This week sees the release of the next book in THE VINEYARDS OF CALANETTI continuity… REUNITED BY A BABY SECRET. This series was so much fun to be a part of that I thought I’d share a snippet from the book.
Set up: Marianna and Ryan met two months ago on a beach in Thailand where they had a steamy holiday fling. In this scene, Marianna is standing in the corridor outside of the executive suite of Rome’s Grande Plaza hotel wondering what on earth surfer boy Ryan is doing in the penthouse suite. When she thinks of Ryan she thinks of board shorts, flip flops and tousled hair. Oh, and sexy smiles. She doesn’t associate him with swish hotel suites that cater to the world’s elite. She’s nervous. She has some important news to deliver, but despite the serious nature of her visit, she can’t wait to clap eyes on him again. She’s praying he’ll be happy to see her too.
Marianna pushed away from the wall, wiped her palms down her skirt and straightened her shirt before lifting her hand and finally knocking. A thrill coursed through her. She and Ryan might not have made plans to see each other again, but he’d never been far from her thoughts during the last two months and maybe—
The door opened and Marianna’s breath caught and held, suspended between hard pounds of her heart. The haze in front of her eyes slowly dissolved, and in sluggish bewilderment her brain registered that the stranger standing in front of her dressed in a bespoke suit and a crisp cotton business shirt and tie was—
She blinked and peered up at him. ‘Ryan?’
He leaned towards her and then frowned. ‘Marianna?’
The stranger was Ryan! Her pulse jumped as she took in the dark blond hair, the blue-green eyes, and the sensual curve of his lips. Lips that had started to lift, but were suddenly pressed together into a grim straight line.
She stared at that mouth, at the cool light in his eyes. How different he seemed. Her stomach started to churn with a seriousness that forced her to concentrate on her breathing for a moment.
‘What are you doing here?’
That was uttered in a voice she barely recognised. She dug her fingernails into her palms. Smile. Please. Please just smile.
Her inner pleading did no good. If anything, his frown deepened. She stared at him, unable to push a word out of a throat that had started to cramp. Keep breathing. Do not throw up on his feet!
He glanced away and then back at her, and finally down at his watch. ‘I have a meeting shortly.’
A chill chased itself down her spine as her nausea receded. Why would he not smile?
‘I wish you’d called.’
She reached out to steady herself against the doorjamb. He was giving her the brush-off?
He lifted his wrist to glance at his watch again. ‘I’m sorry, but—’
The words blurted out of her with no forethought, without any real volition, and with the force of one of Thailand’s summer storms. Her common sense put its head in its hands and wept.