The Change in Di Navarra's Plan

By: Lynn Raye Harris

CHAPTER ONE

“YOU, GET UP.”

Holly Craig looked up at the man standing so tall and imposing before her. Her heart skipped a beat at the sheer masculine beauty of his face. He had dark hair, piercing gray eyes and a jaw that had been chiseled out of Carrara marble. His nose was elegant, tapered, and his cheekbones were so pretty that supermodels must surely swoon in envy at the sight.

“Come on, girl, I don’t have all day,” he said, his tones sophisticated and clipped. And Italian, she realized. He had an accent that wasn’t thick. Rather, it was refined and smooth, like fine wine. Or fine perfume.

Holly clutched her case—a secondhand case that wasn’t even real leather—to her chest and shifted on the couch. “I—I’m not sure you have the right—”

He snapped his fingers. “You are here to see me, yes?”

Holly swallowed. “You are Mr. Di Navarra?”

He looked irritated. “Indeed.”

Holly jumped up, her heart thrumming a quick tempo. Her skin flushed with embarrassment. She should have known this man was the powerful head of Navarra Cosmetics. It wasn’t as if she’d never seen a photo of the man who might just hold her entire future in his hands. Everyone knew who Drago di Navarra was.

Everyone except her, it would seem. This meeting was so important, and already she’d got off on the wrong foot. Easy, ma belle, her grandmother would have said. You can do this.

Holly stuck her hand out. “Mr. Di Navarra, yes, I’m Holly—”

He waved a hand, cutting her off. “Who you are isn’t important.” His gaze narrowed, dropped down over her. She’d worn her best suit today, but it was at least five years out of season. Still, it was black and serviceable. And it was all she had. She lifted her chin, confused by the strange meeting thus far, but not yet willing to ruin it by calling him on his rudeness.

“Turn around,” he ordered.

Holly’s cheeks flamed. But she did it, slowly turning in a circle until she faced him again.

“Yes,” he said to an assistant who hovered nearby. “I think this one will do. Let them know we’re coming.”

“Yes, sir,” the woman said, her manner cool and efficient as she turned and strode back toward the office they’d both emerged from.

“Let’s go,” Drago said. Holly could only stand and watch him stride away from her, bewilderment muddling her head and gluing her feet to the floor.

He seemed to realize she wasn’t with him, because he stopped and turned around. He looked impatient rather than angry, though she suspected angry was next on the agenda.

“Are you coming or not?”

Holly had a choice. She could say no, she wasn’t coming. She could tell him he was rude and appalling and she’d come here for an appointment, and not to be talked down to, scrutinized and ordered around.

Or she could go, figure out what his strange manner was all about and get her chance to pitch him her ideas. The case in her hands was warm, fragrant with the samples she’d tucked inside. It reminded her of home, of her grandmother and the many hours they’d spent together dreaming about taking their perfumes to the next level, instead of only blending them for the friends and townspeople who purchased their custom combinations.

She’d come a long way to see this man. She’d spent every bit of savings she had getting here, with only enough for her lodging and the return trip home again. If she lost this opportunity, she lost far more than money. She lost her dream. She lost Gran’s dream. She’d have to go home and start over again.

Because Gran was dead and the house would soon be gone. She couldn’t afford to keep it any longer. Unless she convinced Drago di Navarra that she had something worth investing in. Something worth taking a chance on.

And she would do whatever it took to get that opportunity.

“Yes,” she said firmly. “I’m coming.”

* * *

Drago could feel her eyes upon him. It was nothing he wasn’t accustomed to. Women often stared. It was not something he felt was an inconvenience. No, it was an advantage, especially for a man in the business he was in.

In the business of making people more beautiful, it did not hurt to be attractive yourself. If much of that was genetics, well, it was not his fault.

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