Date: November 6th, 2021, Posted by mollie
Hello, my lovelies,
I hope you are happy and well and looking forward to spending time with family or loved ones (even if those are your cherished pets) this Christmas.
As I shared in my last email My Christmas romance, Love All of Me, was inspired by events three years ago, a few weeks before Christmas.
On 9 December 2019 White Island, an active stratovolcano island in New Zealand’s northeastern Bay of Plenty region explosively erupted. The island was a popular tourist destination, known for its volcanic activity, and 47 people were on the island at the time.
Twenty-two people died, either in the explosion or from injuries sustained, including two whose bodies were never found and were later declared dead. A further 25 people suffered injuries, with the majority needing intensive care for severe burns.
It was such an awful, awful tragedy. Sometimes I read a story in a newspaper or hear about someone’s experience, and it sparks a story. And that’s how Love All of Me began.
Love all of Me also stars a super cute three-legged rescued pug dog named Zac. Zac was inspired by my cousin Lisa’s dog who only has three legs and gets around remarkably well. And also this super cute dog I saw when visiting my local spa when I lived in Wellington (where some of my other short romances are based)
AVAILABLE NOW! READ A SAMPLE CHAPTER…SCROLL TO END
Twist of Fate
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Forever and Always
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Love Me As I Am
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Love Me Forever
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The Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage
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The Italian Billionaire’s Scandalous Marriage
The Italian Billionaire’s Christmas Bride
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An unexpected lover…
After surviving a horrific accident Kate Miller is plagued by guilt. Hiding both her mental and physical scars, she shuns love and escapes into work—finding meaning and purpose in running her boutique Manuka honey business.
Gianni Romano has ventured to New Zealand driven by memories he wants to escape— the crimes of his father. The Romano fortune and name has followed him wherever he goes. But that only makes the headstrong Italian more determined to strike out on his own. Now he’s on the cusp of achieving world acclaim.
Only one woman stands in his way—Kate Miller and her refusal to submit to his demands that she sells her business to him. Her passions are inflamed. How dare he think he can flaunt his considerable wealth and buy the only thing that gives her a reason to live?
The spark they have is hotter than a Sicilian sunset, but when emotions run deep and hearts are on the line will mixing business with pleasure be the bedrock for a lifelong love? Or will it detonate like an angry volcano?
COMING SOON! READ A SAMPLE CHAPTER…SCROLL TO END
SAMPLE CHAPTER: LOVE ALL OF ME
The rest of the day had a lightness and ease that she hadn’t felt for a long time. Zac had given a compact demonstration of the power of fun and play. The children had carried their presents away, filled with excited anticipation of opening their gifts on Christmas day. Maybe everything would be okay, Kate mused as she lifted Zac into the passenger seat and sat beside him.
“What kind of dog is that, anyway?” Gianni said.
“He’s not a dog he’s a person,” Kate said. “He’s Zac. But if you must know he’s part pug, part manic depressive.“ Kate said, frowning as caught Zac’s melancholic gaze. “Zac, could you please stop looking at me like that?”
Zac sighed and leaned closer to Gianni, gazing longingly at his lap.
“He likes to drive,” Kate said to Gianni.
Zac looked up at Gianni with love. Traitor, she thought.
“Could you do me a favour?” Kate thought. “Could you let him sit in your lap? Just for a minute.”
That will tease out what sort of guy you really are she thought. “He likes to stick his head out the car window. He loves the way the wind blows up his nose, only thing is it makes him fart.”
Gianni looked down at Zac. “Whatever he needs, mia cara.”
Kate stared at him was he for real? “I’m not joking. He really farts. Smelly, stinky ones.”
“I grew up on an island which belched sulphurous gas every day. Nothing phases me.”
“You lived on a volcano?” she whispered. Her lips pressed tightly together.
“Si, Stromboli. Do you know it?”
Kate shook her head. No, and she didn’t want to either. Her hands curled into fists.
“It’s a volcanic island,” he began, oblivious to the terror drumming through her body. “It is one of the few volcanoes in the world that is always active. There’s an explosion every few minutes, sometimes it lasts for hours. This has been going on without interruptions for the last 1300 years. It is very dangerous. Sometimes it blows up and lots of stones go firing up and plummeting down. It makes a big hole in the earth and burns everything around.”
Kate grimaced. “It sounds horrid.”
“It was all I knew. It wasn’t without its rewards.”
“Rewards? You’ve got to be joking.”
“People loved to visit my island. When I was young I was very popular with the foreigners who liked to flirt with danger,” his eyes glinted mischievously.
“I bet,” she said.
“I think It was because I was so cute.”
Cute wasn’t the word that sent fire blazing down her spine.
“If it erupts, it kills you,” Gianni said.
Kate bit back a confession. She wanted to tell him she knew all about death by a volcano but she was afraid all the tears she kept bottled inside would explode in boulder-weight grief.
“Why did you stay?”
“I felt safer there than on the mainland. At least I only had to deal with nature. Not the mafia-wars, men and their greed. There was none of it there. It was safe. We were a small tight community.”
Community, she mused. Like her beloved bees.
“We called the volcano, iddu In Italian this means ‘him’. Because he is like a friend, a person, someone loyal who is always there.”
“I would rather eat fire than make friends with a volcano,” Kate said, angrily.
Gianni turned to her, a quizzical line rippling across his brows. Kate knew what he wanted. He wanted to explore what made her so red-hot furious. But she said nothing. How could she trust him with her feelings? Her memories? Her pain?
She couldn’t even trust herself.
“As kids, we used to draw iddu. Some kids drew him with a heart over his crater. Others as a guardian watching over the school and the children playing in the courtyard.”
“Weren’t you terrified?” Her fists softened, she splayed her fingers on her thighs.
“No. it was like thunder. Beautiful. Like you,” he said, turning to her.
“Flattery doesn’t suit you,” she said, unable to suppress the faint smile that fluttered to her lips. But then she remembered. Keep your distance. If Gianni saw all of you, the you that is hidden beneath your clothes, beauty is not the word that would ooze from his lips. Scarred. Disfigured. Damaged.
“I hate thunder,” she scowled. “And I hate volcanoes.”
“Maybe, mia cara,” he said, softly. “Maybe you would love this volcano.”
“Not a chance.”
He shrugged. “Perhaps,” he said, smiling, “In time you will go there.”
“You’re got no idea.”
“Try me,” he challenged.
She wrapped her arms around her chest and turned to look out the window.
“Everything shakes, but the normal explosions, the ones that happen all the time, we don’t hear them because iddu is so far away. Like you are now. Where have you gone, mia care?”
“I’m trying to picture how living on a volcano shapes a person. The constant dread. The never-ending fear that tomorrow you may never wake. The everlasting pain that loss brings.”
“I didn’t see it that way. In many ways I had an idyllic existence, especially for a child. We were surrounded by water. We would row in our boats. Fish. There were no cars or motorbikes. We had donkeys and skateboards for transport. We lived in simple white plaster houses. We had no iPad, no Internet, no stereos. We just played in nature. My childhood on Stromboli reminds me of New Zealand. It was an isolated and incredibly beautiful existence.”
“Why did you leave? What made you come here?”
He stiffened, his mood briefly darkening.“I came to visit Leonardo. I liked it here. I stayed.”
“Oh,” she said, not wanting to pry.” Everyone had secrets. He could keep his, just like she would keep hers. “I ran away from home when I was four,” Kate said. “I can’t remember why. I regret it now.” She felt a wave of longing wash through her belly. What she would give to turn back time.
“That’s where we are different. I don’t regret anything,” Gianni said. “The past is the past and the future is what one creates.“
“You make it sound easy.“
“It’s a choice,” Gianni said. “So what will yours be?“
“I wasn’t aware I needed to make one,” Kate said.
His eyes, that intriguing shade of amber that sometimes looked like gold, glittered as he pulled the Range Rover to the side of the road and stopped the engine. Zac regarded them with smiling eyes, then turned, and padded to the back seat as Gianni leant toward her.
She missed hugs. She missed being held. She missed cuddles. Her soul ached with need. She closed her eyes, holding back tears of longing.
Her heart hammered, then stopped as his arms wrapped around her. She felt an iron wall of terror slam between them. I can do this, she silently affirmed, willing the wall to yield. I can let myself be hugged.
His hug was honest, caring, real, she registered as she folded into his chest. She sighed with relief. His hug held no demand. His hug was not a grope. His hug asked nothing of her. Just that she allowed herself to be loved.
A wave of guilt surged through her. God, what was she thinking? “I have things to do,” Issy said tearing herself away. She wasn’t ready. Perhaps she never would be, she mused, ignoring the conflicting desire swimming through her body.
“Perhaps I can help?” His tone held no hint of her rejection.
What was it he had said, ‘I’m an acquirer. I always get what I want.’ Was it possible he wanted her? All of her? Despite the fact she was a cot-case. But why?
Well, maybe she should join the acquisition business too. She had to move the beehives again. The fact was an extra pair of hands, particularly, attached to muscular arms as powerful as Gianni’s would shortcut the effort. She couldn’t allow herself to be loved, but she could allow herself to acquire his help.
“I enjoyed today,” he said. “I’d like to get to know you better.”
“I’d like that,” she said, ignoring the fear that pounded through her.
Spending more time together couldn’t hurt, could it?
I hope you enjoyed this excerpt. Please let me know if you enjoyed what you have read so far. I’d love to know, and I promise to reply.
This beautiful, heart-flaming Christmas romance is available now!
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