Constantino's Pregnant Bride

Constantino's Pregnant Bride

by Catherine Spencer

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One night of uncontrollable attraction had left Cassandra Wilde pregnant with Benedict Constantino's baby! The Italian tycoon's immediate solution was marriage. His particular brand of persuasion left Cassie breathless! Once in Italy, after the wedding, Cassie began to hope that her marriage of convenience could turn into one of mutual love. But, it seemed, the only thing that Benedict was willing to give was passion....

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781426871023
Publisher: Harlequin
Publication date: 07/01/2010
Series: Expecting! , #2423
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 192
Sales rank: 174,281
File size: 508 KB

About the Author

Catherine Spencer fell into writing by happy accident. Approaching menopause and ready for a change of career while she could still walk and chew gum at the same time, she eavesdropped on a conversation about writing for Harlequin and decided this was

Read an Excerpt

Constantino's Pregnant Bride

By Catherine Spencer

Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.

Copyright © 2004 Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-373-12423-6

Chapter One

CASSANDRA WILDE stepped out of the elevator of the office complex where her company was located, and pushed open the heavy plate-glass doors of Ariel Enterprises. Immediately, the discreet hum of success surrounded her, from the restrained and melodic chime of the phone, to the quiet conversation of clients in the open lounge to the left of the reception area.

Normally, she'd have stopped to acknowledge familiar faces, and make sure people visiting for the first time were being well looked after. But not today. There was nothing "normal" about today.

"Oh, Cassie!" Meghan called out as she passed her personal assistant's desk. "There's a visitor -"

But Cassie merely shook her head and kept on going until she was safely inside the sanctuary of her own office. Then, and only then, did her tight, professional smile slip into obscurity, washed away by yet another fit of soundless, hopeless weeping.

Leaning against the closed door, she stared through her tears at the blurred image before her. Sunlight bounced in rainbow prisms through the floor-to-ceiling windows and fell across the pale gray carpet in a swath of gold. It turned her rich mahogany desk into a cube of iridescent ruby, and studded the silver frame holding a photograph of her late mother with shimmering ersatz diamonds.

One end of the sliding windows stood open a foot or two. Outside, on the small balcony, a planter of freesias dispersed their delicate scent on the warm March breeze wafting into the room. From fourteen floors below, the muted din of street traffic merged with the raucous shriek of seagulls soaring under the blue bowl of the sky.

It was a perfect spring day in San Francisco. And one of the bleakest Cassie had known in all her twenty-seven years. But crying about it would do no one any good, nor would it change her situation, so making a real effort to control herself, she stepped away from the door.

She needed to calm down. Confront matters head-on. Adjust her plans for the future which, all at once, had changed shape dramatically. She needed to focus!

But her thoughts kept harking back to a chance meeting with a man who lingered in her thoughts, as sharply defined as if she'd last seen him just yesterday; as if it had been only last night that he'd taken her in his arms and taught her how pale and insignificant her previous sexual encounters with men had been.

How slender the coincidence which had brought them together. And yet, how fatally life-altering!

It had begun innocently enough, early the previous summer. She and Patricia Farrell, her best friend since Grade Two and, for the last four years, her business partner, had driven up to the Napa Valley to confer with Nuncio Zanetti, a valued client and owner of one of California's most acclaimed wineries. Twice a year, he rewarded his employees with a dinner cruise on The Ariel, the ninety-six-foot motor yacht which she and Trish had bought at the beginning of their working relationship.

Nuncio was a generous man who enjoyed spending money and whose tastes ran to the extravagant. But he was also demanding, and expected of others the same attention to detail he brought to his own endeavors. Choreographing one of his social events entailed months of meticulous organization, an iron-clad guarantee that every clause in his contract would be honored, and a willingness, particularly on Cassie's part, to take the time to consult with him in person, whenever he requested, even if it was only to confirm that plans were moving ahead smoothly and according to the blueprint they'd drawn up together.

That particular sun-filled day, when she and Trish had arrived to finalize arrangements for his Midsummer Night's cruise, he introduced them to Benedict Constantino. A childhood friend of Nuncio's, Benedict told them he now lived mostly in New York from where he oversaw international distribution of his family's citrus products.

"Most especially the bergamot," he told them, when they asked. "It grows only in a very small area of southern Italy, which makes it a rare commodity worldwide. You're probably familiar with its use in fine perfumes, but what you might not be aware of is that, among its other applications, it's of great value to the pharmaceutical industry."

Later, when the discussion turned to living in New York, he'd smiled at Cassie with particular warmth, and said, "I find the energy of the city exciting, but I can see many advantages to dividing my time between there and the west coast. California, I suddenly discover, holds unsuspected attractions, also."

Thoroughly captivated by his European charm and sophistication, Cassie and Trish had been easily persuaded to join both men for lunch in the winery's beautiful private garden, once the business of the day was concluded.

They'd spent a delightful three hours, lingering over scallop ceviche and the sparkling red wine for which the Zanetti vineyard was famous, and if Cassie had thought her imagination was working overtime in believing the handsome stranger had shown more than a passing interest in her, she certainly learned differently, the next time they happened to meet.

An imperious rap at her office door brought a swift end to her reminiscing. A second later, Trish stepped into the room, her brow furrowed with concern. "Cassie? I saw you come in just now and you didn't look ... quite right. Is everything okay?"

For a few brief moments, Cassie had managed if not to forget the predicament facing her, then at least to relegate it to the sidelines. But at her friend's question, it came roaring back to the forefront of her mind, and the waterworks started up all over again, gushing forth with renewed vigor.

Trish let out a horrified gasp, promptly shut the door before the ragged sobs reached the ears of the people in the outer office, and whispered, "Cass, you're scaring me! The last time I saw you this upset was at your mom's funeral, and the time before that was when we were six and went to see the movie Bambi."

"Well, crying's the last thing in the world I planned to do right now," Cassie wailed, lurching behind the desk and flopping down in her chair. But the irony implicit in the word "planned" sent her already raging hormones into overdrive and produced another round of humiliating tears.

Trish perched on the arm of the chair, stroked Cassie's hair away from her forehead, and begged, "Talk to me! Whatever the problem is, we'll handle it together, the way we always do."

"Not this time," Cassie sniffed, so awash in self-pity, regret and morning sickness that she didn't care if she lived or died. "This is a mess entirely of my own making."

"It can't be that bad."

"It's worse than bad. It's ... inexcusable. Shameful."


Excerpted from Constantino's Pregnant Bride by Catherine Spencer Copyright © 2004 by Harlequin Enterprises, Ltd.. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
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3.5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 15 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Catherine Spencer's latest novel Constantino's Pregnant Bride is another great romance with a truly wonderful hero. Benedict Constantino is not only handsome and sexy, but he's also a man who has integrity, and a sense of responsibility to all of those who need him. While the heroine initially doesn't see it this way, she ultimately comes to realize what a gem she has. Elegant prose, brisk pacing, and a great sense of place in the descriptions of the Italian countryside distinguish this charming romance. Very enjoyable all around.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Glad i bought it and you will too
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Romance with good plot and characters. Would read again
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It was a nice little read
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Very good read with a sexy hero. Benedict is a strong yet caring alpha. Cassie is a strongg women but I cant say that she ever did anything to deserve the devotion from Benedict. Cassie lacked understanding and couldnt seem to comprehend the cultural duties Benedict had on his shoulders. Hot love scenes and an overall good read.
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