MILLS AND BOON MODERN
- August 2009 -
HARLEQUIN PRESENTS EXTRA
- August 2009 -
Amazon North America
Amazon United Kingdom
"Veretti’s Dark Vengeance is a wonderfully romantic story that shall go down a treat with fans of Harlequin Presents. A mature, engaging and thoroughly engrossing story, in Veretti’s Dark Vengeance, Lucy Gordon has penned an absolute gem of a tale replete with a gorgeous Italian hero, a strong, determined and engaging heroine, believable drama, tender love scenes and highly emotional and deeply heartfelt pathos. Whether it’s a Harlequin Romance or Harlequin Presents, Lucy Gordon’s name on the front cover is a guarantee of high quality romantic fiction!"
Cataromance, 4 stars
He'll ruin her in the boardroom...
Arrogant Italian nobleman Salvatore Veretti is furious to hear that a young, beautiful model has inherited the company that was rightfully his. Clearly she's after the family gold! Salvatore will heartlessly reclaim what he's owed - and he'll show this impudent female just how out of her depth she is.
And take her in the bedroom.
But after meeting naively determined Helena Salvatore changes tactics - No longer satisfied with throwing her out of the business, he'll take his vengeance between the sheets.
'She'll be punished for what she's done. I'm going to make sure of that if it takes me the rest of my days!'
Salvatore Veretti took one last look of loathing at the photograph in his hand before pushing back his chair and going to stand by the window overlooking the Venetian lagoon, where the morning sun was clear, brightening the deep blue sky, adding glitter to the tiny waves that laughed and curled against the boats.
He stood here every morning, relishing the beauty of Venice, bracing himself for the day ahead. There was money to be made, critics to be silenced, enemies to be defeated by one method or another. But there was also this moment of peace and beauty, and the strength it gave him.
Beauty. The thought brought his attention back to the photograph. It showed a woman, not merely lovely but physically perfect: tall, slender, exquisitely proportioned. Any man would say so, for this was a body carefully tended to please men, to be judged by men.
Salvatore, well-equipped to judge the female form, having had so many of them naked in his bed, had studied this one carefully before letting his hatred explode from him. Now he looked at it again, estimating its many beauties, and nodding as though what he saw was no more than he had expected.
But there was no softening in his coldly handsome features. If anything they grew harsher as his eyes roved over the glorious shape that was barely covered by the minute black bikini; the lush breasts, the endless legs, the shapely rear.
Calculation, he thought. Every inch carefully sculpted, every move assessed beforehand, everything planned to inflame male desire and, by that means, bring her money. And now she had the money she'd schemed to get. Or thought she had.
But I too can calculate, he mused. As you are about to discover. And when your weapons prove useless against me— what will you do then?
There was a buzz from the desk and his secretary's voice said, 'Signor Raffano is here.'
'Send him in.'
Raffano was his financial adviser and also an old friend who'd known the family through many troubles. He'd been summoned to Salvatore's office in the Palazzo Veretti to discuss urgent business. By the time he entered Salvatore had moved away from the window.
'There's more news,' Salvatore said curtly, waving the other man to a chair.
Raffano was elderly with white hair and a gentle face. In his youth he'd been flamboyant, but the passing years had left him thinner and more serious.
'You mean in addition to your cousin's death?' he enquired cautiously.
'Antonio was my father's cousin, not mine,' Salvatore reminded him. 'He was always a bit of a gadfly, likely to do stupid things without considering the consequences.'
'He was known as a man who liked to enjoy himself,' Raffano mused. 'People said it proved him a true Venetian.'
'That's a slur on all Venetians. There aren't many with his reckless disregard for everything except his own pleasures. He'd spend it, drink it or sleep with it, and to hell with the rest of the world.'
'I will admit he should have taken more responsibility for the glass factory.'
'Instead he put the whole thing in his manager's hands, and vanished into the distance, to have fun,' Salvatore said grimly.
'Probably the shrewdest thing he could have done. Emilio is a brilliant manager, and I doubt if Antonio could ever have run the place so well himself. Let's remember the best of him. He was popular and he'll be greatly missed. Will his body be coming home for burial?' Raffano asked.
'No, I gather the funeral has already taken place in Miami, where he lived these last two years,' Salvatore said. 'It is his widow who will be coming to Venice.'
'His widow?' Raffano queried. 'But was he—?'
'It seems that he was. Recently he bought the company of a flighty piece, no different from many others who had been in his life. I've no doubt he paid her well, but she wanted more. She wanted marriage so that in due course she could inherit his fortune.'
'You judge people very harshly, Salvatore. You always did.'
'And I'm right.'
'You know nothing about this woman.'
'I know this.' With a sharp movement Salvatore pushed the photograph over the table.
Raffano whistled as he took it. 'This is her? Are you sure? It's impossible to see her face.'
'No, it's a pity about that huge sun hat, but what does the face matter? Look at the body.'
A body to burn a man up with desire,' Raffano agreed. 'How did you get this?'
A mutual friend happened to bump into them a couple of years ago. I believe they'd just met, and my friend took a quick snap and sent it to me with a note saying this was Antonio's latest "little fancy".'
'You can just see that they must have been on the beach,' Raffano said.
'The perfect setting for her,' Salvatore said wryly. 'How else could she flaunt her expensive charms? Then she whisked him off to Miami, and when she had him to herself she persuaded him to marry her.'
'When did the marriage take place?'
'I don't know. No word of it reached here, which was probably her doing. She must have known that if his family knew about the wedding they'd have put a stop to it.'
'I wonder how,' Raffano pointed out. 'Antonio was in his sixties, not a teenager to obey your orders.'
'I'd have stopped it, I promise you. There are ways.'
'Legal ways? Civilised ways?' Raffano asked, giving him a curious look.
'Effective ways,' Salvatore said with a harsh grin. 'Trust me for that.'
'To be sure. I would always trust you to do what was unscrupulous.'
'How well you know me! However, the wedding took place. It must have been at the last minute, when she saw that he was near the end and moved fast to secure an inheritance.'
Are you sure there's been a marriage at all?'
'Yes, I've heard from her lawyers. The Signora Helena Veretti—as she now calls herself—is about to arrive and claim what she considers hers.'
From the book VERETTI'S DARK VENGEANCE by Lucy Gordon.
Copyright 2008 by Lucy Gordon
Cover Copyright © 2008 by Harlequin Enterprises Limited. ® and tm are trademarks of the publisher.
The edition published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.
~ a taste of italy at home ~