Mistresses: In His Bed: The Billionaire's Trophy / Strictly Temporary / Whose Bed Is It Anyway?. Robyn Grady
so physically flawed. Those feelings had been compounded from early childhood by Odette’s resentful attitude to having had twins when she had only wanted one child. Even worse, Emmie had proved to be a heavy responsibility, underweight when born and often ill afterwards, a sickly child continually requiring extra care and attention. Emmie was always painfully aware that in those days Odette had found caring for her too heavy a responsibility.
Her mother was in bed when Emmie got home and although it was a relief not to have to face the older woman again Emmie was still in turmoil. Odette might once have been a neglectful parent but that costly surgery had transformed Emmie’s life, not least giving her her freedom and independence back. If her mother had paid for that operation, Emmie did owe her a debt. But surely that didn’t mean she was honour bound to perform escort duties for some stranger? Hadn’t Odette said ‘a weekend abroad’? My goodness, could such an arrangement be any more bizarre or dangerous? A whole weekend out of the country? He could be a white slaver and she might never be heard of again.
‘I’d like to see that contract,’ Emmie told her mother staunchly over breakfast, determined not to let her emotions take control of her again. She needed a solution and another argument would be counter-productive.
A couple of minutes later, Odette passed her a slim document. Emmie glanced down it and leafed to the last page to see the signature and what she saw there astonished her. Sebastiano Christou! How was that possible? How could Emmie’s boss be the man who had booked her as an escort? The same boss who had informed her that her supposed second career as an escort ran contrary to company policy? Emmie was so enraged by the sight of that particular name that she was vaguely surprised steam didn’t pump from her ears. She stuffed the contract into her bag. ‘I’ll handle this,’ she told the older woman tautly.
Evidently having expected more of a reaction from her, her mother said, ‘Aren’t you surprised by the identity of the client?’
‘Should I be?’
‘You do work for the guy—’
‘Oh, so you’re aware of that?’ Emmie fielded thinly.
‘Of course I am. It puts a whole new spin on office romance,’ Odette remarked mockingly.
‘Believe me,’ Emmie declared as she stood up, ‘there’s nothing romantic about this situation.’
Rage was powering Emmie like adrenalin by the time she reached the office. Bastian Christou was a complete hypocrite. Unbelievably, the same guy who had paid a ridiculous sum for her services as an escort had dared to warn her that her working in such a role threatened to bring his company into disrepute. But at least now she knew why he had been looking at her so oddly, doubtless imagining that if she worked as an escort she was a much more sexually exciting and adventurous personality than she appeared on the surface. Well, we’ll just see about that, Emmie reflected, furiously gritting her teeth together.
‘Mr Christou and I discussed a private matter yesterday and I need to see him as soon as possible to update him on…er, a recent development,’ Emmie informed Marie.
Her eyes carefully veiled, Bastian’s PA passed no comment and swept up her phone.
‘Go on ahead,’ she urged then, before adding, ‘Be careful, Emmie—’
‘Careful?’ Emmie queried, glancing back over her shoulder.
‘Before Lilah, Bastian had a bad track record with women,’ his PA murmured warningly.
Her face flaming at the type of development that the other woman so obviously suspected, Emmie knocked on the office door and entered. Bastian surveyed her from his stance by the window, his arrogant dark head set at a questioning angle, his brilliant eyes narrowed. Emmie dug the contract from her bag and slapped it down on the desk top in explanation.
‘So, you know,’ Bastian remarked evenly, not one whit perturbed by her aggressive body language.
‘And now it’s time for you to know that it’s not on, not happening in this lifetime!’ Emmie specified with emphatic bite. ‘But what I really can’t believe is that you talked of how my photo on that website could bring your company into disrepute and then you went ahead and booked me!’
‘I realised that you were the perfect match for my requirements,’ Bastian fielded with characteristic cool, noting that with that pink warming her cheeks and her animated expression she was glowingly alive, like a candle that had suddenly been lit for the first time. ‘However, if you don’t want to do it, return the fee and we’ll say no more about it.’
Return the fee? Consternation at that practical suggestion filtered through Emmie’s anger because she didn’t have a penny in the world, indeed still had an overdraft on her bank account from her student days. Odette had admitted to having already spent some of the money and Emmie had no way of replacing it, nor was she naïve enough to believe that she had a prayer of persuading her materialistic mother to hand over what remained of that cash. ‘I can’t believe that you can still look me in the eye…’ she said with scorn, side-stepping the money issue.
Bastian strolled forward, lean, darkly handsome features infuriatingly calm and assured. He was disturbingly graceful in motion, not a visible ounce of tension in his big powerful frame as he stepped unexpectedly into her space and without warning whisked the spectacles off her nose to examine them. ‘These are clear glass…what do you wear them for?’
‘Give me those back!’ Emmie snapped, fit to be tied at his cheek.
With a sardonic laugh, Bastian tossed them aside and reached instead for the clip pinning her thick hair to the back of her head.
‘What on earth do you think you’re doing?’ Emmie gasped, overpowered by his proximity and totally disconcerted by his bold approach.
The clip went the same way as the spectacles and released the heavy golden fall of her hair round her taut shoulders. ‘Maybe I wanted to see what I was paying for,’ Bastian said succinctly, indifferent to whether or not he caused offence. After all, wasn’t he hiring her to do a job? Why should he pussyfoot around her sensibilities?
Rampant disbelief gripped Emmie as she focused on his devastating face, struggling to block out the hard male beauty of his bronzed features, refusing to acknowledge it when he was being so objectionable. ‘How dare you?’ she snapped furiously.
‘It’s the truth even if you don’t like it,’ Bastian countered drily, watching her dark pupils dilate in a betraying sign of sexual awareness, emphasising the incredible blue of her eyes all the more. Even up close, she was dazzling, skin luminous, eyes bright, mouth sugar-pink and luscious. Raw hunger pulsed at his groin, the kick of instant and intense arousal taking him by surprise. Yes, she was very beautiful but he was accustomed to beautiful women and repulsed by those who sought payment for their attention. Unfortunately the natural repugnance he had expected to feel around her wasn’t working as the barrier he had hoped it would.
‘You haven’t bought me…you can’t buy what isn’t for sale!’ Emmie flung back at him in fierce rejection, reacting to the maddening buzz in the atmosphere that was firing a sensation of uneasy warmth between her thighs and unnerving her.
‘Yet I’ve still managed to buy your time for the whole of one weekend.’ Bastian savoured the fact, dark eyes glittering golden as hot sunlight below level black brows.
‘Then return the fee and we’ll forget about the arrangement,’ Bastian responded lazily again. ‘I’m not in the market for an unwilling escort. In the wrong frame of mind you would be useless to me.’
Emmie backed away from him, pausing to scoop up the clip and the spectacles he had carelessly abandoned on his desk. He was forcing her to accept unwelcome facts. Of course he wanted the money back if she wasn’t prepared to deliver the service he had booked and she wasn’t able to return his wretched money to him! It put her between a rock and a hard place and frustration roared through her. Had Odette