A Tangled Affair

By: Fiona Brand


He vowed never to be ruled by passion

They’d been embroiled in a hot, secret affair. Until Lucas Atraeus’s and Carla Ambrosi’s feuding families were merged by marriage and business. Suddenly the situation was…complicated. Burned by the past, Lucas has never let his heart rule his head. Now, with Carla closer than he had ever imagined she would be, their affair must end.

Saying goodbye to such intense passion is not easy…as he’s now Carla’s boss. But even as he sets out to choose an appropriate bride—one who won’t break down his guard—Lucas fears he’s fighting a losing battle. Sometimes temptation is meant to be seized.





He was jealous.

The thought reverberated through her, but for the first time in two years, what Lucas wanted wasn’t a priority. Her rules had just changed. From now on it was commitment or nothing.

Her chin firmed. “No. I have an escort. He can take me back to the party.”

For a long, tension-filled moment Carla thought Lucas would argue, but then the demanding, possessive gleam was replaced by a familiar control. He nodded curtly, then sent her escort a long, cold look that conveyed a hands-off message that left Carla feeling doubly confused. Lucas didn’t want her, but neither did he want anyone else near her.

And if Lucas no longer wanted her, if they really were finished, why had he bothered to search her out?






One

The vibration of Lucas Atraeus’s cell phone disrupted the measured bunch and slide of muscle as he smoothly bench-pressed his own weight.

Gray sweatpants clinging low on narrow hips, broad shoulders bronzed by the early morning light that flooded his private gym, he flowed up from the weight bench and checked the screen of his cell. Few people had his private number; of those only two dared interrupt his early morning workout.

“Si.” His voice was curt as he picked up the call.

The conversation with his older brother, Constantine, the CEO of The Atraeus Group, a family-owned multibillion-dollar network of companies, was brief. When he terminated the call, Lucas was grimly aware that within the space of a few seconds a great many things had changed.

Constantine intended to marry in less than a fortnight’s time and, in so doing, he had irretrievably complicated Lucas’s life.

The bride, Sienna Ambrosi, was the head of a Sydney-based company, Ambrosi Pearls. She also happened to be the sister of the woman with whom Lucas was currently involved. Although involved was an inadequate word to describe the passionate, addictive attraction that had held him in reluctant thrall for the past two years.

The phone vibrated again. Lucas didn’t need to see the number to know who the second caller was; his gut reaction was enough. Carla Ambrosi. Long, luscious dark hair, honey-tanned skin, light blue eyes and the kind of taut, curvy body that regularly disrupted traffic and stopped him in his tracks.

Desire kicked, raw and powerful, almost overturning the rigid discipline he had instilled in himself after his girlfriend had plunged to her death in a car accident almost five years ago. Ever since Sophie’s death he had pledged not to be ruled by passion or fall into such a destructive relationship ever again.

Lately, a whole two years lately, he had been breaking that rule on a regular basis.

But not anymore.

With an effort of will he resisted the almost overwhelming urge to pick up the call. Seconds later, to his intense relief, the phone fell silent.

Shoving damp, jet-black hair back from his face, he strolled across the pale marble floor to the shower with the loose-limbed power of a natural athlete. In centuries past, his build and physical prowess would have made him a formidable warrior. These days, however, Medinian battle was fought across boardroom tables with extensive share portfolios and gold mined from the arid backbone of the main island.

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