Read The Playboy of Rome Online

Authors: Jennifer Faye

The Playboy of Rome

Taming the Italian playboy…

Lizzie Addler’s dream of working in Italy is about to come true—that is if she can convince passionate Italian chef Dante DeFiore to keep his side of their bargain. Dante might be hotter than the Italian sun, but he’s as cool as ice toward Lizzie…

Dante hasn’t the time to pander to Lizzie’s dreams of culinary fame—he has a restaurant to run! But as Lizzie proves herself to be a spectacular addition to his kitchen—and to his life—Dante wonders…can he keep her forever?

The DeFiore Brothers

A recipe for dating DeFiore men…

Take two Italian brothers with a pinch of playboy charm

Add two American sisters with a liberal dash of feistiness

Simmer under warm Italian skies until perfectly combined

Serve with lashings of love.

To start:
The Playboy of Rome

Dante DeFiore is passionate about life, women and the tasty Italian food he creates. And with the arrival of feisty American TV star Lizzie Addler he finds her almost too tempting to resist! As the temperature soars in the kitchen, the passion between Lizzie and Dante simmers until they reach boiling point. Has this Italian playboy finally met his match?

The main:
Best Man for the Bridesmaid

Stefano DeFiore is proud and reserved—he likes the quiet life. So planning a wedding for his celebrity chef brother is his idea of hell. But when bold and colorful Jules Lane enters his world—chief bridesmaid and sister to the bride—Stefano decides to take his best-man duties seriously…including doing all he can to make Jules’s time in Italy simply heaven…

To finish: Happily-ever-after?

Dear Reader,

Sometimes life gives you lemons and you just want to throw them back. And sometimes you find a way to turn them into lemonade. Well, Lizzie Addler takes a different approach. She chooses to take them and whip them into a not-too-sweet, well-proportioned, mile-high lemon meringue pie—both literally and metaphorically.

Lizzie intrigued me. She has survived and flourished even though her life has been littered with hard knocks. But things are at last looking up for her. She has just won a reality television cooking show. Her prize is two months in sunny Rome, learning from a renowned chef. For a New York girl, this is a dream come true. What could possibly go wrong?

Well, a strong heroine is going to need a strong hero—but don’t worry: Dante DeFiore is up to the task. He lives up to his reputation of enjoying life, but when things turn serious he makes tracks. He’s witnessed firsthand the damage of a broken heart and he wants no part of it. Can Lizzie be the person who gets him to stand still long enough to find out the power of love?

Join Lizzie and Dante as they find love beneath an Italian sunset.

Happy reading!

Jennifer

THE PLAYBOY OF ROME

Jennifer Faye

Award-winning author
Jennifer Faye
pens fun, heartwarming romances. Jennifer has won the RT Reviewers’ Choice Award, has been nominated for numerous other awards and is a Top Pick author. Now living her dream, she resides with her patient husband, one amazing daughter (the other remarkable daughter is off chasing her own dreams) and two spoiled cats. She’d love to hear from you via her website,
jenniferfaye.com
.

Books by Jennifer Faye

HARLEQUIN ROMANCE

Rancher to the Rescue
Snowbound with the Soldier
Safe in the Tycoon’s Arms
The Return of the Rebel
A Princess by Christmas

Visit the Author Profile page at
Harlequin.com
for more titles

For Ami.

To a wonderful friend who has kept me company as we’ve walked a similar path.

Thank you for your friendship and unwavering encouragement.

Contents

CHAPTER ONE

CHAPTER TWO

CHAPTER THREE

CHAPTER FOUR

CHAPTER FIVE

CHAPTER SIX

CHAPTER SEVEN

CHAPTER EIGHT

CHAPTER NINE

CHAPTER TEN

CHAPTER ELEVEN

CHAPTER TWELVE

CHAPTER THIRTEEN

CHAPTER FOURTEEN

CHAPTER FIFTEEN

CHAPTER SIXTEEN

CHAPTER SEVENTEEN

CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

CHAPTER NINETEEN

CHAPTER TWENTY

CHAPTER TWENTY-ONE

CHAPTER TWENTY-TWO

EPILOGUE

EXCERPT

CHAPTER ONE

“S
CUSA
.”

Dante DeFiore stepped into the path of a young woman trying to skirt around the line at Ristorante Massimo. Her long blond hair swished over her shoulder as she turned to him. Her icy blue gaze met his. The impact of her piercing stare rocked him. He couldn’t turn away. Thick black eyeliner and sky-blue eye shadow that shimmered succeeded in making her stunning eyes even more extraordinary.

Dante cleared his throat. “Signorina, are you meeting someone?”

“No, I’m not.”

“Really?” He truly was surprised. “Someone as beautiful as you shouldn’t be alone.”

Her fine brows rose and a smile tugged at her tempting lips.

He smiled back. Any other time, he’d have been happy to ask her to be his personal guest but not tonight. Inwardly he groaned. Why did he have to have his hands full juggling both positions of maître d’ and head chef when the most delicious creature was standing in front of him?

He choked down his regret. It just wasn’t meant to be. Tonight there was no time for flirting—not even with this stunning woman who could easily turn heads on the runways of Milan.

He glanced away from her in order to clear his thoughts. Expectant looks from the people waiting to be seated reminded him of his duties. He turned back to those amazing blue eyes. “I hate to say this, but you’ll have to take your place at the end of the line.”

“It’s okay.” Her pink glossy lips lifted into a knowing smile. “You don’t have to worry. I work here.”

“Here?” Impossible. He’d certainly remember her. By the sounds of her speech, she was American.

“This is Mr. Bianco’s restaurant, isn’t it?”

“Yes, it is.”

“Then I’m in the right place.”

Suddenly the pieces fell into place. His staff had been cut in half because of a nasty virus running rampant throughout Rome. He’d called around to see if any business associates could loan him an employee or two. Apparently when Luigi said he might be able to track down a friend of one of his daughters, he’d gotten lucky.

Relief flooded through Dante. Help was here at last and by the looks of her, she’d certainly be able to draw in the crowds. Not so long ago, they hadn’t needed anyone to draw in customers; his grandfather’s cooking was renowned throughout Rome. But in recent months all of that had changed.

“And I’d be the luckiest man in the world to have such a beauty working here. You’ll have the men lined up down the street. Just give me a moment.” Dante turned and signaled to the waiter.

When Michael approached Dante, the man’s forehead was creased in confusion. “What do you need?”

In that moment, Dante’s mind drew a blank. All he could envision were those mesmerizing blue eyes. This was ridiculous. He had a business to run.

When he glanced over at the line of customers at the door, the anxious stares struck a chord in his mind. “Michael, could you seat that couple over there?” He pointed to an older couple. “Give them the corner table. It’s their fortieth anniversary, so make sure their meal is on us.”

“No
problema
.”

Lines of exhaustion bracketed Michael’s mouth. Dante couldn’t blame the guy. Being shorthanded and having to see to the dining room himself was a lot of work.

Dante turned his attention back to his unexpected employee. She had her arms crossed and her slender hip hitched to the side. A slight smile pulled at the corners of her lush lips as though she knew she’d caught him off guard—something that rarely happened to him.

He started to smile back when a patron entered the door and called out a greeting, reminding Dante that work came first. Since his grandfather was no longer around to help shoulder the burden of running this place, Dante’s social life had been reduced to interaction with the guests of Ristorante Massimo.

After a brief
ciao
to a regular patron, Dante turned back to his temporary employee. “Thanks for coming. If you give me your coat, I can hang it up for you.”

“I’ve got it.” She clutched the lapels but made no attempt to take it off.

“You can hang it over there.” He pointed to the small cloakroom. “We can work out everything later.”

“You want me to start right now?”

That was the plan, but perhaps Luigi had failed to make that part clear. “Didn’t he tell you that you’d be starting right away?”

“Yes, but I thought I’d have a chance to look around. And I didn’t think I’d be a hostess.”

“Consider this an emergency. I promise you it’s not hard. I’m certain you’ll be fantastic...uh...” Did she give him her name? If she had, he couldn’t recall it. “What did you say your name is?”

“Lizzie. Lizzie Addler.”

“Well, Lizzie, it’s a pleasure to meet you. I’m Dante. And I really appreciate you pitching in during this stressful time.”

“Are you sure you want me out here? I’d be a lot more help in the kitchen.”

The kitchen? With her looks, who would hide such a gem behind closed doors? Perhaps she was just shy. Not that anything about her stunning appearance said that she was an introvert.

“I’d really appreciate it if you could help these people find a table.”

She nodded.

An assistant rushed out of the kitchen. “We need you.”

By the harried look on the young man’s face, Dante knew it couldn’t be good. He turned to his new employee. There would be time for introductions and formalities later. Right now, he just needed to keep the kitchen from falling behind and giving the patrons an excuse to look for food elsewhere.

“Sorry for this rush but I am very shorthanded.” When the girl sent him a puzzled look, he realized that Luigi might not have filled her in on the details of her duties. “If you could just get everyone seated and get their drinks, Michael can take their orders. Can you do that?”

She nodded before slipping off her long black coat to reveal a frilly white blouse that hinted at her willowy figure, a short black skirt that showed off her long legs and a pair of knee-high sleek black boots. He stifled a whistle. Definitely not the reaction a boss should give an employee, even if she was gorgeous enough to create a whirlwind of excitement on the cover of a fashion magazine.

He strode to the kitchen, hoping that nothing had caught fire and that no one had been injured. When was this evening going to end? And had his grandfather’s friend Luigi been trying to help by sending Lizzie? Or trying to drive him to distraction?

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