Sweet Temptation(10)

By: Maya Banks

Tomorrow she’d start her job search. Thanks to her Hispanic heritage, she could pose as an illegal immigrant and get a job that paid under the table. She had funds stashed, but she couldn’t afford to lean on those unless absolutely necessary.

And God willing, it wouldn’t be necessary. She could start a new life here. Nothing was left for her in Miami. Micah never needed to know about her problems. She didn’t want him to be with her for any other reason than she was what he wanted.


Angelina woke with a strong sense of purpose. She dressed and was out of the hotel early, just as the sun crept over the horizon. Determined to get her job situation squared away as soon as possible, she hit the cafés in walking distance of the hotel, and at the third she scored a job as a waitress. The manager generously offered to let her work for tips only, and she could take what she earned home in cash each night.

It wasn’t ideal, but it could be a lot worse. She was friendly and outgoing, and she wasn’t afraid of hard work. After arranging her schedule, she went back to the hotel and dialed Damon Roche’s number at The House. One of his employees said he wasn’t in but he was expected within the hour. She hung up and collected her keys. By the time she got over there, she wouldn’t have long to wait.

She took her time, stopping at a drive-thru for breakfast. When she drove up the winding paved drive of The House, an hour had passed. Hopefully Damon would be in by now. She wanted to smooth any ruffled feathers and figure out where she stood.

While her cursory investigation into Micah’s life in Houston had revealed his membership at The House, she hadn’t realized he and Damon were friends. She’d be lucky if she was ever allowed back in again. Micah had probably already screeched at Damon beyond his explosion the night before.

She parked close to the entrance, noting that there were only two other cars in the designated parking area, one of which was a slick-looking BMW. Damon’s? She hoped so.

She got out and strode to the door to ring the bell. Within a few seconds, the door opened, and she was greeted by a plain-faced gentleman who peered inquisitively at her.

“I’m here to see Damon Roche,” she said

“Do you have an appointment?”

She blinked. “Um, well, no. I called earlier and was told he’d be in. Can you tell him Angelina Moyano would like to talk to him?”

He gestured for her to come inside, and she followed him into a luxurious sitting room.

“I’ll see if Mr. Roche is willing to meet with you,” he said politely.

She nodded and sank onto the sumptuous leather couch. She studied the room while he was gone, taking in the tasteful decor. Everything about The House spoke of refinement and elegance. No matter what went on behind closed doors, there was a distinct air of class. It was hard to feel cheap or tawdry in such a place, and maybe that was the point.

“Angelina,” Damon said as he strode through the doorway. He stopped in front of her, his expression inquiring. “You wished to speak with me?”

She rose to stand before him, warming to the spark of authority in his voice. This too was a man well used to being in charge.

“Yes, please,” she said, trying to keep the uncertainty from her voice.

He held a hand out to touch her arm. “Come into my office. Would you like coffee or juice?”

She shook her head and followed him down the hall and into a spacious office that oozed raw masculinity.

“Have a seat,” he said as he walked around the desk to his chair. He sat and leaned back, studying her with his deep brown eyes. A wide, gold band circled his ring finger, surprising her. Why, she wasn’t sure, but the idea that he had a wife seemed odd. Did she mind his ownership of a place where sex was as common as drinking water?

“What can I do for you, Angelina?”

She grimaced, twisting her mouth into a rueful smile. “I wanted to know if my membership was still valid.”

His fingers formed a triangle, the tips coming together to rest against his bottom lip as he continued to stare levelly at her. “Is there any reason it shouldn’t be?”

“Let’s not pretend you aren’t friends with Micah. Guy’s code and all that. I’ve witnessed the biggest boys club in the world when my brother and Micah were on the police force.”

“Yes, we’re friends.”

“Are you pissed that I withheld that I knew him during my application process?”

Damon sighed. “What are you really asking, Angelina? If you want to know if Micah has demanded I bar you from the premises—one, he doesn’t have the right to demand anything, friendship notwithstanding. And two, I haven’t heard a word from him since last night.”

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