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Italian Husbands Bundle [Secure eReader]
eBook by Diana Hamilton & Sarah Morgan & Sara Craven

eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: 3 Harlequin Presents stories featuring passionate Italian men: The Italian's Marriage Demand by Diana Hamilton, The Marchese's Love-Child by Sara Craven, and Public Wife, Private Mistress by Sarah Morgan. The Italian's Marriage Demand: Millionaire Italian Ettore Severini was ready to marry--until he learned that Sophie Lang's innocent sensuality disguised a petty thief! When Ettore saw Sophie again, she was living in desperate poverty--with a baby. She denied the child was Ettore's--but then she denied the theft, too.... Ettore had never forgotten her. Now marriage would bring him his son ... revenge ... and Sophie, at his mercy! The Marchese's Love-Child: When aristocratic Alessandro Valessi discovers the existence of his love child, he is determined to be part of Polly Fairfax's life! But Polly has been raising the child alone--and she doesn't want or need her son's father, especially after the arrogant Italian count hurt her so badly.... But Alessandro leaves Polly no choice; he will fight her for custody of their child, unless Polly does as he commands...and agrees to marry him immediately! Public Wife, Private Mistress: Only one woman can help arrogant Rico Crisanti's injured sister: his estranged wife, Anastasia. In public: Rico demands that Stasia be the perfect wife--loyal, doting and faithful! In private: She will be a slave to his passionate demands. However, Rico hadn't bargained on becoming infatuated with Stasia. Stasia fears that once Rico's sister recovers she will be cast aside.... Will her role as Rico's wife be over for good?

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


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CHAPTER ONE

'YOU'RE going back to Italy?' There was outrage in Lily Fairfax's voice as she turned on her daughter. Anger too. 'Oh, I don't believe it. You can't—you mustn't.'

Polly Fairfax sighed soundlessly. 'Mother, I'm escorting an elderly lady to Naples, where she'll be met by her family, upon which—I catch the next flight home. I'll be gone for a few hours at most. Hardly Mission Impossible.'

'You said you'd never return there,' her mother said. 'You swore it.'

'Yes, I know,' Polly acknowledged wearily. 'But that was three years ago. And circumstances change. This is a work assignment, and there's no one else to do it. Since Safe Hands was featured on that holiday programme, we've been snowed under with requests.' She adopted a persuasive tone. 'And you enjoyed seeing me on television—you know you did.' She added a smile. 'So you can't complain if I'm in demand as a consequence.'

Mrs Fairfax wasn't pacified. 'Is this why this woman—this Contessa Whatsit wants you? Because you've been on television?'

Polly laughed. 'I shouldn't think so for a moment. She's far too grand to bother with anything so vulgar. And her name's the Contessa Barsoli.'

Her mother dismissed that impatiently. 'I didn't think you liked her very much.'

Polly shrugged. 'I don't particularly. She's been a total pain the whole week I've been with her. And I'm damned sure she doesn't care for me either,' she added musingly. 'She always looks at me as if I'm a slug in her salad. Believe me, I shan't be tempted to linger.'

'Then why did she choose you?'

'The devil she knows, perhaps.' Polly shrugged again. 'As opposed to some stranger. Anyway, she needs someone to see to her luggage, and make sure she's got all her documentation. Which is where Safe Hands comes in, of course.'

She leaned forward. 'To be honest, Mum, I don't know how much longer I can go on turning down jobs in Italy, just because of something that happened three years ago. I like my job, and I want to hang on to it. But Mrs Terence is running a business here, not an agency for people who've been crossed in love.'

'It was,' her mother reminded her tightly, 'rather more than that.'

'Whatever.' Polly bit her lip. 'But I can't pick and choose my clients, and I think Mrs T has made all the allowances over Italy that she's going to. So I have to treat it as just another destination from now on.'

'And what about Charlie?' Mrs Fairfax demanded fiercely. 'What's going to happen to him while you're gadding off?'

It hardly seemed to Polly that enduring another twenty-four hours in the company of a disdainful Italian autocrat counted as. 'gadding'.

And her mother had never objected to her role as child-minder before, even when Polly was absent on other, much longer trips. In fact she'd declared that Charlie's presence had given her a new lease of life.

She looked out of the window to where her cheerful two-year-old was trotting about after his grandfather, picking up hedge clippings.

She said slowly, 'I thought he would stay with you, as usual.'

There were bright spots of colour in her mother's face. 'But it's not usual—is it? You're deliberately defying my wishes—yet again. I was totally against your taking that job in Sorrento three years ago, and how right I was. You came slinking home pregnant by some local Casanova, who didn't want to know about you any more. Can you deny it?'

'To be fair, Sandro had no more idea that I was expecting a baby than I did myself,' Polly said levelly. 'Although I agree it would have made no difference if he had known. But that's all in the past. I've—rebuilt my life, and he'll have moved on too.' She paused. 'All the same, I promise not to go With in ten miles of Sorrento, if that will make you feel better.'

'I'd feel better if you didn't go at all,' her mother returned sharply. 'But if it really is just a day trip, I suppose I can't stop you.'

'You'll hardly know I've gone,' Polly assured her. 'Thanks, Mum.' She gave her a swift hug. 'You're a star.'

'I'm an idiot,' Lily Fairfax retorted, but she sounded slightly mollified. 'Are you going to stay for supper? I've made one of my steak pies.'

'It's good of you, darling,' said Polly, mentally bracing herself for another battle. 'But we must get back. I have this trip to prepare for.'

Mrs Fairfax gave her a tragic look. 'But I've got Charlie's favourite ice-cream for dessert. He'll be so disappointed.'

Only because you've already told him, Polly thought without pleasure.

Aloud, she said, 'You really mustn't spoil him like that.'

Her mother pouted. 'It's a sad thing if I can't give my only grandchild the occasional treat.' She paused. 'Why not leave him here—if you're going to be busy this evening?' she coaxed. 'It'll save you time in the morning if you have a plane to catch.'

'It's a kind thought.' Polly tried to sound positive. 'But I really look forward to my evenings with Charlie, Mum. I—I see so little of him.'

'Well, that's something your father and I wanted to discuss with you,' her mother said with sudden briskness. 'There's a lot of unused space in this house, and if we were to extend over the garage, it would make a really nice flat for you both. And it would mean so much less disruption for Charlie.'

She emptied the carrots she'd been scraping into a pan. 'We've had some preliminary plans drawn up, and, if you stayed, we could look at them over supper perhaps.'

Copyright © 2006 Harlequin Books S.A.


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