Secrets of the Playboy's Bride(7)

By: Leanne Banks

Brenda returned with chilled water. Calista gulped hers down.

“Are you upset about your tires?” he asked, studying her face.

“It’s a little disturbing even though it wasn’t personal,” she said and realized a big part of the reason she wasn’t more upset was because Leo had been there with her. She would have to be very careful around him. It would be all too easy to enjoy having a strong, decisive man on whom she could count and let her strategy slide from being her top priority. “I’m just thinking I need to get up early in the morning so I can go back to my apartment before work. I think I’m ready to turn in. Where is the guest room?”

“You have a choice of two beds. The guest bed, or mine,” he said with an undertone of seduction.

She felt a quick rush of forbidden temptation but pushed the sensation aside. “I’m not sure I’d get much sleep in your bed,” she admitted in a whisper. “And sleep is what I need.”

He slid his finger over her jaw. “If you say so,” he said, then lowered his head and kissed her.

The light scent of Calista’s perfume lingered for a few seconds after she walked down the hallway to the guestroom. He inhaled deeply, wanting to catch the last bit of her. The taste of her was still on his lips, but he wanted more. He couldn’t remember wanting a woman this much, this quickly. He wanted her in his bed tonight.

Calista was the flesh and blood equivalent of his dream woman. Classy, well-educated, polished, yet warm, she could make him clean. With her by his side, he could travel with ease in any social circle. She would also be an asset to his business.

Yes, she would suit his needs nicely, in bed and out. After he seduced her, and he would, maybe he could con himself into believing she could make him clean on the inside, too.

The helicopter hovered over eastern Pennsylvania, landing on a helipad next to the lake, and what looked like a compound. A man approached the helicopter and took the luggage. Leo jumped out and helped Calista onto the ground, moving swiftly toward a vehicle waiting on the drive.Moments later, they pulled into the back driveway of a three-story luxury mansion that sat directly on the lake. “Good for a little break, don’t you think?” he asked as he led her into the huge house.

“Or longer,” she said, taking in the polished wood floors and beautiful furnishings. More evidence that the con man had done very well for himself. He guided her to the room facing the lake and she stared out at the beautiful blue water and could have almost happily died from the serene view of the sunset.

“This is so beautiful. How do you tear yourself away?” she asked. “The view is just—” She broke off without adequate words to describe it.

“I get restless if I’m in one place too long,” he said. “Plus, business can be very demanding.”

“Hmm,” she said and met his gaze. “If you say so.”

He chuckled. “I bet you don’t stay still for long either,” he said.

She didn’t, for other reasons, though. “Maybe, but this could tempt me.”

“Good,” he said, gazing at her through hooded eyes. “Dinner will be waiting for us on the terrace. Steak and lobster.” A woman approached them. “Denise will show you to your room while I make some calls.”

Denise led her to a beautiful room furnished with a queen-size bed, furniture upholstered in a soft pastel palette and Monet prints. The result was so soothing Calista could have happily closed the door and lived there the rest of her existence if she didn’t have other responsibilities. She sank into a chair next to the window. Drinking in the peaceful reflection the moon cast on the lake, she felt her tension fade away. For a few sweet seconds, she felt safe.

A knock sounded on her door and the feeling disappeared. She must not forget that she was here for a reason. Calista stood and answered the door. “Yes?” she said to Denise.

“Mr. Grant invites you to join him for dinner,” the woman said.

“Thank you,” Calista said and grabbed her sweater. Peace was an illusion. She needed to continue with her strategy. “I’m ready now.”

Denise led her to a porch that featured an outdoor heater. It was a clear night and she felt surrounded by the stars. “It’s beautiful,” she murmured.

“Yes it is,” Denise said. “Mr. Grant will be here momentarily.”

Sitting down next to the heater, she listened to the lap of the water against the shore. It didn’t get any better than this.

Leo appeared and she met his gaze. “This is heaven. I don’t care what your work demands are. I still can’t comprehend how you can leave this place.”

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