Wanted: Mistress and Mother (Harlequin Presents #2616) [NOOK Book]


When ruthless Italian barrister Dante Costello hires Matilda Hamilton, he sees an opportunity. Matilda's job is to create a magical garden, in the hope it will help Dante's troubled little girl. However, since attraction between them is hot and intense, why not take Matilda as his mistress, as well?

Dante has always kept his emotions firmly under wraps when it comes to relationships. But this time will he ...

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Wanted: Mistress and Mother (Harlequin Presents #2616)

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When ruthless Italian barrister Dante Costello hires Matilda Hamilton, he sees an opportunity. Matilda's job is to create a magical garden, in the hope it will help Dante's troubled little girl. However, since attraction between them is hot and intense, why not take Matilda as his mistress, as well?

Dante has always kept his emotions firmly under wraps when it comes to relationships. But this time will he succeed when his desire for Matilda is pushing him to the edge of control?

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781552549476
  • Publisher: Harlequin
  • Publication date: 3/1/2007
  • Series: Ruthless , #2616
  • Sold by: HARLEQUIN
  • Format: eBook
  • Edition description: Original
  • Pages: 192
  • Sales rank: 246,888
  • File size: 516 KB

Meet the Author

Carol Marinelli recently filled in a form asking for her job title. Thrilled to be able to put down her answer, she put writer. Then it asked what Carol did for relaxation and she put down the truth - writing. The third question asked for her hobbies. Well, not wanting to look obsessed she crossed the fingers on her hand and answered swimming but, given that the chlorine in the pool does terrible things to her highlights – I’m sure you can guess the real answer.

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Read an Excerpt


It was the first word that sprang to mind as dark, clearly irritated eyes swung round to face her, black eyes that stared down at Matilda, scrutinising her face unashamedly, making her acutely aware of her—for once—expertly made-up face. The vivid pink lipstick the beau-tician had insisted on to add a splash of colour to her newly straightened ash blonde hair and porcelain complexion seemed to suddenly render her mouth immovable, as, rather than slowing down to assist, the man she had asked for directions had instead, after a brief angry glance, picked up speed and carried on walking.

Inappropriate, because generally when you stopped someone to ask for directions, espe-cially in a hospital, you expected to be greeted with a courteous nod or smile, for the person to actually slow down, instead of striding ahead and glaring back at you with an angry question of their own.


Even though he uttered just a single word, the thick, clipped accent told Matilda that English wasn't this man's first language. Matilda's an-noyance at this response was doused a touch. Perhaps he was in the hospital to visit a sick relative, had just flown in to Australia from, In that split second her mind worked rapidly, trying to place him—his appearance was Mediterranean, Spanish or Greek perhaps, or maybe,

"Where is it you want to go?" he barked, finally deigning to slow down a fraction, the few extra words allowing Matilda to place his strong accent—he was Italian!

"I wanted to know how to find the function room," she said slowly, repeating the question she had already asked, berating her luck that the only person walking through the maze of thehospital administration corridors spoke little English. That the tall, imposing man she had had to resort to for directions was blatantly annoyed at the intrusion. "I'm trying to get there for the opening of the hospital garden. I'm supposed to be there in, ' She glanced down at her watch and let out a sigh of exas-peration. "Actually, I was supposed to be there five minutes ago."

"Merda!" As he glanced at his watch the curse that escaped his lips, though in Italian, wasn't, Matilda assumed, particularly compli-mentary, and abruptly stepping back she gave a wide-eyed look, before turning smartly on her heel and heading off to find her own way. He'd made it exceptionally clear that her request for assistance had been intrusive but now he was being downright rude. She cer-tainly wasn't going to stand around and wait for the translation—she'd find the blessed function room on her own!

"I'm sorry." He caught up with her in two long strides, but Matilda marched on, this angry package of testosterone the very last thing she needed this morning.

"No, I'm sorry to have disturbed you,' Matilda called back over her shoulder, pushing the button—any button—on the lift and hoping to get the hell out of there. "You're clearly busy."

"I was cursing myself, not you." He gave a tiny grimace, shrugged very wide shoulders in apology, which sweetened the explanation somewhat, and Matilda made a mental correc-tion. His English was, in fact, excellent. It was just his accent that was incredibly strong—deep and heavy, and, Matilda reluctantly noted, incredibly sensual. "I too am supposed to be at the garden opening, I completely forgot that they'd moved the time forward. My secretary has decided to take maternity leave."

"How inconsiderate of her!" Matilda mur-mured under her breath, before stepping inside as the lift slid open.


Beating back a blush, Matilda stared fixedly ahead, unfortunately having to wait for him to press the button, as she was still none the wiser as to where the function room was.

"I didn't quite catch what you said," he per-sisted.

"I didn't say anything,'Matilda lied, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her, or, at the very least, the blessed lift would get moving. There was something daunting about him, something incredibly confronting about his manner, his voice, his eyes, something very inappropriate.

There was that word again, only this time it had nothing to do with his earlier rude glance, for the first at him properly and she had so far

jolted her—since her she hadn't so much as she hadn't looked day she'd ended their screens shooting up at had been as if her off. Well, perhaps would be an exag-pot had been moved to ring and was being indifference: utterly Never had she seen someone so exquisitely beautiful close up. It was as if some skilled photographer had taken his magic wand and airbrushed the man from the tip of his ebony hair right down to the soft leather of his expen-sively shod toes. He seemed vaguely famil-iar—and she tried over and over to place that swarthy, good-looking face, sure that she must have seen him on the TV screen because, if she'd witnessed him in the flesh, Matilda knew she would have remembered the occasion.

God, it was hot.

Fiddling with the neckline of her blouse, Matilda dragged her eyes away and willed the lift to move faster, only realising she'd been holding her breath when thankfully the doors slid open and she released it in a grateful sigh, as in a sur-prisingly gentlemanly move he stepped aside, gesturing for her to go first. But Matilda wished he'd been as rude on the fourth floor as he had been on the ground, wished, as she teetered along the carpeted floor of the administration wing in unfamiliar high heels, that she was walking behind instead of ahead of this menacing stranger, positive, absolutely positive that those black eyes were assessing her from a male perspective, excruciatingly aware of his eyes burning into her shoulders. She could almost feel the heat emanating from them as they dragged lower down to the rather too short second half of her smart, terribly new charcoal suit. And if legs could have blushed, then Matilda's were glowing as she felt his burning gaze on calves that were encased in the sheerest of stockings.

"Oh!'Staring at the notice-board, she bristled as he hovered over her shoulder, reading with growing indignation the words beneath the hastily drawn black arrow. "The opening's been moved to the rooftop."

"Which makes more sense," he drawled, raising a curious, perfectly arched eyebrow at her obvious annoyance, before following the arrow to a different set of lifts. "Given that it is the rooftop garden that's being officially opened today and not the function room."

"Yes, but, ' Swallowing her words, Matilda followed him along the corridor. The fact she'd been arguing for the last month for the speeches to be held in the garden and not in some bland function room had nothing to do with this man. Admin had decided that a brief champagne re-ception and speeches would be held here, followed by a smooth transition to the rooftop where Hugh Keller, CEO, would cut the ribbon.

The logistics of bundling more than a hundred people, in varying degrees of health, into a couple of lifts hadn't appeared to faze anyone except Matilda—until now.

But her irritation was short-lived, replaced almost immediately by the same flutter of nerves that had assailed her only moments before, her palms moist as she clenched her fingers into a fist, chewing nervously on her bottom lip as the lift doors again pinged open.

She didn't want to go in. Didn't want that disquieting, claustrophobic feeling to assail her again. She almost turned and ran, her mind whirring for excuses—a quick dash to the loo perhaps, a phone call she simply had to make—but an impatient foot was tapping, fingers pressing the hold button, and given that she was already horribly late, Matilda had no choice.

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