The Bet An Enemies-To-Lovers Billionaire Romance - Sienna Blake
For Old Souls,
Who love classical movies.
May you dance all night.
The long red-velvet hallway leading into An Seomra Bán—“The White Room” for those of you who don’t speak Irish—is lined with mirrors.
The mirrors are there so the wealthiest men in Dublin can make sure they’re getting their money’s worth for their pricey escort du jour. The mirrors are there so the wealthiest women in Dublin can watch their priceless diamonds—clinging to their earlobes, strangling their throats, and crusting their fingers—multiple to infinity. Jesus might have fed the multitudes, but the mirrors of The White Room fed something far more voracious than a couple of hungry mouths; they fed bloated, overstuffed, carnivorous egos.
Most importantly, the mirrors were there so the wealthiest, highest-class bachelors, such as myself, could make sure we were socially presentable before passing through the heavy black curtains into the elegant dining room. In the dim, red-tinted light, I paused and leaned close to the mirror to check my reflection.
“Good lord,” I gasped in horror.
A smudge of ruby-red lipstick stained the starched white collar of my button-down; there was a matching tint smeared at the corner of my lips. My hair was only a tad out of place, a single strand falling over one eye. A shiny black button on my trim dark green designer suit jacket hung a little loose.
I shook my head at my reflection. “What a mess.”
In a flurry of movement, I spread the lipstick on my collar so it was blatantly visible. I thumbed some of the lipstick around my mouth to my cheeks, to the skin behind my ear, to the hollow of my throat. I flicked open some buttons of my collared shirt, messed my hair with my fingers, and yanked open the suit jacket button entirely. I rubbed my eyes so they were a little red and puffy before flashing myself a lazy, carefree smile.
Thank fucking God for these mirrors. I almost waltzed into the most exclusive members only club in Dublin looking practically…respectable. I shuddered. What untold damage did I nearly do to my hard-earned reputation? I shook my head at the close call and entered the dining room with my hands stuffed into my pockets, shoulders slumped lazily, gait bored and meandering, like I was kicking a can down an alley.
The key to moving through The White Room when you were the sole heir of a deceased billionaire was to treat it like a woman. The more diamonds she wore, the more you failed to notice. The more perfume she dabbed on her inner wrists, the farther away you sat, the more cigarettes you lit. The lower her neckline descended, the more you let your eye linger on the ass of the eager cocktail waitress. The White Room, with its glossy tabletops, rich suede booths, dark wooden floors, gold sconces, and sparkling Art Nouveau chandeliers, was meant to impress. And me? I was meant to be perpetually unimpressed.
It wasn’t a surprise to see that Shay and Kane were already waiting in our usual VIP balcony, the one at the back with a full view of the lower dining room; I was over an hour late. As usual.
“Gentlemen,” I said, dragging a chair to the small table with a horrible screech that predictably drew angry scowls from those below us. I smiled down at them all. “Evening, madame. Evening, sir.”
I flopped into the chair and propped my feet up on the edge of the table, sending the array of glasses wobbling and clattering.
“Is that for me?” I asked, nodding at the old-fashioned cocktail in front of Shay.
“You know it isn’t.”
I snatched it and winked at him. “You’re the best.”
Shay lifted his finger to a waitress behind me and then crossed his arms, levelling his eyes on me as I took down half his drink in one swig.
“Well, you’re late,” he said.
I adjusted the lapels of my suit jacket indignantly. “If you must know, I was at the office. Have you forgotten that I’m now CEO of my father’s company? I have responsibilities.”
Shay and Kane eyed each other in the dim balcony. They’re my best friends and I honestly have no idea why they put up with me. They’re both ambitious, hard-working, serious, self-made businessmen, Kane in business investment and Shay in property development. My ridiculous piles of money came on a silver platter while they mined their own silver, built their own fire to melt it down, and hand-formed a platter all by themselves.
It was hard sometimes not to feel intimidated by