Authors: CC MacKenzie
A Ludlow Nights Story
A Ludlow Nights Story
Ambitious, workaholic Anastacia Morgan runs Ferranti Communications
with a cool-head and an iron will. Her latest project is ensuring sports star Olivier Conti does what he's told in a series of adverts. Olivier is impossible with a huge ego she's more than able to handle. His smile may do wonderful things to her libido, but Ana is determined to succeed where other women fail and resist the gorgeous soccer star.
However, in this game there are no rules and Olivier's never missed scoring a penalty, yet.
By CC MacKenzie
Copyright © C C MacKenzie 2015
CC MacKenzie has asserted her right to be identified
as the author of this work.
All rights reserved. No part of the publication may be reproduced, stored in any retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, imaging, recording, or otherwise, without the prior permission of the publishers.
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, organisations, places and events other than those clearly in the public domain, are either the product of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, events or locales is entirely coincidental.
Published by More Press
Cover Design by
Though She Might Be But Little, She Is Fierce
"A footballer?" Anastacia shoved dense, dark curls over her shoulder.
She sat back in a chair of butter-soft leather, raised imperious black brows and gave the good-looking man sitting on the other side of her desk a very hard stare. "You
be serious, Nico?"
"I hope that is a rhetorical question," Nico Ferranti returned mildly. His wife, Bronte, always said that good things came in small packages.
Well, Anastacia Morgan was a size zero, five foot two inches in her size four bare feet, and a prime example of how good things did indeed come in a small package. She was dressed in an immaculate business suit the color of bone, tailored just for her. A suit which fitted her in all the right places. And Nico knew for a fact Anastacia wore the fashion equivalent of stilts to boost her height. He'd bet good money those stilts were, even now, discarded under her desk. At the moment she resembled a very angry angel.
Nico wasn't worried. He had plenty of experience of dealing with little girls who resembled angry angels. He had two of them at home.
Now Anastacia was glaring at him over black-framed reading glasses perched on her small nose.
She read the look on his face, uncompromising, and tossed down her silver pen in disgust. Her behaviour reminded Nico forcibly of his four year old daughter, Sophia, throwing a temper tantrum.
Again those dark eyebrows shot into her hairline.
"Can our soccer star speak in declarative sentences?" she asked in a droll tone of voice that made him raise his own brows.
"Tsk, tsk, Anastacia. Sarcasm is not a good look on you," Nico told her in a very soft voice. A voice that made heat rise in her cheeks and told him his rebuke had been received loud and clear. "Just think of the nice fat fee you will receive."
The look Anastacia sent Nico was her own version of uncompromising. She could stare down the Queen of England with that look, but she couldn't stare down Nico Ferranti.
At thirty-four, Nico was head of a global business which spanned hotels and digital technology. A business he'd begun with a small legacy from his paternal grandfather, brains and balls. Nico ran things his way, and everyone who worked for him knew it. Including the tiny angel who was showing her fangs and glaring at him out of cobalt blue eyes.
Two years ago he'd taken a big chance on Anastacia Morgan.
And he'd never regretted it.
One of Nico's greatest skills was recognizing raw talent in another. In her he'd seen a creative ambition, and a need for a financial freedom that matched his own. She was twenty-three and, thanks to him and her own incredible work ethic, she was one of the top brand managers in a highly competitive and cutthroat business. And since he knew that Anastacia Morgan cared as much for the Ferranti brand as he did, Nico kept her on a very long leash.
Then she narrowed her eyes, pulled out the big guns, and gave him her death stare.
After another minute Anastacia gave up with a, "Okay. You're the boss. But Nico... a footballer?" The last two words were said in a whine that made Nico bite down hard on his bottom lip. And she wasn't finished, "What's wrong with Tobias Aidin? He's the next big thing. Dontcha watch prime-time TV? In less than six weeks he has over five hundred thousand followers on twitter. Not only does his voice make women's toes curl, he can take direction and..." she paused when Nico gave her wide eyes. He had to admire the way she took a breath and battled on. "Sportsmen, especially soccer stars, freeze, or take the piss when a camera's rolling."
Nico focused on brushing a speck of dust from the sleeve of an immaculate grey suit in lightweight wool.
"As you are aware, the new Boutique hotels specifically target young business executives and tourists who demand the Ferranti quality and value for money. We need a well-known face and a name that resonates world-wide."
never even heard of Olivier Conti," Anastacia threw back.
"Every soccer fan in the world has heard of Olivier."
He noticed the careless little jerk of the shoulder as she shrugged off his comment.
"We're selling a lifestyle here, Nico. Not flashy cars and even flashier women," she said with a sneer that made him again bite down on his abused lip.
"Seven goals in the world cup in Brazil," Nico went on relentlessly. "He's the leading goal scorer in the Serie A..." He shook his head at her wide-eyed blank stare. "...The Italian football league, for four consecutive seasons. Two of the top clubs in the Premier League are prepared to pay over one hundred million pounds for him."
Anastacia narrowed her eyes until they were blue slits.
"How come you've got the skinny? Since when do you follow football?"
," Nico drawled. "Soccer is in my DNA. I am Italian."
He watched her try not to, but she couldn't help but grin at the way his voice deepened, the way his accent grew stronger.
"Since Olivier is in such high demand, how the hell can we afford him?"
Nico unfolded his tall frame from the skinny chair.
"Let us just say the boy owes me a favor. Do not make plans for this evening. A car will pick you up at six-thirty. I have tickets for the game tonight. Milan against United."
Nico gave the question and the cranky tone in which it was delivered the attention it deserved, none.
He strolled towards the door.
"Hang on just a minute there, buster."
Nico opened the door, turned to look at her over his shoulder, and almost burst out laughing at the unspeakable scowl on her face.
Anastacia sat back, and in a dazzling move that belonged to ballet, stretched up a long leg, pointed to a soft leather platform shoe with five inch heels. "These shoes and this suit are bespoke VB. How is this a good look for a football game? I'll need time to go home, get changed into skinnies and a T-shirt that says,
"Nothing wrong with standing out from the crowd. The suit and shoes are fine. If I were you, I would spend the next few hours boning up on the offside rule," Nico advised before he softly closed the office door behind him.
As he strolled past Anastacia's ferociously loyal PA, he grinned and tossed her a cheeky wink.
With language that turned the air blue, Anastacia spun her chair around to stare unseeing over the city of London with its miles of sky high glass structures and the ancient and famous landmark of Tower Bridge heaving with clogged traffic over the river Thames. In her past, she'd had other views of the city, but they'd been at street level. These days she gazed down upon the city from the fifteenth floor. And one day very soon she would look down from the top floor.
Anastacia Morgan only looked forward, certainly not into the past. The past was behind her now and that's where the past would stay, thank God.
Again she thrust back the weight of her hair. Hair that was too long, too curly and it drove her nuts. However, her hair had become something of a trademark in the business. It hung past her waist in glossy curls the color of rich ripe chestnuts. A gleaming brown shot through with a rose gold that her friends told her was gorgeous.
Her friends also told her that her eyes were the darkest blue they'd ever seen. A couple of men had also said they felt they could sink in and drown in her eyes.
At the moment Anastacia could care less about her hair or her eyes or her looks. All she cared about was the Ferranti brand. A brand which encompassed the five star hotels, spas, and resorts world-wide. And now the new boutique hotels. Working for Nico Ferranti usually meant there was never a dull moment and plenty of challenges... but football?
Her wide mouth was marred by the sneer on her full lips.
Then Anastacia remembered how much she owed Nico. Two years ago, in the middle of the worst recession in living memory, she'd marched into Ferranti Enterprises with a marketing degree, a smart mouth and a gut-searing desperation for a job. And one twenty pound note in her purse. Never look back, she reminded herself. Nico had taken a chance on her and she would never, ever forget it. Anastacia wanted only the best for the Ferranti brand. If that meant working with a football player, then she'd make damned sure the prima-donna (weren't all footballers drama queens?) did the job.
Determined, she spun back to her desk, snatched up the phone and jabbed a button.
"Linda, get me everything you can on Olivier Conti. Oh, and find me someone who can explain to me in words of one syllable the soccer off-side rule. No, I'm not being funny."