Just One Fling – Chapter One

Winter Capwell stepped into the penthouse, where she was meeting with Nikki and Derek Bettencourt, her heart pounding hard in her chest. She was about to reveal a secret she’d been keeping since she moved into Nikki’s building. Now it was time to come clean, and Winter was nervous as hell.

Asher Dare, Nikki’s fiancé, opened the door to the apartment he and Nikki shared, but Winter’s gaze went directly to the siblings waiting for her. Nikki, with her long, dark hair, and Derek, his hair a touch lighter, shared similar facial features. Including the green eyes that met Winter’s gaze, a hue so like her own.

“Hi, Winter. What’s going on?” Confusion etched Nikki’s face, along with concern.

Winter didn’t blame her. She and Nikki had spent a lot of time together after the former model had returned from Asher’s Eleuthera home, where she’d stayed after a devastating scandal. That had been where a twenty-one-year-old Nikki had coupled with Asher, the billionaire owner of Dirty Dare Spirits and the Meridian Hotels. But in all their time walking Winter and Nikki’s dogs, meeting for coffee, and getting to know each other, Winter had never hinted at hiding a secret. One that included Nikki and her brother, Derek.

Before Winter could answer, Asher spoke. “Winter asked to talk to you both privately, so I’m going to leave you alone. I’ll be in my office if you need me.”

“No, stay,” Winter said. If she’d learned anything about Nikki, the younger woman could handle Winter’s news but would want all the support she could get to process the information.

Nikki looked from her fiancé to her brother, who shrugged, obviously as lost as she was.

But Asher cut Winter a look that warned her if she hurt his fiancée, she’d answer to him. Nothing surprising there. It didn’t matter what Winter revealed, Asher would look out for Nikki, making it easy to see why she’d fallen for the brooding, protective man. Though Winter preferred his more light-hearted, sexy brother, Harrison. But now was not the time to think about her hot summer fling.

Asher rested his palm on Nikki’s back, and she leaned into him, proving Winter’s instinct correct in asking him not to leave.

“Let’s sit,” Asher suggested, for which Winter was grateful.

Her legs were trembling as much as her insides. He led them into the overly large family room, and they all chose their places, Asher and Nikki on one end of the soft, taupe-colored suede sofa, Derek in a black leather club chair.

Winter took the opposite end of the couch and tried to relax, but her leg bounced up and down, nerves consuming her.

“Okay, time to talk,” Derek said. “What’s happening here? Why did you need to see us?”

Nikki tilted her head. “Winter?” she asked, clearly wanting answers, too.

Winter swallowed hard and met their curious stares. “I wanted to tell you this a while ago, but first came your… scandal,” she said to Nikki, hating to bring up such a painful time. “And then the break with your parents. Then you and Asher got engaged, and I didn’t want to ruin your happiness. There was never a good time.”

Placing a hand over her stomach, Nikki drew a deep breath. “We’ve grown close, Winter. The fact that you’re a reporter made me uneasy at first, but you promised me you had no interest in me or my family as interview subjects.”

“And I don’t,” Winter rushed to reassure her. “But I do have another kind of interest.” She glanced down at her manicured nails, studying them instead of facing the duo just yet. “I’m just going to lay out the truth, but bear with me while I explain.” She rubbed her hands on her black leggings, gathering her courage. “Here goes. I moved into your building on purpose so I could meet and get to know you.”

“What the fuck?” Derek exploded, protective of his younger sister.

“You’d better keep going with the explanation,” Asher said, his jaw clenched tight, his hands clasped around Nikki’s.

God, Winter almost wished she had someone who cared enough to bolster her now. But that wasn’t the life she’d been given, and despite this news, it had been a good one so far. 

“I was raised by my mother. No father in the picture. My mom always told me she didn’t know who he was, and because we were such a tight unit, I let it go. Mom was independent, and I was okay not knowing. Then…” She pulled in a much-needed breath. “About a year ago, Mom was diagnosed with cancer. Shortly before she died, she told me who my father was.”

It wasn’t easy to speak over the lump that rose in her throat whenever she talked or thought about her mother. They’d been so close, and the loss had been, and still was, devastating.

They sat in wary silence, waiting for Winter to continue.

So she did. “After the funeral, I was alone, and I couldn’t stop thinking about what my mother had told me. By then I was a reporter, and my desire to prove who my father was outweighed my mom’s wish for me to leave things alone. I started with one of those ancestry tests, just to see if it revealed anything. It came back, connecting me to…” She looked from Derek to Nikki. “Both of you.”

“Holy shit,” Asher muttered.

“I need to think,” Derek said, running an agitated hand through his hair.

Nikki blinked. “Wait, Derek. Remember that Christmas we bought each other one of those ancestry tests? We knew Mom would have a fit, so we sent them to your friend’s house and took them there?”

Derek nodded, and his furious expression eased a bit as memory lit his eyes. “Our mother wouldn’t want anything out in public or online that would call attention to our father, the senator, or impact his potential run for the White House.”

Yes, Winter knew all too well how badly Collette Bettencourt wanted to be First Lady and how far she’d go to make that happen.

“The test came back with the information we already knew about our ancestry, and I forgot all about it.” Nikki removed her hand from Asher’s grip and waved it in the air as she spoke, growing more excited as she recalled the connection to Winter’s story.

Derek leaned forward. “I checked off the boxes that would notify me if someone signed up who was related to us. But a couple of years later, my email was hacked, and I had to get rid of the account. I re-signed up for as many places as I could remember, but I forgot about the ancestry site.” He shook his head in wonder.

“But your names were listed,” Winter said.

Derek ran a hand through his hair and groaned. “And you

found us. But I still want a DNA test as proof.” 

“I figured you would.”

Derek’s demand wasn’t insulting. Winter wanted the same thing.

“I have a friend who’s a pediatrician,” he went on. “I’ll ask him to pull strings and get it rushed through the lab.”

She couldn’t expect to announce she was the illegitimate daughter of Senator Corbin Bettencourt, who represented NY State in the US Congress and hope to be immediately believed.

And she wasn’t finished with her story, either. “Umm, there’s more.” She figured she might as well air all her dirty laundry at once.

Derek placed his arms on his thighs and groaned. “Let’s hear it.”

She sighed because the story didn’t paint her mother in the best light, but they deserved to know. “As you already figured out, my mother and your father had an affair. It was after you were born, but before Nikki,” she said, looking at Derek. “Mom knew the senator was married. From what she told me, he never made any promises, and she didn’t ask for any. When she found out she was pregnant, she had every intention of raising me on her own. But your mother found out.”

Winter swallowed hard, deciding to leave out how Collette discovered her husband’s mistress was pregnant for another time. “She confronted my mother, swore her husband’s slut wouldn’t ruin their political aspirations, and paid her to have an abortion.”

Nikki gasped, but Winter forged on, needing to purge herself of the information and see what the siblings chose to do afterward.

“Obviously, my mother didn’t have the abortion but did keep the money. She moved from New York to a small town in Maine and raised me there. And that’s it in a nutshell.”

Silence settled over the room as everyone processed Winter’s words and she held her breath, worried about what Nikki and Derek would think of the mother Winter had loved.

What Winter found most interesting was that neither Nikki nor Derek questioned that their mother would do such a thing. Given the fact that Collette Bettencourt had belittled Nikki for not living up to her expectations while manipulating her daughter to do as she wanted, perhaps it wasn’t a shock.

Nikki had cut ties with her parents after they’d ignored her in public, humiliating and hurting her badly. It worried Winter that their father was capable of such cruel behavior, making her wonder if she wanted to get to know the man.

“Assuming your story is true, and I believe it probably is, what do you plan on doing with the information? The revelation could bring down a politician and create a massive scandal,” Derek said, his gaze on Winter’s.

“Which you and Nikki, especially Nikki, have had enough of.” Winter blew out a long breath. “I never had any intention of hurting either one of you. I just wanted to know my family because the truth is, I have none.”

She forced herself to meet Nikki’s gaze, only to see her half-sister’s eyes were glassy, and she stared at Winter as if trying to work through all she’d learned.

Winter bit down on the inside of her cheek. “I’ve gone back and forth on whether I want to know my father. I’m aware of how badly your parents have treated you,” she said to Nikki. “And you told me how you were manipulated into an engagement.” She shifted her attention to Derek.

“It’s not exactly a secret,” he muttered.

Winter nodded. “Would it be a problem for either of you if I confronted them? Once we had the test results back, I mean.” Though she asked them both, she couldn’t tear her gaze from Nikki’s. “You’re my friend,” Winter said, her voice plaintive because she liked Nikki. “I don’t want to lose you.”

What Winter really wanted was to gain her as a sister, but it was up to Nikki whether or not she wanted that, too.

“I feel the same way about you. I can’t say this is easy to digest, and I agree with Derek. We should get proof.” Nikki pulled her hand from beneath Asher’s and rose to her feet. “I want you to know, no matter what the results show, I believe you think we’re half-sisters. And if the samples match and you want to confront my parents, I understand. I needed to do the same thing.”

Nikki’s words eased the weight in Winter’s chest, and the next thing she knew, Nikki was hugging her despite not knowing for sure if they were related.


One week later, the test confirmed Winter’s mother’s claim. Three days after that, Derek and his fiancée, Jessica Cavanaugh, invited Winter to Jessica’s house for dinner, along with Nikki and Asher, so they could get to know one another better. They were curious about Winter’s mother and how Winter had grown up. Despite the preexisting friendship, the evening began awkwardly, but by the end of the night, they were laughing and had made a start toward becoming a family.

And the next weekend, Winter, with her new brother and sister by her side, showed up at their father’s home with the DNA test in hand. The senator had broken down and cried when he found out he had another daughter. Collette, on the other hand… to say she hadn’t taken the news well was an understatement. First, she’d been shocked and in denial. When faced with the DNA test results, she’d begun to scream and yell that everything she’d worked for would be destroyed and all because Winter’s bitch of a mother hadn’t done as she’d promised.

She’d actually gone after Winter, attempting to attack her physically, until Derek had grabbed his mother around the waist and pulled her back. The senator stared in shock. Nikki yelled at her mother to calm down and discuss things like a rational human being. Finally, when nothing would make Collette stop her ranting, Winter had left with Nikki. Derek stayed to try and talk sense into his mother.

By the time Winter had walked into her apartment, she’d seen for herself how weak her father had been and seemingly still was. He’d called her later, having gotten her number from Derek, and had been full of apologies for not knowing about her. For letting Collette rule his life.

Winter didn’t know what kind of relationship she’d ultimately have with the man who, on paper, was her father. Nikki wasn’t speaking to either parent. Derek was also done with their antics. And yet Winter was still curious about Corbin Bettencourt.


Rise and shine, America. I’m Erin Sawyer, and this is our political news of the week wrap-up. New York Senator Corbin Bettencourt has resigned his seat in the US Senate and stepped down from politics to, in his words, focus on his family.

His resignation comes after the revelation that he sired an illegitimate daughter he claims to have known nothing about. His wife, Collette Bettencourt, allegedly paid off her husband’s mistress to have an abortion. Instead, legal secretary Juliana Capwell, now deceased, took the money and raised her daughter far from DC in New Westminster, Maine. DNA tests have proven the senator’s daughter, freelance reporter, Winter Capwell’s, claim.

The former senator has already filed for divorce from his wife and moved out of their New York home. According to a source who preferred to remain anonymous, both Bettencourts are said to be estranged from their children, Nicolette and Derek, and the former senator has yet to bridge the gap with his newfound daughter. And now for the latest budget dispute on Capitol Hill…

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Narrated by Jason Clarke and Samantha Cook

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