Dark Venetian

Dark Venetian
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Mills & Boon are excited to present The Anne Mather Collection – the complete works by this classic author made available to download for the very first time! These books span six decades of a phenomenal writing career, and every story is available to read unedited and untouched from their original release.Emma’s visit to Venice was as eventful as it was unexpected. She ought to have known that her stepmother never did anything except for purely selfish reasons, and even a holiday in a sumptuous palazzo could not compensate Emma for heartache that followed.For her stepmother was intent on marrying the magnetically attractive Count Vidal Cesare, the impoverished lord of the palazzo, for the sole purpose of adding a title to her wealth.Only now it was doubtful whether the Count could sacrifice everything for money. Especially with the physical attraction he obviously felt for Emma simmering between them…

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Mills & Boon is proud to present a fabulous

collection of fantastic novels by bestselling, much loved author ANNE MATHER

Anne has a stellar record of achievement within the

publishing industry, having written over one hundred and sixty books, with worldwide sales of more than forty-eight MILLION copies in multiple languages.

This amazing collection of classic stories offers a chance

for readers to recapture the pleasure Anne’s powerful, passionate writing has given.

We are sure you will love them all!

I’ve always wanted to write—which is not to say I’ve always wanted to be a professional writer. On the contrary, for years I only wrote for my own pleasure and it wasn’t until my husband suggested sending one of my stories to a publisher that we put several publishers’ names into a hat and pulled one out. The rest, as they say, is history. And now, one hundred and sixty-two books later, I’m literally—excuse the pun— staggered by what’s happened.

I had written all through my infant and junior years and on into my teens, the stories changing from children’s adventures to torrid gypsy passions. My mother used to gather these manuscripts up from time to time, when my bedroom became too untidy, and dispose of them! In those days, I used not to finish any of the stories and Caroline, my first published novel, was the first I’d ever completed. I was newly married then and my daughter was just a baby, and it was quite a job juggling my household chores and scribbling away in exercise books every chance I got. Not very professional, as you can imagine, but that’s the way it was.

These days, I have a bit more time to devote to my work, but that first love of writing has never changed. I can’t imagine not having a current book on the typewriter—yes, it’s my husband who transcribes everything on to the computer. He’s my partner in both life and work and I depend on his good sense more than I care to admit.

We have two grown-up children, a son and a daughter, and two almost grown-up grandchildren, Abi and Ben. My e-mail address is [email protected] and I’d be happy to hear from any of my wonderful readers.

Dark Venetian

Anne Mather


THE man climbed silently out of the water, his tight black rubber suit gleaming wetly, like sealskin, in the pale light of a waning moon. He stood motionless for a moment, listening but the only sound was the gentle lap-lap of the water against the sides of the cemented wharf. He looked down at the murky depths of the canal, and half-smiled to himself, before melting back into the shadows, seeking the darkness of the warehouse behind him. The warehouse was filled with crates of fruit, waiting to be loaded in the morning, and there was the sweet smell of fruit and wooden packing cases, which banished the kind of damp atmosphere present in the building.

The man strode behind a pile of crates, removing his goggles and breathing apparatus, and stripping off the skin-fitting suit expertly. In a matter of seconds he had bundled his gear into an empty guitar case, all except the oxygen tanks which were concealed under some bagging. Then he slid his arms into the jacket of the lounge suit he was wearing, deliberately fastening his tie with studied movements, mentally slowing himself down. Then, he emerged, the guitar case in his hand, a cigarette between his lips.

He opened the door of the warehouse silently, glanced once up and down the deserted wharf before stepping out and closing the door behind him. He walked easily away along the quay, his footsteps masked by rubber-soled shoes.

Count Vidal Cesare climbed negligently out of the gondola, paid the gondolier, and walked indolently across the landing stage to the pillared gateway of the courtyard of the Palazzo Cesare.

A faint pink glow on the horizon heralded the dawn of a new day, gilding the many spires and campaniles of the city, turning the waterways from grey to pink. A muted murmur in the distance, and the city was slowly coming to life; soon the canals would teem with craft of all kinds, gondolas, motoscafi (motorboats) and the small steamboats called vaporetti which ferried you to your hotel if you were a visitor arriving at the railway station on the Grand Canal.

But to Count Cesare the city was his home, and he had long since explored every inch of it from the Doge’s Palace to the little known church of San Francesco della Vigna.

The Palazzo Cesare was built round three sides of the small courtyard into which Count Cesare entered now, but the courtyard had been left untended for so long that it was encrusted with moss and weeds, and climbing plants ran riot over the grey stone walls.

The façade of the Palazzo was still intact, and still maintained some of the glory of a bygone age. Typically Venetian in design, its loggias were laced with openwork carvings, and had at one time been gilded although much of this now had worn away. Yet it was still imposing and could have been vastly renovated to its earlier glories had the Cesare family remained as affluent as their ancestors.

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