Mistress:Hired for the Billionaire's PleasureBy: India Grey
‘You’d better get out of that dress.’He couldn’t mean…? Was her mother right? Did all men just want to…?
Rachel wrapped an arm around the thick wooden bedpost, half clinging to it, half shrinking behind it. Her mouth was dry, her stomach quivering with fear. Shaking violently, she turned, offering her back to him and bending her head forward so he could reach the top of the zip. It seemed to take an eternity. At last his long fingers brushed the hair off the nape of her neck and skimmed over the sensitised skin of her shoulders, leaving a shivering trail of sensation in their wake.
She’d thought she was afraid of his touch, but this was something quite different. Something she’d thought she was incapable of experiencing, which had been unfurling inside her since he’d first held her against him.
With a thud of shock and a rush of liquid heat she realised the sensation that was quickening her pulse and filling her limbs with honeyed warmth was not fear.
It was arousal.
A self-confessed romance junkie, India Grey was just thirteen years old when she first sent off for the Mills & Boon writers’ guidelines. She can still recall the thrill of getting the large brown envelope with its distinctive logo through the letterbox, and subsequently whiled away many a dull school day staring out of the window and dreaming of the perfect hero. She kept those guidelines with her for the next ten years, tucking them carefully inside the cover of each new diary in January, and beginning every list of New Year’s Resolutions with the words Start Novel. In the meantime she gained a degree in English Literature from Manchester University and, in a stroke of genius on the part of the gods of romance, met her gorgeous future husband on the very last night of their three years there. The last fifteen years have been spent blissfully buried in domesticity, and heaps of pink washing generated by three small daughters, but she has never really stopped daydreaming about romance. She’s just profoundly grateful to have finally got an excuse to do it legitimately!
‘IT’S not good news, I’m afraid.’
Orlando Winterton didn’t flinch. A thousand years of aristocratic breeding and a lifetime of ruthless self-control made his lean, dark face perfectly expressionless as the ophthalmic consultant looked down at the file on the mirror-shiny expanse of Victorian mahogany that separated them.‘The test results show that your field of vision is significantly impaired in the central section, indicating that the cells of the macula may be prematurely breaking down…’
‘Spare me the science, Andrew.’ Orlando’s voice was harsh. ‘Let’s just cut straight to the bit where you tell me what you can do about it.’
There was a small pause. Orlando felt his hands tighten on the arms of the discreetly expensive leather chair as he tried to read the expression on Andrew Parkes’s clever, careful face. But the blurring in the centre of his vision that had brought him here was already advanced enough to make this kind of sensitive judgement difficult. He waited, listening for clues in the other man’s tone.
‘Ah. Well, I’m afraid the answer to that is not very much.’
Orlando said nothing, but he felt his head jerk back slightly, as if he had been struck. There it was, that soft note of pity he had dreaded. A quiet death knell.
‘I’m sorry, Orlando.’
‘Don’t be. Just tell me what’s going to happen. Will I still be able to fly?’
Andrew Parkes sighed. It was never easy being the bearer of news like this, but in Orlando Winterton’s case it was particularly cruel. Andrew had been a friend of Orlando’s father, Lord Ashbroke, until his death four years ago, and understood that in joining the RAF both of Ashbroke’s sons were following a long and distinguished family tradition. He also knew of the intense rivalry that burned between Orlando and his younger brother Felix. Both were exceptional pilots, both had risen through the ranks with astonishing speed to hold one of the most envied roles in the Royal Air Force—that of flight commander on the cutting-edge, controversial Typhoon Squadron. Orlando, the elder, had recently surpassed Felix by achieving the status of Officer Commanding Weapons Flight—the highest flying position.