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From one night...
When Sergio Burzi's table at an exclusive London restaurant is invaded by a stunning woman fleeing a blind date, he's intrigued. Candid, innocent artist Susie Sadler is nothing like the women he normally dates. The urge to sweep her into his gilded realm—if only for the night—is overwhelming.
to nine months!
But there are repercussions to taking what you want, and Sergio's rigidly controlled world is soon shattered—Susie's pregnant! Now they'll have to find a way to face their uncertain future together and resist the craving for each other that impulsive night ignited...
When one night...leads to pregnancy!
"synopsis" may belong to another edition of this title.
Cathy Williams is a great believer in the power of perseverance as she had never written anything before her writing career, and from the starting point of zero has now fulfilled her ambition to pursue this most enjoyable of careers. She would encourage any would-be writer to have faith and go for it! She derives inspiration from the tropical island of Trinidad and from the peaceful countryside of middle England. Cathy lives in Warwickshire her family.Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.:
From the very second Susie walked into the restaurant she knew she had made a big mistake. It joined the other three big mistakes she had made in the past fortnight. Making mistakes was beginning to feel like a full-time occupation.
What had possessed her to wear high heels? Why was she clutching a silly little bag with sequins, borrowed from one of her friends? And how on earth had she found herself in a ridiculous small red dress which had screamed sexy and glamorous when she had tried it on earlier in the week but now shrieked...sad and desperate?
Utterly grateful that she had wisely shunned the flamboyant checked coat which she had been tempted to buy with the dress, and had instead chosen something slightly more sober, she wrapped her black cape tightly round her, making sure to conceal every single square inch of the stupid red dress.
So what the heck should she do now? she wondered.
Date number four was there and seated at the bar. In a couple of seconds he would look round and he would spot her. She had told him that she would be wearing red. The red might be concealed under the cape but how many other lonesome single girls were there here? None.
His picture on the online dating agency she used had seemed so promising, but one glance at him showed her that it had been a cruel lie.
He wasn't tall. Even though he was sitting she could see that. His feet dangled. Nor was he surfer blond...more wet sand than surf, to be perfectly honest...and he looked at least twenty years older than in his photograph. Furthermore he was wearing a bright yellow jumper and trousers that were vaguely mustard in colour.
She should have actually chatted with him on the phone instead of rushing headlong into a date. She should have relied on more than a couple of flirty messages and one email. She would have known then that he might be the sort of guy who wore yellow jumpers and mustard-coloured trousers. But instead she had jumped right in at the deep end and now here she was.
She felt faint.
This was an expensive bar/restaurant. It was the latest in hip and cool. People had to wait for months to get a booking. The only reason she had been able to get one was because her parents had had to cancel at the last minute and had told her that she could go along in their place. They had asked her to report back on the food—they wanted details.
'Take a friend,' her mother had said, with just the amount of weary resignation that seemed to hallmark everything she said to her. 'You surely must know someone who isn't absolutely broke...'
By which she had meant, You must know a man who isn't scraping by without a decent job...someone who doesn't play in a band in bars...or doesn't slouch around in between acting jobs that never come up...or isn't currently saving to go on a world trip, taking in the Dalai Lama on the way...
The mere fact that online date number four had heard of this place had been a point in his favour.
Silly assumption on her part.
Her fundamental sense of decency warred with a pressing urge to turn tail and scarper before she was spotted—but how could she scarper when she knew her parents would want to know all about the experience? It wasn't as though she could wing it...make it up as she went along. She was rubbish at lying and her mother was gifted at spotting lies.
Yet she knew what the outcome of this would be before it even started. She knew they would make stilted conversation but would both be keen to end it. She knew that the conversation would run out sometime after the starter but they would both feel obliged to stay until the main course and she knew they would definitely leave without dessert or coffee. She felt he might make her pick up the tab. He would definitely insist on going Dutch. He would probably work out exactly who had eaten what and calculate the bill accordingly.
Already in the grip of uncertainty and a mild depression that she had found herself in this situation yet again, Susie glanced around the crowded restaurant.
It was buzzing with cool people. The bar area was busy and the restaurant, which was off to one side, a marvel of glass, chrome and plants, was likewise packed.
Couples and groups were everywhere...except at the back... Sitting at the best table in the place was...a guy...
For a few seconds her heart actually flipped over, because she had never seen anyone quite so stunningly good-looking in her life before. Raven-black hair, bronzed skin that spoke of some sort of exotically foreign gene pool, perfectly chiselled features... When the Big Guy above had been dishing out looks he had been first in the queue.
He was sitting in front of his laptop, oblivious to everyone around him. The sheer cheek of having a laptop on the table in one of the most sought-after restaurants in the city was impressive. As was the fact that he wasn't dressed for show. He was in a pair of dark jeans and a long-sleeved faded black jumper that fitted him in a way that revealed a lean, muscular body. Everything about him suggested that he didn't care where he was or who was looking at him, and there was an invisible exclusion zone around him that implied that no one should dare get too close.
He was just the sort of guy she should have found, scrolling through all those possibilities on the dating website—although, that said, he was probably just the sort of guy who had probably never heard of a dating website. Why would he?
And he was on his own.
The table wasn't set for two. There was a drink in front of him but he had shoved his plate and all the cutlery to one side. She was sure that there was some kind of unwritten rule about doing something like that in a place like this but he was pulling it off.
Taking a deep breath, she turned to the mattre d', who had swooped down to ask her whether she had reservation and said airily, 'I'm with...'
She pointed to the stranger at the back of the room and tried to smile knowingly. She had never done anything like this in her life before. But faced with the horror of date number four, the certainty of being spotted, the necessity to stay put until it was safe to slink to the table she had reserved and sample the food...desperation had made her act out of character.
'Absolutely!' If only she could scuttle back to the apartment in her glad rags to sit in front of the telly with a chocolate bar and a glass of wine. Right now that would have been heaven.
But she couldn't—and right now she didn't want to think anyway. She just didn't want to spend another evening on her own, dealing with what her parents and her sister had been telling her for the past three years...that she had to 'get some direction' in her life...that she should start thinking about a career instead of painting pictures and drawing cartoon characters...that she was 'so lucky' to have been given the education that she had and that she owed it to herself to make the best of it... Perhaps they weren't quite so brutally honest, but she could read between the lines.
'Is Señor Burzi expecting you, Miss...?'
'Of course he is! I wouldn't be asking to join him if he wasn't, would I?'
She began walking purposefully over to the dark, sexy stranger, hoping and praying that her date wouldn't spot her, and hoping and praying even more that the mattre d' wouldn't create an embarrassing fuss and chuck her out.
Head down, she practically collided with the table, and was aware of two piercing dark eyes shifting from the computer to her flushed face as she plopped down in one of the empty chairs.
'What the hell...? Who the hell are you?'
'Señor Burzi...this lady said that she was expecting to join you.'
'I'm really sorry. I know I'm probably interrupting you. But, please...could you just bear with me for a few minutes? I...I'm in a bit of a sticky situation...'
'Show her out, Giorgio, and next time please don't make the mistake of bringing anyone to my table unless I tell you to.'
His voice was deep and dark and velvety and perfectly matched the way he looked. His attention had returned to whatever was on his computer. She was dismissed. She would be chucked out of the restaurant.
Panic filled her. Panic and just...just a feeling of hopelessness. She should never have been persuaded by her two best friends into this crazy online dating situation. The thought of being escorted out of the restaurant like a common criminal, while everyone including her yellow-jumpered date turned and stared and sniggered, was just too much.
'Just a few minutes. I just need somewhere to...er...sit for a few minutes.'
This time the man did look up, and she had to force herself not to stare because up close he was even better looking than he had appeared from a distance. His eyes were navy blue and he had eyelashes to die for—long, thick and dark, and right now fringing eyes that were the temperature of ice.
'Not my problem. And how the hell did you find out that I was going to be here?' he asked coldly. He spared a glance for the mattre d', who was hovering and wringing his hands. 'Leave us, Giorgio. I'll get rid of her myself.'
'Sorry?' Susie looked at him blankly.
'I haven't got time for this. I have no idea how you found out where I was, but now that you're here let me make myself perfectly clear. Whatever begging mission you're on, you can forget it. Charitable donations are handled by my company. Donations of any other nature are not on the table. And a word to the wise.? Next time you get it into your head to start digging for gold, try being a little more subtle. Now, I'm giving you the option of making a dignified exit or being thrown out. Which one would you rather go for?'
Angry colour had seeped into her cheeks as the meaning of what he was saying gradually became clear.
She had no idea who the man was, but he actually thought that she had targeted him! Thought that she was making a play for him because she wanted to ask him for money!
'Are you accusing me of coming here to ask you for money?'
The man gave a bark of humourless laughter and raked his eyes over her. 'Clever deduction. Now, what's your choice of exit going to be?'
'I didn't come here to ask for money. I don't even know who you are.'
'Now, I wonder why I find that hard to believe?'
'Please—just hear me out. I honestly don't make it a habit to approach strange men in...er...bars...or even expensive restaurants...but I won't be long...'
She had as much right to be here as he did. Admittedly not actually at his table, but in the restaurant...generally speaking.
She actually had her own table booked, and would be forking out for some very expensive food just as soon as her blind date left and she could relax—and that was more than could be said for him, judging from the way his plate had been shoved to one side. One drink wasn't going to make the restaurant owner a rich guy, was it? In fact he was just the sort of customer a restaurant owner would hate! The sort of customer who booked a table, had a drink, made it last for four hours and refused to budge for the remainder of the evening.
'I haven't come here because I'm targeting you for money,' she repeated urgently, leaning forward, elbows resting on the table. 'And, by the way, I feel very sorry for you if you can't talk to a stranger for three minutes without thinking that they're going to ask you to put your hand in your pocket and write them out a cheque! You're the only person in this place on your own and I.I.just need to kill a little time before I'm shown to my table. I do have, actually, a valid reservation. And I will be eating.'
She took a deep breath and powered on before he had a chance to throw her out on her ear—because, whether she had a valid reason to be there or not, she certainly didn't have a valid reason to gatecrash his table.
'Do you see the guy sitting at the bar?'
Humiliation made her skin prickle. She had always been a people person. Finding herself stared at as though she was something that had crawled in off the streets—something that needed to be bagged and binned immediately—was a new experience for her and she didn't like it.
His icy silence squashed her natural breeziness like a pin being stuck into a balloon.
Sergio Burzi was frankly incredulous. Had she just told him that she felt sorry for him or had he misheard? He felt as though he had been run over by a bus, and was momentarily too dazed to do anything but pick himself up and dust himself down.
'There are a lot of guys at the bar,' he said.
So she would eventually do one of two things. Ask outright for money for some hare-brained scheme or else try and cosy up to him. He was a target for gold-diggers, and gold-diggers came in all different shapes and sizes and plied their trade with the back-up of all sorts of sob stories and fairytales.
But he was between women...jaded with the opposite sex. He liked them clever, careerorientated...he liked women who had purposeful, goalorientated lives, who weren't clingy and emotional. He had had them by the bucketload, but recently...they did less and less for him. Not even the chase was as stimulating as it had used to be, and more often than not the 'catch of the day' became boring in a matter of weeks.
What was the harm in letting this woman sit with him for a couple of minutes before he got rid of her?
She was putting on a damn fine show and she was really rather attractive. Big brown eyes, blonde curly hair that looked as though it had only a passing acquaintance with a brush, full, sexy lips.
A sharp pang of pure lust hit him deep in the gut. He had a vivid image of how that cloud of strawberry blonde hair would look spread across his pillow, her pale skin against his much darker bronze.
It just showed how neglected his sex-life had been of late. He had dispatched his last girlfriend over two months ago and hadn't had the energy or the desire to replace her.
And now this tawdry little gold-digger had stirred him up. He sat back, easing the discomfort of a sudden rock-hard erection, and gave her his undivided attention.
'Which one are you talking about?' he asked, angling his big body so that he could extend his long legs to one side. 'And why should I be looking at him?'
Susie relaxed fractionally. He was prepared to listen to what she had to say. This would be the end of her learning curve. No more blind dates. Ever.
'Yellow jumper. Mustard trousers. Thin sandy hair. Do you see him?'
Sergio glanced at the bar and then back to her flushed, earnest face. 'I see him.'
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Book Description Mills & Boon, 2015. Paperback. Condition: Brand New. 192 pages. 8.43x5.85x0.73 inches. In Stock. Seller Inventory # zk0263248860
Book Description Mills & Boon, 2015. Condition: New. book. Seller Inventory # M0263248860