Then snapped it closed.
Darius’s lip twisted coldly. “That’s what I thought.”
She blinked fast, her beautiful eyes anguished. She took a deep breath and spoke one small word. “Please...”
But mercy had been burned from his soul. He shrugged. “I thought it would be amusing to see you again. I didn’t actually intend to sleep with you, but you were so willing, I finally thought, why not?” He sighed as if bored. “But though I paid for the whole night, I find I’ve already lost interest.” Leaning forward, he confided, “And just as one entrepreneur to another, you sold yourself too cheaply. You could have bartered for a higher price with your virginity. Just a suggestion as you go forward with your new career. What is it called now? Paid mistress? Professional girlfriend?”
“How can you be so cruel?” She shook her head. “When you came to the diner tonight, I saw the same boy I loved...”
“Really?” He tilted his head, quirking a dark eyebrow. “Oh. Right. Since you’d kept your virginity in reserve all these years, you thought if you tossed in a little romance, I’d fall for you like a stone, just like I did back then. ‘I love you, Darius. I never stopped loving you,’” he mimicked mockingly.
“Stop!” she cried, covering her ears with her hands. “Please stop!”
Some of her blanket had slipped where she sat on his bed, revealing a curvy breast. He could see the faint pink tip of her nipple, and he could still taste the sweetness of her, still remember how it had felt to be deep inside her.
His breath came hard. Sleeping with her hadn’t satiated his desire. To the contrary. He only wanted her more.
The fact she still had such power over him was infuriating.
Turning sharply, he went to his desk. He pulled a cashier’s check from a leather binder. Returning to the bed, he tossed it toward her.
“There. I believe this concludes our business.”
Letty’s lovely face looked dazed as she picked up the cashier’s check from the bed. She looked at it.
“If you have another client tonight, don’t let me keep you,” he drawled.
She briefly closed her eyes and whispered, “You’re a monster.”
“I’m a monster.” He barked a low, cruel laugh. “Me?”
Turning away, she rose naked from the bed. He waited, wondering for a split second if she’d toss the check in his face and prove him wrong. If she did...
But she didn’t. She just picked up her panties from the floor and walked to the door. He sneered at himself for being naive enough to even imagine the possibility she’d give up her hard-earned money for the sake of honor, or even pride!
She left the bedroom, going out into the great room of the penthouse. He followed, watching as she collected her bra and shoes, then scooped her white dress from the floor. Putting it on after slipping on her panties, she buttoned the dress quickly, leaving gaps where he’d ripped off buttons in his haste to get it off her. She wouldn’t meet his eyes.
Darius wanted to force her to look at him. He wanted her humiliated. He wanted her heartbroken. His pride demanded something he couldn’t name. More.
She stuffed her bra in her handbag and put her bare feet into her shoes and turned to go.
“It’s just a shame the condom broke,” he said.
She froze. “What?”
“The condom. Of course I was wearing one. But it broke. So if you wind up pregnant, let me know, won’t you?” He gave a hard smile. “We will negotiate a good price.”
He was rewarded. She finally turned and looked at him, aghast.
“You’d pay me? For a baby?”
He said coldly, “Why not, when I paid you for the act that created it?” His expression hardened. “I will never marry you, Letty. So your attempt at gold digging ends with that check in your bag. If by some unfortunate chance you become pregnant, selling me our baby would be your only option.”
“And you disgust me.” He came closer to her, his eyes cold. “I would never allow any child of mine to be raised by you and that criminal you call a father. I would hire a hundred lawyers first,” he said softly, “and drive you both into the sea.”
For a moment, Letty looked at him, wide-eyed. Then she turned away with a stumble, but not before he saw the sheen of tears in her eyes. She’d become quite the little actress, he thought.