Sophia Stevens is tired of struggling to pay the rent and help her brother through college. After seven years on her own, she is no farther ahead than the day she walked out on her old life and started again. So when super-sexy Italian property developer Luca Castellioni proposes a marriage of convenience, she’s intrigued. Financial security and life in a beautiful Italian villa in exchange for attending a few business functions and typing some letters seems very convenient. Until she breaks the most definite term of their arrangement: she falls in love with her husband.
Luca Castellioni lives for his job restoring beautiful buildings to their former glory. When his business expansion plans are hampered by the need for an English-speaking secretary and a wife, he does what any efficient businessman would do and combines his requirements. But when his fascination with his wife distracts him from business, he wishes there was more marriage and not so much convenience in their agreement. Too bad his wife has reconstructed her own life, without him.
When their respective lives pull them in opposite directions, they must decide: will they continue to put their businesses first, or allow love to overcome the obstacles between them?
by Alexia Adams
Sensuality Level: Sensual
Alexia Adams, a former world wanderer, now indulges her love of travel by vicariously visiting diverse settings with her contemporary romance characters. Find Alexia Adams at www.alexia-adams.com, on Facebook , and on Twitter @AlexiaAdamsAuth.
An excerpt from An Inconvenient Love:
Luca scanned the crowd, ignoring the open invitation on several of the women’s faces. Eventually he found Sophia, standing alone by the ice sculpture. The tiny white lights strung through the marquee danced off her golden hair, drawing him like a moth to a flame.
“Thank you,” he said, resisting the urge to take her hand again, to see if the connection he’d experienced earlier had been real.
A hesitant smile played about her lips. “I wasn’t rescuing you. I was saving Chet Wilkins. He was getting more embarrassed each time she touched you. Mr. Wilkins is a nice man; he’s been to the office several times. I didn’t like watching his wife flirt with someone in front of him.”
Damn, she hadn’t been checking him out. He had to force a smile. “Well, whatever your motive, I am grateful. Can I get you another drink?” He glanced down at her hand; the champagne was still at the same level it had been when he’d first seen her almost forty-five minutes ago.
“No, I’m good. Don’t let me detain you. I’m sure there must be other important people here you’d like to talk with.”
Was she trying to get rid of him? She’d met his gaze briefly before staring at his left shoulder. “Why do you feel you are not important?”
“I’m the receptionist.” She shrugged, her gaze only flicking to his momentarily.
“Receptionists are the first introduction to a company. They are vital in portraying the correct image. You should never think less of yourself.”
“It’s only a job.”
“Well if you could be anything you wanted, what would it be?”
“A ninja.” This time her eyes did meet his and the laughter was back in their green depths.
Whether it was the audacity of her reply or her smile he wasn’t sure, but he sucked in a deep breath. “An interesting career choice. Why would you like to be a ninja?”
“Black’s my favorite color.” Her flippant answer made him smile.
“So what is holding you back? A lack of black outfits?”
She laughed. “Ah, if only. No, the best ninja schools are in Japan, and I don’t have a passport.” She shrugged and looked once again over his shoulder.
“Am I keeping you from someone? Your husband or boyfriend?” He’d noticed in the office she didn’t wear a ring, and there had been no photos on her desk. But that didn’t mean she wasn’t involved with someone. He repressed the disappointment that swept through him.
“No, I’m here alone. I only came because Mr. Bodman insisted everyone in the company attend. But I think I’ve stayed long enough. I see Mr. Wilkins steering his wife toward the exit, so you should be safe now.”
“Safe, thanks to you. In fact your timely intervention has given me an idea. Will you meet me tomorrow? I have an opportunity I would like to discuss with you.”