Hello my darlings,
What on earth is this, I hear you cry? Well, along with working on five books – yes five – I’m almost finished the first story of a new venture called LUDLOW NIGHTS. This will be an Exclusive for a short time to my MAILING LIST six part story. And the first part of the story is called His Rules.
Ambitious, workaholic Anastacia Morgan runs Ferranti Communications with a cool-head and an iron will. Her latest project is ensuring sports star Olivier Conti does what he’s told in a series of adverts. Olivier is impossible with an huge ego she’s made up her mind to ignore. His smile may do wonderful things to her libido, but Ana is determined to succeed where other women fail and resist the gorgeous soccer star.
However, in this game there are no rules and Olivier’s never missed a penalty, yet.
“A footballer, Nico?” Anastacia shoved heavy curls the colour of jet over her shoulder, sat back in her butter-soft leather chair, and raised imperious black brows. “You cannot be serious?”
“I hope that is a rhetorical question,” Nico Ferranti returned mildly. His wife Bronte always said that good things came in small packages. Well, Anastacia Morgan was a size zero, five foot two inches in her size four bare feet, and a prime example of how good things did indeed come in a small package. She was dressed in an immaculately tailored business suit the colour of bone, personally designed for her. A suit that fit in all the right places. He knew for a fact Ana wore the fashion equivalent of stilts to boost her height. He also knew those stilts were even now discarded under her desk. At the moment she resembled a very angry angel. Nico wasn’t worried. He’d had plenty of experience of dealing with angry angels. He had two of them at home.
Now she was glaring at him over the reading glasses perched on her small nose.
She read the look on his face, uncompromising, and tossed down her silver pen in disgust. Her behaviour reminded Nico forcibly of his three year old daughter, Sophia, throwing a temper tantrum.
Dark eyebrows shot into her hairline.
“Can he speak in declarative sentences?” she wondered in a droll voice that made him raise his own brows.
“Tsk, tsk, Ana. Sarcasm is not a good look on you,” Nico told her in a very soft voice. A voice that made heat rise in her cheeks and told him his rebuke had been received loud and clear. “Just think of the nice fat fee you will make.”
The look Ana sent Nico was her own version of uncompromising.
She could stare down the Queen of England with that look, but not Nico Ferranti.
At thirty-six Nico was head of a global business that spanned hotels, and digital technology. A business he’d begun with a legacy from his paternal grandfather, brains and balls. Nico ran things his way, and everyone who worked for him knew it. Including the tiny angel who was showing her fangs and glaring at him out of navy blue eyes.
Four years ago he’d taken a big chance on Anastacia Morgan.
And he’d never regretted it.
One of Nico’s greatest skills was recognising raw talent in another. In Ana he’d seen a creative ambition, and a need for a financial freedom that matched his own. Ana was twenty-six and one of the top brand manager’s in the business. And since he knew that Anastacia Morgan cared as much for the Ferranti brand as he did, Nico had Ana on a very long leash.
Then Ana pulled out the big guns and gave him the death stare.
After another minute had passed, Ana gave up.
“Okay. You’re the boss. But Nico… a footballer?” The last two words were said in a whine that made Nico bite down hard on his bottom lip. And Ana wasn’t finished, “What’s wrong with Tobias Aidin? He’s the next big thing. Dontcha watch prime-time TV? In less than six weeks he has over five hundred thousand followers on twitter. Not only does his voice make women’s toes curl, he can take direction and…” She stopped when Nico’s brows rose. He had to admire the way she took a breath and battled on. “Sportsmen, especially soccer stars, freeze, or take the piss when a camera’s rolling.”
Without comment, Nico focused on brushing a speck of dust from the sleeve of his immaculate grey suit.
“As you are aware, the new Boutique hotels specifically target young business executives and tourists who demand quality, cleanliness, and value for money. We need a well-known face and a name that resonates world-wide.”
“I’ve never even heard of Olivier Conti,” Ana threw back.
“Every soccer fan in the world has heard of Olivier.”
She shrugged off his comment.
For a moment Nico wondered just who was the boss here.
“We’re selling a lifestyle here, Nico. Not flashy cars and even flashier women,” she said with a sneer that made him again bite down on his abused lip.
“Seven goals in the world cup in Brazil,” Nico went on relentlessly. “He’s the leading goal scorer in the Seria A.” He shook his head at her blank stare. “The Italian football league, for four consecutive seasons. Two of the top clubs in the Premier league are prepared to pay over one hundred million pounds for him.”
Ana narrowed her eyes until they were blue slits.
“How come you’ve got the skinny? Since when do you follow football?”
“Ana, cara mia,” Nico drawled. “Soccer is in my DNA. I am Italian.”
She couldn’t help but grin at the way his voice deepened, the way his accent grew stronger.
“Since he’s in such high demand, how the hell can we afford him?”
Nico unfolded his tall frame from the skinny chair.
“Let us just say the boy owes me a favour. Do not make plans for this evening. A car will pick you up at six-thirty. I have tickets for the game tonight. Milan against United.”
Nico gave the question and the cranky tone in which it was delivered, the attention it deserved, none.
He strolled towards the door.
“Hang on just a minute there, buster.”
Nico opened the door, turned to look at her over his shoulder, and almost burst out laughing at the unspeakable scowl on her face.
Ana sat back, and in an dazzling move that belonged to ballet, stretched up a long leg, pointed to a soft leather platform shoe with five inch heels. “These shoes and this suit are Victoria Beckham. How is this a good look for a football game? I’ll need time to go home, get changed into skinnies and a T-shirt that says, ‘Hump Me.’“
“Nothing wrong with standing out from the crowd. The clothes and shoes are fine. If I were you, I would spend the next few hours boning up on the offside rule,” Nico advised before he closed the office door behind him.
With language that turned the air blue, Ana spun her chair around to stare unseeing over the city of London and Tower Bridge. Vast glass structures, tall buildings and clogged traffic, with a river running through it. In her past, she’d had other views of the city, but they’d been at street level. These days she gazed down upon the city from the fifteenth floor. And one day, Ana promised, she’d look down from the top floor.
Anastacia Morgan only looked forward, certainly not at the past. The past was behind her now, thank God.
Ana shoved back her hair. Hair that was too long, too curly, and it drove her nuts. However, her hair had become something of a trademark. It hung past her waist in glossy curls the colour of rich ripe chestnuts. A gleaming brown shot through with a rose gold that her friends told her was gorgeous.
Her friends also told her that her eyes were the darkest blue they’d ever seen. A couple of men had also said they felt they could drown in them.
At the moment Ana could care less about her hair or her eyes or her looks. All she cared about was the Ferranti brand, which encompassed the five star hotels, spas, and resorts world-wide. And now the new boutique hotels. Working for Nico Ferranti meant there was never a dull moment… but football? Her wide mouth was marred by the sneer on her full lips.
Then Ana remembered how much she owed Nico Ferranti. Four years ago, in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, she’d marched into Ferranti Enterprises with a marketing degree, a gut-searing desperation for a job and a smart mouth. And twenty pounds in her purse. Never look back, she reminded herself. Nico had taken a chance on her and she would never, ever forget it. Ana wanted only the best for the Ferranti brand. If that meant working with a football player, then she’d make damned sure the prima-donna (weren’t all footballers drama queens?) did the job.
Determined, she spun back to her desk.
Ana snatched up the phone, jabbed buttons.
“Linda, get me everything you can on Olivier Conti. Oh, and find me someone who can explain to me in words of one syllable the soccer off-side rule. No, I’m not being funny.”
So that’s a tiny taster of part one! Want more? I need the promise of your first child, and chocolate and wine for a year!! Kidding!! All y’all need to do is to subscribe to my mailing list either on the top right hand of the blog or on the link!