Christie Harding is a rising star of Manhattan society. With her boutique gallery about to reveal the identity of the controversial artist ‘Paparazzka’ at a gala charity event for the A-list, and her very private relationship with PR guru Derek Goldman sure to be made official at any time, life could not be going better for the former Swiss finishing school debutante.
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Adrik Maksimov remembers her from Switzerland eleven years ago, for a very different reason. Then the reckless young heir to a Russian shipping fortune, he had gatecrashed the debutantes’ ball while in the country to deposit some diamonds in a Swiss bank, on a mission of trust from his father. Finding himself inextricably distracted by the younger Christie Harding, the diamonds vanished, and he was left tied to a bed in an exclusive chateau with only a kiss to remember her by.
Guessing that the artist Paparazzka is Christie herself, when the opportunity for revenge arises, Adrik gatecrashes his way into her life a second time - only for Christie to ‘out’ him as the artist instead. But in the obligatory public speech that follows, he neatly turns the tables on her by announcing, to Christie’s horror, that they are engaged.
Blanked by Derek Goldman, and anticipating career death in Manhattan as a consequence, Christie agrees to leave New York with Adrik for his home in London’s Holland Park and to play out the fake engagement for their own mutual image benefit in the press.
But how long is the charade intended to last? And how does Adrik mean to even up the score between them?
As plans to entertain the media with their courtship take them on a soul-searching journey from Manhattan to London to Italy, the lines drawn between the past and present start to become very blurry indeed...
This is the first contemporary romance written by Lisa Scullard, under the pen-name Lauren Boutain.