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Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Scandalous Billionaires by Eve Gaddy, Katherine Garbera, Kathleen O’Brien, Mimi Wells, Nancy Robards Thompson

18+"This is an amazing collection of stories centered around the exotic location of Hotel dei Fiori Isola del Sole where love and romance are in the air. All these are fun sexy stories that will give you hours of entertainment. I definitely recommend this collection!" - Goodreads, Bette

Description:

Publication date: May 3rd, 2016

Escape to Italy’s fabled Amalfi Coast with five USA Today Bestselling and award-winning authors for a limited time at a special price – only $0.99!

The exclusive Isola del Sole is a billionaires’ playground. Intrigue, adrenaline, and deception rule the day for the wealthy De Luca brothers and their closest friends—but only the right women can ignite their passions during the hot Amalfi nights…

The Billionaire’s Temptation
Rocco De Luca lives and loves in the fast lane. Filling in for his older brother for a few weeks sounds… well, boring. Until he meets Steffi Harlan, who’s in charge of keeping the playboy out of trouble. Except Steffi isn’t immune to Rocco’s charms.
They burn up the nights they spend together… But can they both survive love in the fast lane?

The Billionaire’s Deception
Shel Myerson, wildly successful TV mogul, has no privacy thanks to a recent and ugly public breakup. What he doesn’t expect is to be mistaken as an employee by Janine Pike, the one person in Europe who also doesn’t have any idea who he is.
Shel and Janine discover their chemistry is combustible–but will their budding relationship survive the heat once the press catches on?

The Billionaire’s Betrayal
Matteo De Luca’s single focus is rebuilding his hotel empire, and he’s close to achieving his goal, but there’s a sexy distraction standing in his way. Helena Von Lienz knows it’s finally time to let go. But what she finds are some unexpected truths about her late hubby, and a strong sensual shared desire with Matteo.
Will mixing business with pleasure be the end, or just the beginning, for Matteo and Helena?

The Billionaire’s Secret
When Sophie Smith’s dearest friend asks her to be her stand in at an Amalfi resort, Sophie won’t let her down. Turns out, she get used to this life, especially handsome gardener Declan Muldoon who’s more thrilling than any of the billionaires around.
But Sophie’s not the only one pretending. Declan is actually the black sheep of a very wealthy family, a man in need of an heiress. An heiress exactly like who Sophie is pretending to be…

The Billionaire’s Charade
Summer St. Croix hates weddings. But when she meets hot-as-sin Luke Vanetti, he promises to give her a reason to like them. It’s all sexy fun and games until Summer realizes that Luke is none other than her new boss. And her first assignment is posing as his fiance.
Playing the happy couple is hard enough during the day, but the nights might turn the charade into more than just a job for both of them.

EXCERPT



The Billionaire’s Temptation by Katherine Garbera

Steffi Harlan heard the inner door to her boss’s office open. She knew his younger brother, Rocco, was in there with him and she was doing her level best to ignore the fact that Rocco had shown up for the meeting wearing only a pair of slim white swim trunks.
Rocco was a Formula One racing champion who could easily have been a GQ model. He had classic Roman features— well-defined cheekbones, a strong blade of a nose, and firm lips. Not that she’d spent a lot of time studying him. But it was impossible not to notice with that mop of thick, curly brown hair that framed his face, giving him a fallen angel look.
Honestly, she wished she could say she’d been outraged by him, but the truth was she’d had a hard time keeping her eyes off his tanned, muscled chest. He’d been an F1 driver for mercy’s sake. He should be small and lean. But it seemed the year he’d taken off after winning the F1 championship had seen him get into even better shape.
Where did he find the time? He lived a debauched life full of women, wine, and, she could only imagine, torrid sex.
The last part made her seem jealous.
As if.
She liked her men sophisticated and with charm. She wasn’t saying there wasn’t a place for white-hot sex… but she didn’t attract that kind of man. Her usual guy was happy enough to take her to dinner and the opera first. She wasn’t saying she didn’t have good sex. She did, but she hadn’t had Rocco sex.
Matteo cleared his throat.
“Steffi, could you join us please.”
“Right away, Matteo.”
She grabbed her Clairefontaine notepad and her favorite Montblanc fountain pen and joined the older De Luca brothers. She’d met their father a few times before his death and Enzo had been charming, so she wasn’t surprised his sons were. And their mother had been a fabled film star who’d worked with Fellini when she’d been younger. She’d given up her career to raise her sons.
Steffi knew it would be more efficient to take notes on the tablet device that Matteo had given her but she liked using pen and paper so much more. She liked the smooth glide of the pen as it moved across the paper. It almost distracted her from Rocco.
She glanced up and noticed that Matteo had loaned Rocco his spare dress shirt. Now that’s what she was talking about. Nothing wrong with a little decorum.
And Rocco had rolled the sleeves up and left the front unbuttoned. His tanned chest contrasted with the stiff white, laundered linen shirt. She could see the light dusting of hair and the taut leanness of his stomach.
“Steffi?”
“Hmm…” She glanced at her boss and realized he’d asked her something.
Ah, this was why she didn’t date men like Rocco. They rendered her useless. Instead of paying attention to her boss, she was imagining pushing the dress shirt off of Rocco and replacing it with her hands.
“I’m sorry I was trying to remember if I had booked your private boat for Venice,” she said, hoping Matteo would buy that and move on. He knew she’d taken care of every detail last night.
He gave her a kind smile. “You did. What I was saying is that Rocco is going to help out while I’m gone but I need you to make sure that he…”
“He wants you to keep me in line, cara. You’re to be my parole officer and if I get up to anything untoward then you are to… what, Matteo? Should she report me to you? Or will she mete out discipline?”
An image of Rocco sans shirt standing in front of her waiting for her to discipline him flashed in her mind. She wouldn’t mind having him under her control. Maybe have him put his hands behind his back, flexing those well-developed pectorals and then…
“Don’t be ridiculous, Rocco. You’re not an errant schoolboy.”



The Billionaire’s Deception by Mimi Wells

“Signorina.”
“Hmm?” Janine Pike didn’t want to open her eyes.
The buttery smooth voice could have been conjured out of the decadent dream she’d been having. Something involving champagne, of course.
“Signorina.”
Silk lingerie. Candlelight. Chocolate. A Hemsworth giving her a foot massage.
“Signorina.” The voice was insistent now.
She shaded her eyes, cracked one open just a slit, and instantly regretted it. Apparently she’d had a lot more limoncello to drink last night than she’d thought.
“What is it?” she asked.
A slim, Italian man, dressed in a finely-cut linen suit with an open-collar shirt, peered down at her, his expensive calfskin loafers wildly out of place on this stretch of beach. “Your friends—”
She cut him off with a careless wave.
“They’re getting something off the boat.”
“There is no boat, signorina.”
“Of course there’s a boat,” Janine huffed, sitting up and frowning. “The À Bientôt. It’s right over…”
Her voice trailed off as she took in the scene around her. Plastic cups and empty bottles littered the sand near the ashes of a makeshift fire pit. A silver hoop earring glinted, half-buried, beneath an abandoned hot pink bikini top. Not hers— Simone’s. But Simone, her boyfriend Christophe, and their gaggle of hot young European friends Janine had been partying with last night on the beach were nowhere to be seen. Neither was the boat. Or, to her horror, her backpack containing her entire wardrobe, her European journals, and her passport.
Panicked, she scrabbled in her pocket for her phone and came up with only acrumpled € 20 note and some lint.
 Oh, God. Her phone. Sometime last night she’d gotten up to charge it and— yep. It was probably exactly where she left it, plugged into one of the outlets in the galley of Christophe’s cruiser, which was God-knew-where in the iridescent waters off the Amalfi Coast by now.
À Bientôt, indeed. So long, sucker.
“This is not happening,” she murmured, trying to quell her rising panic. She’d been in Europe for three months. Three months with no huge problems. When she’d stepped on the plane at Hartsfield International airport in Atlanta back in April, her mother had hugged her tight and made her swear to be cautious, to be safe, to come back in one piece. And Janine had promised. Up until now, it had been an easy promise to keep.
“Signorina, there is one more thing—”
“What?” she barked, hating the panicky sound in her voice. This wasn’t her.
“There is the small matter of the bill.”
She gulped. There’d been a lot of drinking last night. More than the pile of bottles here indicated. Definitely more than twenty euros’ worth, for sure.
“My friend left his credit card with the bartender,” she explained, pointing toward the marina’s upscale rooftop bar.
The man pursed his reddish lips, his disdain clear. “The card has been declined.”
Damn Cristophe and his expensive tastes. And his enthusiasm. Last night was the first time she’d let herself get really looped. Even at home, she wasn’t a big drinker, and with the constant threat of “some lunatic with a pocket full of roofies,” as her roommate Hannah warned, Janine was more likely to order one drink and nurse it, keep it close, than she was to indulge.
But not last night. Last night had been a beer (only one), limoncello (dangerously delicious), and grappa (kill me now)-fueled blur. Simone— blonde, giggling Simone— had kept pace with Janine, Christophe, and the trio of Italian layabouts they’d picked up in Portofino and seemed none the worse for wear. Typical. Simone’s capacity had been campus legend at the small college they’d attended together. Ginormous linemen couldn’t keep up with her. Janine was a fool to have tried. But she was nearing the end of her trip, so she’d gone for it.
Man, had that been a mistake. The departure date on her ticket— oh, God, the ticket!— was looming ever closer. She only had a few days left. Only a few days to indulge. Only a few days to soak in the culture she wouldn’t be able to afford to visit again for years.
Only a few days to find her.
Janine had saved the Isola del Sole until last. Not just because it was famous for its turquoise seas, its flowers, its history. But because she lived here. Stéphanie, her sister.



The Billionaire’s Betrayal by Nancy Robards Thompson

“Your husband was a good man, Baroness. I’m sorry for your loss.” A good man. Was he?
Helena Von Lienz smiled politely and bit the insides of her cheeks to keep from asking the stranger the question that had been burning in her gut since her late husband, Anton Von Lienz, died in the fiery crash off the Amalfi Coast highway six months ago with Enzo De Luca, patriarch of the esteemed De Luca family.
But the well-wisher had already moved along the impromptu receiving line to speak to Matteo De Luca, oldest son of Enzo, who stood next Lena. Another unknown person stepped up to gush similar empty sentiments.
Matteo had assured her only family would attend the memorial service to scatter Anton’s and Enzo’s ashes. She certainly hadn’t counted on each and every person queuing up to express their condolences. But somehow, after the memorial, she and Matteo had found themselves wedged into a corner of the terrace under a fruit-bearing lemon tree that was next to an obnoxiously lush bougainvillea. She was numb with grief, so fresh it felt as if the accident had happened yesterday rather than nearly half a year ago. In some ways, it seemed as if Anton had been gone for a long time. In other ways, it seemed as if it was just yesterday. Due to the nature of the accident – the car plunging off the cliff – the Italian police had investigated. It had taken time. So only now were they here, scattering the ashes, saying their goodbyes.
Lena glanced down the seemingly endless line of well-wishers. It snaked around the lavish infinity pool that blended into the Mediterranean from its perch high atop the upper patio of the De Luca family’s compound on the aptly named crescent-shaped island of Isola della Luna.
Obviously, the meaning of family was relative to the De Luca clan. Their nuclear family included the five De Luca brothers, Matteo, Rocco, Nico, Marco and Alessandro. When she factored in other blood relations such as their nona, various uncles and cousins – and who could forget Prince Santino III, the reigning monarch of Isola del Sole – he was related to them somehow, but Lena couldn’t remember exactly – the guest list became unmanageable.
When the honorary family was added in – heaven forbid they left out anyone – it was downright ridiculous. Judging by the crowd, Lena wondered if there was a single soul left on the big island, Isola del Sole. But her shoes pinched and her face hurt from forced cordiality, which didn’t match how she felt inside. Inside, she was just numb. All she wanted was to excuse herself and disappear from this infernal ring of hell that had ripped wide open the wounds she’d worked so hard to heal.
When Matteo had called her about plans for the joint memorial service, Lena had almost declined. Standing here now, she wished she had opted for something more private, because returning to the place where her husband had lost his life was a lot more difficult than she expected for so many different reasons.
But the stark reality remained— scattering Anton’s ashes by herself hadn’t felt right either. Since Anton didn’t have family, except for three ex-wives who had come before Lena and couldn’t be bothered to attend the service, it seemed as if the De Lucas were the closest thing to relatives Anton had. He’d certainly spent enough time at the family’s private compound. In the fourteen years that Lena had been married to Anton, she’d never been invited.
Until now.
Her heart was heavy. But when Matteo had said, “The famiglia needs closure. Enzo’s and Anton’s friends need closure. I’m sure you do, too,” she’d agreed to leave Miami and make the trek back to the Amalfi coast she where she’d vowed she’d never return.
Famous last words.
When she set aside her pride, she had to admit there probably wasn’t a better final resting place for her late husband.
Now that she was here, she wished she could find the peace of mind and heart that Matteo claimed would come through a simple ceremony where people told heartwarming and sometimes bawdy stories about the men.


The Billionaire’s Secret by Kathleen O’Brien

Sophia Rose Smith wasn’t a rich woman, but she knew exactly what they looked like. She should— she’d studied a thousand paintings of them in art school. Her favorite was a Sargent portrait of a pale, dark-haired beauty in black. Staring directly at the artist, the woman was utterly composed, unsmiling, concerned only with her own opinion, and not with anyone else’s.
Sophie carefully arranged that same expression onto her features as she stepped out of her limo and gazed up at the elegant Hotel dei Fiori, the pride of Isola del Sole, a jewel of an island near the Amalfi Coast.
At least she hoped she got the “rich” look right. It would have helped to be six inches taller, and maybe a chic thirty-three instead of an inexperienced twenty-five.
It would have helped to look like Millie, who at sixty-eight still had a slightly Lauren Bacall elegance, an aristocratic, angular face under a dark Gibson Girl upsweep.
Sophie, on the other hand, had a girl-next-door snub nose under Shirley Temple yellow curls.
But she could pull this off. She had to. Pretending to be a wealthy American tourist for the next two weeks might seem silly to her, but it was everything to Millie.
Stretching her shoulders back in ballerina posture, she began ascending the steps. It felt wrong not to help the driver and the porter as they wrangled with her luggage, but she forced herself to leave them behind, like debris in a sailboat’s wake. Think like a princess.
She didn’t allow herself to rubberneck at the beautiful people and sophisticated architecture around her. Gawking was the Boston Sophie. The Amalfi Sophie had been here, done this, too often to be impressed.
But when she entered the lobby, the suave act failed. She hadn’t ever been here— or anywhere remotely this grand. Like someone rising from the dark into a blinding light, she was temporarily overwhelmed by the bustling activity, by the vaulted ceiling, the massive flower arrangements, the crystal and gold and gleaming wood.
The large, cool space smelled of old money, exotic blooms, and rare perfume.
She paused on the center medallion of an ornate Persian carpet, as if the circle of roses was a safe space on a chessboard. For the first time since agreeing to come, she felt butterflies in her stomach. That surprised her. She hadn’t ever been overly impressed by money. She wasn’t intimidated by the rich and famous.
But this… this was different.
Pretending to fit in here wouldn’t be as easy as she’d thought, back when she and Millie planned it at the older woman’s dining room table. Originally, they’d been planning it for Millie, and she’d spent a fortune on this trip, buying the best of everything from luggage to hotel suites so that she could, just once in her life, experience the life of a rich, pampered somebody.
And then, when last year’s cancer had suddenly returned, robbing her of the chance, she’d recruited Sophie to take her place.
In a nearby marble column, Sophie could just make out a watery reflection of herself. It took her a few seconds to recognize that stylish creature swathed in sea-green silk. The long, flowing dress cost more than anything she’d ever owned. She’d been horrified when Millie insisted on buying it. But Millie hadn’t budged.
The woman reflected in the marble looked small, and a little lost. Sophie took a deep breath. Was she up to this, after all? The doctors had said they weren’t absolutely sure Millie’s chemo would work this time.
Would the last thing she ever did for her friend and mentor end up being a failure?
No. She set her jaw. She might not have done much traveling in her life, but she had exhaustively studied the finest art of the entire world. She understood beauty. She appreciated it. She could be as comfortable here, in this glamorous place, as anyone.

The Billionaire’s Charade by Eve Gaddy
 “You look like I feel,” a deep voice said.
Summer turned and saw one of the groomsmen holding out a glass of champagne. Exactly what she needed.
“Thanks. How is that?”
“Wondering when you can cut out.”
Summer laughed. She’d noticed him. In a group of surprisingly good-looking men, he stood out. Tall, dark, and sinfully, deliciously gorgeous.
“Probably before you can. I’m just a friend of the bride’s. You’re in the wedding.”
“Jeremy would be the first to understand if I left early. Especially if it was with you.”
 No doubt about it, this guy was hot. Dark brown, wavy hair, the kind that made her itch to run her fingers through it. His eyes were dark, too, a deep brown, almost espresso-colored. Normally, she wasn’t a fan of stubble, but on him it looked good. So, he looked great but would he say something unexpected or would she hear the same thing she heard from nearly every man she met?
“You’re trying to decide if I’m going to tell you that you’re the most beautiful woman I’ve ever seen. Or at least in the room tonight.” He took a drink.
Appreciating his candor, Summer couldn’t help smiling again. The music swelled and she waited a minute to respond. “Something like that.” She sipped her champagne and asked, “Are you?”
He shook his head. “No. I figure you’ve heard that refrain a time or a thousand. I’ll just admire you silently.”
She gave him points for originality.
She offered her hand, saying, “Hi, I’m Summer St. Croix.”
He shook her hand and said, “I’m Luke—” Thanks to the music picking that moment to crescendo, she didn’t catch his last name. Dan? Ban? Fan? Fantasy? No, that couldn’t be it. Seriously, though, did she really care?
They smiled at each other. Damn, he’s even better when he smiles. If I were the type, I’d swoon.
“Do you like to dance?” he asked as the band struck up a new song.
“Not really.” Dancing at a wedding. Uh, no. That also reminded her of things she’d rather forget. Not to mention, she was a terrible dancer.
“Great. Neither do I. Would you like to go somewhere and talk?”
“What did you say? I can’t hear you.”
He laughed. “My point. Does the hotel bar work for you?”
“Sure. Why not?”
They found a booth in a corner of the bar. “Would you like another glass of champagne or do you want something else?” Luke asked.
“It seems a shame to pay for drinks when there’s free champagne and beer at the wedding.”
“But then we’d have to go back. I like it here.”
“I do, too,” Summer said, looking around. The bar, like the rest of the hotel, was elegant, tastefully decorated, and it whispered “money” in dulcet tones. “I’d like a mojito.”
Luke signaled the waitress who came over instantly. After he ordered two mojitos, he said, “Are you staying at the hotel or are you local?”
“Staying. I’m from Dallas. What about you?”
“Staying, and I live in Dallas, too.”
While a coincidence, it wasn’t much of one. Summer imagined a good third of the guests lived in the DFW metroplex.
They talked some more and the waitress brought their drinks. “To your eyes,” Luke said and touched his glass to hers.
“If you say I have eyes the color of jade or emeralds, I’m outta here.”
He studied her, then tipped her chin up with a finger and looked into her eyes. Summer stared back, words deserting her as she fell into the depths of his gaze.
“No, your eyes are an unusual shade. If I were to describe them, I’d say they look like malachite.” He dropped his hand and added with a wicked grin, “With some jade and emerald swirling around.”
“You’re very smooth, aren’t you?” And he was revving up her heartbeat with a look and a touch.
She took a sip of her drink to steady herself. It didn’t help.
“I try,” he said modestly. “How am I doing?”
“You’re good and you know it. Okay, what color is my hair?” She was curious how he’d describe it. Lots of men had tried, so she’d heard a gazillion variations of redhead and red.
Luke picked up a strand of hair and rubbed it between his fingers. “A thousand shades of wildfire.”
Summer’s breath caught in her throat. They were playing a game, but my, oh my, he was good with words. She wondered what else he was good at.



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4 comments:

Stephanie LaPlante said...

This sounds great!!

Amber Jones said...

Thanks for the giveaway!

Jan Lee said...

Oh wow, five billionaires, I'm in heaven, lol Well this is definitely on my...list, er yea, list that's it, hehe Thank you for the giveaway :)

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