Microsoft Word - Document1

BOOK: Microsoft Word - Document1
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Chiara shot to her feet. “You’re disgusting!”

“You know, it took me a while, but I finally figured it out. This getup. The clothes, the hair, the

don’t-touch-me all but painted on your forehead—it was all for me, wasn’t it?”

She swung away. His hands fell hard on her shoulders and he spun her to him. He wasn’t smiling

anymore; his face was hard, his eyes cold.

“The real Chiara Cordiano is the one I kissed in that car.”

“You are pazzo! Crazy! Let go of me. Let go of—”

Rafe bent his head and kissed her. It was a stamp of masculine power and intent, and when she

tried to twist away he caught her face between his hands, taking, demanding, furious with her for

the lies, furious with himself for falling for them….

The patriarch of a powerful Sicilian dynasty, Cesare Orsini, has fallen ill, and he wants

atonement before he dies.

One by one he sends for his sons—he has a mission for each to help him clear his conscience.

His sons are proud and determined, but they will do their duty—the tasks they undertake will

change their lives forever! They are…

Darkly handsome—proud and arrogant

The perfect Sicilian husbands!


Sandra Marton


Taming His Tempestuous Virgin

November 2009


Claiming His Secret Love-Child

December 2009

Sandra Marton


All about the author…

Sandra Marton

SANDRA MARTON wrote her first novel while she was still in elementary school. Her doting

parents told her she’d be a writer someday and Sandra believed them. In high school and college,

she wrote dark poetry nobody but her boyfriend understood, though looking back, she suspects

he was just being kind. As a wife and mother, she wrote murky short stories in what little spare

time she could manage, but not even her boyfriend-turned-husband could pretend to understand

those. Sandra tried her hand at other things, among them teaching and serving on the board of

education in her hometown, but the dream of becoming a writer was always in her heart.

At last Sandra realized she wanted to write books about what all women hope to find: love with

that one special man, love that’s rich with fire and passion, love that lasts forever. She wrote a

novel, her very first, and sold it to the Harlequin® Presents line. Since then, she’s written more

than seventy books, all of them featuring sexy, gorgeous, larger-than-life heroes. A four-time

RITA® Award finalist, she has also received eight Romantic Times BOOKreviews awards for

Best Harlequin Presents of the Year and has been honored with a Romantic Times

BOOKreviews Career Achievement Award for Series Romance.

Sandra lives with her very own sexy, gorgeous, larger-than-life hero in a sun-filled house on a

quiet country lane in the northeastern United States. Sandra loves to hear from her readers. You

can contact her through her Web site,, or at P.O. Box 295, Storrs CT


















RAFFAELE ORSINI prided himself on being a man who was always in control. There was no

doubt that his ability to separate emotion from logic was one reason he’d come this far in life.

Rafe could look at a relatively nondescript investment bank or financial corporation and see not

what it was but what it could be, given time and money and, of course, the expert guidance he

and his brothers could provide. They had created Orsini Brothers only five years ago but they

were already an incredible success in the high-stakes world of international finance.

They’d always been incredibly successful with beautiful women.

The brothers shared the dark good looks of their mother and the rapier-sharp intellect of their

father, who’d both immigrated to the States from Sicily decades before. Unlike their old man,

they’d put their talents into lawful pursuits, but there was a dangerous edge to them that worked

to their advantage in bedrooms as well as boardrooms.

It had done so today, when Rafe had outbid a Saudi prince for the purchase of a venerable

French bank the Orsinis had wanted for a very long time. He, Dante, Falco and Nicolo had

celebrated with drinks a couple of hours ago.

A perfect day, on its way to becoming a perfect evening…

Until now.

Rafe stepped from the lobby of his mistress’s apartment building—his former mistress’s

apartment building, he thought coldly—declined the doorman’s offer of a taxi and dragged in a

deep breath of cool autumn air. He needed to calm down. Maybe the walk from Sutton Place to

his Fifth Avenue penthouse would do it.

What was it with women? How could they say something at the start of an affair even when they

damned well didn’t mean it?

“I am completely dedicated to my career,” Ingrid had said in that sexy Germanic purr of hers

after the first time they’d gone to bed. “You need to know that, Rafe. I am not at all interested in

settling down, so if you are—”

Him? Settle down? He still remembered how he’d laughed and rolled her beneath him. The

perfect woman, he’d thought as he began making love to her again. Gorgeous. Sexy.


Yeah. Right.

His cell phone rang. He yanked it from his pocket, glared at the number on the screen and

dumped the thing back into his jacket. It was Dante. The last thing he wanted was to talk to one

of his brothers. The image in his head was still too fresh. Ingrid, opening the door. Ingrid, not

wearing something slinky and sophisticated for their dinner reservations at Per Se but wearing,

instead…What? An apron? Not the serviceable kind his mother wore but a thing that was all

ruffles and lace and ribbons.

Ingrid, smelling not of Chanel but of roast chicken.

“Surprise,” she’d trilled. “I’m making dinner tonight!”

She was? But she had no domestic skills. She’d told him that. Laughed about it.

Not tonight. Tonight she’d walked her fingers up his chest and whispered, “I’ll bet you didn’t

know I could cook, liebling.”

Except for the liebling, it was a line he’d heard before. It made his blood run cold.

The scene that played out next had been all too predictable, especially her shrill accusations that

it was time to take their relationship to a new level and his blurting out, “What relationship?”

Rafe could still hear the sound of whatever it was she’d thrown at him hitting the door as he


His cell phone rang again. And again, until finally he cursed, hauled the damned thing from his

pocket and flipped it open.

“What?” he barked.

“And good evening to you, too, bro.”

Rafe scowled. A woman walking toward him veered away.

“I am not in the mood for games, Dante. You got that?”

“Got it,” his brother said cheerfully. Silence. Then Dante cleared his throat. “Problems with the


“Not a one.”

“Good. Because I’d hate to lay this on you if you and she are—”

“Lay what on me?”

His brother’s sigh came through the phone. “Command performance, eight o’clock tomorrow

morning. The old man wants to see us.”

“I hope you told him what he can do with that request.”

“Hey, I’m just the messenger. Besides, Mama called, not him.”

“Hell. Is he supposed to be at death’s door again? Did you tell her he’s too mean to die?”

“No,” Dante said reasonably. “Would you?”

It was Rafe’s turn to sigh. They all adored their mother and sisters even though they seemed able

to forgive Cesare Orsini anything. His sons could not. They’d figured out what their father was

years ago.

“Damn it,” Rafe said, “he’s sixty-five, not ninety-five. He’s got years ahead of him.”

“Look, I don’t want to listen to more endless speeches about where his banks are and what the

combination is to his safe and the names of his lawyers and his accountants any more than you

do. But could I tell that to Mama?”

Rafe’s scowl deepened. “All right. Eight o’clock. I’ll meet you guys there.”

“It’s just you and me, man. Nick’s leaving for London tonight, remember? Falco heads for

Athens in the morning.”


There was a brief silence. Then Dante said, “So, it’s over with you and the Valkyrie?”

Rafe thought of saying everything from “No” to “What makes you think that?” Instead, he


“She said it was time to reassess our relationship.”

Dante offered a succinct, one-word comment. It made Rafe laugh; he could almost feel his black

mood slipping away.

“I’ve got a cure for Relationship Reassessment,” Dante said.


“I’ve got a date with that redhead in half an hour. Want me to call, see if she’s got a friend?”

“I’m off women for a while.”

“Yeah, yeah, I’ve heard that before. Well, if you’re certain…”

“On the other hand, what is it they say about getting right back on a horse after you fall off?”

Dante laughed. “I’ll call you back in ten.”

Wrong. He called back in five. The redhead had a friend. And she’d be delighted to meet Rafe


Well, hell, Rafe thought smugly as he hailed a cab, what woman wouldn’t?

He overslept the next morning, showered quickly, skipped shaving, pulled on a black cotton

sweater, faded jeans and sneakers and got to his parents’ place before Dante.

Cesare and Sofia lived in a town house in Greenwich Village. Half a century ago, when Cesare

had bought the house, the area had actually been part of Little Italy. Times had changed. The

narrow streets had turned upscale and chic.

Cesare had changed, too. He’d gone from being a low-ranking mobster to being first a capo—the

head of the syndicate—and then the boss. A don, though in Sicilian vernacular, the old Italian

title of respect had a meaning all its own. Cesare owned a private sanitation company and half a

dozen other legitimate businesses, but his true profession was one he would never confirm to his

wife, his sons, his daughters.

Rafe went up the steps of the town house and rang the bell. He had a key but never used it. This

place had not been his home for many years; he had not even thought of it as home long before

he’d left it.

The house was enormous, especially by Manhattan standards. Cesare had used the increasingly

large amounts of money brought in by his various enterprises to buy the houses on either side

and convert the three buildings into one. Sofia presided over it all with no domestic help. A

proper Sicilian housewife, she had always cooked and cleaned for her family. Rafe suspected it

helped her cling to the fiction that her husband was just an everyday businessman.

Sofia greeted him as she always did, with a kiss on each cheek and a hug, as if she had not seen

him in months instead of a couple of weeks. The she stepped back and gave him a critical look.

“You have not shaved this morning.”

To his chagrin, Rafe felt himself blush. “Sorry, Mama. I wanted to be sure I got here on time.”

“Sit,” she commanded, as she led him into the vast kitchen. “Have breakfast.”

The oak table was covered with bowls and platters. Telling her he’d already had the half

grapefruit and black coffee that was his usual morning meal would have invited a lecture on

nutrition, Orsini-style, so Rafe took a little of this, a little of that and put them on a plate. Dante sauntered in a couple of minutes later. Sofia kissed him, told him he needed a haircut and pointed

him at the table.

“Mangia,” she commanded, and Dante, who took orders from no one, sheepishly complied.

The brothers were on their second espresso when Cesare’s capo, a man who had served him for

years, appeared.

“Your father will see you now.”

The brothers put down their forks, patted their lips with their napkins and stood. Felipe shook his


“No, not together. One at a time. Raffaele, you are first.”

Rafe and Dante looked at each other. “It’s the prerogative of popes and kings,” Rafe said with a

tight smile, his words soft enough so they wouldn’t reach the ears of Sofia, who was stirring a

pot of sauce at the stove.

Dante grinned. “Have fun.”

BOOK: Microsoft Word - Document1
8.7Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub

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