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His Beautiful Revenge
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So, you think I have it all? Yes, I’m Giacomo Conti, the billionaire. Dark Italian good looks, sex appeal, and every woman I meet practically begging to get me into bed?
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NORAH, a beautiful, young graphic designer, is convinced her boyfriend LUCIAN is having an affair but as yet hasn’t been able to prove it. Miserable in her relationship, she throws herself into her work, and through it, meets an enigmatic billionaire, GIACOMO, who hires her to design the marketing campaign for his new tech. There is an instant attraction, but Norah is determined not to sink to Lucian’s level and denies herself, even when Giacomo makes it clear he wants her.
Meanwhile, after a terrible tragedy, Giacomo is trying to convince his best friend, ORLANDO, a single father to a young daughter, to get back into the dating game. Lando is unenthusiastic …until he meets ZULIKA, a feisty young photographer with whom he bonds. But Zulika has her own demons to overcome, not less the fractured relationship with her brother, Lucian, who is cheating on Zulika’s best friend, Norah.
When she finally discovers the truth about Lucian’s infidelity, she is shocked to find his lover is supermodel TARA Hubert—Giacomo’s fiancée. Realizing that Giacomo has also discovered the affair, she starts to spend more time with him after they both end their relationships. Soon, things become sexual and Norah wonders how she could ever have settled for anyone less than this gorgeous, sensual man.
But both Lucian and Tara are infuriated by the discovery of their betrayal and both plot their revenge in very different ways—ways that may split apart more than just one couple. Can Norah and Giacomo’s love survive the ferocity of their ex lovers’ anger, and just how far will Tara and Lucian go?
The phone’s shrill ring broke across the bookstore. Zulika waved the receiver.
“Lucian,” she yelled across the room. Norah didn’t notice the man sitting at the corner table and the way he stiffened at Zulika’s words, his attention caught. Norah grinned at Zulika as she took the phone from her.
“I’ve told you before, me Norah, him Lucian.”
Zulika poked her tongue out good-naturedly at her friend.
“Ha ha.” She walked away, swatting Norah’s butt with her hand.
“Hey, you,” Norah glanced at the clock on the wall of the bookshop.
“Hey, doll,” Lucian sang cheerfully. “It’s Friday, work’s out, and I’m in the mood for some quality time with you. Are you going home soon?”
Norah grinned, caught up in his mood. He sounded more cheerful than he had in months. And wanting to spend time alone with her? Rare, she thought to herself, what was up with him? But she didn’t want to waste his good humor.
“Yeah, very soon. Just gotta clear up some stuff-then I’m all yours. You cooking?”
They both laughed. “Pizza it is, then,” Norah said. “I’ll pick it up on the way home. Do we have beer?”
There was a pause. “Well, we did until last night.”
She rolled her eyes. “Okay. Hey, did Ziggy eat his breakfast?” Ziggy was their ancient St. Bernard crossed with a barrel on legs. Lately he had stopped eating so much.
“Yep, all of it.” Lucian sounded like a proud daddy.
“Oh, good. O Okay, be home soon.”
She hesitated, then smiled. “Love you too.”
Norah went back up to her little office above the bookshop. Her freelance graphic design company—consisting of just Norah and her uber-organized work ethic—was beginning to take off and she found herself spending less time in the bookstore she ran with her almost-sister-in-law and best friend, Zulika. It was a blessing and a curse, she thought now as she glanced through the endless emails she’d received. As much as her first love was art and design, she loved the laid-back pace and friendly atmosphere of their San Francisco store. Now that Russian Hill was an up and coming “hip” area, their clientele had tripled in the three years they had been open. The store, all dark wood bookshelves and large, comfortable couches, had added a coffee machine in the last year, which had drawn many people in, and they had recently expanded into the empty store front next door, adding tables where writers could sit and work. Ziggy also took up residence, making friends with the customers and their dogs.
Norah, at twenty-eight, was completing her Ph.D. in graphic design part-time as well as working, and sometimes the work seemed overwhelming. She wondered if she had missed the signs that her relationship of five years with Lucian Hargity was beginning to unravel and whether it was her fault for working too hard. She’d even said as much to Zulika—Lucian’s step-sister—but Zulika had merely rolled her eyes. “If my brother can’t handle a successful woman, that’s on him, not you.”
Zulika and Lucian were not close, but Norah and Zulika were, and so Zulika put up with her brother. Her mother had married Lucian’s father after both being widowed, but the marriage had been a disaster and lasted less than five years. It had cost Zulika’s mother her health and when she died, Zulika went to her best friend for comfort: Norah. The two had met in college and become as close as sisters; they’d earned the name “the twins” because they were always together. Looks-wise, the only thing they shared was their long, dark hair. Norah, with her dark beauty inherited from her Indian mother, dark brown eyes, and soft, warm smile, was tall and curvaceous, whereas Zulika, her sapphire-blue eyes large behind black-rimmed spectacles, was athletic and slender. They shared a silly sense of humor as well as sharp intelligence and street-smarts. Despite never being apart for long, they enjoyed each other’s company.