Home > Billionaire Ghost Tour

Billionaire Ghost Tour
Author: Stephanie Fowers

CHAPTER ONE

 


“This necklace is beautiful!” Mollie Sawyer tried to be heard through the crowd of people. She peered closer at the sapphires on her best friend’s necklace. The dim lights and fog machines gave the billiard room the feel of a speakeasy, but also made it hard to see anything.

Charlize smiled back at her, a little self-consciously. “You like it?”

How could she not? The staff had handed out the handcrafted Molinero jewelry to a few special guests decked out as gangsters and flappers for the lavish ’20s Murder Mystery party at the Basin Park Hotel. Mollie clearly wasn’t one of the chosen ones. She’d walked into this strange world underdressed. She wore her usual black bohemian top, miniskirt, and leggings from serving tables at Amigo’s. She swallowed a lump of disappointment that she’d missed out and pushed her long red hair behind her back. It was just as well, since she was due to conduct ghost tours in an hour. “I love it, Charly!”

Mollie would be on her way, except three days ago this man had broken her best friend’s heart and now she’d almost caught them kissing. Unbelievable! Aaron Mills was too handsome for his own good, a player and a scoundrel, who also happened to be the CEO of mEDIAwARS and the usual target of the media, which was why he had to work on his image by holding this charity event to raise money for schools in India. Incredibly, Aaron’s heart was in his eyes when he watched Charly, his hands around her sweet friend’s waist.

Not knowing how to get Charly away to ask about this alarming development, Mollie touched her friend’s arm, acting like she was getting ready for some girl talk. Aaron’s eyes twinkled and he released Charly, smiling at her like he actually cared. Mollie had to make sure that wasn’t an act.

Pulling her friend further away from this apparently lovesick Romeo, Mollie lowered her voice. “Please say he isn’t still playing you.”

“No, no.” Charly shook her head. “It’s not like that. Aaron didn’t want to admit to anyone that we were dating because he didn’t want the media to ruin what was going on between us. Now that the secret’s out, he has no problem showing that we’re together.” Charlize’s gaze trailed to Aaron and their eyes caught for so long that Mollie was a believer. Sort of.

Scooby, Mollie’s old high school boyfriend, used to watch her like that. That had ended horribly. Mollie had a hard time believing any man was sincere anymore, especially gorgeous, arrogant bad boys, although... Aaron seemed kind of sweet. He smiled a lot, and not in that smirky, conceited way. Maybe he was okay. Peering at her friend, Mollie decided she looked happy enough, too.

Charly hit at her arm. “Stop it! You’re looking at me like I’m being held hostage.”

“Are you? Blink twice if you’re okay.”

Charly blinked twice, laughing.

Mollie joined in with her own giggles. Perhaps she’d turned a little overprotective after Charlize’s twin, Rio, had died in a car accident a few years earlier. Mollie had promised Rio that she’d look after Charly. Brushing back the memory of the painful loss, Mollie checked out the stage made for the bachelor auction at the front of the billiards room. She held back a gasp with her hand, recognizing Aaron’s friendly PR guy smiling ear to ear up there. He was a cheerful British guy with broad shoulders and a round belly. His fedora was tipped at a spunky angle over his eye. “Is that Mikey?”

Her friend nodded cheerfully. “You should get in on the action. Find yourself a date.”

Mollie’s stomach twisted. No, no, long-gone. brooding ghosts with tragic histories were more her thing. Two women were bashing it out for Mikey. A woman with glorious red hair, and... was that Elana Faun at the far table? It was hard to tell with all that makeup. The older lady looked fantastic dressed to the nines in a black flapper dress and a black short wig with blunt bangs. Mollie’s heart expanded with happiness when she realized that, yes, that truly was her coworker from Amigo’s. Elana had defied her cancer treatments to come out tonight and enjoy the party. They weren’t paid the big bucks as servers, so it was a big deal to go up against all these rich folks to win a date for the night. Fun, little, fearless Elana Faun.

Mollie sighed. She should adopt Elana’s attitude and enjoy herself. Her attention wandered to a glass case to the side, where a set of beautifully handcrafted jewelry was on display for the silent auction. The rings in the set caught her eye especially. They were dragonflies with amethyst bodies on a dainty diamond flower. Their wings were tiny emeralds. She’d never have enough money to afford something so magical. She made a wistful sound.

Charly echoed it beside her. “It’s a Molinero original. Isn’t it lovely?”

Mollie wasn’t nearly as much a fan of expensive jewelry as Charlize, but she was entranced. “Stunning.”

“See Aaron’s personal assistant over there?” Charlize pointed at the elegant redhead going up against Elana for Mikey in the auction. “You’ll never believe what happened. Autumn Molinero originally made this jewelry for Aaron’s party, but Veronica hated it and made her start over.”

“Sounds like she was jealous,” Mollie said. For a moment she imagined the clever little dragonflies fitting on her finger, but one glance told her that the jewels were sold as a set. Just like Elana, she was no match against these socialites with their bags of money. “I’m sure Autumn will get a lot for it.”

Charly nodded. “Aaron was livid when he found out how Autumn had been treated. I think he’ll try to make a bid for it.”

The stakes were high tonight. Elana must have a life savings stashed away somewhere. The competition was getting heated at the front of the room, though Elana stopped a moment and glanced over at Mollie and Charly standing to the side. The older lady blew a friendly kiss their direction.

“What have you gotten me into?” a man asked behind them. His gritty, masculine accent belonged to an exotic country in the south. “Please say she doesn’t have a penny to her name.”

With rising irritation, Mollie realized the stranger was talking about her friend.

Aaron laughed pleasantly in response. “She almost lost to Veronica for Mikey if that tells you anything.”

“Did Mikey pay Veronica under the table to save him?” the man replied. “I’ll pay her double.”

Mollie let out a gasp. What did this guy have against her poor, spirited friend? She swiveled on her heel to glare, but the man she saw unhinged her jaw. If she hadn’t had enough sense to keep it firmly in place, she would’ve gaped like a fish. The guy talking to Aaron was, in a word. beautiful. Though she might’ve guessed someone who looked like a prince would be such a snob; he dressed like one too. He hadn’t bothered with the ’20s gangster look, opting for a black leather jacket, black dress shirt and black suit pants with a subtle stripe. Every crease screamed expensive. His tie was missing—fashionably—just like the mess he’d made of his hair. It made his hazel eyes pop. The fact he was drop dead gorgeous made her angrier. He definitely knew it, too, with that smirk. Yes, of course he was smirking. He was just her ex-boyfriend Scooby in expensive clothes.

He caught her gaze and raised a heavy brow. “No drinks for me. Wait, no, I’ll take a bottled water.”

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