Millionaire of the Month: Ryan Sperling
Source of Fortune: Silicon Valley
Goal: The ultimate revenge
Business mogal Ryan Sperling prided himself on being different from his old man, a self-centered philanderer who had let the family assets dwindle. Now, as Ryan closed in on his greatest achievement--orchestrating his father's downfall--the charismatic bachelor had encountered an unforgettable woman...with inextricable ties to his family. It was unthinkable to fall for the daughter of his father's mistress. But it was impossible to walk away before he could taste her....
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June 11, 2007
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Excerpt from An Improper Affair by Anna DePalo
Cooling his heels in a backwater like Hunter's Landing wasn't Ryan's idea of a good time, but then, nothing was these days.
He was so close to victory he could almost taste it, and since revenge was a dish best served cold, he intended to take his time savoring the triumph.
In the meantime, he didn't intend to let his prey off the hook. Webb Sperling--CEO and chairman of the board of Sperling department stores, and the man he was forced to call his father--would never know what hit him.
Now he walked along one of the main shopping drags around south Lake Tahoe, keeping his eye out for a place where he might pick up a wedding gift. If he was stuck in Hunter's Landing for the month of June, he might as well figure out what amusements lay nearby.
There were precious few amusements to be had in Hunter's Landing itself, that was for sure. He figured the locals in such a quiet little place depended on their cable service for access to television, the Internet and the world.
Cable interested him. Cable had made him rich. His company, El Ray Technology, was among the bigger players in California's fabled Silicon Valley.
A store sign hanging from a metal bar up the street caught his eye. Distressed Success, it announced in flowery type.
His lips curved in sardonic amusement.
The sign summed up his life.
When he drew even with the store, he was able to see it was a tidy little shop devoted to home furnishings. Its facade was white with light blue and yellow trim, like an Easter egg, and both its store windows presented cozy tableaus of domestic bliss.
The window on the left showcased a table set for tea with mismatched cups and saucers. The table had a distressed finish and was covered with a chintz tablecloth and set for four.
The window on the right displayed an old-fashioned settee--something that looked as if it had been salvaged from a garage sale--strewn with an outrageous assortment of silk, beaded and tasseled pillows.
It was domesticity with a hint of sin, he thought, his gut tightening.
The look would have suited a room tinged with Eastern exoticism--or a madam's boudoir. Here, on the California border with Nevada, where regulated brothels were legal in some localities, the decor would have found a ready market.
Intrigued by the storefront, he decided to have a look inside.
A chime above the door announced his entrance. "These raw-silk photo albums just came in last week--"
The woman's voice, with just a hint of huskiness, washed over him, along with the faint scent of a flowery blend.
He walked around a display table and came faceto-face with the owner of that voice.
She glanced up, smile in place, and he felt the air leave him as if he'd taken a sucker punch to the stomach.
Hello. "Good afternoon..."
Her voice trailed off as they stared at each other. He went tense, the elemental reaction of a male who's gone too long without a mate.
He looked at her hand, noticed she wasn't wearing a ring and felt his spirits lift.
Things were looking up for his enforced month-long stay in sleepy Hunter's Landing, he thought bemusedly.
Tall and curvaceous, she had hair that flowed past her shoulders in loose curls. He had to call it titian colored, for lack of a better word.
She was a latter-day Venus--a model for the goddess of love that would have made even Botticelli proud. She had a pale heart-shaped face and symmetrical features.
She was dressed in a brown velvet top, ruffled skirt and high-heeled sandals. The look was professional but with a hint of the bohemian, and it dovetailed with the image of her shop.
She stood with a well-dressed, middle-aged female customer, the two of them flanking a waisthigh white counter upon which were arrayed a number of albums.
She cleared her throat and righted the smile that had wavered. "Please take a look around and let me know if you need anything."