Allegra Avesti never realized that her fiancé, wickedly handsome tycoon Stefano Capozzi, saw her as just another item on his agenda. How could she share her life with a man who'd negotiated the terms of their marriage in the boardroom rather than the bedroom? Years later, Stefano needs Allegraand is determined to claim his runaway bride. The defiant Allegra will return to Italy with himand if he has to seduce her into agreeing, then that will make it all the more pleasurable for him .
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January 31, 2009
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Excerpt from The Italian's Bought Bride by Kate Hewitt
Stefano Capozzi sat in the well-appointed office of one of Milan's top psychiatrists, his eyes glittering in a face set like stone.'It has been eight months,' he said flatly, even though Renaldo Speri had the case notes on his desk. 'Eight months of every treatment available, imaginable, and no change.'Speri smiled in sympathetic understanding. 'You cannot expect a miracle cure, Signor Capozzi. You may not be able to expect a cure at all.' He trailed off as he took in Stefano's unrelenting gaze.Stefano shook his head. 'I want better.'He would have better. He wouldn't accept brush-offs or excuses. He'd come to Milan to find the best therapist for the child in his charge, and he would have it.Speri ran a hand through his thinning hair and sighed. 'Signor Capozzi, you must face the very real possibility that Lucio falls on the spectrum of pervasive development disorder''No.' After eight months of Lucio's silence and stress, he would not accept it. He was used to obstacles in business, and personal ones would prove no different, no more difficult. 'Lucio was normal before his father died. He was like any other child''Autism often manifests itself at three years of age,' Speri explained gently. 'Lucio had only a little speech before his father's death, and lost it completely in the months afterwards.'Stefano raised one eyebrow in scathing scepticism. 'And you are now trying to tell me that the two aren't related?''I am trying to tell you that it is a possibility,' Speri said, his voice becoming strained with patience. 'As difficult as it may be to accept.'Stefano was silent for a moment. 'There is no cure for autism,' he finally said. He'd done his research. He'd read the books, seen the statistics.'There are therapies, diets, that alleviate some of the symptoms,' Speri said quietly. 'And it also depends where he falls on the spectrum''He's not on the spectrum.''Signor''I want something else.' Stefano levelled his gaze at the psychiatrist and waited.After a moment Speri raised his hands in a defeated gesture. 'Signor Capozzi, we have tried therapies and grief counselling, and as you've reminded me, there has been no change. If anything, Lucio has descended deeper into his own iron-walled world. If this were a case of normal grief''What,' Stefano asked icily, 'is normal about grief?''The grieving process is normal,' Speri said steadily. 'And accepted. But Lucio's behaviour is not normal, and there should have been signs of improvement in communication by now. There have been none.'On his lap, out of sight, Stefano's hand curled into a fist. 'I know that.''Then accept that he might fall on the spectrum, and turn to the therapies and treatments that can help him best!'Stefano was silent. Carefully, deliberately, he flattened his hand, resting it on the desktop. When Lucio's mother, Bianca, had asked him to help, to come to Milan and tell 'those doctors' that her son was not autistic, Stefano had accepted. He had believed Bianca then, but now he felt the first flicker of doubt.He would do anything for Bianca, anything for Lucio. Their family had saved him all those years ago, had pulled him up from the mire of his upbringing, giving him the steps and tools to be the man he was today.He would never forget it.'Surely there is something we haven't tried,' he said at last. 'Before we accept this diagnosis.''The psychiatrists involved in an autism diagnosis are very thorough,' Speri said. 'And competent. They do not make such a judgement incautiously.''Agreed,' Stefano said tersely. 'But stillis there something else?'Speri was silent for a long moment. 'There is,' he finally said, his voice reluctant, 'a therapist who had success with a child who'd been diagnosed with autism. Misdiagnosed, as the case turned out. He'd suffered a severe trauma the therapists working with him were unaware of, and when it wa