Mistress By Blackmail(3)

By: Caro LaFever


“You've got to tell your brother you made a mistake.”

“He'd kill me.”

“Better a quick death than a long protracted death by marriage.”

“Cynic.” Matt's stare turned shrewd.

“Realist.” He'd asked and questioned, but she had no desire to confide about her past. He didn't know how she'd grown up and no amount of talking would ever give him a sense of what it had been like. What it had been like to see her parents fight and split and fight and split. What it had been like to land in foster care at the age of twelve. What it had been like to know she was all alone. Out of long practice, she'd shut the conversation down before the questioning went any further. She had more than enough information anyway.

By midnight last night, she'd made a decision.

The only decision she could make.

Matt had saved her many times. Now was the time she’d pay him back. She didn’t know exactly how she was going to convince his big brother to stop the marriage, still she’d figure something out. Once she met the guy, she’d find some way to wrap him around her finger or bring him to his senses by finding his weaknesses and exploiting them. She’d become good at both a long time ago. Sure, he was a billionaire, but that didn’t mean he had super powers. He was just a man.

Darcy lifted her chin and stared with fierce intent at the massive building in front of her.

Time to make this happen.

She marched across the busy London street, ignoring the well-heeled crowd swirling past her. Marshaling her arguments, she lined up her words. She'd first have to get through the walls of security and secretaries before she reached her goal, but she had charm. A quick tongue. Other talents.

ROCCA ENTERPRISES

The sign swept over the entrance, silver and elegant. Impressive. Intimidating.

She found it hard to picture her best friend coming from this environment. When she'd met him, she'd assumed he was like her: poor. The news that his brother was a billionaire, who ruled an entire empire of various businesses, had been a huge shock. The Great Man, Matt called him. With annoyance, yet sometimes she noted a hint of affection underlining his words. Still, there was nothing affectionate about this situation.

Her friend didn't have the courage to confront his brother.

But she did.

Pushing through the doors, she entered the foyer. Sculptures of silver glass speared toward the cathedral ceiling. A wide wall of glimmering elevators lined the end of the foyer, swishing open and closed, filling and emptying with a dizzying number of women dressed to the nines and men dressed to impress. All rather overwhelming. For a moment.

Keep your focus.

She peered past the girth of an elderly woman walking by her and spotted the first hurdle.

Security.

Planted behind a wide desk, four uniformed guards scanned the crowd with sharp attention. She was short, but not short enough to sneak past sight unseen. Plus, her dress didn't come close to competing with the high-fashion women surrounding her. If she didn't act fast, she'd be spotted. Stopped.

“Not on your life,” she muttered.

She'd managed to pry a few critical pieces of information from Matt, without letting him know what she had planned for his benefit. For example, everyone who worked for Rocca got a blue ID card, which they had to wear to get past security. All she needed to flit past this hurdle was one of those cards. Too bad her friend didn't have one. His brother wouldn't even allow him on the premises without prior approval.

Another strike against the Great Man. What an egotistical tyrant he must be.

Focus. Focus.

Scanning the crowd, she found a promising target. A behemoth of a man ambled toward the elevators, his jacket slung across his arm, his blue card flopping on the polished wool.

Well, actually, it was her blue card.

She slipped beside him, her keen gaze focused on what she needed to know. “Hi, John.”

The man stopped and looked down and down into her smiling face.

He blinked.

“How lovely to see you.” She beamed at him and angled herself so his large body stood between her and the security desk.

Blinking again, he smiled back. “I don't think I know you.”

“John, John.” She batted her eyes as her hand deftly did its work. “How could you forget what we had together?”

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