Master of Her Innocence (Bought by the Brazilian)

BOOK: Master of Her Innocence (Bought by the Brazilian)
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THE PUREST OF DIAMONDS

When renowned diamond magnate Diego Cazorra is asked to escort Sister Clare Marchant halfway across Brazil, he feels duty-bound to get her there—after all, without the help of the church he’d still be on the streets. But the look in Clare’s innocent eyes tempts him like no other...

After it’s revealed that Clare is only disguised as a nun to save her kidnapped sister, Diego suddenly finds himself trading his prize diamond to help her. Now Clare is indebted to the notorious womanizer, and he intends to collect...!

“Do you remember what I said I would do if you called me Mr. Cazorra?” he drawled.

Diego’s silver wolf’s eyes gleamed with a feral hunger as he drew Clare’s face down to his and angled his mouth over her lips. His kiss was like no other she had ever experienced, deeply sensual and so utterly irresistible that she did not stand a chance against his skillful seduction.

Still half-dazed with sleep, but more dazzled by him, her lips parted of their own volition when his mouth exerted subtle pressure. Like a connoisseur of fine wine, he tasted her slowly and unhurriedly yet with such bone-shaking eroticism that she melted against him.

The sense of unreality she had felt since she’d arrived in Brazil increased, and she sank into a dreamlike state where she was only conscious of the strength of Diego’s arms around her and the divine smell of him, the taste of him when she dipped her tongue into his mouth. He overwhelmed her, and the feel of his hand smoothing up and down her spine evoked a languorous warmth in her veins.

He deepened the kiss, and the languorous feeling was replaced with a fierce pull of desire in the pit of her stomach so that she lifted her hips, unconsciously seeking to assuage the ache inside her. She sensed a new urgency in Diego, a barely controlled savagery as he ravished her mouth with his intoxicating mastery, taking everything she offered him and demanding more.

Bought by the Brazilian

Claimed by passion!

Cruz Delgado and Diego Cazorra—two men brought up in Brazil’s favelas—have literally dragged themselves up from dirt to a diamond empire.

But having the world at their feet and dripping with their jewels is not enough. Now they will have their revenge against the women who walked away.

It’s time for Cruz and Diego to claim what’s theirs...and for both of these women to be
Bought by the Brazilian
!

Read Cruz and Sabrina’s story:
Mistress of His Revenge

Read Diego and Clare’s story in:
Master of Her Innocence

 

CHANTELLE SHAW

Master of Her Innocence

Chantelle Shaw
lives on the Kent coast and thinks up her stories while walking on the beach. She has been married for over thirty years and has six children. Her love affair with reading and writing Harlequin stories began as a teenager, and her first book was published in 2006. She likes strong-willed, slightly unusual characters. Chantelle also loves gardening, walking and wine!

Books by Chantelle Shaw

Harlequin Presents

A Bride Worth Millions
Sheikh’s Forbidden Conquest
To Wear His Ring Again
A Night in the Prince’s Bed
Captive in His Castle
At Dante’s Service
The Greek’s Acquisition
Behind the Castello Doors
The Ultimate Risk

Bought by the Brazilian

Mistress of His Revenge

The Chatsfield

Billionaire’s Secret

The Bond of Brothers

His Unexpected Legacy
Secrets of a Powerful Man

Irresistible Italians

A Dangerous Infatuation

After Hours with the Greek

After the Greek Affair

Visit the Author Profile page at
Harlequin.com
for more titles.

Get rewarded every time you buy a Harlequin ebook!
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For
New York Times
bestselling historical romance author Sarah MacLean, who gave brilliant workshops at RWA 2015 and inspired me to go with my crazy ideas and write bonkers! Thank you, Sarah.

CHAPTER ONE

‘S
ISTER
A
NN
,
DO
I really need to wear a habit?’ Clare Marchant looked doubtfully at the Mother Superior. ‘It seems wrong to pretend that I belong to the Holy Order of the Sacred Heart. I feel like I am an imposter.’

‘My child, I strongly advise that for your safety you should dress as a nun. Torrente is one of the most dangerous places in Brazil. Its close proximity to the border with Colombia has made it a route for drug smuggling and people trafficking and I have heard of young women in the town who have been forced into prostitution. It is a lawless place where even the police are too scared to visit. The men who run the drugs cartels have little respect for life, but they do at least retain some respect for the church.’

The Mother Superior smiled gently at Clare, noting the signs of strain on the young Englishwoman’s face and the shadows beneath her eyes that told of too many sleepless nights of worry.

‘There is no need for you to feel like an imposter. You have come to Brazil with the selfless intention to search for your sister and pay the ransom her kidnappers have demanded. You are bravely prepared to put yourself in danger to help someone you love, and at least the church can offer you some small measure of protection.’ Sister Ann’s expression became grave. ‘I’m sure I don’t have to remind you that the men who took Becky are utterly ruthless.’

Clare followed the nun’s gaze to what looked like a jewellery box on the desk, and a feeling of nausea swept over her as she pictured the gruesome contents of the casket.
Don’t think of it
, she ordered herself. But her mind visualised the severed tip of an earlobe wrapped in layers of tissue paper like some ghastly mimicry of a gift from a lover. Surely it wasn’t a piece of Becky’s ear? She could not bear to think of her beautiful sister being mutilated by whoever had snatched her from the street outside the five-star hotel in Rio de Janeiro where Becky had been modelling for a photo shoot.

She tore her eyes from the box and stared at what she could see of her reflection in the small mirror hanging on the wall of the Mother Superior’s office. The grey habit Sister Ann had lent her fell to just above her ankles to reveal a pair of flat black lace-up shoes. She watched the Sister place a veil on her head. With her auburn hair covered up she looked different—more elegant and sophisticated like Becky—although the sprinkling of freckles on her nose were a giveaway clue to her vibrant mane hidden beneath the veil, she thought ruefully.

‘If it helps your conscience, I have given you a white veil; they are worn by novice nuns before they take their final vows when they change to a black veil,’ Sister Ann explained. ‘That way, it is not entirely untruthful for you to appear to be a young woman who is contemplating a religious life. And, after all, you were drawn to seek comfort at the chapel of Santa Maria when you arrived in Rio de Janeiro. Many of us are called to our vocation in mysterious ways.’

Clare could not bring herself to admit to the kindly nun that she did not believe her future was to follow a life of religious devotion. Although the fact that she was still a virgin at the age of twenty-four meant that she fitted the requirement of chastity, she thought wryly. Mark had called her a prude, but she didn’t think she was. She had simply wanted to be sure he was the right man for her, and it turned out that he hadn’t been.

England and her break-up with Mark seemed a million miles away, and she wondered if she would wake up to find that her sister being kidnapped was a bad dream rather than a living nightmare. But, unbelievable though it was, the situation was real. On Monday morning she had arrived for work as usual at her parents’ company, A-Star PR, and received a frantic phone call from her father with the astonishing news that her younger sister Becky, an internationally famous model, had been kidnapped.

‘The kidnappers have sent a letter saying they will kill Becky unless I follow their instructions.’ Rory Marchant had sounded shaken. ‘They want me to go to Brazil and pay a ransom, but I can’t leave your mother, and I daren’t tell her that Becky’s life is in danger. The specialist said it is important that Tammi doesn’t suffer any kind of stress. She was lucky to survive the first stroke, and a second one could kill her.’ Rory had broken down. ‘Clare, I don’t know what to do. I want to rescue my precious girl, but I don’t want to lose my wife.’

‘I’ll go to Brazil and take the ransom money to the kidnappers,’ Clare had said instantly. ‘You can’t leave Mum, especially now that she is finally showing signs of recovering.’

She had dismissed the little voice in her head, which whispered that her father had never thought of her as his precious girl. It had always been her sister who had come first in their parents’ affections, but it was unsurprising after Becky had been seriously ill and nearly died when she was a child, Clare reminded herself. She loved Becky and could only imagine how terrified her sister must be feeling right now.

She blinked back a sudden rush of tears and turned to the Mother Superior. ‘Thank you for helping me. All the Sisters have been so kind. I felt scared and alone when Sister Carmelita spoke to me in the chapel in Rio.’

Clare’s thoughts flew back to two days ago when she had arrived in Rio de Janeiro and, following the kidnappers’ instructions, had checked into a rundown motel to wait for the gang to contact her. But, instead of receiving a letter telling her what to do next, as had happened when the kidnappers had contacted her father in England, this time she had been sent a package, and when she had opened it and seen the grisly, severed piece of earlobe, she had rushed to the bathroom to be sick.

The note sent with the box had instructed her to go to the town of Torrente, which she had found on a map was in the far west of Brazil, over two thousand miles from Rio and deep in the Amazon rainforest. It had been at that point, exhausted and fearful that the kidnappers had hurt her sister, that she had been inexplicably drawn to step inside the church near her motel, and she had broken down and told the nun she had met about Becky being kidnapped. Within twenty-four hours Sister Carmelita had arranged for Clare to catch an internal flight to the city of Manaus in northern Brazil, and she had been staying with the nuns of the Holy Order of the Sacred Heart while Sister Ann arranged her onward journey to Torrente.

‘I wish you would reconsider your decision to try to rescue your sister alone and go to the police.’

‘I
can’t
. The kidnappers said they would kill Becky if I told anyone they are holding her. I’m scared I may have put her life in danger by accepting help from the Sisters—’ Clare’s voice trembled ‘—but I didn’t know what else to do.’

‘I am afraid the kidnapping of wealthy tourists is becoming a growing problem in Brazil, and it is sadly true that often the police are unable to track down the kidnap gangs,’ the Mother Superior said heavily. The sound of a vehicle driving into the courtyard drew her to the window. ‘Mr Cazorra is here and, God willing, you will soon be reunited with your sister.’

Clare picked up the rucksack she had packed with a few of her own clothes and other essentials. ‘The gold prospector you have asked to take me to Torrente doesn’t know why I’m going, does he?’

‘Don’t worry, your secret will remain within the walls of the convent. I have explained to Diego that you are to take up a post teaching at the Sunday school and you must reach the town by the weekend.’

Fear cramped in Clare’s stomach. Sunday was when the kidnappers had said they would contact her again to tell her where she should take the ransom money. She picked up the leather briefcase that held five hundred thousand pounds in used bank notes. It was a terrifying thought that Becky’s very life was contained in the briefcase and Clare gripped the handle tightly.

‘I should warn you about the gold prospector,’ Sister Ann said.

‘Warn me?’ Clare’s tension ratcheted up a notch. ‘You said I could trust him.’

‘I don’t doubt he will get you to Torrente safely. He knows that area of the Amazon rainforest better than anyone I can think of. Mr Cazorra is a good man who has helped the Sisters in the past, but he has a reputation for...’ The nun paused before saying delicately, ‘Well, let’s just say that he enjoys the company of women. Many women. He is very charming.’

‘You mean he’s a flirt?’ Were all Brazilian men Lotharios? Clare wondered, remembering the taxi driver who had driven her from Manaus Airport to the convent. The man had greasy hair and was wearing a sweat-stained T-shirt, but he had suggested that he would give her a free tour of the city if she went to bed with him. Needless to say, she had declined his invitation.

All she could think about was saving her sister and the news that her escort to Torrente was a womaniser was the least of her concerns. ‘I’m sure I’ll be able to handle your Mr Cazorra,’ she said grimly as she followed the Mother Superior outside to the courtyard.

* * *

Diego Cazorra glanced up at the stained-glass window of the convent and noticed how the sunlight shining through the coloured glass reflected a rainbow effect on to the floor of the courtyard. It was strange how beauty was often found in the simplest things, he mused. At the diamond mine he owned with his close friend and business partner Cruz Delgado, he had discovered some of the most fabulous diamonds ever found in Brazil. But the purity of sunlight touched his soul in a way that glittering gemstones never could.

The two years he had spent in one of Brazil’s most notoriously violent jails had taught him to appreciate the simple things in life: the feel of warm sunshine on his face every time he came up from a mineshaft, or the sight of a cloudless blue sky, which he hadn’t seen the whole time he had been locked up in an overcrowded prison cell that stank of the sweat and fear of incarcerated men.

The memories of what had happened to him as a teenager had never faded, but Diego had learned to block out thoughts of the past, although he could not prevent his nightmares. He turned his mind to a recent phone call which was the reason for his visit to the convent on the outskirts of Manaus, the largest city in the state of Amazonas.

‘I was wondering if you would grant me a favour, Mr Cazorra,’ Sister Ann had asked him. And, like a sucker, he’d agreed, thinking that the Mother Superior wanted him to paint some walls or fix the roof. But no, it was nothing so simple. It turned out the favour was to escort one of the nuns to a town on the border with Colombia.

Diego frowned. Torrente was a godforsaken hellhole, and he doubted that a multitude of nuns could make a difference to the lives of the population of the town, who lived in extreme poverty and had pretty much all turned to crime because there was no other way of making money to feed their children.

The
favela
where he had spent his childhood had been as crime-ridden, disease-ridden and despair-ridden as Torrente, and he had no desire to visit a place that was a grim reminder of his past. But he never forgot that the only person who had helped him when he had been a young man in desperate need of salvation had been a priest, Father Vincenzi. Diego was not religious himself, but he felt a strong sense of loyalty to the church that had quite literally taken him from prison and given him his life back.

He was due to return to Rio next week to check up on the casino and nightclub he owned, before flying to Europe for a business meeting with Cruz to discuss his stake in the jewellery company Delgado Diamonds and the Old Betsy diamond mine. But he could spare a couple of days to drive one of the Sisters of the Sacred Heart up to the border. He might even get a chance to take a look at a site where geological survey reports showed there could be gold reserves. Maybe his good turn would be repaid with good luck and he would find gold in Torrente, Diego mused as he adjusted his battered leather hat and climbed out of the Jeep when he saw the door of the convent swing open.

The Mother Superior swept towards him, her grey habit and black veil flapping in the breeze. ‘Diego, it’s good to see you,’ she greeted him in English, which was curious because they normally conversed in their native Portuguese. ‘I would like you to meet Sister Clare, who has recently joined our holy order from England.’

So that cleared up one mystery. What was less easy to explain was why his heart felt as if it had slammed into his ribcage with the force of a speeding train. Diego stared at the diminutive figure, dressed from her neck to her ankles in unremitting grey, who followed Sister Ann across the courtyard. Sister Clare’s white veil framed a heart-shaped face dominated by the bluest eyes he had ever seen. They had the dark intensity of sapphires, their colour emphasised by the fact that her skin was pale like cream and as flawless as porcelain.

He silently mocked himself.
Santa Mãe
, he’d be writing a sonnet next! He was shocked by his reaction to the English nun and surprised that she was so young. He guessed she was in her early twenties: only a few years older than him when he had been sent to the state penitentiary in Belo Horizonte. Of course prison was not the same as a convent, but he couldn’t comprehend why a beautiful young woman would choose to shut herself away from the world.

‘I’m pleased to meet you, Mr Cazorra.’ Her voice was sweetly melodious, reminding Diego of a crystal-clear mountain stream.

‘Sister—’ He took off his hat and held out his other hand. He was suddenly conscious of his calloused palm when she placed her fingers in his. Her small hand was swamped by his much bigger one and her skin was as soft as satin. An image flashed into his head of her stroking her soft hands over his naked body. He wondered what her body was like beneath the shapeless nun’s habit, which did not entirely conceal the swell of her firm, round breasts.

Whoa!
Diego stopped his imagination in its tracks. She was a nun, he reminded himself, and strictly off limits. He was certain he was already damned in the eyes of whatever deity he might meet when the time came for him to leave this world, but having inappropriate thoughts about a holy maid was a step too far even for someone as disreputable as him. But, while he had a conscience, the drug lords in Torrente definitely did not. He doubted they would respect Sister Clare’s innocence; they’d just as likely wonder how much money they could make by selling her virginity.

BOOK: Master of Her Innocence (Bought by the Brazilian)
11Mb size Format: txt, pdf, ePub
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