The Sicilian's Innocent Mistress

By: Carole Mortimer

CHAPTER ONE




‘SO, WHICH look do you think is going to attract the attention of a heartbreaker like film producer Luc Gambrelli?’ Darci prompted Kerry consideringly, as she threw open the door to her wardrobe and brought out a white dress. ‘The demure virgin?’

She held the garment against her, its plain styling covering her tall slenderness from neck to knee. She pulled her heavy length of red hair away from the delicate lines of her heart-shaped face, at the same time lowering her head, her expression youthfully coy as she looked at Kerry with moss-green eyes through long dark lashes.

Her flatmate and long-term friend laughed softly as she sat on the bed, watching the display. ‘Or…?’ Kerry queried smilingly.

‘Or sexy vamp?’ Darci threw the white dress down on the bed and pulled out a slinky black gown, its ribbon shoulder straps, low neckline, body-hugging style and length—three inches above the knee—leaving very little to the imagination as she held it against her, releasing her hair to fluff its long, fiery length enticingly about her face and shoulders as she adopted a deliberately seductive pose.

‘Hmm.’ Kerry grimaced. ‘Somewhere in between the two, I think. Grant once told me that every man’s perfect fantasy woman is one who’s as beautiful and charming as an angel in public and as sexy as a she-devil in his bed!’

Darci’s brows rose. ‘My big brother told you that?’

‘Years ago, at university.’ Kerry, a tiny brunette, laughed at Darci’s surprised expression. ‘I think we had all just come home from a party at the time, and he was bemoaning the fact that he doubted he was ever going to meet his perfect woman.’

‘Well, he was right about that, anyway; at twenty-eight he’s still a bachelor. In fact, just like me, there isn’t a permanent relationship in sight,’ Darci added with a slight frown. ‘If there was, he wouldn’t have asked me to accompany him to his latest film premiere!’

Exactly five minutes older than Darci, her twin brother was an extremely successful film director. He had scaled the heady heights to superstardom during the last four years, his last two films having been box office hits. Grant was hoping to add to his current run of success with the premiere of his latest film the following evening. A premiere where, as the producer of the film, Luc Gambrelli was also going to be in attendance.

A delicious coincidence too convenient to resist as far as Darci was concerned…

She looked at the two dresses critically. ‘So, somewhere in between, you think…? Of course it would probably help if I knew whether Luc Gambrelli preferred redheads to brunettes or blondes.’

‘Depends on the day of the week, I expect,’ Kerry dismissed sagely. ‘Monday a blonde. Tuesday a brunette. Wednesday a redhead. Et cetera. From the gossip about him in the newspapers over the years, he appears to have a different woman for each day of the week,’ she explained, at Darci’s puzzled look.

Darci pondered her friend’s words. ‘Then we can only hope that it’s redheads on a Thursday evening!’

Her friend gave her a rueful smile. ‘You really intend going through with this…?’

‘And hopefully giving Luc Gambrelli a taste of his own heartless medicine?’ Darci said distractedly, as she began another search through her wardrobe for the perfect dress to wear tomorrow evening. ‘He broke Mellie’s heart, remember. Of course I’m going to get Grant to introduce the two of us at the premiere in the hope of attracting his attention—and then I shall have the pleasure of giving him one almighty set-down if he does show any interest. It’s about time some woman let the arrogant Luc Gambrelli know that every female he meets isn’t going to swoon at his feet!’ she added with determination.

‘Isn’t being rude to someone as powerful as film producer Luc Gambrelli possibly going to have fall-out and damage Grant’s career?’ Kerry responded.

‘That’s the best part.’ Darci grinned. ‘My big brother is so much the golden boy movie director at the moment that he simply can’t be touched!’

Kerry still looked worried. ‘Yet from what I’ve read, the film world is a precarious one; someone can be the darling of the moment one minute and a total outcast the next!’

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