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Mistress: Hired for the Billionaire's Pleasure by India Grey Fast cars and glamorous socialites are everyday components of devastatingly handsome billionaire Orlando Winterton's thrilling, decadent lifestyle Until Rachel Campion arrives at Orlando's remote country estate, desperately in need of shelter. Orlando cannot deny the pull of her fragile beauty, and takes her with passionate fury. The next morning his demons return to haunt him, and he knows he must ask Rachel to leave But then a baby is found abandoned on his doorstep - allegedly his son!
To Orlando, the solution is simple: he'll hire Rachel to take care of the child - and as long as she's under his roof he'll keep on making love to her Until he's got her out of his system! She'd chosen her path and knew book-learning and marriage rarely mixed. Her proof was Lord Seton Rayne, who had made it abundantly clear that an unmarried school-ma'am was of no interest to him - no matter her good connections. Wealthy and titled, one of the most notorious rakehells in town, Seton had every heiress hurling herself at him.
So his sudden kissing of captivating, unconventional Letitia took them both by surprise Sexy millionaire aristocrat Luke Devereaux showed up at Louisa's office, frogmarched her to a doctor and demanded she took a pregnancy test! Much to her complete shock and horror, it was positive! Nearly three months before, Luke had shown Louisa a night of pleasure she could never have imagined - and would never be repeated.
Only the dramatic consequences meant Luke was now demanding marriage - and his proposition came with a tantalising promise: more nights of untold pleasure? Finding she was pregnant was the best moment of midwife Montana's life. But days later she was widowed. Now nine months have passed, she has a tiny infant, and she knows it's time to make a fresh start. Dr Andy Buchanan has offered Montana a job at Lyrebird Lake because it's the perfect place to build a new life.
Her courage impresses him.
And he just can't get the beautiful new mum out of his mind Every time Montana sees her baby in Andy's arms her resolve not to get involved crumbles. He's the perfect father.
And he makes Montana's life feel complete once again Lyrebird Lake Maternity. Every day brings a miracle It must have been the experience of the white-water rafting. Or maybe it was the result of being dumped and on the rebound.
Either way, she let down her guard - and now she's pregnant with a stranger's baby! A stranger who is a thrill-seeking river guide, a nomad beholden to no one. What does Evan Murphy know about settling down or being a father? They couldn't be more wrong for each other, which is why Natalie is so determined to go it alone. Don Carmelo is eager to see you. How is he? The other man grimaced. His condition is stable at present but its unlikely that he has more than a couple of months left.
Lean, handsome features taut, Angelo nodded. He had thought long and hard before he had agreed to visit and the old mans declining health had provided the spur.
The infamous Carmelo Zanetti, head of one of the most notorious crime families in the world, was a stranger to him. Yet Angelo had never been able to forget that the same blood that ran in Carmelo Zanettis veins ran in his own. His face was lined with ill health. Breathing stentorously, he feasted his clouded dark gaze on Angelo and sighed. I cant tell you that you look like your mother because you dont.
Fiorella was tiny Almost imperceptibly the inflexible cast of Angelos features softened, for his mother had shown him the only tenderness he had ever known. S But you have the look of my father and your own.
Your parents were the Romeo and Juliet of their generation, Don Carmelo recited with caustic humour. A Sorello and a Zanetti, not a match made in heaven as far as either family was concerned and the bride and groom were at each others throats within weeks of the wedding.
Is that why my mother ended up scrubbing floors for a living? Angelo enquired smooth as glass. The old man was unmoved by the reminder. She ended up doing that because she deserted her husband and disowned her family. Who would credit that she was my favourite? It was once my pleasure to spoil her and indulge her every wish. So, my mamma was a real Mafia princess? Angelo sliced in with sardonic bite, unimpressed by the misty fairy-tale aspect of that assurance.
Dont mock what you dont know about. Carmelo Zanetti sent him an impatient look. Your mamma had the whole world at her feet. And what did she do? She turned her back on all that education and fine breeding and married your father. Compared to us, the Sorellos were cafoniuncouth people. Gino Sorello was a handsome hothead always looking for a fight. She couldnt handle him or his extra-marital activities.
How did you deal with the situation? Angelo was impatient to have the facts that had so far evaded his every attempt to discover them. When Gino was jailed for the second time, your mother walked out on her marriage. She ran away from her home and her responsibilities as though she was a little kid. Maybe she felt that she had good cause. Dark eyes crackling with grim amusement rested onAngelo. And maybe youre in for a surprise or two, because I think you put your precious mamma on a pedestal when she died.
Anger at that insinuation made Angelo turn pale below his bronzed complexion. Only the awareness that Carmelo would revel in getting under his skin kept him silent. The older man slumped heavily back against the pillows. Fiorella was my daughter and dear to my heart, but she shamed and disappointed me when she walked out on her husband.
She was twenty-two years old and Sorello was serving a life sentence. Why shouldnt she have sought a fresh start for herself and her child? Loyalty is not negotiable in my world. When Fiorella vanished, people got nervous about how much she might know about certain activities. Her treachery was a stain on Ginos honour as well and it made her many enemies. Carmelo Zanetti shook his head wearily. But she was destroyed by her own ignorance and folly. Angelos attention was keenly focused on the older man.
Obviously you didnt lose track of my mother and you know what happened to her after she arrived in England. You wont like what I have to tell you. Ill cope, Angelo said drily. Carmelo pressed the bell by the bed. Youll take a seat and have a glass of wine while we talk. This one time you will behave like my grandson.
Angelo wanted to deny the relationship but he knew he could not. Squaring his broad shoulders, he sat down in a lithe, controlled movement. A manservant brought in a silver tray bearing a single glass filled with ruby liquid and a plate of tiny almond pastries. With a glint of something hidden in his sharp old eyes, Carmelo Zanetti watched the younger man lift the glass and slowly sip. The old man laughed. Dio graziayoure no coward! Why should you want to harm me? How does it feel to have rejected your every living relative?
A sardonic smile of acknowledgement curved Angelos handsome sculpted mouth. It kept me out of prisonit may even have kept me alive. The family tree is distressingly full of early deaths and unlikely accidents. After having taken a moment to absorb that acid response, Don Carmelo succumbed to a choking bout of appreciative laughter.
Alarmed by the aftermath in which the old man struggled for breath, Angelo got up to summon assistance only to be irritably waved back to his seat. Please tell me about my mother, Angelo urged. His companion gave him a mocking look. I want you to know that when she left Sardinia, she had money.
My late wife had left her amply provided for. Your mothers misfortune was that she had very poor taste in men. Angelo tensed. Carmelo Zanetti gave him a cynical glance. I warned you that you wouldnt like it.
Of course there was a man involved. An Englishman she met on the beach soon after your father went to prison. Why do you think she headed to London when she spoke not a word of English? Her boyfriend promised to marry her when she was free. She changed her name as soon as she arrived and began to plan her divorce. I have a couple of letters that the boyfriend wrote her.
He had no idea who her connections were. Once she was settled he offered to take care of her money, but he took care of it so well that she never saw it again. He bled her dry and I understand he then told her hed lost it all on the stock market. Angelo was very still but his brilliant gaze glittered like black diamonds on ice.
Is there more? He abandoned her when she was pregnant by him and that was when she discovered that he was already married. In shock at that further revelation, Angelo gritted his teeth and was betrayed into comment.
I had no idea. She lost the baby and never recovered her health. You knew all thisyet you chose not to help her? Angelo recognised the cold, critical detachment that had ultimately decided his frail mothers fate. She could have asked for assistance at any time but she didnt. I will be frank. She had become an embarrassment to us and there were complications. Gino got out of prison on appeal. He wanted you, his son, back and he wanted revenge on his unfaithful wife.
Your mothers whereabouts had to remain a secret if you were not to end up in the hands of a violent drunk.
Silence kept both of you safe. It didnt stop us going hungry though, Angelo replied without any inflection. You survived But she didnt, Angelo incised. Don Carmelo revealed no regret. Im not a forgiving man. She let the family down and the final insult was her belief that she had to keep her son away from my influence. She got religion before she died and turned against us even more. If you never saw her again, how do you know that? The old man grimaced. She was worried about what would happen to you.
But she still begged me to respect her wishes and not to claim you when she was gone. Angelo could see that exhaustion was steadily claiming the older man and pushing their meeting to a close. I appreciate your candour. I would like the name of the man who stole my mothers money. His name was Donald Hamilton. Don Carmelo lifted a large envelope and extended it. The letters. Take them. What happened to him? Angelo queried. My mother died when I was seven years old.
And now here you are, proud not to be a Zanetti or a Sorello. If you are so unlike the stock from which you were bred, why do you want Hamiltons name? What could you intend to do with it? Angelo surveyed him with dark expressionless eyes and shifted a shoulder in an almost infinitesimal shrug. Dont do anything foolish, Angelo.
Angelo laughed out loud. I cant believe youre saying that to me. Who better? Ive spent the last decade in exile. Ive been hunted across this planet by the forces of law and order and by my enemies. But my time is almost up, Carmelo Zanetti mused.
You are the closest relative I have left and I have watched over you all your life. Only not so that I noticed,Angelo countered, unimpressed by the claim. Perhaps we are cleverer than you think. You may also find out that, under the skin, you have more in common with us than you want to admit. I really dont think so. A basket of flowers on her arm, Gwenna hurried down the muddy lane in pursuit of the two little boys.
Thrilled by the growling noises she was making in her role as a pursuing bear, Freddy and Jake were in fits of giggles. With her dog, Piglet, a tiny barrel-shaped mongrel, hard on their heels and barking like mad, they made a noisy trio. The insistent ring of a mobile phone sliced through the laughter. Gwenna fell still and with a guilty air of reluctance dug the item out of her pocket. Bet its the Evil Witch again, Freddy forecast gloomily.
Shush Gwenna urged in dismay, wishing the childrens mother were more careful about what she said in front of her sons because the little boys didnt miss a trick. I heard Mummy tell Daddy that youll never get a man with the Evil Witch around. Do you need one? Jake asked earnestly. Course she doesto have babies and change the light bulbs, Freddy told his little brother with immense superiority.
Is that children I hear? Eva Hamilton demanded sharply. Have you let Joyce Miller lumber you with those horrid brats again?
Giving the twins a pleading glance, Gwenna put a finger to her lips in the universal signal for silence and sidestepped the question. Ill be with you in less than an hour Have you any idea how much still has to be done here? I thought the caterers Im talking about the cleaning,her stepmother cut in acidly. Gwenna almost flinched for it seemed to her that the past week had passed by in a relentless blur of labour.
Even her back, well toned from regular physical activity at the plant nursery where she worked, had developed an ache. Did I miss something out? I want everything to be perfect tomorrow for your father, so youll have to see to it all this evening.
Yes, of course. Gwenna reminded herself that the endless preparation required to stage Evas buffet lunch for a handful of select guests was in aid of a very good cause. First and foremost, tomorrow was her fathers big day. Donald Hamilton had worked tirelessly to raise the funds necessary to begin the restoration of the overgrown gardens of Massey Manor. Although the manor house was virtually derelict, the gardens had been designed by a leading nineteenth-century garden luminary and the village was badly in need of a tourist attraction to stimulate the local economy.
A host of local VIPs and the press would be present to record the moment when Donald Hamilton symbolically opened the long padlocked gates of the old estate so that the first phase of the work on the grounds could begin.
The Evil Witch always steals your smile,Freddy lamented. Im a bear and bears dont smile, Gwenna informed him with determined cheer, snapping back into play mode for the boys benefit. But the children had barely got to loose a delighted giggle at the fearful face she assumed when an outburst of frantic barking gave Gwenna something more pressing to think about. Oh no! She was furious with herself for letting her pet off the lead.
Although the little animal was very loving and terrific with children he had one troublesome quirk. Having been dumped by the roadside by his first owners and injured as a result, Piglet had developed a pronounced antipathy towards cars and was prone to taking an aggressive stance with their male occupants.
Gwenna launched the instant she saw her pet dancing furiously round the very tall dark male standing by the church lychgate. In spite of the sunshine and his undeniably picturesque and bucolic surroundings, Angelo was not in a good mood.
The state-of-the-art satellite-navigation system in the limo, developed by one of his own companies, had proved to be as accurate as a tenth-century map when challenged to deliver the goods in this rural location. His chauffeur had tried to drive down a lane barely wide enough to take a bike and had scratched the limos paintwork before finally being forced to admit that he was hopelessly lost. While Angelo had climbed out to stretch his legs, his security team were endeavouring to locate another living being in a village so deserted that he would not have been surprised to find out that he had strayed onto the set of a disaster movie.