Synopsis: Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother's heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.
Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.
As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.
...an intense, passionate rollercoaster of a love story—just perfect!
- USA TODAY bestselling author Natalie Anderson
Chatting with Bronwen Evans: Hi Seaside Book Nook Followers!
I’m waving frantically from New Zealand. Jill kindly invited me over to introduce my latest release, THE RELUCTANT WIFE, Entangled Publishing Indulgence December 2012. So sit back and look at my seaside view and let’s get to know each other.
Everyone asks me why I set my book in Italy. A few reasons really, but the biggest reason was because one afternoon, when I was thinking about the characters who would be in this tale, Dante Lombardi, an Italian Conte, popped into my head.
I wanted a story that dealt with something very personal to me (read the book to understand that comment), and I love tall, dark and handsome, and anything Italian – food, wine, culture, history and fashion. I immediately knew he was my perfect hero. He was as near as could be to Italian royalty and very dignified; a man who had huge responsibilities and no one to share his dreams and fears. Everyone needs someone!
Secondly, I guess when I think of romantic countries, Italy comes immediately to mind. Images of Venice, the city of love, flood into my head. I remember the scene from Casino Royale (which I loved), where Daniel Craig (James Bond) learns Vesper, his lover, has betrayed him, and then she dies in his arms. It’s all set in Venice. Why? Because it makes the scene worse. Venice is the city of love and she betrays him and dies while apologizing!
Something about Italy screams romance, perhaps the classical culture or the warm weather and historic buildings, or the language, which is like poetry. However, I have a sneaky suspicion it comes down to the Italian men. I’m very partial toward tall, dark and handsome men who are not afraid to show their emotions.
I have to admit that New Zealand men are not romantic. They are brought up on rubgy, haka’s and what we in NZ call number eight wire mentality (farming euphemism) where ‘we’ll be right’ is the catch cry. Give them a sports channel and a beer and they are happy. NZ men hate public displays of affection, think Valentine’s Day is the name of a cocktail (when they only drink beer), and their idea of foreplay is to turn the light out. Cruel but true!
Italian men on the other hand, love women and fashion. (Sigh). They wear clothes that you see on the pages of GQ magazine, instead of sandals, shorts and a t-shirt. They would prefer to woo a woman, to take her to dinner, to show her the sights, and of course make love to her all night, then watch sports. After all, Casanova was Italian.
I have travelled several times to Italy. The first time I was in Italy was in 1989 when I was in my mid-twenties. I’m blonde and green eyed, not very common in Italy. I got the most amazing and scary experience of my life. Italian men followed me everywhere. One of them got down on his knees by the coliseum with a bunch of flowers and proposed marriage! I’d only just met him. Needless to say, for a girl from New Zealand, used to NZ men who hate holding hands, this type of attention was head spinning. Seriously, if you want an ego boost, visit Italy.
So I could picture what Abby (who is also blonde and green eyed) would have experienced on her first trip to Italy and meeting Dante. A tall, sexy, wealthy Italian who could literally sweep her off her feet. She didn’t stand a chance and I’m not surprised she readily agreed to marry him and then when she walked into his family, it scared her, overwhelmed her. So she fled.
But Abby is forced to return to Dante, her husband, and this time she finally sees past this outer perfection to the fact he’s simply a man. A man with hopes, dreams and fears. This Dante she can love.
Read the book to see the journey to happy ever after that these two take.
Excerpt from The Reluctant Wife:
Abby had completely deceived him. He’d thought her naïveté would make her easy to manage. He’d quickly learned that Abby had more backbone than any woman he’d ever met. Her readiness to challenge him seemed to add to her allure. Now, again, here she was asserting her wishes, taking command…
Abby licked her lips. “I don’t owe you anything. And, as we’re divorcing, I’m the last woman you should have a child with. Besides, I don’t care what you do in your personal life.”
She lied. Her arms were folded across her stomach as if she were warding off a blow.
“You care. You know I could always read your body as well as a blind man reads braille.”
Abby shook her head, the emphatic movement flinging her thick blond hair over one shoulder. Her eyes narrowed. “Can you read what I’m thinking now?”
He searched Abby’s drawn face, recognizing the marks of strain in the bluish shadows beneath her eyes and the set of her delicate jaw. She had the strength of fine bone china, and the fragility.
“I know exactly what you’re thinking.” He tilted his head and tapped his chin with a finger. After a theatrical pause he spoke deliberately. “You wish you’d waited until the morning to meet with me. You’re angry with yourself for still wanting me, and you’re wondering whether one kiss from my lips can still make you come.”
He felt rather than saw her body tremble across the room, and heard her soft gasp.
“Of all the arrogant, conceited…”
“Most of all, you’re remembering the first night you were in this room, how you let me seduce you, how I made love to you into the small hours of the morning.”
The hazel of her eyes glittered almost golden as he watched her fight tears. He tried to keep his heart unresponsive, but the beauty of her pale face, the dark circles under her eyes, and above all her stricken look of profound loss assailed his protective barrier.
“You want a favor from me. I want a favor—or two—from you. I’d call it a mutually beneficial business proposition. I know you need money and I’m happy to help. For a price. You are my wife, this is where you belong.” A traitorous pulse flickered fast just below her collarbone, calling attention to the delicate skin of her throat. His body shuddered into life, with total recall of the addictive taste of her skin.
She quivered as his eyes roamed her small frame. Every detail screamed at him—the dark of her dilated pupils, the flush on her cheeks, the moist pink of her parted lips. She wanted him and though she shook with the effort, she couldn’t hide the giveaway signals. Cursing inwardly, he felt his body respond to the recalled pleasure of their days and nights of intimacy.
“But I’m not yours. Not anymore.”
“Legally you are still mine!”
“I am not a possession, Dante. As I said four years ago, I’m a flesh-and-blood woman with feelings and desires.”
“Come here.” He patted the couch beside him. “I’ll satisfy those feelings and desires.”
Connect with Bronwen: New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?
She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012.
Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at firstname.lastname@example.org you can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website www.bronwenevans.com
Purchase It: You can purchase The Reluctant Wife for $2.99 on line at Amazon (Kindle version) or at Barnes & Noble (Nook version).
Giveaway: Now, tell me what country you’d most like to visit and I’ll draw one lucky winner who’ll receive a copy of my May 2012 Regency historical, Invitation to Scandal, in book or eBook format. Winer will be picked February 7th!