Betrayed By the Billionaire (pt 4)

Chapter Four

Returning to the cruiser she quickly changed, moving to her office.  She had worked into the early hours of the morning finally giving in to the sleep that tugged at her, knowing that she could not expect answers back to her many calls and emails until the next day.  Even then, despite the exhaustion which pulled at her, she found sleep hard to come by, her thoughts constantly returning to the man from her past.  Turning onto her side once more in the large luxurious bed she sighed as the memories of ten years ago once more filled her.

He had been gorgeous then but today he was even more so, maturity suiting him very well she mused as she punched the pillow into a more fluffy position, a flash of anger filling her the memory of the incendiary kiss making her moan softly.   Ten years ago he had not looked at her the way he had that night.  He had thought of her as a precocious child, but that night he made it more than clear that he did not see her that way now, Sierra surprised with how much that thought filled her with excitement.  With a sigh, she once more tossed in her bed.

The news of that night meant that they would need to leave the area the next day, Sierra telling herself that she was relieved that this meant that she would not have to see Max again, telling herself that she was better off not dealing with him, the words sounding hollow even to her.

As daybreak finally filled the sky with light Sierra found herself on the deck of the boat.  Having slept fitfully the previous night she gratefully welcomed the coffee offered to her as she sat by the railing, enjoying the peace of the early hour before the area would fill with noise from the many boats mooring or leaving.  She allowed the calm to fill her, her mind already starting to fill with tasks for that day, one in particular high on her priority list.

“Good morning!”  The call from the larger cruiser they were moored beside caused her to flip around, her hand shielding her eyes from the now bright sun, her mouth dropping at seeing the man leaning against the bigger boat’s railings.  “Max?”  Her voice had been full of disbelief as he lifted his coffee cup in salutation.

“W…what are you doing there?”  His mouth curled into a large grin “Well I happen to own this and am sailing back home today…so I just stayed over after the party”

Sierra bit back the question that instantly flew to her mind, realising that it was none of her business if he was alone or not.  As they had entered the party the previous day, she had not missed the stunning woman who draped herself over him, or the way he looked back at her, wondering if she was still on board or if she had left already.  Max Alessandro was not known for holding on to women.

Her voice stiffer than she meant, she gave what she hoped was a disinterested look.  “Well bon voyage then”, she bit out, as he gave her a knowing return look before straightening and moving out of sight.  Craning her neck to see where he had gone, she was surprised to see him walking down the gangplank before moving to their boat, a small expletive leaving her lips.

“Permission to come onboard”, he cried, Sierra feeling her heart beat faster as she had not known what to say, the memory of his kiss once more filling her mind.  “Erm…  I…”, she began as Sean’s voice filled the space. “Of course…permission granted”  Sierra cursed as he moved up to where she sat, Sean also appearing.  With an irritated look she took in the fact that her boss was still wearing the blue tuxedo from the previous night, giving him a disapproving sigh.  “Let me guess.  You just got back”  Sean winked back at her, a wicked glint in his eyes.  “Ah Amor”, he breathed playfully, patting his heart as she raised her eyes heavenward.  As Sean threw himself into one of the large deck chairs he ran his hand down his face looking tired, Sierra knowing that he would most likely spend much of the afternoon asleep.

“Sean!”  The voice of Max Alessandro had been full of humour as he too took in how the other man was dressed.  “Did you enjoy the party?” The singer chuckled as he nodded, gesturing for Max to join them as coffee had been delivered.  Sierra allowed her eyes to flick down Max, once more unable to ignore the way he always affected her.  For having partied most of the night she was sure, he looked remarkably well rested.  Shaved and wearing a white t-shirt and jeans, he was relaxed and devastatingly handsome.

“Did you fix your problem?”  His question pulled her from her reverie as Sierra sighed, shaking her head, “No.  I am still waiting to hear from some people…but things are not looking good”  Sean gave a deep sigh, his mouth pursed with annoyance.  “What exactly is the problem if I might ask?”, Max’s velvety voice queried, Sean looking over at him with a grimace “My video shoot was meant to be next week.  We had booked all the crew and the island for the video, but now the owner of the island has called off.  Seems there has been some family problem”, he replied,  a tired sigh leaving him.  “So now we have to find another island paradise complete with sandy beaches and crystal clear water and get the right permission from the government or the owners before we lose a fortune in wages and production time”

Max chuckled softly, his eyes falling on Sierra, his voice full of fun.  “So you need to find an island”, his hand ticking off the points on his fingers.   “Preferably one privately owned so that you don’t have to go through the bureaucratic process, one that has crystal clear waters and sandy beaches that perhaps run all around the island itself and with facilities for your crew”

Sean nodded, his expression somber “Yep.  That is pretty much it.  Don’t suppose you would know of one”  His eyes widened with interest as Max’s eyes rested on Sierra.  “I might” Sierra, who had been listening to the conversation realised what he was getting at, sitting up in her chair as she blustered,  “Like I said, I am waiting to hear back from people.  I am sure that we can get things sorted…there is no need”, her eyes flashing with warning as Max’s mouth broke into a wide smile of understanding.

Sean however, was confused “Where….if you know somewhere, then where?” Max pulled his mobile device from his pocket; quickly handing it over to Sean to allow him to look at a collection of photos of an island Sierra knew only too well, a paradise that she had loved with all her heart.  Sean flicked through the pictures, his look becoming more excited as he grinned.  “Do you think you could organise for us to use this place?”, his question hopeful as the other man laughed.   “Sure.  It’s my home Sean.  You and your crew are welcome to film if you want”, a mocking innocent look coming to his eyes.  “In fact I’m surprised Sierra didn’t think of it too”

Sierra once more spluttered, “We couldn’t possibly put you to all that trouble Max, a crew can be upsetting for the other residents”, even she knowing that she was ranting.  He however, gave her a smile, shaking his head.  “I think that the others on the island will find it fascinating.  Will be a huge thrill for them”

Throwing her a ‘be quiet’ look, Sean took his hand happily, thanking him profusely.  “Sierra will join you in a couple of days.  She needs to make all the arrangements and liaise with the crew”, his eyes turning to her. “Looks like you get to go home…how wonderful has this turned out?”, ignoring the daggers she threw at him as Max drawled softly,  “As I was telling Sierra earlier Sean, I am leaving myself today to return home.  The trip should take a couple of days and it seems a shame for you to have to cut your holiday short to get to an airport when I could take Sierra with me.  Sierra’s head whipped around, the stunned look on her face saying more than any words as Sean stood, a big smile on his face.  “That is incredibly kind of you Max…isn’t it Sierra?”  Her eyes narrowed as she had not known what to say, biting down the toxic answer as she fought for some reason to say no.

“I have a lot of work to do.  I need access to phones and Internet and fax…and…”, her voice trailing off seeing the smile on the Spaniard’s face “Well if that was the only problem, you are in luck.  The ‘Urchin’ has a fully fitted office” He stood shaking Sean’s hand before turning to her, his eyes full of mocking laughter.

“Well we leave in an hour, so just drop off what you need and I will see you then”, giving a brief farewell as he left, Sierra unable to say any more, her mouth gaping with how neatly she had been manoeuvred onto his boat.  Sean chuckled, also rising.  “Well, looks like we’ve got that problem resolved”  His expression became innocent.   “Lucky that you have no interest in the man”  Her return glare made him laugh loudly, before he looked down at her.  “Seriously though Sierra, you have been working so hard.  You know there is nothing left to do until the shoot.  Take some time and relax”

As she moved onboard his boat, Max himself met her, insisting on taking her on a tour.  As they passed the staterooms in the belly of the boat, he led her into one.  Whistling in appreciation she admired the size of it along with the tasteful decor, Max giving a small smile as he declared it to be her room.  She tried to tell him that she would not take his room, Max giving a laugh. “Damn right you won’t”, he chuckled showing her the room across, every bit as large, Sierra trying not to show her discomfort at how close he was.

The tour had continued with Sierra impressed with the large living room, study and galley which made up the rest of the space.  Having dropped off her bag in her room, the two once more returned to the deck.  Leaning against the rail she enjoyed the cooling sea breeze as the cruiser had by that point cleared the harbour, with the port town now only a small line on the horizon.  Max joined her, standing close to her back as his arm moved around her, offering her a glass of iced lemonade, which she accepted with fingers she hoped did not shake having him so close.  However, as his mouth leant in against her ear, she gave a startled jump.

“So Miss Summers, when did my little tomboy become a temptress?” Her body became rigid as she moved further along the rail, forcing him to lean in against the section she stood at.  With a note of disdain she flicked a look over at him.  “I just grew up”, adding bitterly, “It was kind of forced on me”  His irritated intake of breath gave her the satisfaction of knowing that she had hit a nerve, before sighing softly.

“My best friend at school, a girl called Clara, used to have me home with her on the holidays.  Her mother ran a modelling agency, and gave me some pointers”   She grinned with the memory, adding with a soft murmur, “I think I became a bit of a project for her”

He raised his glass. “Well kudos to Clara’s mother”, his tone mocking before adding, “Although I kind of liked the little tomboy”  Her look became contemptuous as she turned to fix him with hard eyes .  “You NEVER liked me, you were always finding fault and arguing with me”  His deep laugh made her grit her teeth with annoyance.  “Did it ever cross your mind that I enjoyed our ‘arguments’?”  Sierra looked at him in surprise.  About to retort, the captain called down to Max, he giving her an apologetic smile before moving away.

“Sorry, I have a go at you for your work ethic, and it looks like I will have to spend most of the day working myself.  Please make yourself comfortable Sierra, and the office is at your disposal I will be working in my room” She had been confused with the rush of disappointment which filled her, nodding softly at him.

With nothing else to do she retreated to the office, contacting those who needed to know about the change of venue.  The hours flew by as she rescheduled flights and arranged for equipment to be delivered to the new location and when the soft knock on the door had been heard, she frowned at the realisation that it was nearly eight in the evening.

She had been informed that dinner was being served in half an hour, Sierra quickly retreating to her room to pull on a summer dress and wash up.  When she entered the galley, the table had been set for two, the wonderful aroma of lobster filling her nose as her stomach rumbled softly, the realisation that she had not even stopped for lunch coming to her.

As she entered, Max was been busy putting the many side dishes onto the table, Sierra quickly moving over to help, her wide smile full of appreciation.  “Did you cook this?”, she asked in a voice full of wonder, he giving a roguish return smile,  “I would say yes…but you always could tell when I was lying” Sierra gave a half-laugh full of humour at the memory of how only she would always call him out on his many outlandish claims, all of which were designed to test her knowledge on different topics.

“Well you were pretty bad at it”, she chuckled. “Even I knew that sharks did not grow feet at night to come on land and hunt for young children who stayed out too late”  His small laugh filled her ears .  “Yes that was one of my best”  Sierra threw him a pitying look, “Like I said you were never any good at it”, she joked, as the two sat together at the table.

He looked tired, she thought, as he piled food onto his plate, opening a bottle of wine and pouring them both a generous glass.  “Long day?”, she asked softly, as he nodded, “And not over yet”  His eyes moved to hers.  “I apologise Sierra, but I have a conference call in half an hour so I am eating and running”

She nodded gently.  “Not to worry…I’m feeling pretty frazzled myself so was going to have an early night.  Regarding her thoughtfully, he ran his finger along the edge of his glass. “I don’t think this call will take more than an hour.  We could take a walk on the deck if you’d like”, his voice trailing off as she shook her head with a smile.  “Thanks, but right now the thought of soaking in the bath in the en-suite seems wonderful.  Sean’s boat only has showers”, she said, a dreamy look in her eyes.  “I am going to just lay there for hours”.

Max chuckled, trying not to show his disappointment. “Well, whatever floats your boat”  The two finished their meal, making small talk to fill in the gaps, Sierra aware as both avoided any personal questions, before all too soon and with a rueful grimace he stood.  As he made to lift her plate, she shooed him away. “I think I can clear a table”, she smiles, as he nodded, moving out and leaving her alone.

{next installment 6th December}

Betrayed By the Billionaire (pt 3)

Chapter Three

“Now why such a deep sigh?”  The velvety words made him turn around, pulled from his memories by the woman now stood before him.  She moved in closer, rising on her toes to drop her mouth against his, the kiss soft but held for longer than was necessary as their eyes locked, her look full of heat and sex and promise.

“Now darling, you need somebody to bring a smile to that face of yours, it is your birthday after all”, her lovely amber eyes flicking tantalisingly down to his lips, her meaning very clear as he stepped back.  “And what would your husband say to that Alanna?”, he joked seeing the small smile on her lips. “Well…if you don’t tell, then neither will I”. she murmured sensually, Max giving a small laugh as he shook his head.  “Pass…and you are a very naughty girl”  Her throaty laugh one that could test the resolve of any man.  Taking a step from him she looked seductively over her shoulder, her words dripping like honey from her perfect mouth “Well if you change your mind…you know where I am”

Max closed his eyes softly against the temptation just as his look fell on the couple who just entered the room.  He did not even register the way Sean G was dressed, his look completely focussed on the woman at his side.  The previous day she had been beautiful, today she was stunning.  Dressed in a blue sleeveless cocktail dress, the material clung to every delectable curve of her body, her hair held high on her proud head only elongating her figure further.  Looking around he could see that he was not the only man who had noticed her, a strange jealousy ripping through him as he moved to where they stood, the other woman forgotten, the sight of Sierra Summers pushing all other thoughts from him.

“Hello Sean”, he smiled reaching the pair, his look falling to the woman by his side.  “And hello Sierra”, his eyes delving deeply into hers.  Sierra felt the small shiver running through her as she murmured a suitable response, trying not to show the way his presence was once more making the blood rush to her ears, her heart beating frantically, angry at having any reaction to this man from her past.  Sean was laughing as he looked around the party nodding with approval.  “Nice Max…and happy birthday”, he grinned before turning to Sierra, a wicked glint in his eyes.

“Excuse me Sierra…I see somebody I need to talk to” , he said, quickly leaving her standing, her eyes glaring at him as he left the two alone.  Taking a calming breath she fixed a smile on her lips, hoping that her voice would be steady, uninterested.   “Yes happy birthday Max…I am sure that you have a lot of people to talk to, please do not let me keep you”

His deep laugh made her look up at him, a frown on her features as he shook his head.  Taking her arm, he moved her to the dance floor pulling the less than keen woman into his arms.  “You really need to work on that poker face of yours Sierra; you never could hide your true feelings”.  Dropping all pretence she hissed back at him, “What do you expect Max.  You know exactly how I feel.  Do you really want me to make nice?”, her teeth clenched tightly as he held her even tighter to himself.

“Now why are you so angry at me?”  His soft voice brushed against her cheek, Sierra suddenly so aware of the way he held her, their bodies tight together, his intoxicating aftershave enveloping her.  Keeping her head down it was all she could do not to moan softly and breathe the scent of him in deeply, confused why she should be feeling so like wrapping her arms around his neck and moving in even harder against him.  Taking a few seconds to calm down, she finally answered ,“You know exactly why.  And please do not think that ten years has changed the way you made me feel”

He gave a small sigh of exasperation.  “I was only doing what was right for you Sierra”, he replied, sensing as she had tensed in his arms, her head rising to him. “Really?…And what gave you the right to decide what was best for me Max?  It was not what I wanted and you knew that”  He had felt the anger rising within him, once more amazed how this woman of all others could irritate him in a way nobody else ever could.  Even now while he had never been more aware of a woman, he just wanted to shake her, his tone steely, “Yes you are so good at making decisions Sierra”  Confusion filled her features as she bit back, “and what is that supposed to mean?”, seeing the contemptuous look rise in his dark eyes. “You never were good at choosing men.  Sean is a great guy, but why the hell are you putting up with your boyfriend parading the other play-bunnies in front of you?”

Her loud gasp sent warning bells ringing within him as her eyes flashed angrily at him “I’m not his girlfriend!”, she hissed, indignation bristling through her.  Max frowned, while feeling the oddest sensation of relief filling every part of him.  “Then why is he introducing you as his ‘main girl’”, seeing the way she glared furiously back at him.  “He calls me that because I organise his life.  Without me he wouldn’t know which day of the week it was…it is just his nickname for me.  Sean has never liked titles like PA”  Her eyes raked him contemptuously, “But way to go for jumping to conclusions Max.  You always did like to think the worst of me”

Inwardly he kicked himself before feeling irritation rise. “You did not correct him.  You knew how it would sound…so don’t have a go at me jumping to the wrong conclusion” The two danced silently together, both seething for a few seconds, before Sierra sighed softly known that he spoke the truth.  Sean was always introducing her in that way, partly because he found it amusing the way she would correct him and define her true role in his life.  She had not done that when they met Max the previous day, the realisation filling her that she wanted him to think that she and Sean were more than just business friends.

Clearing her throat nervously she looked up, her voice more subdued as she gave him a sombre look,  “I was sorry to hear about your mother”, her voice full of sincerity as he gave her a small sad return smile. “Thank you…I know that you were both close Sierra”  Silence once more fell between them both before he pulled back slightly to look down at her just as the music stopped.  “Why did you never return to the island?”

Sierra paused.  Her plan had been to escape him the minute the song ended, however with a question still unanswered she cursed inwardly as he led her to a table, knowing that she could not politely get away before answering, annoyed that he seemed to manoeuvre her into a position she did not want to be.

Finally seated, he took two glasses of champagne from a tray offered by one of the many waiters moving around the throng and handed her one.  As she ran her small tongue along her glistening mouth before answering, she was unaware how this small act had sent a strange heat slamming into Max.  “Well…I was only at the school for two years, and was lucky enough during the holidays to stay with friends.  Besides I had nowhere to go.  No home, no family there, where would I have gone?”

His soft voice had been slow.  “You would always have been welcome at my  house”  Sierra looked into her glass, her mouth curling bitterly as she gave a small bitter sound, a half-laugh containing no humour.  “Now isn’t that strange?  I got the impression that your house was the one place I was definitely not welcome”  Her eyes flew to his. “As I recall you could not wait to get rid of me”

His mouth clamped shut, his brows knitting together in annoyance, before with a sigh he offered, “I’m not home often…I would have been only too happy to leave instructions for you to use it” For some reason Sierra felt the hurt slam into her, not sure why his desire not to be around her affected her so much, determined not to allow him to see how much his words pained her as she nodded softly. “Well I will bear that in mind”, just as her phone rang loudly.

Placing her drink down, she answered the call making apologetic gestures to Max as she fled from the crowded noisy warm room to the cool gardens on the other side of the ornate French doors.  For half an hour she talked to the man on the other end, annoyance filling her with what she was being told, before dropping the device back into her purse, sighing as she stared blankly into the night sky, her smooth forehead furrowed in concentration.

Behind her she heard the sound of somebody joining her, Sierra forcing a bright smile on her face as she turned, the look turning to one of annoyance seeing Max stood before her.  “Don’t you have other guests to annoy?”, the words out before she could stop them, her features becoming apologetic.  “I’m sorry.  That was uncalled for.  I just got some bad news and I need to go back to the office”

Max however, moved closer to her.  “Do you always work this late?”, a rueful smile dropping to her lips as she nodded.  “Yep.  Life with a rock star I guess”, seeing as he fixed her with strange expression, as she gave a small laugh. “Well it was most unexpected running into you again Max”  His lips twitched. “But happy birthday.  Enjoy your party”

Making to step around him, he moved before her.   “What…no kiss for the birthday boy?”  Looking thoughtfully up at him her voice had been mocking.  “I thought that you weren’t interested in ‘bratty little children’”, she murmured, her voice dripping with disdain as he smiled, a wolfish smile which caught her completely off-guard as his arms flashed forward to grab her waist, pulling her in against him as his head dropped.

“What I believe I said was I preferred real women, not scrawny little vagabonds”  Sierras eyes widened at his remembering the exact words he had thrown at her so long ago.  “And you are neither scrawny nor a child now Sierra”  His mouth dropped to claim hers.  His kiss had been wonderful; gentle yet demanding.  Her determination to push him aside melted instantly as his hands rose to cup her face, hers fluttering for a second before settling on his waist. A soft groan left her as his tongue flicked across her lips parting them as she tasted him, savouring him, her body falling against his.

Pulling slightly back, with eyes which burned brightly with fire, his voice was hoarse,  “Why don’t you forget work…stay with me?”  Her eyes fluttered, the temptation so strong, before she realised what was happening.  With a gasp she pulled back, stepping from him, her look full of confusion, not sure what had happened as she had stammered, “I…I don’t think so.  H…Happy Birthday Max”, before fleeing once more through the open French doors, desperately needing space between them.

Quickly finding Sean, she explained the emergency, insisting that he stay at the party as she would take the car and send it back for him.

{next installment 30th October}

Betrayed By the Billionaire (pt 2)

Chapter Two

Sitting back in her office, Sierra tried to concentrate on the email before her, swearing softly as she had once more been unable to focus on the words on the screen.  Finally giving up she gave a sigh of exasperation, pushing back into her seat as she stared sightlessly out of the window, memories of the past filling her.

Even for a twelve year old, Sierra had been small, her loose-fitting baggy clothes hanging from her thin frame, her short hair hidden under a baseball cap.  That day she stood before two bigger boys, a towel holding a haul of large apples at her feet, her hands balled before her as she glared at them.

Both boys, much taller than she, were trying to take her hard-earned prize, the best apples from the tree plucked earlier by herself from the top after a hazardous climb.  The first boy, the larger, stepped forward, and pushing her, sent her sprawling to the ground.  Quick as a whip, she jumped to her feet, launching herself at the boy, who taken aback by the unexpected attack screamed at her to get off, his friend jumping in to pull her away, Sierra fighting like a demon but completely overpowered.

It had been the loud voice behind that finally caused the two to clamber away from her, Sierra finding herself on the ground as they fled.  Looking over she was stunned to see the older boy looking down at her.  Even at twelve she knew that there was something special about the tall handsome stranger, her eyes scrunched up from the sun as she looked up at him, her mouth mutinous.

“I had them…you chased them off”  The look of surprise on his face had quickly been replaced by one of irritation, an arrogant lifting of his eyebrow as he bit out, “Really?  Seemed to me that they were about to hurt you pretty badly”

Ignoring the outstretched hand to help her up, she rose to her feet, swooping down to retrieve her apples before warily looking on at the stranger who was regarding her somberly, his brows furrowed in concentration.  “I have never seen you before” his eyes solemn, as she shook her head “My mum and I just moved here…my mum is working up at the big house” His head nodded in understanding.

“So what’s your name kid?”, he asked, bending down to lift one of the apples which slipped from the towel and rolled towards him, offering it back to her.  Taking it, she quickly secured it once more within its towel, her eyes flicking nervously to him. “Sierra”, she answered, stiffening as he laughed.

“Sierra! What kind of name is that for a boy?”  Sierra stood as tall as she was able, her whole body bristling with indignation. “Boy? I’m not a boy.  What kind of idiot are you?”  The stranger stopped, his mouth open in disbelief.  “A girl!…you’re a girl!” a note of real concern creeping into his voice as he looked her up and down.  “Did they hurt you?…Are you OK?”

Sierra pulled the towel tighter in against herself, her brows knitted angrily in a frown.  “I’m fine…and like I said I could have taken them”  He shook his head, a small smile on his handsome lips.  “Feisty little thing aren’t you?” Amusement crept into his tone as she glared back at him, “And what’s YOUR name?”  His grin widened. “Max Alessandro”

Sierra raised her small chin “And you said my name was stupid”  His brow rose again as she looked down at the towel in her hands, suddenly aware of how petulant she was being to the person who saved her from the two would-be thieves, her voice softening slightly.

“Well I guess you were only trying to help…so thanks”  His lips twitched again, as he inclined his head. “You are most welcome Sierra” Sierra felt the hairs on the back of her neck prickle as he continued to watch her as she turned and scurried away, not sure why even then she had been so aware of his eyes on her back the whole time.

It had not taken her long to discover everything about her knight in shining armour, he the only son of the Alessandro’s, the super-rich aristocratic family who owned the island that she had moved to, the seventeen year old held in high regard by all of those she asked.  The girls in her class treated him as though he were some kind of rock star, their eyes glazing over just at the mention of his name, the boys just as impressed with his sports ability, Max a strong swimmer and runner.

Sighing, she groaned, pulled once more back to the present as Sean moved into the room, his face full of questions “So….you know Max Alessandro?”  His seemingly innocuous question just the tip of the iceberg she knew, Sierra not prepared to get pulled into the barrage about to come her way.  Looking up at her boss, her face schoolmarmish, her lips tightened.

“I told you we lived on the island his family owned…nothing else”  His smile widened. “Really?  Because I got the impression you didn’t have much time for him”, a smile playing on his mouth, “Which would make you the only woman I have ever met that wasn’t head over heels for the guy”

Shrugging, she lifted some paperwork “I have no real feelings either way for him”, looking up at Sean with an irritated frown “I am just busy…and could do without having to spend tomorrow night schmoozing with him and his friends”  The singer stood his ground, Sierra swallowing the groan knowing that he was not ready to drop the subject.  The ringing of her phone had been a blessing, as she was relieved to hear the Project Manager for Sean’s up-coming tour, knowing that the conversation would be a long one.  Mouthing the manager’s name, Sean gave a disappointed sigh, moving from the room, returning once more to the women still partying on the main deck, relief filling Sierra, as for the rest of the day she worked long and hard, able to avoid her boss.

The next day she worked until midafternoon, trying hard not to think about the party later that night.  Informed by Sean that it was to be a prestigious event, she had shaken her head hearing that he planned on wearing a gaudy blue tuxedo, Sierra not really surprised.  Sean was well-known for his less than typical  flair; Sierra smiled knowing that it fitted his image perfectly.

She had told herself that she did not care about what she wore to the party, however, by mid afternoon with her work up-to-date, she found herself in one of the exclusive boutiques that provided designer outfits for the rich and famous visitors of the millionaire holiday retreat, informing Sean that he was going to be footing the bill for making her accompany him.  From there she visited one of the most exclusive salons, Sean’s name ensuring that she was seen almost immediately.  Two hours later she left the salon, her long black hair piled high on her head, wispy sections falling sensually against her cheeks, the style showing her long graceful neck, the finished look chic and playful.

When she joined Sean that night, he whistled softly. “Now…I would like to think that you look so damn hot for my benefit Sierra…but I have to wonder if it might have something more to do with Max Alessandro than me”  Giving him a derisory look, she waved her hand dismissively. “Hardly.  Just wanted to make sure that the bill was big enough for you not to drag me into some dreary formal event without my permission again”  He winked, his eyes shining with laughter. “Yeah sure”, he replied, before the two left the boat.

Max moved around the large function hall.  Everywhere he went, people stopped him to wish him a happy birthday, many of the women taking the opportunity to drop a kiss on his cheek, some more daring.  At 30, he was rich, powerful and handsome – a deadly combination for the many beautiful women who cast their eyes in his direction, their looks promising much.  He however, had been disinterested, his look constantly falling to his watch.  Sean G was well known for arriving on the wrong side of fashionably late, not something that ever concerned him, however that night he was not going to be alone, the memory of his reunion with Sierra Summers sending a jolt of awareness through him.

The last time he saw her had been under very different circumstances and she had been a very different looking woman, his look rueful – no, not a woman – a child.  No more the awkward gangly girl with limbs too long for her small body and short hair which never seemed to sit quite right, she had grown up.  Taking a sip of his wine he held down the tremor the mere sight of her caused him the previous day.  Yes, she had grown up all right and how she had grown.

Frowning he looked down into his drink.  She was still angry with him he could tell, her body language clear on that one, but he and Sierra always had a volatile relationship, she the wayward tomboy and he the big brother who would swoop in to save her, even if she did not want saving.  Since their first meeting when she was twelve, they saw a great deal of each other, the island not that big.  While with his authorative air people always did as he asked, Sierra had been the only one who stood up to him, the two arguing constantly, their relationship a tempestuous one.  However, while he would never admit it to her, he always enjoyed seeing her, enjoyed the challenge she provided and he suspected she felt the same.

His mind flew back to the night ten years previous, as driving back from his girlfriend’s house, he caught sight of one of the young boys from her class turning down a well known lover’s lane, his eyes widening with disbelief seeing Sierra in the car seat beside him.  With a muffled curse he had turned his car around, slowly manoeuvring it down the winding lane, his eyes searching the off-shoots that most cars would use to park until he finally spotted the vehicle now sat with the engine off.  Pulling in, he left his top of the line sports car and moved down towards the other, hearing voices.

“Come on Sierra, it’s festival night…you know what happens on festival night”  The unmistakably lecherous tone of the other boy, Yanis, set his teeth on edge as he moved ever closer.  He heard the sound of the car moving as Yanis sidled closer to her, finally hearing Sierra’s voice.

“You can stop that now Yanis”, her words sounding slurred to his ears as Yanis gave a mocking laugh.  “Oh, I don’t think so” Max heard the sound of movement and the seat being pushed backwards, a loud gasp from her.  Hearing the obvious sounds of a struggle Max quickened his pace, pausing at the window as he took in what was happening inside the car.

Sierra was struggling, her body language full of panic as Yanis’ mouth landed on hers, his tongue pushing against her tightly-clamped lips, his hands pulling at her dress as she desperately tried to push him from her, unable to free herself under his weight.   He could hear the excitement of the boy, his breathing becoming raspy as his clammy hands pawed at the small woman trapped under him, touching her breast as she tried to scream, the sound lost in his mouth as he forced his tongue down her throat.

All this happened in the split second that it took for Max to tear the door open with force, Sierra aware as the weight of Yanis left her, her eyes which were tightly shut flying open.  With hands balled to stop himself from thumping the younger boy, he was aware of two things instantly.  The first was Yanis sprawled on the ground his eyes full of bemusement as he tried to understand what had happened, the other was a terrified Sierra pulling her dress back down, the skirt riding well over her knees from Yanis’ attack.  She gave a low sob as she pulled free the seatbelt, which was keeping her trapped, stopping her from fleeing the car, finally able to escape the vehicle.

Looking back over he could see as Yanis was pathetically trying to explain how it was not his fault, Max’s eyes blazing with fury as he reached forward and grabbed the younger boy by the scruff of the neck, dragging him back around to the driver’s side before throwing him none too gently into the car “Get the hell out of here Yanis, and if I hear any more of this then I will be coming after you”

He had seen the relief on the younger boy’s features as he nodded, his eyes not once resting on Sierra, who stood in shock, her arms wrapped defensively around herself, quickly starting the car and driving off at speed, his need to escape the wrath of Max paramount.

Finally alone, Max turned to look at the small girl before him, his features still full of anger. “What the hell did you think you were playing at Sierra?”, his voice hard as she shook.  Opening her mouth to retort, she felt the nausea build, as the combination of alcohol and the shock of Yanis’ attack hit hard, Sierra turning as she had been violently sick, shakily wiping her mouth with the back of her hand.  He knew she saw the complete contempt in his eyes.

“You were drinking too?”, his scathing look flying down her “Is that what you wanted – a drunken fumble in a car, ending up pregnant to some deadbeat kid who would never support you…or is this something you do all the time?”

Sierra turned bright red, the blush spreading all over her body as she stared back at him in a way he knew meant that she was wishing the earth would open up and swallow her whole.  Something in her eyes caused his to narrow.  “For God’s sake, you’re a virgin aren’t you?”, he bit out angrily as she felt the flush burn even brighter, complete mortification filling her.  Max moved forward and grabbing her by the shoulders, his hands shaking her, “And you were going to give your virginity up to the first boy who took an interest in you in the back of his dad’s car.  Grow up Sierra”

She pulled herself from him, standing as tall as possible, swaying slightly as the drink once more played with her balance, her eyes flashing angrily back now  “It is none of your business Max Alessandro.  I am nearly sixteen.  I am a woman and I will do what I want”  His look was contemptuous as he shook his head.  “You are not a woman Sierra, you are a child and a bratty one at that”.  The two faced each other as she stood hands on hips, her look challenging “What’s wrong Max.  Don’t you know a woman when you see one, were you jealous of him, did you want to be first?”  His eyes stared back with disbelief, his look once more arrogantly scathing. “I am only interested in real women Sierra, not a scrawny little vagabond like you”

Gasping, she stamped her foot, rage filling her as he stepped forward grabbing her roughly by the arm and dragging her over to his car, Sierra resisting as he pulled back, demanding him to release her, Max ignoring her as he threw her into the passenger seat, locking it as she tried to get out.

“What are you doing!”, she screamed at him as calmly he slipped into the driver’s side of the sports car and started the engine.  “I am taking you home”, he bit out. “Now get your seatbelt on or I will do it for you” Sierra huffily pulled the belt around herself as she folded her arms angrily, her mouth set mutinously, staring out of the window ignoring the man beside her, he full of anger towards the young girl, not sure why it would bother him so much.  The only time she spoke to him on the journey to her home had been to declare that he was a bully and a beast and that he had made that day the worse of her life.

Pulled back to the present, he sighed wearily.  Neither of them was to realise at that time just how prophetic those words were to become and that it truly was to be the worst day of her young life.

{next installment 24th October}

Betrayed By the Billionaire (Pt 1)

Chapter One

Sierra Summers stood transfixed at the rail of the luxury cruiser, her large aqua eyes wide with stunned shock behind the oversized sunglasses which she earlier pulled on for protection against the blazing mid-afternoon sun.  Now however, they served as a barrier between herself and the object of her disbelief, the sensation of panic and queasy unease sitting heavily within her stomach, her look drinking in everything so familiar about him, not understanding the hurt which swamped her.  Had she not put that part of her life behind her long ago?   Taking a deep steadying breath she had been unable to take in the beauty of the marina, its berths full of yachts and cruisers, the toys of millionaires such as her boss, her eyes solely focused on a man she had not seen in nearly ten years, the occasion of their last meeting causing a knot of pain to slice through her as her fingers gripped the railings tightly.

She had been thankful for her position on the cruiser.  Stood high on the top deck, Sierra was sure that he would not have noticed her, the throng of half-naked gorgeous women moving around the main deck’s small pool, clearly visible to those on the dock far more enticing than she, she was sure with a bitter curl of her lips. The loud music from that area was making many of the mainstays of the marina frown with disapproval, even she noticed, the man she was focussed on who stood talking to another, his look flicking to them as they berthed beside where another even larger boat was already docked.

While to all the cruiser must have appeared to be full of party people, she preferred to remain somewhere else whilst her employer, the notorious womaniser and world renowned singer Sean G, enjoyed the simpering attention of the pool babes.  Relieved, she felt sure that she would not be seen by the man below when far more tempting treats shimmied around pouting and flirting outrageously.  Her vantage point also allowed her eyes to drink in everything about him, her heart beating faster just at the sight of his handsome and imposing figure.

Below her she watched as Sean leapt to his feet, his eyes falling on the figure of Max Alessandro as with rising dread and panic she watched him waving his arms to the other man “Max!!!” The Spaniard below ended his conversation and waved back “Hi Sean” his handsome face breaking into a large grin, Sierra feeling the way that smile even now could send her pulses racing.

“Come on board Max” Sean laughed, genuinely happy to see the other man Sierra could tell.  She silently prayed that Max would refuse, not aware as she held her breath until releasing it with her heart now a crescendo of sound within her ears as Max nodded, the gangplank being dropped to allow him to board the cruiser as she swallowed down a groan.  Instantly the giggling hoard of women surrounded him, Sierra sure that they could not believe their luck seeing the new arrival.

While Sean was a good-looking man, he was no Max Alessandro.  Sean with his dirty blond hair and slim but wiry build and average height could not compete with the tall athletic Spaniard, his glossy black hair fashionably cut, his chiselled features and dark sensual eyes surrounded by the longest lashes she had ever seen setting him above mere mortal men.  Again she thought that Max Alessandro was the most handsome man she had ever known, he always had been.  Even as a child he had fascinated and stunned her.

As he was lost to sight she could only imagine the gaggle of irritating women all over him, Sierra frowning at the sensation of jealousy which swamped her.  With her head rising proudly she swallowed down the bitterness.  She was nothing to him, she had only ever been some irritating little child that he had at times been forced to deal with, she savaging her lips with the need to escape.  Perhaps if she was to return to her office, she could be spared any chance of meeting up with the man who even now had the power to cause so much disruption to her.  Hastily retreating back to the room which Sean converted specifically for her use as an office she opened up her email, answering the many messages waiting for her.  As she worked she tried hard to ignore the occasional high pitched screams and giggles which would float up from the many intellectually challenged woman on deck.  With teeth gritted she fought not to think about the man now a guest onboard.  The man who would be enjoying the attention of the vain and bratty women Sean liked to surround himself with.

Sitting on deck, Max Alessandro laughed with his friend Sean G, refusing a drink on the pretext of driving, not prepared to get dragged into the party taking place around him.  The women lavishing their attentions on the two men were starting to irritate him as a blonde pushed herself against him, her breasts most definitely too big and most likely not natural too close for his liking as he moved to the railing.

“Nice boat Sean” his only comment as the singer joined him, talking animatedly about the size and many additions he had added, his enthusiasm so clear.  Max however, allowed his eyes to roam to the upper deck, scanning to see if he could catch another glimpse of the woman who had so captured his interest, disappointed to see the area she had stood now empty.

“So you staying onboard Sean, or here for other reasons?” the other man gave a small chuckle.  “Just off a world tour Max…just needed to chill…I am partying my way to the next tour in three months” Max nodding softly, his mouth curled in a smile.

“Well I am having a thirtieth birthday party tomorrow…so if you want to come…” his eyes moving to the many women all pouting as the men talked privately “Bring one of your friends if you like”

Sean gave a small smile a conspiratorial wink his answer as his voice lowered “Not sure that they will still be here tomorrow” his eyes flashing “You know how I like variety…like you Max” the other man raised his eyebrows as he shook his head.

“One at a time is enough for me Sean” the singer laughed again “Let me get my main girl.  See if we can make it tomorrow, she keeps me right…she is the only one who knows what I am doing day to day” Max tried not to show the flicker of interest at the mention of another woman, the realisation that it was most likely the mysterious woman from the upper deck as he nodded, Sean moving to a phone before returning.

“She is coming right down” Max looked to the deck where the woman he watched earlier had reappeared.  She was stunning.  Dressed in a long summer dress which showed off her perfect figure his eyes followed her every move, not really taking in the story being told to him by the singer at his side, his attention held by the stranger.  Finally reaching them she turned giving him a better look, Max holding down the sigh of appreciation.  Her long hair was pulled into a tight efficient knot at the base of her head, her eyes hidden behind large glasses and her wide mouth showing irritation at having been summoned.  All Max could do was stare.  Unlike the women wiggling and gyrating nearly naked around the pool she was class from the top of her shining head to the tip of her perfectly manicured toes.  Giving a small frown he noticed as she seemed to pause, a strange expression crossing her beautiful features as her wonderful mouth tightened in displeasure.

Sean moved closer to her, his eyes glinting mischievously “Here she is…my number one girl” his voice full of fun as she threw him an annoyed look, her features frowning.  “This woman runs my life…without her I would never get anywhere” Max heard the small derisive pfft leave her as her attention focussed on him.

When Sean called her down, Sierra had been full of panic.  It had taken every ounce of self-control to walk down to meet her boss and once more come face to face with the man who was such a ghost from her past.  Seeing his cool smile she felt the bubble of bitter laughter rise, the realisation hitting that he did not recognise her, swallowing the sound down.  Why should he?  She was nothing to him, only the child whose life he had torn apart.  Anger filled her as he gave a smile, the sensual smile she had seen so often growing up.  Sierra could have laughed as he turned it on her, only hurt keeping the smile from her lips as he stared directly at her as she came to a halt before the two men.

“It is a pleasure to meet you” his sensual drawl sent shivers down her spine.  To his surprise the newcomer’s lips twitched in an almost amused smile as Sean moved his hand to her waist pulling her closer to introduce the two “Max I would like you to meet… ” he began as Sierra placed a hand on his arm to stop him.  “It’s OK Sean – Mr Alessandro and I are old acquaintances” both men looking at her in surprise, Max most of all as he frowned in confusion, before another seductive smile graced his mouth

“Now…I am sure that I would never have forgotten a woman as beautiful as you”, Sierra fighting to keep down the chuckle at his obvious line.  Sean looked blankly from one to the other “You know Max, Sierra?” his tone surprised as the smile fell from Max Alessandro’s face, his look flashing to Sean before with stunned shock returning to her “Sierra?…Sierra Summers?”

Sierra was rewarded to see the way his mouth dropped open as she pulled her glasses off, her unusual aqua eyes holding his.  “Hello Max” she murmured, relishing in his shock.  “Sierra!!” he finally managed, the surprise so clear on his voice, as Sean watched the two “You do know each other” looking at Sierra, who pulled her eyes from the stunned Spaniard to answer

“I grew up on the island Max’s family own.  So yes” she managed, amazing herself with how calm her own voice sounded, despite the fact that her heart seemed to be thudding alarmingly within her breasts.

Sean was laughing, not aware of the obvious friction between the two as he expounded on how small the world was before informing her of the party the following evening, happy as she confirmed that he had no plans.  Sierra turned back to Max, a playful mocking look coming to her eyes

“I don’t think you want to miss one of Max’s parties Sean.  From what I hear they are wild” his eyes narrowing slightly as they held hers, Sierra once more experiencing the intensity that was Max’s displeasure and once more feeling the excitement that it always resulted in.

“You mean WE” Sean laughed, Sierra’s expression turning to shock as she spun around shaking her head “No…Take one of the barbies” she bit out to him, seeing the way Max’s mouth curled triumphantly, now his turn to mock her.  “No…I insist Sierra.  You should not have to live with hearsay” his eyes travelling down her pointedly “And you are after all old enough now.  I absolutely INSIST that you accompany Sean”

Max had been rewarded seeing the way her self control slipped as she glared at him, his mind once more full of the small girl with the same eyes, so wilful and wild, so unlike the chic perfectly turned-out ice-maiden before him.  Sierra clamped her lips together, her lovely mouth showing her displeasure as she gave a less than sugary sweet return smile.

“Fine.  I look forward to it” Gritting her teeth not to tell him how she really felt, not enjoying the way his smile mocked her as she turned stiffly to Sean “Is there anything else?” her tone cold as he regarded her with surprise at her obvious snub to his guest, not something she ever did.

“No…That was all…thanks” Sierra nodded “Then I have to get back to work.  There are a lot of arrangements to be made for the tour and the upcoming video shoot” turning briefly to Max, she gave him a slight nod, her eyes icy daggers “Until tomorrow then” moving back to her office, her back rigid.

“What the hell got into her?” Sean’s surprised voice pulled Max’s look from the woman he remembered so clearly from his past.  Shrugging softly he made an innocuous comment about women, Sean fixing him with a look full of so many questions

“I would have to guess that whatever it is has something to do with you” Max not prepared to elaborate as he shrugged once more. “Perhaps” Standing straighter and holding out his hand to the other man he passed him an invite with the party details.

“Well I have to go Sean…I will see you tomorrow” seeing the disappointment on the other man’s features knowing he hoped to find out more on the past history of himself and the woman who had just left them.  Moving quickly to the gang plank the gaggle of women pouted at the handsome man leaving, Max glad to be away from them, his smile dropping at the meeting of the woman he had not seen in nearly ten years.

{next installment 17th Ocober}