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An Innocent to Tame the Italia
An Innocent to Tame the Italia
The Scandalous Brunetti Brothers Books 1 Coming Juy 2019
Kindle | Nook | iBooks | HQN | BooksAMillion
To discover the truth…
He’ll keep his beautiful adversary close!
For brooding tech billionaire Massimo Brunetti, a cyberattack on his company is unacceptable. After tracking down the savvy Manhattan hacker, he’s stunned to find gorgeous genius Natalie Crosetto. Yet naive Nat isn’t the saboteur.
To uncover who she’s protecting, Massimo returns to Italy—with Nat playing his fake fiancée! But this untamable Italian might have met his match in innocent Nat, who challenges him…and tempts him beyond reason!
Sparks will fly between the billionaire and his fake fiancée!
Massimo stood outside the cyber club exit—a metal door of undistinguishable color at the rear of a dilapidated building in one of the rundown neighborhoods of Brooklyn. A far cry from his penthouse that overlooked Central Park that he’d left behind an hour ago.
March snow carpeted the parking grounds in the dark alley, thankfully suppressing the odors emanating from the vast trash containers that stood two feet from him.
The hacker, he’d found, was very much a creature of habit. Unlike Massimo, and much against the popular culture’s rendition of a chaotic, free-spirited genius. Two evenings a week, the hacker came to this club, at exactly 9.08 pm and stayed for exactly forty three minutes. Before going completely offline.
Like a junkie allowing himself a very strictly mandated and measured fix.
Massimo hadn’t found him anywhere else.
Which meant all Massimo had had were two sessions of forty three minutes to get to know how the guy operated. And he had. Hackers were a mysterious and antisocial bunch, and yet boastful too, especially someone at the level at which this particular one operated. All he’d needed to do was compliment him on his modification of a security challenge posed by the master of the club. He hadn’t quite owned up to the breach but the connection had been made.
His heart fluttering against his ribcage like a caged bird, Massimo tucked his hands into the pockets of his trench coat. Adrenaline hadn’t hit him this hard since the release of his latest software product. No, that wasn’t true. The last time he’d been this excited had been when he’d shored up the tunnel this very same hacker had created into BCS.
The metallic whine of the heavy door made his spine lock. Buffeted by the collar of his coat against the harsh wind, Massimo watched a slight figure swathed in black from head to toe, a dark contrast against the snow clinging to every crevice and roof of the building, walk down the steps.
The howl of the frigid wind pushed the hood away from the figure’s face, revealing a delicate jawline with a wide, plump mouth. A too sharp nose and a high forehead. Broad, but sharp cheekbones. A pointed chin. Slender shoulders held an almost boyish figure with long legs swathed in black denim and knee high boots.
Jet black hair, wild and curly, the only thing that betrayed the fact that she was a woman. No, the soft fragility, the sharply delicate bones couldn’t be mistaken for a man.
A painfully young, delicately beautiful woman.
It couldn’t be her…this fragile young woman couldn’t be the hacker that had taken down his firewall, could she? Couldn’t be the diabolically intelligent computer genius that Massimo had been chatting up for the last week. The hacker that Leonardo wanted behind bars pronto. The one who’d kept him up for a fortnight now, given him sleepless nights…
Not a single one of his girlfriends had ever done it.
He laughed, a harsh bark that sounded loud in the silence.
Like a deer caught in the headlights, the hacker’s feet frozen in the snow, her face turned toward him.
Brown eyes with long lashes alighted on his face and paused. He saw her swallow, felt that gaze dip to his mouth and trail back up to meet his eyes. A soft sound, almost like a kitten’s sigh, filled the silence around them. Followed by the soft treads of her boots as she returned to the car.
No, he wasn’t wrong.
He’d even had a quick chat with the hacker from his car before he’d stepped out. He…or she had been inside that building. On an impulse, Massimo grabbed his tablet from the car and sent a quick message through the chat boards.
It wasn’t a sure thing since the hacker never used the chat boards outside of the cyber club. And yet, Massimo had teased him today with a glimpse of the new security software he was building for Gisela’s father’s company. He knew the hacker had been intrigued, had even stayed beyond the forty three minutes he usually allowed himself.
VirtuviusMan: I can show you the double encryption layer for the new design.
His heart raced. Dios mio, he felt like a teenage boy waiting for his first kiss.
The woman paused, pulled her phone out from the coat jacket. Massimo realized what it meant to wait with bated breath.
His tablet sent out a soft chirp that sounded like a fire alarm in the dark silence.
Her reply shined up at him.
Gollum: Not tonight, thank you. My time’s up. Maybe next time.
The message flashed on his screen and a smile curved his mouth, a flare of excitement running through is veins.
So polite, he’d thought during his chats with her. A certain softness buried even in the software jargon in contrast to the ruthlessness with which she’d attacked his firewalls.
It was her.
She was the hacker he’d been chasing, the hacker who it seemed was truly Massimo’s match.
In the few seconds it took him to accept this new discovery, and course correct his strategy for her, she’d reached her car.
His long legs ate up the distance. The tightening of her shoulders made him stay a few steps from her. He didn’t want to scare her. Not yet.
“Why Gollum?” he said, keeping his tone soft, even as anger and excitement roped through him. “Why not Aragorn, or Gandalf the Wizard?”
She turned. Her eyes ate him up, her breath coming in short, shallow spurts that had nothing to do with the cold. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”
When she made to pull the driver’s door to her beaten down Beetle, he crowded her. Still not touching.
The subtle scent of lavender filled his breath, a jarring thread of softness that made him breathe hard. He lifted his phone, the screen showing the chat boards. “I know who you are. I have proof of what you did to Brunetti Cyber Securities. Every last bit.”
The smile faded from his face just as the innocence dropped from hers.
The pointed chin lifted up, the expression in her eyes clear and sharp. “What do you want?”
He let the full power of his fury settle into his words. “Your purse, please.”
She looked at the sea of white snow around them.
“There’s nowhere to run. Nowhere to hide. I recommend doing as I ask.”
Slowly, she pulled a wallet out of her back pocket and handed it over.
“Natalie Crosetto,” he said loudly. The name reverberated in the silence, and he breathed a sigh. “You’ve led me on a merry chase all over the internet, Ms. Crosetto and now, I will run this game. We will go back to my hotel and you’ll explain to me why you’ve been attacking my systems.”
“No!” She took a deep breath. “You’re a stranger. You can’t expect me to let you just…kidnap me!”
“What do you suggest then?”
“My home. Please. Tomorrow morning.”
“I didn’t take a trip over the Atlantic to let you escape me once I found you. We’ll go to your home if that offers you a modicum of security. You’re free to keep your cellphone and dial the police if you feel a threat to your person at any point even.
“But you’ll answer each and every one of my questions and you will do so tonight.”
That stubborn chin raised even as her mouth quivered. Scared and yet she challenged him. “Or else what?”
“Or else you’ll be behind bars tonight. I will even let you call the cops yourself. And you’ll stay there for the next decade, if I have anything to say about it.”