Secrets of the Playboy's Bride

By: Leanne Banks


Leonardo Grant caught the woman in his arms, absorbing her feminine impact and taking in swinging blond hair and seductive curves just before he felt something cold and wet slide down his chest.

“Oops,” the blond woman said with a contrite expression, glancing from her nearly empty glass to his shirt. “I’m so sorry,” she said. “I’m not usually such a klutz. I just wasn’t watching where I was going. Let me get a napkin for you.”Despite the spill, the woman emanated class. No surprise, given she was attending one of Philadelphia’s most exclusive charity events. He wondered who her date was. A woman this beautiful wouldn’t have arrived alone. “No problem,” he said smoothly. “I can get my own napkin.”

“But I feel terrible. And you probably feel worse in that soggy shirt,” she said motioning toward a waiter.

Charmed by how flustered she was, Leo allowed her to fuss over him for a moment while he studied her from head to toe. Silky shoulder-length blond hair framed an oval face with wide green eyes, a pert nose and a mobile, sensual mouth. He glanced lower, taking in her lean but curvy body. She worked out, he observed, taking in the slight muscle in her biceps. Her strapless dress revealed the tops of her creamy breasts and a narrow waist. The slit in her full-length gown gave him a peek at shapely legs.

A furrow formed beneath her brow as she mopped at his chest. “Maybe we could find you another shirt,” she said.

Leo bit back a chuckle. He could have a shirt delivered to him in five minutes, but she was so much more interesting. “I can stand it,” he said. “But we should replace your drink.”

“I don’t know,” she said, full of doubt. “Maybe dumping my margarita on your shirt is a sign for me to stop even though that was my first one for the evening,” she said.

He shrugged. “If at first you don’t succeed,” he said and extended his hand. “Leo Grant.”

“Calista,” she said, sliding her smooth, well-manicured hand in his. “Calista French. You’ve been such a good sport. I truly am sorry.”

Her last name tripped a trigger, and Leo searched his memory for details. There’d been so many names over the years, names of people his guardian had tricked and used. Once Leo had run away, he’d tried to forget them all. He pushed the thought aside. “No more apologies necessary. You rescued me from boredom.”

She held his gaze for an extra few seconds. “You don’t seem the type of man to allow boredom.”

He felt a flicker of sensual awareness snap between them. “I don’t,” he said. “I wasn’t planning on staying long tonight anyway.”

“Lucky guy,” she said in a low, conspiratorial voice. “I’m a member of the group who sponsored the event, so I can’t duck out until at least half-time. The only thing that makes it bearable is I really believe in the cause we’re supporting this year. Support for Abused Children. A close second to that cause in my opinion is the mentoring program for inner-city youth.”

“Are you a mentor?” he asked, surprised that a classy bombshell like her would spend her spare time with needy youth.

“Of course,” she said, then shot him a look of sexy challenge. “Aren’t you?”

“I could be,” he said. “Maybe you could tell me more about the program sometime over drinks or dinner.” He pulled a card from his pocket and pressed it into her hand.

Biting her lip, she searched his face. “I can have the program director give you a call. She’s more knowledgeable about specific needs than I am.”

“Are your turning down my invitation for dinner?” he asked.

She cleared her throat, but didn’t fidget. “I was taught that a woman never makes the first call. Especially if she’s spilled a margarita on the man. I should go. It’s been a pleasure.”

He watched her walk away, appreciating the curve of her backside. So, she didn’t want to make the first move. He had no problem stepping up. Even though she’d neglected to give him her phone number, he could have it within minutes. He’d make a request now, he thought, reaching for his BlackBerry. Calista French stimulated his curiosity. When it came to women, Leo always got what he wanted. Unfortunately, once they discovered the extent of his wealth, women tended to fall over themselves to please him. At that point, he quickly became bored, but Calista intrigued him. Aside from her obvious assets, he’d liked the sound of her laughter and the sparkle in her eye. He’d been working nonstop lately. He could use a distraction, and she didn’t seem the type to be overly impressed by his money. She oozed good breeding—something he certainly lacked. In the back of his mind, Leo was always looking for the perfect woman to make him clean.