Maxine Sullivan - Baby for the Billionaire Page 0,1

think about her at all. That kiss had been a minor lapse in judgment.

“She’s perfect for you.”

“I’m glad you think so.”

Displeasure furrowed Cesare’s brow, then cleared. “You’ll see. Once you marry her you’ll—”

“I’m not marrying her, Dad.” If he was getting married—and he wasn’t saying he would—he’d choose the woman. “Besides, isn’t she in England?”

“No, she’s back. She’s an interior designer now, and I’ve asked her to redecorate this house.”

The surprises just kept on coming, didn’t they?

“This place is fine the way it is.”

Cesare considered him. “You’ve always loved it here.”

Nick shrugged. “It’s home.”

“And that’s why I’m offering it to you.”

“But only if I marry Sasha Blake, right?”

“It’ll be good to join the two families. Porter and Sally Blake have been our friends for years.”

“I’ve never trusted Porter.” Sally was a nice enough woman, if a little too submissive.

“Forget Porter Blake. It’s his daughter you’re marrying.”

“I’m not marrying anyone. Period.”

There was a small pause. “Sasha will be here tomorrow morning checking things while we’re in the city. It might be a good time to talk to her.”


His father went very still. Then, “I think Matt will be more than happy to change the whole look of this place, don’t you? And Sasha must have some innovative ideas she’s picked up from living in London.”

Nick swore. “Why are you doing this, Dad?”

Cesare looked at him, a hint of vulnerability in his eyes. “I’ve had one heart attack already. I want to see you married before I die.”

“It was a mild heart attack,” Nick rasped, remembering.

“And the next one may be fatal, figlio mio,” son of mine, he said, lapsing into Italian.

Nick felt an inward shudder at the thought and knew his father had him right where he wanted him. He could fight Cesare on everything but this. That heart attack had really shaken up the whole family, and he wasn’t about to be responsible for any further attacks.

Marrying to please his father may sound ridiculous in this day and age, but he’d been raised with strong family values. He’d do what was necessary.

But did it have to be Sasha Blake of all people he had to marry?

A shapely female bottom and matching long legs in white trousers greeted Nick when he opened the front door to his parents’ house the next morning. They belonged to a gorgeous female figure standing in strappy sandals on a chair near the staircase.

At least they were until the woman turned, saw him and gave a squeal of fright, then started to topple off. He raced forward and caught her as she fell back into his arms.

For a moment she stared up at him. “Nick?” she whispered, almost as if his name was a secret.

He looked down at the beautiful blonde and wanted to lie and say no, he wasn’t Nick. And he’d never kissed her either. Nor did he want to again.

She was Trouble.

And he had to ask her to marry him.

“Hello, Sasha.”

She continued to stare up at him with eyes good at robbing a man of his thoughts. He’d forgotten the impact of those long sweeping lashes featuring eyes the color of green satin. Even when she was growing up there was something about them that tried to pierce his defenses. It had taken a constant and concentrated effort not to let her succeed.

Their kiss had come close.

“What on earth were you doing up there?” he growled, setting her on her feet, fascinated despite himself at the visible pulse beating at her throat and a faint blush dusting her cheeks. She’d been a pretty teenager before, but now she’d grown into a very beautiful woman.

She pushed against him and stepped back. “I thought I saw a crack in the wall, so I was checking it out.”

The impact of her touch lingered. And so did the scent of her perfume—Valente’s Woman. Somehow he was glad she wore his family’s perfume.

“I hear you’re an interior designer now,” he said for something to say.

“Yes, I am.” She seemed to pull herself together, and an excited light entered her eyes. “And I’m so happy your father chose me to redecorate this place.”

Remembering, he shot her a dark look. “I don’t want this house redecorated. It’s fine how it is.”

Disappointment crossed her face before she gave a tiny smile that held a touch of defiance. “Then it’s as well this isn’t your house, or I wouldn’t have a job.”

Tension rocked his stomach. “Look, let’s go into the salon. I’ll get Iris to make us some coffee.”

Her expression grew wary.