Home > Hot Deal (Hot Billionaire Daddies #6)

Hot Deal (Hot Billionaire Daddies #6)
Author: Suzanne Hart

Prologue

 

 

Ella

 

 

Six months ago

 

 

I’m sitting at a bar in Soho, London. I don’t usually do this sort of thing; it doesn’t fit my budget. I’ve been backpacking through Europe for the last two months and it’s not like I have a lot of money to spare. Neither am I a big drinker. I don’t like the way alcohol makes me feel—nervous and jittery and overconfident at the same time. When I want to chill, I usually spend the evening in the common rooms of whichever hostel I’m staying at for the night. There are always people hanging around there, playing music or board games.

Tonight, however, on my last night in London, I’ve decided I actually want to experience the nightlife. Because, why not?

I don’t know if I’ll ever be back here again. This could be my once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. I’m twenty-two, and that is what your twenties are for, right? Before the big career and the responsibilities kick in.

That reminds me of Rodney, and I clutch my martini glass a little tighter. I don’t want to think about him. This trip has been good for me. I’ve been thinking about him less every day. I take a sip of the martini and the bitter taste distracts me again. It feels like I’ve just gulped a mouthful of fire.

I splutter and cough, covering my mouth with the back of my hand. Why did I have to order this damn thing? I should have just stuck to wine coolers.

How ridiculous would that make me look?

I am in one of the coolest spots in the whole world. I even pulled out a cocktail dress from the back of my bag. I actually spent money getting the dress steamed for tonight. I spent ages on my makeup and hair. All this effort will be completely ruined if I order a wine cooler right now.

But maybe…just one. Do they even have them here?

I straighten my back, trying to get the attention of the overworked bartender who is at the other end of the counter. I’ve picked a bar that isn’t particularly hopping with a heavy crowd, but the music is loud and there are way too many people ordering at the counter than there are sitting down.

The bartender looks in my direction, and I wave a hand enthusiastically at him. He looks away, purposely ignoring me. I think I even saw an eye-roll. Wow!

“You must be American,” I hear a voice beside me. I haven’t noticed there’s someone sitting next to me, right at my elbow.

I look over and make eye contact with him for the first time. He has thick dark hair that’s styled with a swirl on top. Handsome. Chic. He’s in a dark sweater and formal looking pants. He has a sharp well-maintained beard. Piercing blue eyes. He’s much older than me.

“Yes, is it that obvious?” I finally manage to say. We’ve both been studying each other.

Even though I’ve been sitting at this bar, I wasn’t planning on making conversation with anyone. I just planned on getting a drink or two, then making my way back to the hotel. I have a train to catch at noon tomorrow that’s going to take me to Edinburgh.

“Most people here ignore the bartenders, especially the women, forcing them to come over for their orders. Only an American would wave the way you did. Just seconds away from cooing yoo-hoo.” As he speaks, the corners of his lips curl. He has a sexy smile. I’m riveted by the perfect symmetry of his face, but I find his words offensive.

“Are you saying I’m making a fool of myself?” I snap.

“Steady there, cowgirl. I’m just pointing out the differences between Americans and Europeans.”

“Maybe we’re not afraid to ask for what we want.” I have my eyes narrowed at him. He has a deep voice and a richly refined accent. I haven’t been able to place where he is from exactly.

“You can put down the whip. I’m American too. I’m not trying to attack you,” he says. He’s still smiling. If he’d just stop smiling like a handsome devil, I’d be able to focus on making cracking comebacks.

“Sure sounded like an attack,” I say and tear my gaze away from him. Now I see the bartender making his way towards us. My waving worked! Hah. But I can’t order a wine cooler now. Not while this smart-ass is sitting right next to me.

“I apologize. You successfully got his attention,” the man speaks up beside me.

My mind is working on overdrive. I’m trying to think of a wine cooler alternative that I can order without coming across as a complete idiot.

“What can I get you?” the bartender says in a velvety British accent. I’m staring at him blankly like I’ve been struck by a laser beam of amnesia.

“It’s on me,” the man beside me says, holding up a black credit card.

“Madam?” the bartender urges me, and I gulp.

“Just a repeat, please. Of this…erm…martini.”

Oh my God! I can’t sit through another glass of this. It’s going to end up burning my insides. While the bartender walks away with the credit card, I dare to chance a look at the man beside me.

He’s been watching me this whole time. Reading me. I’m almost afraid he can hear my thoughts.

“Why did you order it if you didn’t want it?” he asks, still grinning. I can feel the back of my neck burning with embarrassment and anger.

“Excuse me?” I snap. “What makes you think you know what I want?”

“Do you want that martini?” he challenges me.

I know my cheeks are red. My eyes feel strained. I feel uncomfortable in this dress with its low-cut sweetheart neck. I shouldn’t have worn it.

“What do you really want to drink?” he persists.

Screw that. What do I have to lose?

“A strawberry slushie,” I reply, and I’m not embarrassed.

 

 

When we walk out of the bar, I feel exhilarated in the chilly London night. Soho has come alive. There are people and music everywhere.

I don’t know where we’re going. Back in the bar, he suggested I follow him out. I haven’t had a slushie in months, not since I was in Chicago. I don’t even know why I’m craving one tonight. He said he knows just the place. Honestly, he doesn’t strike me as a slushie kinda guy. But he didn’t strike me as American either. So what do I know?

“I’m Reed,” he says all of a sudden, turning to catch me staring at him as we walk.

“Oh. Right. I’m Ella. Ella Davies.” What am I doing? He doesn’t need to know my last name. We’re two complete strangers and I would like it to stay that way. That is what this trip around Europe is all about. An endless stream of faces. Nameless faces, if I can help it.

“Okay, Ella Davies. You want a strawberry slushie, and that’s what we’re going to get you.” He rubs his hands together with joy. There’s that smile again! I look up and see that he’s led me to a store around the corner from the bar. It’s one of those all-night places that sell everything that is essential to life. Corner shop, as they call it here.

I follow Reed into the bright lights of the store. Now I can see him clearly. I see the rich color of his hair. He has broad shoulders and a wide chest. He’s a muscular man, very athletic for his age. He must be at least forty. Maybe older. I look away from him this time before he catches me staring.

Get it together, Ella!

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