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THE DISGRACED PLAYBOY
Current Series Imprints, Harlequin Presents, Series
Grace Carter glanced up from her computer, frowning at the figure that sauntered so confidently into her office high above the cold, wet February streets of central London, without so much as a knock on her door as warning.
And then she went very still in her chair. Something that felt like fire rolled through her, scorching everything in its path. She told herself it was indignation because he had failed to knock as any decent, polite person should—but she knew better.
It was him.
"Good morning," he said in a low, richly amused and somehow knowing voice that seemed to echo inside of her. He seemed to smolder there in front of her, like a banked flame. She straightened in her seat in reaction.
"By all means," she said, her voice cool, ironic. "Come right in."
He was dressed in a sharp, sleek Italian suit that clung to the hard planes of his celebrated body. His too–long dark chocolate hair was tousled and unkempt—rather deliberately so, Grace thought uncharitably—and fell toward his remarkable green eyes, one of which was ringed by a darkening bruise. It matched the split lip that failed, somehow, to dampen the impact of his shockingly carnal mouth. His cuts and bruises gave him a faintly roguish air and added to the man's already outrageous appeal. And well he knew it.
"Thank you," he said, those famous green eyes bright with amusement, quite as if her invitation was sincere. His decadent mouth crooked to the side. "Is that an invitation into your office or, one can only hope, somewhere infinitely more exciting?"
Grace wished she did not recognize him, but she did. Not that anyone alive could fail to identify him on sight, with a face that was usually plastered across at least one or two tabloids weekly, in every country in the world. Showcasing exactly this kind of inappropriate behavior.
She was not impressed.
"Lucas Wolfe," she said, as a gesture toward good manners, though her voice was flat.
He was Lucas Wolfe, second son of the late, notoriously flamboyant William Wolfe, darling of the paparazzi, famously faithless lover to hordes of equally rich and supernaturally beautiful women—and Grace could not think of a single reason why this creature of tabloids and lore should be standing in her office on a regular Thursday morning, gazing at her in a manner that could only be called expectant.
"All six resplendent feet and then some," he drawled, his dark brows arching high above his wicked green eyes. "At your service."
"You are Lucas Wolfe," she said, ignoring the innuendo that seemed to infuse his voice, his expression, like some kind of molten chocolate. "And I'm afraid I am busy. Can I direct you to someone who can help you?"
"Too busy for my charm and beauty?" he asked, that wicked grin making his eyes gleam, his expression somewhere between suggestive and irrepressible—and surprisingly infectious. Grace had to fight to keep from smiling automatically in return. "Surely not. That would require hell to freeze over, for a start."
She ignored him, rising to her feet to regain the appropriate balance of power.
"I would invite you make yourself comfortable," she said with a tight smile, close enough to courteous, knowing her voice would make the words sound sweeter than they were, "except that seems rather redundant, doesn't it?"