His Mistress with Two Secrets(6)By: Dani Collins
Behind them, a male voice said, “Ladies? Are you going up?”
* * *
Henri recognized the blonde as they made their way toward the stairs. She had a serene profile and a graceful figure draped in a vintage-style dress that he imagined his sisters would coo over. They were the fashion aficionados, but he knew quality when he saw it.
Everything about this woman was understated elegance. In a sea of heavy makeup and over-the-top flapper gear, she wore a short black number that shimmered with fringe. Her hair was pressed into the pinched waves of old and a simple line of diamonds banded it. One side of her delicate tiara was bedecked with a leafy filigree and a single feather.
She looked smart and feminine without even trying.
She had smiled at him earlier, which was nothing new. People stared and acted like they knew him all the time. Heads in the crowd were turning to do it now. He usually ignored it, but he had looked back at her for a full thirty seconds because, why not? She was beautiful. It hadn’t been a chore.
Neither was this side of her. The dress didn’t need to hug her figure to show off her pert ass and slender thighs. It was rather erotic in the way it only suggested at the curves it disguised.
“Company?” he suggested.
Possessing exactly as healthy a libido as Henri, Ramon followed his gaze, saw the stacked brunette beside her and commented, “Good eye.”
They easily operated as one unit without preplanning. Henri paused beside the women in time to hear them wish for a man to buy them drinks.
Ramon stepped past them to open the chain on the bottom of the stairs himself, not bothering to identify himself to the bouncer. Everyone knew them on sight.
“Ladies? Are you going up?” Ramon’s gaze flicked back to Henri. He’d heard their lament and Henri very subtly signaled he didn’t care.
They were targets of gold diggers all the time. They had both learned to take care of themselves. It didn’t mean a good time couldn’t be had by all.
The brunette blushed and smiled, standing taller, shoulders going back. She was dazzled and very receptive. “Yes. We are.” She nodded confidently despite the fact they all knew who moved freely up these upstairs and who did not. She nudged the blonde.
The blonde pursed her mouth with dismay. Embarrassed at being overheard as a mercenary? No need. Henri found that to be the easiest and most convenient of traits to manage in a woman.
The music started up again, increasing his desire to leave the noise and crowd behind.
The blonde looked warily between him and his brother, giving Henri the sense she was trying to work out which one of them had met her gaze earlier.
He and Ramon didn’t fight over women. There was no point since neither of them wanted long-term relationships. Women seemed to view them as interchangeable anyway. But Henri found himself annoyed by the idea she might decide to go with Ramon.
What had been a generic restlessness responding to the gaze of a beautiful female ticked up into a desire to have this one in particular.
“Watch the fireworks from our suite,” Ramon said with easy command, waving an invitation. “Save me from staring at my own face.”
“Why would you stare at your brother when you’ll be watching the fireworks?” the brunette asked with a cheeky bat of her lashes. “Maybe if you didn’t dress alike you wouldn’t feel like you were talking into a mirror?”
“We don’t do it intentionally.” Ramon offered his arm to escort her up the stairs. “It happens even when we’re half the world away from each other. We’ve stopped fighting it.”
The pair was quickly lost in the shadows of the gallery.
The blonde gazed after her friend, biting her lip, then relaxed her mouth and licked her lips as she glanced at Henri. It almost seemed a nervous response, but the action flooded color into a mouth that now looked dewy and soft as rose petals, shiny and kissable. A very enticing move.
His gaze lingered on the sight, as his mind slid naturally into the pleasant fantasy of crushing her mouth with his.
She fell into step beside him.
This was not his first time picking up women with his brother. He and Ramon had long ago concluded that if they were saddled with being the Sauveterre twins they were damned well going to take advantage of the one outstanding benefit. Startlingly good looks, times two, along with buckets of money and celebrity status meant that the sweetest companions were in endless supply.
“Was that true?” the blonde asked, leaning in to be heard. “That you dress alike at other times, not just tonight?”
“Yes.” Henri hated talking about himself and loathed even more talking about his family, but this was one of those innocuous tidbits that strangers loved to hear. The mystery of being a twin was infinitely fascinating to those who weren’t. He accepted it and had stopped fighting it, as well.