Fonseca's Fury

By: Abby Green

SERENA DEPIERO SAT in the plush ante-room and looked at the name on the opposite wall, spelled out in matt chrome lettering, and reeled.

Roseca Industries and Philanthropic Foundation.

Renewed horror spread through her. It had only been on the plane to Rio de Janeiro, when she’d been reading the extra information on the charity given to her by her boss, that she’d become aware that it was part of a much bigger organisation. An organisation run and set up by Luca Fonseca. The name Roseca was apparently an amalgamation of his father and mother’s surnames. And Serena wasn’t operating on a pay grade level high enough to require her to be aware of this knowledge before now.

Except here she was, outside the CEO’s office, waiting to be called in to see the one man on the planet who had every reason to hate her guts. Why hadn’t he sacked her months ago, as soon as she’d started working for him? Surely he must have known? An insidious suspicion took root: perhaps he’d orchestrated this all along, to lull her into a false sense of security before letting her crash spectacularly to the ground.

That would be breathtakingly cruel, and yet this man owed her nothing but his disdain. She owed him. Serena knew that there was a good chance her career in fundraising was about to be over before it had even taken off. And at that thought she felt a spurt of panic mixed with determination. Surely enough time had passed now? Surely, even if this was some elaborate revenge cooked up by Luca Fonseca as soon as he’d known she was working for him, she could try to convince him how sorry she was?

But before she could wrap her head around it any further a door opened to her right and a sleek dark-haired woman dressed in a grey suit emerged.

‘Senhor Fonseca will see you now, Miss DePiero.’

Serena’s hands clenched tightly around her handbag. She felt like blurting out, But I don’t want to see him!

But she couldn’t. As much as she couldn’t just flee. The car that had met her at the airport to deliver her here still had her luggage in its boot.

As she stood up reluctantly a memory assailed her with such force it almost knocked her sideways: Luca Fonseca in a bloodstained shirt, with a black eye and a split lip. Dark stubble shadowing his swollen jaw. He’d been behind the bars of a jail cell, leaning against a wall, brooding and dangerous. But then he’d looked up and narrowed that intensely dark blue gaze on her, and an expression of icy loathing had come over his face.

He’d straightened and moved to the bars, wrapping his fingers around them almost as if he was imagining they were her neck. Serena had stopped dead at the battered sight of him. He’d spat out, ‘Damn you, Serena DePiero, I wish I’d never laid eyes on you.’

‘Miss DePiero? Senhor Fonseca is waiting.’

The clipped and accented voice shattered Serena’s memory and she forced her feet to move, taking her past the unsmiling woman and into the palatial office beyond.

She hated that her heart was thumping so hard when she heard the door snick softly shut behind her. For the first few seconds she saw no one, because the entire back wall of the office was a massive window and it framed the most amazingly panoramic view of a city Serena had ever seen.

The Atlantic glinted dark blue in the distance, and inland from that were the two most iconic shapes of Rio de Janeiro: the Sugar Loaf and Christ the Redeemer high on Corcovado. In between were countless other tall buildings, right up to the coast. To say that the view was breathtaking was an understatement.

And then suddenly it was eclipsed by the man who moved into her line of vision. Luca Fonseca. For a second past and present merged and Serena was back in that nightclub, seeing him for the first time.

He’d stood so tall and broad against the backdrop of that dark and opulent place. Still. She’d never seen anyone so still, yet with such a commanding presence. People had skirted around him. Men suspicious, envious. Women lustful.

In a dark suit and open-necked shirt he’d been dressed much the same as other men, but he’d stood out from them all by dint of that sheer preternatural stillness and the incredible forcefield of charismatic magnetism that had drawn her to him before she could stop herself.

Serena blinked. The dark and decadent club faded. She couldn’t breathe. The room was instantly stifling. Luca Fonseca looked different. It took her sluggish brain a second to function enough for her to realise that he looked different because his hair was longer, slightly unruly. And he had a dark beard that hugged his jaw. It made him look even more intensely masculine.

He was wearing a light-coloured open-necked shirt tucked into dark trousers. For all the world the urbane, civilised businessman in his domain, and yet the vibe coming from him was anything but civilised.