…as today sees the launch of Total-e-bound’s Mi Amore collection, four novellas with hot Italian heroes. So let me take you to Milan, where Laura Kyle has arrived to spend the weekend with her student sister, Charlie. Unfortunately, Charlie isn’t at the airport to meet her, but that doesn’t worry Laura too much – after all, Charlie is terrible at keeping appointments and remembering where she’s supposed to be. But when Laura arrives at Charlie’s apartment to discover her landlady hasn’t seen her for days, and begins to hear of a boyfriend with an obsessive streak, she imagines the worst. Luckily, Charlie’s art tutor, Gianmario di Rossi, is on hand to help Laura search for her sister – and, more importantly at this stage in the story, cook dinner for her in the classic Italian style:
Gianmario commandeered the small kitchen, putting a saucepan of water on to boil while he chopped the bacon into thin strips. Soon, the pasta was bubbling away and the most delicious smell filled the room. None of my boyfriends had been particularly good cooks, and I was impressed with Gianmario’s obvious ability. It seemed like only moments before he was tossing the pasta in a mixture of egg, bacon and Parmesan and dishing it up in two white earthenware bowls.
“Buon appetito!” He clinked his wineglass with mine. “Now, eat before it gets cold.”
I twirled spaghetti round my fork and took a mouthful, savouring the perfectly al dente pasta and creamy sauce. “Mmm, this really is delicious. I’m impressed.”
Almost before I knew it, I’d cleared my plate. We’d eaten in relative silence, but once the meal was finished, Gianmario topped up our glasses and we made ourselves comfortable on the couch in the living room.
Kicking off my boots, I tucked my feet underneath myself. “Thank you for everything you’ve done. You really didn’t need to, considering all that my sister’s ever been to you—to all of us—is a right royal pain in the backside.”
That’s when the stresses of the day finally hit me. My anger with Charlie at having put me—and Gianmario, for that matter—through all this combined with my fear that something really terrible had happened to her, and I burst into tears.
“Hey, it’s all right.” Gianmario pulled me into an embrace, making soothing noises as he stroked my hair. Pressed against his shoulder, I breathed in his woodsy aftershave, underlain with something muskier and more masculine. The smell was as reassuring as it was arousing.
I lifted my face towards his, but whatever I’d intended to say was forgotten as our eyes met. Behind the lenses of his glasses, his pupils were deep pools of desire. He bent his head, his lips brushing mine. That was all it took.
So where is Charlie? And should Laura be falling for Gianmario at a time like this – or does he know more than he’s letting on about her sister’s disappearance? Missing In Milan holds the answers.
Missing In Milan is my first attempt at a spot of romantic suspense, inspired by a weekend spent exploring the city a few years ago. Milan really is a beautiful place – and so are a lot of its male inhabitants. And almost everything that’s said about Italian men and their frank appreciation of the female form is true – you’ll never be so blatantly eyed up anywhere else, no matter what your age or shape. However, you are unlikely to get your bottom pinched – and to quote a very old joke, if you do, just ask for it back! Gianmario is unusual among my heroes as the inspiration for him wasn’t any one particular man, more those attractive Milanos as a whole, with their floppy hair and dark, intense eyes. But I’m quite taken with him, and I hope you will be, too.
Missing In Milan is now available from Total-e-bound. Enjoy!