Mistress Bought and Paid For [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Lynne Graham
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Had supermodel Lydia Powell really stolen money from a charity for disadvantaged children? Cristiano Andreotti hoped so. This was his chance for revenge on the woman who'd rejected him. He'd pay back the missing money to have Lydia at his mercy! But Cristiano discovered Lydia was a virgin and if he took a woman's innocence, then he also had to make her his bride!
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: August 2006
64 Reader Ratings:
CRISTIANO ANDREOTTI, the software billionaire, stood on the topmost deck of the megayacht Lestara. Built to his exacting specifications, and already regarded as the most beautiful craft ever built, Lestara was a floating palace, complete with twin helipads, a cinema, a freshwater swimming pool and a sleek landing craft tucked in her stern. Yet Cristiano was infuriatingly conscious of the faintest tinge of disappointment with his latest acquisition.
His guests, however, were talking about the yacht in hushed tones of reverence.
'The most staggering level of luxury I've ever seen…'
'You have a private hospital and you're never ill…wow, is all I can say…'
'The gym and the basketball court are to die for…'
'The glass viewing area in the hull blew me away…'
'Sixty crew members to sail her and wait on you…you must feel like a king…'
His lean, darkly handsome profile detached, his brilliant dark eyes bleak, Cristiano continued to look out to sea. A king? Not so as he had noticed. He wondered if he had brought company on board to say for him what he no longer said or felt himself. Increasingly, only aggressive takeovers or extreme sports gave Cristiano a genuine buzz. Born into fabulous wealth, he had discovered that few experiences, or indeed possessions, lived up to their initial promise.
'Have you heard the gossip?' the socialite Jodie Morgan was asking in her piercing English upper-class voice when he emerged from his reverie. 'About Lia Powell?' she continued.
As Cristiano tensed at the unexpected sound of that name, female giggles broke out.
'There are rumours all around London. How do you think she'll take to life in prison?'
'Who are you talking about?' his friend, Philip Hazlett, enquired.
'The Powell girl…that model who took off with Mort Stevens. Her career dive-bombed when he was done for drugs and she disappeared off the map,' Jodie reminded her fiancé cheerfully. 'A couple of months ago she tried to make a comeback by doing good works—'
'Yes. I believe she organised a fashion show for some children's charity called Happy Holidays and made a mess of it,' Philip interposed in a suggestive tone of finality.
Impervious to the hint that the subject matter might not be welcome, Jodie continued to tell the story. 'Lia persuaded her fellow models to donate their services free to the show, and the goss is she robbed the poor little kiddies blind by pocketing the proceeds!'
A spark of raw splintering gold flared in Cristiano's brooding, dark gaze. He was grimly amused by Philip's attempt to silence Jodie. Evidently the socialite was not aware that Lia Powell and Cristiano had briefly been an item. For a nanosecond time leapt back eighteen months, to Cristiano's first glimpse of Lia Powell during a Paris show. Slender and sinuous as a willow wand, she had stalked down the catwalk like a warrior princess, her pale blonde hair rippling back from her hauntingly lovely face like silvery streamers of moonlight. Huge eyes the mesmeric blue of lapis lazuli had blanked him when he was introduced. Her smile had been a masterpiece of indifference. Accustomed to instant awe and fawning attention, Cristiano had been intrigued, his lust heightened by that rare sense of being challenged. He had been eager to see just how well she played a game he had assumed was naïvely aimed at increasing his interest.
But, unusually, Cristiano had underestimated the brazen avarice and ambition of his scheming target. Although he had been unaware of it, he had not been the only wealthy male in Lia's sights, and she had been chasing a better offer than a casual affair. After a handful of dates he had invited her to his country house for the weekend. There Lia had come over all virginal and refused to share his suite. At dawn the following day, however, she had eloped with one of his guests: a dissolute rock star more than twice her age, famous for his very expensive habit of marrying his youthful arm-candy. As he chirpily introduced Lia to the press as his new fiancée, Mort Stevens must have seemed the more rewarding prospect in financial terms. Unhappily for Lia, though, cruel fate had intervened to ensure that all her plotting and planning had come to nothing in the end.
With an almost imperceptible signal, Cristiano inclined his imperious dark head and his watchful PA hurried over to receive his instructions. While his guests were served with lunch on the entertainment deck Cristiano was in his office, being briefed with the facts he needed. A discreet phone call to a national newspaper editor revealed, in the time-honoured phrase beloved of the tabloids, that Lia was 'helping the police with their enquiries'. But soon everyone would know the real story. Who could have sympathy for a woman accused of defrauding underprivileged children?
A slow, hard-edged smile of satisfaction slashed Cristiano's bold, masculine mouth. He was conscious of an energy surge of pure badness. All boredom had fled. It was said that revenge was a dish best eaten cold, but Cristiano was more into hot and spicy flavours. While she'd played for time eighteen months ago, Lia Powell had faked prudish innocence to stay out of his bed. She had then, with breathtaking impudence, cheated on him beneath his own roof. She was the only woman who had ever said no to Cristiano and walked out on him. He knew that the secret of her lingering attraction in his mind could only be that basic.
When it came to sex, Cristiano knew himself inside out. He was much more clued up than his late father, whose life had been destroyed by his hopeless addiction to a woman with as much heart as a carcass on a butcher's block. He had even fewer illusions about Lia Powell. She was a worthless little scrubber with no morals. But she was still a bloody gorgeous one, he mused with ruthless cool, and for the price of her freedom she could be his. He had no doubt of that fact. Any charity would prefer recompense and a handsome donation over an indiscreet and costly court case. He could buy Lia Powell's pardon. He could buy her. He had never paid for sex before. Did he want her on such tacky terms? He discovered that the very thought of having leggy Lia tangled within his sheets and eager to please excited him more than anything had in a very long time. She would be on call whenever he so desired, to provide easy and uncomplicated sexual release.
Copyright © 2006 by Lynne Graham.