The Undoing of de Luca

The Undoing of de Luca
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The undressing of an innocent…In theory, Ellery Dunant is the last woman you’d expect to find on world-renowned playboy Larenz de Luca’s ‘To Bed’ list. Ellery has met Larenz’s type before. There’s no way a stallion like him would be interested in a plain-Jane housekeeper like her…So why does Larenz find himself risking his cool and dropping his guard to spend the night with her? The undoing of the playboy… Just one night…but for Larenz it turns out to be not enough. Is his unworldly housekeeper going to be his undoing?

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Larenz let out a sigh. Yet even as his body tingled and remembered and longed for more, his mind was listing reasons to walk away from Ellery Dunant right now.

Tonight had been a mistake. He chose his bed partners carefully, made sure they knew exactly what to expect from him: nothing. Yet Ellery had given herself—her innocence—to him. Larenz turned away from the window, unable to deal with the scalding sense of shame that poured through him. He didn’t bed virgins. He didn’t break their hearts.

Larenz had no intention of sticking around for Ellery Dunant to fall in love with him. Larenz knew that happy endings like the one Ellery was undoubtedly envisaging didn’t exist. He knew it from the hard reality of his own life, his own disappointments…and he had no intention of experiencing that kind of rejection again.

Yet even as he made those resolutions Larenz couldn’t quite keep his mind from picturing Ellery’s violet eyes, his body from remembering how soft and silken she’d felt in his arms. And he couldn’t keep both his mind and body from wanting more.

The Undoing of de Luca


KATE HEWITT discovered her first Mills & Boon® romance on a trip to England when she was thirteen, and she’s continued to read them ever since. She wrote her first story at the age of five, simply because her older brother had written one and she thought she could do it too. That story was one sentence long—fortunately they’ve become a bit more detailed as she’s grown older. She has written plays, short stories, and magazine serials for many years, but writing romance remains her first love. Besides writing, she enjoys reading, travelling, and learning to knit.

After marrying the man of her dreams—her older brother’s childhood friend—she lived in England for six years, and now resides in Connecticut with her husband, her three young children, and the possibility of one day getting a dog. Kate loves to hear from readers—you can contact her through her website:

Chapter One

HER eyes, he decided, were the most amazing shade of lavender. The colour of a bruise.

‘Larenz, did you hear a word I was saying?’

Reluctantly, Larenz de Luca pulled his fascinated gaze from the face of the waitress and turned back to his dining partner. Despite his growing interest in the lovely young woman who had served him his soup, he couldn’t fathom why his head of PR had brought him to this manor house. The place was a wreck.

Amelie Weyton drummed her glossy French-manicured nails on the polished surface of the antique dining table, which looked as if it could serve at least twenty, although there were only the two of them seated there now. ‘Really, I think this place is perfect.’

Amused, Larenz let his gaze slide back to the waitress. ‘Yes,’ he murmured, ‘I quite agree.’ He glanced down at the bowl of soup she had placed in front of him. It was the colour of fresh cream with just a hint of gold and a faint scent of rosemary. He dipped in his spoon. Cream of parsnip. Delicious.

Amelie drummed her fingernails again; Larenz saw a tiny crescent-shaped divot appear on the glossy surface of the table. From the corner of his eye, he saw the waitress flinch but when he looked up her face was carefully expressionless, just as it had been since he’d arrived at Maddock Manor an hour ago. Larenz could tell she didn’t like him.

He’d seen it the moment he had crossed the threshold. Lady Maddock’s eyes had narrowed and her nostrils had flared even as she’d smiled in welcome. Now her violet gaze swept over him in one quick and quelling glance, and Larenz could tell she was not impressed. The thought amused him.

He was used to assessing people, sizing them up and deciding whether they were useful or not. It was how he’d fought his way up to run his own highly successful business; it was how he stayed on top. And while Lady Maddock may have decided he was an untitled, moneyed nobody, he was beginning to think she was very interesting indeed. And possibly very…useful…as well.

In bed.

‘You haven’t even seen the grounds yet,’ Amelie continued. She took a tiny sip of soup; Larenz knew she wouldn’t eat more than a bite or two of the three-course meal Lady Maddock had prepared for them. Ellery Dunant was cook, waitress and chatelaine of Maddock Manor. It must gall her terribly to wait on them, Larenz thought with cynical amusement. Or, perhaps, on anyone. Both he and Amelie had acquired plenty of polish but they were still untitled, the dreaded nouveau riche, and, no matter how much money you had, nothing could quite clean the stink of the slum from you. He knew it well.

‘The grounds?’ he repeated, arching an eyebrow. ‘Are they really so spectacular?’ He heard the mocking incredulity in his own voice and, from the way he saw Ellery flinch out of the corner of his eye, he knew she had heard it, too.

Amelie gave a sharp little laugh. ‘I don’t know if spectacular is really the word. But it will be perfect—’ Her soup forgotten, she’d propped her elbows on the table—Amelie had never quite learned her manners—and now gestured wildly with her hands, knocking her wine glass onto the ancient and rather threadbare Oriental carpet.

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