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HACKER SAFE certified sites prevent over 99% of hacker crime.

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Royal Brides Trilogy Bundle [Secure eReader]
eBook by Lucy Monroe

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Get three passionate, sexy books for one low price! Royal Brides Trilogy includes the following titles by Lucy Monroe: The Prince's Virgin Wife, His Royal Love-Child, The Scorsolini Marriage Bargain. (See individual title listings for descriptions of each book.) Harlequin Presents: Seduction and Passion Guaranteed!

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Bundles
Fictionwise Release Date: May 2006


117 Reader Ratings:
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CHAPTER ONE

"SO, WERE you able to hire her?"

Principe Tomasso Scorsolini paced the Hong Kong hotel suite, his cell phone pressed against his ear and waited with barely concealed impatience to discover if his prey had taken the bait.

"She came to the palace for the interview as agreed and she impressed me very much." Therese's voice rang with approval across the phone lines. "I don't know how you heard about her, but she's a sweet woman and will be good with the children. She really is ideal, but I was not certain at first that she would accept the position."

"Why?" He'd made sure Maggie Thomson had no conflicting loyalties, arranging for her current employers to dispense with her services while at the same time suggesting she consider the position in his household.

"She was concerned about the impact her leaving in a couple of years would have on Annamaria and Gianfranco, particularly in light of Liana's death."

"A couple of years? She assumes she will leave?"

"She has plans to open her own day care center after she has saved enough money. It is why she has taken positions with older children up to this point."

Ah, so she still held onto her dreams. He should not be surprised. Maggie Thomson had a stubborn streak almost as wide as his own. "What did you tell her?"

"I took your advice and introduced her to Gianni and Anna. They liked Miss Thomson immediately and she fell completely under their spell. You know how shy little Annamaria is and yet by the end of the interview, she was sitting in Miss Thomson's lap. I've never seen anything like it." Therese paused as if collecting her thoughts. "I know this is going to sound strange, Tomasso, but it was as if she was their long-lost mother…the connection between the three of them was that strong."

She didn't need to say what they both knew. The connection between the children and their real mother had never been that significant. Liana had not been a nurturer.

"That is good to hear." Very good.

"Yes, well. I told her that if she would commit to a two-year contract, we would provide her with a generous bonus at the end of it to help her with her business."

"Did that sway her?"

"Not at first. She was still concerned about the children, but I explained that when hiring domestic help, a two-year contract was a long-term commitment and really better than we might expect to do with someone else."

He had no plans to let Maggie Thomson go in two years, or anytime thereafter, but Therese did not need to know that. "Brilliant. And she accepted?"

"Yes."

"Good." Satisfaction filled him. "Thank you, Therese."

"It was my pleasure, Tomasso."

"Tell Claudio I will see him when I return to Isole dei Re."

"You may well see him before I do." There was something in his sister-in-law's voice that bothered him.

"Are you all right, Therese?"

"Yes, of course. Miss Thomson agreed to begin her duties immediately as you suggested."

"Very good."

"Yes, but I shall miss having the children with me."

He hadn't considered that. "I am sorry, Therese."

"Don't be silly. I enjoy their company, but it is important for them to have a more consistent caretaker in their lives. If you lived here in the palace, it would be different, but since you make your home on another island entirely, I cannot make up for their lack of a mother."

"It sounds like Maggie Thomson will do that nicely."

"For the next two years anyway."

For a lifetime if it all worked out the way he planned. "I thank you again, Therese."

She dismissed her role as unimportant and rang off.

Tomasso flipped his phone shut and smiled to the empty room. It was all coming together.

Better than even he could have anticipated, and projecting a plan's outcome was something he had perfected during his years running Mining and Jewelers.

Apparently his children and Maggie had adored one another on sight and, equally important, she was the same sweet-natured woman she had been in college. He hadn't really expected anything different since reading the report Hawk's agency had compiled on her. It also said she retained other characteristics he remembered from his college days.

According to her past employers, she was efficient, content in the domestic environment and peaceful to be around. Traits he hadn't appreciated nearly enough at the time. He'd been too interested in outward beauty to understand how much her presence meant to him…until it was gone.

He'd taken for granted how smoothly his life had run when Maggie was his housekeeper. Four years in a volatile marriage with Liana had cured him of that complacency.

The first year after her death, Tomasso had refused to even consider taking another wife, having no desire to repeat his first foray into marital disharmony. But neither did he wish to end up like his father and for the past few months, he'd begun to crave the peaceful ease his older brother had in his marriage to the kind and even-tempered Therese.

Every time Tomasso fantasized about that kind of harmony, he could only picture it with one woman. Maggie Thomson. He could hear her gentle voice reminding him to eat breakfast before leaving the house, could remember her busy hands making sure his life ran smoothly.

He wanted that harmony again, but this time he would not make the mistake of giving her an out.

Copyright © 2006 by Lucy Monroe.


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