The Rich List Series

By: Talia Hunter



“Who said I wasn’t sure?” Ally tossed her tangled hair back from her face and her chin jutted forward. “I just asked for details. You have a problem with that?”

He blinked, impressed. Was that a steel backbone he’d glimpsed? Her gray eyes had darkened when she challenged him. Would they lighten if she smiled? They were the kind of eyes any actress would kill for, eyes so expressive there seemed to be a thousand stories swirling inside their depths.

Perhaps he’d been too quick to dismiss her. He felt in his pocket for one of his business cards. “Why don’t you come to my room at The Royale tonight? We can talk about it some more, and it’ll give us both a chance to see if we want to take it any further.”

She took the card and gave him a curt nod. “Seven o’clock.” He didn’t miss the fact that it wasn’t a question.

“Seven o’clock,” he agreed, turning to leave. He was already running through his options of where to go next. If only he hadn’t had to do that photo shoot in Italy, he would have had longer to find the right woman for the job. With only a week before filming started, he was running dangerously low on time.

Max shot one last glance back at Ally on his way out of the store. She was almost hidden behind the rows of sex toys, but he glimpsed her talking to Geena. He liked the way her golden hair tumbled over her shoulders, and the assertive tilt of her head, but her good looks were only a bonus, not essential for what he needed.

Through his childhood Max had been far more independent than most, until he’d been dumped in a foster home filled with bullies—both the other kids and the staff—and for the next three years every waking moment had been dictated by someone else. The experience had given Max a deep aversion to being told what to do, and he’d sworn he’d never let anyone control him again.

Now he had to find a woman who could do just that. Could Ally possibly be the one?





2





Ally had never been in the lobby of the Royale before, and even in the outfit she and Geena had finally decided on, she felt underdressed. The lobby was so hushed it reminded her of a funeral. So quiet that even the sound of water tinkling over rocks in the fancy water feature seemed to echo. Let alone her footsteps on the fancy marble tiles. She wasn’t used to heels so high and they made such a racket that by the time she got to the front desk, every perfectly groomed staff member had turned to stare.

The woman at the front desk gave her an ice-cold smile and raised thin, penciled-on eyebrows. “May I help you?” At the same time her eyes asked, ‘What’s someone like you doing here?’

Ally swallowed. Good question. Geena had given her a crash course she’d cheerfully labeled Domination and Sex Play for Dummies and lent her a killer pair of heels, but Ally still felt clueless. Who was she kidding? She was so far out of her depth she felt like she was dog paddling across the Mariana Trench.

The woman’s eyebrows rose into arches, waiting for her to respond.

“Room 1935. Max Oberon, please.”

The arches spasmed and the woman looked gratifyingly disconcerted before she managed to recover. “Who may I say is visiting?”

“Ally De—” She cut herself off. If Max decided to check her out, a Google search for Ally Dennis would reveal the fact that she was now part owner and frequent contributor to a magazine-style blog called Liaison. “Just tell him it’s Ally.”

A few minutes later she was knocking on the door of suite 1935. Max opened the door and she caught her breath, struck again by how good-looking he was. He wore the same jeans he had on before, but he’d changed into a white T-shirt that didn’t just highlight his muscled chest and toned abs, it underlined them and added a few exclamation points for good measure.

“Welcome, Ally.” He gave her a slow, easy smile that radiated confidence.

He had a five-o’clock shadow, but it didn’t detract from his looks. On the contrary, it gave him a rugged edge that was a perfect counterpoint to his fine, chiseled features. With his wide shoulders and tapered waist he looked like every woman’s orgasmic fantasy… because that’s exactly what he was. What on earth was she doing here? No way could she fool a man like him. Any moment he’d see through her act and toss her insecure butt back out onto the street.

No, she couldn’t think like that. That was Barry’s voice in her head, full of contempt, telling her how useless she was. Barry was gone, good riddance to him, and she wouldn’t let his poison wear her down. She could do this.

His gaze ran over her tight leather skirt and simple-but-sexy white blouse, and his obvious approval made her feel slightly more confident. She hardly ever wore anything but jeans or shorts, and had taken one look at the lace-up dress in slinky vinyl that Geena had tried to force on her and threatened to back out altogether. This had been the compromise they’d both been okay with, and from the quirk of his mouth it looked like they’d made the right choice. She walked into the suite’s enormous living room, noting the way he followed the sway of her hips.

“Would you like a drink?” he asked.

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