Jordan has struggled to forget Gino Bortelli, the arrogant, sexy Italian with whom she had an affair ten years before. Things had ended abruptly, but Jordan still craved Gino's touch. No man yet had made her feel as Gino had....
Now he's back! Older, richer and sexier, Gino still has the power to make Jordan melt. He knows something Jordan would prefer be kept secret and he's prepared to use it--to have her, bed her, any way he wants her. And, to Jordan's shame, she can't say no....
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August 31, 2007
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Excerpt from Blackmailed into the Italian's Bed by Miranda Lee
Gino stood at the hotel room window, his hands shoved deep in his trouser pockets, his dark gaze fixed on the city streets below.
The snarled traffic moved along at snail's pace, and the pavements were filled with office workers spilling from their buildings, all eager to get home for the weekend. Wherever home might be.
He wondered where her home was. And if she was married.
His heart missed a beat at this last thought. As perverse as it was, he didn't want her to be married.
But of course she would be. A girl like that. So beautiful and so intelligent. Some smart man would have snapped her up by now. It had been ten years, for pity's sake. She probably had a couple of kids as well.
His cellphone ringing sent him spinning away from the window. He glanced at his watch as he hurried over to where he'd left his phone, by the bed. Five-thirty. Hopefully it would be the detective agency and not Claudia. He didn't want to talk to Claudia right now. "Gino Bortelli," he answered, with only the faintest of Italian accents.
Gino almost sighed with relief at hearing a crisp male voice on the other end.
"Cliff Hanson here, from Confidential Investigations." "Glad to hear from you," Gino returned, just as crisply. "What do you have for me?"
"We believe we've located the Ms Jordan Gray you're looking for, Mr Bortelli, although it's not as uncommon a name as we'd hoped. But there's only one Ms Jordan Gray currently living in Sydney who matches the age and physical description you gave us."
"She's not married, then?"Gino asked, trying to keep the excitement out of his voice.
"Nope. Still single. With no children. And you were right. She's a lawyer. Works for Stedley & Parkinson. It's an American-owned legal practice which has a branch here in the Sydney City Business District."
"I know it," Gino said, stunned by this news. He'd been in their offices this very afternoon, signing a contract. Hell, he might have walked right past her!
"Word is she's the up-and-coming star of their civil litigation section. Took on a big insurance company recently. And won."
A wry smile spread over Gino's face. "That'd be her."
Jordan had absolutely hated insurance companies. Her parents had had an insurance claim rejected after their home had been virtually destroyed in a storm, with the insurance company hiding behind some loophole in the small print of their contract. Her father had tried to fight them through the legal system, and it had cost him every cent he had and some he didn't. After he'd lost his final appeal he'd died of a coronary, brought on by stress, leaving behind a destitute wife and a daughter.
"Do you have an address and home phone number for me?" he asked.
"An address. But no home phone number as yet. Lawyers like Ms Gray usually have unlisted numbers."
"Give me the address," Gino said, striding over to sit at the writing desk which contained everything a businessman away from home might require, including internet access.
He picked up the complimentary pen and jotted Jordan's address down on the notepad. It was an apartment in Kirribilli, one of the swish harbourside suburbs on the north side of Sydney, not far from the bridge. He ripped off the page and slipped it into his wallet.
"Does she live alone?" came his next question, his throat tightening.
"We don't know that yet, Mr Bortelli. We've only been on the job a few hours. We need a little more time to fill in the details of the lady's love-life. There's only so much we can find out via the internet and phone calls."
"How much more time?" "Possibly only a few hours. I'm having one of my best field operatives tail Ms Gray when she leaves work this evening. We've been able to secure a recent photo, courtesy of her driver's licence. He's currently staking out the exit to her building."
Gino winced at this invasion of Jordan's privacy. "Is that really necessary?"
"It is, if you want to know the lady's personal status tonight. Which you said you did."
Yes, he did. He was booked on an early morning flight to Melbourne.
When he'd flown in to Sydney yesterday Gino had had no intention of hiring a private eye to find Jordan. But during his taxi ride from the airport to the city the memories he'd been trying to bury for the last decade had resurfaced with a vengeance.
The need to know what had become of her had overridden common sense. He hadn't been able to sleep last night with thinking about her.
By morning, his curiosity had become a compulsion. A call to a police friend in Melbourne had soon provided him with the number of a reputable Sydney investigative agency. By ten this morning he'd set in motion the search for the first-year law student he'd lived with for a few idyllic months, all those years ago.