Willem de Konigh smiled back at her. “Just one for the road, then I’m afraid I truly have to leave.”
“So soon?” Shane pretended to pout, but only because she knew that doing so would make her look prettier. “But I still have yet to get you drunk.”
Willem smiled, charmed by his date’s frankness, which women rarely displayed in his company. Most of them tended to do whatever they thought he wanted them to do. “I’m afraid getting me inebriated will be quite the challenge for anyone,” he told Shane in a husky murmur, “but I do appreciate the intention.”
A smile of satisfaction played on Melanie Raleigh’s lips as she surveyed the scene from the head of the table. Shane was doing very, very well. It definitely made hiring a caterer for tonight’s dinner worth the cost.
Ten more minutes of banter ensued before the Dutch billionaire firmly made his farewells, and Melanie sent her daughter a sharp look. Shane had to be reminded that while she could afford to show her true colors to her other admirers, she had to be on her best behavior for as long as she didn’t have a de Konigh ring around her finger.
Correctly interpreting Melanie’s warning, Shane gave Willem a gracious nod. “I understand,” she said lightly. “Duty calls, right?” When approval gleamed in her date’s bright blue eyes, Shane knew she had done the right thing.
Melanie rose to her feet, and the couple did the same. “I hope to see you again, Mr. de Konigh,” she murmured sweetly.
“Only if you allow me to return the favor and invite the two of you to my home,” Willem answered gallantly.
When her mother left, Shane walked her date to the front door of Melanie’s penthouse apartment, making sure that her hips swayed provocatively with every step she took. When they reached the doorway, she glanced at Willem over her shoulder.
The billionaire lifted a brow at her, and Shane’s breath caught. The man was just too damn gorgeous and sexy for his own good, and he knew it.
A second later, and Willem de Konigh had hauled her into his arms, his mouth expertly taking possession of hers.
With most of the rich men she dated, Shane had to pretend passion and, sometimes, even love. But with the Dutch billionaire, she didn’t have to pretend at all. It was unbelievably easy to lose herself in Willem’s commanding touch, although how much that had to do with his billions she wasn’t quite sure. In any case, it didn’t really matter. She might be a vain little bitch, but even she wasn’t vain enough to think that the billionaire was attracted to her because of her looks. To be Mrs. Konigh, she would be whatever and whoever he wanted her to be.
Willem had her against the wall now, and Shane closed her eyes in genuine ecstasy as he bent his head and took one silk-covered nipple into his mouth. He bit hard, and her lips parted in a silent moan.
She felt his fingers delve down, moving under her skirt until he found her sex. And then he started to stroke. She started to gasp.
In another minute, he had her coming, Shane shuddering in his arms, her mouth buried against the side of his neck to keep herself from making noise.
When he pulled away, she shook her head and before he could stop her, Shane had sunk down to her knees, unzipped him, and then she was taking his fully erect cock into her mouth.
Willem gripped her head tightly.
She started sucking him. Shane gave it all she got, but the billionaire remained in control to the end, only emitting a low hiss as he came in her mouth. She swallowed it all even though she despised the taste of cum.
Afterwards, she made sure to keep her voice light as she said, “Goodbye.” She knew that any sign of being clingy would have the billionaire leaving her in an instant.
“I’ll call you,” Willem murmured. “Lock up now and have a good night’s sleep.”
Knowing the billionaire was used to being obeyed without question, Shane simply smiled and nodded. “Good night.” She closed and locked the door, and after a moment’s hesitation, she rushed up the stairs, eager to tell Melanie about her progress.
Patience was the key, Shane thought to herself. Even if it took years, she would be patient and bide her time to ensure that she would be able to bring the Dutch billionaire to the altar.
Willem de Konigh waited for the sound of Shane’s footsteps to fade before turning around to leave. When he rounded the hallway, he saw with a frown that his bodyguards were busy chatting up a woman.
Before he could ask what the hell was happening, his security sensed his presence and immediately swung around to face him, their faces as stiff as their posture. Behind the two guards, a pair of blue eyes, startlingly similar to Willem’s, peered warily at him.
Not a woman, Willem discovered, stunned. Instead, it was a teenage girl, whose face was extraordinarily pretty…and blank.
He gave his guards a look, and understanding the silent command, his security immediately stepped back to reveal the girl hiding behind them.
Seeing more of her face now, he immediately recognized who she was, her resemblance to Shane too strong to make her anything other than the younger sister Shane had briefly told him about.
He watched her watch him as he approached, and amusement gleamed in his eyes as the girl’s expression remained unchanging all throughout.
How perfectly composed, he thought. How utterly unlike her rather vivacious sister and, for that matter, nothing at all like any of his audacious younger sisters either.
“Hello.” Willem kept his voice light as he offered his hand, per the customs of his kind. “Willem de Konigh.”
“Hello.” Her voice was quiet but clear, her hand soft and frail in his. “Serenity Raleigh.”
“You are Shane’s younger sister?”
“Willem would do.”
The girl simply nodded.
They stared at each other.
He should leave, Willem was thinking. He had never taken the time to speak with teenage girls, and he had no reason to start doing so with Shane’s sibling.
He should leave…but he couldn’t.
He should leave, Serenity was thinking. Or at least she should want him to leave, knowing that the less time she spent with her sister’s date, the less trouble she would likely be in.
She should make him leave, really…but she couldn’t.
He asked finally, “Have you been talking to my security for long?” She answered him with silence, and correctly interpreting the reason for it, he said gently, “It’s not a trick question. Whatever your answer is, it won’t place their jobs on the line.”
At his words, some of the tension visibly left the girl’s body, but her voice remained cautious when she replied, “Just a while.”
“How many minutes,” he asked curiously, “would a while be?”
“Just a while,” the girl answered, firmly.
He raised a brow.
The girl raised a brow back at him.
Willem almost laughed. Most people would have thought twice – thrice even – before doing such a thing, and yet here was this slip of a girl treating him as if they were equals.
He liked it, and his admiration for Shane and Melanie Raleigh went up a notch. They had raised the youngest member of their family very well.
“You’ve just come back from boarding school?”
“Yes.” Serenity’s wariness increased at the continued persistence shown by the billionaire. She had never seen any photo of his, but she had recognized his name. He should be too busy to talk to a nobody like her. So why was he?
The girl’s reluctance to speak with him was more amusing than offensive, and he said graciously, “I apologize for keeping you. You should be resting now and not humoring an old man’s curiosity.”
“You’re not old,” Serenity said unthinkingly, and she blushed afterwards. She had never blurted out something like that before.
“Is that so?” Willem drawled casually, pretending not to notice the becoming flush in the girl’s cheeks. “May I ask how old are you then?”
“Well, I’m twenty-eight. Exactly twice your age.”
The girl only blinked. “It’s still not old.”
Stubborn, Willem realized. How contradictory, especially when one took in her deceptively demure façade.
“If you say so,” he murmured agreeably. He was an expert at picking his battles, and it was one of the skills that had built his reputation as one of Europe’s most powerful negotiators. “I’m planning to have your family join me for dinner soon. I hope to see you then.”
“If I don’t have school, sir.”
Her insistence at being polite made his lips twitch. “I’ll make sure to send an invitation during the holidays.” He absently reached out to ruffle her hair.
Serenity saw the large hand coming her way, and she flinched before she could stop herself.
“I’m sorry.” Her voice was sharp and shrill at the same time. “I mustn’t be keeping you either.” She backed up a step. “It was nice meeting you, sir.”
“The pleasure is mine.” His gaze narrowed at the strange, sudden pallor of her skin.
She didn’t seem to hear him, was instead looking past him as she bid goodbye to his guards. “It was nice talking to you, Mr. Molen, Mr. Smit.”
Serenity only allowed herself to wait for the two other men to say goodbye back before whirling around to leave. She was careful not to let her eyes meet Willem de Konigh’s gaze as she did, and she tried to walk away as fast as she could without running.
She was so, so stupid. What if Shane or Melanie found out how she had reacted? What if they used it as ammunition to get her permanently committed?
Thankfully, the apartment was quiet, the lights in the living room switched off when Serenity let herself in. If she was lucky, she could rest tonight and worry about making excuses tomorrow.
She made her way up silently and when she reached the top of the steps, she heard her half-sister’s voice. “I’m telling you, Mother,” Shane was saying confidently, “I’ve got him hooked. He will be mine. It’s just a matter of time, and then I’ll be Mrs. de Konigh, and it will be so heavenly.” Shane giggled. “Maybe even more heavenly than his kisses, which are just so…”
Serenity didn’t wait to hear any more. She felt sick without understanding why and rushed towards her room. She was just about to reach her door when she heard Melanie’s door open, and her heart sank.
She turned around just as her stepmother and half-sister came out into the hallway.
“Why are you here?”
Shane’s voice was always rude, Serenity thought absently as she started to make her explanations. Did the billionaire know about her sister’s shrewish side?
When she was done speaking, Melanie asked incredulously, “Are you telling me you have to stay here for the weekend?”
“I’m afraid so, ma’am.” Knowing what they were most concerned about, she added quietly, “But I’ll be spending most of my time in the library.” It was her polite way of saying that she knew they hated having her underfoot, and she would make it easy for them to forget she existed.
Both women visibly relaxed after she spoke.
“That’s good to hear,” Melanie murmured in relief.
“We’re both too busy to babysit,” Shane said, “so I really hope you don’t give us any problems while you’re staying here.”
“Of course,” Serenity said politely.
An impatient expression crossed Melanie’s face. “Then we have nothing to talk about.” She gestured for Shane to go back inside her room, and as she followed her daughter in, Melanie slammed the door shut behind her.
Serenity entered her bedroom, closing her door quietly.
She thought about Willem de Konigh as she took a shower and changed into her pajamas. After, she lay on her back, stared sightlessly in the darkness of her bedroom, and still thoughts of the Dutch billionaire persisted.
How odd, Serenity thought. She had never thought of a member of the opposite sex before.
She remembered Shane talking about Willem de Konigh, and something even stranger happened.
Pain, ripping into her heart, at the thought of Shane marrying the billionaire.
It was Serenity’s last thought as she slipped into an uneasy sleep haunted by images of her half-sister dancing in the billionaire’s arms.