How to Catch an Heiressby Natalie Rios An Heiress Series Novel Publication Date: October 3, 2016 Genres: Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Watching him squirm was fun, almost too much fun.
A muscle in his jaw twitched and if his teeth were clenched any tighter, they would probably break. He oh-so-gently set my card down on the entryway table, as if it were a grenade that needed to be handled with great care. When his gaze met mine again, I could see the worry in his eyes. It was finally hitting him that he was up the creek without a paddle.
“This,” I made whirling motion with my index finger, “is all so very predictable.”
That had his eyes narrowing, anger quickly replacing worry. “Predictable,” he snorted. “You don’t know anything about me. And what little you do know is hardly enough for you to be able to predict anything about me.”
“Oh, but I do know about you. Quite a bit, in fact. Shall I tell you what my research on you has turned up?”
His eyes and mouth widened with shock. “You researched me?”
“I’m the Candy Heiress, born to a family worth billions. Did you seriously think I would wake up suddenly married to a stranger and not immediately look into his criminal history? His life story?” Studying him, his expression told me that’s exactly what he’d thought. The prick. “Let’s see...Where should I begin? Perhaps chronologically?”
“Get on with it. You probably don’t have much,” he replied gruffly. “I was only a bit surprised because I’m not as searchable as you are, princess.”
The nickname had me sending him a withering look. “Don’t call me that.”
“I’ve Googled myself before. There’s hardly anything out there.” His words were like a gauntlet being thrown, a challenge I could not resist accepting. Like most people, he was underestimating me. A huge mistake on his part and a notion I was happy to disabuse him of.
“Fine,” he nodded. “Twenty days where we get to know each other and do normal couple stuff. I’ll have to move in here, of course-”
“Are you out of your mind? Absolutely not!” The last thing I needed in my life was to have my unwanted soon-to-be-ex-husband underfoot.
Plus, did I mention my thing for his dimples? Those things seemed to mesmerize me. The more time I spent around them, the more likely I was to do something stupid. Like reach out and touch them. Or kiss them. Which would inevitably lead to kissing other body parts.
Nope, nope, and nope. Can’t have any of that happen.
“Liz, be logical about this. How can we really spend time getting to know each other if I’m in Montana and you’re in Florida? I wouldn’t have a fighting chance.”
“You don’t have a fighting chance now and you’re standing about three feet from me,” I couldn't help pointing out.
“Now that you’ve fed me, tell me why you’re really here. How does this visit fit in with your master plan?”
“Master plan?” Anthony chuckled. “What master plan? I’m not a comic book villain, Liz. I’m not trying to take over the world or anything.”
“No, you’re just trying to squeeze money out of me. Quit trying to play me like I’m stupid. I know you’re up to something.”
Sitting back in his leather seat, the man had the nerve to look delighted, like he found this entire conversation incredibly entertaining. “If I did have a master plan, what makes you think I would tell you? The element of surprise would only work in my favor.”
The only acknowledgment I gave that statement was a roll of my eyes. “I’ve narrowed it down to two possibilities. You’re either trying to charm me into writing you a check or attempting to get one of my relatives to do so, Robbie and my father being the leading suspects.”
Shaking his head, he laughed. Loudly. Like I’d suggested he was communing with ghosts or some equally ridiculous scenario. Crossing my arms, I scolded him. “So glad you’ve managed to find humor in this.”
“I’m sorry,” he managed to wheeze out between laughs. “You’re just so off base, it’s hysterical.”
Picking up a pea from my now cold lunch, I flung it at him. “Ass. Enlighten me then.”
“We’ve been over the whole sex thing. Neither one of us is interested.” That was a lie, of course. I was definitely more than interested and if the hard ridge of his jeans last night was anything to go by, so was he. I couldn’t call him out on it though. Our attraction was a fact we were both actively trying to ignore into oblivion.
Welcome to Denial City, population two.
Christ. I was in trouble. This man was a natural charmer without even realizing it. Hearing him praise me for being strong-minded, of all things, had my nipples instantly hardening and my panties dampening.
Fuck the compliments about my lips and face, because those are things I have no control over. I was born with those and I could either embrace them or get plastic surgery, neither one of which involved any skill on my part.
But complimenting my mind and personality though? With those, he was actually complimenting me. Like he saw me, the real me, and liked it. Infinitely sexier than any compliment I had ever received on my appearance.
“I like this idea. And in the interest of full disclosure, I have this thing for your dimples.”
That caught me off guard. I had intended this to be sort of a lark, a way to get Liz’s mind off the douche while also giving me an excuse to stare at her gorgeous face without my attraction to her becoming extremely obvious. “My dimples?”
“Hmm.” She leaned closer, so close our breaths were blowing against each other’s faces. “They’re big and make your smile look wider. I have a thing for your smile, too. It’s one of the most open and genuine smiles I’ve ever seen, like you’re truly happy and don’t have to fake it for anyone.” I could feel her eyes on my lips now and fuck, we were venturing into dangerous territory. Knowing she was thinking about my lips turned some sort of switch on inside of me and there was now a slow burn in the pit of my stomach, quickly spreading downward into my groin.
Shit, shit, shit. How could I lighten the mood?
I struggled to find a safe topic. “Do you feel like you have to fake it?”
“Almost always.” Her lips formed a pout I was coming to learn was Liz’s version of a frown. “Except when you’re smiling. You look so happy, it makes me want to smile along with you.”
Aaaaand I made it worse. Infinitely worse. Because now her hand was reaching out, one finger tracing the edges of my upper lip until she reached the corner and then veered off to brush against my dimple.
My pants were getting too tight and we were out in public. Anyone could walk by and there was nothing I could do to alleviate the problem. Swallowing, I ran through some quick integrals in my head. Had always helped me in college and was doing a phenomenal job at the moment.
Until... Until Liz wrapped her hands around one of mine and brought it up to her mouth.
“Oh, I see. You think he’s way out of my league.” What? No way! She had it completely backwards.
“No, Liz.” Grasping her arm, I whirled her around to face me. This was important and I had to make sure she understood me. “You’re a neutron star, remember? You’re so far out of his league, you’re not even in the same galaxy. Men like him are usually intimidated by women like you. They don’t like women who have the potential to be more successful than them. They like women like Karen: meek, cowering, and willing to defer to their oh-so-superior judgment.”
She stared at me for the longest time, so long reality set in and I started to feel foolish because I was still holding her by the arm and we were standing in the middle of a crowded street in South Beach. Swearing, I let go of her and took a step back.
“Are you flirting with me?” She demanded. “Because if you are, it won’t work. That kiss meant nothing to me and I’m still divorcing your broke ass in less than two weeks.”
Choking on a laugh, I waved down the next cab I saw. “Princess, you have yet to see me flirt.” Holding open the door for her, I waited to scoot in after her. View’s a hell of a lot better that way. “If and when I decide to flirt with you, there’ll be no questioning on your end.”