The Millionaire's Indecent Proposal

By: Emilie Rose

Prologue




“Must you marry every woman you sleep with?” Franco Constantine demanded of his father. Furious, he paced the salon of the family chateau outside Avignon, France. “This one is younger than me.”

His father shrugged and smiled—the smile of a besotted old fool. “I’m in love.”

“No, Papa, you’re in lust. Again. We cannot afford another one of your expensive divorce settlements. Our cash reserves are tied up in expanding Midas Chocolates. For God’s sake, if you refuse to have a prenuptial agreement, then at least sign everything over to me before you marry her and jeopardize our business and the family properties with mistake number five.”

Armand shook his head. “Angeline is not a mistake. She is a blessing.”

Franco had met the misnamed harpy at lunch. She was no angel. But he knew from past experience his father would not listen when a woman had him transfixed. “I disagree.”

Armand rested a hand on Franco’s shoulder. “I hate to see you so bitter, Franco. Granted, your ex-wife was a selfish bitch, but not all women are.”

“You’re wrong. Women are duplicitous and mercenary creatures. There is nothing I want from one that I cannot buy.”

“If you’d stop dating spoiled rich women and find someone with traditional values like Angeline, you’d find a woman who would love you for yourself and not your money.”

“Wrong. And if your paramour loves you and not your wealth, she’ll stick by you once you’ve divested yourself, and I won’t have to borrow against our estate again, close stores or lay off workers when your ardor cools and her lawyers start circling.”

“If you want to control the Constantine holdings so badly, then marry.”

“I won’t endanger the family assets by marrying again.”

“And what of an heir? Someone to inherit all this when you and I are gone?” Armand’s sweeping gesture encompassed the chateau which had been in the family for hundreds of years.

Something in his father’s tone raised the hackles on the back of Franco’s neck. “Is Angeline pregnant?”

“No. But son, you are thirty-eight. I should be bouncing grandbabies on my knee by now. Since you’re not willing to provide heirs to our estate then I think perhaps I should. Angeline is only thirty. I could have several more sons and daughters by her before I die.”

“You can’t be serious. You’re seventy-five.”

His father speared him with a hard glance. “If you marry before my September wedding, I’ll sign everything over to you. If you do not…” He extended his arms and shrugged. “I’ll take matters into my own hands.”

Franco could easily find a woman to marry. Any number of his acquaintances would agree, but the stench of his ex-wife’s betrayal still clung to him. He’d been a young love-struck fool, blind to Lisette’s faults and her treachery. He would never let a woman dupe him like that again. Marriage was out of the question.

He stood toe to toe with his father. “If I find one of these mythical paragons and prove she’s just as greedy as the rest of her sex, then you will sign the Constantine properties over to me without a parody of a marriage on my part.”

“Prove it how exactly?”

How indeed? “I’ll offer her a million euros for the use of her body for one month without the pretense of love or the possibility of marriage. That amount is but a fraction of what each of your divorces has cost us.”

“I accept your terms, but don’t try to weasel out of this by finding an impossible woman. She must be one who you find attractive and beddable, and who you would be willing to marry if she cannot be bought.”

A woman who could not be bought. No such animal existed.

Confident he would win, Franco extended his hand to shake on the deal. Victory would not only be sweet, it would be easy, and his father’s most recent parasite would not get the chance to sink her fangs in the family coffers and suck them dry.





One




“Le chocolat qui vaut son poids en or,” Stacy Reeves read the gilt script on the shop window aloud. “What does that mean?” she asked her friend Candace without looking away from the mouthwatering display of chocolates on gold-rimmed plates.

“Chocolate worth its weight in gold,” a slightly accented and thoroughly masculine voice replied. Definitely not Candace.

Surprised, Stacy pivoted on her sandaled foot. Wow. Forget chocolate. The dark-haired blue-eyed hunk in front of her looked good enough to eat.

“Would you care for a piece, mademoiselle? My treat.” Monsieur Gorgeous indicated the shop door with his hand. A silver-toned, wafer-thin watch winked beneath his suit sleeve. Platinum, she’d bet, from the affluent look of what had to be a custom-tailored suit. Nothing from a department store would fit those broad shoulders, narrow hips and long legs so perfectly.

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