His for a Price (Caitlin Crews)

By: Caitlin Crews

“This is all a big chess game to you, and I the convenient pawn…”

Greek tycoon Nicodemus Stathis was never able to forget beautiful heiress Mattie Whitaker. And now, ten years of delicious tension later, Nic finally has her right where he wants her.

Mattie’s once powerful family dynasty now lies in ruin, and only Nic can offer them a solution—a solution with vows! She might not have a choice, but Mattie refuses to be the sacrificial queen to his king.

But Nic’s slow, deliberate seduction wears down his new bride, and the word “checkmate” lies on his lips like a promise.

“Suit yourself,” Nic had replied. He shrugged, but Mattie had been far too aware that every inch of him was hewn of steel, that he was himself a deadly weapon.

She’d felt the power he wore so easily like a thick, hot hand at her throat. Worse, she’d been aware of that part of her that craved it. Him. More. “I have a very long memory, Mattie, and a very creative approach to retribution. Consider yourself forewarned.”

“Be still my beating heart,” she’d snipped at him, and then had tried her best to ignore him.

It hadn’t worked then. It didn’t work now.

“Will we reminisce all day?” she asked, injecting a note of boredom into her voice that she dearly wished she felt while he continued to hold her immobile. “Or do you have a plan? I’m unfamiliar with the ins and outs of blackmail, you see. You’ll have to show me how it’s done.”

“You’re free to refuse me yet again.”

“And lose my father’s company in the process.”

“All choices have consequences.” He shrugged, much the same way he had at that benefit dinner. “Your father would have been the first to tell you that.”

That he was right only infuriated her more.


IF SHE STOOD very still—if she held her breath and kept herself from so much as blinking—Mattie Whitaker was sure she could make the words that her older brother Chase had just said to her disappear. Rewind them then erase them entirely.

Outside the rambling old mansion high above the Hudson River some two hours north of Manhattan, the cold rain came down in sheets. Stark, weather-stripped trees slapped back against the October wind all the way down the battered brown lawn toward the sullen river, and the estate had shrunk to blurred gray clouds, solemn green pines and the solid shape of the old brick house called Greenleigh, despite the lack of much remaining green. Behind her, at the desk that she would always think of as her father’s no matter how many months he’d been gone now, Chase was silent.

There would be no rewinding. No erasing. No escaping what she knew was coming. But then, if she was honest, she’d always known this day would arrive. Sooner or later.

“I didn’t hear you correctly,” Mattie said. Eventually.

“We both know you did.”

It should have made her feel better that he sounded as torn as she felt, which was better than that polite distance with which he usually treated her. It didn’t.

“Say it again, then.” She pressed her fingers against the frigid windowpane before her and let the cold soak into her skin. No use crying over the inevitable, her father would have said in that bleakly matter-of-fact way he’d said everything after they’d lost their mother.

Save your tears for things you can change, Mattie.

Chase sighed, and Mattie knew that if she turned to look at him, he’d be a pale shell of the grinning, always-in-on-the-joke British tabloid staple he’d been throughout his widely celebrated bachelorhood in London, where he’d lived as some kind of tribute to their long-dead British mother. It had been a long, hard four months since their father had dropped dead unexpectedly. Harder on Chase, she expected, who had all their father’s corporate genius to live up to, but she didn’t feel like being generous just now. About anything.

Mattie still didn’t turn around. That might make this real.

Not that hiding from things has ever worked, either, whispered a wry voice inside her that remembered all the things she wanted to forget—the smell of the leather seats in that doomed car, the screech of the tires, her own voice singing them straight into hell—

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