Seduced by the American Millionaire

By: Lynda Chance

Chapter One

Jenny sat at the bar and nervously twirled the ice in her glass with the straw. She studiously watched the condensation drip down the edges as she desperately tried to keep her eyes off the man in the booth at the end of the room. The first time she looked around after ordering a drink, she caught him looking right at her. Caught probably wasn't the correct word, since he made no effort to look away when her eyes found his. The bottom literally fell out of her stomach when she finally lowered her eyes to break contact.

In the ten minutes since then, she sat with a growing sense of unease and discomfort. She knew his eyes were on her. The look he gave her had been punishing, accusatory.

Jenny felt a warmth she couldn't quite explain as she felt his gaze on her profile.

Where the hell were Renee and Amy? She couldn't believe they picked a place like this for their night out. Dim and subdued, it had a dark, quiet atmosphere. It's just a restaurant, for God's sake. They would be here soon. Since her divorce two years ago, she had been making good strides at being more than just a mom and bookkeeper. Last year, she had met the other two divorced women at a school meeting, and instantly bonded. They too felt the need to get out in the world and experience things that had been missing while staying at home and raising kids for the better part of twenty years. So, as anxious as they had been this morning to try the new lobster and wine bar in the city, where the hell were they?

Richard watched the woman at the bar with irritation and interest. She was obviously ill at ease and probably knew she was in the wrong place. He ran a tight operation, and females like her had no reason to be here. She wasn't dressed like the forty-something women that usually frequented his club. No, she didn't look like she had picking up a stranger on her agenda tonight. Since opening this place five years ago, Richard knew his clientele pretty well. Single women, usually in their forties, dressed to kill and made-up enough to look like a beautiful corpse. All in the name of hooking up with the sixty to seventy-year-old "gentlemen " who came in most evenings. The men were looking for some strange, and the women didn't mind supplying it for a gold trinket or even the age-old commodity of cold, hard cash. Pretty and romantic it wasn't, and the hot little soccer mom was definitely in the wrong place.

Confusion and curiosity crawled through Jenny as she watched the people begin to fill the bar. This didn't look like the type of place her friends had been dragging her to for the past few months. Sixties classic rock played in the background. The mood was hushed with a quiet anticipation hanging in the air. Something like fear slid down her spine as she surreptitiously glanced back at the man in the booth. He was scanning the room and seemed to be waiting for something to happen.

He had a black leather binder spread out on the table in front of him, and two cell phones sitting next to it. Two cell phones? Her apprehension and suspicion increased. She saw the maitre d' come to his table and lean down and speak to him. She looked more closely. Maitre d', hell. The guy was a bouncer. Or a bodyguard. Holy crap.

He glanced back at her with a scowl and picked up his drink. For the first time, she noticed how good-looking he was.

His hair was dark with hints of grey, cut severely around his skull. He wasn't wearing a beard, but he looked as if he hadn't shaved in two or three days. There was a scar under his left eye about two inches long that looked like he had been in a fight years before and never had it properly stitched up. The same for his bottom lip. There was a jagged whiteness in the middle and a small puffiness that told Jenny it had been split open at one time. His clothes said something different about him. His suit looked expensive and like it was hand tailored just for him. Jesus Christ, he was a mobster in Armani.

Jenny swiveled back and grabbed her drink to steady her hand and give her something solid to do. Her nerves were pinched tight. She recognized the excitement running through her veins as sexual. Oh my God, did her hormones have to kick in now? She had been perfectly content since her divorce doing the alone thing. Why did the thug in the corner booth have to make her legs itch to cross and re-cross every few seconds? She had to get control of herself. She pulled her phone from her bag and begged the Almighty Father for a few bars. Please, just one. Just one bar to get a text through. No service. Still. Oh Christ. All alone. To wait, or not to wait.

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