The Bride Fonseca Needs

By: Abby Green


‘WELL, WELL, WELL. This is interesting. Little Darcy Lennox, in my office, looking for work.’

Darcy curbed the flash of irritation at the not entirely inaccurate reference to her being little and fought against the onslaught on her senses from being mere feet away from Maximiliano Fonseca Roselli, separated from him only by an impressive desk. But it was hard. Because he was quite simply as devastatingly gorgeous as he’d always been. More so now, because he was a man. Not the seventeen-year-old boy she remembered. Sex appeal flowed from him like an invisible but heady scent. It made Darcy absurdly aware that underneath all the layers of civility they were just animals.

He was half-Brazilian, half-Italian. Dark blond hair was still unruly and messy—long enough to proclaim that he didn’t really give a damn about anything, much less conforming. Although clearly along the way he’d given enough of a damn to become one of Europe’s youngest ‘billionaire entrepreneurs to watch’, according to a leading financial magazine.

Darcy could imagine how any number of women would be only too happy to watch his every sexy move. She did notice one new addition to his almost perfect features, though, and blurted out before she could stop herself, ‘You have a scar.’

It snaked from his left temple to his jaw in a jagged line and had the effect of making him even more mysterious and brooding.

The man under her close scrutiny arched one dark blond brow and drawled, ‘Your powers of observation are clearly in working order.’

Darcy flushed at being so caught out. Since when had she been gauche enough to refer to someone’s physical appearance? He had stood to greet her when she’d walked into his palatial office, situated in the centre of Rome, and she was still standing too, beginning to feel hot in her trouser suit, hot under the tawny green gaze that had captivated her the first time she’d ever seen him.

He folded his arms across his chest and her eye was drawn helplessly to where impressive muscles bunched against the fine material of his open-necked white shirt, sleeves rolled up. And even though he wore smart dark trousers he looked anything but civilised. That gaze was too knowing, too cynical, for politesse.

‘So, what’s a fellow alumna from Boissy le Château doing looking for work as a PA?’ Before she could answer he was adding, with the faintest of sneers to his tone, ‘I would have thought you’d be married into European aristrocracy by now, and producing a gaggle of heirs like every other girl in that anachronistic medieval institution.’

Pinned under that golden gaze, she regretted the moment she’d ever thought it might be a good idea to apply for the job advertised on a very select applications board. And she hated to think that a part of her had been curious to see Max Fonseca Roselli Fonseca again.

She replied, ‘I was only at Boissy for another year after you left...’ She faltered then, thinking of a lurid memory of Max beating another boy outside in the snow, and the bright stain of blood against the pristine white. She pushed it down. ‘My father was badly affected by the recession so I went back to England to finish my schooling.’

She didn’t think it worth mentioning that that schooling had taken place in a comprehensive school, which she would have chosen any day over the oppressive atmosphere of Boissy.

Max made a sound of faux commiseration. ‘So Darcy didn’t get to be the belle of the ball in Paris with all the other debutantes?’

She gritted her jaw at his reference to the exclusive annual Bal des Débutantes; she was no belle of any ball. She knew Max hadn’t had a good time at Boissy, but she hadn’t been one of his antagonists. Anything but. She cringed inwardly now when she recalled another vivid memory, from not long after he’d first arrived. Darcy had come upon two guys holding Max back, with another about to punch him in the belly. Without even thinking, she’d rushed into the fray, screaming, ‘Stop!’

Heat climbed inside her at the thought that he might remember that too.

‘No,’ she responded tightly. ‘I didn’t go to the ball in Paris. I sat my A levels and then got a degree in languages and business from London University, as you’ll see from my CV.’