The Mediterranean Billionaire's Blackmail Bargain

By: Abby Green

‘You’re the father of my sister’s baby and if you think you can walk away without accepting responsibility then you’ve another think coming.’

It had been such a preposterous accusation that he’d barely acknowledged her or her words. He didn’t even have to think about it; he hadn’t been seeing anyone in England and knew exactly who his recent lovers had been and not one of them would be remotely related to her. He was a billionaire; his lovers were carefully chosen and he was always, without fail, supremely careful to avoid such a scenario. Many women had attempted to trap him, lure him, and this woman was no different. He didn’t have the time to try and figure out where she’d come from, if she was an employee…

Assimilating all this information in a split second, he also realized quickly that she evidently meant business as she’d followed him all the way to Lake Como. And, more importantly, he instantly assessed the damage she could do with her foolish audacity.

He had to stop her.

Alicia seized the opportunity she’d come so far for with both hands. ‘This man,’ she started bravely, but her voice sounded husky with the remnants of her cold. A dog suddenly barked halting her words. Her head whipped around. A security man held the dog back with a straining leash. She couldn’t let this stop her. She faced back to Dante D’Aquanni. Desperation fuelling her movements, she squared her small defiant chin.

‘This man…’ It came out stronger this time and the dog mercifully stopped barking. The two men who’d followed her here looked at her eagerly, sensing a huge story in the offing. In that instant she regretted not having told them her story before now, she’d judged that the shock value would be greater, have more impact this way. She only hoped and prayed she could get it out.

‘This man is responsible for—’

Before her lips could utter another word, they were smothered and stopped under a cruel, hard mouth. The world went dark and disorientation took over. Shock rendered Alicia stiff under the onslaught. It was comprehensive. Dante D’Aquanni crowded her, wrapped those strong arms around her, pulling her off her feet and into his chest. Her senses were so overloaded that she had trouble disentangling the strands of sensation.

There was his smell…musky and hot. There was the feel of his chest…hard, taut, unyielding. There was his firm mouth…touching, exploring. Suddenly she didn’t feel stiff any more; she was melting, unable to stop the flood of heat to every part of her. His tongue was a silky, heated invasion that he pushed past shocked opening lips that belonged to someone else, not to her. Because, right now, she didn’t inhabit her own body any more; it was someone else. Someone who had gone temporarily mad.

Dante lifted his head and it felt heavy. The clear, concise reasons for doing what he’d just done were unavailable to him now as he looked down into a grimy face, streaked with blood where she’d been struck by branches from the trees surrounding his property. Huge, liquid brown eyes stared up at him, lashes tangled and even more luxuriant up close. Lush lips were plump and pink. Quivering. Her whole body trembled in his arms; her hands were curled into his chest. Where had this nymph come from? Had the whole world gone mad in just an hour?

The security guard shouted something and Dante felt the return of sanity. He realized that he was holding this woman off the ground, into his chest and, as he lowered her back down with an abruptness that bordered on dropping her, he had to acknowledge the fact that he was aroused to a point that had most definitely eluded him earlier.

He knew that as much as he wanted to fling this stranger down his steps to join the paparazzi, something more compelling was stopping him. He also couldn’t figure out his instinctive reaction to shut her up in any way possible, or why kissing her had been the only option.

The security guard surged forward and caught the two men by the scruffs of their necks, holding them easily. The reporter shouted out, ‘Mr D’Aquanni, you were spotted with Alessandra Macchi earlier. What does this mean? Aren’t you going to tell me who your new girlfriend is? It won’t take long to find out…’

A curt, No Comment hovered on his lips but for some reason Dante didn’t say it. He was certain of one thing. He couldn’t let this woman go now because she was a loose cannon. Her determination to confront him told him he would be foolish to dismiss her so quickly this time. He had to get to the bottom of the preposterous allegations she had made—was making—and he welcomed the clarity that reminded him that at all costs he had to avoid any unwelcome press attention in the run up to the vital business negotiations next week. What the hell was wrong with him? Acting so out of character made him very nervous. He focused his mind again with effort.

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