Four years ago the passionate and very public affair between a charismatic Italian Formula One racing driver and a young journalist ended in an explosion of betrayal and deceit. Rafael Santini and Eden Lawrence vowed never to see each other again!
Now Rafe is back in Eden's life. An older, wiser Eden knows she needs more from Rafe than sex, but she's unable to resist her body's desire for the only man she's ever loved....
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December 01, 2007
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Excerpt from His Private Mistress by Chantelle Shaw
"...and in a round-up of local news, staff and patients at Greenacres, the specialist spinal injury unit here in Wellworth, had an unexpected visitor yesterday. Formula 1 champion Rafael Santini arrived by helicopter and spent several hours chatting to everyone at the unit before making a substantial donation. Greenacres manager, Jean Collins, said everyone was excited by the visit," the radio presenter chuckled. "I bet the ladies were excited, Santini's reputation off the track is as legendary as on it, if you know what I mean! Before you tell us what the weather has in store, Kate, what do you think of Rafe Santini?"
"Oh, a sex god, definitely, Brian. He'd brighten my day, which is more than can be said for the forecast..."
Eden stabbed her finger on the radio control button, cutting off the presenter's irritatingly bright voice, and stared impatiently at the queue of traffic. The roadworks had sprung up as if by magic overnight and she drummed her fingers on the wheel, refusing to admit that her tension had more to do with nerves than the fact that she was late. She shouldn't have had that second glass of wine last night, she conceded when she finally reached the hotel. No doubt it was the reason she had overslept and was responsible for the dull ache across her temples.
Her high heels clicked on the marble tiles of the foyer and a hasty glance in the mirror revealed that she looked cool and elegant in her cream trouser suit, her long blonde hair falling in a thick braid down her back. Her air of composure disguised the fact that her heart was racing. There was no good reason for the sick feeling in the pit of her stomach, she berated herself; it was ridiculous to feel so nervous.
Security at the front desk was tight; she should have expected it, and her irritation grew as she scrabbled in her bag for her Press pass, barely able to contain her impatience as the security guard scrutinised it carefully before waving her through. It would be easier to break into Fort Knox, she decided grimly when she was stopped at the door to the conference hall by another security guard.
"You are late," the guard informed her unnecessarily, in his slow, carefully pronounced English. "The interview has already begun."
"I'll slip in quietly," Eden promised. "No one will notice." She prayed she was right; the last thing she wanted to do was draw attention to herself. If the morning had gone to plan she would already be safely ensconced at the back of the room, buried amidst the huddle of other journalists, unnoticed and anonymous.
The conference hall was packed and again she wondered what she had expected. Rafael Santini rarely gave interviews. He had a love-hate relationship with the media, whereby they loved to report his every move and he abhorred their intrusion into his private life. Since his brother Gianni's terrible accident three years ago, and the fevered media speculation that Rafe had been responsible for the crash, his feelings for the paparazzi had developed into an almost pathological hatred. Even now, in his exalted position as Formula 1 World Champion, his statements to the Press had been condensed into a few terse words and Eden wondered what form of persuasion Fabrizzio Santini had used to coerce his eldest son to face the media.
Eden kept her head lowered as she slunk into one of the last empty seats at the back of the hall, and it was only then, when she was well and truly hidden, that she dared to lift her eyes to the stage. She had been mentally preparing for this moment all morning. Hell, who was she kidding? She had been on edge for days, ever since she had known that she was going to see Rafe again. Even so, that first sight of him, the sheer impact of his stunningly handsome face, caused her to inhale sharply, her stomach churning, and she dropped her gaze, needing to reassemble her defences.
Rafael Santini looked bored. His hard features were schooled into a mask of polite interest, the chiselled perfection of his bone structure, the aquiline nose and heavy black brows from beneath which gleamed eyes the colour of polished jet, acting as a magnet for every woman in the room. But even from a distance Eden could read the signs of his impatience. It was there in the rigid set of his jaw, the way he twiddled a pen between his fingers, his smile revealing a flash of white teeth, but not reaching his eyes. As she watched as he stared across the room in her direction. He couldn't possibly know she was there, Eden reassured herself as she sank lower in her seat. Rafe knew she was a journalist and that she came from Wellworth; it was where they had first met, after all. Doubtless he would also assume that she retained her links with the spinal-injury unit that he had just presented with a generous donation, but he would not expect her to be at the Press conference, and the air of tension that emanated from him was just a trick of her imagination.