Hot Italian hunk, Nic Romano, will make your pulse race!
You will be swept away to romantic Tuscany, Italy.
This stand-alone novel is a suspenseful love story filled with passion.
Caught in a web of lies and deceit, Karina Vezzoni is about to marry a man she doesn’t love. True love is something she cannot trust. But she may have to. With everything she cares about at risk, she might have no choice.
“The heat of their relationship couldn’t be denied or ignored. Karina had no idea what to do about it, and wondered if Niccolo did either. Taboo or not, their intimacy had blossomed and she wanted to be with him. More than she cared to admit. That was the truth. Karina stood looking at the closed door, her body flushed and her pulse racing. Knowing she had broken the rules, and stolen precious time with Nic, didn’t stop her from wanting more of the same. Passion seemed to rise up and swamp all good judgment. And she feared it would end badly.”
A New Adult Romance That Will Make Your Pulse Race
Nic falls in love hard, and refuses to allow another man to have the only woman he wants. The passion between them explodes, and their forbidden love affair may ruin Karina’s future. Will Nic uncover the evil plot in time? Will Karina listen? Can true love survive?
This New Adult Romance can be read as a standalone novel. (Perfect Imperfection is a series. Each book is a romance of one of the sexy guys from the same high school gang. They can be read in any order.)
This book is a romantic, sexy, intriguing story set in Tuscany featuring Nic and Karina. Nic and Karina were childhood friends in Italy before Nic’s parents moved to Boston. Nic had some problems in his youth so his father sent him back to Italy to live with his aunt and uncle. He and Karina meet up and he finds that Karina is engaged to a man she doesn’t love but feels she has to marry him in order to protect her ill mother and to help her manage her olive fields after her father suddenly passed away. Nic and Karina fall in love but she feels an obligation to Angelo since she’s been promised to him. I don’t want to go any further so I don’t give this story away but I have to say that this book was SO good that I couldn’t put it down! Kudos to Emily Jane Trent for taking me to Tuscany through this book! She made me feel as though I was there in person. I know that she had to work very hard to accomplish this. She put a lot of detail into doing this. I think that everyone needs to read this book especially if you love a good romantic, sexy story! S. Primanzon
Wow! This was a great read. Nic is so hot and sexy! Karina was his childhood friend when he lived in Italy. Nic comes back to Italy and sees Karina. He still feels the emotions for her. She is engaged to another man who Nic catches abusing her. Nic and Karina reconnect. This is one HOT book. I don’t want to give anything away, but this is a must read book. It will have you turning the pages till the early morning hours. Love it. Karen B.
Sexy & Dangerous Series
If Nic Romano hadn’t known he was back in Italy, he certainly would’ve guessed when he stepped into the living room. Built hundreds of years before, the villa in the hills of Tuscany exuded peace and tranquility. The massive wood beams in the ceiling contrasted with the chalky plaster and the stone fireplace. The crimson sofa and chairs pulled color from the earthy tapestry scenes hanging on the otherwise empty walls.
But it wasn’t the heirloom décor or the memories of the villa that struck him. It was the lovely young woman standing by the dark armoire, gazing out the narrow, ceiling-high window. She was about his age, and trim, yet her hips were accentuated by the skirt that lightly hugged them. Two words came to mind: Italian and voluptuous.
Her shiny black hair hung to mid-back in waves, yet, unable to resist looking lower, Nic stared at her long, shapely legs, revealed where the hem of her ivory dress ended halfway down her thighs. Thighs that he felt the urge to touch.
Hearing his shoes on the clay tile as he walked in alerted her to his presence. In the seconds that he drank in the sight of her, losing track of the reason he was there at all, she turned around. Wanting to plunge his fingers into her mass of thick curls and let his hands drift down to linger at her slender waist, Nic was immediately distracted when she faced him.
Her olive skin was smooth, and her lips had a perfect cupid’s bow highlighted by pink lipstick. Yet it was her eyes that captivated him. Looking into her deep brown eyes, brought to prominence by her high-arched brows and thick lashes, Nic was lost. Though no stranger to women, this one left him spellbound.
Taking a step forward, she offered a hand in greeting. Only then did he recognize her, and his heart pounded in his chest. It couldn’t be.
“Niccolo,” she said, which sounded like Nee-koh-LOH. Instead of shaking his hand, she gripped it affectionately. When she kissed him, first on one cheek then the other, her perfume wafted around them, taking him deeper under her spell. The way she had pronounced his name the Italian way in a soft, sexy voice was a caress to his very soul.
Nic kissed her back, Italian style, but he wanted to do much more. It was a second or so before she released his hand and fingered the scarf wrapped loosely around her neck. The fuchsia flowers and wash of salmon-colored petals on the silk spoke of sensuality, matching everything else about her.
Karina Vezzoni was no longer one of the neighbor girls he teased or, on better days, swam with at the river. She had become a stunning woman when he hadn’t been looking. Living in Boston, he had missed sharing high school with her. Though his family had vacationed in Italy sometimes, it had been a while.
“Ciao, Karina,” he said. “You look lovely.”
Taking a step back, no doubt noticing how he was looking at her, Karina said, “How long has it been?”
“Longer than I had thought,” he said. “You’ve really…” Nic found he was at a loss for words. His childhood friend had blossomed into a sexy woman, stirring male reactions he was unable to hide. It occurred to him that there was something slightly forbidden about that. Was it right for him to want to rip the clothes off of a woman he’d known since they were both children?
Karina laughed. “Yes, well, you have changed too.”
“Probably, but I’m not sure for the better.”
Her eyes raked over him. “I guess it’s rather forward of me to say, but with all that muscle and those blue eyes, I’m sure you have no trouble with the women.”
Nic didn’t care about that right then, as the only woman he could imagine wanting was Karina. And he had the feeling she was out of reach, though he couldn’t have said exactly why. One thing was clear: he was going to have to clean up his act.
Shifting from one foot to the other, he was acutely aware of his faded jeans and T-shirt. On the plus side, Nic was sure the tight shirt had caught her eye, as it would have with other women he’d known. But he would need to class it up if he hoped to win her favor.
“Do you always dress like that?” Nic looked at the leather pumps she wore, letting his eyes rove slowly up, enjoying the view.
“What? You don’t like it?” Karina’s pout was playful and familiar. So many times he’d seen her do that. It was good to see it again.
“Of course I like it. You look like you’re dressed for a party.”
“Oh, that. Well, you’ve been in Boston too long. Surely you know Italian women always look their best.” She grinned.
“I haven’t forgotten.”
“Anyway, I’m on my way to have a late lunch with a friend.” Her eyes sparkled. “I must say that you’ve got some work to do in the wardrobe department.”
He laughed. “It’s what’s underneath that counts.” Nic saw her cheeks flush.
“Apparently. You can tell that to the Italian men.”
“I am Italian.”
“Hmph.” Her reply made him laugh again, reminding him of how little he had laughed recently. Also, that he had missed her teasing.
They could have easily spoken Italian, but since he’d been away for some many years, English had become natural. And Karina had learned to speak it in school. Now that he’d seen her again, Nic was in no hurry to leave.
Karina was in a hurry, though. Picking up her purse, she shrugged. “I do have to go.” It looked like catching up with each other would have to wait. “We will find time to talk.”
He hoped so, but a middle-aged Italian woman entered the room, ending the opportunity to do so then. Karina nodded at her. “Ciao, Leah.”
He realized that Karina was the only one who ever called him Niccolo, instead of his nickname. Years ago, he had given her a hard time about it, but hearing her say it just minutes earlier, he had liked the sound of it.
“Tell Leah what you’d like to drink, and she will serve you. I wouldn’t want to be thought of as inhospitable.”
“It’s a little early for drinking, even for me.”
The cook stood quietly. If she understood English, she showed no sign.
Karina smiled. “I meant iced tea, soda, or if you need something stronger…water.”
“Very funny.” Nic supposed she knew about his reason for leaving Boston. “I’m fine for now. I just came to pick up the olives.”
Karina turned to Leah. “No grazie,” she said, and the woman disappeared. “Pietro is in the grove. He is expecting you.” Karina closed the distance between them and gave Nic a friendly hug, if such were possible from such an attractive woman. He enjoyed her touch, in any form.
“I have my uncle’s truck,” he said. “I’ll pick up the order. It seems your olives are still popular at his restaurant.”
“They are. And I think there is some olive oil out there for you, too. It’s part of the usual order.”
Watching Karina leave the room, Nic felt more alone than he should have. She waved her hand in a final goodbye, and called back, “Fino a quando ci incontreremo di nuovo.” Until we meet again—the same words she’d said the last time they’d parted.
Nic took a moment to chill. When his uncle had asked him to go to the villa, he had wondered if he would see any of the family. The encounter with Karina had caught him off guard. It had been about four years since he had seen her.
She had been only sixteen that summer, the same age as Nic. He had already been interested in women but nothing had happened between them. Karina had been pretty then, though innocently so, and they’d spent more time annoying each other than acknowledging any interest in the opposite sex.
There had been an attraction, at least on his part. But at that young age, dealing with the opposite sex had been a skill he had not yet developed. More than anything, Nic had treated her like a family friend. And that was how he had thought of her, and also of her two older sisters. Their families had been friends all his life.
Now the relationship seemed suddenly different. He couldn’t dream of splashing in the river with her, or running in the rolling hills of the region, without imaging something much more sexual than childhood friendship. And he thought he’d had an effect on her too, but that might just be his ego talking.
Well, no matter. If there was any opportunity with her, Nic was sure he’d screw it up. Just as he had everything else. The likely reality was that she was with someone already. Any woman who looked that good had to be. It was worth finding out, though, just in case he had any chance.
He hadn’t asked where she was going, not that it was his business. Likely she’d dressed to go to nearby Firenze, or, as his friends in Boston called it, Florence. There was little hope he’d run into her there, since it was a big city.
Nic walked to the window and looked out at the olive groves surrounded by rolling hills, and a neighbor’s vineyard in the distance. The familiar scene took him back to an earlier time, a happier time. It surprised him to realize how much he had missed it.
If anyone else was around, there was no evidence of it. The rambling villa was silent, and though he would have liked to stay, Nic made his way down the back steps to find Pietro and the order he was to pick up. The springtime sun seeped into him, replacing the edge of his depression with a tinge of warmth, but not nearly enough to conquer his inner demons.
The good memories he had were always of the Tuscany region where he had grown up. And life had seemed as it should, as it so often did in childhood. Then they’d left. And though his parents had returned a couple of times for vacation, it had never been the same.
Nic walked to the open work area, a high A-frame wood-beamed roof over a stone floor with stairs to lower levels. Along one wall, he spotted the stacks of red crates used for moving olives. There was a scale for weighing each crate, and stacks of parachute-type pieces of fabric to place under the olive trees to catch the olives during picking done months earlier.
The pickers got a share of the olive oil for their families, which they got in November at harvest time and relied on for the year. They would mark their name on a crate and get credit for the weight they picked. Nic had done that a few times with other locals. His family hadn’t needed the supply, so he usually gave it to one of the other workers, but kept a bottle or two for himself.
Pietro Fonti entered and walked toward Nic. He was the manager of the grove operations, though Nic didn’t know him. He’d learned the manager was fairly new. The gray pants and a thin sweatshirt he wore were dusty, a sign he’d just come in from work in the grove. His short, dark hair poked out at the rim of his knit cap.
“Ciao.” The manager offered to shake hands, and Nic accepted, though the man’s dark eyes lacked friendliness. Maybe it was that Nic was unfamiliar, or that he was too busy for social niceties.
He handed over several jars of brine-cured black olives, used in antipasto, and a few bottles of oil. Seeing that the items on the order were accounted for, Pietro nodded and lifted one hand. “Arrivederci.” He headed back to the grove, and Nic hopped into the truck. Before leaving, he looked up at the villa perched atop a knoll, the brick walls old but sturdy.
It wasn’t a long drive back to his uncle’s restaurant, but Nic extended it by going slowly, gazing at the countryside. It was beautiful in May. The striations of color of the rolling hills ranged from dark green to light, and even yellow. It gave Nic a sensation of having space, something that it seemed he needed, though he hadn’t thought of it before.
He passed vineyards and other groves along the way, spotting villas and farmhouses nestled among the trees. The country road wound up hills and through small valleys, taking him back to the city. At least it was Firenze and not Boston.
The olives and the bottles of oil were retrieved by one of the kitchen staff at Luca’s Trattoria, his uncle’s restaurant. Luca Romano was his father’s older brother, but other than the dark hair and eyes, they were nothing like each other. Luca and his wife, Christina, had seemed sincerely glad to see him when he’d arrived two days earlier.
Although they did know that he was trouble. His father, Marco Romano, a distinguished physician in Boston, would have made that clear. He certainly had to Nic. Not that he hadn’t had reason. He did. Still, it was good to be with his aunt and uncle for a while, and away from his parents.
Luca was busy overseeing the restaurant operations when Nic stepped inside. The place was packed with foreign students and locals, as well as tourists looking for a fresh, authentic dining experience. As owner and chef, his uncle accommodated them with his traditional Italian cuisine. Some trendier items had been added to the menu. But Luca had proudly stated that the spaghettini alla cecco, sauced with fresh tomatoes from his aunt’s garden, lots of garlic, and thin-sliced artichokes, remained the most popular dish.
That day the place was buzzing, either from the late lunch crowd or those seeking an early dinner. Customers filled the front patio out on the sidewalk, chatting away while eating and drinking under the red awning. Nic waved at his uncle, who smiled but returned quickly to a conversation he was having with a customer.
Part of the deal was that Nic would help in the restaurant, but no one had had the time to fill him in on his duties. He didn’t see his aunt anywhere, and his uncle was too busy to deal with it. That was okay, though. Arriving in Firenze had removed Nic from his environment, but it couldn’t separate him from his personal issues.
It has been his father’s attempt to get him to reform. The thinking was that his friends were a bad influence on him. It had to be, because the son of Doctor Romano couldn’t possibly just be a fuck-up. So the plan was to send him back to Italy to spend some time away, and to think things over. “Shape up” is what his father meant.
But Nic had friends in Firenze too. At least, he’d had them four years ago. Some of them must still be around. He’d really lied earlier when he had said it was too early for him to drink. All day he’d needed a drink, and the urge was strong. Especially after seeing Karina, for reasons he couldn’t fathom. And because he couldn’t escape the feeling that he really didn’t fit in anywhere.