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

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The Italian Millionaire's Virgin Wife [Secure eReader]
eBook by Diana Hamilton

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Mercy Howard's childhood was sheltered, and her job as housekeeper to sexy Italian businessman Andreo Pascali makes her realize that she needs a makeover! A new haircut and some clothes later, Andreo discovers his housekeeper is no longer a mouse--but a fox! He wants to add mistress to Mercy's list of duties, but she's not going to settle for a no-strings affair....

eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2006


44 Reader Ratings:
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CHAPTER ONE

ANDREO PASCALI, cursing the day the admirable Knox had left his employ, taking retirement to make her home with her recently widowed sister in Kent, impatiently lifted the final sheet of paper, scanned it in a nanosecond and even more impatiently tossed it aside.

'No details,' he dismissed tersely, his wide sensual mouth tightening with annoyance, lancing a look of displeasure at his current lover.

Though current was on the verge of becoming past. Trisha was becoming far too demanding and clingy—definitely against his emphatically stated ground rules.

Only last evening he'd returned from the agency with the intention of wrestling with the problem of how to come up with an idea for a sensational TV commercial, one bearing the inimitable Pascali stamp of excellence and selling clout for something as deeply uninspiring as a brand of ready meals, only to find that Trisha had let herself in and was waiting for him with a wretched Chinese takeaway festering in the oven. She'd done that fluffing up thing with her hair, accompanying it with the usual pouty mouth bit—once sexily amusing but now utterly boring—and had told him, sounding deadly serious, 'What you need, light of my life, is a wife. Then you wouldn't be facing these dreary interviews and wasting the time you say is so precious.'

His scowl darkened. As a hint, it seriously raised his annoyance threshold. She knew darn well he didn't need or want a wife. He wanted an unobtrusive housekeeper and at this rate it didn't look as if he was going to get one!

'The last two girls seemed perfectly fine,' he snapped. 'Though, I grant you, the first applicant was a nightmare.' Eighty if she was a day, even though her letter of application had given her age as fifty, dotty as they came. He'd had Trisha make her a cup of tea and had personally put her into a taxi. She'd given the address of a retirement home to the driver and waved maniacally as she'd been driven away.

'There was nothing wrong with the other two,' he reiterated tightly. Vital energy, constrained for too long, had him on his feet, pacing the confines of his home office. 'Good qualifications, excellent references,' he reminded with a bite.

'Darling,' Trisha soothed with a sycophantic smile. 'Don't get cross. I offered my help and advice when you said you didn't do domestic stuff. And my advice is that both those girls wouldn't stay for longer than a few weeks. Reasonably bright, passably pretty, leave to get married in no time. You need a middle-aged home body. And there are no details because she didn't send a letter of application; she simply phoned yesterday afternoon and asked for an interview.'

Had sounded bossy, too. Andreo wouldn't find bossiness in the least bit sexy. Whereas either of the previous two…

And having seen her when admitting her to Andreo's darling home, and again when seeing the third applicant out, she'd reached the conclusion that Mercy Howard would do very nicely. Twenty-two years old, so sadly not middle-aged, but plain as a house brick and decidedly, wholesomely dumpy—no competition. Beginning to feel on shaky ground herself, she didn't want the complications of round the clock competition. Andreo never gave a thought to marriage. Before the start of their relationship he'd stated that he didn't do long-term stuff. She'd gone along with that. Well, she'd have been a fool to throw a spanner in the works at that stage. Her sole aim was to make him change his mind, decide he wanted her as his wife, setting her up for a life of ease and giving her access to untold wealth.

No, the woman who didn't find Andreo Pascali's perfect bone structure, tall lean physique and dark charismatic Latin looks seriously lust-worthy—not to mention his wildly impressive bank account—was yet to be born. The Howard female wouldn't be any different, but darling Andreo wouldn't be remotely tempted to take any notice of her no doubt clumsy attempts to hit on him.

'You might as well see her since she's here,' Trisha cooed, running her fingers through his midnight hair. 'You never know, she could well be just what we're looking for.'

Disliking the proprietorial 'we' bit and even more disliking the impression of being humoured, Andreo jerked his head away, stiffened his impressive shoulders and positioned himself behind his desk again, a massive frown bringing his brows down in two straight black bars. Trisha's time was definitely up. He'd have his PA select a suitably expensive piece of jewellery and deliver it to her apartment first thing in the morning accompanied by his standard note saying farewell and no regrets.

And, unless the fourth applicant was over eighty and completely doolally, the job was hers. He had important creative work to get stuck into.

* * *

The moment she'd found the address she was looking for, Mercy had felt horrible qualms. A converted warehouse in one of the trendiest Thames-side areas was hardly the right setting for a humble country bumpkin. How often had Carly teased, 'Get streetwise, kid,' when she'd confessed to being appalled, mystified or downright scared of the frenetic life of this great cosmopolitan city? Despite being in London for two years, she was still an old-fashioned country vicar's daughter at heart with old-fashioned values and a yearning for the much slower pace of life she'd been used to.

But she had determination on her side and, clutching her large shabby handbag, had marched up to the fine wooden door, pressing a bell. Startled by a voice issuing from some sort of discreet metal contraption, she had obeyed instructions and given her name and business.

Eventually the door had swung open as if by magic and she'd found herself walking into a huge vestibule, the ceiling of which soared three storeys high, with a staircase winding up and leading to balustraded floors. To be met by a big-haired blonde of such magnificent proportions, shown to full advantage by pink harem pants and a toning glittery, clingy top, that Mercy had immediately felt like a small fat grey mouse, her modest five-three seeming to diminish to a mere inch or two.

Copyright © 2005 by Diana Hamilton.


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