When I completed and submitted my thirtieth book, I decided to celebrate by offering a taste from each one. His Mistress With Two Secrets is Book Two in my Sauveterre Siblings quartet. She's pregnant with the billionaire's babies. Twins! Enjoy!
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“I’m surprised you stayed below as long as you did when you had this to retreat to,” she said as Henri padded out to join her. He was compelled. Drawn. It was strange and not something he would typically indulge. The strength of his attraction made him a little uncomfortable.
Below them, people began filing out to the outdoor lounge while the music followed them.
Ramon was the one who liked crowds. Henri preferred a quieter atmosphere, but he said smoothly, “Good thing we did or I wouldn’t have met you.”
Her snort was delicate, if disparaging. Most blondes with blue eyes played up the suggestion of vulnerable innocence in their coloring. Not Cinnia. Her vintage hairstyle framed her face in a waifish way, but her brows had a sharp, intelligent angle. Her lashes stayed low and her gaze watchful, not cynical, but not goggling or overly impressed by any of this.
He liked that sign of inner confidence and strength. It was compelling, sparking his curiosity. “You feel differently?”
“I feel this is a well-oiled machine you two are operating.” She flicked her glance to the plate of canapés that appeared like magic on the glass table next to them.
“I would call that distrustful,” he said, waiting until the server had gone to swing his gaze back to hers. “If I didn’t think you two were running a similar routine. I’ll call it hypocritical instead.”
Her blue gaze flashed to his, but inside the suite, Vera was laughing at something Ramon had said. The two were meshing like cogs rolling against one another to turn out a foregone conclusion. Cinnia’s mouth tightened.
“Unable to deny it?” he taunted gently.
“You approached us,” she reminded with enough pique to amuse him.
“I was invited.”
“I didn’t mean to stare.” Her gaze returned to the view, chin coming up.
It had been more than a stare. She had smiled at him.
He watched with fascination as the fringe across her breasts quivered under an indignant breath. He would bet her cheeks were pink if the light was high enough to tell.
“I doubt I’m the first to be curious about the pair of you. You make a fetching couple.” Her smile was pure aspartame.
Her eyes, however, were a spun-sugar-blue. That was unmistakable as a huge white light swirled down from a helicopter, rousing the crowd below into cheering.
Her beauty gave him a sudden kick in the chest. It wasn’t a trick of makeup because she wore very little. The requisite eyeliner made her eyes stand out, but she’d only darkened her lashes a little. They weren’t lengthened with false ones like so many women wore these days. A shimmery blue streaked across her lids, but otherwise her features were clean and her skin fine and creamy.
“Did you really know it was me who looked back at you, or is that an assumption? Because it usually takes people months, even years to tell us apart.” It was easy once a person realized Henri was left-handed and Ramon right, or that Henri tended to speak French as his default while Ramon preferred Spanish, but few noticed those details.
“You are remarkably alike, but…” She glanced into the suite, to where Ramon was holding open the designer bag, listening politely to Vera wax in delight over the contents. They usually let their mother pick over the contents of those bags, then handed the rest to their PAs, but Henri was just as happy to let these women take them home.
He took advantage of Cinnia’s distraction to glance at his phone. The bullet points backed up what he’d already assumed. Her mother was well-born, but the family was broke. Cinnia worked for a wealth management firm and was listed on their website as an intern, filing and fetching coffee, he assumed. The only risk Cinnia Whitley posed was financial and he was quite sure he could afford her.
He tucked his phone away, irritated to note she was still eyeing his brother, brows pulled together in consternation.
“But?” he prompted, having to stand close to be heard over the music below.
“I don’t know. I don’t read auras or anything like that, but… Never mind.” She flashed him another look, this one self-conscious.
“That’s interesting.” His annoyance evaporated, replaced by intensified attraction. He leaned his elbow on the rail so he was even closer to her, edging into her space, liking the way she tried to quell a little shiver. She smelled like roses and tropics and something earthy that further turned him on.
“Wh-what is?” She was trying to look blasé, but he knew the signs of physical magnetism. There was a pulse beating fast in her throat, but it wasn’t fear. She wasn’t moving away. She was skimming her gaze across his shoulders and down his chest.
Chemistry was such a wonderful thing. He didn’t move, allowing the primal signals to bounce between them, stimulating him and heightening his senses. Sex was the cheapest and best high in the world, as far as he was concerned.
“You react to me, but not to him.”
“I didn’t say that!”
“Didn’t you? My mistake.”
“You are mistaken,” she assured him hotly. “Whatever you’re thinking about me—us—and why we came up here, forget it.”
She wasn’t used to being so attracted to the men she exploited, he surmised. Poor thing. This must be very disconcerting for her. With that reserved personality, he bet she usually did quite well at stringing a man along. Was she afraid she wouldn’t be able to hold out with him until she had squeezed all she could from him?
“I’m thinking you’re here to watch the fireworks. What did you think I was thinking?”
She spun back to the view, setting her chin.
He smiled. “Listen.” He very lightly stroked the back of his bent finger down her bare arm, entranced when goose pimples chased the same path.
She shot him a look that was startled and uncertain, quickly rubbing the bumps away.
“I don’t have to work this hard to get a woman to sleep with me. This is how I live.” He waved his champagne glass at the opulence around them. “Enjoy it without feeling obligated.”
“You won’t expect anything after?” she scoffed.
“By ‘anything,’ do you mean that?” He thumbed to where Vera was on tiptoes inside the suite, painting herself against Ramon, lips firmly locked over his.
Cinnia made a pained noise and looked out across the river again. As strategies went, her friend was overplaying her hand.
“I shall remain hopeful,” Henri drawled.
“Yes, you will remain that way,” Cinnia assured him.
He hid a silent laugh behind the glass he lifted to his lips, deciding he wanted her quite badly and was willing to pay whatever it cost. He respected people who knew what they were worth.
But he only said, “Don’t make promises unless you can keep them, chéri.”
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