Finding Mr. Right in Florence

By: Kate Hardy

Will the greatest love story...

...lead her to true love?


Leading art historian Mariana Thackeray is happy to lose herself in researching the world’s greatest love stories from the safety of her office. Until gorgeous billionaire Angelo Beresford invites her to investigate his grandfather’s art collection, and she finds herself swept away to Florence and lost...in him! Nothing scares Mariana more than letting someone into her life again, but Angelo could be the Mr. Right she’s been waiting for...





When Angelo flipped over to the next photograph, he dropped the lot.


“It’s Nonno. Outside the big house. With the painting,” he whispered.

“It all ties in,” Mariana said, putting her arms around him and hugging him. “We’ve found it. And this is bona fide documentary evidence.”

The next thing he knew, he was kissing her. Really kissing her. And she was kissing him back, her mouth warm and sweet, giving and demanding at the same time.

The world spun on its axis.

He shouldn’t be doing this. She was vulnerable, she’d been hurt and if her biological clock started ticking then he’d end up letting her down. She was off-limits.

And if he let himself fall for her and the whole thing went wrong, the same way it had gone wrong with Stephanie, he’d end up with his heart broken a second time. Better not to risk it in the first place. He needed to stop this. Right now.

With effort, he tore his mouth from hers.





Dear Reader,

I visited Florence for the first time and utterly fell in love with the place—the buildings, the history, the amazing art, the lovely people and the wonderful food.

Add to this that I can never pass an art gallery or museum, and I love documentaries on art, and you can see why this book appeared in the back of my head. It did have to go through a few drafts, because some of the secondary characters took over—and so did one of the strands of the story!

This book is about inner strength and how love can heal—and how a happy ending might turn up where you’re not expecting it.

I hope you enjoy Angelo and Mariana’s story.

With love

Kate Hardy





CHAPTER ONE


MARIANA THACKERAY.

Angelo Beresford looked at the name on the email his sister had sent him.

Mariana was a presenter on a television programme about art—about paintings people had found in their attic or had been hanging on a wall unremarked-on for years, and then they turned out to be lost masterpieces worth a small fortune.

Camilla had spent the last couple of months of her pregnancy making a special trip from Rome to Florence every week to watch the programme with their grandfather. And Leo Moretti had apparently taken a real shine to the woman. He called her the Debussy girl—the girl with the flaxen hair. Cammie’s version was that she looked like a pre-Raphaelite model.

Though it didn’t matter what Mariana Thackeray looked like. What Angelo wanted from her had nothing to do with her looks and everything to do with what was inside her head.

Did Mariana Thackeray really know her stuff about art, or was she presenting the programme from a script?

There was only one way to find out.

Angelo flicked into the Internet and typed in the programme’s name.

Her profile came up on the programme’s website, along with a couple of links to newspaper articles.

Yup. She looked exactly like a model for one of his grandfather’s nineteenth-century paintings. Long golden curls, blue eyes, fine cheekbones, and a sensual curve to her mouth. She was absolutely gorgeous.

He shook himself. That wasn’t what he needed to know.

He looked at the caption. Mariana Thackeray, MA. Broadcaster and art historian.

Solid academic qualifications: she worked from knowledge rather than just a script, then. Good.

And the next bit was better still: she was studying Italian nineteenth-century art for her PhD. His grandfather’s passion. So she’d be just about the perfect person to help Angelo achieve his aims.

He wanted to check out her TV programme first, though. According to the Internet TV guides, it wasn’t on air or even on catch-up TV at the moment; though a new series was planned for October.

Right now it was May. So, although Angelo didn’t know exactly what the lead time of her series was, there was a good chance that she’d have the time to do the work he needed her to do. Better and better. The ducks were lining up nicely in a row.

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