Authors: Tressie Lockwood
affair with a billionaire brought more than she bargained for...
A passionate six-week affair in
Italy leaves Jada Thompson pregnant, and the man she thought was just
a local nobody turns out to be one of the richest men in America.
Billionaire Renzo Mariani owns one of the top five wine and spirits
corporations in the country. Telling herself he has a right to know
about the baby and that's the only reason she seeks him out, Jada
arrives at Renzo's mansion and finds out just how rich he is. She's
in over her head, and the only thing left to do is walk away.
she didn't realize was that Renzo wants more and Jada arriving on his
doorstep gives him the opportunity to reignite the fire they shared
in his motherland. Even if she runs scared from him, Renzo plans to
have Jada on a permanent basis—body and soul—and nothing
he's ever gone after has escaped him for long.
eBooks are not transferable.
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Shades of Naughty Collection
Copyright © 2013 TRESSIE
Cover art by Amanda Kelsey
Edited by Trinity Scott
All Romance eBooks, LLC Palm
Harbor, Florida 34684 www.allromanceebooks.com
This is a work of fiction and any
resemblance to persons, living or dead, or business establishments,
events, or locales is coincidental.
All Rights Are Reserved. No part
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in critical articles and reviews.
First All Romance eBooks
publication: May 2013
Jada stepped out of the taxi, her
heart pounding and her mouth dry. Behind her the driver pulled her
luggage from the trunk of his vehicle. Of all times, the rain fell,
ruining the hard work she’d done on her hair. Now that she had
arrived at Renzo’s house, she second-guessed herself.
The man she’d had a brief six-week affair with on her
once-in-a-lifetime trip to Italy was not the everyday Joe, citizen of
Venice she’d thought he was. No, the dude was in fact a member
of one of the most well known families for producing wine, and the
drive where she now stood lay smack in the middle of Renzo’s
vineyard in Napa Valley, California. What the heck had she been
thinking coming here?
She swiped away the slick hair on
her forehead and turned to speak to the driver. “I think I
changed my mi—”
He’d already gotten back
into his car and was pulling down the drive toward the street. A
moment of panic settled in the pit of Jada’s stomach. She’d
paid him before she stepped out of the car, but she’d thought
he would at least wait until she was sure someone was at home and
they didn’t run her off their property.
She spun back to face the
imposing two-story home with cathedral windows everywhere and a roof
that stretched toward the heavens with myriad spiky peaks. Nothing
could have complemented the circular driveway that surrounded an
incredible oasis of a fountain at the front. Even during twilight as
it was now, the manicured lawns impressed her, and all of it screamed
money. Who would believe her that the fact that she was pregnant with
Renzo’s baby wasn’t some kind of plot to get a share of
Jada’s limbs trembled, and
her stomach threatened to give up the half sandwich she’d eaten
just a half hour ago. The voice was at once familiar and yet
different. She forced her head to turn, although the movements were
jerky at best. The man who met her gaze was so like Renzo she had to
stop herself from calling out his name. No, this man was younger,
maybe a good ten years. He didn’t have Renzo’s height or
his overwhelming presence. The twinkling eyes and easy smile were the
same despite that.
He strolled up to her with the
same gait as her former lover. “Have you lost your way? We get
a lot of tourists looking for Ledson, but they stumble onto us
Jada opened her mouth to answer
but couldn’t push the words out.
has a right to know. That’s the only reason I’m here.
Once I tell him, I’m gone.
Grey eyes narrowed with concern.
“You’re soaked. Come inside out of the rain, and I can
redirect you from there. I can even call for a car to take you where
Jada didn’t get a chance to
explain. Before she knew it, the stranger had her by the arm and
propelled her toward the front entrance of the house. Over his
shoulder, he called someone’s name, which she didn’t
catch. A teenaged boy appeared from nowhere.
Get her luggage,”
the man ordered in a kind but authoritative tone. The boy scrambled
Jada found herself in an entryway
that must be as big as the tiny house she’d just bought three
years ago in Charlotte. Okay, she exaggerated, but the opulence took
her breath away. Boy had she made a huge mistake coming here. She
should have sent a letter, phoned,
The problem was Renzo hadn’t given her more than his name in
Florence. She’d had to have someone look into finding him.
Never in a million years had she expected this.
Stairs straight across from the
main entrance led up and then curved to the left and right on the
second floor. She stared in awe at the high ceiling and the two
chandeliers above the staircase’s center. While she took it all
in, a woman moved to the top of the stairs and smiled down at her.
“Welcome. Who are you?”
Once again, Jada started to
speak, but the man at her side cut her off. “Where are my
manners, beautiful lady? Forgive me.” He took her hand as if he
would kiss it. She raised an eyebrow, and he hesitated, but his smile
didn’t falter. “I am Ettore Mariani, and this little
flower is my sister, Zita.”
The grand gestures and over
familiarity didn’t shock Jada. She’d seen plenty of it in
Italy. These people, while they spoke clear enough, still held what
she called that sing-songy way of speaking, which she’d fallen
in love with while in their native country. What did threaten to
steal her resolve was knowing they were related to Renzo. His last
name was Mariani. She’d known this was his house, but to come
face-to-face with confirmation made her nervous.
I’m Jada. Nice to
meet you.” She paused, waiting for them to recognize her name,
but no expressions of shock met her gaze. She should have known
better. While she searched her mind for a way to escape in favor of
the letter or phone call idea, another family member appeared on the
scene. Rapid-fire Italian fell from the lips of an older, diminutive
Yes, of course, Mamma.
We’re coming,” Ettore told her.
Zita finished descending the
stairs, and the old woman turned to Jada. “Welcome,” she
said in heavily accented English. “You must join us for
Jada’s mouth fell open. She
was a stranger, and the woman didn’t know why she was there.
“Um, I just need to call a taxi, if you don’t mind. I can
use my cell phone, but if I can wait out of the rain for a little
bit, that would be great. Thank you so much.”
The little woman took her arm and
all but dragged her toward a hallway off the stairs. She spoke half
in English, half in Italian. Jada picked up only a few words, and
neither Ettore nor his sister bothered to explain. As they neared
what she assumed would be the dining room, the scent of food stirred
her hunger. That was one of the drawbacks of her condition,
constantly wanting to eat. Then again, it could be psychological. She
hadn’t bothered to examine the desire up until now.
Before she knew it, she sat at a
dinner table with a family of strangers. No one stirred to either
pray over the food or eat. Jada studied each person in silence,
formulating a plan. Just when she noticed the two empty place
settings, one at the head of the table, the presence in the doorway
drew her attention.
With that one word, uttered with
the Italian lilt and his deep tone, chills raced over her spine, and
goose bumps rose on her arms. She turned her gaze from the table to
lock with his. In that moment, he spirited away all the air in the
room. Her heart beat a tattoo against her ribcage, her mouth went
from dry to moist and back again, and her head spun with memories of
herself locked in this man’s embrace while he did things to her
body no other man had ever done. How the hell had she walked away
from him two weeks ago?
Jade cleared her throat and
smiled. “Hello, Renzo. How are you?”
His dark brows rose over silver
eyes that had made her turn to liquid from day one. “I didn’t
expect to see you again.”
All conversation around them
stopped, and gazes swung back and forth from her to Renzo. Jada
shifted in her seat. She noted the curious glances, the speculation
about why a black woman Renzo obviously knew sat at their table like
she was no more than a lost tourist.
was their mistake, not mine.
Even as she processed these
thoughts, she recalled a previous one. There’d been two
leftover place settings. Heels clicked in the hallway behind Renzo,
and a petite hand circled around his bicep before one of the most
beautiful women Jada had ever seen appeared. Fiery red hair as
glorious as a lion’s mane accentuated her fragile figure. The
way the little beauty clung to Renzo’s side, there was no way
she was another sister. Jada clenched her teeth. She’d messed
up. Not once had she considered whether Renzo was married. She’d
wanted to see him again.
She scraped her chair back and
stood. Her cloth napkin fluttered to the floor, and Ettore bent to
pick it up. She snatched at the square of material with muttered
thanks, not wanting any of them to see how her hands shook. “Um,
I think I need to go. Thank you for your hospitality.” She
smiled at the family, not pausing to focus on any of them.
Halfway to the door, she stumbled
when Renzo’s deep voice rang out. “Everyone, please don’t
hold dinner for me. Jada and I will be in my office.”
But, Renzo,” the
redhead whined. “Who is she?”
Renzo reached Jada’s side
and took her arm much like his brother had done earlier. He led her
from the room and didn’t bother answering the woman who must be
his wife or girlfriend. Jada wondered just what the heck she’d
landed in and plotted the best way to get out unscathed.
Renzo leaned on the edge of his
desk, arms folded across a powerful chest. The tightening of his arm
muscles and the way his slacks stretched over chiseled thighs made
Jada wet, but she forced herself to look no lower than his face. Of
course, that proved just as bad since his lips reminded her of long
nights kissing and sucking on them. She ran a hand over her face,
trying to pull herself together. Quite by accident she spotted the
tent in his pants and felt so much better. Renzo never hid what he
felt when it came to sexual desire. He had no problem with her
knowing he wanted her, which drove her need through the roof.
I didn’t mean to
come here,” she began.
A single brow rose into his
I didn’t mean to disrupt your household. I guess I didn’t
think everything through. You had a right to know, so I’m here.
Simple as that. We made a mistake.”
Renzo stirred from his post and
approached her. She stiffened her back, refusing to be intimidated by
his size and her physical reaction to him. He drew up in front of
her, not touching, but with his nearness he might as well be. “Slow
down. I’m not following,
The second his large hands
settled on her arms, she wiggled from his hold. “Listen, what
you do behind your wife’s back is your business. If I had
known, I damn sure wouldn’t have gotten involved with you, but
that’s over now. It’s up to you whether you tell her the
truth, but you have a right to know. I’m pregnant. I don’t
expect anything from you or any involvement in my baby’s life.