I’ve wanted Aria Finley from the moment I met her. We flirt, we laugh, we connect. It could be perfect. She’s even best friends with my assistant. Problem is, she works for my archnemesis—Jackson Keller—and she’s the kind of girl who stays loyal unless you give her a reason not to. Besides my hard-on there’s something hot between us, and I won’t rest until I put my finger on it. So when I get the chance to buy Aria for the weekend at a charity auction, there’s no limit. I’m going to take her home and take what I want because I’ll make her want it too. And by Monday, she’ll know she’s mine.
Liam Maxwell thinks he can get to me through my assistant, Aria. Well, two can play that game. Now Mallory Beckett—Liam’s assistant and Aria’s best friend—is mine for the weekend. Only she has no idea who bought her at the charity auction. This is going to be worth every penny. But soon I realize that Mallory has been waiting for my touch all along. What starts as a fling turns into something more. From the beginning, I was so focused on stealing her away. I never thought about the fact that I’d drown if I lost her. Now the game has changed. And she needs to know that she belongs to me.
“One hundred thousand dollars,” I call out. Audible gasps come from the crowd sitting around the white linen–covered tables.
There is no price I won’t pay for Aria Finley.
In the grand ballroom of the Ritz-Carlton hotel, the rich and famous have come out tonight in support of the Los Angeles Pediatric Hospital. Though the one person here tonight holding my attention is her.
Aria stands upon the stage, a stunning brunette wearing a fitted black dress. Her intelligent blue eyes are fixed on me, seemingly completely unsurprised that I went from zero to a hundred thousand dollars for her. Though I’m not surprised by that either. She’d likely anticipated when she entered the charity auction that I would not only bid on her for a weekend date but that I would win.
Because that’s what I do. I win.
By the slight curve of her mouth, I assume she wants me to outbid the competition.
“One hundred thousand dollars from Liam Maxwell,” the female auctioneer announces into her microphone, pointing toward me, sitting at the back of the ballroom. “Do I hear one hundred and ten thousand?” A pause.
“One hundred and five thousand?” Another pause.
I sip the scotch from my glass, savoring the burn in the back of my mouth before placing the glass down. Crystal chandeliers hang from the ceiling, casting a warm romantic glow over the crowd. Every pair of eyes is pinned on me, most in attendance are sitting at the edge of their seats in anticipation.
“Going once,” the auctioneer says. “Going twice.” She drops the hammer down on the podium, indicating the sale is complete. “Sold for one hundred thousand dollars. Congratulations go to Mr. Maxwell in the back.”
Rounds of applause and piercing whistles follow, likely more in support of the large donation I made to the hospital than the fact that I’ve won the date with Aria this weekend.
I lift my glass to Aria and arch a single eyebrow. My gesture isn’t an acknowledgment of our arrangement but a promise that this will be a weekend she’ll never forget. Her sexy smile in response affects my body, reminding me that she’s worth every darn penny I spent tonight.
Over the course of three years, I’ve jerked off too many times, imagining her pouty lips pleasuring me, those bright, intelligent eyes of hers on mine. I curse at the tightness of my pants, shifting against my seat, unable to wait any longer. When I’m with Aria the first time, I’m going to make it memorable.
I smile at the raw anger in the low voice before turning toward my competition in the game of corporate law, Jackson Keller. Where my features are dark, his are light. His stormy green eyes are narrowed on my face, features tight, matching the hardness of the gel spiking his dirty-blond hair. Our builds are similar, muscular and fit, and I imagine if we fought it’d be an evenly matched fight. His suit is impeccable, showing his excessive wealth. I should know, we use the same tailor. There’s more between us than my winning a date with his assistant. We were once friends. Roommates in law school, in fact. Until Sophia Flynn.
He won her.
Our friendship had been the price.