When River set up a fundraiser to kick start her nail polish business, she never expected someone to pay five thousand dollars just to have dinner with her. But when she meets her mysterious benefactor, he turns out to be billionaire Kane Winters—the one man from her past who she never wanted to see again.
Kane is determined to right the wrong that happened to River in college—because of him. She’s been an obsession he can’t escape…and Kane wants River more than he’s ever wanted anything. So he offers her a deal she can’t refuse: marry him and her business will be a success. But River’s knight in shining armor isn’t looking for a platonic business deal. He wants their marriage to be real…in every way.
“Don’t look so shocked. It’s a marriage of convenience.”
“What’s convenient about it?” River demanded.
He shrugged. “It just makes things easier. I want regular sex. As I said, sex with you is the best I’ve ever had, so why not?”
“What about love?”
“Overrated. Look, I’m a busy guy. Wooing women, dating, all the games . . . it’s time- consuming. Having a regular partner will just make it easier. For both of us.”
She assumed he worried about things like propriety and social expectations, so screwing around with a lot of women might not be how he wanted people to see him. Being married, with a wife by his side at social functions . . . that’s probably how he wanted to portray himself.
“Remember, you’re starting a new business. That means lots of hours. There’ll be no time to meet guys. Plus, if you’re my wife, you don’t have to worry about being profitable right away. All your needs will be covered.”
“Because I’ll be living with you.” She was numb. The whole idea was insane.
“Marriage doesn’t have to be about love. It can be a practical arrangement that benefits both parties.”
“Oh, stop,” she said dryly. “You’re sweeping me off my feet.”
He smiled. “Would you like flowers and candlelight? And me on bended knee?”
“Of course not.” Because that would be a lie just like in college. At least now he was being honest. “You can’t seriously think—”
“But I do. I know how much you want this deal. And you already know how great we are together physically. This is a great arrangement for you because you have full security. As the contract says, as long as we’re married, you fully control the company, so you can do what ever you want with it. And you don’t have to worry about money, so you can just concentrate on following your dream.”
Her jaw was clenched so tight her throat hurt. She wanted this opportunity. More than anything. But to marry Kane to get it?
The irony was, after those two short days with him in college, she was sure she’d been falling in love with him.
The fact that he wanted to help her with her company showed her that he really did want to make up for what happened. The fact he still cared—or even remembered— after all this time meant he really must have felt guilty. And maybe it was true that he’d had nothing to do with the recording.
But that didn’t mean she should marry him.
He’d said she was the best sex he’d ever had and a part of her was delighted about that.
So all the sex she wanted with a guy who was amazing and sensitive in bed and she would have no financial worries as she built her business.
“I’d like to talk this over with my girlfriend.”
“No. I want to be absolutely clear about this. I don’t want you to tell anyone about this. As far as every one knows, this will be a real marriage. I proposed and you accepted.”
“I can’t tell Tia?”
“The only people who will know are you, me, Will, and the lawyer who drew up the contract.”
“How soon do I need to decide?”
“I have my jet standing by to take us to Vegas and a suite is already booked.”
“Once a decision’s been made, I don’t believe in waiting.”
“But I haven’t decided.”
“What do you have to lose? If you find you don’t like the situation, you can always divorce me.”
“Again, you certainly have a way of turning a girl’s head.” She paced. “ Going into a marriage with the idea of divorce as a likely outcome just seems wrong.”
Kane walked in front of her, stopping her pacing, then wrapped his hands around her forearms. Heat skittered through her.
“I’m hoping that’s not how this will end. I really am in this for the long run. I think it’s an ideal arrangement that will work beautifully if we both really try and make it work.”
“Why do you think it will work?”
He shrugged. “A lot of cultures have arranged marriages and they work. Why can’t this? Especially if we’re motivated.”
“Like making it a clause that I lose control of my company if I divorce you?”
“If you don’t agree to it, you won’t even have a company.”
His words hit home. Hard. He was right. Looking for a new job would take all her time and energy, and leave her stressed. She wouldn’t have the emotional resources left to work on building her business, let alone money for the physical resources.
She wasn’t willing to give up her dream.
Could she really marry this totally sexy, gorgeous guy who was great in bed . . . who had broken her heart?
She stuck out her hand. “Okay. It’s a deal.”
OPAL CAREW is the author of over eighteen erotic romances for St. Martin’s including Forbidden Heat, Pleasure Bound, Twin Fantasies and other erotic romance novels. She lives in Canada and makes regular trips to the U.S. to speak at conferences and industry events.
Special Note: The nail polish collection in the book will be available in real life on release day (for a limited time). For more information, see Literary Lacquers on Etsy, or check the NAILED page of Opal’s website.