Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс - “I came to tell you, Mr. Fabbrini, that you have a child. A daughter. Her name is Nicola.” Читать онлайн любовный роман

В женской библиотеке Мир Женщины кроме возможности читать онлайн также можно скачать любовный роман - Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс бесплатно.

Правообладателям | Топ-100 любовных романов

Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс - Читать любовный роман онлайн в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net
Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс - Скачать любовный роман в женской библиотеке LadyLib.Net

Уильямс Кэтти

Riccardo's Secret Child

Читать онлайн

Аннотация к роману
«Riccardo's Secret Child» - Кэтти Уильямс

Millionaire businessman Riccardo Fabbrini was furious that his child had been kept a secret from him! He blamed his daughter's guardian–the very pretty Julia Nash. And he intended to use seduction as his revenge! After all, no woman had immunity against the full force of his charm…. But with each searing kiss he shared with Julia, Riccardo's passion drove him to consider a new, more permanent course of action….
Следующая страница

“I came to tell you, Mr. Fabbrini, that you have a child. A daughter. Her name is Nicola.”

“I came to tell you, Mr. Fabbrini, that you have a child. A daughter. Her name is Nicola.”

The silence stretched between them as agonizingly taut as a piece of elastic, then he laughed with incredulous disbelief.

“So, Miss Nash, I’m a papa! You must have harbored the strange notion that I was some kind of gullible fool!”

“Caroline became pregnant two weeks before you split up,” Julia informed him in a stony voice. “You can choose to believe it or not, but it’s the truth, and that’s what I came to say. I felt that you ought to know the existence of your daughter. I’ve said what I had to say. I tried.”

She proudly made her way through the crowd when his voice roared through the room, stopping conversation, killing laughter.

“Get back here!”

Relax and enjoy our fabulous series about couples whose passion ends in pregnancies…sometimes unexpected! Of course, the birth of a baby is always a joyful event, and we can guarantee that our characters will become wonderful moms and dads—but what happened in those nine months before?

Share the surprises, emotions, drama and suspense as our parents-to-be come to terms with the prospect of bringing a new baby into the world. All will discover that the business of making babies brings with it the most special love of all….

Delivered only by Harlequin Presents®

Riccardo’s Secret Child

Cathy Williams















RICCARDO FABBRINI stood towards the back of the dim, overcrowded bar, his black eyes narrowed as they moved methodically through the room. He felt another swell of intense irritation hit him as he realised the disadvantage of his situation.

The call had come this morning and the voice at the other end of the phone had been persuasive enough to bypass the rigid series of obstacles that siphoned off all but the most important callers. He hissed an oath under his breath as he continued to scour the room, seeking out the lone female, the woman who had left the message to meet him at an appointed time in this smoky wine bar. If he had personally handled the call he would have made sure to have found out what the hell this meeting was all about. In fact, if he had handled the call there would have been no meeting, but Mrs Pierce, competent to the point of meticulousness, had obviously been conned by a soft voice and a fairy story.

Whatever she had to say, it must be good, he thought grimly. It had better be good. He was not a man who found it amusing to have his time wasted.

‘May I help you, sir?’

Riccardo’s dark, impatient gaze focused on a small woman dressed in a waitress’s uniform standing next to him, peering up at him, her oval face tinged with pleasure.

He was used to this kind of reaction from the opposite sex and normally he would have automatically fallen back on his charm and flirted with the pretty little thing hovering with her tray tucked neatly under one arm, but this was not a normal situation. He had been manoeuvred into coming here by some woman who had only conveyed to Mrs Pierce that her message was of the utmost importance, relying, no doubt, on his curiosity to grab at the mysterious carrot that had been dangled provocatively in front of his eyes.

Just the thought of it made him catch his breath in another surge of frustrated anger.

‘I’m meeting someone,’ he answered in a clipped voice.

‘What’s the name?’ The petite blonde moved three steps to a desk at the side and picked up a sheet of paper on which were listed a series of names, most with ticks alongside them, customers who had arrived to take up their reservations.

‘That’s the one.’ He pointed at a name on the sheet, Julia N., with the tick alongside it. ‘She’s here, is she?’ he said grimly, casting his eyes around the room again and failing to find anyone matching up to the woman he had mentally conjured up.

Because conjured her up he had. He would have gone out with her at some point, of that he was sure, which hardly narrowed his options, but he knew his preferences. She would be tall, leggy, blonde and, he had to admit, fairly lightweight in the brains department. That was the way he liked them. Their vanity was his protection from emotional involvement. They enjoyed being seen on his arm, relished the privileges he could offer them but understood their place. Emotional baggage, he had discovered to his cost, did not sit easily on his shoulders.

He also had a good idea of what the woman in question would be after. Money. Weren’t they always? However simpering and ingenuous they appeared, his vast bank balance never failed to impress.

And he also knew how he intended to deal with any gold-diggers, whatever their trumped-up sob stories. Ruthlessly.

He bit back his anger at finding himself engineered into a meeting he had not initiated and decided, grimly, that now that he had found himself here he would enjoy the situation for what it was worth.

‘Just follow me, sir.’ The little blonde with the curly hair and the very cute behind walked in front of him and he followed, curious, now that he had come this far, to see where she was leading him. Riccardo anticipated, with a certain amount of relish, a short, sharp and illuminating conversation. Illuminating for the woman in question. Illuminating enough for her to realise that no one, but no one, got the better of Riccardo Fabbrini.

His sensuous lips curved coldly into a smile of anticipated victory.

He was still feverishly scanning the crowd for the single, blonde female, when he realised that his brief tour of the wine bar, which had taken them from the bustling front to a slightly quieter section at the back, had come to an end. He found himself in front of a table at which was seated a slender, mousy-haired woman who had half risen to her feet and appeared to be holding out her hand in greeting.

‘May I get you a drink, sir?’ enquired the waitress.

Riccardo ignored the polite question and stared in disbelief at the figure in front of him, who had now subsided back into her chair, though she continued to watch him. Very cautiously indeed. As though he might very well bite.

Who the hell was she?

‘Mr Fabbrini?’ Julia stared up at the towering, olive-skinned stranger and nervously tried to gather herself, already regretting her decision to meet him, even while she knew that the meeting was as inevitable as the sun rising and setting. Inevitable and every bit as difficult as she had imagined it would be, judging from the expression on his face.

‘Would you care to sit down?’ Julia persisted politely, her anxious eyes briefly meeting those of the waitress, whose expression was sympathetic.

‘No, I would not like to sit down. What I would like is for you to tell me who you are and why you have wasted my time dragging me here.’

Julia felt clammy perspiration break out over her body like a rash. She took a deep, steadying breath and reminded herself that the man in front of her, menacing though he seemed, could do absolutely nothing to her.

The waitress, having hovered indecisively for a few minutes, had retreated to safer waters, clearly intimidated by him.

‘I did think about coming to see you at your office,’ Julia said weakly, ‘but I decided that a neutral zone might be better. I really wish you’d sit down, Mr Fabbrini. It will be impossible holding a conversation with you if you continue to glare down at me like that.’

‘Is this better?’ Instead of sitting down, Riccardo leant forward, hands firmly planted on the table so that his eyes were on her level and provided Julia, up close, with a vision of such disconcerting masculinity that she flinched back, an automatic response to his aggressive invasion of her space.

Of course, she knew what he looked like. She had seen pictures of him, and she had heard all about his terrifying personality, but nothing had prepared her for the impact of it full-on. Nothing had prepared her for his height, his overpowering maleness that had her breath catching uncomfortably in her throat, the constricting force of his swarthy good looks.

‘No,’ Julia said as calmly as she could. ‘No, it’s not, Mr Fabbrini. You’re doing your best to threaten me and it won’t work. I won’t be threatened by you.’ Thank goodness she had made sure that their table was situated at the back of the wine bar, where they were at least out of the range of curious ears and eyes. Thank goodness she had chosen somewhere large and very lively, where this little scene was lost amid the babble of voices and the roars of laughter from the groups of after-work men lounging on stools by the bar.

Riccardo continued to look at her without saying a word. Her smoky voice, so at odds with her average appearance, was controlled and self-contained but her hands were trembling. There was nothing her body could do about containing the effect he was having on her, he thought with a hot stab of satisfaction, even though she was doing her best to quell it.

He pulled out his chair and sat. ‘My personal assistant said you refused to supply a surname. I don’t like mysteries and I don’t like women who mistakenly think that I am gullible enough to be taken in by sob stories or fairy tales. You got me here, and now that I’m here you will give me a few answers. Starting with your name. Your full name.’

‘Julia Nash.’ She waited to see whether he would react, but he didn’t. She hadn’t been certain whether he would have recognised the name, but Caroline must have kept it to herself after she had made her grand confession all those years ago. Even in the throes of her emotional distress, she had been quick-witted enough to foresee possible consequences.

‘The name means nothing to me,’ he said dismissively.

He inclined his body slightly to catch their waitress’s eye, which seemed remarkably easy. She had removed herself physically from the scene of the action, but had remained at a close distance, fascinated by the strikingly commanding man in his impeccably tailored grey suit. As if an outward show of civilised dress could disguise the primitive male beneath. What a joke, Julia thought.

‘Nor,’ he continued, after he had ordered a whisky on the rocks, ‘have I ever met you before in my life.’ He had leaned back into his chair but his presence was still as unsettling as when he had been looming over her.

Riccardo had delved into his memory banks and could state that without fear of contradiction. The name meant nothing to him, even though his antennae had sensed her fear that it might have, and he certainly would have recognised her, if only because she would have stuck out like a sore thumb amidst the parade of beautiful blondes who littered his life.

He took his drink from the waitress without even bothering to glance in her direction, instead choosing to focus his unremitting attention on the woman sitting across the table from him.

‘Can I get either of you something to eat?’

‘I doubt I will be here long enough,’ Riccardo said, briefly looking at the waitress, who nodded in utter confusion at her abrupt dismissal.

‘How do you know you haven’t met me before?’ Julia asked, clutching cravenly at any postponement to what she had to impart, and his lips curled into a coldly speculative smile.

‘I have never been attracted to little sparrows,’ he drawled, knowing that his uncalled-for and cunningly placed attack had a lot to do with the residue of anger lingering inside him.

That stung, but Julia refused to allow her hurt to show. She would also refuse to allow her loathing for the man sitting in front of her to show either. Loathing that had been already formed by the opinions she had made about him from what she had heard.

‘You can be reassured that little sparrows find vainglorious hawks equally unappealing,’ Julia said with a tight smile.

‘So, now that we have done away with the pleasantries, why don’t we just get down to business, Miss Nash? Because business is what you have in mind, is it not?’ He rested his elbows on the table and swallowed back the remainder of his drink. ‘Perhaps you mistakenly thought that an unusual approach might reward you with a job in one of my companies? If so, then I regret to inform you that I am not a man who favours the unusual approach, especially when it encroaches on my limited and hence very valuable personal time.’

‘I’m not after a job, Mr Fabbrini.’

The hesitation was back in her eyes. Through thick black lashes he continued to observe her barely concealed nervousness, the way her slim fingers tried to find refuge in clasping her glass, cradling it, using it as something to steady her apprehension.

Very few things in life evoked Riccardo Fabbrini’s curiosity. His meteoric rise through his father’s ailing firm had been achieved through cold, calculated hard-headedness and a logical ability to scythe through problems. Curiosity was an emotion that deflected from his sense of purpose and nothing in his adult life had had much power to arouse it.

Even women were as predictable as the ocean tides, despite their reputation to the contrary.

Now, though…

The little sparrow in front of him was stirring something in him. Certainly nothing of a sexual nature, although, behind those prim little spectacles, her eyes were an unusual shade of grey and her body wasn’t bad, for someone who could do with putting on a bit of weight. Especially around the bust. And her voice. No wonder Mrs Pierce had been taken in. He was almost looking forward to whatever outrageous lie was hovering behind those delicate lips.

‘Money, then,’ he said carelessly. ‘Are you some kind of charity worker? Mission: hunt down prospective bank balances and tout for donations? If that’s the case then make an appointment with my secretary. I’m sure something could be arranged.’

‘It’s not as easy as that.’

Riccardo was almost disappointed that he had guessed correctly and that money was at the root of this ridiculous charade that had forced him to cancel a date with his latest blonde bombshell. Although, to be perfectly honest, the blonde bombshell was due to be cancelled anyway. Regrettably. She had overstepped boundaries which he himself was only vaguely aware of imposing.

‘I beg to differ, Miss Nash. It seems a simple equation and not one that called for this level of subterfuge. You want money, I have money. Just tell me the cause and you’ll find that I can be generous with my donations.’ He pushed back his chair at an angle so that he could cross his legs and draped his arm over the back of the chair, glancing around him.

‘There’s no equation to be worked out.’

Riccardo glanced at her. ‘No equation? Then tell me what you want and let’s get this over with. As I said to you, I am not a man who appreciates mysteries and this one is outstaying its limited welcome.’

Julia paled, realising that retreat was no longer an option. Had never really been an option, although there had always been the illusion of one. But how was she going to phrase what she had to say? She was a teacher. She should have had a thousand words at her disposal, but none that catered for this particular reality. Unfortunately.

She lifted her eyes bravely to look at him and was overwhelmed by the dark, brooding intensity of his gaze.

‘It’s about your wife. Your ex-wife. Caroline.’ She watched as the darkly handsome contours of his face stilled. When he made no response, Julia took a deep breath. ‘I thought you might have recognised my name,’ she said quietly. ‘Well, Nash. I thought you might have recognised my surname. But Caroline must not have ever told you…’

Surprises are always unpleasant. Riccardo could remember his father telling him that, many years ago, when the biggest surprise of his life had heralded the receivers coming into his company.

This surprise, though, left him winded. Caroline was the memory he had put behind him, buried beneath other willing women and only seeping out in the angry thrashing of his nightmares. And even those had disappeared.

‘Aren’t you going to say anything?’ Julia’s anxious eyes met his and he summoned up all the will-power at his disposal, which was considerable, to maintain his cold, unshaken exterior.

‘What is there to say?’ he rasped tautly. ‘I have no intention of having a cosy chat to you about my ex-wife. May she rest in peace.’ He began to stand up and one slender hand reached out, touching him lightly on his forearm.

‘Please.’ Julia’s voice was gentle. ‘I’m not finished.’

Riccardo looked at the offending hand with distaste, but remained where he was, locked into place by the vile-tasting surge of memories that had risen unbidden from deep inside, like ghouls breaking through the barriers of the earth to roam freely.

Julia had half risen from her chair. Now she sat back down and was relieved when he did as well, though not before he had ordered another drink and wine for her, even though she had not asked for any.

‘Why should I have recognised your name?’ His voice was flat and hard, like the expression in his eyes.

‘Because,’ she faltered, ‘because my brother was Martin Nash. The man who…who…’

‘Why don’t you say the words, Miss Nash? The man who replaced me.’ His mouth twisted into lines of bitter cynicism. ‘And to what do I owe the pleasure of this trip down memory lane? From what I recall, she was a very wealthy divorcee when we finally parted company. She and her lover. So, did they thoughtlessly not see fit to leave you in their will when they died?’ His voice was an insulting mimicry of sympathy and Julia’s back stiffened in a flare of rage.

This man was every bit as bad as Caroline had described. Worse. Julia felt a trace of sympathy for the decision her sister-in-law had made. To break off all contact. To say nothing. At the time she had done her best to persuade her otherwise. Through all those shared confidences she had had to steel herself against the unquiet feelings in her heart that a momentous decision was just morally wrong.

Had she known the true nature of the beast, perhaps she wouldn’t have made quite such an effort.

‘I loved my brother, Mr Fabbrini. And I loved Caroline as well.’ Her voice sounded unnaturally still.

Riccardo felt such rage at that admission that he had to clench his hands into tight balls to stop them doing what they wanted to do. His eyes were blazing coals, however, and Julia could feel them burning her skin, searing through her head like knives of scorching steel.

‘In which case, please accept my condolences,’ he sneered coldly.

‘You don’t mean that.’

‘No. I don’t, and I am quite sure you can understand why. You might have loved my ex-wife. You might have seen her as the paragon of beauty and gentleness that she convincingly portrayed, but she was neither so gentle nor was she so compassionate that she couldn’t conduct a rampant affair with another man behind my back!’ His voice cracked like a whip around her, causing a group of people at the nearby table to glance around in sudden interest at the explosive scenario unfolding in front of them.

‘It wasn’t like that,’ Julia protested with dismay.

‘It hardly matters now, does it,’ he said in a dangerously soft voice. ‘It was five years ago and life has moved on for me. So why don’t you just get to the point of all of this and then leave? Go and find a life to live. If you imagine that you are going to find a sympathetic listener in me then you are very much mistaken, Miss Nash. Any feeling I had for my dearly departed ex-wife dried up the day she told me that she had been seeing another man and was in love with him.’

‘I haven’t come here searching for your sympathy!’ Julia retorted.

‘Then why did you come here?’

‘To tell you that…’ The sheer magnitude of what she was about to say made the words dry up in her throat. She removed her spectacles and went through the pretence of cleaning the lenses, her hands unsteady on the wire rims.

Without her glasses, she looked wide-eyed and vulnerable. But Riccardo wasn’t about to let himself feel sympathy for this girl. The mere thought that she was his replacement’s sister was enough to fill his throat with bile. He could imagine her sitting down in a cosy threesome, nodding and listening to their vilification of him, ripping him apart when he hadn’t been there to defend himself.

He finished his second drink and was contemplating a third, which might at least blunt the edge of his mood, when she replaced her spectacles and looked at him. He decided that he wasn’t going to help her. Let her stutter out the reason for this bizarre meeting.

‘Caroline and my brother had, well…had been seeing each other for the last four months of your relationship before it all came to a head.’ The wine had arrived and Julia gulped down a mouthful to give herself some much-needed Dutch courage. ‘But they hadn’t been sleeping together.’

Riccardo gave a derisive snort of laughter. ‘And you believed them, did you?’

‘Yes, I did!’ Julia’s head snapped up in angry rebuttal of his jeering disbelief.

‘Well, I may be a little more cynical than you, Miss Nash, but I could not imagine a man and a woman, both in their prime, spending four months holding hands and whispering sweet nothings into each other’s ears without the whispering turning to lovemaking. My ex-wife was remarkably beautiful and highly desirable. I doubt if your brother could have kept his hands to himself even if he had wanted to!’

‘They never slept together,’ Julia repeated stubbornly. That was what Caroline had told her and Julia had believed every word. It had had nothing to do with sexual attraction and everything to do with the man studying her blackly from under his brows. Caroline had been afraid of him. She had confided that to her over and over in the beginning, and the truth of what she had confided had been plain enough to read on her beautiful, pained face.

Riccardo Fabbrini had terrified her. During their brief courtship, she had seen his dark, brooding personality as exciting, but the reality of it had only sunk home once they had married and she had become suffocated by the sheer explosive force of it. Nothing in her sweet-tempered reserves had equipped her to deal with someone so blatantly and aggressively male. The more dominant he became, the less she responded, wilting inside herself like a flower deprived of essential nutrients, and the more she wilted, the more dominant he had become, like a raging bull, she had whispered, baffled by her tongue-tied retreat.

Martin, with his conventional, unthreatening good looks and his easy smile and shy, compassionate nature, had been like balm to her wounded soul.

But they had not slept together. The thought of physical betrayal had been abhorrent to her. They had talked, communicated through those long, empty evenings when Riccardo had taken himself off to his penthouse suite in central London, nursing his frustration in ways, Caroline had once confessed, she could only shudder to imagine.

‘Perhaps not,’ he now conceded with a curl of his beautiful mouth. ‘She did have a bit of a problem when it came to passion. So is this what you came here for? To make your peace with the devil and clear your brother’s name now that he can answer only to God?’ He laughed coldly. ‘Consider it an effort well-done.’

Julia drew in her breath and shivered. ‘I came to tell you, Mr Fabbrini, that you have a child. A daughter. Her name is Nicola.’

The silence stretched between them as agonisingly taut as a piece of elastic; then he laughed. He laughed and shook his head in incredulous disbelief. He laughed with such unrestrained humour that the group of eavesdroppers decided that whatever had been brewing had obviously been nothing or else jokes wouldn’t have been cracked. Eventually his laughter died, but he continued to grin and this time there was a trace of admiration in his expression.

‘So, Miss Nash, I’m a papa. I thought you had come for money, but I confess I was having a little difficulty knowing what platform you would stand on to get it. Now I know and I take my hat off to you. It is the most ingenious platform imaginable. Except for one small detail. You obviously have not catered for my personality. You must have harboured the strange notion that I was some kind of gullible fool, that you could produce your brother’s offspring from behind your back and I would fall for it.’ He laughed again, but this time there was no humour in his laughter and his black eyes, when they raked over her, contained no admiration. Only distaste.

‘Caroline fell pregnant two weeks before you split up,’ Julia informed him in a stony voice. ‘You can choose to believe it or not, but it’s the truth, and that’s what I came here to say. I don’t want any money from you, but I felt you ought to know the existence of your daughter. It looks as though I made a mistake.’

She stood up, her head held high, and reached for her bag next to the chair.

‘Where do you think you are going?’ Having coerced him here against his will, the blasted woman was now about to sally forth with her nose in the air, leaving him sitting at a table, nursing a thousand questions which refused to surface. He did not for one minute believe that he had fathered any child, but now that the seed had been planted he intended to get to the bottom of it and force her to confess that she had made the whole thing up.

‘I should never have come here, but I felt I had to. I said what I had to say. I tried.’ She proudly made her way through the crowd and was on the verge of acknowledging that she was about to make her escape, when his voice roared through the room, stopping conversation, killing laughter and compelling every head to turn in his direction.

‘Get back here!’

Julia didn’t look back. She did begin to walk more quickly, though, breaking into a slight run as the exit came into sight, then, once outside, she was running, with the wind bitingly cold against her face and rain slashing down on her head. The pavements were slick and empty and she only slowed her pace because there was the very real possibility that she would fall ingloriously on her face in her heels. They were sensible-enough shoes but by no means the sturdy wellingtons she would have needed for the sudden torrential downpour.

She was concentrating so closely on her feet, her head bowed against the driving rain as she scuttled towards the underground, that she was not aware of the sound of footsteps behind her, increasing in speed until she did finally pause, only to find herself whipped around by Riccardo’s hand on her arm.

‘You walked out on me!’ he threw at her furiously.

‘I realise that!’ Julia shouted back.

‘You think you can just show up from nowhere, start talking about my ex-wife and throw some wild story in my face before walking away!’

‘I said what I had to say, now let me go! You’re hurting me!’

‘Good,’ he said. ‘Some small satisfaction for me for the stunt you pulled back there.’

‘Let me go or else I shall yell my head off! You don’t want to end up in a police station for assault, do you?’

‘You are absolutely right. That is the last thing I want.’ He began pulling her behind him while she swatted her hand at his fingers gripping her trench coat.

‘Where are you dragging me? You might be able to get away with this caveman behaviour in Italy, but there are laws over here about men who manhandle women!’

‘There are also laws against women who think they can blackmail men out of money using a phoney story!’

He was still pulling her and eventually Julia gave up the unequal fight. If he thought he could spirit her away somewhere to prolong their nightmare conversation then he had another think coming. He would no doubt be heading for a cab, and the minute her feet hit the floor of the taxi she would insist on being driven to the nearest underground. She had said what she had come to say, what she had felt morally compelled to say, and if he chose to disbelieve her story then that was his prerogative.

He wasn’t pulling her so that he could hail a taxi.

He was pulling her towards his car, a sleek black Jaguar parked discreetly down a side-road.

Julia shied away but he was much bigger and stronger than her and suffused with angry determination.

There was no way that Riccardo was going to let this little madam escape until she confessed that the whole ridiculous thing had been a web of lies.

He realised that he was furiously trying to remember when he and Caroline had made love for the last time. He knew that it was certainly towards the end of their doomed marriage. He had returned home very late and a little the worse for wear with drink, but clutching a bunch of flowers, his attempt to woo the wife who had already mentally left him. The wife, he only acknowledged later, he had already also left behind.

It hadn’t worked. She had patiently allowed herself to be awakened, to be presented with the sad bunch of flowers. She had been polite enough to stick them in a vase of water, even though she would surely have been tired at nearly one in the morning. And she had been polite enough to make love, or rather to allow him to make love to her. If nothing else, he had finally realised that it was over between them. But when had it happened…?

‘You’re lying,’ he said harshly. ‘And I want you to admit it.’

‘I will not get into that car with you.’

‘You will do as I say.’

The sheer arrogance of the man left Julia speechless. ‘How dare you speak to me like that?’

‘Get in the car! We haven’t finished talking!’

‘I refuse…’

‘Why?’ he mocked. ‘Do you imagine that your womanly assets aren’t safe with me? I told you, I don’t favour the sparrows.’ With which he yanked open the car door and waited for Julia to finally edge into the seat.

She hoped she left a huge, soaking, permanent stain on the cream leather.

‘Now,’ he said, turning to her once he was inside the car, ‘where do you live? I’m going to drop you back to your house and you’re going to explain yourself to me on the way. Then, and only then, do we part company, Miss Nash.’

In the ensuing silence Julia seemed to hear the flutter of her own heartbeat.

This was different from when they were in the wine bar, surrounded by people and noise. Locked in this car with him, she became frighteningly aware of his power and of something else: his potent sex appeal, something she had hidden from in the restaurant, choosing to concentrate her mind on the task at hand. The sparrow, she thought in panic, surely couldn’t be drawn to the eagle!

‘Well?’ he prompted with silky determination, and Julia stuttered out her address.

‘Not nervous, are you?’ He turned on the engine and smoothly began driving towards Hampstead. ‘I told you, your maidenly honour is safe with me. Unless…’ he appeared to give this some deep thought ‘…your fear has suddenly kick-started an attack of nerves. Is that it, Miss Nash? Are you afraid of being found out for the liar that you are?’

‘I’m not nervous, Mr Fabbrini,’ Julia lied. ‘I’m just amazed at your arrogance and your high-handedness. I’ve never encountered anyone like you in my life before!’

‘I’m flattered.’

‘Don’t be!’ she snapped back, her body pressed as far against the door as it was physically possible to be. She looked at his averted profile and shivered. Not a man to cross. Those had been Caroline’s words and Julia now had no problem in believing them.

‘So when did you decide to concoct your little scheme?’ he enquired with supreme politeness.

‘I haven’t concocted anything!’

Riccardo ignored the interruption. The girl was lying, of that he was convinced, and he would break her before the drive was over. Break her and return to his vastly energetic but essentially uncluttered life.

‘So…this so-called child of mine is…what did you say? Four? Five?’

‘Five,’ Julia said tightly, ‘and her name is Nicola.’

‘And not once did my beloved ex-wife choose to mention this little fact to me. Surprising, really, wouldn’t you say? Considering she always prided herself on her high morality?’

‘She thought it was for the best.’

Riccardo felt a pulse begin to beat steadily in his temple. Merely contemplating deception of that magnitude was enough to stir him. Just as well none of it was true. He slid a sideways glance at the slight creature sitting in the car, her body pushed against the car door in apprehension. So convincing, but so misguided. The most successful gold-diggers were the ones who hid their intent well.

The girl might not be a stunner, but she could act. She could act because she had brains, he considered. Which would make it doubly satisfying when she finally confessed all…


Получить полную версию книги можно по ссылке - Здесь

Следующая страница

Ваши комментарии
к роману Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс

Комментарии к роману "Riccardo's Secret Child - Кэтти Уильямс" отсутствуют

Ваше имя


Введите сумму чисел с картинки