At The Sicilian Counts Command (Modern Romance)

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9780263864298: At The Sicilian Counts Command (Modern Romance)

Count Wolf Gambrelli annoyed, irritated... and aroused her. Angelica tried to hate the Sicilian, but couldn't get him out of her head! Wolf had been chosen to protect her, and Angelica hoped her body would not betray her under the intense scrutiny of his gaze. It was clear that Wolf wanted Angelica—and he'd stop at nothing to bed her....

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'I'm afraid I had an ulterior motive for inviting you here this weekend, Wolf— Ah, I believe I hear Angel now,' Stephen Foxwood, Wolf's friend and overnight host, murmured happily, as the sound of a door closing could be heard inside the manor house behind them. The two men were seated outside on the terrace on this warm summer's evening, enjoying a glass of wine before dinner. 'Later,' Stephen promised as he got to his feet. 'Come and meet my—come and meet Angelica Harper,' he corrected as he stood up to enter the sitting room via French windows.

Wolf followed, intrigued. The two men had been friends for several years, and he had believed this Saturday night stay at Stephen's country estate was to discuss the successful conclusion of a joint business deal they had agreed earlier in the week. Stephen certainly hadn't given any indication before now that there was something else he needed to talk about. Or that his current mistress—Angel?—would also be present!

Stephen, as Wolf well knew, had been married to Grace for over thirty years until her death a year ago—not a particularly happy marriage, but not an unhappy one, either. Having a wife certainly hadn't curtailed Stephen's other liaisons; it had just meant that he'd kept those relationships discreetly in the background.

Now that Grace was dead, obviously Stephen didn't feel he had to keep his mistresses a secret any more!

Although Wolf wasn't quite prepared for the appearance of Stephen's latest love. Lowering guarded lids over piercingly dark eyes, he watched the older man cross the room to warmly kiss the cheek of the woman who had entered the sitting room. Years of practice at shielding his thoughts in the boardroom, as well as in the bedroom, allowed Wolf to maintain a bland expression even as he felt shockwaves rock through him while he looked at the woman with whom the usually cynical Stephen was obviously deeply infatuated.

Aged, at most, in her mid-twenties, Angelica Harper had to be at least thirty years younger than Stephen—and she was also the most beautiful woman Wolf had ever set eyes on!

Having been one of the most eligible bachelors in Europe for at least half of his thirty-six years, Wolf had seen—and known intimately—many beautiful women.

But Angelica Harper—five feet eight inches tall, with waist-length black hair, misty grey eyes surrounded by long thick lashes set in a delicately beautiful heart-shaped face, and with the slenderness of her body shown to advantage in her clinging black off-the-shoulder gown—exuded a sensuality that Wolf was totally aware of.

'Come and say hello to Angel, Wolf,' Stephen encouraged, his arm resting possessively on her slender shoulders as he brought her further into the room.

'Angelica,' she corrected dryly as she held out a graceful hand. 'Only Stephen calls me Angel,' she added huskily.

Wolf took that hand automatically, feeling a tingling in his fingers just from touching her. 'Angelica,' he acknowledged guardedly, more than a little disturbed by his immediate awareness of this stunning woman.

Stephen's country estate was thirty miles from London, set in glorious English countryside, and Wolf had come here with the intention of relaxing after the intensity of concluding the business deal he and Stephen had made. The two of them had purchased some land together in the Florida Keys, with the intention of turning it into a development of exclusive villas along with a golf course. Hopefully the resort was destined to become one more of the many successful enterprises that had made Wolf and Stephen two of the richest men in Europe.

But Wolf certainly hadn't expected to meet Stephen's newest young and beautiful mistress while he was here.

And then he recalled that Stephen had casually mentioned there was an ulterior motive to his weekend invitation...

Which had to be meeting this woman, who allowed only her lover to call her Angel.

A woman who made Wolf's body harden in anticipation just looking at her!

'This is Wolf—Count Gambrelli—Angel,' Stephen told her lightly, his blue gaze warm as he introduced the two of them. He was still a handsome man, despite his fifty-eight years. His dark hair having silvered only at the temples, and his body was still lithe and slim in his black evening suit.

'Count Gambrelli.' Angelica nodded a greeting, her eyes widening slightly when the Count didn't let go of her hand after their introduction but continued to hold it in his firm grip long after politeness dictated he should have released her.

She'd heard of Count Carlo—Wolf Gambrelli—of course. An Italian playboy whom the press enjoyed writing about, both on a personal and professional level, his success in business was only circumvented by his prowess with women, which had long ago earned him the nickname of 'Wolf'—a name he seemed to have made entirely his own!

Looking at him, his reputation as a consummate womaniser wasn't too difficult to believe: Wolf Gambrelli was one of the most lethally attractive men Angelica had ever seen.

His shoulder-length hair was a rich burnished gold, rather than the darker colouring she would have expected in a Sicilian. But his skin was a rich mahogany, his eyes a deep, unfathomable brown, and his high cheekbones jutted either side of a patrician nose under which his mouth sat, full and sensuous, above a squarely determined chin. Tall and elegant in a black tie and tuxedo and a snowy-white dress shirt, his outer sophisticated trappings did little to hide the leanly powerful body beneath: wide shoulders, tapered waist, and long, long legs.

Yes, Wolf Gambrelli was a lethally attractive man. But even on a few minutes' acquaintance Angelica detected that he was also a man all too aware of his own power, and that he emanated a ruthlessness which indicated he wouldn't hesitate to use his looks or his wealth to get what—or who—he wanted.

'Please call me Wolf,' he invited softly.

Angelica made a point of releasing her hand even as she gave him a coolly dismissive smile.

It was a coolness that aroused a desire in Wolf to peel her black dress from her temptingly curvaceous body and lay her down on the carpet, to caress and kiss her until she was wanton in his arms!

But at the same time Wolf knew that Stephen's possessive male arm about her slender shoulders was a warning to him that Angelica Harper was Stephen's exclusive property...

Wolf studied Angelica Harper from between narrowed lids. Why was such a young and beautiful woman involved with a man so much her senior? For his money? Now that Stephen was widowed, was she hoping to become one of those trophy wives? A woman who traded on her youth and beauty in order to trap herself a rich husband? Stephen certainly looked besotted enough to offer her that!

'Drink, Angel?' Stephen asked.

'That would be lovely, thank you,' Angelica Harper accepted huskily. 'Is this a long or short visit to England, Wolf?' she turned to enquire politely, once Stephen had crossed the room to pour her a glass of chilled white wine from the bottle the butler had brought in earlier.

'I haven't decided yet,' Wolf found himself replying, his attention caught and held by the peachy-pearl fullness of Angelica Harper's lips.

Lips that were surely made for kissing and being kissed...!

'Here we are.' Stephen's smile included both Wolf and Angelica as he returned with the glass of wine, handing it to her before once again draping his arm lightly about her shoulders. 'You're looking exceptionally lovely this evening, Angel,' he complimented, his blue eyes warmly appreciative. 'Don't you think so, Wolf?' he prompted proudly.

Wolf's mouth tightened as he noted the delicate blush that had entered Angelica's creamy cheeks. This woman was undoubtedly beautiful—mesmerisingly so. But the fact that she obviously belonged exclusively to another man made null and void the primitive urge Wolf had to claim Angelica for his own!

'Angelica is very beautiful,' he acknowledged noncommitally, none of his inner turmoil visible.

What was wrong with him?

He had seen and physically known dozens of beautiful women. Blonde, brunettes, redheads. Other women with hair as ebony as Angelica Harper's. So what was it about this particular woman that made him want to fling Stephen's arm from her shoulders and throw her over his own shoulder, to carry her off like some marauding Viking?

Just imagining the things he would like to do to her once he had carried her off made his body pulse hotly!

Angelica gave Stephen a questioning look from beneath lowered lashes, knowing him too well by now to be fooled by the lightness of his tone, and aware that there was some sort of purpose behind Wolf Gambrelli being here with them this weekend. After months of sharing a home with Stephen at weekends, whenever their mutual commitments allowed, she knew that he rarely did or said anything that didn't have a purpose or ulterior motive.

Quite what purpose there was behind Wolf Gambrelli's visit here, she as yet had no idea!

Although she did find the intensity of Wolf Gambrelli's dark gaze more than a little unnerving. His first searing appraisal of her had felt as if he had stripped her dress from her body and gazed his fill of her nakedness—something that made her feel hot all over.

Which was ridiculous!

Wolf Gambrelli was a Sicilian playboy of such repute that there wasn't a month that went by without one glossy magazine or another featuring a couple of pages of photo spreads of his latest relationship. The man seemed to change his women as often as he changed the silk sheets reputed to be on his bed!

All of which proved he was exactly the type of man Angelica had absolutely no intention of being attracted to!

'I believe it's time for us to go in to dinner,' she said with some relief as she saw Holmes, Stephen's butler, hovering in the doorway.

Coming from an ordinary home, which she'd shared with her parents and two younger sisters, and then having shared a flat with three other girls while at university, she still found the opulence of Stephen's lifestyle a little overwhe...

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