The Italian's Defiant Mistress [Secure eReader]
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eBook by India Grey
eBook Category: Romance/Romance
eBook Description: The Italian billionaire's inexperienced mistress.... Eve has come to Florence seeking information and only Raphael di Lazaro, heir to the Lazaro Fashion House, holds the answers. Surrounded by glamour, Eve's out of her depth--until she realizes Raphael wants her! If becoming his mistress will help Eve, she'll fake the sophistication Raphael's expecting--but that means being available to his every desire...
eBook Publisher: Harlequin/Presents
Fictionwise Release Date: October 2007
8 Reader Ratings:
'I CAN'T do this.'
Eve's voice was little more than a whisper as the icy hand of fear gripped her throat and trailed its chilly fingers down her spine. She wanted to run, but was suddenly too panic-stricken to move. Besides, in the stiletto-heeled thigh-length boots she probably wouldn't get very far.
On the other side of the curtains the ballroom of Florence's grandest palazzo was packed with five hundred of the world's most wealthy and beautiful, who had come to pay homage to the man who had been dressing them for half a century. Only the cream of Antonio di Lazaro's client list had been invited to attend this exclusive fiftieth anniversary retrospective, and any celebrities not sitting out there in the glittering ballroom waiting for the show to begin were backstage, getting ready to model some of the legendary Lazaro label's most iconic designs.
Sienna Swift, current supermodel darling of the international fashion scene, looked up briefly from the magazine she was reading and gave Eve her famously dazzling smile.
'Course you can. You'll be fine.'
'But I'm a…a journalist.' The dishonesty of the statement made Eve falter as she said it. 'My friend Lou was supposed to be doing this article—she'd have been fantastic, but I've never done anything like this in my life. I don't know the first thing about modelling!'
Sienna turned the page. 'Well, babe, you've got the legs for it. And better boobs than the rest of us put together. What's to know? It's hardly rocket science.' She paused to scrutinise a photograph of one of her closest rivals before adding, 'It's all about sex, I suppose.'
'Sex?' Eve wailed, her spirits sinking even further. 'Why sex? Where I come from sex is not something you do in front of five hundred people and photographers from every major publication around the globe.'
Apparently. She couldn't very well say she didn't know the first thing about that either.
Sienna sighed and put the magazine down.
'OK, we haven't got long, so let's make this as simple as possible. All you have to do is find someone to focus on. You're up there on the catwalk, right? And you just fix your eyes on some bloke and forget everyone else. Watch.'
The model took a couple of steps back, thrusting her hips forward in classic catwalk style and placing her hands on them. Looking around for a likely candidate, she fixed her smoky gaze on the singer from Italy's hottest new boy band, who'd just come offstage.
'You walk towards him and you never take your eyes off him,' she murmured through sultry, pouted lips. 'Not for a second. This is lust at first sight. You're looking at him as if he's the sexiest man alive and you're going to go right up to him and strip his clothes off and there and then.' She swung back to Eve with a wicked smile. 'That's all there is to it!' And to the obvious dismay of the blushing singer she picked up the magazine again and resumed her study of it.
Eve squirmed uncomfortably in the transparent PVC minidress, and tugged it down over her bottom. It would be a lot easier to follow Sienna's advice if she was allowed to wear her glasses, without which she wasn't going to be able to focus on anything more than half a metre away from her face, and if she wasn't dressed in an upmarket plastic bag. She seemed to have drawn the short straw in the clothes lottery, and had been allocated one of Lazaro's more bizarre creations from his avant-garde phase in the 1960s. Strategically positioned fluorescent flowers stopped the dress being absolutely X-rated, but she still felt horribly exposed.
All around her some of the most beautiful women in the world were sipping mineral water from miniature bottles and dropping the kind of names that would have sent a real journalist into a frenzy of excitement. Among them Eve felt lonely, disorientated, and about as glamorous as a transit van in a garage full of sportscars.
She didn't belong here.
She closed her eyes against the sudden wave of homesickness that threatened to knock her for six as she thought of her messy desk by the window in Professor Swanson's office. At this time of year her view of the college quadrangle was almost entirely obliterated by the wisteria rampaging across the window, casting a murky underwater light over the clutter of teacups and student essays and piles of scribbled notes in the dusty book-lined room.
That was her world, and she had been crazy to think for a second that she could cut it in Lou's. Fashion journalists—especially those who were successful enough to shadow supermodels for exclusive behind-the-scenes articles on the A-list events of the year—were generally not shy, shortsighted academics. There was just no way she could pull it off.
'I think I'd better go and get changed,' she muttered, trying to squeeze through the crush at the steps to the catwalk.
The plan had failed before it had even begun, and it was better that she face that fact now. Lou had taken a huge risk in faking illness at the last minute and putting Eve forward for this article, and if either of them had stopped to think about it they would have realised how outrageous the whole scheme was. She was going to let Lou down, but that wasn't the worst part.
The worst part was letting her twin sister Ellie down. And letting Raphael Di Lazaro slip through her fingers again.
Without looking up from the horoscope page, Sienna grabbed her arm and pulled her back. 'No time,' she said cheerfully. 'We're on in a second. Look, it says here that Scorpios should exercise caution in financial matters. Do you think that means I shouldn't buy that Prada clutch bag, then?'
Copyright © 2007 by India Grey.