June 18, 2013
ISBN 9780373131631

The Couple Who Fooled the World

The true meaning of keep your enemies close…

Most women would kill to be on Ferro Calvaresi's arm. The enigmatic Italian is one of the richest men in the world and at the top of his business game. Julia Anderson is not most women. She's as rich as Ferro and twice as hungry.

The only way to seal a major deal is for these two rivals to play nicely…together. Yet neither expected the media to soak up their ruse so quickly or so publicly! But when the deal is won, is the world's hottest new couple beginning to believe their own lie?


“In terms of design and usability, the new operating system is leagues above the competition.” Julia Anderson turned and gestured to the high definition monitor behind her, the one that was currently projecting the interface of her computer screen to thousands in the audience, and millions watching on television and the internet worldwide. “It’s sleek, user friendly and aesthetically pleasing which, as we know, matters. Technology is not just about wires, it’s about people.”

She smiled for the cameras, knowing she looked good. Thank God she had a personal stylist, along with a hair and makeup team these days. On her own she was hopeless. She’d been told so many, many times. But with a legion of people making sure she looked presentable, she could face the world – and it was literally the world – with confidence.

“However, design isn’t everything.” She took another breath and looked down at her computer. “It has to be secure. The new firewall we have in place is more secure than anything else on the market. It’s able to identify and block even the most sophisticated threats so that your most sensitive data is protected.”

The screen in front of her flickered and a video popped up in the center, then enlarged to take up the entire monitor. She froze, all eyes on her, and on the gigantic display behind her that was showing the exact same thing she was currently looking down at.

“Secure? I don’t find it all that secure, Ms. Anderson. Maybe secure against the rare hacker who bothers to use Anfalas. Anyone running Datasphere software would be able to get right in.”

Heat prickled on her neck. Her face. Ferro Calvaresi was a pain in her butt that would not quit. Though, in fairness, she was also a pain in his. And they were a mutual pain in Scott Hamlin’s. Basically they were a circle of techie annoyances to each other, but this, this was going way too far.

His face, his gorgeous, infuriating, chiseled face, had effectively taken over her presentation, his smug smile a gigantic display of a weakness in her firewalls she hadn’t known about.

“Hardly just anyone running Datashpere, Mr. Calvaresi,” she said, trying to keep calm, aware that her humiliation was being broadcast everywhere. The launch of her new OS was the news of the day. The launch of every Anfalas product was the news of the day. And Ferro had just hijacked it. “You practically need a masters in technology to run Datasphere. On the other hand, Anfalas computers focus on the user.”

“And your user just got hacked. I wonder if you have any banking information on here I might access?”

She made an axing motion toward the guy running the feed between her computer and the screen and the screen behind her went dark, at the same time the audio for Ferro was cut. His voice was still coming out of her laptop, and his face was still visible to her.

“And you’re done here,” she said, glaring daggers at the computer screen.

She looked back up. “I apologize for the theatrics. You know how my competition can be. It’s entirely possible he’s trying to compensate for some shortcomings.” There was a wave of nervous laughter through the room.

The press were jostling in the front row, but they knew better than to start flinging questions at her before the designated time. She was strict about that. She liked to make her presentations uninterrupted.


A new computer was supplied for her and she continued on with her demonstration. Of course, the wind had been taken out of the sails of the security portion of her speech, so she opted to skip on to new ultra high definition features of her new monitors, and demonstrate music and photo editing software, the things that hit really bit with her target market.

And when she was done, she opted to dodge the press. She dashed off the stage, cursing and taking a water bottle from the cooler in the back, then jammed her sunglasses onto her face and took her black leather bag from her assistant.

“Car?” she asked.

“Out back. Press is being baited by a fake car out front.” Thad picked something off the shoulder of her black t-shirt. “Stray hair,” he said.

“Thanks.” For everything. She wanted to cling to her assistant and cry right then, but Thad would scold her for smudging her makeup, and she shouldn’t show that kind of weakness anyway. Because the weak were unceremoniously devoured, in life and in business, and she didn’t show vulnerability anymore for that reason. She knew that all too well.

What she would do was go home to her mansion on the seaside, look out the window at the view, and eat a gallon of ice cream. Oh yes, calories, here she came. And then…oh and then she was going to plot her revenge against Ferro Freaking Calvaresi.

She pushed open the back door and got into the limo that was waiting, closing the door tightly behind her.


Her head whipped to the side and her jaw went slack. There was Ferro and his mocking smile, in the very male flesh.

“What the -? What are you doing in my car?”

“It’s my car. These limos all look alike. ”

“Well, what did you do with my car?”

“I sent your driver on. Told him you had a ride. And a meeting. With me.”

“Was that a meeting for me to punch you in the face for that stunt you just pulled?”

“Are we suddenly forgetting about what happened at my last product launch?”

Julia bit the inside of her cheek. “What?”

“All of the swag bags at the product reveal for Datasphere’s new smart phone had your OnePhone in it. And then you had that slogan projected on the wall…”

“OnePhone to rule them all.” She laughed. “It never gets old.”


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