“Are you sure that’s what I said?” Riana asked for the hundredth time that week. She couldn’t possibly believe she agreed to any of it. After that kiss—which still tied her stomach in knots every time she thought about it—she didn’t remember a word he said. She was too busy watching those lips move, wondering when he was going to kiss her again. She thought about it every moment of every day.
She sighed. Those sweet, sexy lips…
She slapped her forehead with the palm of her hand. Idiot! Aren’t you in a mess already because of those lips!
Loraine stuffed her mouth with more popcorn. “Yup. You, my dear friend, agreed to service him every single night of those two weeks. But he did promise to repay the favor tenfold.”
Riana dropped on the couch, her head in her hands. “Oh, God. I agreed to have sex with a total stranger.”
“For two weeks.”
“I know that!” she snapped.
Loraine was quiet for a moment before she leaned in and added conspiratorially. “Every. Single. Night.”
She shrugged backing away. “Hey, he hasn’t tried to track you down in over a week. Maybe he’s changed his mind. Maybe he’s found another girl to take.”
The thought of Allan taking another girl on a trip he’d promised her after the bone-melting kiss he’d planted on her made her chest ache with unfamiliar pain. He said they’d leave in a week’s time. It had been ten days. Three days past the seven that composed a week.
She chewed nervously on her lower lip. Could Loraine be right?
Oh please no! “You think so?”
Loraine sighed with exasperation. “You can’t be serious, Riana! First you were freaking out about going out of the country with a stranger and now the prospect of it not happening is making you sad? Make up your mind woman!”
Riana leaned her head back against the backrest of the couch, pulled the quilt over her head, and groaned. “I don’t know what to do or think. I’m so confused!”
The doorbell rang and Loraine stood to answer it. “Well, you better make up you mind before Mr. Allan Sinclair decides to call you.” Riana heard the door open, and then Loraine laughed. “Actually, you are going to have to make that decision now.”
“Huh?” Riana pulled the quilt off her face and turned to the door. There stood a man in a chauffer’s uniform with his cap held against his chest. He had the largest smile plastered on his face.
“Miss Albury, Mr. Sinclair is waiting for you at the airport. He has your passport and all other necessary documentation. His instructions are not to pack any clothing items, as all you require will be purchased once you reach your destination. The jet will be leaving for Italy in an hour.” He turned to the side and stretched his arm out signaling with his cap. “Shall we?”
* * * *
Allan leaned back in his comfy, leather seat, hoping to get at least one hour of sleep before Riana arrived and they could finally leave. Seven hours in the sky with a beautiful woman and no work to plow through, after working on very little sleep for the past two days, was exactly what he needed. Acquiring a hotel chain was more of a headache than he had anticipated.
His executives at Sinclair Enterprise were shocked by his sudden interest in the hotel business. Sinclair Enterprise only dealt with buying manufacturing companies, tearing them apart, and selling them off piece by piece at a two hundred percent profit.
The hotel business was only for his baby sister’s benefit. He had a soft spot for her. Now no one could accuse him of being a completely cold-hearted businessman.
Unlike others he knew, Allan helped the workers of all the companies he had torn apart find work someplace else in addition to a very large severance pay, which equaled six months of their monthly salary—twice as much as their original company severance package.
Melody had always wanted to run her very own hotel. She had a vision of making it a home away from home for her clients. Allan agreed to help her start her own hotel if she agreed to do a year’s internship with three of the best hotels he knew existed. Having done two thirds of the year at The Ritz and The Hilton, she was now at the Trump. Allan was proud of her. She’d shown dedication and hard work, and she was just twenty-three, an age where she should be living it up.
As a reward, he’d decided to acquire an international chain of hotels for her. He wouldn’t be taking it apart. He’d just weed it out, replace some of the staff, and then hand it over to Melody in a pretty, pink bow. Allan was sure she would love it. Though it may be bigger than what she’d planned, Allan had all the confidence in her to make it a success again.
Casa Italian—very original—had one hotel in every major city in Italy, as well as locations in Paris, Barcelona, London and Los Angeles. The failed one in New York was what put them in the red; if New Yorkers were one thing, it was loyal to their brands. Casa Italiano New York didn’t stand a chance of survival two years after it opened. So they currently had eight in total, and maybe once the chain was steady on its feet, he might help reopen the branch in New York. That should be a good start for Melody.
The headquarters of Casa Italiano was in Venice, which explained the business part of the trip. The pleasure part had to do with the curvaceous, hundred and twenty pound, five foot six, curly haired, brown skinned beauty who had the most amazingly hypnotizing brown eyes with green streaks. The same woman who possessed the softest, oh so soft, and most delicious, supple lips that had haunted the little sleep he’d had since the day he’d kissed her.
Allan shook his head and chuckled. He never thought a woman’s rambling could be so sexy.
He despised it when people couldn’t say what they intended in five sentences or less. He didn’t want a story or a history lesson, just the facts.
But Riana’s sweet voice going on and on about nothing in particular he found cute and very arousing.
He sighed contently. Soon, they’d finally be in Venice and he’d be able to touch her and kiss her again.
She was so different from the women he was used to or even chased after. She wasn’t a very confident person and was naïve with a gentle soul. He was sure she’d believed in Santa Claus well into her teen years.
Allan chuckled. He could see Loraine bursting that little bubble.
Allan could tell Loraine was always trying to get Riana to stiffen her backbone more. He agreed with Loraine on that one; if she didn’t get a stronger backbone the world was going to destroy her gentle soul.
He wondered about her parents and what they’d say about her taking a two week long—hopefully an entire month long—trip to Venice with a stranger? She seemed sheltered, the type to call her mom five times a day. He knew she was in college because she was taking finals and the fact that she was permitted to serve alcohol put her above twenty-one. Hopefully she was twenty-two or twenty-three. He could live with a seven year difference, but not nine or more. He wasn’t a cradle robber.
Allan frowned. Since when did he care about age difference?
Maybe because this was the first girl he was dating and not a woman. Hold up. Not dating. Just having a rebound affair with. He’d sooth her pain of catching her boyfriend having sex with her roommate and she’d sooth the embarrassment his ego met at having her watch with him as his longest girlfriend in the history of his love life got fucked by the boy who was to be his protégée at a cancer charity ball.
Yeah, that’s what this is. Don’t complicate it, Allan Sinclair. She’s not your type. Too young. Besides, you aren’t looking for a relationship. Just someone to keep you company at night.
Riana…he whispered her name in his thoughts and smiled. Soon he’d have her under him, above him, and as many other positions as were humanly possible.
He settled more comfortably in his seat to dream of all he was going to do to her once they reached Venice.