Six months ago Brazilian tycoon Caleb Cameron thought he'd uncovered Maggie Holland's plot to ruin him--using seduction! But Maggie was being manipulated by her stepfather. She'd fallen in love with Caleb--but he vowed never to see her again. After her stepfather dies, Maggie is left with nothing. Now, to complete his revenge, Caleb makes an offer Maggie can't refuse: but she must become his mistress for two months!
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August 01, 2007
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Excerpt from The Brazilian's Blackmail Bargain by Abby Green
Dublin, six months later...
"We justT have to meet with Mr. Murphy and then it's all over." In the back of the car as they left the graveyard, Maggie took her mother's hand in hers, concerned by her ashen pallor.
Her mother drew in a shaky breath. "Love, I don't think I can sit through it...I really don't--"
Maggie tightened her hand in comfort as her mother's eyes filled and her mouth trembled.
She turned stricken eyes to her daughter. "I'm not sad... Is that terrible? I'm so relieved that he's finally gone; when I think of what I put you through all these years, how I could have--"
"Shh, Mum. Don't think about it now. It's over. He'll never harm either of us again. We're free."
Her heart ached at the desolation in her mother's eyes, the lines on her face, the lifeless hair scraped back. She had once been a beautiful, vibrant woman. The reason why Tom Holland had wanted her for himself after her father's untimely death. He'd been pathologically jealous of his cousin.
In those days, as a young widow in Ireland with nothing but the house left to her and a small child, Maggie's mother had been vulnerable. When Tom had promised to look after her if she married him, she had thought she was doing the best thing for her and her daughter. It was only after the wedding that his vicious cruelty had become apparent and, in a notoriously conservative society where divorce hadn't been allowed until relatively recently, her mother had effectively been trapped. Until now.
"Look, you don't have to sit in on the reading of the will; it's going to be a matter of routine anyway. Mr Murphy knows us well enough not to insist on your being there and Tom left everything to you. It's the least he could have done."Maggie's voice couldn't hide its bitter edge.
"Oh, really love, do you think so? If I could just take a rest..." "Of course, everything is going to be fine." Maggie tried to inject upbeat energy into her voice when all she felt was drained beyond belief.
A short time later the car pulled off the main road in the small village outside Dublin and swept through the gates of a large, welcoming country house. Maggie took a deep comforting breath. The first glimpse of the house through the trees that lined the short drive never failed to lift her spirits. It had been their own family home--her father and mother's. It was the one thing her stepfather hadn't got his hands on. A link back to happier days, the memories of which she knew had helped her mother get through the worst times. It was here she and her mother had moved back to six months ago, after that... Even now she couldn't bring herself to think of that night. The pain in her heart was still acute, despite her attempts to ignore it, deny it. The awful humiliation was still vivid.
Luckily her mother had listened to her and they'd left London almost immediately. By the time Tom had realised that his plan hadn't worked he'd been too caught up with his business to come after them. And now he was gone for good.
Dead. She brought her mother up to her bedroom and was almost at the door when she called her back.
"What is it, Mum?" Maggie walked over and sat down. Her mother's eyes were suddenly bright and serious. "Promise me you'll never speak of what happened to us... what Tom did to us...I couldn't bear the shame."
She was used to this recurring plea of her mother's. "Of course not...you know I never have; why would I now?"
Her mother grabbed her hand with surprising strength. "Promise me, Margaret."
"I promise."She pressed a kiss to her mother's forehead and left again. It was a promise she wouldn't find hard to keep; she had no intention of talking or thinking about Tom Holland ever again if she could help it. Maggie went back downstairs and heard the sound of a car. The solicitor. After hanging up her coat, she quickly smoothed back her hair, opening the door with a smile as the bell sounded.