New York, New York
“So, you’re in the market for a new mistress,” she purred. Her voice was luscious.
Billionaire Blake Baldwin was in the Presidential Suite of the Waldorf Astoria with Lido Ali, older sister of his fiancée, Mila. Lido, it so happened, was a world-renowned model. The scenario was the pure definition of scandal. It looked bad. Not to mention, for all intents and purposes, there was a ready bed in the next room. But if he really wanted to fuck her, right there in the lavish living room was also a viable option.
Lido smiled. Her pearly white teeth were nicely framed by her full lips. She had the smoothest, darkest, most supple skin he’d ever seen. Her big almond eyes were as captivating as Mila’s. However, Lido’s gaze held a note of darkness, and a twisted sickness that churned Blake’s stomach.
“No. I am not in the market for a new mistress.”
Blake glanced over at a muscular, bald man who was looking at Lido with cold blue eyes.
“You’ve been invited here to talk business.”
Predictable as ever, Lido placed the tip of her finger into her mouth, letting it glide over her teeth before closing her thick, pillowy lips over it. With a grin on her face, she sat back in the chair. The fabric of her tight lace miniskirt slid up her slender hips even more. Lido’s moves were deliberate and controlled as if every second of every moment was captured by an imaginary camera.
“What sort of business?” She finally asked.
“Monetary compensation for a bit of modeling work,” Blake responded in a monotone voice, not the least bit turned on. “I need you to act like a lady and attend the wedding festivities for Mila. Smile. Take pictures. Nothing more, nothing less.”
“I’ll be paid to—let me get this straight—act like your version of a lady? You'll pay me just to slap on a smile and come to your wedding, eh?”
“I really miss my Walaashay yar—excuse me—little sister. How is Mila?”
“What’s your price?” He growled. He knew Lido wasn’t inquiring because she gave a damn about her blood. This entire situation would’ve never played out if she actually cared about her younger sister.
“Really?” Lido chewed ever so softly at her lip. “I can’t ask about Mila?”
Blake’s veins burned with fire. He glared at her.
“If you’d like to call Mila, pay her a visit—any of that—you can, Lido. We both know that . . .” His voice trailed off. He wanted to tell the bitch that she was a spoiled brat, who didn’t have a caring bone in her body. “Name your price, Lido. What would convince you to give Mila a few hours of smiles and kind words? You’ll take lots of pretty pictures. That’s your niche, right? Should be easy.”
“The catwalk isn’t easy, honey. I’ll take a villa in Saint-Tropez, a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio.” At the mention of the three-million-dollar Ferrari, she simpered, “You didn’t think I wanted some cutesy little Corvette, did you?”
“Done.” Ever since they had begun to plan their wedding, Mila could not understand Lido’s behavior. His fiancée wasn’t even aware that he was in New York today. And there was no way in hell she’d find out that he had bought her sister’s affection.
“That’s not all, Blake.”
Sitting across from her, Blake stopped himself from standing and asked, “Anything else—”
“You. I’ll take you, of course.” Lido arched an eyebrow. “Mila took something that belonged to me. It’s only fitting that I take something that belongs to her. Don’t you worry, Blake. I’ll throw you away. Just one fuck and you can run along.”
“I said monetary, Lido. Allow me to make this easier. Give me a number. Let’s bypass the bullshit!”
Again, her mouth contorted into a pout. “Easy? We keep coming back to that word! You want to make this easy? The only thing I know about easy is these legs spreading wide,” she snapped. Lido’s long, dark chocolate legs parted west to east like a river, thighs thrust open.
Blake had no doubt that beneath the skimpy-ass ensemble she was wearing that Lido was naked. His emerald gaze bore through her dark one.
“Boy, I am not some silly little bitch. I own a damn house in Saint-Tropez, and if I wanted a second one, or another house on some far-off, distant island, this bitch,” she tossed her thumb toward her chest, “can get it by smiling and strutting on a runway in Milan. Chalk that up as easy if you must. I will admit a Ferrari Pininfarina Sergio is out of my budget, but that can be acquired other ways. You aren’t the only one with a fat wallet.”
Blake stared hard at Lido. Growing up in St. Louis, as a kid, he’d had to scrounge around for whatever he needed. Blake had to prove that he was more than just a hacker when he received an all-expenses-paid scholarship to a prestigious university. Now, he was a man who took what he wanted. Now, and forever, what he wanted—what he craved—was Mila’s happiness. She was the sweetest thing he’d ever known. In a world where anything could be placed at his fingertips, for a price, Mila was his most prized possession. He had fought hard for her. She was home to him, and this devil spawn sitting across from him wasn't going to stop him from ensuring Mila’s happiness.
“You remind me of my first wife, Diane.” He chuckled, grabbing the long ago discarded glass of scotch from the table and sunk back in the seat.
“Is that so?”
Whereas Mila was the fucking Disney movie, fairy-tale ending that his best friend’s kid sister, Zenobia, used to force them to watch as kids, Diane was the opposite. Mila was his princess. In his naive twenties, Blake had attempted to place his ex-wife, Diane, on the same pedestal, but, in the end, Diane was no princess. As Blake let the amber liquid take off some of the edge, a thought occurred to him. He sat up. Diane and Lido . . . Hmm. “You know, Diane is old school money.”
“That crazy bitch that got indicted for screwing with your company?”
“Yes. Can you believe she almost had the Feds believing that my social media site should be shut down for acts of terrorism? Do you know how many millions of dollars a day—an hour— that would’ve cost me? And that would have just been while the FBI closed the site to investigate. And you know, Diane never did a single day in the pen.”
“Why are you bringing up your ex-wife?”
“You have a lot in common. You’re both manipulative bitches. I should introduce the two of you,” he said, with a grin, noticing the slight pique of interest in Lido.
“She’s pretty . . .” Lido paused. “Though, I don’t see how a love connection will hurt you or Mila.”
Blake pointed a finger at her. “Thank you for your honesty.”
Lido had finally spoken the truth. Her only desire was to hurt her sister.
Blake shook his head. It will break Mila’s heart if I tell her the truth about her sister. Nobody has that much hatred!
“I’ve been lenient on you, Lido, but let me make this clear. You take a fucking multi-million-dollar car and or a house, and or whatever the fuck your sneaky ass wants from me—or hell—you can step out of here with not a single thing as far as I’m concerned, but you will attend my wedding.”
“Or what? What are you gonna do to me?” Lido’s entire demeanor brightened at the threat.
“It’d be a cold, shitty day in hell before I touch you. Even if you were standing before me, choking on your last fucking breath.” At least, not without Mila around, begging to save you. Blake’s gaze disconnected from Lido’s.
Blake nodded. He couldn’t stand to look at her a moment longer. At Blake’s signal, Lamb moved like a ghost, stopping behind Lido.
“Oh, I am down with a ménage,” Lido said, looking back and forth between the two of them. Blake shook his head. Lido was too damn crazy to understand the gravity of the moment.
“Your kid sister’s wedding is coming up. The festivities begin a few days prior. You will attend all events leading up to us saying our vows. For now, Lamb will escort you to where you’ll stay. I advise you to cancel any modeling jobs from today until the moment I put a ring on Mila’s finger. Got that?”
“No—” Lido stopped short as her hand came up to her slender neck. She looked back to see Lamb placing a needle and vial down. “You—”
Before Lido’s limp body could slide all the way down the seat, Lamb hefted her into his arms. He never questioned Blake’s motives or intentions, but now, the man’s blue gaze flickered somewhat. He was a bit shocked. Blake was too. Neither had really thought they’d have to go that far.
“I’ll keep her until the wedding stuff begins,” Lamb said. “But how are you going to get her to act right?”
“You’ve got a gun.”
“Yeah,” Lamb grunted. It was clear he didn’t like the sound of that.
“Every step she takes, you’ll be close by.”
This wedding will be the start of a perfect marriage, Blake told himself. And that’s all that mattered, right?