From the author of Good Girl Gone Bad comes the sizzling tale of an undercover cop who shows a little skin to get in with the mob — and the sexy mafia princess who gets in the way....
Curvaceous and feisty, Francesca Donatello is the owner of Skin, an upscale woman's magazine and her pride and joy. To boost sales, she's decided to feature a smoldering male centerfold in each issue — even though it was once forbidden by her rigid father, a recently murdered mob boss. He always doubted her ability as a businesswoman, and now Francesca is even more determined to succeed. So when she meets sexy, charismatic model Reese Barrett, she knows he is perfect, and perfectly chiseled, for the job.
From the moment Reese sheds his clothes for the photo shoot, business becomes pleasure, and both are overcome with unadulterated desire for each other. But what Francesca doesn't realize is that Reese is a cop who's using her to infiltrate the Donatello family and find out who murdered her father. Even she is a suspect. But it soon becomes apparent that someone wants Francesca as dead as her father. As they dodge bullets and bodies Francesca and Reese shed secrets and inhibitions — and learn that they must trust each other to survive.
Read an Excerpt
“I beg your pardon?”
“Drop your drawers, take off your clothes, get naked.”
Reese hesitated. The woman sitting behind the desk stood, the movement slow and fluid. Her expression, though, screamed impatience.
“Look…” She glanced at the file he’d handed her when he was ushered into her office. “Reese, Skin is an upscale chick rag. How the hell can I tell if you have the goods if I don’t see them first?”
He’d never been shy about shucking his clothes for a woman, but he’d never been commanded to do it in the middle of the day in the downtown office of a very attractive and very irritated female. He stood.
Miss Donatello had legs long enough to wrap around him twice and a waist he bet he could span with his hands. Her full breasts bobbed in rhythmic sensuality with her every move under the fitted white shirt. His gaze dipped lower, admiring the way her black leather skirt hugged her lush ass like a second skin. His taste usually ran to tall, lithe women, but this voluptuous drink of water would quench his thirst any day. He warmed to his assignment.
“Reese, I’m a very busy lady, I need to see your package, now.” Her eyes narrowed. “If you can’t drop your drawers for me now, how the hell are you going to drop them for my camera?”
Too much was riding on him being picked as Skin’s first centerfold.
He grinned, a rare gesture given his generally antisocial demeanor. He’d gladly reveal more skin than she could handle. Slowly, he unbuttoned his 501s, his eyes catching her hazel ones.
Reese held her gaze as he slid the denim down his thighs, his muscles slowing the process. Like a stunned rabbit, her nostrils flared. He knew she was more than curious. His eyes continued to hold hers, daring her to look before he was ready to extend an invitation. He’d lay odds she didn’t normally allow a model to control the show-and-tell stage of this type of interview. His black boxer briefs followed his jeans to his knees. Reese grinned big.
Warily, Frankie’s eyes dipped. She gasped, for a moment unable to control her female response to his male. Her reaction was one of basic attraction, and she was having a hell of a time breathing normally. She’d seen a lot of the male anatomy in her business and more cocks in the last twenty-four hours than she could count, but she’d never seen a package this beautiful, this complete, and never so eager to salute her. The models she’d interviewed the previous day and this morning shriveled up in shyness. Not so this guy. She racked her brain for his name. She was lousy with names. Oh, yeah, Reese.
She cleared her throat. “Nice salute you have there, sailor.” Leaning a hip against the edge of her desk, she crossed her arms over her chest. She wanted to touch him, to see if his tan skin was as warm as she suspected. His erection bobbed and she wondered what he was thinking.
Collecting herself, she pursed her lips. Resisting the urge to smile, Frankie silently thanked God for this blessing. “I’m so glad you’re not gay.”
“What makes you so sure?”
Frankie laughed and cocked a brow, inclining her head toward his impressive erection. “The fact that you haven’t shriveled up or failed to rise to the occasion.” Her eyes locked with his. “And the fact that your boy there keeps growing.”
“He likes what he sees.”
Her skin warmed, and while she didn’t want to admit it, she was glad on a personal level he was very obviously heterosexual. She allowed her eyes to ravage the smooth, hard planes of his belly and lower to the smooth thickness sprouting from his thighs.
He would do very nicely for what she had in mind.
“Well, tell your little man the only job he’s being interviewed for is to perform for my camera. Nothing more.”
But Frankie began to think she did want more. She knew if she touched him he would be warm, and she’d feel the thick surge of blood course through him. She squirmed in her heels and quelled the urge to brush her fingertips down his shaft. This was business, and with the one exception she’d paid dearly for, she made it a hard and fast rule not to touch the models, except to position them on a shoot.
“Is there a hands-on segment to this audition?”
His deep, husky voice sent chills cascading along her neck. The guy had trouble stamped all over his arrogant face.
She nodded. “Maybe. Let’s see what you have upstairs.”
He cocked a dark brow. She smiled when he pulled his form-fitting black T-shirt over his head. “You learn quick, sailor.”
His chest was almost as irresistible as his astute cock. Hard, defined, tan. Several pale slash-mark scars tattooed one side of his rib cage. Her imagination ran wild with scenarios of how they got there. Instead of detracting from his maleness, they intensified it.
Thick arms rippled with the slightest movement, his biceps bouncing softly as he smoothed his dark brown hair back into place with both hands. She swallowed hard, the image of his arms up over his shoulders, his chest flexed, and his cock growing inches by the second burning in her memory banks. Warmth infiltrated the moist spot between her thighs. Dormant desire roused deep inside her. Crap. She might run a skin rag for chicks, but she wasn’t one to sleep around, especially with her models. Goose bumps coursed down her arms. Even if she was attracted to this guy, she wouldn’t go down that road with him. One time had been more than enough. Since the Sean incident two years ago, her knees were welded together when it came to mixing business with the obvious pleasure Reese was capable of giving.
“Do I muster up?”
She gave in to a rare smile. Crossing her arms over her chest, Frankie slowly walked around him. “Very nice glutes.” He did have a fine ass. Smooth, muscular cheeks screamed for her hand to test their hardness.
“How’d you get the scars on your chest?”
“Old girlfriend. Really sharp nails.”
“Are you Italian?”
“I am if you want some Italian in you.”
Frankie gasped. “For someone who’s looking for work, you sure are cocky.” She snorted. “Pun intended.”
She grabbed a digital camera off her desk, focused, and began clicking. As she worked her way back to the most excellent front view of this man, she knew even though she had more to interview, this was the man to launch her magazine into the ranks of Playgirl. He was perfect. He had an edge to his features that inspired women to want to tame him. His tan skin and deep-set crystal-blue eyes contrasted, giving him the predatory look of a lone wolf. A faint, thin scar ran behind his right ear down his throat, stopping just above his collarbone, giving him an air of danger. She needed to capture that danger on film and sell it to delirious women across the country. Her smile widened behind the camera.
His body spoke for itself. She could see the handwriting on the wall. The entire staff would want to be in on his photo sessions. An idea sparked. They’d go with location shots. A day in the life of Mr. Skin. She quickly warmed to the idea, then scowled. Time was limited and his agent wanted top dollar — she was short on both. Unk had hinted there were some accounting issues; so had her father the day before he died.
Her lips drew into a firm line. Since her father’s death two weeks prior, she’d been off balance, unsure — afraid. The turmoil in her personal life and here at Skin sent her control-freak nature into a tailspin. Yesterday, her first day back at the office, she’d forced herself to produce and not lament what she could not change. And the winds of change blew hot and heavy through the family. She always knew her family was dysfunctional, but now they were downright scary.
A shiver skittered across her skin, and her belly flip-flopped. Papa was dead now and playing the rebellious daughter was a moot point. But God, how she wanted to best him, to prove to him she had what it took to be involved in the family business, to change his perception of her after the Sean debacle. Now she couldn’t, damn it, and worse, their last words to each other were harsh.
Frankie shook off the malaise. She had a job to do. Pushing past the pain, she gave Reese her undivided attention. She focused and shot, getting every conceivable angle she could of the man who would launch Skin into the stratosphere.
“Tell me about your last job,” Frankie said, working her way around him, taking advantage of every angle.
“I spent the last few months in Europe. I did a spread for Mercedes, then hung around and soaked up the local culture.”
She bet he soaked up more than historical landmarks. And bet he didn’t do it alone.
“Why come back?”
“I need cash.”
“You want more cash than I can afford.”
“I’m worth it.”
For a brief moment Frankie lowered the camera. Her eyes swept him his from boots to the top of his head. He was worth more.
“I have a budget.”
“Once my issue comes out, you won’t have to worry about budgets.”
Raising the camera, she smiled. She would always worry about budgets. For all of her father’s money, he was frugal when it came to business. What would Papa do?
Emotion welled when she thought of him. She had so much she wanted to prove to him. So much to make up. She’d not only lost what little respect her father had given her as a businesswoman, but she had become the laughingstock of the family — proving once again that women were not worthy of the same respect as the male family members. The hot sting of tears caught her off guard. The trauma of the last two weeks caught up with her, realization hitting her hard. She was on her own now, in more ways than just business. She took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. A deep chuckle jerked her out of her musings.
“I have to admit, you’re the first, Miss Donatello.”
Lowering the camera, her eyes focused on Reese. “First what?”
“The first woman I’ve brought to tears without laying a finger on her.”
Her eyes narrowed and warning bells sounded. The man was too intense, too bold, too distracting. She’d worked with models like him before. She didn’t play well with other dominant personalities. Was he worth the hassle and the money? She had a tight window…