SEDUCED BY THE HERO (NOVEMBER 2015)
Perfection in every kiss…
After a decade abroad, international playboy Immanuel Morretti is ready to reunite with his family and share the good life with that one special woman. When he rescues Dionne Fontaine from a dangerous attacker, he knows in his heart that he’s found her. Despite the desire igniting between them, the self-made Southern beauty refuses to take their sizzling affair to the next level.
With her life-coaching center taking off, Dionne is poised for game-changing success. Then this dashing, sensuous man comes into her life and his tenderness and passion tempt her to believe in happy endings. From Atlanta to Seattle to Venice, Immanuel showers her with romantic dinners and intimate nights beyond her wildest dreams. But explosive secrets from their pasts could sabotage their thrilling vision of love…and a future together…
Immanuel Morretti picked up his energy drink, and took a swig from the can. He glanced at his Rolex watch, and frowned. Mrs. Fontaine usually worked until six o’clock, but it was seven forty-five and he still hadn’t seen any signs of her. Stretching, he leaned back in his seat, and drummed his fingers absently on the steering wheel. Minutes later, the lights went out in Pathways Center, and the front door opened.
And, there she was. The most beautiful women he’d ever seen: Dionne Amaal Fontaine. Immanuel bolted upright, and peered through the windshield. The sidewalk was her stage, her own personal runway, and as she strode towards the parking lot, with the air and confidence of Miss Universe, desire shot through his veins.
His temperature soared to unimaginable heights. An erection grew inside his jeans. Immanuel was so aroused, so turned-on by the sight of her explicit thoughts crowded his mind. Thoughts of kissing her, caressing her, and ripping the clothes off her sexy, curvy body. It happened every time he saw Mrs. Fontaine. His physical reaction to her embarrassed him, made him feel like a pubescent kid, rather than a thirty-nine-year-old man worth millions.
As he watched her, the Italian word, sinuoso, came to mind, and fell from his lips. It meant to walk in a fluid, attractive way, and Dionne moved seamlessly, with a grace all her own. Every hair was in place, and her milk-white coat and black pants suit made her look glamorous. He found it hard to believe she was thirty-five-years-old. She had the youth and vitality of a college aged woman, and the taut, toned shape to match.
Images of Dionne, clad in a purple mesh top, and spandex shorts were engraved in his mind. Four mornings a week, Dionne took a spin class, and watching her at the small, downtown studio was the highlight of his day. The master life coach was exactly his type—strong, independent, vivacious—but she was a diva. Someone who yearned for fame and fortune, and he was through hooking up with shallow, materialistic woman obsessed with the high-life. And besides, she belongs to another man. My client.
His eyes trailed her every move. Does she ever have a body on her. Petite, with creamy mocha skin, almond-shaped eyes, and righteous curves it was no surprise that everyone on the sidewalk stopped to stare. Her scarlet lips made her mouth look tempting, inviting, and thoughts of kissing her ruled his mind.
Knock it off, chastised his conscience. Dionne’s married to Jules Fontaine—a man who could ruin you in this town—and if you ever cross the line you’ll regret it.
Immanuel nodded to himself, knew it was true, but continued admiring the Somalian-born beauty with the exotic look. Dionne had her briefcase in one hand, her purse in the other, and her cell phone pressed to her ear. What else was new? She was addicted to her iPhone, and couldn’t go five seconds without checking it—
You’re a fine one to talk, argued his inner voice. Last Easter, your cell rang during Holy Communion at the Venice Cathedral, and you had the nerve to answer it.
Curious, he cocked an eyebrow. Immanuel wondered who Dionne was talking to. It was someone special. Had to be. Her eyes were bright, and her smile was radiant. Was her lover on the phone? The man her ex was convinced she was having an affair with? Immanuel hadn’t found any evidence of her infidelity, and suspected Mr. Fontaine was wrong about his estranged wife being promiscuous. She worked non-stop, even on weekends, and spent her free time at home—alone —not in bars and nightclubs.
Dionne stopped at the rear of her Lexus, and popped open the trunk. Immanuel put on his seat belt, and turned on the ignition. He didn’t want to lose her in the parking lot, and reminded himself to follow from a distance as she exited the plaza. His cell rang, and he glanced down at the center console. His grandmother’s phone number appeared on the screen. But he didn’t have time to shoot the breeze, so he decided to let the call go to voicemail.
Immanuel looked up, just in time to see, a short figure, clad in dark clothes approach Dionne. He scanned the man’s face. The stranger had a desperate look in his eyes, a wild crazed expression that was frightening, but Dionne was too busy talking on the phone to notice. He was pale, whiter than Casper the Friendly Ghost, and built like a defensive lineman. Immanuel read him like a book, sized him up in ten seconds flat. The guy was a thug, a no-good punk who’d rather rob, than work, the most dangerous type of criminal. Immanuel had to act fast.
Sensing what was about to happen, he threw open his car door, and took off running across the parking lot. The cold, autumn wind sliced through his black, button-down shirt, chilling his body to the bone, but he didn’t stop. Couldn’t. It was a matter of life and death, and he had to reach Dionne before the bastard attacked her, or worse tried to kidnap her.
His breathing was heavy, ragged, and his heart was beating out of control. Feeling a surge of adrenaline, Immanuel ran faster, harder. Bent on reaching her, he dodged cars, and wide-eyed strangers as he raced through the parking lot.
Immanuel heard Dionne scream, watched in horror as the man grabbed her, and shook her violently. His stomach fell, plunged to his feet, and anger shot through his veins. What happened next stunned him, made Immanuel think he was seeing things, dreaming even. Dionne didn’t comply with her assailant’s demands, instead deciding to fight back. Kicked, punched, scratched at the stranger’s eyes and face.
“Stop!” Immanuel shouted. “Get away from her! Let her go!”
The stranger knocked Dionne to the ground, grabbed her purse, and jumped into her car. Seconds later, he started the engine, and sped out of the parking lot in her silver SUV.
Immanuel wanted to chase him down, and kick his ass for assaulting a defenseless woman, but he couldn’t leave Dionne alone. He didn’t stop running until he reached her side. She was unconscious, lying motionless on the ground. Her face was swollen, her bottom lip was cut, and her designer clothes were stained with dirt.
Struggling to catch his breath, Immanuel dropped to his knees, gathered Dionne in his arms, and searched the parking lot for help.