The Millionaire’s Revenge
by Wendy Byrne
Publication Date: December 12, 2016
Genres: Adult, Entangled: Indulgence, Contemporary Romance
Real estate tycoon Luke McCall has a plan to take down the underhanded competitor messing with his livelihood. He intends to romance the man’s daughter, gain her trust, and get the information he needs to put his rival out of business once and for all. He just didn’t plan for the way she makes him feel.Grace Wilson is tired of men using her smarts, social position, or her father’s status for their personal gain. It’s time for a new philosophy: Test. Screw. Dump. But after she meets Luke, she’s not sure she’ll be able to walk away. Not only is he sexy and charming, but he survives every test she puts him through. But can she trust a guy who seems too good to be true?
“I’m officially on a relationship hiatus.” Grace Wilson plunked her butt onto the barstool at the Uptown Tavern and sipped her chocolate martini rimmed in chocolate with green and red holiday sprinkles. “Found out Craig was dating me just to meet my father. He let it slip he wanted to join an exclusive men’s club in Manhattan, and my father sponsoring him would seal the deal.” Pushing down thoughts of wanting to drop-kick his sorry ass into the Hudson River, she focused on her friends instead of her latest dating fiasco.
“Hard to find a good guy nowadays.” Tess nodded as she threw back her Grey Goose on the rocks.
“But I’d definitely miss the sex,” Felicia said between sips of white wine.
Grace rolled her eyes and huffed. “Sex is overrated.”
Admitting to a so-so sex life didn’t exactly roll off her tongue, but could she be brutally honest and admit that even at twenty-eight years old, she faked more orgasms than she’d had?
Tess smiled. “Holy hell, we need to find you a guy who knows what he’s doing.”
“Either that, or invest in a state of the art personal pleasure device. It’ll make you forget all about men. At least for a while,” Felicia said.
“But then you’d miss the magic of a guy who knows how to kiss you until you forget your name,” Tess added.
Grace signaled the bartender for another round then took a sip of her newly replenished drink. “I say to hell with emotional messiness, honesty, commitment, and all that other bullshit. From now on, I’m only interested in hot guys with hot bods who know how to kiss. If they make it past the preliminary round, I’ll go out with them for a month or two until I find that flaw which makes them no longer datable. I’ll stop returning their texts and phone calls and move on to the next hot guy. I don’t care what he does, or his family lineage, or his aspirations. I like to call it my TSD philosophy: Test. Screw. Dump.”
“TSD. I like where you’re going with this idea, Grace. Turnabout is fair play. Men have been playing that I’ll-call-you-tomorrow game since the beginning of time,” Felicia said.
“The guys in my life all have had one thing in common. Users—either for my money, my family connections, or my personal possessions like using my Upper Eastside townhome as a crash pad. From now on, it’s all about me. If he wants to go out with me, we go where I want to go, do what I want to do, or else he’s history.”
“But what if you fall for one of these guys? What if he actually is a magician in the bedroom?”
“Won’t happen. This TSD thing is liberating. I’m in charge of the situation. I might call him up because I need some heavy lifting done.”
“Or a booty call.”
Grace grinned. “Exactly. But I’m not jumping on the booty train unless the guy can deliver in other departments first—which is the testing part.”
“What kind of testing are you talking about?”
“Step one: he’s got to be SOAS, sex on a stick—or it’s a no-go. Anything less than a ten is unacceptable.”
“The guy absolutely has to have a good sense of humor,” Felicia said.
“That’s a good one. Let me write that down on my phone,” Grace said. “I need to make a list in case I forget anything.”
“And there’s a definite correlation between a guy who’s a good kisser and good at getting the job done in the bedroom,” Tess added.
“Guys who are good dancers are better in the bedroom. Find out if they’re worth bringing home for a test drive.” Felicia smiled. “Tonight’s as good a time as any. You see anyone around you want to try out?”
Grace scanned the room, her focus lingering on a guy by the bar with short dark hair and a sexy half-smile that made her mouth go dry and the hairs on her arm stand at attention. Before he could return the slow perusal, her gaze jerked away. She took a deep drink and shrugged. “Nope.”
“So what else are you adding to your TSD list?” Tess asked.
“How about a guy who’s not afraid to show his feminine side? One who could admit he enjoys the occasional chick flick or isn’t afraid to get manscaped,” Grace said as she jotted down more notes.
Tess nodded. “That’s exactly what I mean. Shows he’s comfortable in his own skin and not hung up on traditional male/female stereotypes.”
“But how are you going to give a guy a stamp of approval for the go-ahead?” Felicia asked.
“I’m pretty sure with a few targeted questions, I can figure it out.” She sucked in a breath as a sense of victory filled her lungs. She didn’t need a man to make her whole. She only needed him to scratch an elusive itch. “And it would be a really great thing if he doesn’t have a clue who I am or who my father is.” That was the only way to guarantee the man in question—no matter how short-lived the relationship—didn’t have an agenda.
There she was.
Since he hadn’t been able to expose Cyrus Whitaker’s illegal dealings and payoffs, Luke McCall had decided to go backdoor and find out what he could from the man’s Achilles’ heel: his daughter, Grace Wilson. All he needed was the evidence, and as Whitaker Development’s business consultant, she might be the key. The woman had to know about her father’s shady practices and how dirty he played it.
Talking trash about the competitors was one thing, but making up shit about his company, LRM Real Estate Development—like poor workmanship and questionable credit—sullied his reputation. Losing the Hudson River building, a jewel he’d spent months working on and had put his heart in to develop, hurt like hell, and he’d drawn the proverbial line in the sand.
To even the score, he’d expose the supposedly upstanding businessman for the conniving ass he really was. If that included using his daughter to get the job done, so be it. Like most uber rich, she probably believed she deserved the world—no matter who she had to hurt to get it.
He’d secure Grace’s trust by establishing a relationship with her and then bring down her father before she could wrap her Harvard-educated brain around Luke’s real intent.
Yeah, it was unorthodox and not the way he liked to do business. But the buildings the man razed and replaced with cheap chrome and glass structures ruined the charm and appeal of New York’s intimate neighborhoods and he had to be stopped. Now.
Once she and her friends picked their table near the dance floor, he eased onto the barstool across from them for an optimum vantage point.
Grace’s long dark hair was swept into a ponytail. A black leather skirt rode high on her thighs, displaying her fabulous legs from the bar-height stool. Pretending to be attracted to her wasn’t going to require much acting on his part. But capitalizing on her vulnerabilities would be key to getting the job done. He tried to focus on the baseball game, but that was pretty much impossible when he couldn’t keep his gaze off her.
His dick twitched when she smiled at something her friend said. Damn, she was smokin’. He’d have to have a heart to heart with his little brain later to explain this wasn’t about getting laid. A little seduction, a little romance, take her on a few dates and hope she mentioned something he could use to nail her father, but stopping before it involved nakedness.
Her gaze rose and met his. She didn’t look away and neither did he. Her lips slid up into a coy smile. It was all the encouragement he needed before he ambled toward her table.
“Take a seat Mr. SOAS,” one of the ladies said.
He grabbed an empty chair and scooted next to her. “What are you three beautiful ladies talking about?” Even though he used the words to include them all, he focused only on Grace.
Grace regarded him with a detached look. “Actually we’re talking about how men always have the upper hand in a relationship—they call the shots.”
He didn’t try to hide his smile. “You’re right. Men are selfish pricks.”
Her gaze narrowed. “And you’re different?”
“Ladies always come first.” He grinned as his left eyebrow rose.
Grace laughed while her eyes twinkled. “Yeah, that’s what they all say.” She bit her lip. “And then the reality of the moment happens and…” She raised her index finger and let it drop. “Oops… ‘Give me an hour or so,’ or ‘oh man, I forgot all about doing that thing for my grandma. Call ya later, babe’.”
He laughed, admitting to himself that he was enjoying this more than he’d expected. “You’ve been hanging around with the wrong guys.”
“Obviously.” She rolled her eyes. “How do you feel about shopping?”
He shrugged, uncertain where she was going with this. “I don’t think there’re too many stores open right now.”
“No, I’m talking about in general.”
“A necessary evil, I guess.”
She gave him a smug look. “How about a movie marathon with Runaway Bride, Steel Magnolias, and Ghost.”
“I’d bring the wine and call in for Chinese.”
“How about a spa date for two? Manscaping?”
Wait a minute. Manscaping sounded like trouble—like hot wax on the balls trouble. Holy shit. Just what was her agenda? Surely he could find the answers he needed before it came to personal torture.
Never show fear. “I’m pretty much up for anything.”
He moved closer to stake out his intention. Up close and in person, her eyes were darker and bluer than in the pics he’d seen on the society pages. Instead of dwelling on the fact she was much more beautiful than her photos, he held out his hand. “Luke McCall.”
She hesitated long enough that he questioned if this whole thing would go south before it got off the ground. Finally, she grasped his hand.
Even while she kept her eyes on him in a way that made him believe she was categorizing and dissecting him, she gestured across the table. “These are my friends, Tess and Felicia.”
“Pleased to meet you ladies.” He shook their hands then signaled for another round of drinks. Even if his target wasn’t Grace, it would have been impossible to focus on anyone else. While all three women were beautiful, she had a mischievous sparkle in her eye to go along with a sexy smile. And he didn’t even want to think about the hot body hidden beneath her clothes. His dick was acting like Pavlov’s dog salivating to the sound of the bell.
Damn. Getting her naked was not—nor could it be—on his agenda. A delicate balance of flirtation and a few chaste kisses was it. And that’s all this was about—squashing the man who wanted to ruin his business.
“If you want to hang with us, you’re going to have to pass a test.” Grace’s eyes grew wide as he moved closer, but she didn’t back off.
“Sounds intriguing. What kind of test are we talking?” His lips rested outside her ear as the music ratcheted up. He tried not to get sucked in by the aroma lingering around her earlobe—a cross between fresh lemons and springtime flowers.
Goose bumps lit along the column of her neck while her pulse throbbed at the base. He wouldn’t go so far as to say he’d won her over, but, based on her involuntary bodily reaction, he had little doubt she was interested.
She cleared her throat. “Dance.” As if coming out of her own musings, she straightened in her seat—maybe to give herself some perspective, maybe to gain some space from his encroachment.
Lest she think he was some kind of testosterone-laden pervert, he backed off a sliver. “Dance?”
She broke her gaze as she signaled to her friends for help. “Tess will ask the DJ to put on ‘Uptown Funk.’ Do you think you can keep up with us?”
Her right eyebrow inched up while a smile curved her lips. “Really? After my fifteen years of dance lessons, you don’t stand a chance.”
“But I’ve got amazing rhythm.” He grinned as they both slid off their chairs and headed toward the dance floor. They joined her friends just as the song began.
ABOUT WENDY BYRNE:
Wendy has a Masters in Social Work and worked in the child welfare field for twelve years before she decided to pursue her dream of writing.
Between teaching college classes, trying to get her morbidly obese cat to slim down, and tempering the will of her five-year-old granddaughter, who’s determined to become a witch when she turns six so she can fly on her broom to see the Eiffel Tower and put hexes on people—not necessarily in that order—somehow Wendy still manages to fit in writing. She spends the remainder of her days inflicting mayhem on her hero and heroine until they beg for mercy.
ENTER THE GIVEAWAY