At Odds With The Heiress

Harlequin Desire
January 2014
ISBN: 978-0373732920

What happens when the man she loves to hate becomes the man she can't live without? Find out in Cat Schield's new Las Vegas Nights series...

Actress turned casino mogul Scarlett Fontaine uses her beauty to get what she wants. But it doesn't work with Logan Wolfe. Now the infuriatingly gorgeous security expert needs her help. Finally, Scarlett sees her chance to show him she's more than just a pretty face.

Yet when her safety's at stake, their flirtatious games turn serious. Scarlett suddenly needs him, too. As things heat up, their steamy kisses - and steamier nights - make her wonder: is the man who has always tormented her finally showing his true colors?

Logan Wolfe slowed his stride as he entered the fifth floor executive office, taking a moment to appreciate the feminine tableau silhouetted against the backdrop of the Las Vegas Strip. Although all three Fontaine sisters were brunettes of a similar height and bone structure, they could not have been less alike in attitude, style and background.

The three were half sisters who'd known nothing of each other until their common father, Ross Fontaine, died five years ago. When their grandfather, Henry Fontaine, chairman and CEO of the multibillion-dollar Fontaine Hotels and Resorts, found out that Ross had two illegitimate daughters, he tracked them down and brought them into the family fold. They'd both changed their last names to Fontaine and accepted important roles in the company in order to participate in a contest, devised by their grandfather, to see which of his three heirs would run the Fontaine empire when he retired.

"Good morning, Logan," Violet Fontaine called, waving him over. "Grandpa, Logan has joined us."

"Good morning, Logan." Henry Fontaine's deep voice sounded from the speakerphone. He was based in New York City where the company had their corporate office and kept in touch with his granddaughters through a weekly conference call.

"Good morning, Mr. Fontaine. I hope I'm not intruding."

"Not at all," the CEO said. "In fact, I have to run to another meeting. Violet, dear, once again, I'm sorry for your loss. Call me if there's anything I can do for you."

"Thank you, Grandfather."

As Harper Fontaine pushed the button that ended the call, Violet gestured to the empty chair beside her. Logan sat down and gave Violet's hand a sympathetic squeeze.

"I was sorry to hear about Tiberius. How are you holding up?"

Her eyes brimmed with unshed tears. "Even though we all knew he had heart problems, it was still such a shock. He was a live wire. His energy never seemed to stop. I figured he'd live forever."

Logan had been friends with Violet for seven years, since he and his twin brother, Lucas, had decided to expand their growing security company to Las Vegas. Violet was the grounded middle sister who had a girl-next-door charm. Her mother, Suzanne, had been a showgirl at one time, but after a brief affair with Ross Fontaine and the birth of her daughter, she'd gone to work for Tiberius Stone, owner of the Lucky Heart Hotel and Casino. Twenty years her senior, Tiberius had fallen in love with Suzanne and they'd moved in together. Growing up, Violet had shadowed Tiberius around his hotel and by the time she graduated high school she knew more about running a casino than people twice her age.

In fact, Tiberius Stone was the reason the three sisters were solemn this morning. Violet's surrogate father had been found dead of an apparent heart attack in his office at the Lucky Heart the day before.

As Violet dabbed at her eyes, Harper spoke up. "Have you had breakfast, Logan?"

The Fontaine sisters met every Wednesday morning for breakfast at one of the three luxury hotels they managed for their grandfather. Sitting side by side on the Las Vegas Strip, each property was a unique reflection of the sister who ran it. This morning, they were enjoying breakfast at Fontaine Ciel, Harper's property and the newest jewel in the Fontaine crown. Taking a cue from the French word for sky, Harper had designed her sixty-story tower to showcase panoramic views of the Strip. In the most expensive suites, high above the city, eighteen-foot walls of windows were designed to give guests a sense that they were floating just below a dome of intense blue. The signature color was echoed everywhere in the two-billion-dollar hotel.

"Thanks. I've already eaten." He'd been up for three hours already. First his morning workout. A touch-base meeting with Lucas and then the trip to Fontaine Ciel to check the progress of the team testing the security system his company had installed in the soon-to-open hotel. "But I'll take a cup of green tea if Violet doesn't mind sharing."

"There's more than enough for two." Violet's hazel eyes were warm as she filled an empty cup and nudged it over to him. "It's good to see that someone besides me appreciates the virtues of green tea." She looked pointedly at the sister to her left.

"Right," Scarlett murmured, speaking up for the first time. "Heaven forbid Logan would try anything that's bad for him."

Scarlett Fontaine, voluptuous, charismatic and just plain sexy, had a knack for getting under Logan's skin. In his opinion, the breathtakingly beautiful former actress was the last person who should be running a billion-dollar hotel and casino. Without a college degree or business experience, she relied on her abundant charm to get things done, and it rubbed Logan the wrong way how much she'd accomplished with such techniques.

She popped a bite of sugary pastry into her mouth. Her soft murmur of enjoyment made the hair on Logan's arms stand up. He was a millisecond too slow to brace against the shock wave of awareness. Compelling and unwelcome, lust rushed through him, leaving a destructive tangle of longing and fury in its wake.

From the moment he'd entered the room, he'd done his best to ignore the once-popular child star. Being near her aggravated his composure. She exuded sexual energy the way Harper projected professionalism and Violet radiated optimism. Many times Logan had watched Scarlett shake up a roomful of men by simply appearing in a doorway. That he was similarly affected despite his best efforts to remain immune pissed him off.

He liked things that he could control. Computer systems. Fast cars. Any risks he took were carefully calculated to result in the best possible outcome. "Chance favors the prepared mind" was a motto he lived by. Scarlett would counter with "Fortune favors the bold."

"I've tried plenty of things that are bad for me," he retorted. Avoiding the allure of her witchy green eyes didn't make him immune to their impact. "I like living a healthy lifestyle. Both physically and mentally."

Scarlett gestured with her chin in Violet's direction. "You two are perfect for each other."

Logan agreed. He wanted a woman who matched him. Someone who shared his views about healthy living and maintaining a balance between work and home. Not a fiery siren who would turn his routines upside down and rock his world.

Violet shook her head, the melancholy in her eyes clearing for the moment. "We're too much alike. We'd bore each other to death. No. I think Logan needs someone who will challenge him." Violet got to her feet and aimed a wicked grin at Scarlett. "Someone like you."

There was a slight hesitation before Scarlett's dismissive laugh. Logan cursed his curiosity as he watched the exchange. What had caused the delayed reaction? His pulse spiked. He sat back with crossed arms and watched Violet exit the room. The pause didn't mean Scarlett had considered the idea. She'd never given him any reason to believe she suffered the same sexual attraction that plagued him. Quite the reverse.

In fact, Logan wasn't sure she was interested in any of the men who pursued her. She doled out flirtation like candy that her admirers gobbled up, all the while keeping them at arm's length. Which made them all the more determined to have her.

For the past five years, since she'd left her acting career behind in Los Angeles and moved to Las Vegas to run Fontaine Richesse, Logan had watched her disappoint one suitor after another. He'd decided she was a coldhearted woman who enjoyed tormenting men, and kept his own desires firmly in check. A challenge when she took great pleasure in teasing him.