Sidney Sheldon's Chasing Tomorrow(6)

By: Sidney Sheldon&Tilly Bagshawe

Jeff’s voice was hoarse with desire. Tracy gripped the phone, feeling weak with longing. She wanted him too, desperately. It had been only a week since they had been together in Amsterdam, but her body was already crying out for him.

“We can’t be seen together in Rio. Not until I’ve nailed Pierpont.”

“Why not? I can be the Count Di Sorrenti.”

“He died.”

“Bummer. How?”

“Jet Ski accident in Sardinia.”

“What a phony. He deserved it.”

“I watched it happen from our yacht.”

“Of course you did, Countess.” Jeff chuckled. “How about I come back as his ghost?”

“I’ll see you in church next Saturday, darling. I’ll be the hot girl in the white dress.”

“At least tell me where you’re staying.”

“Good night, Mr. Stevens.”

THE LAWYER’S OFFICE WAS small and airless, tucked away in a small street off the Avenida Rio Branco in Rio’s Centro business district.

“You’re sure these permissions are genuine?”

“Yes, Countess Di Sorrenti.”

“And complete? There’s nothing else I would need, legally, apart from the deeds here”—Tracy held up a sheaf of papers—“to begin work on this site?”

“No, Countess.” The lawyer’s frown deepened. He’d explained the situation to the beautiful young lady multiple times now, but she still seemed unable to grasp it. The Countess Di Sorrenti might be rich and beautiful, but she was also clearly profoundly dim. He tried one last time. “You do understand, there is still the issue of—”

“Yes, yes. Thank you.” Tracy waved an imperious hand before reaching into her vintage Louis Vuitton handbag for a gold Montblanc pen. “How much do I owe you?”

Suit yourself, thought the lawyer. He’d done his best.

FIVE DAYS AFTER HIS dinner with the Countess Di Sorrenti at Quadrifoglio, Maximilian Pierpont drove south of Rio, along the breathtaking Green Coast road, toward his latest acquisition. As good as her word, the countess had couriered over copies of the deeds to her property along with building permits the very next morning. Pierpont had wired the six million reals to her Swiss account within an hour, and the land was his. Go to hell, Monsignor Cheapskate! But he hadn’t had a chance to drive out and see it until today.

Six acres of prime cliff-side property—six acres!—with its own private beach, easily accessible from both the city and from Paraty, Rio’s answer to East Hampton. Maximilian Pierpont could hardly believe his luck. Better still, he fully intended to nail the lovely Countess Valentina tonight, once he returned to the city. She’d invited him over to her apartment for dinner, always a good sign. The address was on one of the finest streets in Leblon, the most exclusive neighborhood in the whole of South America. Clearly neither “Papa” nor “poor Marco” had left the lady short of funds. The prospect of swindling the sexy young heiress out of still more millions, while availing himself of her smoking-hot body in bed, was giving Maximilian Pierpont the biggest hard-on he’d had in a decade.

He reached the property just before noon. There were a few houses along this stretch of road, but no real standouts. Pierpont’s plot stood in splendid isolation at the very top of the bluffs. Valentina wasn’t kidding about the views. They were spectacular. On one side the ocean blurred into the cloudless sky, a symphony in limitless blue. On the other, mountains smothered by vivid green rain forest sparkled like vast heaps of newly polished emeralds. It’s even prettier than I imagined. Maximilian Pierpont congratulated himself again that he hadn’t lost out on this deal by listening to his dumb-ass lawyer.

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