The Billionaire Professor (2015)
The moment I saw Daphne at the auction every muscle in my body tensed. She was beautify personified and a wicked sex partner. I totally misjudged her all those years ago when I first met her. Luckily, I’ve learned a lot since then.
“Why Maxwell, Dearheart.”
Damn it, she spotted me.
“Daphne, what a delight to see you,” I said as we approached each other.
“You never could lie, Darling, so don’t do it now.” I gave her a short, quick peck on the check.
“Just because we couldn’t make our marriage work,” I told her, “is no reason why it’s not a delight to see you.”
“I suppose seeing me reminds me of how delighted you were to divorce me, even though it cost you a large chunk of your fortune,” she said. “You were a self-absorbed bastard during our brief stint as husband and wife.” She paused a bit then added with that quixotic smile that at one time charmed me, ‘And I was an equally horrendous person.”
Before I could even answer, she changed the subject. “Don’t tell me you’re alone, Darling?” She scanned the room. I knew she was trying to figure out what woman was accompanying me this time to an auction.
“No, hardly. See that young lady over there? I’m here with her.” I gave her a few minutes to size her up.
“Daphne I think I’ve found my soul mate. I’m sorry for putting you through such pain all those years. Had I only known Jazmin was in my future, I would never have put you through such hell.”
Daphne raised her eyebrows as she gazed at Jazmin. I never could read her face, so I wasn’t sure what she thought.
“She looks like she belongs in one of those Rubens paintings you love so much.”
“More than her body,” I responded, “she has a depth of soul I’ve never met in anyone before.”
Daphne asked me how long I’d known Jazmin. I answered truthfully. She laughed. “Knowing your habits the way I do, hon,” she said, ‘the two of you probably haven’t had a chance to do much chatting.”
“Guilty as charged.”
“Yet,” she said, his voice taking a wistful tone, “you’ve never said anything like that about your other encounters. For your sake and, especially for hers, I hope you’re right.”
“So what brings you to Christie’s today?” I tried hard to change the subject. I’m not sure exactly what she thought of what I considered my heartfelt confession. In any case, it was sincere. Jazmin was truly unlike any other woman I had ever met. She had that je ne sais quoi. That essence that I couldn’t put my finger on.
Daphne’s reply brought me out of my contemplative state. It appears that she had her eye on the same Rubens I wanted to purchase for my personal collection.
“I’m here for two reasons. The university wants me to purchase the Van Gogh, which one of our alumnus wants to donate to the school. And personally, I want . . .”
“Don’t tell me,” Daphne laughed. “The Rubens I’m after.”
“Hello, I presume you’re Jazmin.” I knew immediately upon seeing this elegantly dressed woman I was out of my league. I just assumed at this point those were real diamonds in your earrings. Rather large diamonds at that.
My makeshift “Christies outfit” of which I had been so proud of this morning, suddenly felt shabby. I felt like Cinderella before her fairy godmother waved a magic wand over her.
“I’m sorry,” I said slowly trying hard not to scrutinize her too much, “do I know you?”
The woman – who by the way was drop dead gorgeous – gave a throaty laugh. “Of course you wouldn’t, my dear,” she apologized. She extended a hand and I shook it.
“I’m Daphne St. James.”
“Are you . . . ?” I tried to ask if she were related to Max, but I couldn’t think of a polite way of asking.
“Don’t worry, honey,” she said. “I’m Max’s ex-wife. Wife number four to be exact. He’s told me many good things about you.”
My face must have looked as horrified as I felt. Again, that throaty laugh. “No, my dear, if I still know Max’s massive appetite for woman, let’s just say, I know what’s going through your mind.”
“He’s told me he thought he’s finally discovered his soul mate. My ex-husband has a ravenous sexual appetite, Jazmin, but don’t judge him solely by that. He’s not a shallow man.”
What I saw scared the hell out of me. Daphne and Jazmin talking. I only had one thought. I had to go intervene. I nonchalantly started to walk towards them.
Thankfully, I didn’t need to panic. The auctioneer singled the start of the auction. If he only knew that he saved me from a potentially embarrassing situation. I could see the ladies part – quite amiably it appeared – and my soul mate returned to my side.
“So you met Daphne?” I queried Jazmin.
She only smiled and nodded.
I waited a brief period of a comment, but she said nothing. “You have nothing to say?”
“She told me a few interesting things about you.”