Excerpt Filthy Rich Prince by Lynn Raye Harris
“What did you do?”
His self-satisfied smile did nothing to ease her tension. “Five million dollars is a lot of money, no? Do you think your friend will turn this down for you?”
Black spots swam before her eyes, but Lily refused to buckle. “My God…”
“Si, it is not likely, is it?” He moved closer, shadowing her like the predator he was, impossibly male and utterly beautiful in spite of the hatred she felt for him in that moment. “She will not turn it down, Liliana. Shall I tell you why?”
When she didn’t reply, he continued. “Carla has a boyfriend with a little problem. He likes the game tables in New Orleans a bit too much, yes? He has taken much from her in the last three years. Her savings are gone, her house leveraged in excess of its current value. This money represents a new life, cara mia. She will not say no.”
Lily blinked up at him. She knew she was defeated. Carla hadn’t told her the extent of Alan’s problems, but Lily had known that it worried her. Carla was almost as bad as Lily’s mother when it came to her slavish devotion to a man who cared more for himself than for her.
Nico’s fingers stroked down her cheek, impossibly tender when compared with his actions. She shuddered in spite of her vow not to react. “What do you plan to do with my baby?”
His eyes hardened, his hand dropping away. “Our baby, Liliana.”
Lily faced him squarely, ready to do battle, heartsick and heartbroken all at once. “You can’t buy me off too, Nico. I will never leave Danny with you willingly.”
“Clearly not,” he said, his voice deepening with anger. “But you will not need to do so.”
Lily gaped at him. “My God, you are unbelievable. How do you think your wife-to-be is going to feel about me and Danny, huh?”
“Why don’t you ask her yourself?”
“What? Are you insane?”
Nico grabbed her by the arm and propelled her toward the opposite wall, her puny resistance not slowing him in the least. He approached a door, and for one crazy minute she thought it was a bedroom and there was a woman inside. He would throw open the door and there she would be, the Princess Antonella Romanelli of Monteverde, a black-haired grey-eyed beauty, sprawled across silk sheets and pouting prettily because her lover was taking too long to get the baby mama under control.
Abruptly, they slammed to a halt, Nico pivoting behind her, the full length of his body pressing into her. She tried to jerk away, but he gripped her chin, more gently than she expected, and forced her head to face forward into the mirror.
Lily gasped. “Is this a joke?”
She stared at her reflection—their reflection. The darkness of his fingers against her skin, her hair wild and tumbling around her shoulders in a silky mess. Her pink cotton shirt was stained over her left shoulder, and her eyes, though tired, gleamed with fury. Nico, in contrast, was cool and unruffled. If not for his quickened heartbeat against her, she’d almost think him bored.
But no, there it was, that flash of something in his eyes, in the set of his jaw, that spoke volumes without a sound being uttered.
“No joke, Liliana. I have broken a long sought after treaty between my country and Monteverde, not to mention embarrassed my father and our allies, so that I can do what should have been done the instant you conceived my child.”
“I-I don’t understand,” she whispered, searching his face in the mirror, her heart slamming into her ribs.
“Of course you do,” he replied, dipping his head until his lips almost grazed the shell of her ear. Almost, but not quite.
“You, Miss Lily Morgan, are about to become the Crown Princess, my consort, and the mother of my children.”
“Dio, you are fiery. And I’ve been too careful with you,” he said, his voice a low rumble that settled into her bones. “I erred on the side of caution when I should have done no such thing.”
He transferred her wrists to one hand, then used the other to slide beneath her robe and cup her breast. “Perhaps I should take you to bed and keep you beneath me for the rest of the night.”
“You talk a fine game,” Lily managed, her heart drumming as her nipple pebbled at his touch. “But we both know you won’t do it. You don’t seem to have any staying power.”
She’d thought he would be angry at her insult, but a laugh rumbled in his chest. “Now that,” he said, “is where you are wrong.”
“Then why do you keep stopping before you begin? Maybe you have a premature issue or something and you don’t want me to know you can’t keep it up long enough to—”
His bark of laughter startled her. The next instant she was swept into his arms and he was striding down the hall. He kicked his way into the nearest room. She realized it was his as he set her down and ripped his dark T-shirt over his head.
As he advanced on her, naked chest gleaming in the soft lamplight, she scrambled backward, torn between resisting and helping. A dark line of hair arrowed down toward faded jeans which rested just below his hip bones and showcased the hard muscles of his abdomen. He was a spoiled prince and yet he looked like a demi-god, all bronze and delicious with a sculpted body, tousled hair, and bedroom eyes.
That was the word that popped into her head as he reached for her. So incredibly sexy.
“You’re not going to force me,” she declared. “You wouldn’t do such a thing—”
“I might,” he said, unknotting the belt of her robe, “but I doubt it’s necessary.”