He barely glanced at the images, and bit down on the bile that had been gathering in his gut ever since that night.
He was good at that. Forgetting the unpleasant. He had almost completely wiped from his mind the fact that their wedding had been six months ago. Six months since Coral Dahl, or Coral Di Visconti, or whoever she was had blazed into his life like a comet and just as quickly blazed out. Thanks to him.
Salvatore hadn’t given a damn about finding out whether or not he had a half-sister—as long as she was kept far away from him and his millions. That was what Raffaele had begun to realise. Protecting Kyla had been the last thing on Salvatore’s mind. And the thin veil of patience and brotherly love that Raffaele had spent a lifetime keeping intact was beginning to disintegrate in front of his eyes.
The security team had uncovered nothing that they didn’t already know. Lynda Dahl, a young, beautiful, struggling artist from Sweden, had taken a job as cabin crew. She’d worked for Argento and had definitely come across Giancarlo. There were pictures of him surrounded by his pretty staff in various locations and she was among them.
She had delivered a baby girl seven months after she’d stopped working for him. But there was no documentary evidence to suggest that the child she’d carried was his. That child now lived in Islington, London, and worked as a waitress. Her promising career as a photographer was not nearly so promising any more.
He’d tried to banish the whole thing from his mind but things had slid too far. The blind loyalty he’d felt for his adoptive father had been washed away like the tide on drying shingle, leaving behind a mess worse than any detritus. Giancarlo hadn’t been a doting husband and father. He’d been a lousy husband. And the jury was out on his qualities as a father…
If only he could wipe his hands of the whole affair, leave the Di Viscontis to work out Di Visconti business. But he was mired in it. He owed Giancarlo everything. A fact that bound him to Salvatore more than any bond of blood.
And, more than that, he owed it to himself to find out the truth about Coral Dahl. Because the indolence and deceit he so despised in others were choking him now.
He’d discounted Salvatore’s insane idea that Mariella or anyone at the magazine had had anything to do with it. The fact that she had won the competition had been a complete coincidence. She was a great photographer. It was that simple.
He was more and more sure with every day that passed that she’d had no motive to be on the island other than to take a giant step in her career.
He’d run over it in his mind again and again. Every word she’d said about Giancarlo. Everything about her mother. She had been desperately trying to contact her all the time she’d been there. She’d stated her hatred for her father but she hadn’t named him. Had said she didn’t know who he was.
She would know by now. The non-disclosure wouldn’t last between her and her mother after what had happened. But there had been no attempt to contact him—no attempt to make a move, if claiming her birthright really was her big idea. But with her mother’s debts and the meagre wages of a waitress there was no way she was going to turn her back on it. It simply didn’t add up.
If Raffaele went to her it would inflame Salvatore’s anger. He would immediately suspect a plot. No good would come of it other than to salve his conscience.
Whoever she was, she’d been a match for him. She’d taken control of Kyla’s ego and delivered the best photograph to grace the cover of Heavenly in the six years it had been in print.
Except it hadn’t happened. He’d pulled it. Ruthlessly and mercilessly. Without any explanation to anyone, he’d vetoed it. He had been just too angry, and coverage of the wedding the following week was all he’d been willing to schedule.
There were other features, bigger stories, better news. He’d told Mariella in no uncertain terms to find them and to make sure that Coral Dahl was never hired to work on anything connected with Romano again. Nothing.
End of story. Job done. Finito.
But it was nowhere near finished.
Burying the feature had not buried the memory. Or the increasing feeling that he had made a very, very bad decision.
Too many times he had listened to Salvatore, but this was going to blow up one way or another. It was like the string at the end of a stick of dynamite, and he wanted to control it when the explosion happened.
He’d go to London himself. The least he could do was offer her some kind of work. No matter how Salvatore felt about it, he couldn’t live with himself if he left things as they were. And in doing so he’d clear up the paternity issue.
Within an hour he had cleared his inbox of emails. Within two he was on his way to the airport. And within ten he was sliding into the back of the company limousine and purring along the motorway towards central London.