When ruthless Italian barrister Dante Costello hires Matilda Hamilton, he sees an opportunity. Matilda's job is to create a magical garden, in the hope it will help Dante's troubled little girl. However, since attraction between them is hot and intense, why not take Matilda as his mistress, as well?
Dante has always kept his emotions firmly under wraps when it comes to relationships. But this time will he succeed when his desire for Matilda is pushing him to the edge of control?
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March 01, 2007
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Excerpt from Wanted: Mistress and Mother by Carol Marinelli
It was the first word that sprang to mind as dark, clearly irritated eyes swung round to face her, black eyes that stared down at Matilda, scrutinising her face unashamedly, making her acutely aware of her--for once--expertly made-up face. The vivid pink lipstick the beautician had insisted on to add a splash of colour to her newly straightened ash blonde hair and porcelain complexion seemed to suddenly render her mouth im-movable, as, rather than slowing down to assist, the man she had asked for directions had instead, after a brief angry glance, picked up speed and carried on walking.
Inappropriate, because generally when you stopped someone to ask for directions, especially in a hospital, you expected to be greeted with a courteous nod or smile, for the person to actually slow down, instead of striding ahead and glaring back at you with an angry question of their own.
Even though he uttered just a single word, the thick, clipped accent told Matilda that English wasn't this man's first language. Matilda's annoyance at this response was doused a touch. Perhaps he was in the hospital to visit a sick relative, had just flown in to Australia from, In that split second her mind worked rapidly, trying to place him--his appearance was Mediterranean, Spanish or Greek perhaps, or maybe,
"Where is it you want to go?'he barked, finally deigning to slow down a fraction, the few extra words allowing Matilda to place his strong accent--he was Italian!
"I wanted to know how to find the function room,' she said slowly, repeating the question she had already asked, berating her luck that the only person walking through the maze of the hospital administration corri-dors spoke little English. That the tall, imposing man she had had to resort to for directions was blatantly annoyed at the intrusion. "I'm trying to get there for the opening of the hospital garden. I'm supposed to be there in, ' She glanced down at her watch and let out a sigh of exasperation. "Actually, I was supposed to be there five minutes ago."
"Merda!" As he glanced at his watch the curse that escaped his lips, though in Italian, wasn't, Matilda assumed, particularly complimentary, and abruptly stepping back she gave a wide-eyed look, before turning smartly on her heel and heading off to find her own way. He'd made it exceptionally clear that her request for as-sistance had been intrusive but now he was being down-right rude. She certainly wasn't going to stand around and wait for the translation--she'd find the blessed function room on her own!
"I'm sorry.'He caught up with her in two long strides, but Matilda marched on, this angry package of testos-terone the very last thing she needed this morning.
"No, I'm sorry to have disturbed you," Matilda called back over her shoulder, pushing the button--any button--on the lift and hoping to get the hell out of there. "You're clearly busy."
"I was cursing myself, not you." He gave a tiny grimace, shrugged very wide shoulders in apology, which sweetened the explanation somewhat, and Matilda made a mental correction. His English was, in fact, excellent. It was just his accent that was incredi-bly strong--deep and heavy, and, Matilda reluctantly noted, incredibly sensual. "I too am supposed to be at the garden opening, I completely forgot that they'd moved the time forward. My secretary has decided to take maternity leave."
"How inconsiderate of her!'Matilda murmured under her breath, before stepping inside as the lift slid open.
Beating back a blush, Matilda stared fixedly ahead, unfortunately having to wait for him to press the button, as she was still none the wiser as to where the function room was.
"I didn't quite catch what you said," he persisted. "I didn't say anything,'Matilda lied, wishing the floor would open up and swallow her, or, at the very least, the blessed lift would get moving.