Seduced by the HeirBy: Pamela Yaye
Once loved him? her conscience repeated. When did you stop?
To that, Paris didn’t have an answer.
Rafael sat in the media room, playing chess with Stefano, but he was having a hell of a time concentrating on the game. His thoughts were on Paris. Had been from the moment he’d laid eyes on her. Seeing his old college sweetheart again, after more than a decade, had his mind so twisted he couldn’t think of anything but her. Stefano had won the last three games, and if that wasn’t bad enough, he’d bragged about his landslide victories on Facebook and Twitter.
Realizing he didn’t have a chance in hell of beating Stefano, Rafael threw his hands up in defeat and reclined in his leather chair. Low-hanging lights, plush furniture and colorful artwork gave the room a one-of-a-kind look. The air smelled of roasted peanuts, and the mouthwatering aroma made Rafael’s stomach grumble. The wet bar was only a few feet away, but he was too tired to get up and fix himself a snack. It had been a day filled with surprises, and he still couldn’t wrap his mind around Paris St. Clair being at his best friend’s wedding celebration.
Raising his eyes to the ceiling, he contemplated calling it a night and heading upstairs to his bed. Paris was staying on the second floor, only three doors down from his room. And knowing that his ex—the woman he’d once loved more than anything in the world—was only a breath away would be the ultimate torture.
Rafael heard his cell phone chime, and glanced down at the coffee table to read the number on the screen. His eyes narrowed, hardened with disgust. It was Cicely Cohen. His ex-girlfriend. The woman who’d betrayed his trust for fifteen minutes of fame. She’d been blowing up his phone for weeks, had left dozens of teary voice mail messages, but Rafael hadn’t returned her calls. Wasn’t going to, either. He had nothing to say to her, and the sooner she got the hint the better. They were over for good, and there was no way in hell he was taking her back.
“Rafael, is everything okay? You seem distracted.”
“I’m cool, man. Don’t worry about me,” he said. “How are you feeling? The big day is fast approaching, so if you’re having second thoughts, now’s a good time to skip town!”
Stefano wore a proud smile. “Proposing to Cassandra last year in Aruba was the best decision I ever made, and I can’t wait for her to become Mrs. Stefano Via.”
“I’m glad to hear that. You’re an incredible couple, and she definitely brings out the best in you.” Rafael wanted to say more, but stopped himself in the nick of time. He couldn’t fire off questions about Paris—not without raising suspicion—so for now he’d just have to cool his heels. “Have you guys decided where you’re going to live after you get married?”
“We’re going to stay in England for the time being. We love living in London and now that my consulting firm has taken off, I’m in no rush to return to the States.”
“Congratulations, man. It sounds like everything has finally come together.” Rafael picked up his wine cooler and took a swig.
“Where’s Nicco?” Stefano asked. “I thought he was joining us for a nightcap.”
“That’s what he said, but Jariah probably had other ideas. My brother thinks he’s running things, but make no mistake, his fiancée is the one in charge.”
Stefano chuckled, and nodded in agreement. “I know what that’s like, but I wouldn’t have it any other way. If my woman’s happy, then I’m happy. Cassandra means the world to me, and I’ll never let anything come between us.”
“You sound like an online dating ad!” Rafael joked.
“And you have no idea what you’re missing. Now that I’ve found my soul mate I—”
“Have you met Paris’s husband?” Rafael felt his cheeks burn, heard his pulse hammer in his ears, but faked a smile. It was too late to stuff the words back down his throat, and besides, he was curious to know about the man who’d captured his first love’s heart.
“Who told you Paris was married?” Stefano asked, wearing a puzzled expression.