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The Italian Billionaire's Christmas Miracle
He'd bargained on a bride, but not on a baby! Arlene Russell may be naive and vulnerable, but she's more than a match for arrogant Italian Domenico Silvaggio d'Avalos. Arlene refuses to become Domenico's mistress. Though her business is in trouble, she won't be bought! But Domenico is determined to make Arlene his convenient bride. Especially when she gives him a Christmas gift greater than money could buy!
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November 30, 2007
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Excerpt from The Italian Billionaire's Christmas Miracle by Catherine Spencer
Domenico didn't usually involve himself with tourists. They were not, as a rule, vitally concerned with the wine industry except as it applied to their drinking habits. That morning, though, he happened to be crossing the yard to his office at the rear of the main building just as the latest batch of visitors filed from the vineyard toward the public section at the front. All but one headed straight for the tasting room. She remained outside, earnestly questioning his uncle Bruno who, at almost sixty, had forgotten more about viticulture than Domenico himself ever hoped to learn.
Although professional enough not to dismiss any question, regardless of how trivial it might be, Bruno was not one to suffer fools gladly. That he appeared as engrossed in the conversation as this visitor, was unusual enough for Domenico to stop and observe.
Tall, slender and rather plain, the woman looked to be in her mid-twenties. And, he surmised, noting the slightly pink tint to her fair skin, newly arrived in Sardinia and not yet acclimatized to the sun. Unless she wanted to spend the rest of her holiday in bed with sunstroke, she should be wearing a hat. Tying up her hair in a careless ponytail that left her nape exposed was asking for trouble.
His uncle must have thought so, too, because he guided her to a bench set in the shade of a nearby oleander. More curious by the second, Domenico lingered just within earshot.
Catching sight of him, Bruno waved him over. "This is the man you talk with," he told the woman. "My nephew, first he speaks the good English to make better sense for you. More important, what he does not know about growing grapes and turning them into fine wine, it is not worth knowing."
"And my uncle never exaggerates," Domenico said, smiling at the woman. "Allow me to introduce myself, signorina."
She looked up and, for a moment, his usual urbanity deserted him. Suddenly bereft of speech, he found himself staring like a goatherd.
She was not beautiful, no. At least, not in the conventional sense. Her clothes were modest: a denim knee-length skirt, white short-sleeved cotton blouse and flat-heeled sandals. Her hair, though shiny as glass, was a nondescript brown, her hips narrow as a boy's, her breasts small. Nothing like the annoyingly persistent Ortensia Costanza, with her vibrantly dramatic good looks and ripe curves. If Ortensia exemplified blatant female sexuality at its most hungry, this delicate creature fell at the other end of the spectrum and almost shied away from him.