Published by Harlequin on 2014-03-01
Genres: Contemporary, Fiction, General, Romance
The man was sinful. It wasn't just the looks that made him dangerous, it was the cocky confidence that dominated every move, every touch. And the frustrating yet ecstatic fact about the whole package was that he could back it all up… Julia Campbell never knows what to expect with win-at-all-costs Brad De Luca. And she's starting to like it that way. She gave up safe, conventional relationships when she let the elite divorce attorney seduce her into his world. Now that he's determined to strip her naked of every inhibition, she's in danger of falling too deep and too fast. But their affair begins to feel even more dangerous when a murder leaves a trail of suspicion that points straight to the mob…and Brad. Trusting a man with a bad reputation and a past full of secrets seems like a mistake. But when she's forced to make a choice, the consequences will take her further than she could ever have imagined.
I was elbow deep in transcript review when Chace Crawford, in a tuxedo, appeared in my doorway. Okay, so it wasn’t THE Chace Crawford, but enough of a look alike for me to momentarily forget Drueit vs Pace Contracting, which was a feat unto itself. I collected myself and waved him in.
“Can I help you?”
“I’m looking for Julia Campbell.”
“I’m Julia.” I stood, stepping forward and shaking the hand he extended.
“I’m Jeff Martin. I have a couriered item for Mr. De Luca, but he isn’t in. He said that I could give it to you.”
I looked at the embossed envelope he extended, my fingers reaching out and taking it before my mind had a chance to process the situation. “Thank you,” I said, smiling at him.
“Certainly.” He gave a small bow and smiled, turning and leaving the room.
I sat back down, leaning the envelope against my computer monitor and staring at it for a brief moment. Being Brad’s girlfriend was turning into a full time job.
I ignored the envelope and returned to the depositions, reading line after line of transcripts until my contacts started to dry out and I leaned back to take a break. The envelope stared at me, beautiful calligraphy dancing beneath exhausted eyes. I reached for my phone, and called Brad’s cell.
Brad parked his cart, tipping the bag drop boy and stepping up the wide steps of the hundred-year-old clubhouse. It had been built at a time when opulence and masculinity ruled the design world, and every ounce of the building reeked of old money and tradition. He walked through the wide hall, oil paintings and trophy cases, seeing his group of friends at the entrance to the cigar bar. His phone rang and he paused, glancing down and seeing Julia’s name. That took longer than expected. He smiled, holding up a finger to the men and stepping aside, leaning against the wall and answering the call.
“Hey. You got something.”
“And…did you open it?” He raised his eyebrows, waiting for her response.
“No,” she said indignantly. “It has your name on it.”
“Well, I had the courier bring it to you for a reason. It’s an invitation to a party.”
God, the woman was feisty. “And, I’d like you to come with me.”
She sighed into the phone. “As your secret girlfriend, I think I’m exempt from any of the boring social events you old people go to.”
Brad smiled at her words, moving off the wall and stepping forward. “It’s an orgy.”
Her breath caught, and he wished he were having this conversation in person. “Oh.”
“But… if that’s too dull and old-mannish for you, I can invite someone else.”
She hissed into the phone. “You wouldn’t dare.”
“Oh, I most definitely would.”
There was silence for a minute and Brad stopped walking and waited.
“Where’s the party?”
“Does it matter?”
“I’m assuming it’s at the hosts’ home. In Irongate.”
“Oooh … fancy. Do you know anyone who will be there?”
“I know the hosts. They typically throw a relatively small party, fifteen or twenty couples, a few singles. There will be group play and private rooms. If you feel up to it, we could just observe, maybe hook up with a single or a couple in a private room if you want. Or, we can just stop in, let you see how it works, and leave.”
There was a pause, rustled papers, then an abrupt response. “Okay.”
Her agreement came quicker than he expected, and he grinned into the phone.
“Okay. You officially have a date. Read the invitation, we’ll talk later.” He smiled into the phone, then looked up as one of his friends walked by, slapping him on the shoulder. “I have to go.”
Blindfolded Innocence (Book 1)
The Diary of Brad de Luca (Book 1.5)