Her lips formed a seductive smile, Maria thinking that her ex-husband was only playing hard to get. “What a loaded question.” But Luca didn’t smile back or react in any way, and flustered, Maria hastily changed tactics, adding, “Eula invited me.”

“Is that so?”

“She misses me, she says.”

Luca’s gaze became veiled. “I’ll call her then.”

“Thank you.” Maria’s smile was charming. “You’ll see. She’ll tell you herself. She misses me a lot.”

Maria leaned back against the seat as the door closed behind Luca. Looking around her, she saw that nothing had changed in the Valencias’ ancestral chateau. Everything was still elegant and luxurious, everything picture perfect in the way that her life had never been.

If only she hadn’t panicked at Luca going bankrupt, Maria thought bitterly. That had been her greatest mistake. If she had just been a little more patient and trusted in Luca’s ability to turn everything into gold—-

She took a deep breath, telling herself that the past didn’t matter now. What was crucial was learning from those mistakes so she could get back to being Mrs. Valencia. And if that wasn’t possible, then there was always Plan B—-

The door opened once more, this time revealing Luca and their daughter as they entered the living room.

Speak of the devil, Maria thought just before she rose to her feet, a mask of motherly affection slipping into place. “Eula, mia amore,” she gushed as Luca came forward with their daughter in tow.

Maria hugged the little girl tightly. “Oh, sweet beautiful girl, I missed you so much!” When she pulled away, she asked brightly, “Did you miss me, too?”

Eula nodded.

Maria glanced at her ex-husband with an I-told-you-so look, to which the billionaire smiled briefly. He needed more convincing then, Maria decided. Well, that could be easily taken care of.

Taking hold of her daughter’s hand, Maria had Eula sit beside her on the sofa. “I have a gift for you…” She drew out a tiny book from her purse. “It’s a fairy tale book I bought in Paris. Would you like to read it?”

Eula nodded again.

Still standing by the door, Luca quietly observed the scenario for a few more moments before murmuring, “I need to attend to my guests. Will you two be alright if I leave you alone for a while?”

“Of course,” Maria answered immediately. Turning to her daughter, she said, “You don’t mind spending more time with Mummy, do you, my dear?”

Eula shook her head.

Luca smiled at his daughter. “I’ll be back as soon as I can, principesa.”

Even with the billionaire gone, Maria continued to pretend she was listening attentively to Eula. This was going to be a long day, Maria thought, fighting back a yawn.

After thirty minutes, Eula closed the book, saying, “The End.”

“That was great.” Maria patted the girl’s head carelessly. “How do you feel about shopping tomorrow?”

Eula didn’t answer.

“You have to spend more time with me,” she said meaningfully. “Because you’re a good little girl, remember?”

Slowly, Eula said, “Yes, Mummy.”

Maria smiled in satisfaction. “I’ll make sure to let your papa know how obedient you are.” When Luca returned to them, Maria quickly informed him of her plans to take their daughter out shopping.

“A good idea,” he agreed. “I’ll be happy to accompany you two as well, if you’ll have me.” It would be a cold day in hell before he left his child alone in his ex-wife’s care.

Maria clapped her hands in delight. “We would love to have you with us. It would be like we’re all together again!”

When his ex-wife finally left, Luca crouched down in front of his daughter, asking quietly, “Is there anything you wish to say to me?”

Eula shook her head.

He looked at her for a long while, and when she still refused to reveal anything, he said quietly, “You know I love you, don’t you?”

“Yes, Papa.”

“And you know Vivi loves you, too?”

There was a moment’s hesitation, and then Eula said, “Yes, Papa.”

Once all guests had left and he had Eula tucked in bed, Luca reviewed the CCTV footage from the moment Maria arrived. Unfortunately, none of the recordings showed Maria saying or doing anything untoward during the time she had alone with Maria.

Even so, Luca still didn’t trust her one bit.

Once a gold-digging bitch, always a gold-digging bitch.

Maria might be playing it smart now, but he knew he only had to bide his time and she would reveal her true colors soon enough. Once he found out what her real motives were and what leverage she believed she had – that was when Luca intended to make his move.

EULA WAS HAVING A NIGHTMARE, and it was about that day again.

In the little girl’s dream, the scene played out exactly the way it had in reality, with her teacher informing Eula about her mother coming to a visit.

She had rushed out of the backstage, thinking it was Vivi waiting for her.

Tags: Marian Tee Romance
Source: www.StudyNovels.com
Articles you may like