Mistresses: In His Bed: The Billionaire's Trophy / Strictly Temporary / Whose Bed Is It Anyway?. Robyn Grady
she had come very close to losing her virginity at university when she fell in love. Of course that relationship had gone pear-shaped the instant Toby looked at her and said, ‘I can’t believe I’m going to bed with a girl the living image of Sapphire…’
Wham, that astonishing admission had hit Emmie right where it hurt, crushing her confidence and her faith in the love he had pledged. Being the sister of a world-famous supermodel and, even worse, her identical twin had often made Emmie feel as though she had no identity or individuality of her own. Time after time men had made her feel like an imperfect copy or stand-in for her flawless sister and the resemblance between the two women was so strong that, to sidestep that humiliating association being made, Emmie generally played down her best assets and avoided her twin’s company. Now she wondered what it was about Bastian Christou that got to her. Lashes cloaking her gaze, she studied him, her heart beating very fast. Why had he looked at her like that? All right, his engagement was over and he was supposedly a free agent again, but what was he playing at? Men didn’t, as a rule, see beyond the plain, unflattering clothing she wore. And his former fiancée was as different from Emmie in appearance as to be almost another species, being tiny, dark and glittery rather like a manic fairy, Emmie recalled from her one fleeting glimpse of the imperious little Greek socialite. Lifting her chin, Emmie gazed steadily back at him.
Reluctant amusement rippled through Bastian’s powerful frame. She had nerve and he liked that; he liked that very much.
‘In my office—five minutes,’ he told her coolly, thrusting back his chair and rising to his full intimidating height.
‘He must want to check the minutes. I hope you kept pace,’ Marie commented. ‘At one point there, I was afraid you might be falling asleep.’
Emmie winced. ‘It was a possibility…’ Until your boss kicked me awake. The awareness that Bastian Christou had noticed that she was dropping off made her want to cringe and she wondered if that was what he wanted to speak to her about. After all he had never bothered to speak to her before except in passing and he channelled any instructions through Marie.
‘Is there no way you can chuck in the waitressing?’ Marie enquired in an undertone.
‘Sadly not, but I do have only another few weeks to go here,’ Emmie pointed out, relieved she had chosen to be honest with the older woman about the fact that she was working two jobs to survive.
‘I hope the long hours you’re working to do this pay off,’ Marie retorted wryly.
And from the tone of that remark, Emmie gathered that Marie saw little prospect of her being offered a full-time position with the company. In truth Emmie hadn’t really expected the internship to lead to a permanent job but naturally she had hoped to be proven wrong in that assessment. She knew that it was much more likely that another unpaid intern would be offered the position she had vacated. Why should employers take on extra staff and pay them when they could get young eager workers for nothing?
Emmie walked into Bastian’s office for the first time and glanced around, taking in the cool contemporary furnishings and artworks, the almost palpable opulence of a décor where no expense had been spared. But then Bastian Christou had no need to count the cost of anything. A genius in the field of software development and an exceptional businessman, he had single-handedly built an international company out of the best-selling program he had developed before he even left university and had become an enormously wealthy man while still very young.
‘Close the door,’ he told her, his deep voice setting up a vibration along her spine. He was a very masculine man and it had nothing to do with his physical size. Raw masculinity was etched in his hard bone structure, shrewd eyes and the authority and assurance with which he spoke. Although he was always perfectly groomed there was nothing metrosexual about him. One had only to see Bastian Christou with his sleeves rolled up on his strong forearms, his tie torn off and collar unbuttoned to show a slice of bronzed flesh to know that he was all male in a way so few men still dared to be.
Emmie pressed the door shut and turned back, a shiver of disconcerting awareness filtering through her tall, slender length as she met his keen, intelligent eyes. Beautiful eyes, she thought absently, as arrestingly bright as starlight in that strong face. Her body betrayed her instantly as if, having found the chink in her armour with this one man, it had forced that tiny loophole into a dangerous crack, for her breasts stirred and swelled heavily within her bra so that it felt tight and uncomfortable. Her colour fluctuated as her nipples stung into straining peaks and suddenly she was as tongue-tied as an awkward adolescent.
‘Miss Marshall,’ Bastian drawled, tracking her every change of expression. ‘Or may I call you Emmie?’
‘Emmie’s fine,’ she muttered at the height of a drawn-in breath.
‘Or do you prefer Emerald?’
Taken aback by that rare use of her baptismal name, Emmie hovered uncertainly. ‘I don’t use that name…’
‘You…don’t?’ A winged ebony brow climbed as though she had surprised him and when he bent his head over the laptop on the desk, it was a relief for her to have a moment to catch her breath again while watching the light from the window behind her gleam over the glossy sheen of his luxuriant black hair.
Catching herself on that thought, she didn’t know what was wrong with her and only wished she could kick her brain back into gear. Yes, he was a good-looking guy but that didn’t impress her, it being her experience that handsome men were usually very aware that they were handsome and invariably offended if a woman didn’t react with admiration. Not that Bastian Christou struck her as belonging to that category, she acknowledged grudgingly. She was of such minuscule importance on his scale that she was sure he couldn’t care less how she reacted to him. No, it was her own self and her pride that were affronted by her breathless, nervous state in his presence. A grown woman didn’t lose her ability to reason around an attractive man, at least not if she expected to be taken seriously as an employee in an executive office that was still very much a man’s world.
‘No, I don’t use that name…never have,’ Emmie proclaimed with a strained smile, recalling that he could only have got that name from her job application because she only employed it when officialdom required it. Perhaps it had lingered on his mind because it was unusual.
Bastian Christou looked up with a slight smile and inexplicably that smile of his suddenly chilled Emmie to her bone marrow. ‘But that’s not quite true, is it?’
Frozen there in front of his desk, Emmie blinked rapidly, unnerved by the ESP promptings that were warning her of a threat when there was no possible threat that she could see. ‘Sorry?’ she questioned uncertainly, having lost the thread of the conversation.
‘It’s untrue that you don’t use the name Emerald,’ Bastian declared, swivelling his laptop round for her to view what was on the screen.
Emmie’s soft mouth fell wide when she saw the picture he was referring to, shock and disbelief vibrating through her from head to toe because she could not imagine how a personal photograph of hers could have ended up on the Internet for anyone to see. It had been taken at her graduation party on one of the very rare occasions when she dressed up and threw caution to the wind and the photo was still in her digital camera…or at least she had thought it was. ‘What’s this? Where did you find that photo?’ she gasped strickenly.
‘On the website belonging to the Exclusive Companions escort agency,’ Bastian confided, noting that she had turned as white as a sheet at his admission and experiencing an entirely unexpected pang of conscience because she contrived to appear genuinely shattered by his discovery. Of course, he reasoned, that merely proved that she had the useful skill of being a good actress in a challenging situation.
‘Exclusive C-Companions?’ Emmie stammered, for it was her mother’s business and she knew that her photograph could not have been uploaded to that website without her mother’s involvement. She was absolutely appalled and stared fixedly at that colourful image with a sinking heart. How on earth could Odette do that to her? Her mother knew she wanted no involvement with her