Tale of Two Hearts Series, Book 3
Daisy Johnson Keane has a lot to be thankful for. However, happiness has always come at a price. In the past Daisy chose to gamble with love for what she believed her heart desired. It proved to be a costly mistake. But Daisy has changed and so has the man she now calls husband. Aiden Keane, a powerful casino mogul and master manipulator who has been tamed by love. Or has he?
Aiden Keane has a secret. The man he despises believes himself to be the father of Aiden’s child. To reveal the truth would expose a web of lies and take him and his new bride down a dark path that could ultimately cost him everyone he cherishes. His wife Daisy pleads for patience and compromise. She wants to be done with the past and the animosity between her ex-lover and her husband. It will not be. What is a man to do when his heart tells him to have faith in her but his pride demands a under handed dealing of justice? If you’re Aiden Keane you strike first. Do what is necessary for control, and vengeance over your future and past. You let it ride.
At any cost.
No Regrets is the final story in The Tale of Three Hearts Trilogy. The final exploration of the dark side of love that will leave you, the reader, breathless from page one to the ending consequences. The lives of Daisy, Aiden and Pete are now forever changed. Who will be the victor? Only true love, forgiveness and repentance will decide.
“Aiden? Don’t!” Daisy pleaded.
Either the blare of the Italian Christmas music had rendered him deaf, or he simply didn’t care. She had to walk in a hurried fashion to match his long stride. Her crystal speckled, blue spiked heels were careful to avoid stepping on the long hem of her party dress. Under twinkling lights, large green wreaths with red bows, and mistletoe, Aiden kept going. He pulled her through a maze of smiling, slightly inebriated faces toward a destination unknown. Others, part of the Italian elite, were staring from their tables or corners of the room. She couldn’t believe how little regard he had for appearances when something or someone pissed him off.
“I was only dancing with the man. Stop! You’re embarrassing me. What is wrong with you?” Forced into the coat closet Daisy whirled around with indignant fury. “Have you lost your damn mind?”
The night was progressing nicely until Samuel Boneo led her to the dance floor. The man had garlicky breath and spoke brisk, broken English. He sweated so profusely in his tuxedo that it dripped from his brows and ran in rivulets down his temples. To be a proper hostess she entertained his request, but she should have known Aiden would be displeased.
Daisy first suspected trouble when Samuel made a point to whisper in her ear how lovely she looked while he slowly stroked her back. Three minutes into an appropriately formal slow dance Aiden appeared. Samuel stepped back as if Aiden had drew a gun on him. Her husband’s glare was exact and intense. Without a word to her or his business partner he took her by the hand, and dragged her off the dance floor.
A frown pleated his brow momentarily, and then triumphant slyness exposed what could be considered a half-smile. Aiden didn’t smile often but when he did it made him breathtakingly handsome. His teeth, even and white, contrasted sexily with his Irishman’s tan. Aiden’s hair was black as coal, and combed back in a deep wave from his face like that of a 1950’s movie star. It tapered short to his sideburns and nape. He leaned against the door, arms folded. In a business suit and tie her husband was handsome, in a tuxedo he was not to be ignored. The rich outlines of his shoulders strained against the fine dark fabric of his tux, severely tailored to his tall athletic frame, and giving off an air of wealth and power sealed by the gleam of his diamond cufflinks. Those compelling winter-green eyes under dark silky brows held a sparkle of devilment that made her stomach flutter with nervousness. Daisy could never stay mad at him for long.
“You trying to get a rise out of me, Daze?” he asked with quiet emphasis.
Daisy tugged on the sides of her dress. The midnight blue sequined fabric fit too clingy around her hips and ass. However, it was the dress Aiden had chosen out of the three she gave him to select from. So she had to make it work. She tossed her dark copper-brown locks, longer thanks to the extensions her stylist had put in. She rubbed her glossy pink lips together. She was special now. Respected. And she worked damn hard to be beautiful for him at these public events. The wife of Aiden Keane was under constant scrutiny by the press. Bloggers hadn’t been kind to her in the past over her choice in clothes, or the Kentucky twang that slipped into her speech when she gave interviews. She’d fired more than six personal stylists because of the tabloid attacks. Funny, when she ran her own salon called Jahi in Mango Grove, she dressed herself just fine. But now she worked harder at being a fashion conscious trend setter. Tonight she intended to be flawless, and her behavior had to match her appearance.
“I was being friendly. Are you jealous?”
“Dancing with a business partner of mine in front of me is not my idea of being social.”
“Really? And what about you?” she gestured with her hand at his tense posture.
His brows lowered and his hands parted the bottom folds of his tuxedo as they slipped into his trouser pockets. “What about me?”
“Oh don’t be coy, playboy. I saw you with the Prime Minister’s wife. She’s really had a thing for touching your bowtie and whispering in your ear. What was that?”
Aiden arched a single brow. A look of genuine surprise softened his face. “I hadn’t noticed. I was too busy watching Boneo drool over my woman’s breasts.”
“Mmhm,” Daisy crossed her arms.
Aiden shook his head in amusement. The closet was cramped on both sides with minks, and expensive coats. He moistened his lips and fought the urge to remove his bowtie. There was no privacy tonight for him and his woman, and that frustrated him deeply. So much had been left unsaid between them. Particularly the truth he had uncovered about Amy’s paternity. As the night progressed he was a breath away from blurting it to the crowd. Happiness, elation, and relief filled him to the brim. They were truly a family. The problem was his wife would have to be told of this secret, and Donovan’s schemes. How should I do this? Do I confess? Should I wait until after the holidays? Will she believe me?
“Aiden? Something wrong?” The playful smile on her lips faded. “You’re pale. What is it?”
His gaze leveled to her questioning stare. Daisy had blossomed into one beautiful socialite. And in this dress, the curvaceous figure he enjoyed as a married man, turned the heads of every red-blooded bloke in the room. Her long curled hair was combed over and pined so her locks fell over to the right side of her oval shaped face. She had goddess features and required little makeup to enhance her beauty.
“Why are you staring at me like that?”
He smiled. Their love grew stronger daily and like a gravitational pull, no matter the function, he found ways to keep her close to him. Tonight she was like a diamond-dusted butterfly, from one end of the room to the next she dazzled everyone.
Aiden moved on her. “You like the attention of other men,” he said rather than asked. One deep inhale of her perfume sparked memories of how sweet her skin smelled, and how soft she felt when he claimed her in bed.
“Italian men are flirts,” she replied, and teased him with a smile. “Besides, I can’t help it that Sammie found me beautiful. Can I?”
“Sammie?” Aiden chuckled at the pet name she gave Boneo to get a rise out of him. Daisy would never admit it but she liked aggression, and his possessiveness. Oh she complained or pushed back but he knew her, really knew her.
“Of course you can’t help it. You are beautiful. Did you know that you’re glowing tonight?” He could see it happening between them. As if in slow motion the true meaning of why he wanted to be alone with her was realized.
Daisy touched her cheek. “For real? You think I’m glowing?” she grinned. “It’s because I’m carrying our baby.”
“Yes,” he groaned.
There was no escape. Aiden had cornered her against the wall. Furs, and fancy coats seemed to fold in around them. He dropped his hand to the left side of her face and pressed it flat to lean in, their lips were drawn close enough for a kiss. Those piercingly and often calculating eyes of his swept down her face to be snared by the swell of her breasts. “We haven’t celebrated properly since you told me I’m going to be a father. I don’t think I can wait much longer, Daze.”
Aiden had started calling her Daze after they married. It was his private nickname for her. She was at first uncomfortable with his choice since Pete, her ex-boyfriend, once used it for her. Of course she never told this to Aiden. His jealousy over her first love never lessened no matter how much time passed. Besides, she found a new appreciation for the pet name when he explained his reasons. He told her that loving her, having her, often left him dazed, and humbled. That was Aiden. He could say the sweetest thing with few words. She should call him ‘breathless’ because that’s how she felt each and every time she gave in to his passionate pursuits.
“Behave. We are not doing what you think we’re going to do in here, okay?” She put a hand to his chest and the other to his groin, giving the hard muscle a gentle squeeze. Damn. He was thickly coiled behind his zipper. Daisy licked her lips feeling herself become excited. Oh how she suffered. Moist heat dampened the seat of her panty. She hadn’t had him in her mouth in weeks. She loved sucking cock, Aiden’s cock. Why she wasn’t sure, maybe it was how completely under her control he became when she did so. And she was really good at it too. Her free hand went up and down his chest and she could feel the agitation of his heartbeat. Contact sent a passionate memory through her. Two months ago when she was back in Mango Grove he surprised her at the salon. He cornered her in the bathroom of her office and before long had her pressed tight to the wall as he fucked her in the most naughty of places. The acceleration of his heartbeat beneath her palm said he must be remembering too.
“Touch me.” He dared her, staring directly into her eyes. Daisy shook her head. The furthest she would go was the gentle squeeze of his dick. She removed her hand from his groin and pressed both against his chest.
Aiden tugged on his bottom lip with his teeth, lowering his gaze down to her breasts. She was in trouble! Soon he’d have her thong shoved aside and all eight inches of pure steel nailing her against the wall. Daisy refused to be caught in a coat closet screwing her husband. “You’ll mess up my hair and makeup,” she warned him.
“Did you wear panties?” he asked.
She gave a shy twist of her mouth. “I don’t wear panties, you know I wear thongs,” she corrected him.
His gaze flickered up and his irises burned with green lust. “Mmm,” he smiled, and ran his free hand down her hip. “Do you have on a thong? Take it off. Give it to me.”
Daisy felt her cheeks heat with acute bashfulness. Even now, the man could ask things of her that made her blush. “You promise to be good?”
He nodded and stepped back to give her room.
With no other choice Daisy pulled up her dress. If she did this quickly she might escape without having to give him more. The sequined hem of her dress rustled. She reached beneath and grabbed the thong, drawing it down her hips, thighs, and knees. She stepped out of the rolled pair and Aiden knelt to retrieve the thin gossamer. He brought it up to his face and inhaled. She hit him while giggling. Snatching her thong from his hand she tucked it into his trouser pocket. “Now, you hold on to these tonight. Maybe later I’ll unzip you and suck you.” She licked her lips in a naughty swirl emphasizing her skill.
“I can’t wait until later.”
“Stop!” Daisy gasped, crushed up against the wall. “Someone could come in and my dress is delicate, you’ll rip it.” She reasoned with him. The rest of her protest was smothered under a kiss. She held to the muscled definition of his midriff. Oh how she loved to kiss her husband. Aiden’s tongue was almost as smooth as the words he used on her to get his way. The spark was instant and half of her brain shut off. The part that was sensible and cautious of their reputation was immediately overrun with her bad girl notions of a sexy throw down to soothe the ache between her legs. Daisy had to admit she gave in to those bad girl emotions more times than not. Tonight, however, was different. She bit his bottom lip and pushed hard against him. He didn’t stop. If she didn’t stop him soon, her dress would be hiked to her waist and her legs wrapped around his. To be honest she loved fucking him in his casinos, and she often did. Please God not tonight.
“Oh? Forgive me! Excuse me!” Natalie her assistant gasped.
“Aiden! Oh my God! She saw you!” Daisy turned her face and lips away from the kiss. It didn’t stop her husband a beat. Aiden pressed in on her running the tip of his tongue along the contour of her neck. He removed his hand from her sex. She could see Natalie hurry out of the door with bright red cheeks.
Daisy wiggled and pushed at him until she managed an escape. “See! I don’t want to look ghetto!” He grabbed her wrist and yanked her back. “What is it?” she demanded, her patience now shortened by her embarrassment.
“We need to talk. I thought it could wait, but I think I need to tell you now. I’m not good at keeping shit in. Not this. Well, that’s not true, I’ve kept it in for six months. I can’t anymore. I need to tell you before we leave to bring home my daughter.”
“It’s about Amy? Isn’t it? About her being with Pete on Christmas Eve?”
“She’s my fucking daughter. And you should have never sent her away.” He paced.
Stunned Daisy swallowed her first response. She tried to speak reasonably. “We’ve been through this, Aiden.”
“No. Actually we haven’t. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have snapped at you.” He shook his head. He pressed his hand to his brow as if his head pained him. “You don’t understand. That’s my fault.”
The door opened again. This time it was Rose, the event and casino manager. “Mr. and Mrs. Keane, we’re ready to open the game rooms. It’s time for your toast.”
“Would you get the fuck out?” Aiden shouted. He glared at the woman from over his shoulder and she immediately complied.
“Oh my gosh. Don’t do that. Don’t yell at our staff like that. People go to the blogs and tell them all kinds of mean things about me. They keep saying I’m your plaything even though I’m your wife. We need to be dignified in front of our employees and guests,” she reminded him.
“To hell with them! What the fuck am I paying these people for? Barging in on a private conversation!” He threw his hands up exasperated.
“We’re in a coat closet, baby. Besides, the plan is for you and I to escort everyone to the private rooms set up for gaming tonight. It’s the first time the public sees your casino. Aren’t you excited?”
He shrugged his shoulders. “Don’t change the subject.” Aiden stepped away running his hand back through his hair. “Amy is my daughter, Daisy. That’s what I’m trying to tell you. She’s really mine.”
Another knock on the door stopped him. Daisy hurried to the door. She opened the door and found her assistant had returned. The young blonde apologized again and informed her that the Prime Minister had asked after them. “Stall for us, just another two minutes,” Daisy whispered back. When she turned, Aiden was pacing, his jaw clenched with anger. She walked over and stopped him. She took his hands into hers and gave them both a squeeze. Daisy rose on her toes and his face lifted in time for her to force a kiss. He was slow to respond. But when the passion between them sparked, as it often did, she could feel the anxiety in him softening. His strong, long arms folded around her. She was crushed by his embrace but endured. Soon he loosened his hold on her and his mouth drew away.
“Of course she’s your daughter. She loves you, baby,” she began. “It’s my first party that I planned all by myself, Aiden. I really want to see this through. Support me, okay? Amy’s yours. I’m yours. You are the sun, moon, and stars for us both. I love you. Tonight is Christmas Eve, we will celebrate, talk, and do whatever it is you want to. However you want to.”
The uncertainty deepened in his eyes, but he braved a confident smile for her. “Whatever I want?”
“You know I always deliver on my promises. Whatever you want, all night.” She flicked her tongue at his earlobe. He squeezed her ass and kissed her again. “You be a good husband for me. We never let our personal issues get in the way of our business. Right? Everything goes well we can leave soon.”
She took his hand and led him out of the closet back through the celebrating crowd. Natalie seemed relieved to have her return. Daisy knew the poor girl was as frazzled as she was, trying to keep up with everything.
Aiden’s hand slipped from Daisy’s.
Daisy glanced back to see him stroll away toward his guests. No one would have suspected the little tantrum he just threw with her. Aiden Keane never let them see him sweat. In fact she could count on one hand the number of times where any issue between them interfered with his ability to command his business affairs. Today was different and it wasn’t just because of the holidays. Just hours ago she told him that after a six month wait she was finally pregnant. There was so little time to celebrate afterwards, or even talk about it.
“Now. What’s the problem, Natalie?”
“I don’t want to overstep, but I think there is something you should know.”
“Okay? Walk with me.” Daisy started around the dining tables.
“Rose and Casey. They’ve called a quick meeting with some of your staff. I wasn’t invited but I, well, I peeked in.”
“I overheard them both discussing the Prime Minister and a private tour of the closed floors of the casino for his entourage. I thought you specifically said no.”
“I did.” Daisy frowned. “Aiden didn’t want this party. I convinced him to let me throw it, but he insists that the hotel floors remain closed. He’d lose his mind if the press got a leak. Where are they?”
“In the office making arrangements with the staff.” Natalie nodded toward the curtain to the far left side of the room. Behind it was Daisy’s command center. She couldn’t believe how brazen Rose and Casey were about defying her husband’s wishes. Granted she’d just flown back into Italy today, but she had spoken with them several times over the phone.
“I’ll handle it.”
Hollow Creek –
“Daddy Pete! Daddy Pete. Daddiieee!”
Pete awoke after the soft push of a child’s hand shook his arm. When he turned his head on the pillow his vision cleared and his daughter’s wide-eyed stare greeted him. She blinked her hazel green pair under long lashes, with her thumb in her mouth. He smiled. Every day she looked more and more like her mother. There were days when she’d say or do something so like Daisy it would scratch and resurface old wounds and force him to look away.
“Hi, sweetheart.” Pete sat up in bed and switched on the bedside lamp.
“I want to go home,” Amy pouted. “Can you call my real daddy? He’ll come. He said he would. I know the number.”
Heaviness settled on his heart. He glanced back to his wife. Nina slept on her side. She’d had a fitful night plagued by false contractions. He didn’t want to disturb her. He feared Amy would have a meltdown soon if she didn’t receive the answer she wanted. Pete tossed aside the covers and reached for his daughter. He heaved her into his arms and walked out of the room carrying his princess.
“We saw Mommy and Aiden on the news tonight remember?”
“Well you can’t go home tonight, but you will see them both in the morning.”
“I want to go home,” Amy sighed.
The opening of Aiden’s latest business venture was global news. Red carpet photos of celebrities in Italy were all over the stations. And Daisy arrived looking like some old Hollywood glamour star. There was no room for his daughter in all of that glitz and pretention. Her request to leave hurt. Amy was in his heart now. He loved having her with him so much that he once watched her sleep for close to an hour before he joined Nina in bed. Often she called him Daddy Pete, but when scared, tired, or homesick she asked for Aiden. And lately she’d begun referring to Aiden as her ‘real’ father. Both he and Daisy’s sister talked about this with her. But Amy was stubborn in her refusal to let go of the bond she and Aiden Keane shared. Pete believed that Aiden had something to do with this. As much as he wanted to work with Daisy on this custody arrangement his patience was wearing thin with how divided his relationship with his daughter had become thanks to that man’s bad influence.
“Is it Christmas yet?” Amy asked then put her thumb in her mouth as he headed up the dark hall.
Pete stopped outside of her bedroom door, a room he and Nina had painted and decorated for her visits. He’d completely forgotten the importance of the evening. He checked his watch. The time said it was just after nine. It was definitely too early for her to open her gifts. “Ut oh.”
“What?” Amy said, removing her thumb from her mouth.
“I think someone’s here.” He put her down on her pajama covered feet. She blinked up at him with her right fist curled and thumb sticking up. Her beautiful bright eyes widened with fear.
“In the living room,” Pete whispered. “It could be Santa?”
“Santa!” Amy ran for the living room. He barely caught her by the waist and brought her back. Pete stifled a smile. Pressing his finger to her lips as she danced on her feet he nodded for her to be quiet. Amy glanced back toward the hall. They heard another bump in the living room, as if someone hit the coffee table. “I hears it! I hears him!” she said in a loud whisper.
The noisemaker was probably his golden retriever named Jake, but Pete didn’t tell Amy this. He nodded to her. “That definitely sounds like Santa coming out of the chimney. You still want to go home? After Santa has come all this way to bring you gifts?”
Jake, the family pet started down the hall toward them. Amy giggled. “It’s not Santa, it’s only Jake! He fooled us!”
Pete kissed her forehead sharing in the laugh. The damn dog had the worse timing. “Yep. It’s Jake all right. But Santa is coming tonight.”
“Does he know I’m here? Will he go to my other house to look for me?”
“Your mommy called Santa and told him you were coming to stay with Daddy Pete.”
“Oh yeah,” Amy put her hand to her forehead. “I forget. She told me.”
Jake began to lick at her face and Amy giggled.
“How long he take to come here?” Amy asked, “Stop, Jake, bad doggie,” she said when Jake got too frisky and jumped on her.
Pete checked his watch. “On the news they said he had just left the North Pole.”
“How far is the North Pole?” Amy asked.
Pete stroked his chin. “I think it’s about a few hours away.”
His little girl’s eyes stretched so wide he feared they’d pop out of her skull. “I got to go to bed.” Amy turned and ran into her dark room with Jake at her heels. Pete chuckled. He followed. She climbed on the bed drawing up her covers. Jake jumped on top and lay at the foot of the bed. Pete walked over and tucked her in. “I’ll go to sleep. I promise. Don’t tell Santa I was up. Oh and make sure he gets the cookies we left,” Amy yawned.
“I will.” He turned off the light next to her bed. When he rose he saw her turn over with her thumb in her mouth. “Amy?”
She looked back. “Yes?”
“I’m really happy you came to stay with us for Christmas. Daddy missed you so much.”
“I missed you too, Daddy Pete. And I missed Jake and Nina. I guess I stay a little longer.”
“Can you just call me daddy?”
“Daddy.” She nodded.
He watched her turn over, content. Jake put his head down and settled in to watch over her. Pete walked out of her room with a smile.
The command center was delegated to staff only. Typically it was a gathering place for the different security managers who ran the large monitoring rooms below and above Aiden’s casinos. This evening Daisy used it as a centralized location for her event planning team.
Rose and Casey’s flagrant disregard for her instructions puzzled Daisy. She entered through a door covered by curtains as the last of her staff passed out of it. She was determined to get to the bottom of the matter. Inside she had to walk around the wall of monitors to be seen. Whatever meeting they’d just held with the people under her employ, she wasn’t invited to attend. Now Rose and Casey were the only two who remained. Neither had heard her enter, and both continued with their conversation.
“I have an idea. Why don’t we have Elise take the Prime Minister through here, and here where the hotel floors are open? Aiden said he and his wife would be staying the night so I’m sure the entire level has to be secure. A ten minute walk through should be sufficient. A rare peek into Aiden’s Emerald Kingdom will stun them.”
Someone gave a snort of distaste. To Daisy it sounded like Rose.
“What is it?” Casey asked.
“Her. The wife. I can’t believe he married her.”
“Oh, Rose, not this again. Who gives a shit?”
“Please! Don’t stand there like you aren’t thinking it. She has to be the tackiest woman in the place tonight,” Rose snickered.
“Yeah I was thinking the same thing when she arrived. Did you see her in all those diamonds she put on with that dress? The poor thing sparkles more than a Vegas showgirl.” They both laughed. Casey continued to speak through her laughter. “She thinks she has to wear every piece of jewelry she owns. Where on earth did Aiden find her?”
“The ghetto. Do you believe that story she feeds the press, about falling in love at the Shamrock, and finding each other again after five years. Bullshit! I’ve slept with Aiden off and on for over ten years and trust me, it wasn’t her name he was calling while blowing my back out.”
“Stop, Rose!” Casey laughed loudly. “Your horns are showing! And your tail too!”
“I’m not the devil. Aiden is. Our sexy devil, and he’s lost his touch. Here we are in Italy with a billion dollar deal and he doesn’t want to give a tour? I know it’s her influence.”
“I agree. But we have to be careful.” Casey warned. “Those days of being Aiden’s girls are over. Our bad boy is a family man now. He’s uptight, different. Reformed.”
“Reformed my ass. Oh to hell with it, I’m over Aiden Keane. We’ve opened and closed casinos for years. Let her play party hostess, or tacky wife, while we handle business.”
“And Aiden? He might be pissed if the hotel’s perks are leaked to the press,” Casey said.
There was a brief pause before Rose answered. “No press is bad press for Aiden Keane. I’m the queen of making sure of that. And if you’re right, we’ll just blame her.”
“Oh you are so bad. I like it.” Casey snickered.
“This is how it’s done. Aiden’s losing his touch. We need to shake things up and get his attention. Tell me you don’t miss the old days. Aiden could punish a girl good.”
“I guess. I try not to think back on my Aiden Keane days. I have a fiancé remember? I would advise you to let it go. Mrs. Keane has already fired Noel, Kourtney, and Marlo. I hear each of them tried at one time to remind Aiden of the good ole days.”
Rose chuckled. “Aiden would never fire me. I know where the skeletons are buried.”
“So did Donovan and look what that got him.” Casey noted.
“You think the rumor is true?” Rose gasped.
“That Aiden scared the shit out of the old guy until he had a heart attack?” Casey asked. “Yes. I was there the night Aiden had Donovan brought up to his suite. I saw them carry Donovan out. Something happened that broke Aiden. You think he’s different because of her. He’s different because Donovan died on him. I guarantee it.”
“I bet all of it is still that bitch’s fault.”
Casey roared with laughter. “Rose, I swear you are too much. Focus. Focus. Focus. How do you propose we say she signed off on this little sabotage?”
“Wait. Make no mistake, I’m still a professional, this is going to work. Even if Aiden is pissed he’ll be too happy with the good press we generate to give a shit.”
“Mmhm,” Casey mumbled.
“I’m serious. We do this because it’s good for Shamrock, for Aiden, for the investors, not out of spite or sabotage. The tour is a small way to show the Prime Minister we want to cater to his culture.”
“Then go out there and tell Mrs. Keane your idea. Get her sign-off so we can stop all of this sneaking around.”
“Forget her. This is my idea, and when we succeed Aiden will know it. Besides she’s all over the place. If I tell her I’m taking the Prime Minister and his guests to the powder room for a game of shower hockey she would nod like some idiot and agree.”
“Well I think she’s good for him.”
“Aiden silly. We both know how cruel Aiden could be. He’s happy for once, Rose. You had to notice that difference,” Casey said. “And she can be really sweet. She tries hard to learn his business. She’s not that bad really. Besides I need this job. The economy sucks right now. Aiden must truly have the pot of gold to be doing so well.”
“True.” Rose agreed. “That’s why it’s up to us to make sure he stays on top.”
Daisy stood in stunned silence for a moment. It took that long for her to calm herself. She wouldn’t let these viperous bitches see her distressed. Aiden had told her after the Marlo incident each woman on his executive staff that he’d fucked. Daisy knew of Rose and Casey’s history with her husband but respected their work. Casey was engaged to be married so she never saw her as a threat. Rose wore a pound of makeup to cover her aging features and had to be Aiden’s age or older. Did this witch actually think her husband would consider her bed over hers? Daisy hesitated over that question. She didn’t doubt Aiden’s love for her, but deep down she had fears. If he cheats with you he will cheat on you, whispered her insecurity. Heaving a sigh she walked around the corner and stepped into view. When Casey turned she was the first to see Daisy. Rose sensed something was wrong and her attention was averted to Daisy as well. The women didn’t appear pleased. Daisy walked out slowly under the ceiling track lights.
Neither spoke. How could they with their feet shoved so deeply in their mouths.
“Oh I’m sorry? Did I interrupt?” Daisy touched her chest. Casey and Rose exchanged a look. The silence shared by the women made the temperature drop a degree in the stilled air. “Nothing to say? You seem to have so many opinions about my husband’s and my marriage, surely you can say some of it to my face?”
“I apologize, Miss Keane,” Casey began.
“It’s Mrs. Keane. And save your fucking apology, darling.” Daisy crossed her arms to the front of her. “I guess we need to clear the air between us. For some reason you think I don’t know that you two were both once my husband’s whores.”
“I beg your pardon. I was never!” Rose said.
“You were his whore. And from what Aiden told me, you were pretty lousy at it.”
“Okay, everyone calm down.” Casey stepped forward. “Mrs. Keane, we are both sorry for what you walked in on.”
Daisy laughed. “I’m not. It’s good to know who I’m dealing with. And that little scheme to undermine my husband’s business and pin it on me is the least of your worries now. Neither one of you are talking your way out of this.”
“We are doing what Aiden pays us to do,” Rose said with a smirk. “Ask him.”
“Poor Rose.” Daisy shook her head with exaggerated pity. “Aiden wanted to let you go months ago. I felt sorry for you. An aging tramp in a business suit, where would poor Rose go?”
“Tramp? Takes one to know one.” Rose shot back.
“Ah,” Daisy turned the diamond on her ring finger and held it out to sparkle under the ceiling track lights. A twenty-two carat rare pink gem that cost more money than either of the women before her made in a year gleamed and dazzled. “Yes. I’ve been called a tramp before. But he put a ring on it. And no pre-nup. Go figure.”
“Mrs. Keane, please let me try to explain,” Casey said again.
Daisy’s head tilted to the right, she continued to size Rose up, ignoring Casey’s pathetic plea completely. “I’m not only Aiden’s wife, business partner, and the mother of his bratty children, oops, did I mention I’m pregnant again?” Daisy placed a hand to her tummy. She should have never exposed this wonderful news to these women, but rage had loosened her lips. Nothing could hold her back now. The color drained from Rose’s cheeks. Daisy was hardly done. “I’m also the vindictive tramp that will strip you of every damn thing you’ve ever earned at Shamrock, including your stellar reputation,” Daisy smiled. “Ask Marlo.”
“We only meant—” Casey looked to Rose for help. Rose however didn’t blink. She glared openly at Daisy. So when Daisy spoke again she addressed Rose directly.
She shot a glare at Casey. “And you too. Fired. Get the hell out of my casino.”
The two women actually exchanged looks like they didn’t believe she had the authority. Daisy shrugged off their hesitation. She walked over to a phone, picked it up, dialed and continued to hold Rose’s glare. “Hi, Natalie. Send in Charlie and Gus. I have some trash I need to have taken out.”
Rose threw up her hands, tossed her dark hair and walked off past Daisy. Casey wasn’t as abrupt. She approached Daisy, her face flushed with shame. “Mrs. Keane, I really am sorry. I’m a professional, regardless of what you think of me. It was wrong to spread gossip. If you give me a chance I intend to correct this mistake.”
“Go to hell,” Daisy answered dryly. She wouldn’t waste another ounce of energy on the woman.
Casey doubled blinked. She walked off. Daisy stood emotionless until the door closed. She dropped in the chair nearest to her and reached around her neck to rip off her Cartier diamond choker she wore. Tears clung to her long lashes threatening to drop. She sniffed and wiped them away. Putting her hand to her brow she waited for her embarrassment to lessen. It would be a long wait.
Aiden plucked a flute of golden champagne from a passing silver platter and swallowed a mouthful. He needed something stronger.
“So as I was saying, an expansion deal could very well be on the horizon depending on how tourism improves over the next two years. Are you considering it?” Alexandre asked.
“Maybe,” Aiden replied. He watched his wife enter the security room beyond the curtains. The conversation amongst the four men continued to lead toward Aiden taking on more investors. It was times like this he missed the old man. Donovan McBride was an expert at keeping the sharks at bay. The young Epstein he put in his place stumbled in and out of the conversation but proved effective during direct assaults. Aiden sighed. Where the fuck will he find his next gladiator who could do both?
Shortly after Daisy went inside her command center Aiden noticed Charlie and Gus having a conversation with Natalie. His brow arched curiously. Charlie and Gus handled difficult situations for him and were never summoned by Daisy. The curtain moved and Rose followed by Casey walked out, the ladies were then escorted by his men to the door. He knew that walk. He had sent many employees in his casinos out with Gus and Charlie the same way. And depending on their infraction, their final destinations often weren’t pleasant ones. Aiden’s brow furrowed with worry.
Daisy emerged. She dabbed under her eyes and walked over to her assistant. He watched as Daisy handed the woman her diamond necklace and jeweled bracelets from her wrist. The assistant nodded and walked off. Daisy turned and their eyes connected. The thin lipped smile she gave him deepened his concern. Before he made a move to approach her the Italian Prime Minister stood from the table he dined at and it was announced that he would give a toast. As the older lean man with greying hair stepped up to the podium in his distinguished white tux with a red, green, and white sash accompanied with golden medals, Daisy drifted through the crowd and arrived at Aiden’s side. Aiden gently took her hand and walked over to the podium assisting her with the climb. Whatever troubled her had vanished under her dazzling smile. She happily beamed up at him as the Prime Minister welcomed them both and their business to Milan. He spoke of a continuing prosperous relationship. Aiden understood Italian, Daisy didn’t. So he leaned in and translated into her ear. She smiled, but it was forced and her eyes had that moist look of suppressed tears. Aiden was ready for the night to end.