At the Brazilian's Command

By: Susan Stephens

PROLOGUE

THE TERMS OF his grandfather’s last will and testament had shocked everyone but Tiago Santos, to whom they had come as no surprise. To inherit he must marry. It was that simple. If he did not marry within a specific timeframe the ranch he loved in Brazil, and had built up into a world-class concern, would be handed over to a board of trustees who didn’t know one end of a horse from the other.

His grandfather had suffered from delusions of grandeur, Tiago recalled as he prepared to land the jet he had piloted from Brazil to the wedding of his best friend, Chico, in Scotland. Tiago must give up his freedom to marry in order to preserve the Santos name, which his grandfather had believed was more important than the individuals who bore that name.

‘The name Santos must not die out,’ his grandfather had stated on his deathbed. ‘It is time for you to find a wife, Tiago. If you don’t provide an heir, our family will disappear without a trace.’

‘And if I marry and we’re not lucky enough to have a child?’

‘You will adopt,’ the old man had said, as if a child could be so easily co-opted into his plan. ‘If you refuse me this you will lose everything you have worked so hard to rebuild.’

‘And the families who have lived on Fazenda Santos for generations? Would you disinherit them too?’

‘Your bleeding heart is wasted on me, Tiago. Do you think I care what happens when I’m dead? My legacy must live on. Don’t look at me like that,’ his grandfather had protested. ‘Do you think I won this land with the milk of human kindness? What’s so hard about what I’m asking you to do? You’re with a different woman every week—pick one of them. You breed horses, don’t you? Now I’m asking you to breed on a woman and get a child to bear our name. You know what will happen if you don’t. You don’t even have to keep her. Just keep the child.’

There was no way to argue with someone on his deathbed, and for that reason alone he had held his tongue. But one thing was sure: whatever it took, he would save the ranch.





CHAPTER ONE

THE FIST CAME out of nowhere and smacked her in the face. Flat on her back in the hay, reeling from shock and fighting off oblivion, she blanked for a moment and then fought like a demon. Cruel hands grabbed her wrists and pinned them above her head. Before she drew her next breath a powerful thigh was rammed between her legs. Terror clawed at her throat. Pain stabbed her body. The man was kneeling on top of her. She was alone in the stables, apart from the horses, and it was dark. The band at the wedding party was playing so loudly no one would hear her scream.

No way was she going to be raped. Not if she could help it, Danny determined.

Fear and fury gave her strength. But not enough!

She couldn’t fight the man. He was too strong for her. Pressing her down with his weight, he was grunting as he freed himself, breathing heavily in anticipation of what he was going to do.

Yanking her head from side to side, she looked for something—anything—to beat him off with. If only she could free one hand—

He laughed as she strained furiously beneath him.

She knew that laugh.

Carlos Pintos!

Everything had happened in a matter of seconds, blinding her to all but the most primal sense of survival, or she would have recognised her brutal ex. It sickened her to know that Pintos must have tracked her down to this remote village in the Highlands of Scotland. Were there no lengths he wouldn’t go to, to punish her for leaving him?

Coming here to Scotland, she’d been running home—running away from Pintos—running for her life. But no longer, Danny determined fiercely. She had escaped her brutal lover, and had no intention of giving way to him now. This was over.

As hate and fear collided inside her an anger so fierce it gave her renewed strength surged inside her. Bringing her knee up, she tried to catch him in the groin. But Pintos was too quick for her, and he laughed as he back-handed her across the face.

She recovered to find him braced on his forearms, preparing for his first lunge.

‘Boring then—boring now,’ Pintos sneered as a guttural sound of terror exploded from her throat. ‘Why don’t you admit you want me and give in?’

Never.

The only thing that made it through her frozen mind was that if ‘boring’ meant refusing the type of relationship Pinto had demanded, then, yes, she was boring.

‘Well?’ he sing-songed, sending her stomach into heaving spasms as he licked her face.

It had only been after she’d been going out with him for a while that Danny had discovered that Carlos Pintos, a big noise on the polo circuit, was a violent bully. He was always charming in public, and she had been guilty of falling under his spell, but he became increasingly vicious when they were alone. He must have used that same charm to get through security at the wedding.

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