The Italian's Virgin Bride [Secure eReader]
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eBook by Trish Morey
eBook Category: Romance
eBook Description: Opal Clemenger's facing bankruptcy, and the only man who can rescue her is ruthless tycoon Domenic Silvagni. Domenic's filthy rich, and he thinks money can purchase him anything--including a wife. So he agrees to help Opal, but only if she consents to his marriage ultimatum. Opal has no choice but to marry Domenic, but then he makes another demand: she must provide him with an heir. But Domenic quickly realizes that there's one thing he can't buy--his wife's love....
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: July 2007
30 Reader Ratings:
DOMENIC SILVAGNI was only one third through the report when the intercom buzzed for the second time in five minutes. He growled in irritation and slammed his fountain pen down so fast it skidded right across the leather-bound blotter.
His father again.
No one else could have made it past the snarling Ms Hancock, the human Rottweiler he'd been assigned as his PA during his visit to the Silvers hotel chain's premier Sydney hotel, and who ran interference for him with ruthless efficiency. Which was exactly what he needed if he was ever to analyse this report. Somewhere amidst this mountain of facts and figures and market research lay the solution to the hotel chain's flagging fortunes in Australia. And he was determined to discover whatever it was in time to make his flight to Rome tonight.
So much for demanding 'no calls'. Trust his father to pull rank on him. And he wasn't in the mood for another lecture. Not if it concerned those photos again—the two photos published in the gossip rag Caught In The Act. He considered his personal life his own business but that magazine had just made it everybody's.
And Guglielmo Silvagni knew damned well the playboy image the rag bestowed upon his son was a pure fabrication, but he was still less than happy about it.
'You can do better than supermodels and starlets,' he'd asserted. 'Find someone with some intelligence, some spunk—someone to give you a run for your money.'
Emma and Kristin might justifiably have been offended had they heard his father's assessment of them. After all, even rising Hollywood starlets and supermodels couldn't make it on looks alone, though they had those in abundance.
Not to mention jealousy. Both had taken it pretty personally when the photos were published.
Without doubt the whole episode had been an inconvenience. But that didn't mean he'd be better off settling down, as his father kept suggesting. He wasn't looking for a wife. He wasn't looking for a family. No matter how many times his father lectured him he was leaving it too late.
Too late! Hell, he was only thirty-two. Hardly over the hill.
The light on the intercom button kept flashing at him accusingly. Liar, it seemed to say. He groaned in frustration—now he was starting to think like his father—and lifted the handset.
'Tell my father I'll call him back later. After I've got through this report.'
'I'm sorry, Mr Silvagni, it's… actually not your father…'
He cocked an ear. Something was wrong. She'd lost her usual 'take-no-prisoners' tone. And for the first time since he'd arrived, he'd even say the snapping Ms Hancock sounded flustered.
'There's this woman…' she continued.
He gritted his teeth. A pity his Rottweiler had lost hers.
He could understand Guglielmo Silvagni getting past this line of last defence. He was Silvers Hotels. Together with his own father, Domenic's late grandfather, he had developed it from a three-room operation in Naples into a worldwide five-star success. And even though his father had retired to the rural countryside of Tuscany after a lengthy battle with cancer, and it was Domenic who now headed up the international operation, his father still wielded power. But a woman?
'I told you, absolutely no calls.'
'She's not on the phone,' she squeezed out on a breath, before he had a chance to terminate the conversation. 'She's here. She said it's urgent, that you'd want to see her.'
Domenic leaned back in his leather executive chair, drumming his fingers on the edge of the broad desk. 'Who is it?' he asked, while his brain did a quick scan of the known whereabouts of his latest companions. Last thing he heard Emma was on location in Texas shooting her latest film, while Kristin was doing a photo shoot for Vogue in Morocco. And neither of them was speaking to him after that damned photo fiasco, so neither even knew he'd made this last-minute trip to Australia.
'Her name is Opal Clemenger. From Clemengers. It's a family-owned chain of three prestige boutique hotels. There's one just down at the Rocks—'
'I know all about Clemengers,' he snapped. 'What does she want?'
'She said she has a deal for you. An opportunity too good to refuse. Should I send her in?'
* * *
Opal held her breath as she stood next to the PA's desk, white-knuckled fingers clutching the file of material she'd hastily assembled in preparation, hoping above hope that he would agree to this last-minute meeting.
Surely his interest was piqued? Surely he would be asking himself why the owner of the only six-star boutique hotel in Sydney would be dropping by at late notice? Surely he wouldn't think it was a social call?
And he had to agree to see her. The future of Clemengers and its staff depended on it.
'Tell her to make an appointment,' the voice over the intercom snapped back. 'I'll be back in two weeks. Oh, and I'll work through lunch. Can you send in some coffee and something to eat?'
The receptionist confirmed the order and then looked up at Opal apologetically as her master's voice disappeared with a final crackle of static. 'I'm sorry, dear. It's so unusual for me to interrupt him; I really thought he'd be curious to see you. I'm afraid you'll have to come back. Can you do that?'
Opal shook her head, teeth raking her bottom lip. Two weeks was far too late. She had two days to stitch up this deal. Just two days to find someone to invest in Clemengers, someone who would understand and continue the business as a going concern. Someone totally unlike McQuade, a corporate vulture just out to pick up bargain real estate in prime locations so that he could knock the buildings down and put up yet more overpriced blocks of flats.
Copyright © 2004 by Trish Morey.