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At The Ruthless Billionaire's Command

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«At The Ruthless Billionaire's Command» - Кэрол Мортимер

Sleeping with the enemy…Gregorio de la Cruz doesn’t care if innocent Lia Fairbanks holds him responsible for ruining her life. But he can’t get the fiery red-head out of his mind. He won’t rest until he has Lia just where he wants her – ready and willing in his bed!Lia is adamant that she won’t give in to Gregorio’s outrageous demands, no matter how wildly her body responds to his slightest touch. She knows she can’t trust him…but Gregorio is sinfully persuasive, and soon Lia finds she can’t resist the sensual onslaught of this billionaire’s seduction!
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Sleeping with the enemy...

Gregorio de la Cruz doesn’t care if innocent Lia Fairbanks holds him responsible for ruining her life. But he can’t get the fiery redhead out of his mind. He won’t rest until he has Lia just where he wants her—ready and willing in his bed!

Lia is adamant that she won’t give in to Gregorio’s outrageous demands, no matter how wildly her body responds to his slightest touch. She knows she can’t trust him...but Gregorio is sinfully persuasive, and soon Lia finds she can’t resist the sensual onslaught of this billionaire’s seduction!

Lia recognised the flame in his eyes for exactly what it was. Desire. Hot, burning desire. For her. A desire he had demonstrated four months ago and which he obviously still felt.

She took a step back—only to have Gregorio take a step forward, maintaining their close proximity.

She moistened her lips with the tip of her tongue. ‘I think you should go now.’

‘No.’ He was standing so close his breath was a light caress across the soft tendrils of hair at her temples.

‘You can’t just say no.’

‘Oh, but I can. I have,’ he added with satisfaction.

Lia blinked up at him, her heart thumping wildly now, her palms feeling damp. ‘This is insane.’

She was insane. Because a part of her—certain parts of her—was responding to the flickering flames in those coal-black eyes. Her skin felt incredibly sensitised. Her nipples were tingling and between her thighs she was becoming slick with arousal.

‘Is it?’ Gregorio raised a hand and tucked a loose curl behind her ear before running his fingertips lightly down the heat of her cheek.

‘Yes…’ she breathed, even as she felt herself drawn to lean into that caress.

CAROLE MORTIMER was born and lives in the UK. She is married to Peter and they have six sons. She has written almost 200 books since she started writing for Mills & Boon in 1978. She writes for the Modern and Historical lines. Carole is a USA TODAY Bestselling Author, and in 2012 she was recognised by Queen Elizabeth II for her ‘outstanding contribution to literature’.

Books by Carole Mortimer

Mills & Boon Modern Romance

The Twin Tycoons

The Redemption of Darius Sterne

The Taming of Xander Sterne

The Devilish D’Angelos

A Bargain with the Enemy

A Prize Beyond Jewels

A D’Angelo Like No Other

Mills & Boon Historical Romance

Dangerous Dukes

Zachary Black: Duke of Debauchery

Darian Hunter: Duke of Desire

Griffin Stone: Duke of Decadence

Christian Seaton: Duke of Danger

A Season of Secrets

Not Just a Seduction

Not Just a Governess

Not Just a Wallflower

Visit the Author Profile page

at millsandboon.co.uk for more titles.

At the Ruthless Billionaire’s Command

Carole Mortimer



www.millsandboon.co.uk

With many thanks to all at Harlequin Mills & Boon

Contents

Back Cover Text

Introduction

html#u507a2ad2-ab14-547a-bb75-c4d310e88666" id="back_u507a2ad2-ab14-547a-bb75-c4d310e88666">About the Author

Title Page

Dedication

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

EPILOGUE

Extract

Copyright

PROLOGUE

‘WHAT’S HE DOING HERE?’ Lia couldn’t take her eyes off the man standing back slightly on the other side of the open grave where her father’s coffin would soon be laid to rest.

‘Who—? Oh, God, no...’

Lia ignored her friend’s gasp of dismay as her feet seemed to move of their own volition, taking her towards the dark and dangerous man whose image had consumed her days and haunted her nightmares for the past two weeks.

‘Lia—no!’

She was barely aware of shaking off Cathy’s attempt to restrain her, her attention focused on only one thing. One man.

Gregorio de la Cruz.

Eldest of the three de la Cruz brothers, he was tall, at a couple of inches over six feet. His slightly overlong dark hair was obviously professionally styled. His complexion was olive-toned. And his face was as harshly handsome as that of a conquistador.

Lia knew he was also as cold and merciless as one.

He was the utterly ruthless, thirty-six-year-old billionaire CEO of the de la Cruz family’s worldwide business empire. A business empire this man had carved out for himself and his two brothers over the past twelve years by sheer ruthless willpower alone.

And he was the man responsible for driving Lia’s father to such a state of desperation that he’d suffered a fatal heart attack two weeks ago.

The man Lia now hated with every particle of her being.

‘How dare you come here?’

Gregorio de la Cruz’s head snapped up and he looked at Lia with hooded eyes as black and soulless as she knew his heart to be.

‘Miss Fairbanks—’

‘I asked how you dare show your face here?’ she hissed, hands clenched so tightly at her sides she could feel the sting of her nails cutting into the flesh of her palms.

‘This is not the time—’

His only slightly accented words were cut off as one of Lia’s hands swung up and made contact with the hardness of his chiselled cheek, leaving several smears of blood on his flesh from the small cuts in her palm.

‘No!’ He held up his hand to stop two dark-suited men who would have stepped forward in response to her attack. ‘That is the second time you have slapped my face, Amelia. I will not allow it a third time.’

The second time?

Oh, goodness—yes. Her father had introduced them in a restaurant two months ago. They had both been dining with other people, but Lia had been totally aware of Gregorio de la Cruz’s gaze on her, following that introduction. Even so, she had been surprised when she’d left the ladies’ powder room partway through the evening to find him waiting for her outside in the hallway. She had been even more surprised when he’d told her how much he wanted her before kissing her.

That was the reason she had slapped his face the first time.

She had been engaged at the time—he had been introduced to her fiancé as well as her that evening—so he had stepped way over the line.

‘Your father would not have wanted this.’ He kept his voice low, no doubt so none of the other mourners gathered about the graveside would be able to hear his response to her attack.

Lia’s eyes flashed with anger. ‘And how the hell would you know what my father would have wanted when you don’t—didn’t—know the first thing about him? Except, of course, that he’s dead!’ she added vehemently.

Gregorio knew far more about Jacob Fairbanks than his daughter obviously did. ‘I repeat—this is not the time for this conversation. We will talk again once you are in a calmer state of mind.’

‘Where you’re concerned that’s never going to happen,’ she assured him, her voice harsh with contempt.

Gregorio bit back his reply, aware that Amelia Fairbanks’s aggression came from the intensity of her understandable grief at the recent loss of her father—a man Gregorio had respected and liked, although he doubted Jacob’s daughter would believe that.

The newspapers had featured several photographs of Amelia since the start of the worldwide media frenzy after her father had died so suddenly two weeks ago, but having already met her—desired her—Gregorio knew none of the images had done her justice.

Her shoulder-length hair wasn’t simply red, but shot through with highlights of gold and cinnamon. Her eyes weren’t pale and indistinct, but a deep intense grey, with a ring of black about the iris. She was understandably pale, but that pallor didn’t detract from the striking effect of her high cheekbones or the smooth magnolia of her skin. Long dark lashes framed those mesmerising grey eyes. Her nose was small and pert, and the fullness of her lips was a perfect bow above a pointed and determined chin.

She was small of stature, her figure slender, and the black dress she was wearing seemed to hang a little too loosely—as if she had recently lost weight. Which he could see she had.

Nevertheless, Amelia Fairbanks was an extremely beautiful woman.

And the sharp stab of desire he felt merely from looking at her and breathing in the heady spice of her perfume was totally inappropriate, considering the occasion.

‘We will talk again, Miss Fairbanks.’ His tone brooked no argument this time.

‘I don’t think so,’ she said, scorning his certainty.

Oh, they would meet again. Gregorio would ensure that they did.

His gaze was guarded as he gave her a formal bow before turning on his heel to walk across the grass and get into the back of the black limousine waiting for him just outside the graveyard.

‘Señor de la Cruz?’

Gregorio looked up blankly at Silvio, one of his two bodyguards, to see the other man holding out a handkerchief towards him.

‘You have blood on your cheek. Hers, not your own,’ Silvio explained economically as Gregorio gave him a questioning glance.

He took the handkerchief and rubbed it across his cheek before looking down at the blood that now stained the pristine white cotton.

Amelia Fairbanks’s blood.

Gregorio distractedly put the bloodied handkerchief into the breast pocket of his jacket as he glanced across to where she stood beside a tall blonde woman at her father’s graveside. Amelia looked very small and vulnerable, but her expression was nonetheless composed as she stepped forward to place a single red rose on top of the coffin.

Whether she wished it or not, he and Amelia Fairbanks would most definitely be meeting again.

Gregorio had wanted her for the past two months—he could wait a little longer before claiming her.

.

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