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Italian Bachelors: Devilish D'angelos: A Bargain with the Enemy / A Prize Beyond Jewels

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«Italian Bachelors: Devilish D'angelos: A Bargain with the Enemy / A Prize Beyond Jewels» - Кэрол Мортимер

Devilish D’AngelosGabriel D’AngeloBryn Jones has never forgiven international tycoon Gabriel for sending her father to prison, destroying her family and breaking her heart. But the artist has forged herself a new identity, away from the scandal…until Gabriel asks for a deal that will be mutually beneficial and pleasurable!Rafe D’AngeloNina Palitov’s act of defiance against oppressive control was to spend one exquisite night with a man of her choice. But Rafe D’Angelo relishes a challenge and his pursuit of her provokes a passion she’s never expected. but with her family’s deepest secret at risk it’s essential she doesn’t become Rafe’s latest prize!Michael D’AngeloMichael D’Angelo might be the driving force behind the successful Archangel galleries, but it doesn’t mean he’s perfect…he lost his halo years ago! Yet when a delectable woman shows up in Paris, claiming he’s the father to twins, it’s one mistake Michael knows is not his.
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Italian Bachelors Devilish D’Angelos

A Bargain with the Enemy

A Prize Beyond Jewels

A D’Angelo Like No Other

Carole Mortimer



www.millsandboon.co.uk

CAROLE MORTIMER was born in England, the youngest of three children. She began writing in 1978, and has now written two hundred books. Carole has six sons, Matthew, Joshua, Timothy, Michael, David and Peter. She says, ‘I’m happily married to Peter senior; we’re best friends as well as lovers, which is probably the best recipe for a successful relationship. We live in a lovely part of England.’

Table of Contents

Title Page

About the Author

A Bargain with the Enemy

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

A Prize Beyond Jewels

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

A D’Angelo Like No Other

Dedication

PROLOGUE

CHAPTER ONE

html#litres_trial_promo"> CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

EPILOGUE

Copyright

A Bargain with the Enemy

Carole Mortimer

To my six wonderful sons. I am so proud of you all.

PROLOGUE

‘DON’T WORRY, MIK, he’ll be here.’

‘Take your damned feet off the desk,’ Michael snapped in reply to his brother’s reassurance, not even glancing up from the papers he was currently reading in the study at Archangel’s Rest, the secluded Berkshire home of the D’Angelo family. ‘And I’m not worried.’

‘Like hell you’re not!’ Rafe drawled lazily, making no effort to swing his black-booted feet down from where they rested on the front of his older brother’s desk.

‘I’m really not, Rafe,’ Michael assured mildly.

‘Do you know if—?’

‘I’m sure it can’t have escaped your notice that I’m trying to read!’ Michael sighed his impatience as he glared across the desk. He was dressed formally, as usual, in a pale blue shirt and neatly knotted navy blue silk tie, dark waistcoat and tailored trousers, the jacket to his suit draped over the back of his leather chair.

It had always been something of a family joke that their mother had chosen to name her three sons Michael, Raphael and Gabriel to go with the surname D’Angelo, and the three brothers had certainly taken their fair share of teasing about it when they were at boarding school. Not so much now they were all in their thirties, and the three of them had been able to utilise their names by making the three Archangel auction houses and galleries in London, New York and Paris the most prestigious privately owned galleries in the world.

Their grandfather, Carlo D’Angelo, had managed to bring his wealth with him when he fled Italy and settled in England almost seventy years ago before marrying an English girl, and producing a son, Giorgio: Michael, Raphael and Gabriel’s father.

Like his father before him, Giorgio had been an astute businessman, opening the first Archangel auction house and gallery in London thirty years ago, and adding to the D’Angelo wealth. When Giorgio retired ten years ago and he and his wife Ellen settled permanently in their Florida home, their three sons had turned that comfortable wealth into a veritable fortune by opening up similar Archangel galleries in New York and Paris, resulting in them now all being millionaires many times over.

‘And don’t call me Mik,’ Michael instructed harshly as he continued to read from the file in front of him. ‘You know how much I hate it.’

Of course Rafe knew that, and he considered it part of his job description as a younger brother to annoy the hell out of his older sibling!

Not that he had as many opportunities to do that nowadays with the three brothers usually at a different gallery at any one time. But they always made a point of meeting up for Christmas and each of their birthdays, and today was Michael’s thirty-fifth birthday. Rafe was a year younger and Gabriel, the ‘baby’ of the family, another year younger at thirty-three.

‘I last spoke to Gabriel a week or so ago.’ Rafe made a face.

‘Why the grimace?’ Michael quirked a dark brow.

‘No reason in particular—we all know that Gabe’s been in a bad mood for the past five years. I never understood the attraction myself.’ He shrugged. ‘She looked a mousy little thing to me, with just those big—’

‘Rafe!’ Michael cautioned in a growl.

‘—grey eyes to recommend her,’ Rafe completed dryly.

Michael’s mouth thinned. ‘I spoke to Gabriel two days ago.’

‘And?’ Rafe prompted impatiently when it became obvious his older brother was doing his usual clam impersonation.

Michael shrugged. ‘And he said he would arrive here in time for dinner this evening.’

‘Why the hell couldn’t you have just told me that earlier?’

Rafe swung his booted feet impatiently down onto the carpeted floor before rising restlessly to his feet. He ran an irritated hand through the short thickness of his sable-dark hair as he paced the room, tall and leanly muscled in a fitted black T-shirt and faded denims. ‘That would have been too easy, I suppose.’ He paused his pacing to glower at his older brother.

‘No doubt.’ Michael gave the ghost of a smile, eyes dark and unreadable, also as usual.

The three brothers had similar colouring, height and build; all a couple inches over six feet tall, with the same sable-black hair. Michael kept his hair short, his eyes so dark a brown they gleamed black and unfathomable.

Rafe’s hair was long enough to curl down onto his shoulders, his eyes so pale a brown they glowed a deep gold.

‘Well?’ he rasped impatiently as Michael added nothing to his earlier statement.

‘Well, what?’ His brother arched an arrogant brow as he relaxed back in his leather chair.

‘How was he?’

Michael shrugged. ‘As you said, as bad tempered as ever.’

Rafe grimaced. ‘You two are the pot and the kettle!’

‘I’m not bad tempered, Rafe, I just don’t choose to suffer fools gladly.’

He raised dark brows. ‘I trust I wasn’t included in that sweeping statement...?’

‘Hardly.’ Michael relaxed slightly. ‘And I prefer to think of all three of us as perhaps being just a little...intense.’

Some of Rafe’s own tension eased as he gave a rueful grin in acknowledgement of the probable reason none of them had ever married. The women they met were more often than not attracted to that dangerous edge so prevalent in the D’Angelo men, as much as they were to their obvious wealth. Obviously not a basis for a relationship other than the purely—or not so purely!—physical.

‘Maybe,’ he conceded dryly. ‘So what’s in the file you’ve been looking at so intently since I arrived?’

‘Ah.’ Michael grimaced.

Rafe eyed him warily. ‘Why do I have the feeling I’m not going to like this...?’

‘Probably because you aren’t.’ His brother turned the file around and pushed it across the desk.

Rafe read the name at the top of the file. ‘And who might Bryn Jones be?’

‘One of the entrants for the New Artists Exhibition being held at the London gallery next month,’ Michael supplied tersely.

‘Damn it, that’s the reason you knew Gabriel would be back today!’ He glared at his brother. ‘I’d totally forgotten that Gabriel’s taking over from you in London during the organisation of the exhibition.’

‘And I get to go to Paris for a while, yes,’ Michael drawled with satisfaction.

‘Intending to see the beautiful Lisette while you’re there?’ He eyed his brother knowingly.

Michael’s mouth tightened. ‘Who?’

The dismissive tone of his brother’s voice was enough to tell Rafe that Michael’s relationship with the ‘beautiful Lisette’ was not only over, but already forgotten. ‘So what’s so special about this Bryn Jones that you have a security file on him?’

Rafe knew there had to be a reason for Michael’s interest in this particular artist. There had been dozens of eager applicants for the New Artists Exhibition; since Gabriel had organised the first one in Paris three months ago and it had been such a success, they had decided to go ahead and hold a similar one in London next month.

‘Bryn Jones is a she,’ Michael corrected dryly.

Rafe’s brows rose. ‘I see....’

‘Somehow I doubt that,’ his brother drawled dismissively. ‘Maybe this picture will help....’ Michael lifted the top sheet of paper to pull out a black and white photograph. ‘I had Security download the image from one of the security discs at Archangel yesterday—’ which explained the slightly grainy quality of the picture ‘—when she came into the gallery to personally deliver her portfolio to Eric Sanders.’ Eric was their in-house art expert at the London gallery.

Rafe picked up the photograph so that he could take a closer look at the young woman pictured coming through the glass doors into the marbled entrance hall of the London gallery.

She was probably in her early to mid-twenties. The black-and-white photograph made it difficult to tell her exact colouring. Her just-below-ear-length hair, in a perky flicked-up style, looked to be light in shade, her appearance businesslike in a dark jacket and knee-length skirt, with a pale blouse beneath the jacket—none of which detracted in the least from the curvaceous body beneath!

She had a hauntingly beautiful face, Rafe acknowledged as he continued to study the photograph: heart-shaped, eyes light in colour, pert little nose between high cheekbones, her lips full and poutingly sensual with a delicately pointed chin above the slenderness of her throat.

A very arresting, and slightly familiar, face.

‘Why do I have the feeling that I know her?’ Rafe asked, lifting his head.

‘Probably because you do. We all do,’ Michael added tersely. ‘Try imagining her slightly more...rounded, with heavy, black-framed glasses, and long mousy-brown hair.’

‘Doesn’t sound like the sort of woman any of us would ever be attracted to—’ Rafe broke off abruptly, his gaze narrowing sharply, suspiciously, on the black-and-white photograph in front of him.

‘Oh, yes.... I forgot to mention that perhaps you should look closely at...the eyes,’ Michael drawled dryly.

Rafe glanced up quickly. ‘It can’t be! Can it?’ He studied the photograph more closely. ‘Are you saying this beautiful woman is Sabryna Harper?’

‘Yes,’ Michael bit out crisply.

‘William Harper’s daughter?’

‘The same.’ Michael nodded grimly.

Rafe’s jaw tightened as he easily recalled the uproar five years ago when William Harper had offered a supposedly previously unknown Turner for sale at their London gallery. Ordinarily the painting would have remained a secret until after authentication had been made and confirmed by the experts, but somehow its existence had been leaked to the press, sending the art world and the media into an excited frenzy as speculation about the painting’s authenticity became rife.

Gabriel had been in charge of the London gallery at the time, had gone to the Harper family home several times to discuss the painting while it was being authenticated, meeting both the wife and daughter of William Harper on those occasions. This made it doubly difficult for him when he’d had to declare the painting, having undergone extensive examination by the experts they had brought in from all over the world, to be a near-perfect forgery. Worse than that, the police investigation had proved that William Harper was solely responsible for the forgery, resulting in the other man being arrested and sent to prison for his crime.

His wife and teenage daughter had been hounded by the media throughout the trial and the whole sorry story had blown up again when Harper had died in prison just four months later, after which his wife and daughter had simply disappeared.

Until now, it would seem....

Rafe eyed Michael warily. ‘Are you absolutely sure it’s her?’

‘The file you’re looking at is from the private investigator I hired after I saw her at the gallery yesterday—’

‘You spoke to her?’

Michael shook his head. ‘I was passing through the entrance hall when Eric walked by with her. As I said, I thought I recognised her, and the private investigator was able to establish that Mary Harper resumed using her maiden name just weeks after her husband’s death, and her daughter’s surname was changed to the same by deed poll.’

‘And this Bryn Jones is really her?’

‘Yes.’

‘And what do you intend doing about it?’

‘Doing about what?’

Rafe breathed his impatience with his brother’s continued calm. ‘Well, she obviously can’t be one of the six new artists exhibited at Archangel next month.’

Michael raised dark brows. ‘Why can’t she?’

‘Well, for one thing her father was put in prison for attempting to involve one of our galleries in selling a forged painting!’ He eyed his brother. ‘Not only that, but Gabriel went to court and helped to put him there!’

‘And the sins of the father are to be passed down onto the daughter, is that it?’

‘No, of course that isn’t it! But—with a father like that, how do you even know the paintings in her portfolio are her own?’

‘They are.’ Michael nodded. ‘It’s all in the file. She attained a first-class arts degree. Has been trying to sell her paintings to other galleries for the past two years with very little success. I’ve looked at her portfolio, Rafe, and, despite what those other galleries may have thought, she’s good. More than good, she’s original, which is probably why the other galleries refused to take a chance on her work. Their loss is our gain. So much so that I have every intention of buying a Bryn Jones painting for my own collection.’

‘She’s going to be one of the final six artists?’

‘Without a doubt.’

‘And what about Gabriel?’

‘What about him?’

‘We warned him repeatedly but he refused to listen. She’s the reason he’s been in a bad mood for five years—how do you think he’s going to feel when he realises exactly who Bryn Jones really is?’ Rafe bit out exasperatedly.

‘Well, I think you’ll agree, she’s definitely improved with age!’ Michael said dryly.

There was no doubt about that. ‘This is just— Damn it, Michael!’

Michael’s mouth firmed. ‘Bryn Jones is a very talented artist, and she deserves her chance of being exhibited at Archangel.’

‘Have you even stopped to think why she might be doing this?’ Rafe frowned. ‘That she might have some ulterior motive, maybe some sort of revenge plot against us or Gabriel for what happened to her father?’

‘It did occur to me, yes.’ Michael nodded calmly.

‘And?’

He shrugged. ‘I’m willing to give her the benefit of the doubt at this stage.’

‘And Gabriel?’

‘Has assured me on numerous occasions that he’s an adult, and certainly doesn’t need his big brother interfering in his life, thank you very much!’ Michael drawled dryly.

Rafe gave an exasperated shake of his head as he began pacing the study. ‘You seriously don’t intend to tell Gabriel who she is?’

‘As I said, not at this stage,’ Michael confirmed. ‘Do you?’

Rafe had no idea yet what he was going to do with this information....

.

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