Seduced by the Heir

By: Pamela Yaye

His younger brothers, Demetri and Nicco, teased him mercilessly about his resemblance to their famous, cousin—race-car driving sensation Emilio Morretti. And although Rafael didn’t see the physical similarities, he suspected that’s who the giggly blonde thought he was. “I’m sorry, miss, but I think you have me confused with someone else.” He peeled her fingers off his forearm and forced a smile. “I don’t know you, and I’m certain you don’t know me.”

She batted her fake eyelashes. “I know exactly who you are and I can prove it.”

“Okay,” he said, deciding to call her bluff. “Who am I?”

“You’re Rafael Morretti, heir to the Morretti Incorporated empire, and according to Business Weekly, one of the most brilliant minds of the twenty-first century.” Moving closer, until they were touching, she lowered her voice to a whisper. “You turned thirty-six back in August, but in my opinion you don’t look a day over twenty-five.”

A grin found its way onto his lips. Rafael was impressed. Not because the woman had memorized his personal bio, but because she’d managed to recite his profile with a sincere expression. As if she truly was his biggest fan.

“You were born in Italy, but presently reside in Washington D.C. You’re single, you’ve never been married and you have no kids. Are you satisfied? Or should I go on?”

“No, I think you’ve said enough.”

“Silly me. I forgot to introduce myself.” She stuck out her chest and twirled a lock of hair around her index finger. “I’m Stefano’s cousin, Julietta Via. You probably won’t believe this, but I’m very well known in Italy.”

Oh, I believe it! I bet you’ve tried to seduce every rich man in the country! As he stood there, listening to Stefano’s cousin brag about her burgeoning modeling career, Rafael couldn’t help wondering what he was doing wrong. Women like Julietta were always throwing themselves at him, sliding him their phone numbers and boldly propositioning him. These were the exact reasons he preferred to stay home on the weekends. He wasn’t interested in finding Ms. Right, or making a love connection in Venice, either. He’d been disappointed by the opposite sex one too many times, and after his ex-girlfriend’s bitter betrayal he’d decided to take a break from dating altogether. Rafael had no intention of getting played by another conniving woman desperate for fame and fortune. So he took a giant step away from the aggressive blonde and scanned the grounds for someone else to talk to.

“This is my favorite song,” Julietta said, swaying to the sensuous beat of the music. “Let’s get out there, and show everyone how to really get down.”

Rafael shook his head. “I don’t dance.”

“Then let’s take this intimate party for two inside the villa.” She linked an arm through his and gestured to the French doors. “Follow me. I want to show you something.”

“Are you always this forward?”

“I believe in taking life by the horns.”

And I believe in staying far, far away from provocative women like you! Rafael spotted his brothers, slow dancing with their wives-to-be out on the floor, and felt a twinge of envy. These days, Demetri and Nicco were busy planning romantic dates and jetting off to the City of Lights, rather than hanging out with him. And for the first time ever Rafael was unfulfilled at work, and worried about his future. Am I destined to spend the rest of my life alone? he wondered, releasing a deep sigh. Will I ever meet a woman who loves me for me, and not because of my net worth? Ever since his younger brothers had gotten engaged, their mother, Vivica, had been on his case to settle down. And when she wasn’t badgering him about finding a bride, she was trying to set him up on blind dates.

But Rafael had bigger problems than keeping his mother out of his personal life. Someone was out to ruin his family, and he had to find out who it was before it was too late. Terrifying things had happened over the summer, and even though his dad put up a brave front, Rafael could tell he was deeply concerned about Nicco’s restaurant being vandalized, the shooting at the Beach Bentley Hotel and the recent arson attack. For that reason Rafael didn’t bother to tell his father about the blackmail letters he’d received last Friday. He’d immediately turned the letters over to the police, though he knew there was little the cops could do. It was ultimately up to him and his security team to unearth the truth, and they would, no matter what.

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