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Authors: Mila McClung

Tags: #Mystery, #sexy, #Contemporary Romance

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BOOK: A Billionaire for Breakfast
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“Loosen up, Tess!” Kylie commanded.
“You only live once!”

“I’m loose enough, Kylie. I want to
keep my head in all this. And my dignity.”

“I know what my limitations are, how
much liquor I can hold. I intend to keep my dignity, too, you know. Rich men
aren’t interested in slobs full of wine!”

The car pulled up to a blindingly
white house perched over a verdant hill like an elegant bird attempting to take
flight.

“Wow! It’s beautiful!”

“Shh!” Kylie warned. “Don’t let the
driver hear your enthusiasm. We’re supposed to be jaded world travelers.”

“I could never be so jaded that I
wouldn’t appreciate this! And it’s ours, for two whole weeks?”

“Or longer, hopefully, if we make the
right connections.”

After a quick shower Tess slipped on
a teal blue sundress and matching heels, and waited for Kylie to join her on the
wide veranda.

The sky was glistening, with not a
shred of clouds. The sea was a buoyant blue, beckoning her down to the beach.
She glanced at Kylie’s door.

“Ready yet?” she called.

“In a minute!” Kylie shouted.

Tess shrugged, took the swirling steps
down to the crystalline sand. She shed her heels, left soft footprints behind
her as she explored the rambling shoreline. Gulls cried hello above her,
dolphins leapt out of the water as if welcoming her. Tourists waved from their
colorful perches as they went parasailing or from their fishing boats or jet
skis. A few yachts eased by, the on-deck crews sending her wistful glances and
encouraging smiles.

“Lots of cool guys down here,” she
found herself thinking. “Does the right one have to be a billionaire?”

There was a screeching noise just to
her left. She turned, holding her heart in shock, as she watched a black
motorcycle fly over her head and land abruptly in a mound of sand. But where
was the driver? She quickly scanned the grassy area beneath the hilltop road.
He was there, lying in a ditch.

Tess ran to him; began to examine him
for injuries. There weren’t any, but what she saw there disturbed her all the
same. He was insanely handsome, with chin length, naturally blue-black hair,
and a rugged, tanned body that oozed “Come take
me.
” from every pore. And his eyes –
whoa – when he looked up at her she thought her heart had stopped completely –
they were green with strange flecks of blue that made them glitter like jewels.

“Are you okay?”

“Sure, just a skinned elbow and a
sore bum. Serves me right for thinking I could make that curve at 100 miles per
hour! I’ve never seen you. What’s your name?”

“Tess Jenkins.” She was shy under the
heat of his stare. You’d think he had never seen a girl before.

“That’s a plain, solid kind of name.”

“Yeah, I guess it is.”

He stood up, brushed off his faded
jeans. He was wearing a pair of worn out Converse sneakers but no shirt. Tess
tried not to follow the sinuous lines of his torso down to the bulge in his
crotch but it was almost impossible.

“You live around here, Tess?”

“Yes, I’m staying at the white house
down the beach.”

“Ah, the Swan House; so I guess
you’re one of those Jet Set women, hum?”

“I suppose you could say that.”

“Too bad,” he shrugged. “And I was
getting some really good vibes from you.”

“What have you got against rich women?”

“Nothing, if I can help it. Bad pun,
sorry. But I’ve been around too many of them. I know how they are.”

She was starting to feel insulted,
which made no sense since she wasn’t rich.

“And just how are they?”

“Conceited, thinking they’re entitled
to have anything or anyone they want.”

“I’m not like that!”

“Aren’t you? So what are you doing
here in the
Cayman
Islands
?”

“There you are!” a breathless voice
uttered. Kylie Preston stepped around the sandy mound. “I was afraid someone
had carried you off!”

“I’m sorry, Kylie. I thought I’d
explore a bit while I was waiting on you.”

She looked the man up and down and
licked her red lips. “Um, and look what you found! I should go exploring
sometime. Ready to go?”

“Sure. But let me go back to the
house and get the sand off my feet first. I would say it was nice to meet you,
Mr. …”

“Don’t bother.”

“Fine, I won’t.”

She stomped off towards the house,
without looking back. Kylie winked at the man and followed her a few steps
behind.

“Nice work if you can get it. Who is
he, anyway?”

“I don’t know, and I don’t care!”

“Sure you don’t! But be careful of
your heart, Tess. You can lose it easily in a romantic place like this.”

“I’m not losing anything. I’m here to
win!”

“Good attitude!”

“So where do we start?’

“The Players’ Club. For lunch. It’s
loaded to the gills with billionaires!”

“Wonderful! Come on, I’m starving!”

The two women strode into The
Players’ Club, sporting a new resolve for success. Most of the male eyes in the
building turned in admiration and delight as Kylie and Tess took their seats
and ordered from the fancy menus.

“Look around, Tess, they’re ours for
the taking!” Kylie whispered.

Tess subtly glanced here and there; noted
with disappointment that the majority of men there were gray-haired, wrinkled
and paunchy; not exactly comparable to her dead film star standards. Or the guy
on the beach – he kept crossing her mind – the look in his eyes, the shape of
him - even his scent. Why couldn’t he have been rich?

“I don’t feel comfortable here,
Kylie. These old guys are creeping me out, staring at us like we were new
dishes on the menu. I think I’ll go back to the beach house.”

“Oh no you won’t! Have your lunch,
and keep calm. Some attractive men are bound to enter soon.”

Tess shrugged, began to pick at the
shrimp and wild rice on her plate. Again her thoughts drifted back to that man.
She wondered what he was doing – probably working on his bike so he could fly
it off the highway one more time. She closed her eyes; saw him standing there
with the sun in his gaze and the wind whipping up the black hair. His mouth was
strong and yet tender; she imagined kissing it, nibbling on it. Her insides
went a bit crazy, started her to twitching in her seat. She clenched her
thighs, was startled to realize she was having a minor orgasm. She looked about
guiltily then clenched them again. She stifled a tiny moan. Kylie glanced at
her.

“What’s wrong? Caught a shell in your
teeth?”

“Yeah, I think so. I’ll run to the
bathroom and get it out.”

“Don’t run, walk, with class.”

“Right.”

Tess found the rest room hallway,
made her way there as regally as she could. Several men smiled at her with
wicked expressions. She wondered if she was throwing pheromones about the room.
Was it obvious that she had just come, however minutely? Gad, the humiliation!

Once she hit the rest room Tess ran
some cold water and smoothed it over her neck and cheeks. Then she had to
reapply her powdered make-up. She heard some engine noises outside, pulled open
the blinds to find a motorcycle shop across the road. A bunch of guys were
standing around, laughing and talking and guzzling beer. One, in particular,
caught her attention. It was him all right. Still in jeans with no shirt; and
oh did he look good! She lost track of time, stood there spying on him, trying
to hear what he was saying.

“Tess! What are you doing?”

“Damn, Kylie! Don’t scare me like
that! It took me awhile to get the shell loose, that’s all.”

“Well, come on back out! I’ve met two
charming men, one is older but both are terribly handsome! They want to meet
you.”

The older man, Patrick Mercer, was
lean and animated, talked with his hands and his bright, dancing eyes. He was
near fifty, maybe past it, Tess surmised, though he acted much younger. The
other one, Jack Leonardi, was very talkative and full of himself. Tess didn’t
like him at all; he was attractive at any rate, with sun-streaked brown hair
and a tennis player’s wiriness. She could tell Kylie was leaning her arrow
towards Patrick. That would leave Tess with Jack, and she did not want that.

“I think I need a walk, to burn off
this lunch,” she announced, “if you all will excuse me.”

“I’ll go with you!” Leonardi decided.

“Or no, please, I don’t want to
bother you.”

“It’s no bother, doll. I think these
two would prefer to be alone anyway.”

She sighed, glanced at Kylie, begging
for an out. But Kylie had found her mark – Tess was on her own.

“Sure, come along then.”

He took Tess’ arm, led her outside.

“Which way do you want to go? There
are shops this way, and the beach in that direction.”

“How about that motorbike shop? I’ve
been thinking of buying one.”

“Okay, I wouldn’t mind replacing my
old one. It’s a Harley but I’m in the mood for something lighter.”

They entered the shop, began perusing
the contents. Tess kept looking for that man but he wasn’t around.

She played the bored little rich
girl. “I don’t see anything interesting, do you? Where else can we go?”

“How about my house? It isn’t far.”

“No, I don’t want to. I think I’ll go
parasailing. That looks like fun.”

“Crappy tourist stuff if you ask me;
but it’ll give me the chance to see you in a bikini. I’ll bet you’re gorgeous!”

Oh damn, she’d forgotten to buy any!
Now what?

“I think I’ll go shopping first. I
need a new suit.”

“Great! I’ll help you pick one out!”
He was practically salivating at the thought of it. Tess couldn’t handle the
idea of him looking at her half-naked. Maybe she wasn’t cut out for this kind
of charade.

“On second thought I think I’ll walk
home. I’m expecting a call from my boyfriend, and I’d rather be alone when I
talk to him.”

“Kylie didn’t say you had a
boyfriend.”

“Oh, didn’t she? I’m sorry. But I do.
He’s a big guy, was a wrestler before he started his health food empire. And
he’s jealous as the dickens, too. He once broke a guy’s hand for just shaking
mine. Well, see you later!”

She hurried off, left him hanging his
head and probably counting his blessings.

A dip into the warm, aqua ocean gave
Tess some relief from the stress of pretending. It also gave her time to clear
her mind. This thing wasn’t for her. She couldn’t put on a false face to catch
a man, rich or not. She decided she might as well pack up and go back to
Astoria
. Daydreaming about what might have
been would have to satisfy her somehow.

“Tess? I swear you are harder to keep
up with than a toddler!” Kylie marched into the living room and thumped down on
the sofa. “Poor Jack! Why’d you tell him that awful story?”

“Oh, I couldn’t stand him, Kylie. He
was making my skin crawl.” Tess was lying on another sofa, turning channels on
a huge TV with the remote control. “I’ve made a decision. I’m going back home.”

“I thought you didn’t have a home.”

“Right, I don’t. I guess I’ll go back
and crash on your couch till I find one, if that’s okay?”

“No, it isn’t. I need you down here.
And your room is paid for so why not stay and enjoy it? I understand if Jack
wasn’t your cup of tea. He’s more my style. I’m thinking of tossing Patrick
over for him.”

Tess sat up. “But why? Patrick seems
like a cool guy. There’s something so familiar about him. I can’t quite figure
out what.”

“Then maybe you should go for him.”

“Oh no, I don’t feel that way about
him. It’s more of a platonic thing, you know? Why don’t you like him?”

“Oh, he’s so stuck in the past! Goes
on and on about losing his one true love because he was too weak to stand up to
his parents! He’s been divorced five times! Says he keeps looking for her in
other women and of course that never works out.”

“Well, hell, why doesn’t he look for
her? Or is she dead?”

BOOK: A Billionaire for Breakfast
9.84Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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