Bound by the Billionaire's Baby(7)

By: Cathy Williams


Pride, however, did entail roughing it in a not particularly great part of London and having to put up with a good-natured but lazy landlord who didn’t see a problem with eccentric central heating and appliances that only worked when they felt like it.

‘And yet you’re here...?’

‘Sometimes you’ve just got to live a little.’ Susie blushed and looked away. ‘I should have done what I always wanted to do,’ she said, staring off into the distance. ‘I mean, have you ever found yourself sucked into following a career path that just wasn’t for you?’

She had been eighteen...with no interest in going to university...and the family consensus had been that a secretarial career would at least provide a steady income, with the possibility of branching out at a future date. The unspoken conclusion had been that she was just not academic enough for much else.

‘No.’

‘You mean you’ve always known what you wanted to do with your life? Where you wanted to go and how to get there?’

‘Circumstances have a cunning way of steering us down an inevitable road,’ Sergio murmured, a little surprised to be participating in this abstract conversation.

‘What does that mean?’

‘So you were “sucked into” becoming a secretary...?’

Susie duly noted his avoidance of her question—and yet he had sounded, just then, as though he had been speaking from experience...what experience?

‘It seemed to make sense at the time.’ And anything that made sense had seemed so important at the time—more important than standing her ground and pursuing a career in fine art.

‘But in retrospect it was the biggest mistake of your life, because things that are done because they make sense are not always the things one ends up enjoying...?’

‘That’s so true!’ Susie leaned forward. She laughed, delighted that he had caught on so quickly, had almost read her mind and expressed her thoughts in a handful of words. ‘You’re very insightful,’ she murmured shyly.

Sergio raised his eyebrows. Insightful? One adjective that had never before been applied to him.

‘I wouldn’t get carried away,’ he murmured drily. ‘If I were you I’d remember what I told you before. I’m arrogant...you’d be far better off bearing that in mind...’





                      CHAPTER TWO

NATURALLY SUSIE OFFERED to pay her half.

‘I insist,’ she told him firmly. ‘I dumped myself on you. The last thing I want is for you to find yourself having to buy dinner for me. And a very expensive dinner as well.’

‘I don’t do anything in life because I have to,’ Sergio informed her. ‘At any rate, I don’t pay when I come here.’

‘You don’t pay? What does that mean?’

‘I have an understanding here...’ So she knew he was rich? That wasn’t too difficult. He was well known—if not because he appeared so often in the financial pages, then because he appeared with equal regularity in the gossip columns of tabloids. Whether she knew what, precisely, he owned, he had no idea—and who cared?

He had already made his mind up.

Maybe he had made it up the second his libido had been galvanised into unexpected reaction.

She had come looking for fun and cash. She was heading in the right direction for fun...

And the cash? He was a generous lover, so who knew? If she was looking for something more significant...if she was in search of involvement on an emotional level...then of course she would be in for a rude awakening. But for the moment he liked the thought of taking her to his bed...removing that provocative little red number inch by gradual inch...and then exploring the body underneath also inch by gradual inch...

‘How can you have an “understanding” with a restaurant?’ Susie asked dubiously. ‘Unless... Are you related to the owner? Or does the owner owe you a favour...?’ She frowned and chewed her lip anxiously. ‘You’re not...not connected to the Mafia, are you?’

For a few seconds Sergio thought he had misheard her, but she was still staring at him, her almond-shaped brown eyes wary.

‘Have you actually just asked me whether I was connected to the Mafia...?’ Incredulity almost deprived him of the power of speech. No one, but no one, had ever dared go this far...

In fact no one, and certainly no woman, had ever dared challenge him in any way.

Maybe because they knew instinctively that he wasn’t into verbal challenges. Some women might think it a turn-on to needle him. The few who had thought so had learned pretty damn quickly that it wasn’t.

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