The Player (The Game Maker #3)(5)

By: Kresley Cole


Engagement! What if I actually could run this guy?

“I’m Victoria Valentine.” My steady tone was impressive.

“Victoryaa.” The way he drew out the end of my name, rumbling the last syllable, made my cheeks burn.

I’d never been able to control my blushing, no matter how much grief my family gave me over a tell. “It’s nice to meet you. But I believe you were about to yell at me that you weren’t goddamned interested?”

Color tinged his own cheekbones, and he dropped my hair. “The women here have been . . . persistent.”

“Most guys would consider that a good problem to have.”

“The women weren’t the only irritation,” he said. “I had the sense that tonight would be different in some way. I was disappointed.”

“I figured.”

“Why?” His gaze skimmed my face, lingering on each of my features, as if committing them to memory.

“People who sigh at the moon are usually filled with regret or longing.” Now that I’d snagged his attention, it was time to be elusive. “I’ll leave you to it, big guy.” I turned toward the stairs. Chase me, chase me. . . .

Dmitri rushed to cut me off. “However, I am no longer disappointed since this curvy little blonde appeared, because in the moonlight, she looks like an angel. And I happen to be in great need of one.”

Angel? To save my family, I’d cut his nuts with a hangnail if I had to. “What if I’m not an angel? What if I’m a she-demon? Would you lock horns with me?”

He nodded solemnly. “I would very much like to lock anything with you.”

He was serious, but I caught myself fighting a grin. “Locking horns can be very meaningful, Mr. Sevastyan, and we’ve only just met.”

One corner of his lips quirked. “Call me Dmitri. Or Dima.” He stood between me and the stairs.

“You’ve been bellowing at women all night, yet you’re preventing me from leaving? I don’t know whether to be flattered or alarmed.”

“You heard that?” Another flush over those cheekbones.

“I was out on the terrace. I remarked that you were like a beast from a fairy tale, alone in his lair.”

Holding my gaze, he said, “I’ve found Beauty.”

My toes curled. I’d been prepared for anger and blustering, not charm. My eyes dipped to his full bottom lip. I had the urge to suck on it.

Though I’d had every intention of doing the deed with someone since my ex, no guy had tempted me enough. What would it be like to kiss this Russian? To sleep with him?

“I won’t prevent you from leaving,” he said, “but I invite you to stay.” His hair was close-cut at the sides, yet longer on top. A breeze tousled those thick locks.

“How do I know you won’t lose your temper again, Dmitri?”

His lids grew heavy—as if he enjoyed the way I said his name. “I believe I can behave, if motivated by a sweet enough treat.”

“You believe? You don’t know?”

“This is foreign territory for me. But I like my new guide very much.”

Did he, then? My good-girl disguise was paying off! What if I pulled my first ever milk-cow—with a billionaire? That would show everyone! And more importantly . . .

That would save everyone.

The con was on. “Perhaps you’re using me to keep other women away.”

“Perhaps I drove the others away so you would appear in front of me.”

I tilted my head at him. “You could be using me to make someone else jealous.” Which would explain a lot of this unexpected attention.

“Twice you’ve accused me of using you. Are you using me?”

Clever man. I’d have to be careful with this one. “I came up to check out the view. You’re the tourist chatting up the local girl.” In the timeline of a con, we’d just had “the meet.”

I glanced over my shoulder, wishing Pete could see this. Dmitri’s got a little change in his pocket goin’ jingle lingle ling! I would so fake-flirt with this Russian, in order to manipulate him into fake near-sex situations.

I would be perfect for a milk-cow, because I didn’t lose control sexually, even when I was supposed to.

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