Mastering her to keep her safe. London, 1996 Alessandro Maderno is out for revenge. He arranges to meet with a man who will give him a tape containing enough evidence to secure the arrest and downfall of Maderno’s Mafia grandfather, Vadala, who is over zealous in attempting to bring him back in to the family fold to be his successor.

But Alessandro’s plans are thwarted when he is caught up in an explosion caused by the environmental terrorists, Voice of the Earth. He helps a beautiful young surgeon, Giselle Balmain while she tries to save his dying informant. Unable to find the evidence on the man’s dead body, Alessandro knows he must have given it to Giselle. Before he can stop her taking the tape to the police and retrieve it, they are chased though the damaged streets of London by his grandfather’s men determined to destroy the evidence.

Giselle finds herself falling quickly for Alessandro who will stop at nothing to get the tape, protect her from Vadala and take her to his bed. But she is equally determined to get the tape to the police and help bring the terrorists to justice. Forced to go on the run when she is falsely accused of working for the terrorist group, Giselle has no choice but to take refuge with Alessandro and the Mafia where she is forced to surrender to his dominant control of her life. A passionate affair between the two erupts putting both of their lives in danger as Giselle fights to stop the group carrying out their act. She discovers there is more to her protector than he is allowing her to see and although he assures her he wishes to keep her safe by his side, she can’t help wondering if her love for him will be the death of her.

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“Where is the tape?” he demanded.

His question was met with silence. He shut his conscience down and wasted no more time, gripping her throat with sudden swiftness. She gave a strangled cry.

“Maybe it’s on you. Time for your spanking,” he growled, using his free hand to tear back the bed covers in blind fury.

Tears sprang from her eyes then. She couldn’t seem to help herself. She gave a sob, scrunching her eyes up tight and curled up her bare bruised legs up the bed. She only wore a hospital gown and was clearly naked underneath it. It would be so easy to tear it from her and find out where she was hiding the tape. He took hold of the bottom of it in a right fist ready to rip it when she let out a sob and forced herself to look at him.

“Please, don’t. It isn’t on me. It’s in a safe place. I gave it to someone to hide. They don’t know what it is, but I know it’s safe. You have to believe me. Did you see that woman and the child lying in the street? The ones I said I tried to help but they died?” she sobbed. “That was my best friend who came to tell me about Richard and Jane, and the child was her six year old daughter. Everyone in that street died apart from me. Why did I survive and not them? What makes me so special?” she cried.

Alessandro felt his hard eyes soften despite his resolve to entertain her fear of him.

“I should be dead with them but I’m not,” she continued. “I owe it to them to bring these people to justice and stop them. You can do what you want, but I won’t give that tape up without a fight. I will hunt you down until I get it back and bring you and your grandfather to the police on a silver platter,” she almost spat at him.

He stared at her, awed by her power and her determination not to let him have the upper hand even when he had her physically cornered.

“And as for spanking or hurting me, I don’t believe you want to, Alessandro, especially to an injured woman. You could have taken that tape from me any time in that hole in the street. You must have seen it in my blouse, yet you didn’t. You protected me and saved my life. You aren’t your grandfather. You are a decent human being. Don’t destroy that. Let me do this. I promise the police will get him.”

Alessandro took in a deep breath and continued staring at her in silence. After a moment, his fingers relaxed on the material of her hospital gown. He heard footsteps outside her door. Quickly, he let go of her gown and her throat. Without a word, he replaced the covers around her and stood back watching her recover the breath she’d been holding in.

“I’m sorry.” He said it without thinking. He meant it. “I don’t want to hurt you, but holding on to that tape will get you killed. And I don’t want that on my conscience either,” he told her abruptly, wrestling with anger at himself for nearly overstepping the mark.