The Italian's Token Wife

By: Julia James


‘WHAT the hell do you mean, you won’t sign?’

Rafaello di Viscenti glared down at the woman in his bed. She was a voluptuous blonde with flowing locks and celestial blue eyes, her naked body scantily covered by the duvet.

Amanda Bonham slid one slim, exposed thigh over the other, and widened her eyes.

‘It’s so sordid, darling—signing a pre-nup,’ she said purringly.

Rafaello’s sculpted mouth tightened.

‘You agreed to all the terms in the pre-nup. Your lawyer went through it with me. Why are you balking at it now?’

Amanda pouted up at him. ‘Raf, darling, we don’t need a pre-nup! Wasn’t last night good for you?’ Her voice had gone husky, and she let a little smile play around her generous mouth. ‘I can make it that good—every night.’

She nestled back into the pillows invitingly and slid her legs again, simultaneously letting the duvet slip to reveal one delectable breast.

‘I can make it that good right now,’ she went on, her eyes lingering over her lover’s lean, honed body, with her sensual gaze openly stripping him of his extremely expensive hand-made suit of such superbly elegant tailoring that it screamed a top designer name.

Rafaello slashed an impatient hand through the air. He was immune to Amanda’s plentiful bedroom charms—he’d had his fill of them for most of the night, and enough was enough.

‘I don’t have time for this, Amanda. Just sign the damn document, as you said you would—’ In his obvious anger his Italian accent was pronounced.

The inviting look vanished from the blue eyes, which were suddenly as hard as jewels.

‘No,’ said Amanda, yanking the duvet over her breast with a sharp motion. ‘You want to marry me—you do it without a ridiculous pre-nuptial contract.’

Her lush mouth set in an obstinate line.

Rafaello swore beneath his breath, drawing on his extensive range of native Italian vocabulary unfit for polite society. He really, really could do without this.

His obsidian eyes bored into his bride-to-be.

‘Amanda, cara,’ he said with heavy patience, ‘I have explained this to you already. I want a temporary bride only—you’ve gone into this with your eyes open; I have never attempted to deceive you. I want a bride for six months and then a swift, painless divorce. In exchange you get living expenses—very generous ones—for half a year, following one brief…very brief…visit to Italy, and you leave the marriage with a lavish pay-off. A pre-agreed lavish pay-off. Capisce?’

‘Oh, I capisce all right!’ Amanda’s voice sounded hard. ‘And now you can capisce me! The only pre-nup I’ll sign is one with twice the pay-off!’

Rafaello stilled. So that was the way it was. She was upping the ante. He should have seen it coming. Amanda Bonham might be the ultimate airhead, but she had a homing instinct for money.

But no one, no one manipulated him—not this avaricious bimbo, not his perdittione father. No one.

A shutter came down over his face, and his olive-toned features became expressionless.

‘Too bad.’ His voice was implacable. Anyone who had ever done business with him would have known at that point to back off and give in if they still wanted to do a deal with Rafaello di Viscenti. Amanda was not so wise. Her blue eyes flashed.

‘Seems to me you don’t have a choice, Rafaello, cara,’ she said bitingly. ‘You need a wife in a hurry—well, that’s fine by me—but I won’t be hemmed in by a stupid prenup!’

He answered with a careless shrug as he made to turn away. ‘Your choice.’ He glanced back at her. ‘I’ll phone for a taxi for you.’

He walked across to the pier table set against the wall of the bedroom and picked up his mobile. Amanda scrambled out of bed.

‘Now, wait just a minute—’ she began.

Unperturbed, Rafaello went on punching numbers into the phone.

‘Deal’s off, cara. Better get your clothes on.’

A hand clawed over the fine suiting of his sleeve.

‘You can’t do this. You need me.’

He brushed her off as though she were a pesky fly.

‘Wrong.’ There was adamantine beneath the accent. ‘Joe?’ His voice changed. ‘Call a cab, will you? About ten minutes.’

He glanced back to where the naked blonde stood quivering in outrage in his bedroom. Casually he slipped the phone inside his breast pocket.

‘You can cool down under a shower—but make it quick.’

He turned to head to the double doors that led out into the rest of the apartment.

‘And just what do you think you’re going to do for a precious bride, huh?’

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