Defying the North Wind

Defying the North Wind by Anna Hackett

Book: Defying the North Wind by Anna Hackett Read Free Book Online
Authors: Anna Hackett
Chapter One
    “Everyone out.” Luca Aquilon Venti thrust his hand toward the door. “Now.”
    At his sharp command, the employees sitting around the large boardroom table either froze or shifted uneasily. Luca scowled. His people at the head office of Venti Enterprises Rome were used to his fierce temper and abrupt orders, but the employees at Venti Enterprises Venice were not.
    “Out.” He watched as looks of shock were quickly smothered. Folders were closers, papers shuffled, then they filed out.
    All except one.
    Steady, cool green eyes watched him. Her stylus was poised over her tablet. “Is there anything else you require today, Signor Venti?”
    Even his new personal assistant’s voice was cool with the faintest tinge of an English accent. His fingers curled. Damn, Pietro for falling ill. Luca didn’t want to break in a new personal assistant. Especially one who inflamed his already stretched temper. He had enough problems without also wanting to mess up her sleek swing of chin-length red hair. Or to get some sort of reaction out of her. Any reaction.
    He’d yelled at her plenty this week and she’d barely blinked.
    Si , something about Rayne Santini rubbed him the wrong way. Although during the last six weeks everything had rubbed him the wrong way.
    Rayne crossed her long legs, the movement catching Luca’s attention. Her gray suit was stylish but hardly provocative. Still, it fired something in his blood. Something he knew he didn’t have time for right now. He shoved his chair back and stood. He grabbed his jacket and shrugged into the tailored garment. “No. I’m going for a walk.”
    “As you wish.”
    Dio , that frosty tone grated. What would it take to see a bit of fire in this woman? He huffed out a breath. Not something he should be worrying about.
    He had bigger problems. Like tracking down the evil Keeper of the Northeast Wind. Damn it to hell, it had been over a month since the Venti Tempesta had escaped. Two of his brothers had succeeded in hunting and defeating their Tempest Winds.
    But Luca’s prey, Caecius, was cunning. He’d been lying very, very low like the snake he was.
    Luca realized his hands were clenched so tight his knuckles were hurting. He forced them to relax. “Get the Rossi report to me in the morning.” He stalked to the door, flexing his shoulders. He needed to feel the wind around him.
    He had to get out of the confines of the office and do something physical. Anything to shake off the nasty vice of anger that was eating him alive from the inside. Caecius reveled in the anger, and Luca battled every day not to become the violent, furious man he knew lived inside him.
    I will find you, Caecius . The Tempest Wind was here in Venice. Somewhere. He might be hidden but he was still stirring up anger in the locals. He was pushing tempers to breaking point, causing fights, brawls and domestic violence. Luca sensed the fury on the wind, scented it.
    His jaw clenched. Air. He needed some air.
    “Signor Venti?”
    He frowned. “I’ve told you to call me Luca.”
    She fell into step beside him, that green gaze on his face. “I asked if you wanted me to make the reservation at Da Fiore for the weekend…Signor Venti.”
    His eyes narrowed. If he didn’t know better, he’d swear she was testing him…testing his patience.
    She raised a brow. “For you and Signorina Barzini.”
    Dio , he’d forgotten about the leggy model who’d refused to leave him alone at the last charity event he’d attended. “Call her and cancel. Send her flowers.”
    “ Si .” That icy-cool tone again.
    For a second, Luca wanted to reach out and wrap a hand around her slim throat. Would he feel the tick of her pulse, hot and fast? Or would it be slow and even, unaffected by him?
    Air hissed through his teeth. It was his vice biting at him. He needed to focus on finding Caecius, not thinking about tangling with his new assistant. “I’ll be at my suite at the Hotel Venti San Marco, if you need

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