The Playboy's Proposal (Sorensen Family)

By: Ashlee Mallory

Chapter One

The music’s never-ending thrumming surrounded her. There was no escape, despite the bright pink plugs stuffed in her ears or the mountain of pillows stacked on her head. Her whole bed was now vibrating in sync to what sounded like Ariana Grande’s latest release.

Unbelievable.

Benny Sorensen cracked her eyes open to stare at the clock on her nightstand. It was after one in the freaking morning.

That’s it. This impossible, selfish cretin had to be stopped.

Red-hot rage surged through her as she tossed off the covers. It wasn’t enough that she’d come home tonight to find someone had parked in her one designated parking spot, but then to have to park almost a block down the street thanks to the dozens of extra cars taking up the rest of the parking spaces in the visitor lot added insult to injury.

All because one extraordinarily selfish resident decided to throw a party. One of four in the past three weeks since she’d moved in.

She shoved her feet into the green dinosaur-foot slippers her nieces and nephew had given for her last birthday and stomped to the door as a new song began. Seriously?

Moving to this high-rise condo with the secured underground parking was supposed to have been a step up from her squalid little apartment with roaches and meth heads as neighbors. It was her reward for finishing her residency and getting the plum practitioner spot that had opened up at a prestigious pediatric clinic ten minutes from here.

Only Mr. Animal House from next door was determined to make what was supposed to be her sanctuary more like a sanitarium. She hadn’t even met him, and she was already certain that there could not be a more selfish human being.

The sound intensified in the hallway as she strode furiously down it, stopping in front of the door before pounding. She waited, counting the seconds until she could lay into the guy.

Nothing.

She rang the doorbell three times, hoping to penetrate the unceasing sounds from inside.

Still no response.

Apparently they were all too busy doing God knew what to hear a simple doorbell. No matter. It wouldn’t stop her if she had to rip the speakers from the walls with her own hands.

She tested the doorknob. Unlocked.

She pushed the door open, a little at first, almost afraid to look inside. The lighting was low compared to the glaring light in the hall, and it took a moment for her eyes to adjust. There were easily thirty people crammed inside. Didn’t they have jobs? It was Monday night, for crying out loud.

No one seemed to notice her, even after she threw open the door and stood there for a good long minute taking it all in. The place was twice the size of her own modest one-bedroom unit, which she’d fallen in love with after her first look at the jaw-dropping view from the windows, the gleaming wooden floors, and the high-end appliances.

Her neighbor had the same wooded floors and appliances, and undoubtedly the same view, but that’s where the similarities ended. Her place was cozy and classic and warm, while his was modern and sleek and opulent. His television alone was easily three times the size of hers…and the grand piano in the corner? Nothing short of pretentious. But what had she expected? The guy drove a flashy red Ferrari.

She shut the door behind her, hoping the sound would draw the owner’s attention to the fact that he had a new guest.

Nothing.

Fine. If her neighbor wasn’t going to be a courteous host and greet his new guest, then she was going to have to track him down herself. Even if she had only a vague recollection of his profile from the glimpse she caught last week when he whizzed by her in the parking garage in his Ferrari. If she had any doubt, she supposed she could just look for the guy with the horns and cloven feet.

Benny zeroed in on every face, every voice, trying to determine who was her target. A few people finally noticed her, if the widening of their eyes and the slight grins that crossed their faces before they diverted their gazes were any indication. She’d bet the ratio of women to men was close to three to one. Although “women” didn’t quite describe the beautiful creatures flitting around in short dresses and cleavage cut down to there. “Goddesses” or “supermodels” might be more appropriate. Maybe he was running a high-end escort service. What else could explain the number of frogs to princesses in this place?

Over by the windows was a guy in his midthirties with short, dark blond hair, a sculpted, cleanly shaven jaw, and a harem of women hanging on his every word.

Yeah, that was definitely him.

She headed directly toward her neighbor, her rage from earlier incensed at his entirely overconfident posture—and the amused smile that played on his lips when his brown eyes settled on her.

“Are you Henry Ellison?” Benny demanded, stopping in front of him.

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