Authors: C J Howard
Tags: #Literature & Fiction, #United States, #African American, #Romance, #Hispanic, #Multicultural, #Hispanic American
SEDUCED BY THE
A Billionaire BWWM Romance By..
Felicia is trying to find a way to get over her broken heart and when she is approached by a tall, dark and handsome man by the name of Benito she believes she has found the way. After all, a night of fun with an Italian Stallion never hurt anyone did it?
However, when she discovers that Benito is also a billionaire who could have his pick of women she begins to wonder just why he was intent on seducing her curvy frame when he could probably have had any woman he wants.
One thing is for sure, the truth will SHOCK her!
The Italian Billionaire © 2014, CJ Howard
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED.
This book contains material protected under International and Federal Copyright Laws and Treaties. Any unauthorized reprint or use of this material is prohibited. No part of this book may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system without express written permission from the author / publisher.
My recent breakup had been bad. And not blue-for-a-few-weeks bad.
. Crying-so-hard-you-can-barely-breathe bad. Adding-five-pounds-to-your-already-curvy-frame bad. Almost-losing-your-job-as-a-high-school-English-teacher-because-you-can’t-get-out-of-pajamas-and-make-it-to-school-by the-first-hour bad.
I'd given Dwayne two years of my life. He'd given me a text message:
It's over. Met someone new. Best of luck to u
. Not only had I not been worth a face-to-face breakup, I hadn't even been worth the correct spelling of
When my also newly-single best friend Tasha called me on a Saturday afternoon in early June, three weeks after the breakup, wanting to know if I'd go to a new club with her that night, I thought she must be making some sort of joke.
I snorted, rolling over on the couch. "Yeah. My sad-ass self in a club tonight. Hilarious."
Tasha said she wasn't joking. "Just go with me, girl. Screw Dwayne. You're officially on summer break now. No more teaching. No more boring ol' chalkboards and books and whatnot. It's time for
now. It's time to party."
"Last year of our twenties. Let's
I didn't respond, studying my battered manicure.
"Felicia? Still with me?"
"I'm not going. I just want to--"
"Dive headfirst into another pint of mint chocolate chip? Because that's made you feel
much genuinely better every other night the past three weeks, right?"
She had a point.
"Look. Fine, I'll go. But I'm not--"
"Dancin', laughin', chattin' up dudes, or having any kind of a good time. I get it. But just between you and me, there's supposed to be lots of fine, wealthy men at this swanky new club. You know -- just in case you might wanna meet a few."
"I've told you this like a thousand times. I don't care if a man has money. That's not what I'm about. I have my own money."
"All I want is a man who loves me for me. Who respects me enough to break up with me to my face. A man who respects me enough to properly spell
in a text. A man with a good heart."
"And, girl, you deserve it. But until that Prince Charming comes along, let's have us some fun!"
I sighed. "Fine. But I don't have to--"
"Like it. I gotcha. I'll call the dude I know at the club, and he'll put us on the guest list. We'll meet at your place. See ya at nine."
I said okay, hung up, and set my phone on the end table, next to several empty pints of mint chocolate chip, wondering if I still had any going-out clothes that fit.
A half-hour later, I did find something, a short black skirt, size twelve, that still zipped easily. I decided to pair it with a sequined fuchsia halter top and a pair of black high-heeled slingbacks. But before showering and dressing, I needed a nap.
When Tasha came up to my apartment at nine, her petite figure crammed into a tight canary-yellow miniskirt, she took one look at me and whistled. "Ooh, girl. Look at you. Dangerous curves ahead."
In addition to showering and getting dressed, I'd managed to buff all the ash out of my caramel-colored skin, moisturize it with cocoa butter, put my hair up in a twist with a few strands framing my face, paint my nails, and apply a little makeup.
I picked at my top. "It's not too tight, is it?"
Tasha shook her head, her dangly gold earrings swaying. "Just tight enough."
When we arrived at the club, she surveyed the long line outside. "Classiest place in Manhattan right here. I knew it'd be like this." She turned to me, grinning. "Good thing we don't even gotta wait. We on the guest list."
I smiled back, probably the first time I'd smiled in weeks.
After cutting around a red velvet rope and bypassing the long line of people waiting, we approached a tall blonde woman holding a clipboard by the door, her fake boobs spilling out of the front of her top. Tasha gave her our names and said we were on the list. Without even glancing at it, the blonde lady gave Tasha and me a quick once-over and shook her head.
"No -- I don't think you are."
Tasha's head tipped back a degree with each word the woman spoke, as if the woman's words were blows.
"Excuse me? You mean
not on the list, or my Bronx accent ain't on the list. Is that what you mean? Because I got a friend who works here, and he said we'd be put on the list."
I shifted my weight from one high heel to the other, conscious that people in line were staring. And some nearby were whispering and quietly laughing.
"Tasha, let's just--"
"No, Felicia. We came here to have a good time, and we ain't leavin'. We are on that list. And Blondie here, is gonna look at it."
The blonde woman stared straight at Tasha, her red lips fixed in a smirk. "Sorry. Still not on it."
Tasha snatched the list and scanned it. "Are you kiddin' me? We the first two damn names at the top!"
The blonde woman flushed pink but didn't apologize, and she still insisted we wouldn't be admitted in. Tasha went on a rant, and as she and the blonde woman argued, I noticed a man, maybe fifteen feet or so away, leaning against the side of the building, dressed in a dark suit and smoking a cigarette. Light from the club's marquee glinted off his dark hair and silhouetted revealed his strong jaw in silhouette. Right away, he noticed me watching him, flicked his cigarette into the street, and began heading over to Tasha, the blonde woman, and me. A slight flutter rippled through my stomach. He was tall, at least an inch or two over six feet, with broad shoulders and a trim waist, and he walked in a confident, purposeful way, head up, long strides, as if he owned the very sidewalk. I found I couldn't take my eyes off him.
He stopped next to the blonde woman and smiled at her. "Surely you can let these lovely ladies into the club. After all, they say their names are on the list."
His voice, rich and deep, intensified the
in my stomach.
The blonde woman sniffed, her red lips forming a pout. "Well, I'm sure
on the list, but they're
." She turned her gaze to Tasha and lifted the corners of her mouth in a fake smile. "I'm sorry, but I just can't see them."
Tasha started to go off again, but the handsome stranger with thick, dark hair cut her off.
"Maybe you should check the list again." He smiled at the blonde woman, revealing straight, white teeth. "Maybe you should check the list again – just for me."
Her pout suddenly softened, turning into something like an embarrassed grin.
"Well, -- fine. They can go in. I guess."
The dark-haired man smiled at Tasha and me and gestured to the entrance door, which was propped open. "Ladies, after you."
My face a little warm, I smiled in return and headed inside, half-dragging Tasha as she got off a few parting shots at the blonde woman.
"Here we go, headin' on inside! Just what I thought!"
After dropping off Tasha's light wrap at the coat check, walking down a short hallway, and arriving at the main floor of the club, I realized we'd lost the strong-jawed stranger.
Tasha looked at me, frowning. "Who you lookin' for?"
Before I could answer, her frown suddenly became a grin.
"Oh, that dude who helped us in? Pretty sexy for a white boy, wasn't he?"
We both burst into giggles, and I nodded.
"Yeah. Just a little. And by a little, I mean." I scanned the bar area in vain. "I absolutely have to find him."
I scanned the glossy black tables adjacent to the bar, and then the bar again, but still saw no sign of the tall, dark-haired stranger with the broad shoulders.
Tasha helped me look for a few minutes but then shrugged. "Look. We know he was comin' in here, because he said, 'Ladies, after you.' He was comin' in after us. So chances are, we gonna spot him tonight, sometime. Betcha we'll even run into him pretty soon. So until then, why don't we just get to hittin' the dance floor and havin' ourselves some fun."
"I guess. But first, maybe I'll just sit down for a little-"
"Felicia, no! No mopin' around. No more giving that worthless jerk Dwayne one more second of your life. Fun. That's what's about ta happen. So get ready, girl. Because it's going down right about -- " Tasha grabbed my hand. "Now!"
Shrieking at me to just
, she dragged me out to the dance floor, which was already packed, a DJ in one corner playing songs with so much bass that the beats could be felt through the floor.
Normally the first one on the dance floor and the last one to leave, I shuffled around for a little while, until Tasha cupped her hands around her mouth and yelled loud enough to be heard above the music.
"I thought you could dance! But maybe that was another friend! Because right now, you look like you don't have any skills at all! And you definitely can't do this!"
She broke into an exaggerated display of "the running man" dance move, and I burst out laughing.
She grinned. "See? Now, didn't that feel good? Just to laugh? Now, show me some real skills. But if you steal my running man move, I'm gon' have to mess you up!"
I laughed again, realizing that it did feel good. And that's when I saw him. The handsome dark-haired man, standing by the bar with a drink. Another dark-haired man, a little shorter, was standing next to him.
I got Tasha's attention and tipped my head in the direction of the bar. "It's him!"
He knocked back the rest of his drink and then laughed at something his friend said, his wide smile making my heart seem to skip a beat.
Tasha grabbed my hand and began striding over to the bar. "Let's go. We about to meet your Prince Charming."
"No, wait! Just wait."
Tasha whirled around. "Just what in the hell is your problem now?"
I shrugged, a little self-conscious at having to yell my problem on a dance floor packed with strangers in order to be heard above the music.
"I guess --- I guess I'm just a little nervous all of a sudden."
"You never been afraid to chat up a dude in your entire life!"
"I know, but -- this guy's just different. He's just so --" I shook my head. "He just makes me feel weird inside just looking at him."
"Well, things about to get a while lot weirder, then. C'mon."
"I'll get you all properly introduced and set up and all that. I'll even ask him a couple questions for ya, just so we can kinda feel him out a little before y'all start really talkin'. But then, you on your own, 'cuz I'm goin' off to find my own honey!"
Tasha pulled me by the hand again, only letting go once we'd cleared the packed maze of dancers and approached the bar. I hastily straightened my skirt and brushed a few strands of hair out of my face. The strong-jawed man with the dark, nearly black, hair noticed us approaching and smiled, his gaze seeming to be more on me than Tasha. My heart skipped a beat again, and actually, it felt like several.
When we reached the man and his friend, Tasha said hi. "We just wanted to say thanks for helping us with that problem at the door. I'm Tasha, and this is my friend Felicia."
The tall, dark-haired man introduced himself as Benito, shook Tasha's hand, and then shook mine, his grip firm, warm, and lingering. Our eyes met, and he smiled.
"It's a pleasure to meet you, Felicia."
A little heat washed over my face.
He introduced the shorter dark-haired man as his older brother Enzo. "And he's lucky I admitted we're related."
We all chuckled, and Enzo gave Benito a playful punch in the ribs.
lucky I was willing to leave my beautiful wife at home tonight in order to go out and help him find a beautiful woman of his own."
Tasha gave me a look and then turned her gaze to Benito. "So you're single, then?"
He nodded, a hint of a smile playing around his mouth.
Tasha glanced at me. "Well, that's very interesting. Because, see, my friend Felicia, here, is single, too. What a coincidence. What a lucky, lucky coincidence."
My face flushed a little hotter, and Benito smiled at me, his chocolate brown eyes twinkling. "A lucky coincidence indeed."
Tasha actually elbowed me, winking.
Benito asked what we'd like to drink and then asked the bartender for two vodka tonics for Tasha and me, and another two vodka martinis for Enzo and himself. While we all sipped our drinks, Tasha asked Benito if he'd think it was rude if she asked him a couple of questions.
He said he wouldn't think it rude at all. "Ask away."
"Okay, well, first question. What do you think about dudes who cheat?"
"Good answer. Next question. Where are you originally from?"
"Right here. New York born and raised. Although my parents are from Italy, born in Rome."
Felicia nodded, looking him up and down. "Ooh, so you're Italian. Well, that's good, because Felicia, here, is really attracted to Italian dudes. The thick hair, the passionate personality type -- they really do it for her, if ya know what I mean."
My face flaming, I gave her a discreet little step on the toes while trying to keep my face expressionless.
Tasha cleared her throat. "Anyway, I think it's being hinted at that I move on. So do you gentlemen wanna to know something else interesting about Felicia? Something else besides the fact she thinks Italian dudes are hot?"
Benito locked eyes with mine. "I'd love to hear any and all things about Felicia."
My pulse accelerated, and I studied the masculine contours of his face with that fluttering in my stomach.
Tasha took a gulp of her drink. "Well, good. Because I've got an interesting fact to share about Felicia that she's probably too modest and stuff to share herself, but I'm not. See, Felicia's a teacher, which is a pretty cool and interesting thing in and of itself, but she's not only a teacher, she's an above-and-beyond teacher. She spends thousands of dollars a year, of her own money, buying all sorts of supplies for her classroom that the school district can't afford, because all school districts in the Bronx are broke as hell. She buys each and every single one of her students a little Christmas present every year, all hundred and eighty something of them, even though her students are high schoolers, just in case they don't get a gift at home. She even buys pencils and notebooks for kids who can't afford their own."
Benito looked into my eyes again. "Felicia seems like an extraordinary woman."
My pulse began to sound like a jackhammer in my ears.
"Oh, believe that. She's extraordinary as hell. She cares a lot about doin' good at her English teaching and stuff, but she cares even more about the kids themselves. She does all the stuff she does for them because she's got a really good heart. And that's why I'm her best friend. And that's also why I get a little upset any time any man ever tries to take advantage of her kind heart or ever tries to run any kinda game on her." She paused and gave Benito a little look. "Ya feel me?"
Benito said he did indeed, and Tasha nodded.
"Okay, then; that's good. Now, please go ahead and tell us more about you. You got any kids?"
"Not yet. Although I'd like them someday."
"A future family man. I like that answer. So what line of work you in?"
Benito said he worked in computer technology and didn't seem like he was going to elaborate. His brother Enzo suddenly became interested in a few flakes of metallic confetti that had gotten stuck to the side of his glass.
"Well, cool." Tasha finished the last of her drink, set the glass on the bar, and turned to Benito and Enzo. "Well, it was nice meetin' you both. But I think I hear the dance floor screamin' my name. So, everyone -- have a wonderful night!" She began heading back out to the dance floor, but quickly backtracked and spoke near my ear. "And don't forget to
Enzo immediately said that he should be heading home. And after telling me it was nice to make my acquaintance and giving Benito a sly little grin, he left.
Now alone with Benito and his sexy chiseled face, my jackhammering pulse showed no signs of slowing.
He smiled at me. "So."
I smiled back. "So."
He asked if I'd like another drink, and I said yes, thinking how his dark-lashed eyes were the kind a girl could really get lost in.
While I sipped my drink, I apologized if Tasha had offended him in any way. "She's wonderful, but she can be a tad expressive at times."
Benito grinned, his white teeth sparkling. "I wasn't offended in the least. It's a good thing to have a friend looking out for your interests."
Soon we moved to sit at one of the glossy black tables adjacent to the bar, and spent the next twenty minutes or so talking and laughing over the pulsing beat of the music. After my third drink, I became pleasantly lightheaded, not just from the alcohol, but from the way Benito kept looking at me from under his lashes, intently, as if I were the only girl in the club.
When he asked if I wanted to dance, I said yes, a bit giggly. But my giggles quickly subsided once we began dancing. Smooth, confident, and perfectly in time with the music, he proved he had some serious rhythm. To the point that several girls nearby began openly watching him, their expressions admiring. But he didn't even seem to notice. He only had eyes for me.
Over the next hour or so, Tasha danced by a few times to fling a little silver glitter at Benito and me, and to remind me to
. Only, she didn't need to remind me. I hadn't felt so alive in months, maybe years. And not only alive in terms of a zest for life. I was beginning to feel alive in other ways as well. Particularly when Benito pulled me close, and we danced hip-to-hip, the fronts of our bodies lightly touching. Several times, my hands met with the hardness of his chest, and that, combined with the rhythmic motion of our hips, sent currents of electricity racing from my head to the tips of my toes.
Sometime around two in the morning, or three, or it could have even been four, because being with Benito had made me lose track of time, the bartender shouted last call, and Tasha and I ducked into the restroom together. She said one of the new guys she'd met would be giving her a ride home.
"That is, if that Benito dude is giving
a ride home, because I don't wanna leave you to take a cab all by yourself."
Still a little tipsy from my earlier drinks, I looked into the mirror, reapplying some fuchsia lipstick. "Yeah. Yeah, I definitely think I'll take a ride home with him. I mean if he asks to give me a ride home."
Tasha finished smoothing her short, swingy black hair, frowning. "You crazy? The way he was lookin' at ya all night? The way he didn't even hardly look away from ya? Of course he gonna offer you a ride home." She gave me a quick squeeze before heading out the door. "Crazy girl."
A few seconds later, she poked her head back in the restroom. "And don't forget to have fun! Live it up, girl! You deserve it."
I left the club the same way I'd come in, which was to say, looking for Benito. He wasn't nearby when I left the restroom, so I went outside, thinking he might be waiting for me near the main doors. But he wasn't.
With a sinking feeling in my stomach, I watched a few couples leave the club, arm in arm. One pair was kissing as they slowly walked down the street. Another was leaned against a parking meter, locked in embrace. I hugged my arms around my ribs, the clear June night suddenly seeming a bit cold.
But just then, a very expensive-looking shiny black car with tinted windows pulled up to the curb. Benito asked if he could give me a lift.
Smiling, I hopped in while a few people nearby looked at the car appreciatively and one guy made a low whistle.