The Millionaire's Unexpected Proposal

By: Jane Peden



“What exactly is your problem?” Her voice was still cool, but she broke eye contact and reached for her wineglass, running her fingers down the stem for a moment before lifting it slowly to her lips.

“My friends have both canceled. Which means I’ll be eating dinner alone.”

“You don’t like your own company?”

He extended his hands, palms up. “It’s just that they always give a lone diner the worst table.”

She looked him over. “I’m sure you’ve never been put at a bad table in your life.”

You’d be surprised, he thought, but his answer was smooth to his own ears. “Wouldn’t it be terrible if I started tonight? Especially when I was supposed to be celebrating.” He gave her his best “innocence tinged with sadness” look.

“Okay, I’ll bite. What are you celebrating?”

“Fresh starts.”

That seemed to get her attention.

“Really.” She gave him a look that reminded him of 1940s movie stars, sultry and icy at the same time. She had a restrained sensuality Sam couldn’t wait to unleash.

“Really. And what are you doing here, alone?”

“Actually, I’m on the run.”

He glanced around the room. “Should I get my gun?”

“Do you have one?”

“No.” He leaned closer. “What are you running from?”

She laughed. “At the moment, the spa where I’ve spent the last three days.”

“So an army of spa workers is searching the Strip for you?”

Her eyes narrowed. “How do I know you aren’t a deranged killer? You could be wondering how much time you have.”

He pulled out his wallet and extracted his driver’s license and a newly printed business card, pausing to write Camilla is safe with me and signing his name and the date on the back of the card before setting them both on the table in front of her. She picked them up, read the back of the card and smiled, then handed him back his license.

“Looks legit. What happens if I call the number on the card?”

“The answering service will tell you we open for business in three weeks.”

“Good thing I don’t have a pressing need for legal services.”

She tapped the business card against the smooth wood on the surface of the bar.

“I gave my treatment schedule to a willing victim. No one will even know I’m gone.” She grinned. “Slap enough mud and seaweed on naked female bodies, and it’s pretty hard to tell any of us apart.”

He held his finger up so she’d pause. “Sorry, just needed a moment to process that image.”

She laughed, the sound bubbling out of her, sweet and fresh, and suddenly she looked like a girl barely out of her teens. He’d pegged her in her midtwenties, close to his age, when he’d first spotted her at the bar. Now he wasn’t so sure.

Time to close the deal. “You’re alone. I’m alone. We could have dinner at two separate tables. Pitied by waiters. Or we could enjoy the evening together. It’s as simple as that.”

“How do you know I’m not waiting for someone?”

“Maybe you were waiting for me.”

She laughed and shook her head. “That’s a really bad line.”

“Have dinner with me and I promise to do better.”

He could almost see her mind working, considering. Could read in her eyes that she was weakening, the same way he could always read a jury.

“It’s just dinner,” he prompted.

“I’m not leaving the hotel with you,” she said, and he knew he had her. It was only a matter of time until she was in his suite.

“We’ll have dinner right here at the hotel,” he assured her.

He took her hand to help her off the barstool, then rested his palm lightly for a moment on the smooth silk on the back of her shoulder as he guided her out of the lounge and toward the nearby restaurant. Las Vegas was a town that was built on luck. And Sam was feeling lucky.





Chapter One

Five years later

The hot Miami sun beat down on Camilla as she shaded her eyes with her hand and looked up at the towering building. She stepped through the revolving door onto the marble floor and breathed in the crisp air-conditioning. She would never have come here if she had any other choice. Desperate times call for desperate measures, she thought, squaring her shoulders and steeling herself. It was, after all, the story of her life. And Danny—the man she’d married for all the wrong reasons and ended up loving for all the right ones—was hardly going to swoop in and save her this time. Or ever again.

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