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Chapter 15

Three weeks later


I was sittingin my hotel room, chatting with Hugo and Nico about our dinner plans for that evening. All three of us were going to another five-star restaurant. The brothers wanted me to try some more authentic, local Russian food. Since I had been in their country, I had mostly stuck with American food like pizza and cheeseburgers, so I was looking forward to trying something different.

“I can’t wait to see you again,” Nico said. “And you’re going to love this restaurant.”

“He only says that because he’s there every day, Michelle,” Hugo said.

“Which means that it’s a good restaurant,” Nico shot back, defending himself.

“You guys are too funny.”

I had been working extremely hard while seeing Nico and Hugo on the side. I had been pulling long days at work, too, and found that seeing them helped relieve a lot of my stress. It wasn’t just the sex part, either. Although that was a lot of fun. Nico was always making me laugh, and Hugo was always bringing out the seductive part of me.

“Unless you want us to skip dinner and just come straight to your hotel room,” Nico said.

“Do you think about anything other than sex, man?” I could hear Hugo smiling, but he was still surprised at what his brother had suggested. I knew that he was just joking, though. All Nico seemed to do was eat, sleep, and have sex.

“Of course I do,” he said. “I think about making a lot of money, buying more luxury cars, and seeing Michelle.”

“God, Nico. That was so corny. Wasn’t that corny, Michelle?”

“You guys are too much,” I said while applying some makeup to my face. Even when we were apart from each other, we were either talking on the phone, video chatting, or texting each other. All three of us wanted to be near each other as much as possible. It was a strong connection that we couldn’t explain, but the chemistry was right.

“So, we’ll send a car to pick you up in about an hour,” Hugo said. “And like I said, it’s a pretty casual restaurant. Plus, someone as beautiful as you doesn’t need to wear anything fancy in order to stand out.”

“Oh God,” Nico said, and I could tell that he was rolling his eyes. “Would you stop with the corny ass flirtations, man? You got her, we got her! Give it a rest!”

“All right, guys,” I said while laughing. “I’m gonna get dressed, and I’ll see you in a little while.”

I tossed my phone on the bed and went to choose some clothes. As soon as I opened the closet, however, there was a knock at my door. I wasn’t expecting anyone, though, unless that was room service with something the guys had sent up. Then I realized that knowing Nico, they had probably been there during our whole conversation. They loved to play practical jokes on each other, and now me.

“Were you guys outside my hotel room this entire time?” I said it loud enough so they could hear me. It was just like Hugo and Nico to want to fit in a sex session before going out to dinner. “Leave it to you guys to want to have sex before instead of after dinner. Well, we might have a few minutes.” I opened the door with a smile on my face, excited to see both of them, but that faded as soon as I saw who was really standing there. “Daddy? What the hell are you doing here?”

“What am I doing here? What the hell are you still doing here, Michelle? I heard all about your fun little escape when you knew damn well this was all about business! And don’t lie to me either, Michelle. I know that you’ve been fooling around with both Nico and Hugo Stepanov. I trained you to impress our clients, not spread your legs for them!”

My father walked in and closed the door behind him, then turned to glare at me. His toupee was badly positioned on his head, and his face had turned from pale white to the deepest shade of red I had ever seen. In fact, the only time that I’d seen him angrier was when he found out that I had failed science class in high school.

“Look, I don’t know what you’ve heard, but the project is moving along just fine, Daddy! And how the hell would you know if I’ve been doing anything in my private life! That’s none of your business, Daddy! I’m a grown woman and can do whatever I want! So again, the project is fine, and you need to leave!”

“Yes, yes, it is Michelle. I’m not here because I’m upset about the project. You’ve actually done a great job. I’m proud of you. But some sources have told me that you’ve been seen gallivanting all around Moscow with the brothers, so your little trip is over with. It’s time to come back to the United States.”

I felt my throat tighten up as I tried to find the words to speak. “No, not tonight, Daddy! There’s still so much to do! In fact, I have a meeting scheduled for tomorrow morning. Who’s going to take care of that? Please, just give me another week, and then I promise that I’ll come home!”

“You knew the deal, Michelle. Plus, I’ve already picked someone for you to marry. You’re going to love him, although that’s really of no importance to me. What’s more important is that you stop fooling around with these brothers and get your priorities straight, young lady.”

“Excuse me?”

“You can’t run Affinity Finance if you’re having sex with the Stepanov brothers, okay? Let me be brutally honest. But the man that I’ve picked for you, well, he’s a brilliant businessman, Michelle. Almost as brilliant as I am, but you can teach him the rest. I’ve taught you well. Anyway, when the time comes, he’ll do a fantastic job of running Affinity Finance.”

I defiantly put my hands on my hips and walked closer to him. Even though I was a few inches shorter than him, it was time that I showed him that I refused to back down. That I would be in charge of my own life, regardless of what he said or wanted me to do. At that point, even if it meant losing my real estate business funds, I told myself that I would not succumb.

“No, Daddy.”

“What the hell did you just say to me?”