Print: November 19, 2019
eBook: December 1, 2019

Classic Romance

read an excerpt →

December in the brooding Sicilian’s castle…

Spending the holidays with the man who broke her heart is Monet’s worst nightmare. But when commanding Marcu’s children urgently need a nanny, she can’t refuse. Landing back in his aristocratic world, where free-spirited Monet never belonged, is bittersweet torture…

Marcu doesn’t anticipate his overly ordered life being disrupted by the enchanting woman Monet’s become. Duty has always dictated his actions, making Monet, with her infamous family history, strictly forbidden. But when their long-simmering passion burns intensely enough to melt the snow, will Marcu finally claim his Christmas Cinderella…?

Classic Romance

Print: November 19, 2019
eBook: December 1, 2019

Christmas Contract for His Cinderella

read an excerpt →

December in the brooding Sicilian’s castle…

Spending the holidays with the man who broke her heart is Monet’s worst nightmare. But when commanding Marcu’s children urgently need a nanny, she can’t refuse. Landing back in his aristocratic world, where free-spirited Monet never belonged, is bittersweet torture…

Marcu doesn’t anticipate his overly ordered life being disrupted by the enchanting woman Monet’s become. Duty has always dictated his actions, making Monet, with her infamous family history, strictly forbidden. But when their long-simmering passion burns intensely enough to melt the snow, will Marcu finally claim his Christmas Cinderella…?

Christmas Contract for His Cinderella

Classic Romance

Harlequin Presents

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Christmas Contract for His Cinderella

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Chapter 1

Monet Wilde was in the back room on the fifth floor of Bernard Department Store, searching for a customer’s missing gown, which she was sure had gone to alterations but apparently had never actually arrived there, when one of her salesgirls appeared, informing her that a gentleman was waiting for her, and while he was brusque, he was not as irritable as Mrs. Wilkerson, who couldn’t understand how her daughter’s bridal gown could just disappear.

Monet sighed and reached up to smooth a dark tendril that had come loose from her neat chignon, aware that she dressed more matronly than most matrons, but as the manager of the bridal department it was important to maintain a sense of decorum. “Did he say what he wants?” she asked with a glance at the clock on the stockroom wall. Fifteen minutes until closing. Fifteen minutes to find a very expensive gown for a very irate mother of the bride.

“You.” The salesgirl’s expression turned rueful. “Well, he asked for you. By name.”

Monet’s heart fell. “Tell me we haven’t misplaced another gown.”

“He didn’t say. He just asked for you.”

Monet’s frown deepened. It had been a maddeningly busy day at Bernard’s, the kind of busy that characterized Christmas shopping on a weekend in December. The customers had descended in hordes the moment the department-store doors opened this morning at nine, and the queues and demands had been endless. Apparently everyone had decided that an impromptu wedding was in order, and what could be more festive than getting married on Christmas, or a destination wedding for New Year’s? Monet had spent hours already on the phone calling designers, other stores, seamstresses, trying to find out what was available, and what could be done with gowns that might be available, and she still had a dozen things to do before closing.

“Does he have a name?” Monet asked.

“Marcus Oberto, or something like that. He’s Italian.”

Monet froze, even as she silently corrected the girl. Marcu Uberto was the name, and Marcu wasn’t Italian, but Sicilian.

“I told him you were quite busy,” the girl added. “But he said he’d wait. He said to take your time and there was no rush.”

Monet didn’t believe that for a second. Marcu was not a man to be kept waiting.

And yet what was he doing here? And why now?

Those two questions circled her brain, creating unwanted anxiety. She hadn’t seen Marcu in eight years, and the last time she’d heard from him had been almost three years ago to the day. What could he possibly want this close to Christmas?

“Shall I give him a message?” the salesgirl asked with a cheeky smile. “I don’t mind. He’s seriously sexy. But then I adore Italians, don’t you?”

Sicilian, Monet again silently corrected.

Marcu was Sicilian to the bone.

“Thank you for the offer,” Monet said, “but I’ll need to handle Signor Uberto. However, you could help me by phoning Mrs. Wilkerson and let her know we haven’t forgotten her, and we should have news about the missing bridal gown first thing in the morning.”

“Will we?” the girl replied, wrinkling her brow.

Monet couldn’t even imagine the fallout if they didn’t have good news. “We had better,” Monet said firmly, squaring her shoulders and heading from the stockroom to face Marcu.

She spotted him immediately as she emerged through the silver-and-gray curtains. He stood in the center of the marbled floor, commanding the space, which was something since the fifth floor of Bernard’s was topped by a glass dome and there was nothing but airy space on the bridal floor.

Tall, and broad through the shoulders, Marcu looked every inch the powerful wealthy aristocrat. Sophisticated and impeccably dressed in a charcoal suit and crisp white shirt—a suit and shirt she was certain from the tailoring had been made just for him. He’d paired the severe suit with a brilliant blue tie to set off his glossy black hair and piercing blue eyes. Eight years ago he’d worn his thick black hair long, but now it was cropped short and combed severely back from his brow while a hint of a shadow darkened his strong, angled jaw.

Monet’s pulse pounded, and her mouth dried as she fought back a wave of memories—memories she couldn’t bear to deal with on a night like this. Fortunately, he hadn’t yet seen her, and she was grateful for small mercies as she fought to control her breathing, and center herself. She’d worked so hard to block the past that she felt wildly unprepared for dealing with Marcu Uberto in her present.

“Courage and calm,” she whispered to herself. “You can do this.”

“Marcu,” she said politely, approaching him. “What brings you to Bernard’s? Is there a gift, or purchase I can help you with?”

end of excerpt

Christmas Contract for His Cinderella is available for pre-order in the following formats:

Harlequin Presents

ISBN: 978-1335478863

Print: November 19, 2019
Digital: December 1, 2019

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