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Women loathed me without even knowing my name.
Men coveted the very idea of me.
Escort. Call girl. Prostitute. Hooker. Whore.
I'd heard it all. Done it all.
Over the years I'd felt a lot of things about my occupation...but not regret--never regret. I had my reasons for doing what I did and nothing and no one had ever made me question them.
UNTIL MARCO VALENTI.
He'd changed me and I'd naively fed into the fairy tale.
But Marco wasn't my Prince Charming.
He had secrets of his own.
Secrets that would eventually rip away everything I held dear.
Marco leaned into me, his breath fanning across my face, causing goosebumps to race across my skin. “You’re very stubborn for someone who’s paid to provide me pleasure. É una fortuna che mi piacciono le sfide.”
“What was that?” I asked softly.
“Good thing I enjoy a challenge,” he replied without blinking.
I cleared my throat, uncomfortable with the level of attention he was giving me. “Why don't we get on with what I'm here for,” I suggested in a sultry voice.
His eyes narrowed. “As you wish. Your madam says you are like a...” He looked off toward the ceiling. “The animal that changes color.”
“That is the one.” He smiled widely, showcasing a dimple in his left cheek, made more pronounced by the dark stubble on his jaw. As sudden as the ferocity had flared up inside of him, it quickly disappeared.
“It's true. I can be whatever you want,” I replied in a seductive voice. I closed the distance between us, placing my hand on his chest. He flinched at the contact like I'd scorched him. Not a lot, but enough that I noticed.
Looking up into the depths of his dark eyes, I said, “Why don't you tell me what you're looking for, and then we can discuss any extras in my payment.”
The smile dropped from his face and he reached for my wrist, pulling my hand from his chest. “What I want from you will be very different than most men.”
My eyes widened and I sucked in a breath. This ought to be interesting. I'd had all manner of things proposed to me before, but the fact that Marco felt the need to warn me set off alarm bells ringing in my head.
“And what is it you want from me, Mr. Valenti?” I whispered.
“Call me Marco.”
He traced his thumb along my hairline and stared down at me, intensity pouring out of his gaze like a waterfall. My breathing hitched, and I found myself wanting to lean into his caress to further close the distance between us.
Then the hum of his cell phone vibrating from his pocket broke our connection. He reached into his pocket, glanced briefly at the screen, and stepped back to take the call.
“As always, your timing is impeccable.” The corners of his mouth dipped, and I had the distinct impression that he wasn’t pleased with whoever was on the other end of the line.
Marco listened for a moment while staring out the wall of glass down to the strip below. His hand holding the phone flexed around it for a second at something the other person had said.
“Give me five minutes,” he bit out.
“Well, if you want it to happen tonight, you have no choice but to wait.” Without a goodbye, he ended the call and placed the phone back into the breast pocket of his suit jacket.
With his hands on his hips, he remained facing the window for a moment, drawing in deep breaths of air.
“I must go.”
Not what I was expecting to hear. “Okay...”
He turned and stalked forward until only mere inches separated the two of us. His large hand came to rest at the swell of my hip before he leisurely dragged it across my waist and brushed the side of my breast with his palm. My nipples tightened inside my lace bra.
Marco dropped his hand and leaned into me. My heart picked up pace inside my chest as I waited for his lips to touch mine. He stood solid and still before me while I waited, my anticipation like a live wire setting every nerve ending in my body on fire.
Just when I thought he’d close those final few inches, he brought his face alongside mine and his low voice sounded in my ear, “I’ll get you your money.”
His words were like a bucket of cold water, and I stepped back as if he’d slapped me. It pissed me off that he’d left me wanting.
He stalked back over to the bar and returned a moment later with an envelope. I eyed the cash inside before placing it in my purse. It seemed ridiculous to me that I’d be paid for having a conversation in the man’s room for such a short time, but I wasn’t about to argue with him about it.
“It’s been a pleasure, Mr. Valenti.” I made sure to use his last name since he’d asked me not to. I had a tendency to lash out when I was upset.
An amused grin formed on his face, but he said nothing. I strutted around him to the suite door.
As I unlocked the dead bolt then slid the chain across, Marco’s hand landed on my ass, skimming over it a few times before his other hand pulled my hair to the side to expose my neck.
I hadn’t even heard him come up behind me.
He pressed a kiss to the base of my neck and I shuddered, shivers racing up my spine. I felt his smile against my skin before he removed his lips and stepped away.
Without a backward glance, I turned the door handle and left the suite.
The warm feeling that had invaded my chest remained, but my stomach fell into a nauseous churning. Somehow my body knew what I didn't already. Marco Valenti would be the springboard in my life that caused everything to change.
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About the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author, Elisabeth Grace, has a soft spot for romance novels with happily ever afters and a hot spot for alpha males! She currently lives outside Toronto, Canada with her hubby and two small children. Life is busy, but never to busy for a good story and to share her love of reading and writing with others.
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