Seduced by the Heir

By: Pamela Yaye

“Don’t be crazy. Of course I’m sure. He’s incredibly charming,” Cassandra said. “Once you get to know him you’ll see what an amazing guy he is.”

Girl, please, trust me, I know him. I’ve had that man in ways you wouldn’t believe!

“Rafael only arrived a few hours ago, but the bridesmaids are already fighting over him. Even the ones with boyfriends!” she said with a laugh.

“They are? Really?”

“Yeah, Stefano’s cousin, Julietta, told the other girls to back off or else.”

Paris didn’t like the sound of that. Not one bit. It was insane that after all these years she was still attracted to Rafael, but she was, and she didn’t want him sowing his wild oats while they were under the same roof. “Is there anything else I should know?” she asked, twirling a lock of Cassandra’s hair around the base of the curling iron. “I don’t like surprises, and I have a feeling you’re keeping something from me.”

“You’re paranoid.” With a grin, Cassandra added, “And horny! You want Rafael so bad desire is practically oozing from your pores.”

Paris wanted to tell her friend that she was dead wrong, but couldn’t get the words out. Am I that transparent? Did Rafael sense my desire? Is that why he ignored me earlier?

“It’s obvious you still like him, or you wouldn’t be so upset about seeing him again.” Her tone was confident. “Just admit it. You have the hots for him, and you want to rekindle your romance.”

“That’s ludicrous. I haven’t seen him in years.”

“Yeah, but Rafael was your first boyfriend, your first kiss, your first love—”

“I know, I know,” Paris said glumly. “Don’t remind me.”

“As if you haven’t relived that night a million times in your mind.” Cassandra sighed dreamily, as if her heart was bursting with love, and touched a hand to her chest. “You said your first time was the most magical moment of your life.”

“I was a teenager. It didn’t mean anything.”

“Good, so I don’t have to worry about you and Julietta fighting over him, right?”

“Don’t worry. I’d never dream of doing anything to ruin your big day.”

Cassandra grabbed her hairbrush and pointed it at the mirror. “You better not, or I’ll kill you with my bare hands!”

The women laughed. As Paris continued to style Cassandra’s hair, they discussed the sightseeing excursion planned for tomorrow, and the wedding rehearsal at the world-famous Frari Church in the evening. Everything was in place for Stefano and Cassandra’s New Year’s Eve ceremony, and Paris was so excited for the couple that she was anxious for the big day to finally arrive. Just because she didn’t believe in love, or the ridiculous notion of two people living happily ever after, didn’t mean she couldn’t support her best friend. Stefano was a great man, who treated Cassandra like a queen, and Paris was glad he’d finally popped the question and relocated to London to be with her. They were a dynamic couple, and Paris was thrilled that her friend was finally going to get her happy ending.

“If things get too overwhelming this weekend just let me know.” A sad smile touched Cassandra’s lips. “I’m here for you, Paris. Don’t ever forget that.”

“Quit stressing. I’m fine, really.”

“I know, but I worry that all this wedding stuff is going to bring back painful memories.”

Paris dropped her gaze to the floor and swallowed the lump in her throat. Sadness consumed her, caused her heart to pound erratically. Willing herself not to cry, she bit the inside of her cheek. Three years ago, she’d dated a man she’d hoped to build a life with despite her feelings for Rafael, and now she was alone, forced to deal with the pain of her ex-boyfriend’s bitter betrayal.

Taking a deep breath, she cleared every troubling thought from her mind. Instead of dwelling on the past, she was going to focus on all the wonderful things in her life. She had a loving family, caring and supportive friends, and a successful career. Sure, she hated her job, and thought of quitting every day, but she’d rather suffer in silence than disappoint her father. Paris wanted to make him proud, craved and desired his approval more than anything in the world, and was determined to earn his respect.

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