Today I’m posting an excerpt as Nicola Marsh is one of the Small Blogs, Big Giveaways featured author!
This is the Chapter One from an upcoming release, SEX, GOSSIP & ROCK & ROLL (Harlequin Presents Extra, USA Oct 2011)!
Charli loathed babysitting.
Not that she had anything against kids, per se, but having her boss’s grandson tag along on Storm Varth’s comeback tour sucked.
As if minding the wild rock star wasn’t bad enough, she had to worry about Luca Petrelli watching her every move.
Stabbing at the elevator button, she glanced around the lobby of Melbourne’s Crown Towers, the familiar muted golds and warm browns exuding class and sophistication.
She practically lived in this hotel with the number of international musos and rock-stars that stayed here. And where Landry Records stars stayed, she’d be there, catering to their every whim.
It was what she did best: pamper visiting rock royalty, arrange VIP services, guarantee every second of every itinerary ran like clockwork.
She thrived on it; the buzz, the rush, the pressure of ensuring the plans she put into place ran smoothly.
Nothing fazed her. Not anymore.
Stepping into the elevator, she glanced at her watch and grimaced. Luca Petrelli better be ready and waiting when she knocked on his door, or else.
She’d co-ordinated their departure and arrival time between here and Ballarat to the last second. Storm’s tour bus had just taken off and while the surly rock star had demanded he not be approached until morning, she wanted to ensure his arrival at the first stop of his country Victorian tour went off without a hitch.
She had things to do and no-one, not even some notorious slack-arse playboy, would slow her down.
As the elevator doors soundlessly slid open, she smoothed down her favourite aubergine skirt, adjusted her jacket and stepped out, a quick glance at the numbers on the wall sending her right.
She marched up the long corridor, her impatience growing with every step.
She’d do anything for Hector Landry, CEO of Australia’s biggest recording label, but when her boss and mentor had sprung the surprise of Luca’s unwelcome presence on her a few hours ago, she’d almost balked.
Okay, so she’d been a little harsh in labelling his presence babysitting some idle playboy. Apparently the infamous Luca Petrelli had been dragged away from the French Riviera and the parties in Rio de Janeiro as a favour to Hector, who’d just fired his top financier and needed a quickie replacement on this tour.
Enter one recalcitrant playboy who flaunted his charms from one end of the globe to another. The fact he used his public profile to raise money for charities only served to raise her suspicions.
If the guy hadn’t been near his grandfather in the last ten years, what the hell was he doing here now?
She stopped outside the suite and knocked, quickly relaxing her face into neutral. This was a job, just like any other she’d done for Hector and she had no right to second guess her boss or the rationale behind his flaky grandson’s visit.
However, as the door swung open and she caught her first glimpse of Luca Petrelli, she knew this was no ordinary job.
“You look disappointed,” he drawled, holding the door open with one hand, leaning against the jamb with the other, naked from the waist up.
She didn’t dare glance down to assess the rest of the situation, though as a jumble of emotions tumbled through Charli disappointment wasn’t one of them.
She’d seen pictures of Luca in magazines, taking time to politely glance at the odd snapshot Hector would point out to her. The pride in Hector’s voice had always grated. How could he be proud of a layabout grandson who never visited let alone acknowledged he existed?
So while she’d glanced at those pictures she’d never really looked at them, had the impression of a tallish guy with too-long hair, too much stubble and too many bimbos.
The reality was far different.
He’d cut his hair, dark caramel curls spiking in all directions, he’d shaved and there wasn’t a busty Botoxed blonde in sight.
“Disappointed?” she managed to mutter when he cocked an eyebrow, her silence and none-too-subtle stares earning her a lazy grin. A lazy, sexy grin that made her whimper inside.
“That I’m not a rock star.”
“No chance of confusing you for a rock star.”
Her gaze reluctantly dropped to his chest and she struggled not to gasp. Broad, bronze, beautifully sculpted, the guy was nothing like the emaciated, pale stars she’d come across.
The rock stars she managed were nocturnal creatures, at ease in the darkness of smoky clubs and dark stages, chain-smoking to ease nerves, or worse.
No way could Luca Petrelli in all his six-four bronze-ness be mistaken for a washed-out rocker.
Leaning against the door frame, he smiled, and she could’ve sworn the whimper turned to a roar.
“Why’s that? Don’t I look the part?”
Despite every self preservation mechanism telling her not to look down, her gaze travelled from his chest lower and she exhaled in relief when she spied a towel. A towel loosely knotted in front. Where she may have glimpsed movement…
Heat surged to her cheeks, scorching a few choice parts in her body along the way and she focussed on his face.
The body was bad enough. Combined with the slashed cheekbones, cut jaw and dark blue eyes the colour of Melbourne’s night sky, the guy should be branded illegal.
Quelling the urge to turn and run, she frowned. “You’re not dressed.”
Her heart leaped at the wicked glint in his eyes and she slapped it down.
“Because if the towel’s a problem, I could lose it—”
“I’ll give you five minutes.”
As he leaned forward, a tantalising blend of expensive toiletries and freshly showered male washed over her, undermining her anger.
The guy was a player. He flirted for a living. So why was she tempted to broach the short distance between them, bury her nose in the crook of his neck and inhale deeply.
“Just do it,” she said, annoyed by the slightest quiver in her voice. “We have to hit the road.”
He shrugged and turned away as she gaped at his insolence. Not that it stopped her watching him stride across the room, the thick white bath sheet draped provocatively low on his hips, clinging to his butt with every tempting step.
The man was a menace.
Whatever she’d expected, this wasn’t it.
Luca Petrelli in the flesh was a lot more disarming, a lot more charming, than she’d expected. And the fact she hadn’t had a date in ages went a long way to explaining why her hormones were shimmying along behind him, tugging at that damn towel.
He paused at the bathroom door and she quickly glanced up. Not quick enough if his smug grin was any indication.
“You’ve misjudged me.”
“You don’t think I have what it takes to be a rock star?”
He pointed to the towel and smirked. “You should see my tat.”
In her imagination, her traitorous hormones couldn’t rip the towel off him quick enough.
In reality, she turned her back on his chuckles and prayed for immunity against rogue playboy charmers.
October 4th 2011 by Harlequin
Backstage Pass In all her time as premier tour manager to Australia’s stars, Charli Chambers has never had someone as infuriating – or delectable! – as successful businessman Luca Petrelli along for the ride. He might always be in the gossip columns, but there’s no way she’s letting him claim VIP status! But Luca’s wicked eyes are just too tempting…In spite of herself Charli’s soon attending after-parties – just for two. She wants to believe this is one duet that’s about to go platinum, but in spite of Luca being unprintably good in bed can she ever get close enough to the real Luca for their fling to be more than just a one-hit wonder?
Backstage Pass In all her time as premier tour manager to Australia’s stars, Charli Chambers has never had someone as infuriating – or delectable! – as successful businessman Luca Petrelli along for the ride. He might always be in the gossip columns, but there’s no way she’s letting him claim VIP status! But Luca’s wicked eyes are just too tempting… In spite of herself Charli’s soon attending after-parties – just for two.
She wants to believe this is one duet that’s about to go platinum, but in spite of Luca being unprintably good in bed can she ever get close enough to the real Luca for their fling to be more than just a one-hit wonder?
Where you can find more about Nicola Marsh: