate or were you so consumed with gold-digging that you forgot?’

Alicia’s hands were balled into fists as she couldn’t look anywhere but at the man’s perfectly shaped behind, his back against which her breasts were crushed.

‘Gold-digging? Gold-digging? How dare you? Have you even considered the havoc that you’ve caused in my sister’s—’

And, just as suddenly as she had been picked up, she was back on her feet, the rush of blood to her brain making her dizzy all over again. She put a hand to her head. She was barely aware of standing in a huge bedroom, discreetly designed with understated elegance and extreme luxury.

Dante was walking away from her. She ran after him. ‘Wait a minute. I’m not finished. What are you going to do about my sister? You can’t ignore me.’

He turned, with his hand on the doorknob. His mouth was tight. ‘No, you’ve made that impossible. But what I can do for now, and what I am going to do, is lock you in here.’

Alicia’s mouth opened and closed. ‘You…what…you’re not going to…’

‘Oh, yes, I am.’

And then he walked out, the door shutting ominously behind him. Stupefied, Alicia heard a key turn. She ran to the door, jiggled the knob. He had done it. He had locked her in.

She beat on the huge, heavy door with tiny fists. ‘Come back here! You can’t just lock me away. This is outrageous.’

Nothing. Not a sound. He was gone. Alicia sank back against the door and slid to the ground in a heap. She didn’t have a thing. Not even her phone to try and get help. And who would she call? Her only relative lay unconscious in a hospital bed in England. She didn’t need a friend to tell her what she already knew. She’d trespassed on the property of one of the most powerful men in the world. He had every right to go and call the police, which was probably exactly where he had gone. Any accusation she could level at him regarding her sister would be her word against his right now. Her brave, stupid mission had just gone up in flames. She should never have left England, never left her sister’s side.

The article she’d read on the Internet mocked her. In her frantic research after he’d refused to see her, listen to her, she’d come across a particularly bitter piece by a jilted lover, or alleged lover as the article had been careful to state, ever mindful of litigation, especially where a billionaire was concerned. However, the woman was one of many, it seemed. It was what she had said that had galvanized Alicia to take these drastic actions. The woman had said that the only way to deal with a man like Dante D’Aquanni was by taking him by surprise, hitting him where it hurt. Publicly. Even super successful businessmen weren’t immune to public opinion. Public censure. And if people knew that he’d callously turned his back on a pregnant ex-lover—

A brief knock came on the door at that moment and Alicia scrambled up. Maybe she’d been too harsh, maybe he’d listen if she tried to be reasonable. The key turned and the door opened. Alicia’s hands were clasped in front of her. ‘Look, I’m sorry for—’

But it wasn’t Dante D’Aquanni. It was the kindly housekeeper. She came in with a tray that held a steaming bowl of pasta and a glass of water. Alicia was so shocked that all she could do was stare, it didn’t even occur to her to try and escape. Her hollow stomach rumbled.

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