Never Gamble with a Caffarelli

By: Melanie Milburne

And if they had been in any other place he might well have done something about it.

‘Got under your skin, did it, ma petite?’

‘You set my father up, didn’t you?’ Her expression was tight with barely compressed rage. ‘I know how your mind works. You wanted to hit him where it hurt most because of that stupid deal in Ibiza. But I’m not letting you get away with it. I’ll fight you tooth and nail until you give me back my house.’

Remy gave her a cool and totally unaffected look because he knew how much it would annoy her. ‘Fight me all you like. There’s no way I’m giving it back. I won it fair and square. Your father knew what he was getting into—he knew the risks he was taking. But I must say, I think it’s pretty pathetic of him to send you out here to try and butter me up.’

Her head jerked back. ‘You think that’s why I’m here? As if I would ever sink so low as that. You’re the last man on earth I would ever consider seducing.’

‘Likewise, ma coeur; you don’t float my boat, either.’

A flicker of uncertainty came and went in her gaze and her perfectly aligned, beautiful white teeth sank into her bottom lip.

But just for a nanosecond.

She suddenly pulled herself upright, like an abandoned hand puppet that had just been reconnected with a firm hand. ‘And as for marriage... Well, that’s just totally ridiculous. It’s out of the question. I won’t do it.’

‘It’ll just be a formality,’ Remy said. ‘We don’t have to take this seriously. It probably won’t even be recognised as legal back home. We’ll just do what they require and then we’ll leave. Simple.’

‘Simple?’ Her eyes shot their fury at him again. ‘Tell me what about this is simple. We’ll be married—’ she gave a little shudder as if the word was anathema to her ‘—or at least, we will be on paper. I don’t care if it’s legal or not. I don’t want to be married to you. I can’t think of anything worse.’

He gave her a smile. ‘We’ll get it annulled as soon as we get back to Europe.’

‘This is outrageous! This is a...a disaster!’

‘Of your own making.’ He used his ‘too cool for school’ tone again. He loved the way it triggered something feral in her. She went off like a bomb every time.

She flattened her mouth into a thin white line, her eyes looking murderous. ‘This is not my fault. This is your fault for being so determined to score points. You don’t need Tarrantloch; your family have properties bigger and better than that all over the world. Why did you have to take the one thing I love more than anything else?’

Remy felt a little niggle of guilt. Just a niggle; nothing major. Nothing he couldn’t ignore.

He’d set himself a goal and he’d achieved it.

That was the Caffarelli credo—goal; focus; win.

Remy could have taken any one of the businesses in the Marchand Holdings portfolio if he’d been so inclined, but Tarrantloch was the one thing he knew Henri Marchand would regret losing the most. He had a score to settle with Henri that had nothing to do with his grandfather’s dealings with him.

It was far more personal.

Remy had just about got the Ibiza development in the bag when an anonymous email had spooked the vendor. It hadn’t been too hard to find out who had sent it. Henri Marchand was devious but not particularly smart at covering his tracks. Remy had sworn he would get revenge, no matter how long it took.

Tarrantloch was Henri Marchand’s most valued, prized possession. It was his ultimate status symbol. Henri liked to play Laird of the Highlands with a coterie of his overfed, overindulged, overweight corporate cronies by his side.

The fact that his daughter—his only child and heir—fancied herself in love with the place didn’t come into it at all.

Not even a niggly bit.

Remy was running a business, not a charity, and the one person in the world he felt the least charitable towards was Angelique Marchand.

‘It’s mine now. Get over it.’ He refused to allow sentimentality to mess with his head. ‘It’s not like you’ll be homeless. You live in Paris most of the year, don’t you?’

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