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Daniela’s Crazy Love – The Prequel


In this steamy romance about second chances, Daniela Rinaldi’s first love broke her heart. The high school baseball star Cooper Burke had his sights on a career in the majors, leaving love behind. The devastating breakup hurt Daniela deeply. But even now, she may be unable to resist his charms. When Cooper shows up unexpectedly, he seems to be hiding something. Daniela suspects that he is frightening her for reasons she doesn’t understand. Could Cooper be terrorizing Daniela, or is she imagining it? And if he isn’t, then who is the man in the shadows?

Cooper was the last person she expected to be following her. But there he was, as annoyingly handsome as before. His short brown hair and pale green eyes had not failed to make her want to fall into his arms.

And right then, it was no different. For some reason, her mind couldn’t conceive that he had been gone nearly four years. Quite the opposite—it felt as though time stood still, like he had not left at all. He had been waiting for her, patiently anticipating her next words.

“Cooper…you scared me to death!”

Series: Rinaldi Romance

Daniela Rinaldi is the baby sister with 4 older brothers. Now you can read her thrilling romance in two heart-pounding books – Daniela’s Crazy Love: The Prequel (Cooper & Daniela #1) and Daniela’s Crazy Love: The Novel (Cooper & Daniela #2) – an erotic romantic thriller – a standalone story.

 

Reviews


What can I say, the writing is totally spot on. I really enjoyed Daniela and Cooper’s story. This book it filled with rekindled love, suspense and HEA (let’s hope). I highly recommend this series. Looking forward to book 2 and other books to come.Kindle Customer

I couldn’t wait to start this new series and it absolutely did not disappoint!! This is a story of heart break and lost love. It is a story of 2 young people who were immature in their thinking and went their separate way. Now a little wiser and a little older they both realize that all they need in life is each other. I can’t wait to continue reading this series!! Michele L.

Excerpt


Daniela’s Crazy Love

The Prequel

Chapter 1

 

One minute Daniela Rinaldi’s heart was soaring over the excitement of the fashion event, and the next it was pounding with fright. Whisking along the polished floors, she nearly knocked over one of the crew members. The man came out of nowhere, stepping from behind one of the many backstage mirrors, or he materialized out of thin air.

A gasp escaped her lips when the tall man suddenly blocked her path. Daniela was already running on adrenaline from the mounting pressure to get the model’s makeup done in time. Barely stopping before she plowed into the guy, Daniela looked up. Vaguely, she recalled seeing him backstage before.

He looked down at Daniela, his light brown eyes conveying a message that she couldn’t decipher. Then he smiled, or it should have been a smile. But it was stiff and awkward. It struck her as shyness. “I’m sorry,” Daniela said. “I’m in a rush.”

The man seemed tongue-tied at first. In a hurry, Daniela stepped around him, but his eyes met hers. “Vance Selmer,” he said, holding out his hand. In a blur, she realized he was introducing himself, but Daniela didn’t have time to be polite.

And she didn’t want to shake his hand, even though the encounter wasn’t cause for alarm. After all, she was the one who’d run into him. Or so it seemed. Where the heck had he come from? Daniela raised her hand in the air and kept walking. “Nice to meet you.”

Then she was off. The model she was assigned to couldn’t wait. When the lights went up, she needed to be ready to strut down the catwalk. Daniela’s job was to make sure the stage makeup was stunning. Makeup was as much a part of presenting designer fashions as the outfits were.

Daniela was fortunate to be there. She had been doing makeup “since she could first hold a brush,” as her older brother Gianni was fond of saying. The fashion, the events, and even the swanky hotels where the shows were held excited her.

Traditional runway shows in large halls were still common, especially with the more well-established designers. Daniela had participated in many events at such locations in New York. Yet it was not uncommon to see smaller shows in hotel lobbies, stores, or even art galleries. The new designers with cutting-edge fashions opted for a more innovative way to present their clothes to smaller audiences.

That was good for Daniela, because it meant more jobs. Getting hired to do makeup at fashion week, or other such top-level events, wasn’t easy. It was extremely competitive. But there were other options. Daniela had even done makeup for models that stood at a storefront as a kind of living art exhibit, or those that posed as mannequins on pedestals in boutiques.

No matter where the show was held, it didn’t alter the excitement. Even the stress of having to create dramatic effects in a short time, and to paint the models’ faces like living canvas while under pressure, didn’t cause Daniela’s enthusiasm to wane.

She loved the makeup, the models, the fashions, and the locales. The fashion shows were tightly choreographed affairs, with exclusive lists of special guests from the media, the fashion industry, and even celebrities. There was always an adequate backstage area for models, makeup artists, hairstylists, and designers to orchestrate what amounted to a full-scale theater production.

The model sat up in the chair, watching Daniela stride toward her. “What happened to you?” she said. “I was starting to get nervous.”

“Sorry, Gisele. I thought I knew right where I’d left this, but it wasn’t there. I had to rummage around madly until I found it,” Daniela said, holding up a tiny compact case filled with gold eye glitter. “Then I walked right into some guy.”

Daniela sighed. “Anyway, I’m back.” She looked at the results of her work so far. Gisele’s full lips were glossy red, and her gray eyes were smoky, with gold-colored shadow in bold strokes over her brow bone. “And this will be worth it. Wait until you see how you look when I’m done.”

Gisele closed her eyes while Daniela highlighted her look with the golden sparkles. The model appeared relaxed now, which was good. It wouldn’t do to have her crinkle the thick foundation by frowning. The gold color scheme for her eyes accented the hues in the outfit she’d be wearing, a multicolored blouse that hung to mid-thigh, with nothing worn underneath but tights.

“The cameras are going to love you,” Daniela said, holding up a mirror so Gisela could take a look.

The model smiled demurely, a practiced smile used for the photographers, then handed the mirror back. “Beautiful, Daniela,” she said, turning in her chair. “Now where is the hairstylist?”

Daniela was still thinking of that guy Vance. It wasn’t just that she hadn’t been watching where she was going, it was more that look in his eyes. She thought she’d seen all the guy looks, the expressions that said “you’re cute,” followed by asking for a date.

That stage guy made her feel weird. It was how he looked at Daniela, some eerie feeling behind those pale brown eyes. She was making too much of it. Shaking her head, Daniela looked back at Gisele.

“Do you see her?” the model said, a little more frantically.

Daniela held her hand up, waving at Lila, who finally noticed. Then she pointed down at Gisela, and the hairstylist put up one finger. “She’ll be here in one minute,” Daniela said. “This is a good time for a quick break if you need one.”

“Good idea.” Gisele stood up, her elegant, slender form towering over Daniela. “When she comes over, make her wait. I’ll be back in a flash. I’m one of the first ones out today. Tell her that. I’ve got to get my hair finished so I can get dressed.”

“Don’t worry. I’ll tell her.” Daniela watched the model glide towards the ladies’ room, envying her gorgeousness and grace. “Not everyone can be tall and beautiful,” she said under her breath. Despite wondering what it would be like to be a woman that men fell all over themselves for, Daniela wasn’t truly as jealous as she sometimes felt for a brief moment.

Models didn’t have it that easy either. Their beauty acted as a magnet for all types, making it difficult to tell if a guy wanted the woman for her inner self, or just as eye candy. Even worse were the guys who preyed on beautiful women.

Daniela shuddered. Her good friend Kyra had issues like that. It wasn’t fair, because she was a wonderful, warmhearted person. But as gorgeous as she was, Kyra seemed to have bad luck with men. Maybe that would change for her.

Just as Gisele reappeared, Lila arrived at the makeup station. “I’m ready for you,” she said to the model.

“Thank heavens,” Gisele said, and followed her. Lila kept walking, but turned to Daniela. “I’ll catch up with you afterwards.”

“Okay.” Daniela watched her friend guide the model over to hairstyling. Lila Belkin was of Russian descent, and had a touch of an accent. The pretty woman had been born in Russia, but her parents had moved to New York while she was still in elementary school.

Daniela had met her in cosmetology school, and they’d hit it off. Lila was a bit of a social butterfly, and she liked the guys, a little too much sometimes. But she was a good friend, and lots of fun. Creating hairstyles was her thing.

Even her personal hairstyle was super trendy. Lila’s hair was short, with one side shaved above the ear. It was a little longer on top and spiky everyplace else. But what really made it stand out was the color. Daniela had no idea what her natural color was. Her hair was now a combo of pink, powder blue, and silver. It looked great on her.

Daniela wasn’t that bold. But she admired Lila’s verve. Maybe sometime she’d do something different with her hair. Her friend would be more than willing to accommodate, having offered to do her hair many times. Daniela was afraid of what Lila might do to it.

Before the show started there were a couple of makeup emergencies that Daniela took care of. Then the models were handed off for dressing in the expensive designer wear to be shown off under the lights. Needing something to pep her up after a hectic morning, Daniela grabbed her second cup of coffee from the drink station.

Daniela plopped into a chair in the staff area, and within seconds Lila entered, holding a steaming cup of her own. “A jolt of caffeine, that’s what I need,” she said.

“Same here.”

“Good makeup job on Gisele, by the way. That gold was an excellent choice,” Lila said, her dark brown eyes crinkling at the edges when she smiled.

Daniela took a sip of her coffee. “Glad you thought so.”

Lila sank into a chair and put her feet up on the coffee table. “How did your date go last night?”

Daniela wrinkled her nose.

Lila looked interested. “Will you see him again?”

“Nah, don’t think so,” Daniela said. Then, for no particular reason, she popped up with, “Have you ever been in love?”

Lila laughed. “I love ’em all. You know that.”

Daniela rolled her eyes. “It’s not the same thing, you know.”

“I guess.” Lila seemed to think that over. “Hey, is that handsome brother of yours going to come to the show?”

“Gianni, you mean?”

“Yes, just wondered,” Lila said. “Maybe he will find some new stuff for his showroom. There’s lots of new, up and coming designers showing here.”

Daniela couldn’t help but giggle. “You just want to see him again. I know you.”

“Can you blame me?” Lila feigned innocence. “He is easy on the eyes, you have to admit.”

“He’s my brother, Lila.”

“That doesn’t mean you can’t see that he’s a heartthrob.” Lila could be relentless.

Daniela gave her a disgusted expression. “I’ll take your word for it.”

Lila pretend pouted. “Well, I can look, even if you can’t.”

“You say that about all the guys.” Daniela tried to look serious. “Besides, you know that Gianni is with Leah now. They flew off to Fashion Week Zurich. It’s serious between them, Lila. You’ll have to find another guy.”

“Oh, you’re so serious about everything.” Lila’s eyes sparkled. “I know Gianni is taken. Or as well as taken.” Then, with a devilish look, she said, “What about your other brothers?”

“If any one of them becomes available, I’ll be sure to let you know.”

Lila winked at her. “Now you’re teasing me.”

“Of course,” Daniela said. “You deserve it.” Lila knew very well that her other three brothers weren’t dating prospects. Jacob had a relationship, Stephano was rarely in New York, and who knew what Micah was doing. But her friend liked to kid around.

“So you passed on the chance to go to Zurich with Gianni?”

Daniela took a swig of coffee. “I can’t. Too much work here. It’s busy during the Christmas season. You know that.”

“I don’t know that I’d pass up a trip to Zurich for it, though,” Lila said.

“I have commitments. I can’t just leave. There are too many makeup artists willing to take my jobs. It’s better to stay put,” Daniela said. “Besides, I love New York during the holiday season.”

“What about Christmas?”

“I think Gianni and Leah will be back then. And Jacob will probably be in New York. We’ll have Christmas at my parents’ house,” Daniela said. “I doubt Micah will be there. He doesn’t usually make it for holidays. But it will still be nice.”

Lila put her cup on the table. “I’m sticking around too. I’m booked through until January. But I’m taking a few days to visit my family. I’ll drive there, like I do every year.”

The Belkins lived in New Jersey, and Daniela was glad her friend had family nearby. All the guys she seemed to adore disappeared at crucial times like holidays. It would be good if Lila found the right guy, but it didn’t appear that she was looking. The way she put it: “Shopping around is more fun.”

Not that Daniela had done any better. One or two dates with a guy seemed to be the norm. It wasn’t only that they didn’t call again, it was that she didn’t really connect with any of them. There was some invisible standard that not one of them lived up to. But the fact remained that falling in love hadn’t been in the picture for Daniela, at least not lately.

There was her first love in high school, but that probably didn’t count. She was so young, and he had moved on to more important things in his life, like his career. So the budding relationship had been cut short, breaking her heart in the process. In her weaker moments, Daniela still dreamed of Cooper Burke, the high school baseball star who had stolen her heart.

She wondered what had become of him. Embarrassingly enough, not a day went by that she didn’t think of him. And it had been years since he’d left.

“Hey, where did you go?” Lila said.

“Sorry, just daydreaming.”

“Care to share?”

Daniela shook her head. “Not really.”

Her friend had to be a mind reader. That was the only explanation. “Well, when you want to talk about not really, I’m here. It looks like you’ve got it bad for him.”

Daniela huffed. “I’m not even dating anyone. I don’t know what you could possibly mean.”

“If you say so.” Lila stood up. “Well, I’m off. Got things to do. See you in the morning, okay?”

“Sure.” Daniela went over to put her coffee cup in the sink. “You have a date tonight?”

“Yes, that new hot guy at the coffee shop asked me to go dancing.”

Daniela smiled. “Okay, enjoy. And be nice to him.”

Lila grinned. “I’m always nice.”

Her friend seemed to have no trouble getting the guys. It was probably her outgoing personality. And she did have a good sense of humor. Daniela tended to be too serious. That was probably part of the problem. Maybe the right guy would still come along.

After all, at age twenty-two Daniela wasn’t exactly over the hill. But it did get discouraging sometimes. Dating was exhausting: meeting a guy, suffering through a boring evening, the uncomfortable goodnight. Often when a guy said he’d call, Daniela hoped he wouldn’t. Then she’d have to turn him down.

There had been some cute ones, and a few memorable dates. But it didn’t go anywhere. Daniela hadn’t met a guy she enjoyed being around for very long. She didn’t think she was snobby. But maybe she was. It was as good of an explanation as any other.

Or her one and only chance at love had come and gone, before Daniela was even out of high school. That was a depressing thought. She hoped fate wasn’t that cruel, because there was no way to change the past. As much as she might want to.

After all the intense preparation beforehand, fashion shows were over in under an hour, often less. By the time Daniela went back to her station, many models were done, already changing back into street wear. She stuffed some items into her bag and headed for the cloakroom.

It was the first day of December, and in New York City that meant it was cold outside. Daniela wrapped her scarf around her neck and buttoned up her coat. If it was windy out, she’d splurge and take a cab. The subway didn’t sound very inviting.

A couple of other people gave her cursory smiles as they struggled into their winter coats. Daniela hefted her bag over her shoulder and went through the door to the hall. The room was not too far from the elevator bay, which was down a long hallway.

It was rather dark. An overhead fluorescent light must have burned out. Daniela didn’t recall it being so dark on the way in. There were a couple of other meeting rooms off the main hallway. It didn’t seem like any events were going on.

The rooms she passed were dark and quiet. One door was closed, probably locked tight. Daniela’s skin crawled. Running into Vance earlier had unnerved her more than she thought, which made no sense. The guy had been very nice, and had even introduced himself.

What in the world was wrong with her? Then, as she quickened her pace past one of the empty rooms, out of the corner of her eye Daniela caught sight of a shadow. The shadow moved and she heard a shuffling sound. Reason escaped her, and she ran for the elevator.

A bit out of breath, Daniela punched the button to go down. She should have waited for other staff to leave the show, then gone down to the lobby with a group. Being alone was unsettling. Then footsteps sounded on the marble floor. Daniela’s pulse raced.

Spinning around to see who was behind her, surprise rendered her speechless. There she was, face to face with Cooper. For a second, Daniela thought she had conjured him up.

But then he spoke. “Daniela.”

She stared at him, disbelieving. Cooper was the last person she expected to be following her. But there he was, as annoyingly handsome as before. His short brown hair and pale green eyes had not failed to make her want to fall into his arms.

And right then, it was no different. For some reason, her mind couldn’t conceive that he had been gone nearly four years. Quite the opposite—it felt as though time stood still, like he had not left at all. He had been waiting for her, patiently anticipating her next words.

“Cooper…you scared me to death!” Daniela stood, frozen to the marble floor underneath her feet. That she could speak at all was a miracle.

Cooper’s eyes were sexy. That hadn’t changed. “I didn’t mean to startle you.”

Their gazes locked. “How did you get here?” Daniela thought it was a fair question.

“It’s kind of a long story,” Cooper said.

Annoyance laced her emotions. Anger toward Cooper surged. It had been that way when they had dated, and it certainly felt natural now. “How does the story start?”

Cooper stepped closer. “I’m staying at this hotel. I saw the flyers downstairs about the fashion show and thought I’d come up to check it out.”

He wasn’t coming clean. Daniela knew him too well. “Uh huh.” The elevator door had already opened, and reclosed when she failed to get in. She stabbed at the button again. “But that doesn’t explain why you are in New York. I thought you were in California. I’m sure you’re a big baseball hero by now.”

Daniela’s sarcasm cut deep, and she noticed Cooper deflate, just a little. She regretted being so harsh, but not enough to apologize. The elevator door opened and she stepped inside. Cooper did too, and stood very close.

“I was playing baseball,” Cooper said, shifting from one foot to the other. “Like I said, it’s a long story.”

The elevator made a rapid descent, and they stepped out to the lobby. The awkwardness made Daniela uncomfortable. Her mind reeled over Cooper showing up so unexpectedly. He touched her arm, making her feel something she wished she didn’t.

“Have lunch with me,” Cooper said, and her heart skipped a beat.

“No, I don’t think so.” Daniela bit out the words. Cooper looked stung, but that didn’t stop her. “The fact that you were a heartthrob in high school means nothing. It’s been a long time. And lunch isn’t going to happen. I’ve moved on.”

Neon lights couldn’t have made it any more obvious how much Cooper still affected her. But Daniela stuck with her lie anyway, and turned to walk away, leaving him standing in the lobby. Getting together with him would be a really bad idea. Daniela was sure of it.