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Bound by the Millionaire's Ring

By:Dani Collins

Bound by the Millionaire's Ring
Dani Collins

The playboy's temporary fiancée

Millionaire racing driver Ramon Sauveterre is no stranger to fame, but  he'll do just about anything to keep the spotlight off his family.  Including propose a decidedly short-term engagement to his gorgeous head  of PR, Isidora Garcia!

Isidora cannot forgive Ramon for dragging her into this farce-just as  she'll never forgive him for the indiscretion that broke her heart. But  while their relationship might be fake, the burning longing his kisses  spark is all too real-and resisting Ramon's heated touch until the end  of their arrangement proves utterly impossible...





"The truth is, I've discovered something for which I feel more passion than racing," Ramon announced in a firm voice.

"Hard to believe, is it not? Racing has been my life for over a decade,  but with my brother so happily married and starting his family I find I  can't wait to enjoy the same. I'm deeply in love and, well … "

He moved around Isidora so he was no longer behind the podium and sank to one knee beside her.

A massive gasp went through the crowd.

The cacophony of flashes and clicks increased, but the shouting of  questions ceased. An eerie expectancy characterized the wordless  explosion of repeated shutter-click-flash. The lights strobed against  his skin as he looked up at Isidora's incredulous expression.

She paled as comprehension dawned. Her eyes showed white around her gray  irises. One hand came to her mouth and she might have said "Don't you  dare."

"You said if I quit racing you would marry me. So, mi corazón. Now will you make me the happiest man on earth?"





CHAPTER ONE

ISIDORA GARCIA DIDN'T glance up as her boss entered her office. She  recognized him in her periphery and was only a little surprised he was  here in Paris. He was a new father, but when there was a crisis with one  of his sisters, particularly Trella, he waded in without hesitation.

"I just saw it," she assured him. "I'm emailing-"

She cut herself off as preternatural knowledge struck. Her body tingled  and her skin felt stroked. Her fingers became clumsy while her blood  grew hot and thick in her veins.

She didn't have to look up to know that was not Henri Sauveterre advancing on her. It was his twin, Ramon.

A flash of intense vulnerability went through her. Treachery. Anguish.

She clamped down on the rush of emotion, hiding it behind a falsely cool  lift of her gaze to the man who looked identical to the one who had  arm-twisted her into taking this position. They were both ruthless in  their own way, but at least Henri wasn't cruel.

"I didn't know you were in Paris." Her voice came out steady enough to hide the tightness that invaded her throat.

Like Henri, Ramon's dark hair was cut short, but had a tendency to spike  on top. His clean-shaven, spectacularly handsome features were  sophisticated without being pretty, angular without being rugged. His  Sauveterre eyes were green when they were amused and gray when they were  not.

His irises were somewhere between slate and ash this morning, making a  knot of tension coil in the pit of her stomach. His sensuous mouth sat  in a flat line. His honed physique flexed beneath his tailored suit as  he set his hands on her desk, leaning in to confront her.

"Why aren't you doing your job?"

His lethal tone cut her in half, sending a burst of adrenaline through her.

Oh, she hated herself for still being sensitive to his every word. Him,  with his superiority, and opportunistic streak, and complete lack of  conscience. She wanted to hate him. Did hate him. But she remained  susceptible. In fact, it was worse, now that she knew how brutal he  could be. At least when she'd been young and stupid, she hadn't feared  him.

She took a firm grip on herself and tried to hide her dread by casually  looking back at her screen. She couldn't absorb what she'd been writing.  She waved at her keyboard, aiming for nonchalance. "I'm doing it now.  If you weren't interrupting me, I could get on with it."

She managed to sound composed and begged her hand to stay steady. She  didn't want to reveal the fine trembles that worked upward from a deep,  inner flutter in the pit of her stomach.

Because even with hatred and fear gripping her, she found him utterly compelling.

"What can you possibly do at this stage?" he growled. "The cat is out. Why didn't you prevent it?"

"Prevent your sister's pregnancy?" Her pulse hammered once, hard, as she  met his gaze, but she managed to tilt her mouth into a facetious smirk.  "Not in my bailiwick, if you can believe it. I've had three discussions  with her, suggesting we leak the news in a controlled way. She chose to  stay mum."         

     



 

Pun not intended. Trella was tall and a wizard with cutting cloth to  create the effect she wanted, but she was five months along. She  couldn't hide it forever.

"You should have had a fourth discussion. And a fifth. Your father had  the contacts to keep these things under wraps. Why don't you?"

Her heart stalled. Oh, he was not going to bring her parents into this, was he? That was such dangerous ground.

At least it flipped her out of defensive mode into a willingness to go toe-to-toe.

"Even my father can't control every person with a social media account.  The photo was posted by a woman visiting her mother at the hospital. You  took Trella there yourself-in that car everyone notices. Of course  people watched to see who got out."

She punctuated with a look that said, "Take some responsibility for a change."

"The only reason it took this long for the trolls to call it a baby bump  was because they were having so much fun shaming her for gaining a few  pounds." Then, as she remembered his sister-in-law had delivered twins  by emergency cesarean a few days ago, she asked, "How are Cinnia and the  babies?"

"Fine." He pushed off the desk, expression blanking to aloofness-it was  the way he and all his siblings reacted when questioned about their  family, even when the inquiry was sincere.

The Sauveterre twins had become media sensations the minute the second  pair, Angelique and Trella, came along. Born to a French tycoon and his  Spanish aristocrat wife, the children had been mesmerizing in their  mirrored resemblance and elegantly perfect lives.

Then, when the girls were nine, Trella had been kidnapped. She was  recovered five days later, but rather than give the family breathing  space, the media's microscope had focused even more intently on their  slightest move. The pressure had sent their father into an early grave  and the fallout had continued for years.

Angelique-Gili to her family-seemed to have found some happiness,  though. She was secretly engaged to her soul mate, Kasim, which was why  the family had convened in Spain.

Their celebration had been cut short when Cinnia was rushed to hospital.

Trella had jumped into Ramon's distinctive Bugatti Veyron to chase the  ambulance with him. Not content with the limited edition Pur Sang, worth  millions, Ramon had had one custom-built to his own specifications. It  was fully carbon this and titanium that, didn't have a lick of exterior  paint and topped out at a speed of over four hundred kilometers an hour.

Isidora was dying to ask if it had air-conditioning.

Worried for Cinnia, Trella had leaped out of the car without taking due care over how much midsection she showed.

Any casual snap of a Sauveterre went viral. And one that allowed the  public to speculate on a secret pregnancy and the identity of the  father...? There was no containing such a nuclear bomb.

Isidora knew all this because she had grown up with the girls. Her  father had worked for Monsieur Sauveterre. She'd had tea parties with  the girls before Trella was taken and still had slumber parties with  them. She cared deeply for them and wanted the best for the whole  family.

That was why Henri had hired her. He trusted her with his sisters and  all of the family's most delicate PR announcements-most recently a  statement that he and Cinnia had spoken their wedding vows in the  hospital with their newborn daughters in attendance.

None of that mattered to Ramon, however. To him, she was an outsider,  not entitled to anything more than criticism and a pat. Fine.

Fine. It didn't hurt. She was so past yearning for his positive regard.

"I was hoping you were Henri." For a million reasons. "I was going to  suggest taking the family portrait with Cinnia and the babies sooner  than planned. I'm inundated with requests. Releasing photos might divert  this focus on Trella."

"By all means, let's make sacrifices of my brother's innocent children before they're a week old."

She was only trying to help. Swallowing back a lump that formed behind  her breastbone, she rose to walk a file to the cabinet in the corner,  mostly as an excuse to put distance between them. "Do you have another  suggestion?"

"Yes."

Oh, that supercilious attitude grated. If her father hadn't badgered and  cajoled, if Henri hadn't offered her disgusting amounts of money, if  she didn't adore Trella and Angelique and now Cinnia, and want to  protect her friends as much as Henri did, she would quit this job. Even  this little bit of interaction with Ramon was too much.

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