For The Love of Money
What do you do when your womanizer of a husband loves your inheritance more than you and is the top divorce lawyer in Arizona? Vanessa Jeffers has had enough of her philandering husband, Jake, and wants to divorce him.
Only… while she’s making plans to dump him, Jake is making plans of his own.
Buy On

Leonardo da Vinci Airport, Rome 1985

Lena Bianchi sat in the Leonardo da Vinci Airport watching the clock next to the Arrivals board. There was an open paperback on her lap, but she’d already given up on trying to read. She was too excited to concentrate. Paolo, her husband of two years, was due to arrive in ten minutes.

With her bulk, it would take longer for her to get to the baggage area where she was to meet him, so she hauled herself up from the chair and began to make her way through the crowd of people, coming and going. Pregnant with twins, her ninth month couldn’t go fast enough. It was like carrying around a fifty-pound stone.

The announcement of the arrival of Paolo’s flight came just as she entered the baggage area. Exhausted from her long walk, she sat down on the first empty bench she found facing the entrance to wait for him.

Paolo entered ten minutes later and Lena rose to greet him. He saw her and the sight of his huge smile warmed her as she hurried into his open arms. Just as they embraced, there was a tremendous bang and the entire building shook. They looked up to see the roof of the baggage claim area collapse on top of them. A steel shard pierced Paolo’s back, his body falling onto Lena’s, shielding her from most of the debris.

Later, as the relief workers sifted through the rubble for survivors, Lena had regained consciousness and heard them. All she cared about was saving her babies. When a worker came near enough to hear her, she called out and wiggled the fingers of her only free hand. It was just enough for the man to see and hear her.

“Hey! Over here! I found someone alive!” he shouted as he began to pull Paolo’s body off of her.

Airlifted to the nearest hospital, the life was ebbing from Lena. One of the EMTs noticed and called out, “Her pressure’s dropping!”

“We’ve got to deliver her babies now,” the other said, wiping the perspiration from Lena’s dusty skin.

By the time the helicopter touched down at the hospital, the healthy cries of two newborn baby girls with café au lait colored skin could be heard. Lena lived just long enough to know her children were alive and safe.


Present Day, Fountain Hills, Arizona

Vanessa Jeffers was putting on her makeup, deciding whether or not to put foundation on her flawless café au lait skin. She was co-hosting one of her charities for needy children. She’d hoped that her husband, Jake, would be able to accompany her, but he begged off with the excuse of meeting with a new client. With the divorce rate on the rise and his being one of the most sought out divorce lawyers in Arizona, she wasn’t surprised, merely disappointed.

Vanessa did a great deal to help children. They were her passion. Whether they were impoverished or orphans, they became her surrogate kids. Married to Jake for five years, she’d had a miscarriage and had never been able to conceive again. Jake hadn’t wanted to adopt, so Vanessa quietly accepted her childless fate. Throwing her energies into helping children seemed to help her cope with not having children of her own. Jake disliked children. He found them a burden and a useless drain on funds. With a child, you couldn’t just pick up at a given notice and go on vacation. Not wanting to mold his life around a child’s needs, Jake simply didn’t want to be a parent.

Vanessa tried to understand his point of view, but found it quite difficult, for to her, children were a blessing. Now knowing how Jake felt about children, perhaps it was a good thing she hadn’t conceived.

As for the gala that evening, Vanessa had made a last-minute effort to have Jake escort her to the dinner, but he declined, again saying he had to meet with the new client. He could have gone with her, for she had told him about this evening at least two months ago. It was obvious that he really didn’t want to go. In fact, he’d been attending her galas less and less lately. Which made her wonder…

Was it because of her? Had he found her less desirable? Why would he? She hadn’t changed. Still willowy with shapely legs, her smooth, flawless café au lait complexion radiated youth. People told her all the time how young she looked. She applied mascara to her velvety-long lashes that surrounded her hazel-green, almond-shaped eyes. Now she began to add a hint of blush to her delicate, high cheekbones that gave her a somewhat exotic look. She smiled to herself as she recalled Jake comparing her to a sleek, black panther. Of course, he hadn’t realized the double meaning, but she had. She pushed a wayward lock of her shoulder length, dark-brown hair from her face.

Had Jake grown bored with her? With all the philandering going on in the circles she traveled, there was always some fresh scandal being discussed at the luncheons. Of course, she never expected Jake to cheat on her. His behavior didn’t suggest it, either. He rarely came home late and was at home waiting for her when she had. Perhaps she’s reading too much into Jake’s unwillingness to attend her charitable functions. And then there was the fact he was not as sexually active lately. She smiled at the thought of how he’d take her anywhere in the house during the early years of their marriage. Was there another woman? She really didn’t want to go there and dismissed the thought.

Jake walked Vanessa to the front door and kissed her cheek. “Have a good time and raise a lot of money.”


Vanessa had been pleased with the amount of money raised for the Phoenix Children’s Hospital. The dinner and Chinese auction had gone well without a hitch. Now, as she slipped her key into the lock of their beautiful home perched in the mountains of Fountain Hills, she looked forward to sharing this news with Jake. She took off her jacket and hung it in the hall closest before stopping to peek in their den. He wasn’t there or in his office.

She found him in their king-sized bed, propped up against the headboard, reading through a brief. Vanessa actually felt sorry for the spouse that Jake would no doubt destroy both emotionally and financially. He was a formidable litigator who worked with a team of crack investigators. He hated to lose and won more often than not in and out of court.

Vanessa’s heart filled as she saw him there looking so handsome and virile. His bare chest showcasing his six-pack, gave her a jolt of excitement. At thirty-six, his black hair sported streaks of gray at his temples, but his deep blue eyes still sparkled like rare gems. Small crease lines appeared at their corners whenever he smiled. And when he smiled, it reminded Vanessa of the past when things between them were better. Her gaze fell on his sensuous mouth, whose kisses she needed more of.

Jake sensed his wife’s entrance and looked up. “You’re home, early. Have a good time?”

“Yes. We raised enough money to buy several new imaging machines.”

“I’m glad your night was successful.”

“I was hoping that I could catch you before you went to sleep,” Vanessa said.

Jake looked at her expectantly.

“We…we haven’t spent much time together, lately.”

“And whose fault is that? I’ve been here while you’ve been gallivanting around town trying to save the world’s children.”

“That’s not fair!” Vanessa said as tears began to well in her eyes. It forced her to turn away a moment while she tried to keep them from falling.

“Really? You still haven’t learned that it will never fill the place of a child,” Jake said harshly. “It’s time to move on. Besides, charity begins at home.”

Tears began to stream down Vanessa’s face. “That’s not why I do it.”

Jake opened his arms. His voice and demeanor softened. “I know. Come here, baby. I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have said that. It’s just that I’m so damn tired of being here alone all the time.”

And I’m the one who wants a child so much, Vanessa thought as she buried her face in Jake’s broad chest. And you’re the one who couldn’t give a damn.

“Shh.” He stroked her back and kissed the top of her head. “I should not have been so harsh. I’m sorry.”

As Jake stroked her, Vanessa soon felt a different sensation. Her heart raced and there was that familiar tug she always felt in her sex. He gently lifted her chin so he could plant kisses on her forehead, eyes and finally, her lips. The first kiss was soft and light. But the next was a longer, more sensual one in which his tongue sent shivers of desire racing through her. When their lips parted, her mouth burned with fire as Jake bent to kiss the pulsing at the base of her throat.

By the time Jake reached around to unzip her dress, Vanessa had forgotten her sadness. It had been replaced by wanting and a need only Jake could fulfill. She got off the bed and let her black Valentino dress fall to the floor. When she began to slip off her three inch Manolo Blahniks, Jake whispered hoarsely, “Don’t. Leave them on.”

Jake pushed everything off the bed as Vanessa got back on wearing only her shoes. As he reached for her, the tenting in his pajama bottom whetted her appetite. Knowing it was synonymous with his desire for her, she felt like the luckiest woman in the world.

Vanessa pushed Jake back down onto his back as their lips met in a hungry kiss that sent new spirals of pleasure through her and a swirling sensation in the pit of her stomach. As his lips slid down her neck to her breasts, the tug in her sex grew stronger. Vanessa moaned softly. Jake continued to lick and suck her nipples for several more minutes. He knew this was driving her wild.

Jake rolled her onto her back and loomed over her, a smile on his lips as he saw the wanting in his wife’s eyes. She reached to stroke his penis, but he pulled out of her reach to torment her. He knew a little torment would stimulate her even more. Sure enough, as he nipped one nipple and kneaded the other, her body appeared to buck involuntarily.

As he planted tiny kisses down Vanessa’s body, Jake grew harder watching her body lift off the bed in pleasure. He loved the sexual power he had over her…and the others. Knowing her inner thighs were most sensitive, he homed in on one, kissing and lightly licking the tender skin causing Vanessa to squirm. Then he did the same to the other. Vanessa could hardly contain herself.

Jake took his time, knowing Vanessa was probably near the boiling point with desire. He lifted Vanessa’s long, shapely legs onto his shoulders and gently kissed and nibbled her inner thighs. Then he began to run the flat end of his tongue all around her sex, but avoiding touching it. Vanessa’s body bucked as she tried to move his head closer. Her patience was wearing thin and yet Jake continued to torment her with pleasure—just not the way she wanted it.

He continued to run his tongue from her ass to the opening of her vagina. Then he ran along the outside of her engorged labia, avoiding contact with her clitoris. Vanessa’s body trembled. “Please, Jake, suck me,” she finally cried out. Knowing she was so close, he obliged her.

Jake began to suck Vanessa’s clitoris. She was now moaning loudly and thrashing her head from side to side as she mashed her sex into Jake’s face. As he gently tugged her clitoris, her entire body began to spasm. He continued to pleasure her until she was spent. After spending several hours with his mistress, Cheryl, who had the sexual appetite of two women and drained every last drop of his semen, he really hadn’t wanted to fuck Vanessa, too. He’d been with Cheryl that afternoon and hadn’t lied to Vanessa about waiting for her all night.

Sure, he loved Vanessa. Only he loved her inheritance more. He made big bucks, but it could never be enough. Besides, he’d wanted to retire early and enjoy life. Therefore, Jake would just about do anything to ensure that his wife’s inheritance would remain half his.

So he continued his husbandly duties and kept Vanessa happy. Satiated, she curled up against him and fell asleep. Jake eased himself out of bed, trying not to wake her. He padded into the bathroom to brush his teeth and prepare for bed. By the time he returned, Vanessa was sound asleep. Jake smiled at the sight. She looked so peaceful. He thought himself quite the stud and gave himself a mental pat on the back.

Slipping under the covers on his side of the bed, Jake got into bed. His mind drifted to that afternoon with Cheryl and the promises he’d made to her—promises he’d probably never keep.