She'll bare everything...except the truth. Tina Borlenghi is a billionaire businesswoman, heiress to the Borlenghi fortune, and living la dolce vita. She's also a magnet for men who crave fame and celebrity. So while in New York City launching a new fashion boutique, Tina is more than intrigued when sports bar owner Luke Pederson mistakes her for a sales assistant. He's sexier than sin and only interested in her. What's the harm in a little steamy role-playing?
Luke can't get enough of Tina. And yet, something feels…off. Why is she so secretive? As their role-playing encounters become more erotic, Luke’s suspicions grow. The woman rocking his world is hiding something. Something big. He’s ready to play for keeps, but finding out who Tina really is may just turn the tables on everything he thought he knew about love.
“Please, have a pastry before you go.” She opened the box and pushed it toward him. Maybe it was because shewas Italian but when she liked someone, she wanted to feed them. Plus she was liable to eat all the pastries herself if he didn’t help. “Mangia.” “Well…I never say no to pastry.” He reached for a sugared confection oozing blueberries and custard. The atmosphere returned to calm. “Mangia. That’s Italian, right?” “Sì. I’m from Rome.” Her gaze followed as he carried the pastry to his mouth and sank his teeth into the flaky crust. Luke chewed and swallowed. “I thought I detected an accent. Your English is very good. How long have you been living in the US?” “N-not long.” If she told him she was only here temporarily it would lead to more questions, questions she didn’t want to answer. “I studied English in school.” She wiped the crumbs from her lip with a fingertip, followed by her tongue. Luke’s gaze riveted on her mouth. “You have a bit of sugar, right…here.” He brushed the corner of her bottom lip with his thumb, making her skin tingle. “Grazie,” she said, huskily, suddenly shy. “You have a sexy voice. I love the way you roll your R’s.” “I tuoi occhi sono molto azzurro.” Your eyes are very blue. Deliberately, she drew out the long rolling R. “Oh, man, you’re killing me.” He shut his eyes, half smiling, half groaning, and leaned toward her to brush his mouth across hers lightly. She shouldn’t respond…but she couldn’t stop herself. Didn’t want to. Tina tilted her head up and tasted. He was sweet and salty, a deliciously addictive combination. She drew back, murmuring, “I never knew American handymen had so many talents.” “About that…” He nuzzled her neck. “I have a confession to make.” Her eyes snapped open. Oh no. Not a confession. Confessions meant wrong-doing. She stepped back. Couldn’t she have a simple interaction with a sexy guy who liked her for no other reason than that he liked her? She put down her pastry. “Tell me.” “Whoa, don’t look so fierce. It’s nothing earth-shattering. Just, I’m not a handyman.” “You lied to me?” Her nostrils flared on an inhale. Fabio had lied to her too. He’d also cheated on her and conned her out of a good chunk of cash. She and her family had been publicly humiliated by the tabloid press when the affair was dragged through the courts. Worst of all, he’d made her feel bad about herself, stupid and fat and foolish. “Who are you?” “I’m from next door at the sports bar.” He hooked a thumb over his shoulder. “I just came over to apologize for all the noise.” Mechanically, she closed the pastry box and retied the string. She couldn’t even begin to imagine what Luke had hoped he would get from her. The fact that he’d lied was deeply disappointing. “Thank you for being so considerate.” He leaned in, trying to catch her eye. “Hey, I’m sorry. I didn’t think it was a big deal. You were the one who started it with your fantasy man.” No, he’d started it by telling her he’d be anything she wanted him to be. Maybe she should have requested he be an honorable man, or was that too big a dream? “Your boss will be wondering where you are,” she said pointedly. He grinned, all cocky and charming. “Yeah, well, he’s a pretty good guy. It’ll be okay.” She struggled to hold onto her indignation, but it wasn’t easy. After all she’d concealed her identity as well, and still wasn’t telling him the truth for fear of destroying the delicious sexual tension shimmering between them. Reluctantly, she asked, “What’s funny?” “I’m the boss. I own the bar.” “You’re dressed as a workman. I don’t understand.” “The contractor doing the reno was short a guy today.” Luke shrugged. “I used to work in construction so I picked up a hammer.” “Why didn’t you simply tell me that?” “And miss an opportunity to help a pretty lady?” The teasing light in his eyes was back. He tucked a strand of curling dark hair behind her ear and let his fingertips trail down her neck, making her skin tingle in their wake. “You’re just flattering me.” God help her, she loved it. She preened like a cat being stroked. Any second now she’d be purring. “It’s not flattery if it’s true.” He sounded sincere. She didn’t know what to say. This man wasn’t Fabio. He didn’t even know she had any money so how could he be after it? “And…” His voice dropped to a low rumble. “I liked the way you ordered me around.” Oh. The veiled sexual implications did funny things to her stomach. Made her think of a thousand possibilities. A slow smile curled her lips. “I’ve had a lot of experience at that.” “Interesting.” He placed his hands on either side of her, trapping her with her back to the counter. His eyes were only inches away, bright blue with flecks of navy. Mesmerizing. “Have dinner with me. After we eat you could tell me what to do some more.” “I…I can’t.” Was she holding her breath? Was that why she couldn’t breathe? “Why?” A million reasons. She was busy with the launch. She was still hurting and humiliated. She had no intention of starting something when she was only here for a brief period, no matter how much he stirred her blood or made her feel alive. But with Luke’s breath fanning her forehead and the heat from his body warming her even though they weren’t touching, reason wasn’t the strongest force operating inside her right now. Just a fling, a little voice whispered in her head. You’re only here for a week. You’re virtually anonymous. No one will know, or care when it’s over. Luke would be fun, uncomplicated. An antidote to her self-doubt after Fabio.