BONDS Two: Claim

Julien held the crystal near his nose, inhaled, then drew it closer. “Do I scent honey? And…” He took another sniff and frowned. “Peat?”
“Could be.”
“In an American batch?”
“I promised I would keep the distiller’s secrets.”
“Well done. They’ll make excellent corporate gifts.”
A photo of Julien sipping the whiskey would enable the company to sell hundreds of kegs of liquor, but Kennedy knew better than to ask.
“So, the kinky as fuck love affair,” Julien began. “Was it as good as Whatever-Her-Name-Is made it sound?”
“Chantelle Eloise,” he corrected. “There was no sex video. And no, I didn’t slice her clothes off with a knife and put her in a pair of stocks.”
“And the cattle prod?”
Kennedy raised his eyebrows.
“No cattle prod. How disappointing. But you were tempted, surely?”
“If I’d have known…”
“Her story was better than yours,” Julien said. “Much more entertaining. Next you’ll be telling me she didn’t throw the engagement ring back at you at an expensive hotel in Paris. Or that, because you’re a bastard, you flew back to the United States without her, leaving her heartbroken, sobbing and stranded with no way to pay the bill.”
“It was a good story,” Kennedy admitted. “But there was no proposal. I have no intention of shoving my head in the matrimonial noose. If I did, it wouldn’t be for Chantelle.” He sighed. “If the press had done their research, they’d have discovered I was in Boston at the time.”
“Her interview got over a hundred thousand hits.”
“You checked?”
“I did.”
“So what, you were fifty thousand of those views?”
“All that tragedy, with those streaks of mascara marring her gorgeous face. Who could resist?”
“Chantelle only cares about her acting career,” Kennedy said with little hostility. And he was sure the rumors had done wonders to help her along.
“Now that she’s ruined any hope of becoming the future Mrs. Aldrich, won’t she be bored? After all, there’s no place but down after you’ve been with a guy who’s kinky as fuck.”
“She’s already found solace in the arms of a movie producer.”