The Valquez Seduction

By: Melanie Milburne

CHAPTER ONE

IT ONLY TOOK Daisy Wyndham three and a half blocks to shake off her father’s bodyguard. She grinned as she joined her two teaching friends inside the Las Vegas hot spot nightclub where they planned to kick off their half-term holiday before the winter school term in London resumed. ‘See?’ She high-fived Belinda and then Kate. ‘I told you I’d make it before the first round of drinks. That’s a new record too. It usually takes me at least five blocks to lose Bruno when I’m abroad.’

Kate, recently appointed to teach Year Three, handed her a glass of champagne with a frown pleating her brow. ‘Is this going to happen every night we’re here on holiday?’

Belinda from Grade Four rolled her eyes. ‘I did warn you, Kate. Travelling abroad with Daze means excess baggage in the shape of a big hairy scary guy carrying a concealed weapon. Get used to it. It ain’t going to change any time soon.’

‘Oh, yes it is.’ Daisy set her posture in a determined line. ‘I’m sick of being treated like a little kid. I’m plenty old enough to take care of myself. And this holiday is the perfect chance to prove it.’

Once and for all.

Her father would have to get over it. She wanted to live her life the way she wanted to live it. Not be answerable to her dad, who thought she was still twelve years old.

‘Why’s your dad so protective anyway?’ Kate asked.

Daisy took a sip of her drink before she answered. She hadn’t told anyone of her father’s former and thankfully brief connection with the underworld. It was far easier to pretend he was overly protective because she once went missing for half an hour as a child. That her disappearance had been nothing more than a case of her hiding from her mother behind a rack of dresses in Marks and Spencer was beside the point. ‘My dad watches too many scary movies. He thinks as soon as I step foot in a foreign country someone is going to kidnap me and demand a ransom.’

Kate raised her brows. ‘I realised you came from money but—’

‘Pots and pots of money.’ Belinda held her glass out for a refill. ‘You should see her dad’s estate in Surrey. Massive. He has villas in Italy and the South of France too. I didn’t realise being an accountant could be so lucrative. Maybe I should’ve done that instead of teaching.’

Daisy chewed the edge of her lower lip. She had always believed her father’s wealth was gained through hard work and discipline, building up his London accounting firm from scratch. She still believed it…sort of. How could she believe anything else? He was a loving dad who consecrated the ground she walked on. So what if he had once done a teensy weensy accounting job for a Mafia boss? That didn’t make him a criminal. He had assured her it had been years and years ago and there was no reason to be worried now, although why he insisted she have top level security at her flat and always travel abroad with a bodyguard did make her feel a smidgeon of disquiet if she were to be perfectly honest. But that was something she had always put up with because it was easier than arguing with him about it. Arguing with her father was an exhausting and pointless exercise, which her mother, Rose, had found out the hard way when she’d tried to divorce him.

‘If you’ve got so much family money why bother teaching?’ Kate asked.

‘I love teaching,’ Daisy said, thinking of her kindergarten class with their sunny and earnest little faces. ‘The kids are so innocent and—’

Belinda gave a half snort, half laugh as she wiped up a dribble of bubbles off the side of her glass with her fingertip. ‘Yeah, like you.’

Daisy sent her a mock glower. ‘Just because I’m technically still a virgin doesn’t mean—’

‘Technically?’ Kate frowned in puzzlement. ‘What? You mean you haven’t actually slept with a guy?’

Here we go, Daisy silently groaned. Why was being a virgin such an oddity these days? Plenty of girls didn’t sleep around. What about Amish girls? Or girls from other religious persuasions? Nuns, for instance. Anyway, having an overprotective father was like being raised in a convent. He’d practically strip-searched every suitor she’d ever had. He did background checks on them too. It was beyond embarrassing. Which was how she had ended up twenty-six years old without having done the deed.

But this holiday was going to change all that. Or so she hoped. Away from her father’s watchful eye, she would be able to stretch her dating wings. Flirt a little. Relax instead of being uptight about the whole process in case her father suddenly appeared, waving a warrant for her date’s arrest.

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