Today the Smuteketeers are thrilled to welcome the fabulous Lauren Hawkeye! Lauren has just released A BRIDE FOR A BILLIONAIRE, the first novel in her anxiously awaited New Adult series A Virgin, A Billionaire and a Marriage, and she’s given us an exclusive excerpt for our readers! Lauren is also holding a contest just for Smutketeers and giving away a $25 gift card, so keep reading after the excerpt for your chance to win.
For fans of Cruel Intentions and Dangerous Liaisons…
Matteo Benenati has spent his life wrapped in wealth and privilege. He is shallow, selfish, jaded—and he likes it that way.
When bold American art student Riley Tremaine crashes into his life, her light forces him to examine the dark places inside of his soul, the ones he thought he’d buried with his father. He knows he should let her go… but he’s never claimed to be a good man.
When Matteo is pitted against his unscrupulous stepsister Emilia Guerra in a bid for his late father’s empire, he must decide between honor and vice. In need of a wife—and desperate to possess her—Matteo makes Riley an offer she can’t refuse. She will be his bride—in every meaning of the word—so that he can protect his legacy.
But Matteo soon learns that Emilia’s soul is darker even than his own. And by marrying Riley, he has made her a pawn in a power struggle that could shatter their world.
Smutketeers Exclusive Excerpt:
“Before you make up another reason that you should go, perhaps you will think rationally about how you are feeling.” He places his glass on the table, looks me over with those rum colored eyes. They’re fringed by dark lashes that any woman would kill for. “Tell me. And don’t lie. I will know.”
As I meet his stare, I feel a jolt of heat pass through me. I think that I’m imagining it—though he is everything that I’d ever daydreamed of for a wild Italian fling—the sober set of his face makes me think that maybe, just maybe, I’m not.
“Tell me.” The intensity in his eyes, on his face, tells me that I don’t actually have any choice but to do as he says… this is not a man who will be refused. I part my lips to answer, and his gaze tracks the movement, making me feel like he’s the lion and I’m the gazelle… and that I’m about to become his dinner.
In a sexy kinda way.
“I… my shoulder hurts.” I hate admitting the weakness, but I’m not entirely sure what he’d do if I lied.
As it is, he nods, seeming satisfied with my answer. “That’s what happens when you jump in front of a knife.”
“Hey.” My brow furrows as I glare at him. “How dare—”
“Can I have anything brought to you?” He continues on as though I haven’t said a word, and I stare at him, astonished. His choice of words hasn’t escaped me either… not can I bring you anything, but can I have anything brought to you.
Matteo Benenati is clearly a man who is used to having whatever he wants, just as he seems like he’s incapable of accepting the word no. It’s so different from my existence that I literally cannot fathom living that way.
My spine stiffens; the stitches in my shoulder pull my skin tight and I wince.
In an instant Matteo leans forward in his chair, his expression concerned.
“Drink.” Unceremoniously he shoves his snifter in my face, moving so quickly that I have no choice but to take it.
The liquid pretty, a dark brownish gold. Warily I sniff at it, then wrinkle my nose.
“It stinks.” No way I’m drinking this. “It smells like iodine.”
“That’s the peat.” Raising an eyebrow at me, he sits back in his chair, the lord at his leisure. In contrast I feel… plebeian. Like a servant girl, unused to the riches that surround me.
I don’t care for that feeling at all, and as if arguing with it, I press the chilled glass to my lips and take a tiny sip, letting the liquid spread out over my tongue.
It’s a mistake. Once the medicinal flavor passes, flowing down my throat, I taste a hint of something warm, salty and sweet. Him, his imprint left behind on the glass.
My eyes meet his over the edge of the glass, and once again I get the sensation that I am prey.
“You’re quite beautiful, you know.” Damn that sexy accent. I should be used to hearing the lovely lilt and flow of the Italian tongue by now… but when uttered in a dark, dangerous tone, it seems that I’m done for.
He shifts in his chair, and his scent again reaches me. My hormones stand up and pay attention, even as warning bells start to clang in my head.
Danger, Will Robinson.
But even though I know I’m at a distinct disadvantage—I’m half naked, injured, in a strange place—I find myself leaning toward him, a magnet pulling me closer.
“Yes, quite beautiful. And am I correct in assuming that you are also broke?”
“What?” I rear back as though he’s slapped me. My mind reels. “Where the hell did you get that idea?”
He merely raises an eyebrow, and I can feel my temper begin to lick along my skin.
“Whatever you’re getting at, it’s not happening.” Damn it, I’m seriously pissed at him, but at the same time, my body is not at all pleased with this pronouncement. “I told you I didn’t want medical attention, or any of this, and you did it anyway. I don’t owe you anything.” I flap my hand in the general direction of the room, so he knows what I’m referring to.
And the bastard simply smiles at my anger, which only serves to infuriate me more. “I’m not asking you to have sex with me.”