Gwyn pretends an affair with her boss to cool a scandal, but it soon turns real! What happens when the attention dies down and they no longer have a reason to stay together? Scroll to read a #SampleSunday below.
Happy Canada Day!
Fun fact: Three years ago today, my very first Harlequin Presents released. It featured Lauren, a Canadian from Montreal, and Paolo, a banker from Italy. Paolo had a cousin, Vittorio (Vito) who is now the hero of BOUGHT BY HER ITALIAN BOSS. If I had known they would release it on Canada Day, I would have made Gwyn Canadian. Instead, she's American. It's still a great beach read if you happen to be celebrating either of these national holidays this weekend. (Or if you're just going to the beach. Or sitting at the bus stop going to work...)
I have seriously fallen down on my #SampleSunday duties! I won't bore you with excuses. I'll just set up this excerpt.
The book opens with Gwyn discovering someone has leaked nude photos of her online. Vito comes along to fire her, she pleads innocent, and they start to see that a client is setting her up. Vito has a look through her phone and discovers she took a photo of his headshot in the lobby a few days ago. Now they're in his private helicopter off the roof of the bank, escaping the melee of reporters.
~ * ~
“This isn’t a kidnapping,” he said dryly. “We’re going to Paolo’s home on Lake Como. It’s in his wife’s name and not on the paparazzi’s radar.”
“What? No,” she insisted, reaching to open her seatbelt. “My passport is in my apartment. I need it to get home.”
“To America? The press there is more relentless than ours. Even if you managed to drop out of sight, I would still have an ugly smudge on the bank’s reputation to erase.”
“I care as much about the bank as it does about me,” she informed him coldly.
“Please stay seated, Gwyn. We’re lifting off.” He pointed to where the horizon lowered beneath them. “Let’s talk about your photo of me.”
A fresh blush rose hotly from the middle of her chest into her neck. “Let’s not,” she said, squishing herself into her seat and fixing her gaze out the window.
“You’re attracted to me, sì?”
She sealed her lips, silently letting him know he couldn’t make her talk.
Nevertheless, he had her trapped and demonstrated his patience with an unhurried sip of his own drink and a brief glance at the face of his phone.
“You smiled at me one day,” he said absently. “The way a woman does when she is inviting a man to speak to her.”
And he hadn’t bothered to respond.
“I play a game with a friend back home,” she muttered. “It’s silly. Man Wars. We send each other photos of attractive men. That’s all it was,” she lied. “If it makes you feel objectified, well, you have a glimpse into how I feel right now.”
Her insides were churning like a cement mixer.
“You’re embarrassed by how strong the attraction is,” he deduced after watching her a moment. He sounded amused.
Her stomach cramped with self-consciousness. Could her face get any hotter?
“This releasing of compromising photos is very shrewd,” he said in an abrupt shift. His tone suggested it was an item in political news, not a gross defilement of her personal self. His finger rested across his lips in contemplation.
“Jensen has very cleverly made himself appear a victim,” he said. “The moment we accuse him of wrongdoing, he’ll claim he only took advice from you and Fabrizio. Fabrizio may eventually implicate him, trying to save his own skin, but Jensen has this excellent diversion. He can say you came on to him, maybe that you were working with Fabrizio, that you sent those photos to ruin his marriage. Perhaps they were cooked up by the two of you to blackmail him into skimming funds. Whatever story he comes up with, it will point all the scandal back to you and Fabrizio and the bank.”
“I’m aware that my life is over, thanks,” she bit out.
“Nothing is over,” he said with a coldblooded smile. “Jensen landed a punch, but I will hit back. Hard. If he and Fabrizio were in fact using you, you must also want to set things straight? You’ll help me make it clear you had zero romantic interest in Jensen.”
“How?” she choked, wondering what was in his drink that he thought he could accomplish that.
“By going public with our own affair.”
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I've mentioned my family reunion this month. This weekend is my sister's last one in Canada before she heads back to Oz. I have had SO MUCH FUN with my niece and nephew. There's a conference on the Gold Coast next year and I'm starting to think I MUST attend so I'll be able to see them again soon.
Enjoy your weekend!