- December 2008 -
MILLS AND BOON ROMANCE
- December2008 -
Australia & New Zealand
- December 2008 -
Their Christmas gift – the healing power of a family!
Brooding Italian Drago di Luca and reserved lawyer Alysa Dennis are brought together by a shocking, shared betrayal—their late partners had been having an affair!
But against all the odds, they strike an unlikely friendship, and forbidden awareness simmers….
Alysa's calm facade hides a painful secret that haunts her every time she looks into the soulful eyes of Drago's motherless child. As the attraction builds between them, Christmas approaches with the promise of a new start. Can the healing miracle of love, and the joy of the season, make them a family?
“Excuse me, Signorina – ”
She looked up to find a man in uniform.
“Will you come with me please?”
“But I’m about to board the plane.”
“I’m afraid you can’t do so until we have cleared up a small matter.”
His manner was pleasant but firm and she yielded reluctantly.
“This way to my office,” he said.
She followed him, impatient to hear his explanation, but when they reached his office he showed her in and retreated, closing the door, leaving Alysa alone with the man who was waiting there.
“You!” she said angrily. “I might have known!”
Drago didn’t reply immediately, and she had time to study him. Now she wondered how she’d recognised him. If his face had been haggard the day before, it was deathly now. A man who’d seen a ghastly vision might have had his burning eyes. But she refused to feel sympathy. She couldn’t afford it.
“I’m sorry,” he said at last. “I would much rather not have had to do this, but something has happened. You can’t go back to England until you know everything.”
“There you go again, telling me what I can and can’t do. Who do you think you are?”
“I’m the only person in the world who can fill the gaps in your knowledge, just as you did for me – except that there’s much more than either of us dreamed.”
“I don’t want to know. You must be mad to – actually getting someone to fetch me from the departure lounge – how did you do that?”
“Pietro, the young man who brought you here, owes me a favour.”
“And what about my luggage? It’s on the plane.”
“It’ll be retrieved.”
“It must be a very big favour,” she said bitingly.
“I wouldn’t have done it if I hadn’t been at my wits end. You ignored my messages, and when I went to your hotel this morning they said you’d left early. But I checked your flight and it was two o’clock. I thought I’d find you easily, but I discovered that you’d changed to the earlier flight. I had to do something.”
“And everyone had to simply step aside,” she seethed. “But not me. I’m going back to get on the plane, and don’t you dare to stop me. Get out of my way!”
Drago had positioned himself between her and the door, and showed no sign of moving.
“You’re not leaving,” he said quietly. “You’re coming with me.”
“So now I’m a prisoner?”
“If you like to put it that way. I’m sorry. I don’t like behaving like this, but I have no choice. Alysa for pity’s sake, won’t you try to understand?”
“I understand that everyone has to do what you want because you don’t recognise the word no. Enough! Basta! I’m not a pawn for you to move around, and I’m leaving right now.”
“This is important!”
“I don’t care what it is. I’m finished. Now, for the last time, get out of my way!”
He didn’t budge. If anything he seemed to dig himself in further, and Alysa prepared for battle. If he thought he could make her yield again he would learn that he was mistaken.
But then something happened that caught her off-balance. Suddenly his shoulders sagged, as if a vital link had snapped inside him. Without further argument he pulled open the door and spoke heavily.
“Pietro, please escort the signorina back to the Departure Lounge.”.
He moved out of Alysa’s path, and she hurried to the door.
“Thank you,” she said. “I’m sorry to disappoint you but I really have to go.”
She could have got away then but she made the mistake of turning back and seeing something she would much rather not have seen. Drago simply looked defeated, as if he’d simply abandoned all hope.
“Please try to understand,” she begged.
“I do understand. You’d better go quickly.”
But instead of leaving she made her next mistake, going to look him in the eye, and saying,
“I don’t want you to think – look at me.” She gripped his shoulders and he raised his head to meet her gaze. His aggression had died, leaving only weariness behind. “You’re not being fair,” she protested desperately. “You must realise that I can’t – ”
“I know,” he agreed. “I shouldn’t have done it this way. I was desperate, but you’re right, it’s not really your problem. You’ve done all you could and I’m grateful.”
“And now I have to return to whatever I can make of my life, because I can’t – oh, all right!” The last words were almost a shout of exasperation.
“All right? What does that mean?”
“It means I give in. You’ve won. The new tactic worked. I’ll come with you.”
The joy on his face was a startling revelation. The next moment she was engulfed in a bear hug. Somehow she found herself returning it, even laughing with him because the violence of his relief was infectious.
“Just let me breathe,” she gasped.
He drew back to look at her. “Thank you,” he said fervently.
“Just don’t ever do this to me again.”
“When this is over I swear you’ll never have to see me. Let’s go.”
“Yes, let’s, before I change my mind.”
From the book THE ITALIAN'S MIRACLE FAMILY by Lucy Gordon.
Release December 2008
Copyright 2008 by Lucy Gordon
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
~ a taste of italy at home ~