- Pub. Date:
Happy in her new, simpler life, Lina didn't want to be found. Now that the past has caught up with her in the form of the sexy tycoon, she's torn between exploring the passion he arouses in her, and facing the secrets that caused her to flee New York.
The tension between them soon leads to a scorching affair, one they both know can't last. But when their search for Byron finds them tangling with the mob, Jon and Lina learn they have no one to trust but each other...
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About the Author
I live in the UK, but I get over to the US when I can, to visit friends and to attend conventions. If I could choose a city to live in, it would probably be Manchester or Paris. I know, strange choices! Or Florence. Or New York. Or all four!
Read an Excerpt
"Does anyone here speak English?"
At her boss's words, Lina turned to face him but spun back when she recognized the man by his side. Heat raced through her body. Not unusual for sultry August in Naples, but this wasn't because of the weather. The man standing with his back to her reminded her of someone she once knew. From a life she'd left and never wanted to know again.
It couldn't be Jonathan Brantley; he lived in the States. What would he be doing here?
Her mind went into overdrive. Sweat moistened her palms. He'd come here to find her. She couldn't think of any other reason he'd come to Italy, when he lived and worked in New York.
The tray in her hands crashed to the floor.
The hum of conversation in the café dropped to almost silence.
Oh shit. She stooped to pick up the shards of pottery and the flatware bouncing over the black-and-white tiled floor.
Of course it wasn't Jonathan. Just someone who looked like him. Despite her self-reassurances, her hands shook when a pair of expensive men's running shoes appeared in front of her. She recognized them as the latest model, the ones some people around here would kill for. Who was this idiot, sporting his wealth in this part of Naples, well off the tourist trail?
Taking a deep breath, she lifted her chin. Dizziness overwhelmed her. She blinked to clear the spots in front of her eyes. Putting her hands on the floor, careful to avoid any fragments, she pushed to her feet, avoiding the hand outstretched to help her. She stared at him. Glared at him.
"You know this man?" Franco demanded in the thick Neapolitan patois they spoke here, especially when they didn't want strangers understanding them.
She took a step back. Franco placed his hands on her shoulders, beefy heaviness weighing her down. "No. I don't know him."
"I thought you said you spoke English? I heard you once, didn't I? If you don't know him, what's the problem?"
Lina folded her arms. "My English isn't too good. I showed tourists around the Coliseum when I lived in Rome. Stuff like that."
Jonathan stared, his blue, blue eyes roaming over her, stark awareness there. "Bella."
Before she could censor herself, she responded in English, but remembered to keep it broken, more for Franco and the customers' ears than Jonathan's. It was too late to try to fool him. "Lina is my name." And calling a woman "Bella" was likely to make any Italian burst into uncontrollable laughter. So gauche, a stupid name she'd always hated.
"Bellina Mazzanti Forde." Bellina was even worse. A diminutive, better suited to a baby than a full-grown woman. She'd been glad to ditch the full version of her name. Now here it was again.
"Angelina Mazzaro," she corrected him. "I do not know this Bellina Mazzanti Forde. Our names are similar. You must have us mixed up." She prayed the name wouldn't jolt any distant memory in Franco's mind. But he didn't read the gossip magazines, hardly bothered with the national newspaper.
To her relief, Jonathan shrugged, accepting her statement. "Whatever. I need you, Lina."
She thought fast, turned to confront Franco, reverting to Neapolitan. "I do not know him. Will he hurt me, rape me? How can I tell?" She forced tears to her eyesnot difficult, since shock still reverberated through her and she still trembled in the aftermath.