The Cost of the Forbidden (Irresistible Russian Tycoons)

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9780373134007: The Cost of the Forbidden (Irresistible Russian Tycoons)
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The price of endless pleasure! 

Clients, women, money...ruthless CEO Sev Derzhavin is a master at getting whatever—and whomever!—he wants. Rejected as a child, Sev has never been refused since. So when his personal assistant resigns, Sev can't resist the challenge of enticing the beautiful brunette to stay... 

Naomi Johnson has to walk away before she gives in to the chemistry with her infamous heartbreaker boss and opens her heart to yet more bruises. But on their last business trip to Dubai, Sev makes a shocking suggestion to relieve the tension between them: enjoy some overtime—in his bed!

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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.:

Naomi woke up lying in a very warm, comfortable bed. She just stared out into the darkness and waited for dawn with butterflies dancing in her chest.

Last night she had called Andrew and had told him that they were over.

As expected, he hadn't taken it well at all.

But, then, he hadn't taken her coming to New York to spend time with her father well either. In fact, they had broken up the night before Naomi had flown out. The next morning he had turned up at Heathrow with an engagement ring, telling her that he would wait.

Now she didn't look back at that time with tenderness. She had been sideswiped, Naomi knew. It had taken these months apart to see that she had said yes under pressure and that she didn't need him to magnanimously grant her a year's leave of absence.

It was done and while she should feel relief and did, Naomi wasn't thinking about Andrew any more.

Instead the butterflies had turned into a flock of sparrows and she felt sick with dread at another difficult conversation she would be having at some point today.

With Sev.

Of course, Andrew had asked her if there was someone else and Naomi had hesitated for a beat too long before answering him.

No, there was no one else, she had told him, and that was the truth.

Sort of.

Naomi had been working for Sev for three months now and, yes, he'd tried it on a couple of times.

Once when they had been stuck in his jet for hours on a runway in Mali and he'd put down the book he always read on take-off and had suggested she might want to go for a lie-down.

With him on top.

Or she could be on top.

He was generous like that, he'd told her.

Another time had been in Helsinki when he'd come to her hotel suite to bring her up to date on a business meeting and to tell her that he'd changed his security code. Naomi had been making notes when Sev had declared himself permanently cured of his yen for blondes.

And had suggested bed.

Of course Naomi told him that, as flattered as she was by his offer, not only was she engaged, she would never get involved with her boss.

He was the least romantic person she had ever met.

And Naomi was completely in lust with him.

For all she had been told how cold he was, Sev didn't seem that around her.

Despite dumping Andrew, Naomi looked down at the ring on her finger and was grateful for the decision she had made last night to keep wearing it while she worked out her notice with Sev.

So, while technically there was no one else, Naomi would take all the help she could not to succumb to Sev's charms.

Oh, she'd love to sleep with Sev just to have slept with him.

It was the aftermath she did not need.

Or the absolute lack of aftermath on Sev's part.

Her phone buzzed an alarm and Naomi turned it off and then pulled back the covers and padded out to the kitchen and fixed herself a coffee.

It was a beautiful apartment, with thirteen-foot-high ceilings, mahogany doors and gorgeous fireplaces. Not that she used them. Instead she relied on the regular heating, worried that she'd burn the whole complex down.

Sev had the penthouse suite and he had been right—apart from the occasions when they prearranged to meet in the foyer their paths rarely crossed out of work.

The problem was work and very long days spent together and even longer trips abroad.

Or rather Naomi's problem was her feelings for him.

She took her drink back to bed and wondered if she was about to make the biggest mistake of her life by quitting her job, and then, as if in answer, her phone rang.

It was 6:00 a.m. on a Monday morning, but that meant nothing to Sev.

Naomi was available pretty much 24/7 and there was no space from him. There was little to no time to catch her breath from the roller-coaster ride, no time to slow her racing heart down and regroup.

'Hi, Sev.'

'What time is it?' Sev asked.

Naomi bit back a smart retort—oh, she could have said that she wasn't his personal talking clock but she conceded that he paid her enough for her to be one, if he so chose. 'It's six,' Naomi said. 'Six a.m.,' she added.

Just in case.

'Okay, can you cancel my morning?' Sev said. 'Actually, just cancel the rest of my day. I'll be back on board tomorrow.' Oh, no!

Now she understood the odd question about the time. He wasn't even in the same time zone. 'Sev, where are you?' 'On my way back.'

'But from where? You're supposed to be meeting Sheikh Allem at eleven and then we're having dinner tonight with him and his wife. It's been booked in for ages, it's taken weeks to arrange.'

'I know all that.'

'So you have to be here.'

'What's the flying time from Rome to New York?' Sev asked.

Forget the time zone, Naomi thought. He wasn't even on the same continent. 'Just over eight hours,' Naomi sighed.

'So you see it's not possible.'

She could almost envisage him shrugging.

'Sev,' Naomi appealed. 'Allem rang last night to say how much he and his wife are looking forward to this visit. He's been so patient.'

Sheikh Allem had been. He had asked Sev to come to Dubai to review his hotel's security system yet Sev had been putting the visit off. Now he had flown with his wife to visit him.

They were friends more than business associates but Sev didn't need friends—he wanted Allem and his wife to back off.

They refused to get the message.

'Okay, okay,' Sev snapped. 'I'm on my way to the airport. When I get to the plane I'll ask the pilot to put his foot down or whatever it is they do. Look, I haven't a hope of getting there before three.' 'What should I say to him?'

'That's what I pay you to sort out,' Sev said. 'Just use your charm, Naomi.' 'It's all used up.'

'I have noticed,' Sev responded. 'You've been very...'

'Testy?' Naomi offered.

'I don't know what that word means.'

'Bad-tempered, irritable.'

'Yes, you have been very testy of late.'

'Because my boss keeps disappearing on me. Just what exactly are you doing in Rome?' Hell, she ran his diary, booked his flights, arranged his schedule and, Naomi knew damn well that he wasn't supposed to be there.

'You want to know exactly?' Sev checked.

Naomi closed her eyes. She knew, of course, that it would be about a woman.

And that was why she was being so testy. Naomi, more than anything, loathed confrontation, or rather she could not stand to be the one who brought things to the boil. In fact, she actually wanted Sev to fire her. It would be better than having to resign later today.

'I mean, why are you in Rome?' Naomi said. 'I'm just trying to work out what to tell Sheikh Allem.'

'Well, I guess it just seemed a good idea at the time.'

'And I guess that time was Saturday night.'

'You know me so well. I was at a party and—'

'I've changed my mind,' Naomi snapped. 'I don't need to know. I'll come up with something for Allem.'

'You're sounding very English,' Sev said. 'Work something out. Oh, and can you organise some flowers from me?'

Naomi closed her eyes.

'If you can send two dozen white roses...'

He really didn't need to tell her that—it was always the same routine with Sev.

On a Monday Naomi would arrange flowers for whoever he had seen over the weekend. Around Wednesday he might ask her to organise a hotel for the following one.

The next Monday it might be a case of more flowers but generally he'd lost interest by then.

'What's her name?' Naomi asked, as she reached for her pen. 'And what message do you want?'

'Actually,' Sev said, 'don't worry about the flowers. Apart from Allem, am I missing out on anything else?'

'Just a scheduled beginning-of-the-month meeting with me.' She had been going to tell him then that she was resigning.

Sev was silent.

'It's November,' Naomi said.

'I know that.'

'I'm just checking that you do.' 'Anything else?'

'No, everything was cleared for Allem.'

'I'll be there as soon as I can. Tell Allem...' He thought for a moment. 'Just tell him what you have to and if he acts up remind him he's the one who wants to see me.'

He didn't say goodbye, he simply rang off, and, no, Naomi thought, she wouldn't miss this part of the job—reorganising his schedule at a moment's notice and letting people down. At least that was how it felt to her. His clients didn't seem to mind in the least. That he was unattainable made him all the more desirable. The more elusive he was the more in demand he became.

'Bloody Sev,' Naomi grumbled, then sank back on her pillows to enjoy a rare lie-in.

There was no need to rush in now. She could work here for a couple of hours, so she lay back and waited for sunrise and thought about what she was about to do.

Most would say she was mad to give up such an amazing job and all the perks that came with it.

For the past three months Naomi had been telling herself the same.

Yet she was fast learning that location, location didn't equate to happiness. A designer wardrobe and manicured nails and a fabulous haircut didn't magically put the world to rights.

On sight she had fallen for Sev.

Hard.

And, like her many predecessors, Naomi knew how futile hoping for anything other than the briefest of flings with him would be.

She should get out before she succumbed, Naomi had decided. She was already conflicted enough, trying to forge some sort of relationship with her father as well as ending things with Andrew.

A temporary fling with Sev she certainly didn't need, for though it might be temporary for him, an encounter of the sexual kind, Naomi knew, would add a permanent tattoo to her heart.

He wasn't cold at all. In fact, sometimes it felt as if he had been put on this earth with the sole reason to make her smile.

Which he did.

A lot.

He was inappropriate, yes.

But he was no more inappropriate than her own thoughts.

The chair in his office still felt battery operated. His voice made her stomach curl. And as for emotionless.

Whether he was or he wasn't, he brought out all of her emotions effortlessly.

The morning was arriving and it looked crisp and clear from the warmth of bed. Somebody must have been out with a paintbrush last night for Central Park was a rich palette of burnt reds and oranges and she wondered what it might look like to lie in bed in winter with the bedroom fire lit, looking out at the trees stripped bare and heavy with snow.

She wasn't going to be here to find out.

And she would tell him so today.

* * *

The view was just as impressive on Sev's part of the planet.

Not that he saw much of it.

He wore dark glasses and the tinted windows of the hotel's black Mercedes blocked out the midday sun as he called Naomi while being driven to his plane.

Sev looked out briefly at the sights of Rome as he was driven through the busy streets. He'd possibly get there quicker if he jumped on a moped but, though cross with himself for sleeping in and thus being so late for Allem, he wasn't about to go to such extremes.

Instead he had pulled out his phone and decided that Naomi would just have to fix things.

She wasn't best pleased with him but a moody PA he did not need so he snapped off the phone, relieved as his car pulled onto the tarmac near his waiting plane. What the hell had possessed him to call out his crew on a Saturday night to fly here when now he couldn't even remember her name?

It wasn't as if it was for sex that he'd gone to such extremes. Sex had been taken care of long before they'd boarded.

And it hadn't been about conversation—he wasn't particularly fluent in Italian.

Sev wasn't feeling very good about another reckless night and he certainly didn't need Reverend Sister Naomi's silent tsk tsk of disapproval.

Shannon, his flight attendant, greeted him and knew him well enough to wait and ask how he wanted his coffee before making it.

It varied.

'Long and black,' Sev said, taking off his jacket. 'With one sugar.' He took a seat but by the time he had Sev had already changed his mind and called Shannon back.

'A strong latte, two sugars.'

Maybe the milk would help his stomach but Sev knew he was, thanks to Naomi, suffering from a rare spasm of guilt.

He liked Allem and his wife and knew that they were in New York primarily to catch up with him as, thanks to the excuse of work commitments, Sev had declined their last two invitations to visit them in Dubai.

It had been Allem who had given him his first break.

Sev's past should mean he lived on the streets but he never had.

His grades at school had been outstanding and had meant he had received a scholarship to a very good school and then an internship.

It had been cell phones that Sev had been into then and he had come up with the design that Allem had run with.

Yes, Sev's cynical voice reminded him, that design had meant that Allem had made an absolute fortune out of his idea.

Yet Allem had then bankrolled Sev, allowing him to delve deeply into the cyber world. Now his genius sat in a range of one step behind or two steps ahead of the bad boys. This meant his services were in expensive demand from governments to law enforcement, airlines, royalty and show business. Sev fought his virtual enemies with talent and respect.

It was an endless, relentless game and one, more often than not, he won.

His success wasn't down to Allem—he owed him nothing, Sev thought, draining his coffee, as Jason, the captain, spoke and told him he was hoping to catch a tail wind and they should arrive just before three.

Shannon came to take his cup and any moment now they'd be on their way.

'Do you want me to fix lunch after take-off?' she offered, but Sev shook his head.

'I don't want anything to eat, I'm just going to go to bed. Don't wake me unless the plane is going down,' Sev said. 'Actually, don't wake me even if it is.'

He opened up his book, the one he always read during take-off, but not even that could distract him today.

Sev avoided friendships, he avoided getting close to anyone, yet Allem insisted on sticking around.

As soon as he was able to he made his way to the bedroom.

He stripped, had a quick shower and then got into bed but sleep eluded him.

That needle of guilt was still there so he called Naomi again.

'I can't sleep,' Sev admitted. 'Where are you now?'

'An hour out of Rome. Have you spoken to Allem?'

'Not yet. I've sent an email telling him that you've been delayed,' Naomi said. 'I'll call him closer to nine when I've worked out a reason why.'

There was a slightly tart edge to her voice.

'Go into my bureau,' Sev said. He had actually bought a gift for Jamal and Allem. 'There should be a polished box there you could wrap for me. You could give it to him as a little sweetener until I arrive.' 'Okay.'

'Is it there?' Sev asked, wondering if he might have left it in his apartment.

'I'll look when ...

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Book Description Harlequin, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The price of endless pleasure! Clients, women, moneyruthless CEO Sev Derzhavin is a master at getting whateverand whomever!he wants. Rejected as a child, Sev has never been refused since. So when his personal assistant resigns, Sev can t resist the challenge of enticing the beautiful brunette to stay Naomi Johnson has to walk away before she gives in to the chemistry with her infamous heartbreaker boss and opens her heart to yet more bruises. But on their last business trip to Dubai, Sev makes a shocking suggestion to relieve the tension between them: enjoy some overtimein his bed!. Seller Inventory # BRD9780373134007

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Book Description Harlequin, 2015. Paperback. Condition: New. Language: English . Brand New Book. The price of endless pleasure! Clients, women, moneyruthless CEO Sev Derzhavin is a master at getting whateverand whomever!he wants. Rejected as a child, Sev has never been refused since. So when his personal assistant resigns, Sev can t resist the challenge of enticing the beautiful brunette to stay Naomi Johnson has to walk away before she gives in to the chemistry with her infamous heartbreaker boss and opens her heart to yet more bruises. But on their last business trip to Dubai, Sev makes a shocking suggestion to relieve the tension between them: enjoy some overtimein his bed!. Seller Inventory # BRD9780373134007

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