The One – Belle Ami

 

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Before the car sped away, Miles reached in to kiss her hand. His eyes were completely sober, “I told you when we met that I am impulsive and that it has usually served me well. I knew the minute I saw you, Adelia, that you were the woman I wanted, the one. Nothing will change that!”

How well do you really know the one you love? An erotic novel full of obsessive love, dark secrets, and unquenchable lust, Belle Ami’s The One proves that no one is quite who they seem.

Adelia, a rising star in the equestrian world, is still reeling from her parents’ deaths in a tragic car accident when she meets green energy investment banker Miles Bremen and his charming yet inscrutable twin sister, Karolin. With his insatiable lust, Miles ignites a passion within Adelia she never knew existed, and the two quickly find themselves entwined in a torrid affair that knows no bounds.

Little does Adelia know, however, that her meeting of the Bremen twins was no accident. Carefully selected as “the one” for her unsettling resemblance to the emotionally and physically damaged Karolin, Adelia is targeted to marry Miles and bear the children that Karolin cannot have.

The One is a razor edge mystery that enfolds on the playgrounds of the super rich, from Trump Tower to the Hamptons and Palm Beach; to the Amalfi Coast aboard Miles’s mega-yacht Green Way, The One is irresistible as the reader is drawn into Adelia’s journey through a suspenseful – and erotic world.

An edge-of-your-seat thriller that will leave readers breathless in more ways than one, The One is an irresistible journey through—new territory that fans of romantic fiction are bound to love.

Chapter 7

St. Regis Monarch Beach Hotel, Dana Point, California 

When Adelia arrived, the large suite was filled with horsey people: owners,

trainers, course designers, and riders. There was an air of excitement and

confidence among the revelers, who were always up for a celebration after

a long day of competition. The suite was large and well appointed, with a

piano and floor-to-ceiling windows that faced the turquoise waters of the

Pacific. Scores of people greeted her and congratulated her on her victory

as she wove through the crowd to the penthouse suite’s terrace.

A waiter handed Adelia a glass of champagne as she contemplated the surf that

rolled into the shore. The din of laughter, snippets of conversation, and

tinkling of the ivories seemed incongruous with the motion of the waves

and the sadness that pervaded her thoughts. Attending a party already felt

like a mistake. I think I’ll just say hello and make an early exit, she thought as

she watched another wave crash upon the shore.

“I’m so glad you decided to come!” Karolin’s arms encircled her in a

warm reception that was disconcerting coming from a complete stranger.

Once more, Karolin’s approach had caught her unaware.

“Come,” Karolin said. Taking Adelia’s hand firmly in her own, she guided her through the

room of people, toward a tall, dark-haired man whose back was to them.

“Miles, darling, I want you to meet Adelia. She’s the girl that won the

Grand Prix.”

“Excuse me.” Miles turned in mid-conversation and ceased talking. All of

his attention refocused on the person to whom his sister was introducing him.

Adelia was struck by the serious, penetrating, gray eyes. His smile, she

noticed, sat frozen on his lips never reaching his eyes. Miles was obscenely

handsome, and she sensed that he knew it. It was obvious that he could

charm a cobra or, for that matter, any woman he chose. She felt herself blush

under his scrutiny.

“Well, you gave us quite a thrill today. Congratulations.” He took her

hand and bent to kiss it. “I pay homage to a new star on the horizon.” His

eyes locked onto hers, daring her to look away. Her heart thundered uncontrollably in her chest as she searched for a response to his goading. Embarrassment ricocheted through her mind like

balls on a pool table. What the Hell am I doing here? She wondered.

“Leave it to my brother to play Lothario to your demure Camilla,” Karolin said with a chuckle, breaking the uncomfortable silence that ensued.

Will, an Olympic medalist who had been speaking with Miles, interrupted

the awkward moment. “Hey, you know what’s bizarre, you guys

look alike.”

Miles’s expression hardened. “I beg your pardon?”

“Karolin and Adelia look alike, except, of course, for their coloring.

Their hair color is obviously opposite, but their faces are like sisters’. Can’t

you see it, Miles?”

Miles surveyed the two women, forcing a laugh. “Does that mean I look

like her brother?”

Will wrinkled his brow as he examined the three of them. “It’s weird,

but there is a similarity. Of course, you’re much prettier.”

Miles cracked up, patting Will on the back. “Keep drinking, my friend,

and before long everyone in the room will begin to look alike.”

Will laughed as he walked away. “On that note, I think I’ll get a refill.”

Karolin clasped Miles’s arm as she leaned in and kissed his cheek. “And

I’ll leave you two to get acquainted while I see to the dinner, before our

guests are completely inebriated and I’ve failed in my duties as hostess.”

Adelia watched as Karolin maneuvered through the crowd with catlike

undulation, which explained her ability to come and go without announcement

or sound; the gentle sway of her hips barely affecting the air currents.

Her focus on the departing Karolin allowed her to avoid Miles’s eyes,

which she felt had never left her. She wanted to return to the balcony and

the endless panorama of ocean and sky that beckoned through the sliding

doors. If she could, she would have run away from him. Instead, she found

herself cemented in place. She wondered if her attraction to him was obvious.

She felt her cheeks fill with color.

Miles saw only her discomfort and took her hand in his. “Come on. Let’s

get a breath of fresh air. It’s too hard to talk with so many eavesdroppers. I

might want to tell you the story of my life,” he jested.

His mercurial change in demeanor to gentle persuasion lifted the fog

that was clouding her reactions. Gratefully, Adelia allowed herself to be led out to the terrace. A mild breeze blew, whispering through the potted bougainvillea, their red plumage

adding color and contrast to the view. The setting sun sparkled radiantly

on the sea like a thousand mirrors. It promised a glorious sunset when

it sank into the Pacific. As she and Miles stood watching nature’s regalia,

she was well aware that Miles still held her hand firmly in his. His fingers

warmed her, and she acknowledged that it was good to feel another’s touch.

She breathed the moist salt air, but with the fragrance of salt and sea came

the unmistakable scent of the stranger who held her hand in his grasp.

Without turning his eyes from the beauty in front of them, Miles said,

“I knew your father, Adelia.”

The unexpected words sent a shiver down her spine. “You knew my

father? How?” She withdrew her hand from his as sorrow enfolded her like

the wings of a bird.

“We served on a couple of corporate boards together. He was a fine man,

a legend. Everyone in my business knows of Lars Lindstrom. He’s one of

the founding fathers of the ‘green’ movement, the man who awakened us

to global warming and inspired us to stand up and do something about it.”

“And what, may I ask, is your business?”

“I run a venture fund that invests exclusively in green companies.

Naturally, your father and I shared a common vision. I’m so sorry about

your loss, Adelia. I’m sorry for the world’s loss.” Once again he reached for

her hand, and this time she did not pull away.

“I still can’t believe it’s real. The senselessness of it all.” She turned

toward him. “The accident, I mean…I cry myself to sleep every night. I ask

myself will I ever reach a place of peace and acceptance, but then I realize

that a lifetime is not enough time to mourn their loss. I had to get back to

training or everything that we—my parents and I—had dreamed would

have been lost. And now that I’ve done it—won—I have no one to share

it with. It doesn’t seem to mean as much to me as it would have. I don’t

suppose I’m making any sense…” She shook her head, at a loss for words.

Miles turned toward her, grasping both of her hands as he pulled her

closer. “Since when does life or death ever make sense? You’re suffering

through a difficult time in your life. The way I see it, you’re doing the best

you can under the circumstances.” He leaned in slightly and kissed her on

the forehead.

She closed her eyes for a moment. Perhaps she had expected that he

might kiss her, but when she opened her eyes, she saw that he had turned

and was once again staring out to sea. She felt a flush of embarrassment and disappointment. She had revealed her soul to him. She wasn’t sure why, but she wanted him to kiss her, and

he hadn’t. It was clear she was making a fool of herself.

“I really have to go. Please tell Karolin thank you for the invitation.” She turned to leave, but was stayed by his hand on her arm.

“I know the timing isn’t the best, but I’d like to call you. Dinner? Just

the two of us? I’d like to get to know you.”

Now she felt completely taken aback, with no ability to read him. She

had to get out of there now. “Sure, why not? I mean—I’d really like that.”

She spent the ride back to San Ynez wondering about Miles. It was

impossible to ignore the attraction she had felt for him. He was clearly successful,

sophisticated, and confident, everything she was not. Don’t be foolish,

she told herself. A man like that has women standing in line. What the hell

would he need some horsey, country girl for. Nonetheless, she vowed to Google

him when she got back to the ranch. He’ll never call anyway.

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