Playing the Billionaire (International Temptation)(6)

By: M.K. Meredith


“Say, seven o’clock?” The increased heartrate was surely due to worry she wouldn’t let him curate her experience, and not because of anything else—like the way she was once again tapping the little hollow beneath her lower lip.

“I’ll see you at seven.” She yawned a second time. “Oh my gosh, I’m so sorry.” She covered her mouth with a wide-eyed look. “Apparently, a nap is exactly what I need. The Oceà Bar?”

He smiled. “Go, before you fall over.”

She studied him a moment, then spoke softly. “Thank you. You made a potentially very bad beginning quite fun. You rescued me.”

Holding her gaze, he dipped his chin.

He watched her cross the lobby until she disappeared around the corner toward the elevators. Her shoulders were toned with the built-up cap of a woman who lifted weights. He followed the curve it created down her arms, then switched his attention to her ass. Impeccable.

Normally, he’d ask a woman like her out for a night on the town. Let her know right away he was interested.

Not being able to do so was exactly what he deserved for the game he was playing.

Curate her experience, make sure she had a good time, distract her from any slipups the staff might make—which they sure as hell wouldn’t, because they were his very own highly trained, hardworking staff—make sure she had fun when she left the hotel, so a bad experience at a restaurant doesn’t come back to the hotel with her and affect her review.

His assistant had accidentally learned the identity of the reviewer for Elite Travel & Life during an industry event. And not just anyone, but the most sought after one—L.M. Cipriano. Or as Mateu had come to know her, London Montgomery. When she’d booked a stay with Huntington Place Barcelona, it made sense that it could only be to do this year’s review.

He hated the idea of manipulating her stay, and, in any other situation, would never even consider it, but after their drop in ratings, he had to do what was necessary. If he didn’t get the hotel turned around, and fast, he wouldn’t be able to help his father. Regardless of the directives at a regional level, his hotel’s performance was a direct reflection on him.

Mateu had finished cleaning up the immediate mess just before the holidays. And now that operations were humming along smoothly again, he’d been planning on shifting his hours—half-time at the hotel and half-time remotely from his parents’ orchard. Scaling back a bit. Being more present with his family. His father was showing more than the wear and tear of decades of hard physical labor; the damage was becoming permanent. And as much as Mateu loved the challenge and competitive nature of being the CEO of Huntington Place Barcelona, he also missed the sharp smell of citrus and the chaotic but orderly scramble of family life on an orchard.

But he couldn’t do that until the management slipup was fully remedied.

With his father’s health on the line, he was on board with showing London a great time. He’d create plenty of opportunities for her to experience the impeccable customer service of Huntington Place.

London Montgomery wanted a dream vacation, and he would give her one.





Chapter Three


London welcomed the slight flutter in her stomach as the elevator descended in an almost silent whoosh. Earlier, when she’d made her way up to unpack and take a nap, the reality of where she was had hit her with a giddy rush of excitement.

Barcelona.

Her first vacation in years. And she’d met a sexy Spaniard, no less.

She could sleep once she was back in the States.

Instead of having to cover the cost of an in-home caregiver, her mother’s best friend, Margo, was visiting for two weeks. A twinge of guilt that it wasn’t her stayed stubbornly perched on the back of London’s neck—the same guilt she suffered every time she traveled. But if she didn’t travel, she didn’t get paid, which would make taking care of her mother completely impossible, instead of just difficult. Knowing the two women would binge-watch their favorite Netflix series every night she was gone had helped ease her worry enough to board the plane.

She’d saved for this vacation for the past year, which had afforded her a week and a half of luxuries. God, she wished Susan, her best friend, were here with her as they’d planned. But a sister with a new baby and a deployed husband meant Susan needed to go help her instead. Understandable.

Alone or not, it was London’s chance for shopping, good food, and better adventures—and maybe a steamy Spanish tumble to take home and dream about when work got hectic and her head felt like a jackhammer.

Time to get started.