The Billionaire's Virgin(12)

By: Jackie Ashenden

Xavier looked down at the knife she was holding, and this time he couldn’t help grinning, because if there was one thing he knew, it was weapons. “Where did you get that? From the shelter kitchen?”

Her dark, narrow brows drew down. “Don’t come any closer. I know how to use it.”

“I’m sure you do. But I’m afraid that’s not going to do any damage.” He gave her a solemn look. “Sorry, little one, but that’s a fruit knife.”

Her frown became a scowl. “I’ve used it before.”

“On fruit?”

“On a man.” She waved the blade at him. “I cut him.”

Xavier sincerely doubted that she’d managed to cut anyone with that piece-of-shit blade. “I’ll take your word for it. Can we get in the car now? I’m cold.”

“No. Leave me alone.”

He gave her an assessing look. How the hell was he going to get her into the limo? There was the option of simply picking her up and carrying her there, but she’d probably scream and he had a feeling that his father wouldn’t be too pleased if word got out that Xavier had been seen picking up screaming women and putting them in his car. No matter that all he wanted to do was get her out of the snow.

He thought a moment, then stood a little to the side. “You see that long black car at the curb? That’s mine.”

Her wary gaze darted to the limo then back to him again. “So?”

“It’s warm in there. Very warm.”

She shifted on her feet, looking at the limo again.

“I have whisky. I also have gin. In fact, I have pretty much any alcohol you might like in there.”

“I don’t like alcohol.” But she didn’t look away from the car.

For all that he was a rancher at heart, Xavier had always been good at closing a deal, at sensing when a buyer was wavering and only needed one small push to make the right decision. And he could sense it right now. All he needed to do was add the clincher and she’d be his.

“Mia,” he said softly. “It’s cold and it’s wet, and the shelter is closed. My car is warm and we don’t have to go anywhere if you don’t want to. But let’s go and talk about it there, okay?”

She stared at the limo for a long time, then flicked another of her intense, focused glances at him. “You won’t touch me?” She brandished the fruit knife at him for good measure.

“No. In fact. . . .” Slowly, very slowly so she didn’t startle, he bent and reached for a little something of his own that he always carried with him in a sheath on his calf.

She stiffened when she saw it, but he made no move toward her as he straightened up. Instead, he kept his gaze on hers, flipped the weapon, and held it out, hilt first.

Part of his father’s twenty-first birthday present to him, the same present he’d given to his three sons and one daughter. A handcrafted, limited-edition, De Santis 5 Compact. One of the most expensive and sought after knives on the planet.

Some people’s kids got cars and jewelry for their twenty-first birthday.

The de Santis kids got knives and guns.

Mia looked down at the knife he held out, her eyes going wide.

“Here,” he said. “Take it. It’ll do more damage than that fruit knife.”

She glanced up at him, then back at the knife. And it looked for a second as if she might actually reach out and touch it. He could see that she wanted to; it was right there, shining in her face.

But then all of a sudden, the want disappeared, her expression closing up like shutters coming down across the windows of a house. “No,” she said.

Stupidly, he wanted to insist, but like he’d sensed her wavering earlier, he could also sense that now wasn’t the time to be forcing knives onto her. So he only shrugged, put the knife back in its sheath, then straightened and gestured to the car. “After you.”


Mia looked past Xavier de Santis’s tall, powerful figure to the sleek, shiny black machine that crouched at the curb.

He had a limo. An actual, honest-to-God limo.

Which must mean, of course, that he was rich.

Her hand tightened around the hilt of the knife he’d made fun of, because if she didn’t trust clean, shiny, handsome men, she trusted rich men even less. Not that she’d met any rich men. Then again, any man who lived in a house and had more than one set of clothes was rich compared to her, so by that estimation, she’d met a few.

She gave him another wary look. The streetlights were behind him, his face shadowed, and even though he was standing to the side, giving her plenty of room to escape if she wanted to, it felt like he took up the whole of the sidewalk.