An Invitation to Sin(10)

By: Sarah Morgan

But even as she thought that, she knew that her response hadn’t been driven by stupidity but by a raw attraction so strong nothing could have prepared her for it.

And it wasn’t just his physical appeal that had caused her downfall, it had been something else. Something layered beneath the surface of masculine perfection. An honesty that presented a stark contrast to the atmosphere of falseness that had hovered over the wedding. Yes, that was it. Luca Corretti embraced everything he was. He took what he wanted without explanation or apology and that was—she struggled to describe it—refreshing.

She felt a twinge of envy and dismissed it instantly. She didn’t want to be like Luca, a slave to her emotions. Her life had been so much happier since she’d been in control.

‘We’ll be there in ten minutes, Miss Carmichael.’

The voice of her driver came through the intercom and excitement buzzed through her. She couldn’t wait to be back on a film set. She was going to throw herself into her work and forget about her narrow escape. And forget about Luca.

Blocking out disturbing memories of that kiss, Taylor leaned her head back against the seat, finally able to think back to the wedding and laugh. What a crazy day. She still couldn’t believe that Luca’s brother Matteo had run off with the bride before she’d made it as far as the altar. Bad behaviour was obviously in the DNA, but she was grateful for that because all the attention that had been focused on her had immediately switched to the Corretti family.

She shook her head at the irony of it.

And Santo Corretti had been worried about her causing a scandal.

As the car approached the docklands area, she noticed the pack of photographers pressed against the security fence and her heart sank.

There were so many of them, no doubt all waiting for her to screw up on her first day and give them a nice juicy headline.

Was it going to be like this all the time?

Her phone buzzed with a text and she checked it quickly, her heart rate doubling when she saw it was from Rafaele.

New phone. New number. And still he had no trouble contacting her.

She hesitated and then opened the text.

Good luck today. Enjoy Sicily.

Flinging the phone back in her bag, she rubbed her forehead with fingers that shook. She felt as if she’d been dipped in iced water. He wasn’t wishing her luck, he was telling her that he knew exactly what she was doing and where she was doing it.

She was never going to be rid of him. Never.

Knowing that she couldn’t afford to think of him now, she took a deep breath as the car slowed and shut off all those parts of herself she no longer showed to the world. Maybe everyone at the wedding had been fake, but she was the biggest fake of all. No one saw the real Taylor. She hadn’t even been sure she could access the real Taylor any more until that moment in the maze with Luca.

Pushing that thought aside, she stepped out of the car, telling herself that the media attention would die down after the first day of filming.

Her confidence lasted as long as it took her to notice the black expression on the director’s face. She’d assumed he was meeting her in person out of courtesy and respect for her position on the movie, but one look at his face told her that was a false assumption.

It was a struggle to keep her smile steady. ‘Sorry about the media circus. Hopefully they’ll lose interest soon enough.’

‘Why would they lose interest when you are a never-ending source of juicy stories?’ His voice was cold. ‘Your brief was to create interest in the movie, not in your personal life. The moment Santo told me he wanted you on the project I knew it would be a disaster.’

‘Oh.’ Shaken by that unwelcome news, Taylor spun a few more layers of protection between her feelings and the world and kept it professional. ‘I’d like to think you’d judge me on my performance now, not on something that happened years ago.’

‘The whole world is judging you on your performance at the Corretti wedding.’ His face was scarlet with anger and for the first time Taylor noticed the newspaper clutched in his hand.

‘The wedding never happened, but even I couldn’t be blamed for that, surely?’ Confused, she eyed the newspaper. Did people even still buy those things? If she ever wanted to glance at headlines she just used her phone. ‘If you’re worried about the fact the wedding didn’t go ahead, then don’t be. I’m sure Santo Corretti will deal with it. The publicity might even be good for the film.’

His mouth opened and closed. ‘“Good” that the movie-going public see you as a man-stealer?’

She looked at him blankly. ‘A what?’