Meddling with a Millionaire

By: Cat Schield

One




Sighting his quarry at last, Nathan Case dodged a waiter carrying a tray of champagne and navigated around a chocolate fountain. Twenty feet ahead, Emma Montgomery slipped through the cream of Dallas society gathered to celebrate New Year’s Eve. Ever since arriving at her father’s home an hour ago, Nathan had been searching for Emma, contemplating exactly what he intended to do when he tracked her down.

His options ranged from kissing her to throttling her.

He had yet to decide which way to go.

As if sensing the intensity of his thoughts, she glanced over her shoulder. A strand of hair caught on her lush lips as she scanned the party guests. Delicate fingers brushed long sable bangs back from her forehead, exposing the frown that pulled her brows together. She looked like a wild creature caught out in the open, unsure of where to flee. Then, her chocolate eyes locked on him.

Quick as a rabbit, she ducked around a potted palm and disappeared.

His heartbeat surged as he picked up his pace. He’d had women play hard to get before. The game sweetened their ultimate surrender. But Emma had taken the maneuver to a whole new level. If he didn’t know better, he would think she was avoiding him.

Ridiculous, given what he’d learned today.

He passed the library where a rollicking sing-along was taking place, with two dozen people crowded around the grand piano to belt out Sinatra tunes.

He caught sight of Emma just before she ducked into the room and followed, glad to leave behind the throng drinking Silas Montgomery’s booze and gawking at the mansion the oil tycoon had built as a testament to his wealth and power.

The two-story library with its cherry paneling and wall of bookshelves was more intimate than the colossal great hall they’d left behind, but not quiet enough for Nathan. He intended to have Emma to himself by midnight. He had no intention of letting anyone but him kiss her incredible mouth.

She stopped dead as he cut off her escape route. The noise level was too high for conversation, but Emma had little trouble communicating her impatience as he herded her toward the piano and nudged her into a narrow space between a blonde in a red halter dress and a short balding man whose attention was riveted on the woman’s cleavage.

Nathan surveyed the blonde without interest. Although he appreciated a half-naked woman as much as the next guy, he wasn’t a fan of augmented breasts. He preferred curves that jiggled. Emma’s in particular.

His lips hovered just above her ear as he softly sang the lyrics that accompanied the romantic tune. He put his hands on the gleaming black instrument, trapping Emma between his arms. She stepped closer to the piano to avoid contact with his body.

With her luscious frame calling to him, Nathan locked his elbows to prevent himself from pressing his lower half against her round rear end. He almost groaned at the memory of cupping those sexy curves in his palms. Desire roared in his ears, drowning out the music. He lowered his head and inhaled her perfume. The scent wrapped around his libido, causing momentary amnesia. Why was he angry with her?

Then he remembered.

In the pause between songs, he whispered in her ear, “Your father and I had an interesting chat this afternoon.”

Emma lifted her shoulder as a barricade. “Cody mentioned that you had a proposition for Daddy.”

Nathan had a proposition for her as well. A proposition of a very different nature than what he’d discussed with Silas Montgomery.

“Did your brother tell you what we discussed?” he quizzed.

“No.”

“Aren’t you curious?”

“Should I be?”

Leaning down, Nathan nuzzled Emma’s temple. “Your name came up.”

She jerked away from his lips and glared at him, but before she could voice the protests roiling in her eyes, the man tickling the ivories played the first bars of “Come Fly With Me” and conversation became impossible.

What was going on? Emma certainly wasn’t acting like a blushing bride-to-be. But he was convinced she’d been behind the terms her father had presented earlier that afternoon. Silas Montgomery couldn’t resist giving his little girl anything her heart desired, and Nathan knew Emma wanted him. She’d certainly demonstrated that after he’d stolen her away from the Christmas party they’d been at three weeks ago. So why had she bolted the instant she’d set eyes on him tonight?

Across the piano, a round, middle-aged woman frowned at him, an expression made all the more dramatic because it looked as if she’d used a black marker to drawn on her eyebrows. He met her gaze hard, silently warning her to mind her own business. She shifted her attention to the bald man, who was now captivated by Emma’s cleavage.

Nathan sucked in a breath and counted to eight before he mastered the impulse to bare his teeth at the guy like some overzealous guard dog. Instead, he focused on the familiar music, relaxed into the romantic lyrics that had caused generations of women to swoon, and contemplated the knockout he must marry if he hoped to do business with her father.

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