One Night to Wedding Vows (Wedlocked!)

By: Kim Lawrence

Vows made to be broken…

Despite her wild reputation, Lara Gray is a virgin. So when she’s swept off her feet by the most gorgeous man in Rome, Raoul Di Vittorio, Lara is shocked by the passion awakened within her after just one night.

But what Lara doesn’t know is that Raoul needs a temporary wife after his last disastrous marriage blew up in smoke. Stunning, sophisticated Lara may be the ideal woman, but first this tenacious tycoon must persuade her down the aisle and show her exactly what the benefits of being the new Mrs. Di Vittorio can be!

“Last night we had a good time.”

Lara struggled to fight her way out of the images that flickered relentlessly through her head.

“I made you forget.”

Where she began and he ended.

“And you returned the favor.” The dark glitter in Raoul’s eyes was mesmerizing.

The butterfly kicks had been a struggle to handle but now her stomach dissolved.

“So what do you think?”

She blinked like someone waking up and choked out. “It was sex, and it was one night.” She shook her head and loosed a shocked, incredulous laugh. “What you’re suggesting...beyond being certifiably insane—”

“Could work. I’m not asking for you to sign over your life.”

“Isn’t that what marriage usually entails?”


THE PLACE DIDN’T fall silent as Sergio Di Vittorio walked through the casino but there was a discernible hush in the room, an air of expectancy as the elderly aristocrat walked in ahead of two tall, dark, suited figures. The heavier set of the two stayed by the entrance while the other followed his employer, remaining a respectful pace behind the older man as he continued his regal progress.

From where he was standing, one shoulder propped against a marble pillar, Raoul’s sensually designed lips curved in a cynical smile from which affection was not totally absent as he watched his grandfather’s stately arrival. In the periphery of his vision he remained aware of the middle-aged guy, eyes glazed with febrile excitement, who continued to throw good money after bad on the roulette wheel. It had been like watching a car crash, now only a matter of how many innocent victims he’d take with him...a wife, a kid...?

The reckless gleam in Raoul’s own deep-set dark eyes owed more to the brandy in his hand than the spin of a wheel. Each to his own drug of choice, Raoul thought, with a lazy tolerance. He turned, a faint ironic smile of self-mockery curving his lips as he found himself automatically straightening his spine as his grandfather got closer. Old habits die hard, he thought to himself, and his grandfather had strong views on good posture.

The autocratic head of the diverse family businesses and guardian of the family name had strong views on most things. Gambling, for one. Not really surprising considering his only son, Raoul and Jamie’s father, had blown his brains out when the full extent of his gambling debts became public.

Sergio could have hushed up the scandal and covered his son’s debts—the amount involved was small change to him—but instead he had chosen to tell his son to stand on his own two feet and be a man.

Did he regret it?

Did he blame himself?

Raoul doubted it. Sergio’s self-belief did not allow for doubts. Raoul’s youthful anger had been reserved for the father who had taken the easy way out and left them. It was hard for a kid to comprehend that level of self-destructive desperation, or to get his head around the fact that addicts were inherently selfish. Even the years of adult understanding did not take away the bitterness or the memories of a lonely child, but Jamie had always been there for him, the older brother who had fought his battles until Raoul had got big and tough enough to hold his own.

The long fingers of the hand Raoul dug into the pocket of his tailored dark trousers flexed as his mind drifted back. He could almost feel his brother’s warm fingers tightening around his own as their grandfather broke the news. The moment was etched in his memory: the single tear rolling, in what had seemed like slow motion, down his older brother’s face; the metronomic tick of a clock on the wall; his grandfather’s deep voice explaining that they would be living with him now.

Confusion and fear had clutched at his stomach, the heavy ache of a sob in his throat held there by the desperate need to please his grandfather. He’d saved his tears for the privacy of his pillow.

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