A Legacy of Secrets

ISBN 13: 9780263234701

A Legacy of Secrets

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9780263234701: A Legacy of Secrets
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Business & Pleasure: What the Corretti playboy wants...

Personal assistant Ella is never without her "Santo Bag"—not the latest designer "must have," but emergency supplies to handle whatever the devilish Santo Corretti throws at her. But no pair of sunglasses will cover the darkness in her boss's eyes this morning.

Scandal is circling. Santo's family is in tatters. His brother is languishing in a jail cell and his latest film's on the rocks. All Santo wants is a little TLC. Except, Ella's heart is not part of the playboy fix-it kit.

But what Santo Corretti wants he gets!

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About the Author:

Carol Marinelli recently filled in a form asking for her job title. Thrilled to be able to put down her answer, she put writer. Then it asked what Carol did for relaxation and she put down the truth - writing. The third question asked for her hobbies. Well, not wanting to look obsessed she crossed the fingers on her hand and answered swimming but, given that the chlorine in the pool does terrible things to her highlights – I’m sure you can guess the real answer.

Excerpt. Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:

Santo jerked awake, his heart racing, and reached out for familiar comfort, but rather than in bed with a lover beside him, he was asleep alone on a couch.

What happened last night?

His mind was a cruel trickster.

It did not tell him what had happened—it showed him little clues.

There was an empty whisky bottle on the floor, which Santo stepped over to get to the bathroom, and when he looked down he saw that he was still wearing the wedding suit, but his tie was off and the shirt torn and undone.

He checked the inside pocket of his jacket, remembered Ella double- and triple-checking that he had them before she left and he went off to be best man at his brother's wedding.

The rings were still there.

He splashed his face with water; his face and chest were a mass of bruises.

Santo looked at his neck and grimaced, but a few love bites were the least of his concerns as yesterday's events started to come back to him.

Alessandro!

Santo picked up the phone to arrange a driver, but he got the night receptionist who, perhaps unaware that she should not ask such questions, enquired where he wanted to go and Santo promptly hung up.

Looking out of the window, from his luxurious vantage point, Santo could see the press waiting. Rarely for Santo, he couldn't stomach facing them, or his brother, alone.

'Can you pick me up?

Despite the hour, Ella answered the phone with her eyes closed. After four months working for Santo Corretti she was more than used to being called out of hours, though he sounded particularly terrible this morning. His deep, low voice, thick with Italian accent, was still beautiful, if a touch hoarse.

Yes, beautiful and terrible just about summed Santo up.

Peeling her eyes open, she looked at the figures on her bedside clock. 'It's 6:00 a.m.,' Ella said. 'On a Sunday.' Which should have been enough reason to end the call and go back to sleep. Yet, all night, Ella had been half expecting him to ring, so much so she had sat with her giant heated rollers in last night and had already laid her clothes out. Like the rest of Sicily, Ella had watched the drama unfold on television yesterday afternoon and had seen updates on the news all night. Even her mother in Australia, watching the Italian news, would know that the much-anticipated wedding of San-to's brother, Alessandro Corretti, to Alessia Battaglia had been called off at the last minute.

Literally, at the last minute.

The bride had fled midway down the aisle and the world was waiting to see how two of Sicily's most notorious families would deal with the fallout.

Yes, Ella had had a feeling that her services might be required before Monday.

'Look, this is my day off.' She did her best to hold firm. 'I worked yesterday...' Of course, as just his PA, Ella hadn't been invited to the wedding. Instead her job had been to ensure that Santo arrived sober, on time and looking divine as he always did.

The divine part had been easy—Santo made a beautiful best man. It was the other two requisites that had taken up rather a lot more of her people skills.

'I need to pick up Alessandro from the police station,' Santo said. 'He was arrested last night.'

Ella lay there silently, refusing to ask for details, while privately wondering just what else had happened yesterday.

She had raised a glass to the screen as she had seen Santo arrive at the church, talking and joking with Alessandro, privately thinking that the gene pool had surely been fizzing with expensive champagne when these two were conceived.

They could, at first glance, almost be twins—both were tall and broad shouldered, both wore their jet-black hair short, both had come-to-bed dark green eyes—but there were differences. Alessandro was the eldest, and the two years that divided the brothers were significant.

As firstborn son to the late Carlo Corretti, Alessandro was rather more ruthless, whereas Santo was a touch lighter in personality, more fun and extremely flirty—but he could still be completely arrogant at times.

'Come and pick me up now,' Santo said, as if to prove her point. Ella let out a long breath, telling herself that in a few weeks, if she got the job she had applied for, then all the scandal and drama of the Correttis would be a thing of the past. Working for Santo was nothing like she'd imagined it would be. 'The press are everywhere,' he warned, which was Santo's shorthand to remind her to look smart—even in a crisis he insisted on appearances. 'Take a taxi and then pick up my car and drive it around to the hotel entrance. Text me when you're there.'

'I hate driving your car,' Ella started, but was met again with silence. Having given his orders, Santo would assume she was jumping to the snap of his manicured fingers, and had already hung up.

'Bastard,' Ella hissed and then she heard his voice.

'You love me, really.'

Ella was too annoyed to be embarrassed. 'I love lying in on a Sunday morning.' 'Tough.'

This time he did hang up.

In a few weeks you'll be out of it, Ella told herself as she rang for a taxi. The woman on the other end of the phone sounded half asleep as well and told Ella it would be a good fifteen minutes to half an hour, which suited her fine. She climbed out of bed and headed straight for the shower and then to the mirror, but Santo could forget it if he thought she was going to arrive in full makeup. She changed her mind, because like it or not, Santo was her boss and Ella took her work very seriously. So, instead of a slick of mascara and lipgloss—which were usual weekend fare, if she wore any make-up at all—

Ella set to work with the make-up brushes and then smoothed out her hair a touch and tied it into a low po-nytail. She pulled on a dark grey skirt and sheer cream blouse and added low heels.

One good thing about working for Santo was her clothing allowance.

Actually, it was the only good thing.

And Ella wasn't even particularly interested in clothes!

Hearing the taxi toot outside her small rented flat, Ella checked her appearance one more time and then grabbed her 'Santo Bag' as she called it, making sure that she had his spare set of car keys, before heading outside. She squinted at the morning sun and took in the vivid colours of a gorgeous Palermo in May. The ocean was glistening and the city still seemed to be sleeping. No doubt the whole of Sicily had had a late night, waiting for updates in the news.

'Buongiorno.' Ella gave the taxi driver the address of the smart hotel where Santo was staying and then sat back and listened to the morning news on the radio.

Of course the jilted Corretti groom was being talked about long after the headlines had been read.

And, of course, the taxi driver was more than delighted with the news. 'Trouble!' he told her. 'As if a wedding would ever unite the Corretti and Battaglia families...' and happily he chatted some more, unaware he was driving her to meet with Santo. Ella chose not to enlighten him. Santo didn't exactly keep her informed about the goings-on in his family. If anything, his Italian picked up pace if he ever had to speak with one of them, just enough to make it almost impossible for her to work out what was being said.

'They have always fought?' Ella checked.

'Always,' the driver told her and then added that even the death of Salvatore Corretti a few weeks ago would not bring peace between the two families. 'The Cor-rettis even war with themselves.'

That much Ella knew. Even though Santo didn't reveal much about his family, Ella was forever having to deal with the feuding Corretti cousins. The family was incredibly divided and they were all constantly trying to outdo the other, under the guise of the family empire. They were all trying to outmanoeuvre one another in the bid to become top dog, not just at work, but with cars, with women, with horses. Ella was sick of it. She was tired of the dark secrets and mind games they all played.

She'd have put up with it for a while longer though, if Santo would just give her a small step onto the ladder she wanted to climb. Over and over she had asked him if she could work on just one of his films as a junior assistant director.

'Presto,' Santo would say and then, as he did all too often when he spoke to her in Italian, he would annoyingly translate for her. 'Soon.'

Well, soon, she'd be gone.

Ella asked the driver to stop while she bought some coffee and then climbed back in.

As they approached the hotel Ella told the driver that she wished to be dropped off in the underground car park. As they approached she saw that Santo was right—there were a lot of press around and security was tight. Ella was more than happy to show her ID before paying the taxi driver and telling the concerned valet that she wanted to personally take the car up to collect her boss.

Ella slipped into the front seat and smelt not the leather, but the familiar, expensive scent of Santo. Before she started the engine she texted him, letting him know she was in the basement and on her way to collect him.

The engine growled at the merest touch of her foot and she jerked her way through the car park, doing her best to ignore the flash of cameras as the paparazzi stirred at the new activity taking place.

Come on, Santo, she muttered as she sat with the engine idling, glad of the effort she'd made as cameras clicked away, worried, too, that he might have fallen back to sleep after he had called her. But then, still wearing last night's suit, she saw him, walking just a little unsteadily towards the car. Ella's lips pressed together when she saw the state he was in. The press were going to have a field day. His suit was torn and dirty and he was wearing several fresh bruises too. His deathly pale skin only accentuated the fact that he hadn't shaved.

'Buongiorno!' Ella said loudly and brightly as he climbed...

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Other Popular Editions of the Same Title

9780373131440: A Legacy of Secrets

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ISBN 10:  0373131445 ISBN 13:  9780373131440
Publisher: Harlequin, 2013
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9780373239085: A Legacy of Secrets

Harlequin, 2013
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