What I've been working on...
Sparks fly for Vicenzu and Imma
This book is called The Terms of the Sicilian's Marriage and is the second of a duet - a pair of books linked by the main characters, in this case two brothers and two sisters. The first book was written by my co-author, the fabulous Michelle Smart.
I had the most fun writing this book with Michelle. Aside from their editor, authors mostly work alone so it was a real treat to conspire with someone else.
Michelle’s book is about Ciro Trapani and Claudia Buscetta. My book follows on with Vicenzu and Imma’s story and the action shifts between Sicily and two of the most beautiful places in Italy. Portofino and Florence.
As the owner of a legendary crash pad for celebrities on the Italian Riviera, my hero, Vicè plays hard for a living. He likes partying, he likes people and he likes flirting. Unlike his younger brother, Ciro, he leaves the details to other people.
Life is sweet until his beloved father dies and his mother is made homeless by local thug made good, Cesare Buscetta.
Devastated and desperate to avenge his father and return the family estate to their mother, the brothers conspire to bring Buscetta to his knees by marrying his daughters. But despite her reputation as an ice queen, playboy Vicè finds that sparks fly when he meets Imma.
And after the brothers’ plan for revenge is discovered by Imma’s younger sister, Claudia, he discovers that the terms of his marriage are suddenly far less favourable.
My thanks to photographers Ricardo Gomez Angel (harbour scene), Herr Bohn (Florence) and Don Fontijn (Sicilian landscape) for their excellent images, all available on unsplash.com.
Please also see my Pinterest collection for this book here.
My new couple, Basa and Mimi
My latest book is called Craving His Forbidden Innocent and has a mash-up of plots. It’s part Cinderella, part enemies to lovers which is one of my favourites. Although it’s actually a little bit more complicated than that. It’s an almost lovers to enemies to lovers plot.
The story starts in London. Basa meets Mimi at one of those restaurants where you go on a six month waiting list to get a table. Unless, of course, you’re Basa Caine. It's been two years since they nearly slept together, and a lot has changed.
What hasn’t changed is that Basa still hates her. He blames her for the part she played her stepfather and uncle’s embezzlement of his father’s business.
Unfortunately for Basa, his sister Alicia has stuck by Mimi and wants her friend to film her engagement party and wedding day.
Having decided that Basa would be half-English, half-Argentinian, I sent Basa and Mimi to Buenos Aires. There are some amazing colonial style mansions there, most of which are embassies or museums, but luckily for Basa, the Caines are one of the last remaining private owners of these great houses.
I had great fun researching all the insane interiors. The bathroom with a fresco on the ceiling was my favourite. Having recently reread Bruce Chatwin’s travel book In Patagonia I thought it would be really exciting to make my suave, urban hero have an amazing island away from civilization.
The outlaw Butch Cassidy is supposed to have fled to Patagonia, and I liked the idea of Basa going rogue and taking Mimi there to stop her from ruining his family’s reputation a second time.
Of course, nothing goes to plan. Mimi is not who she seems and Basa’s smooth exterior conceals a whole mass of guilt.
I loved having the two of them trapped on the island, being forced to deal with both their mutual distrust and the simmering sexual attraction they share.
‘Hey! What are you doing? Give that back.’
She made a grab for it, and he caught hold of her, wrapping his fingers around her wrist.
‘I’m not going anywhere with you.’
She struggled against him, her long blonde hair slipping free of the ponytail at the base of her neck, but he simply tightened his grip and began propelling her past the determinedly blank faces of his security team towards the first of the two large, black SUV’s idling down a sidestreet at the edge of the square.
‘What are you doing?’
She was struggling to break free of his grip and a voice inside of his head was telling him that he was acting like some Stone Age throwback- only his fingers refused to let go of her arm.
‘Escorting you to the car,’ he said through gritted teeth. ‘Before someone recognises you.’
Eyes narrowing, she tugged at his arm. ‘This is not escorting, it’s abducting-’
‘Yes, I suppose it is.’
He stopped so abruptly that her flailing body collided into his and desire, hot and potent like a cup of mate punched him in the stomach as she grabbed at his shirt to steady herself.
For more inspiration, please visit my Pinterest page for this book, which gives some clues on Basa and Mimi and the amazing South American backdrop.
Thanks to Unsplash for the lovely images in my postcard: chandelier by Tomica Stojanovikj; hot air balloon by Clint Mckoy; Patagonia landscape by Eric Carlson