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The Billionaire’s Deception
Book 2 of Scandalous Billionaires

Janine breathed out a long sigh and rolled her head to loosen her stiff neck. Her walk of shame from the beach this morning seemed like it happened forever ago, a disturbing dream she’d tried to forget, but whose edges still lingered as an unpleasant reminder. That bright, busy lobby full of chattering tourists was quiet now. Lamps shed pools of light on empty tables. The few staff who remained spoke in low tones, giving the room a library’s hush.

She looked over and noticed Sheldon still sitting behind the piano. She walked over to him.

“Have a seat,” he invited, sliding over to give her room to perch.


Sheldon began to play a moody, jazzy melody. The late hour, the drinks, the fatigue of the day were working on her, loosening her bones and her tongue. “What composer is that?” she asked.

He shrugged. “Nobody special.”

“No, really.”

“It’s mine, actually,” he admitted. “Sometimes I just freestyle, especially when there’s nobody around to hear.”

Janine looked at him. “It’s lovely. You’re very talented.”

“Thank you.” He played a few more bars, then finished with a tiny arpeggio up the board, the sleeve of his jacket brushing ever so slightly against her breasts, which suddenly felt heavy and full.

“So how did it go?” he asked.

She’d been so busy admiring the flex and press of his hands on the keyboard, she almost missed the question. “Um, great. Lucia is great. I created this cocktail she’s going to promote to help kill off that bar tab quicker, which is really great.”

“So great, then.”

“Right.” She sounded like a babbling idiot. This was not good.

Sheldon began playing again, this one an oddly compelling piece that crawled into her consciousness as if he were whispering sensual promises to her through the notes. She had to force herself to keep talking instead of letting his music wash over her, drug her. She dragged her attention back to his question. “There’s something to be said for work that’s finished at the end of a shift. Nothing’s hanging over your head, no emails stacking up unanswered, no unfinished projects hovering like storm clouds on the horizon of every Monday morning. You stock the bar, turn out the lights, and go home. Ciao. Done.”

“Very philosophical. That plus the new drink—maybe you are a bartender after all.”

The idea intrigued her. It would be a radical change from management. Her dad would hate it. She didn’t think she would. “Maybe. What about you? Have you always been a musician?”

“Not always. I’m actually on a break of sorts right now.” The chords stacked onto each other in curious patterns that tightened and then resolved. It was almost like listening to the piano itself breathe.

“So what do you normally do, then?”

She couldn’t be sure, but she could swear she heard one off note, like he’d lost concentration somehow. But it could have been her imagination. It was late, and she’d grown tipsy. Her pink, frothy cocktail packed a stealthy punch.

“This and that,” he said.

It wasn’t an answer. But she could sense in his tone the same disconnect she’d been hauling around like extra pounds in her crowded backpack. He was a kindred spirit.

Or not. That could just be the alcohol talking. And after last night’s debacle, any feelings provoked by alcohol needed to be ignored, if not crushed outright.

The music continued, mysterious and slow, the only sound in the deserted lobby now that the staff had slowly melted away to catch snatches of sleep. The last remaining desk clerk slipped through the office door, leaving it open just a crack in case an errant guest chimed the heavy brass call bell. At long last, they were alone.

She looked up, met his eyes, and fell right into their dark, chocolate depths.

“Janine—” His voice was a whisper.

She heard a tiny plink when his hands left the keyboard to cradle her head. The room contracted around them, enclosing them both into a cocoon of sensation.

The lingering sweetness of the drink she’d mixed blended with the taste of him. She opened to him, tasting more deeply, hearing the whimper in her throat as his tongue stole forward to sample her in return, to drink, to savor. More, she thought.

As if hearing her unspoken plea, he slanted his mouth over hers, hot, demanding. Her bloodstream pulsed and warmed in response. She fisted his crisp shirt in one hand, rubbing against the hard planes of his chest beneath, liking how he shifted on the bench to draw her closer. Inside, she expanded, ready to burst into something—a shout? A howl? She felt constricted in her borrowed clothes. Too tight. She ached to be freed.

But his elbow jarred the keys and broke the spell with a harsh, dissonant note.

She sat there dazed, panting a little. He looked bewildered, as if the night and the quiet had bewitched him somehow. She never considered for a minute it might be her.

The brief pause was enough to allow a queer, panicky voice to shoulder into her consciousness. Stop, it said. You can’t afford any more mistakes. The rightness, the harmony of his lips on hers—that couldn’t be true. Could it? Could she trust this impulse when her last had such disastrous results? This was—she didn’t know what to think.

Get out, Responsible Janine urged. While you still can, go.

She slipped from the bench, gave him one last, hard look, and fled.


Escape to Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast with Scandalous Billionaires.
Five sinfully sexy billionaires, five feisty, beautiful women. Intrigue and deception mixed with love equal steamy hot Amalfi Nights! Get your copy today.

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