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Carol Marinelli recently filled in a form asking for her job title. Thrilled to be able to put down her answer, she put ‘writer’. Then it asked what Carol did for relaxation, and she put down the truth—‘writing’. The third question asked for her hobbies. Well, not wanting to look obsessed, she crossed her fingers and answered ‘swimming’—but, given that the chlorine in the pool does terrible things to her highlights, I’m sure you can guess the real answer!

Also by Carol Marinelli

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The Sicilian’s Surprise Love-Child

Secret Prince’s Christmas Seduction

Ruthless Royal Sheikhs miniseries

Captive for the Sheikh’s Pleasure

The Ruthless Devereux Brothers miniseries

The Innocent’s Shock Pregnancy

The Billionaire’s Christmas Cinderella

Those Notorious Romanos miniseries

Italy’s Most Scandalous Virgin

Discover more at millsandboon.co.uk.

The Italian’s Forbidden Virgin

Carol Marinelli


ISBN: 978-0-008-91390-8


© 2021 Carol Marinelli

Published in Great Britain 2021

by Mills & Boon, an imprint of HarperCollinsPublishers 1 London Bridge Street, London, SE1 9GF

All rights reserved including the right of reproduction in whole or in part in any form. This edition is published by arrangement with Harlequin Books S.A.

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places, locations and incidents are purely fictional and bear no relationship to any real life individuals, living or dead, or to any actual places, business establishments, locations, events or incidents. Any resemblance is entirely coincidental.

By payment of the required fees, you are granted the non-exclusive, non-transferable right and licence to download and install this e-book on your personal computer, tablet computer, smart phone or other electronic reading device only (each a “Licensed Device”) and to access, display and read the text of this e-book on-screen on your Licensed Device. Except to the extent any of these acts shall be permitted pursuant to any mandatory provision of applicable law but no further, no part of this e-book or its text or images may be reproduced, transmitted, distributed, translated, converted or adapted for use on another file format, communicated to the public, downloaded, decompiled, reverse engineered, or stored in or introduced into any information storage and retrieval system, in any form or by any means, whether electronic or mechanical, now known or hereinafter invented, without the express written permission of publisher.

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About the Author


Title Page


Note to Readers

















About the Publisher


GIAN DE LUCA WAS the Duke of Luctano, yet he chose not to use his title. Others, though, could not quite bring themselves to let it go.

And as he finished up the working week in his sumptuous office suite, on the ground floor of his flagship hotel La Fiordelise, in Rome, his PA informed him that his date—for want of a better word—had arrived.

‘I was supposed to meet her at the theatre,’ Gian said, barely looking up as he signed off on some paperwork.

‘Yes,’ Luna agreed, for she was more than aware of his heavy schedule and that he kept his private life and work as separate as was possible, ‘and a driver was ordered, but it would seem she wanted...’

Luna paused for slight effect, which told Gian she was about to quote directly.

‘“To save the Duke the trouble.”’

His pen paused and then Gian’s final signature of the day appeared darkly on the page as the nib of his pen pressed in firmly. ‘I see.’

‘She also asked not to be treated as a hotel guest and made to wait in Reception. Given that pre-theatre dining is about to commence, she suggested meeting you in the restaurant.’

Gian held in a weary sigh. His restaurant was not a personal dining room for entertaining lovers. As soon as his dates started throwing around his title like confetti, or attempting to pull rank with his staff, or trying to get too familiar, it signalled the end for Gian. ‘Tell her I’ll be out shortly.’

‘Except you have Ariana Romano in Reception waiting to see you.’

This time Gian could not hold in his sigh. His slate-grey eyes briefly shuttered as he braced himself for a mini-tornado, because it was always drama whenever she suddenly arrived.

If Ariana felt it, she said it.

‘What does she want now?’

‘A private matter, apparently.’

He kept his door open to her, given he was friends with her father Rafael and older brother Dante, in as much as Gian was friends with anyone. Growing up, he had been sent to Luctano each summer to stay with some distant aunt and her husband who, like his parents, hadn’t much wanted him around. Those summers had often been spent hanging out with the Romanos.

Aside from the family ties, there were business connections too. Ariana was on the committee for the Romano Foundation Ball, which was held here at La Fiordelise each year. In small doses Gian chose to tolerate her, yet she was somewhat of an irritant. Rather like heavily scented jasmine in the flower arrangement in the foyer, or when lilies were left out just a little too long. Ariana had clung and irritated long after she had left and now, on a Friday evening, he had to deal with her in person.

‘Bring her through then,’ Gian said. ‘Oh, and then take Svetlana through to the Pianoforte Bar to wait for me there...’

And there he would end their...liaison.

At thirty-five, Gian was considered one of Italy’s most eligible bachelors.

His wealth and dark brooding looks were certainly a factor, but Gian was no fool and was aware that his title was coveted. He was the Duke of Luctano,

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