NEW release: Fool’s Gold, the sequel to All That Glitters, is here!  Click here to buy

Click here to buy Fool’s Gold

Many of you have written to ask me when this book was out because it was supposed to be released last year.

THANK YOU for your patience :-)

The delay was because I started the Billionaire books after writing All That Glitters and Baby Steps (the final book in the Honeymoon Series), and I am only now returning to the Italian Summer series. I’m hoping to wrap this series up by Summer 2017 (Gina’s book will be next followed by Elsa’s).

Fool’s Gold continues from where Baby Steps ended – that is, on the day of the launch party for the Cazale Ravenna, Nico’s new hotel and spa center.

For newcomers to my books, you don’t have to have read the Honeymoon series in order to read the Italian Summer series, and while most books in the Italian Summer series will be standalone, Fool’s Gold is a carry-on from All That Glitters. Also, should you want to read both series and you want to avoid spoilers, there is a recommended reading order.

I’ll be in touch when Fool’s Gold releases – hopefully just after Easter. In the meantime, here is an (unedited) Chapter 1 excerpt:

 

Chapter 1

“Would you like to stay here?” Dino asked.

“Here?” Her voice lacked enthusiasm.

“Not now, but one day,” he said, placing his hand gently around the small of her back. She shivered, not because his touch electrified her, but because it felt like an invasion of her privacy and she wasn’t ready for him to invade it. Not yet.

What answer could she give him when she wasn’t sure if it was an offer or a passing comment? These little games that men and women played were getting to be too much. “Maybe. If I can find the time to get away.”

“You have to make time, Andrea. You have to live a little, take a risk, do something spontaneous.”

She’d tried it once, she remembered. In Bellagio with Riley. Once bitten twice shy. No, thank you.

“It’s stunning, isn’t it?” she said, changing the subject briskly. They walked along the stony path leading away from the main hotel. Jewel-colored irises swayed in the soft breeze and colorful blooms lit up the evergreen gardens. The scent of wisteria filled the air while proud Judas trees showed off their pink blossom

“He’s done an amazing job, your friend,” Dino agreed, a little stiffly. The new Cazale Ravenna—a hotel and spa center, was the latest business venture of her friend Nico Cazale, the husband of one of her close friends.

“Nico has an eye for these things,” she said softly. An old flame of hers, he was now the sole heir to the Cazale hotel empire. His father would have been proud of him.

“He’s put Ravenna on the map but it will be interesting to see how many people will want to come here. It’s never been a go-to destination for me.”

“No?” She detected a hint of jealousy in Dino’s voice. “Nico is a savvy entrepreneur. I think this new hotel is going to be an enormous success.”

Dino’s brows knitted together. “Weren’t the two of you together you once?” She was surprised that he knew for theirs had been a very low-key and short-lived romance many years ago. In the time it took her to formulate a reply, he beat her to it. “I wonder if his wife knows what she’s gotten herself in for.”

“I don’t like the way you’re talking about my friends,” answered Andrea, defensively. “You don’t really know them.”

“I’ve read enough about them. Hard not to when they’re always in the papers these days. Some people love the fame.”

They don’t,” she replied, stony-faced. “They don’t seek it out and I wish the press would leave them alone. You’re naïve if you think everything the press prints is true.”

Dino looked at her with astonishment. “You’re very touchy about them.”

“They’re lovely people, they make a wonderful couple and now they have a baby. I wish everyone would leave them alone.”

“Sorry.” Dino’s eyebrows lifted in surprise. “I like him, he’s nice enough—”

She knew what it was. “It’s natural to be jealous of someone who’s good-looking, successful and—”

Dino roared with laughter. “Okay,” he put his hand up. “I’ll stop.”

“I was being serious.”

“I’m not jealous of your friend, if that’s what you think. The Massari brothers have plenty of good looks, charisma and family money behind them and a lot of heart. It all depends on what you’re looking for.”

She stayed silent.

“You’re always so defensive about him, Andrea.”

“He and Ava are good friends of ours.”

“Ours?”

“Mine and Leo’s.” Saying it like that made it sound as if she and Leo were an item. They were so not.

“Talking of Leo, you never told me he was with someone.”

“With someone?”

“Over there.” Dino jutted out his chin, indicating over her shoulder. But when she turned to look, she only caught a brief glimpse of Leo before he disappeared into the hotel’s main entrance. “Who was he with?” she asked, curious.

“Someone very tall and very pretty.”

Who? Leo hadn’t mentioned anything to her about coming with a partner.

“Are you cold?” Dino asked when she rubbed her hands over her arms.

“No.” Not cold. She wished she’d worn something more elegant. The short, off-the-shoulder glittery dress had certainly caught Dino’s attention but she was afraid she’d sent him the wrong message. As it was, she wasn’t totally sure what message she was trying to convey. She was thankful, though, that she wasn’t staying the night. Because of the long drive to Ravenna, some of the party guests had chosen to stay over tonight but she was eager to return home. Still, she wondered what Leo and his friend were doing. She glanced again at the hotel entrance.

“It’s still warm out here,” she commented. It was, for early spring weather and it had been pleasant, the long drive here. Dino had kindly offered to drive her here. He was good company, easy to be around and easy to talk to although her friend Ava begged to differ.

And clearly, he was interested, and sometimes that sexy way he had of looking at her, did something to her heart. Made it flutter. Sometimes.

When he’d come to pick her up, his admiring glances had said more than words ever could have. His gaze had lingered a little too long, a little too slowly, over her face and body, heating her skin with its intensity. She already knew she looked good tonight but it took a man’s validation to convince her.

It had been months since she had seen or heard from Riley but the humiliation of that relationship still cut deep and the scent of betrayal still lingered. Her romance with the American had left its wounds. She was now extra wary around men and had it not been for her bad experience, she would probably have given in to Dino’s advances long ago.

Not that Dino was sleazy, or forceful, but he wasn’t cool and laid back like Leo, her business partner.  A friend of her brother’s for many years, Leo had come on board to invest in her company and to help her with expansion. She now relied on him to be her right hand man and there were days when she wondered how she had ever run her business alone. Things were so much better now that there were two of them to deal with everything. Especially since the last six or more months had been difficult.

“Do you want to take a look at the infinity pool?” Dino asked, touching her bare arm lightly with his finger. But she had caught sight of Leo again. He was standing next to Nico and they looked to be deep in conversation. It was only then that she noticed the woman. Tall and definitely striking, in a full-length figure hugging black strappy dress, she suddenly came into view and stood with her arm hooked into Leo’s.

“Andrea?”

She dragged her attention back to Dino and flinched as his hand once more touched her arm. “Too soon?” he asked, appearing to notice that she seemed irritated.

“No, no,” she said, smiling and trying to fix the damage. She had to force herself not to look at Leo again even though she was itching to. How could she explain to Dino that she wasn’t ready? He seemed so keen. It didn’t seem fair to let him think she might be interested. He was handsome in a boyish kind of way. Olive skinned, slicked back hair, sexy eyes. At another time, a pre-Riley time, she might have fallen for him in a heartbeat. But post-Riley, things were complicated.

She was terrified of making another bad judgment call.

“I don’t understand, Andrea.” Dino stood directly in front of her, blocking her easy view of Leo and the woman. “I like you, you like me, we’re both single, so what’s the problem?” Away from the crowds and the rush of the evening, alone here in a tranquil corner of the grounds, she didn’t have an answer for him. At least not one that would make sense to him. “There isn’t…a…problem,” she said slowly, struggling to find the right words. “I’m sorry.”

He shrugged, with his hands in his trouser pockets. “Don’t apologize, Andrea. You don’t need to be sorry but I’m trying to be patient. Sometimes, it’s impossible to know what you want.”

“Time,” she said, hugging her clutch bag to her chest. “I just need more time.” How much more, she didn’t know.

She saw him flex his knuckles. “I can wait,” he said, and the weight on her shoulders slowly slipped away. “This is good enough, having you on my arm.” He smiled at her and the awkwardness of the moment disintegrated.

“This is good,” she agreed.

“I like you, Andrea Brunelli. I like you a lot and I’m going to wait patiently until you decide that I’m the one for you.”

He was boyishly good-looking if more than a little full of himself.

 

 

 

 

 

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