How to Bag a Billionaire

By: Nina Milne

ONE

She could get arrested for this.

The thought pounded her temples as Olivia Evans glanced around the dark and thankfully deserted London alleyway at the back of Masterson Mayfair, the flagship of Masterson Enterprises hotel portfolio.

Why had she thought gatecrashing one of London’s most exclusive parties was a good idea?

A bead of perspiration prickled her forehead. Swiping it away with an impatient gesture, she pressed her lips together hard. This was a good idea because it was the only idea left. It was imperative that she see Adam Masterson before he gallivanted off on yet another business trip. She had tried every conventional method of contacting him, but the man was more closely guarded than the president of the United States. There was every possibility his PA doubled as Head of National Security.

Desperate times called for desperate measures; hence Operation Break and Enter.

Olivia hauled in a breath; with any luck that would push the panic down. One final glance around and, standing on her tote bag, she applied herself to the task of picking the window lock. Amazing how some childhood skills didn’t desert you. Even those learnt from one of the more unsavoury of her mother’s boyfriends. The thought of her mother had her shoving the hooked pick deeper into the lock until she felt it butt into the mechanism; she would not give up now.

Nerves knotted inside her before giving way to a buzz of exhilarated relief as the lock gave. Pocketing the pick, she pulled the window open, then jumped off the tote bag. She thrust the bag through the gap a minute later.

So far, so good. Her reconnaissance of the hotel had been spot-on; the room she had chosen as an access point was a small conference room which wouldn’t be in use tonight as the hotel was being exclusively given over to a charity gala. Hosted by Adam Masterson. Finally she had him in her sights.

She scrambled up onto the window ledge and her nerves retied themselves right back up. What her recon hadn’t bargained for was the size of the window gap.

Logic. Angles. Weight. Mass distribution. Those were the things to focus on—because, come hell or high water, Olivia would get inside. Never mind that it looked to be physically impossible.

So should she wriggle in forwards on her tummy or try to get in backwards? There were so many things that could go wrong: she could get stuck, she could fall into the arms of a waiting security guard... Maybe this wasn’t such a brilliant idea.

But if she gave up now then she wouldn’t get a chance to talk to Adam Masterson.

That was unacceptable.

Good thing she was flexible.

* * *

Adam Masterson perched on the edge of his security officer’s desk and scowled at the CCTV footage of the woman balanced on the windowsill.

What the hell was she doing? Apart from an excellent impersonation of Catwoman. Dressed completely in black, with a beanie pulled low over her forehead, it was impossible even to know her hair colour.

More to the point, who the hell was she? Journalist? Photographer? Wishful thinking... He’d already arranged publicity for the event. Which meant here was yet another hopeful player in the new party game Bag a Billionaire. Bad enough that he knew the ballroom would soon be awash with legitimate guests scheming how to waylay him over the canapés. At least they’d paid for the privilege, with the money going to a more than worthy cause.

Tendrils of memory threatened and he cut them off before they could take hold. He’d had his daily surfeit of grim memories already today, following his earlier conversation with his ex-wife and the news that she was remarrying. He was happy for Charlotte, but the exchange had brought back recollections of a time in his life he was less than proud of. Way less.

Plus, it had highlighted the way their lives had gone in the eight years since their disastrous union        . There was Charlotte, with the happy-ever-after she had always wanted; here was Adam, being pursued by a bunch of women mining for his gold.

Speaking of which, right now he had to contend with his gatecrasher. He bit back an exasperated groan; he didn’t need this. The entire billionaire-bagging thing was getting old.

‘Do you want us to apprehend her?’ Nathan asked.

Adam pulled himself into the present and focused on the screen. The woman appeared to be engaged in some sort of internal Q and A session before she wriggled limbo-dancer-like through the gap in the window.

An arrow of desire shot straight through him.

He ran a hand over the top of his head. Talk about misplaced. A probable stalker, a definite intruder, was breaking into his hotel and his libido had decided to come to the party. The woman landed on the floor, glanced round the empty room and opened the bag she had pushed through earlier.

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