By Megan Johns
‘Italia! Oh Italia! Thou who hast the fatal gift of beauty.’ Byron
And Venice is exquisite. Nor is the beauty confined to the place. Hotelier Giovanni Renaldi is tall, dark and devilishly handsome. Yet holiday representative Abi seems immune. Crossed in love, she is in no hurry to fall again. Plus his arrogance is so infuriating.
Surely the discomforting feelings he evokes can only be guilt at covering for his naive sister’s secret lover?
When passion finally wins through, the thrill of their lovemaking is soon wrecked. And Giovanni, proud and fierce defender of his family since inheriting the role of patriarch, is enraged to learn Abi has colluded with his sister.
But Abi quickly discovers her secrecy is nothing compared to Giovanni’s. As the family’s closely guarded secrets begin to unfold, she is sucked into their internal wrangling.
Is nothing what it seems in this clandestine community?
And can love triumph over the turmoil of scarred lives?
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SHORT EXCERPT: The piazza hummed with activity. A huddle of guests outside the hotel seemed in good spirits, despite their various states of undress. From beyond them, however, the shadowy image of a stretcher emerged. Abi’s stomach clenched. Pushing a path through the crowd of onlookers, she rushed toward it.
“What’s going on?” she protested as the tall, imposing figure of Giovanni Renaldi appeared from nowhere to block her way.
“Nothing to worry about,” he informed her in a manner so crisp it verged on brusque.
A needle of pique worked its way through her veins and she regarded him head-on. He might be the epitome of Italian suave and sophistication, but any appeal was annihilated by his infuriating manner.
“So, why the ambulance?”
“There’s been a minor incident, that’s all. It’s just a routine check-up.”
“Routine? At this time of night?” Her voice rose in sharp protest. Something about his demeanour struck a chord. “If it’s one of my clients, I need to know what’s going on!”
He regarded the shoes still dangling from the crook of her fingers and pitched her a severe look, as if addressing a child. Uncomfortable under the weight of his gaze, she wriggled her shoulders and looked away.
AUTHOR BIO: I live in a pretty village in the UK countryside complete with a duck pond and stocks on the village green. With our daughter now grown up, my husband and I are empty nesters apart from an adorable Cavalier King Charles Spaniel and some neighbouring alpacas.
I always enjoyed writing, but juggling family life and a lecturing career left little time. Only when life began to slow down did I start writing in earnest.
My reading tastes are eclectic. I enjoy Joanna Trollope because of the pithy way in which she deals with contemporary issues, also Rosamunde Pilcher and the late Maeve Binchy are firm favourites. I like to explore most genres, however.
In my own writing, I aim to focus on writing contemporary romance novels ‘with teeth’.
Find her online!