Mistress Bought and Paid for [NOOK Book]

Overview


Had supermodel Lydia Powell really stolen money from a charity for disadvantaged children? Cristiano Andreotti hoped so. This was his chance for revenge on the woman who'd rejected him. He'd pay back the missing money to have Lydia at his mercy!

But Cristiano discovered Lydia was a virgin and if he took a woman's innocence, then he also had to make her his bride!


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Mistress Bought and Paid for

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Overview


Had supermodel Lydia Powell really stolen money from a charity for disadvantaged children? Cristiano Andreotti hoped so. This was his chance for revenge on the woman who'd rejected him. He'd pay back the missing money to have Lydia at his mercy!

But Cristiano discovered Lydia was a virgin and if he took a woman's innocence, then he also had to make her his bride!


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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552545416
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 8/1/2006
  • Series: Mistress to a Millionaire , #2555
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 176,017
  • File size: 458 KB

Meet the Author


Lynne Graham lives in Northern Ireland and has been a keen romance reader since her teens. Happily married, Lynne has five children. Her eldest is her only natural child. Her other children, who are every bit as dear to her heart, are adopted. The family has a variety of pets, and Lynne loves gardening, cooking, collecting allsorts and is crazy about every aspect of Christmas.


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Read an Excerpt


CRISTIANO ANDREOTTI, the software billionaire, stood on

the topmost deck of the megayacht Lestara. Built to his exacting specifications, and already regarded as the most beautiful craft ever built, Lestara was a floating palace, complete with twin helipads, a cinema, a freshwater swimming pool and a sleek landing craft tucked in her stern. Yet Cristiano was infuriatingly conscious of the faintest tinge of disappointment with his latest acquisition.

His guests, however, were talking about the yacht in hushed tones of reverence.

"Unbelievable..." 'The most staggering level of luxury I've ever seen..." 'You have a private hospital and you're never ill...wow, is all I can say..."

"The gym and the basketball court are to die for..." 'The glass viewing area in the hull blew me away..." 'Sixty crew members to sail her and wait on you...you must feel like a king..."

His lean, darkly handsome profile detached, his brilliant dark eyes bleak, Cristiano continued to look out to sea. A king? Not so as he had noticed. He wondered if he had brought company on board to say for him what he no longer said or felt himself. Increasingly, only aggressive takeovers or extreme sports gave Cristiano a genuine buzz. Born into fabulous wealth, he had discovered that few experiences, or indeed possessions, lived up to their initial promise.

"Have you heard the gossip?" the socialite Jodie Morgan was asking in her piercing English upper-class voice when he emerged from his reverie. "About Lia Powell?" she continued.

As Cristiano tensed at the unexpected sound of that name, female giggles broke out.

"There are rumours all around London. How do you think she'll take to life in prison?"

"Who are you talking about?" his friend, Philip Hazlett, enquired.

"The Powell girl...that model who took off with Mort Stevens. Her career dive-bombed when he was done for drugs and she disappeared off the map," Jodie reminded her fiancé cheerfully. "A couple of months ago she tried to make a comeback by doing good works — "

"Yes. I believe she organised a fashion show for some children's charity called Happy Holidays and made a mess of it," Philip interposed in a suggestive tone of finality.

Impervious to the hint that the subject matter might not be welcome, Jodie continued to tell the story. "Lia persuaded her fellow models to donate their services free to the show, and the goss is she robbed the poor little kiddies blind by pocketing the proceeds!"

A spark of raw splintering gold flared in Cristiano's brooding, dark gaze. He was grimly amused by Philip's attempt to silence Jodie. Evidently the socialite was not aware that Lia Powell and Cristiano had briefly been an item. For a nanosecond time leapt back eighteen months, to Cristiano's first glimpse of Lia Powell during a Paris show. Slender and sinuous as a willow wand, she had stalked down the catwalk like a warrior princess, her pale blonde hair rippling back from her hauntingly lovely face like silvery streamers of moonlight. Huge eyes the mesmeric blue of lapis lazuli had blanked him when he was introduced. Her smile had been a masterpiece of indifference. Accustomed to instant awe and fawning attention, Cristiano had been intrigued, his lust heightened by that rare sense of being challenged. He had been eager to see just how well she played a game he had assumed was naïvely aimed at increasing his interest.

But, unusually, Cristiano had underestimated the brazen avarice and ambition of his scheming target. Although he had been unaware of it, he had not been the only wealthy male in Lia's sights, and she had been chasing a better offer than a casual affair. After a handful of dates he had invited her to his country house for the weekend. There Lia had come over all virginal and refused to share his suite. At dawn the following day, however, she had eloped with one of his guests: a dissolute rock star more than twice her age, famous for his very expensive habit of marrying his youthful arm-candy. As he chirpily introduced Lia to the press as his new fiancée, Mort Stevens must have seemed the more rewarding prospect in financial terms. Unhappily for Lia, though, cruel fate had intervened to ensure that all her plotting and planning had come to nothing in the end.

With an almost imperceptible signal, Cristiano inclined his imperious dark head and his watchful PA hurried over to receive his instructions. While his guests were served with lunch on the entertainment deck Cristiano was in his office, being briefed with the facts he needed. A discreet phone call to a national newspaper editor revealed, in the time-honoured phrase beloved of the tabloids, that Lia was 'helping the police with their enquiries'. But soon everyone would know the real story. Who could have sympathy for a woman accused of defrauding underprivileged children?

A slow, hard-edged smile of satisfaction slashed Cristiano's bold, masculine mouth. He was conscious of an energy surge of pure badness. All boredom had fled. It was said that revenge was a dish best eaten cold, but Cristiano was more into hot and spicy flavours. While she'd played for time eighteen months ago, Lia Powell had faked prudish innocence to stay out of his bed. She had then, with breathtaking impudence, cheated on him beneath his own roof. She was the only woman who had ever said no to Cristiano and walked out on him. He knew that the secret of her lingering attraction in his mind could only be that basic.

When it came to sex, Cristiano knew himself inside out. He was much more clued up than his late father, whose life had been destroyed by his hopeless addiction to a woman with as much heart as a carcass on a butcher's block. He had even fewer illusions about Lia Powell. She was a worthless little scrubber with no morals. But she was still a bloody gorgeous one, he mused with ruthless cool, and for the price of her freedom she could be his. He had no doubt of that fact. Any charity would prefer recompense and a handsome donation over an indiscreet and costly court case. He could buy Lia Powell's pardon. He could buy her. He had never paid for sex before. Did he want her on such tacky terms? He discovered that the very thought of having leggy Lia tangled within his sheets and eager to please excited him more than anything had in a very long time. She would be on call whenever he so desired, to provide easy and uncomplicated sexual release.

He was willing to acknowledge that where women were concerned he had a low boredom threshold. In fact he was notorious for the brevity of his relationships. But this would be something different — something new and fresh. A contractual agreement would be the best blueprint for such an arrangement. His lawyers would relish that novel challenge almost as much as he would revel in having Lia act out his every tacky fantasy...

The young bespectacled solicitor gave Lydia a troubled look. "I can't help you if you won't help yourself."

Lydia dropped her head, weariness engulfing her. "I know..."

"You must protect yourself," he warned her equally wearily.

"Not if that means my mother taking the blame," Lydia countered in a tight, driven voice. "This is nothing to do with her and I won't have her involved."

"But as co-signatory on the cheques she is involved,'the solicitor pointed out flatly. "Naturally the police want to speak to her as well."

Lydia said nothing. During the preceding long and nerve-racking interview with two officers she had been asked repeatedly where her mother, Virginia Carlton, was. Nobody had believed her when she'd said she didn't know, and she had tried not to care. After all, even if she had known she would have protected the older woman by keeping her whereabouts a secret. She was determined not to let her mother pay the price for her daughter's mistakes.

Now, one of the fraud officers reappeared. He told her that, although she was to be released on bail while more enquiries were made, she would have to return to the station in four days' time for further questioning. Even as her heart sank at that assurance, Lydia was informed that she would have to leave the interview room and wait in a cell for the necessary paperwork to be prepared. Her tummy flipped in dismay. Her solicitor protested, but to no avail.

The cell door was mercifully closed on her before a violent fit of shaking overtook her tall, slender frame. Sinking down on the hard sleeping platform, Lydia wrapped trembling arms round herself in an effort to get a grip. There was no point in giving way to the fear and the panic pulling at her. Matters were only going to get worse, she reminded herself heavily. The wheels of justice were grinding into motion to prosecute and punish her, and if she was found guilty she would serve a prison sentence. Eventually the sight of a cell would be very familiar to her. The money from the Happy Holidays account was gone, and she could neither repay it nor borrow it. The conviction that she could only blame herself for that state of affairs hit her hard.

Her thin shoulders slumped, guilt racking her. It was a familiar feeling. Things always went horribly wrong, and it seemed that it was her fault...

When Lydia had been ten years old she had survived a boating accident in which her father and her kid brother had drowned. Her mother, Virginia, had been distraught. "This is your fault!" she had screamed furiously at her daughter. "Who was it who begged and begged to go on that stupid boat trip? You killed them. You killed the two of them!"

And, even though other people had hushed the hysterical older woman, Lydia had known that her grieving parent was only speaking the unpalatable truth. Then, when her father's business had gone bankrupt, and their comfortable standard of living had vanished overnight, Lydia had known that she was to blame for that as well. It had been a huge relief when she'd discovered just a few years later that she had the earning power to give that luxury lifestyle back to her mother. Between the ages of fourteen and twenty-one Lydia had made a small fortune as a model.

But then, Lydia acknowledged wretchedly, she had become selfish — stupidly, wickedly selfish. And shortsighted. She'd hated modelling, and a bad experience and a broken heart had persuaded her to leave the fashion world behind and train as a garden designer. Everything that since had gone wrong could be traced back to that single foolish and fanciful decision...

Still in fear of the press cameras that had greeted her arrival at the police station, Lydia walked stiffly out to the reception area. Thankfully the only person to show the slightest interest in her appearance was the small curvaceous brunette seated there. Her cousin Gwenna stood up, frowning when she saw the exhaustion etched on Lydia's face. Yet the younger woman still looked so incredibly beautiful that even Gwenna found it hard not to stare. The pure lines of Lydia's delicate bone structure, allied to her dazzling blue eyes and the mane of naturally pale blonde hair, took most people's breath away.

"Gwenna?" Lydia was dismayed that the other woman had subjected herself to the embarrassment of coming to the police station on her behalf. "You shouldn't have come — "

"Don't be silly," Gwenna scolded her in Welsh as she marched her much taller cousin out into the night and on to the car park, with her head held high and her chin at a determined angle, defying the camera flashes. "You're family — and where else should I be? I'm here to take you home — "

Lydia was too touched by Gwenna's appearance to be able to find the right words in Welsh, a language that she had only recently rediscovered. She swallowed hard on the thickness in her throat and climbed into Gwenna's ancient hatchback. As a young child she had often stayed in Gwenna's Welsh-speaking home while her own parents were abroad. Eighteen months back, when Lydia's life had been in awful turmoil, Gwenna had phoned to invite her to use the family farm as a bolthole. The generous warmth of that offer had meant a great deal to Lydia at a time when her friends had abandoned her.

"I really appreciate you doing this, but I think you should forget that you know me for a while — "

"I'll just pretend I didn't hear that,'Gwenna interposed, in probably much the same no-nonsense tone that she employed with the teenagers she taught. In her early thirties, she had short dark hair that shone as though it had been polished.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 3, 2013

    ok

    Ok

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted December 24, 2012

    NOT THE BOOK I BOUGHT BUT ANOTHER BOOK

    NOT THE BOOK I BOUGHT BUT ANOTHER BOOK

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 1, 2012

    Has B&N Given up?

    Does quality control mean nothing to B&N? The synopsis is NOT for Lynne Graham's book. The cover shown is for the paperback NOT the manga.

    I can't even imagine the level of laziness, incompetence, and rotten management necessary to pass this deceptive mess onto the public.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 19, 2014

    No text was provided for this review.

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