On today’s blog, we’re delighted to be sharing an exclusive extract from Unwrapped by Her Italian Boss by Michelle Smart.
What choice did she have? Accept the last-minute secondment or lose her job. Those were the only choices. If she lost her job, what would happen to her? She’d be forced to return to England while she sought another job. Forced to live in the bleak, unhappy home of her childhood. All the joy and light she’d experienced these past three years would be gone and she’d return to grey.
‘What role do you play in it all?’ she asked into the silence.
He raised a thick black eyebrow.
‘Are you part of Cannavaro Travel?’ she queried. ‘Sorry, my mind went blank when we were introduced.’
The other eyebrow rose.
A tiny dart of amusement at his expression—it was definitely the expression of someone outragedly thinking, How can you not know who I am?—cut through Merry’s guilt and anguish. The guilt came from having spent two months praying for the forthcoming trip home to be cancelled. The anguish came from her having to be the one to do it, and with just two days’ notice. The early Christmas dinner her sister-in-law had spent weeks and weeks planning had all been for nothing.
Her brother was going to kill her.
The only good thing she had to hold on to was that she hadn’t clobbered an actual guest with the Christmas tree, although, judging by the cut of his suit, this man she’d nicknamed Cheekbones was on a huge salary, so must be high up in Cannavaro Travel, and all the signs were that he had an ego to match that salary.
She’d get this meeting over and done with and then she’d call Martin.
With that set in her mind, she relaxed her chest with an exhale. ‘Your role?’ she asked again.
Dark blue eyes glittered. Tingles laced her spine and spread through her skin.
Cheekbones folded his hands together on the table. ‘My role…? Think of me as the boss.’
His deep, musical accent set more tingles off in her. Crossing her legs, thankful that she’d come to her senses before mouthing off about being forced into a temporary job she’d rather eat fetid fruit than do, Merry made a mark in her notebook. ‘I report to you?’
‘Are you going on the train ride?’
Strong nostrils flared with distaste. ‘It is no “train ride”, lady.’
‘You know what I mean.’ She laughed. She couldn’t help it. Something about his presence unnerved her. Greek god looks clashing with a glacial demeanour, warmed up again by the sexiest Italian accent she’d ever heard.
‘I know what you mean and, si, I will be on the voyage.’
Unnerved further by the swoop of her belly at this, she made another nonsense mark in her book before looking back up at him and smiling ruefully. ‘In that case, I should confess that I didn’t catch your name. I’m Merry,’ she added, so he wouldn’t have any excuse to keep addressing her as ‘lady’.
His fingers drummed on the table. ‘I know your name, lady. I pay attention.’
For some unfathomable reason, this tickled her. ‘Well done. Go to the top of the class. And your name?’
All the blood in Merry’s head pooled down to her feet in one strong gush.
He rose to his feet and stared imperiously at her. With ice-cool precision, he said, ‘You have much to do. You will start by reading the files. We will meet later to discuss details and I will decide then if are you up to the job… Or not.’
He left the meeting room without another word.
Unwrapped by Her Italian Boss by Michelle Smart is out now in eBook and October 28th in paperback.