The Billionaire's Blackmailed Bride

By: Jacqueline Baird

‘Don’t they look ridiculous?’ Eloise tugged on his neck. ‘No one dances like that these days.’

‘What…? Yes…’ he lied, for once less than his suave self, while silently conceding the pair looked superb, and the majority of people on the floor had stopped to watch. Max dipped Emily low over his arm, her hair touching the floor as the music drew to a close. Anton saw Emily grin as Max lifted her upright and then burst out laughing as the applause echoed around the ballroom.

The woman was not afraid of making an exhibition of herself, and, given the fire and passion in the way she danced, she was definitely no innocent. Such passion could not be confined solely to the dance floor; he recalled that she had been engaged once, according to the report he had read, and there had probably been quite a few men since.

Suddenly, having decided he would not touch her if she were the last woman on earth, Anton was imagining her long, lithesome naked body under his, and it took all his self-control to rein in his rampant libido—something that hadn’t happened to him in years.

Deep in thought, he frowned as he led Eloise back to the table. He had set out to destroy Fairfax Engineering, everything Charles Fairfax owned, but he had to concede it was going to take him some time. But now an alternative scenario, a way to hedge his bet on gaining control of the company, formed in his Machiavellian mind. The solution he reached had a perfect poetic justice to it that made his firm lips twist in a brief, decidedly sinister smile.

Marriage had never appealed to him before, but he was thirty-seven, an ideal time to take a wife and produce an heir to inherit his fortune. He bred horses in Peru, and at least physically Emily Fairfax was good breeding stock, he assessed sardonically. As for her morals, he wasn’t bothered about the past men in her life, with what he had on her family, she would dance to his tune and disruption to his life would be minimal. He frowned again; maybe Emily Fairfax had a man in her life now. Not that he was afraid of competition—he never had any trouble getting any woman he wanted. With his incredible wealth his problem was the reverse: fighting them off. And Emily had no partner with her tonight, which left him a clear field.

‘Thank you, Max.’ Emily was still smiling as her dancing partner held out her chair for her. ‘I really enjoyed that,’ she said as she sat down.

‘It is good to see the fortune the parents spent on sending us both to dancing classes wasn’t completely wasted,’ Tom said, grinning as he and Helen sat down.

‘The lessons were certainly wasted on you,’ Helen quipped. ‘I don’t think my feet will ever recover.’

Lisa piped up with, ‘Join the club—after forty years of marriage and countless attempts at dancing James still has two left feet.’

Emily laughed at the friendly banter between her family and friends, unaware that the other couple had returned to the table.


IT WAS a shock when into the cheerful atmosphere Anton Diaz laid a hand on Emily’s arm and asked her for the next dance.

She wanted to refuse, but, glancing at Max, she saw he had taken Eloise’s hand and was obviously going to dance with her. The hostile look the other woman gave Anton said louder than words she wasn’t delighted at the change of partner.

‘Go on, Emily,’ Tom encouraged. ‘You know you love dancing.’ He grinned. ‘And if our wives are to be believed James and I are useless. Anton is your only chance.’

‘Thanks, brother.’ Emily snorted and reluctantly accepted and rose to her feet.

Anton gave her a wry smile. ‘Your brother lacks a little subtlety,’ he drawled as if he knew exactly what she was thinking. ‘But I am not complaining if it gets you in my arms.’

Then, rather than taking her arm, he placed his own very firmly around her waist, his strong hand curving over her hip-bone as he urged her towards the dance floor. His touch was much too personal and his great body much too close for Emily’s comfort and it only got worse…

As soon as they reached the dance floor he turned her to face him, his arm tightening around her waist as he drew her closer, and at that moment the band began playing a dreamy ballad. She stiffened in his hold, determined to resist a sudden inexplicable desire to collapse against him as he took her hand and linked his fingers with hers and cradled it against his broad chest.

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