1920s Historical Romance
Released: November 10th 2015
Ingénue Isobel Harrington, fresh from finishing school in the summer of 1922, experiences a sexual awakening during a visit to Italy's Amalfi Coast.
Sent to visit distant relatives in the hope she will ensnare a wealthy and aristocratic English husband, Isobel falls instead under the spell of enigmatic local, Stefano.
Is their forbidden romance destined to be nothing more than a holiday affair, or will Isobel be brave enough to defy convention and her parents' expectations to follow her dreams?
"A delicious historical romance that transported me to the citrus groves of Positano and made me long for the cocktail hour to be reinstated. Marvellous." - author Rachel Lyndhurst
An Innocent Abroad was previously published by The Wild Rose Press under the name Rae Summers. It will be available exclusively through Amazon from 10 November 2015.
Roman-style arches rose to a round, vaulted ceiling bright with colour. The church was unadorned but for the large wooden crucifix behind the altar, its walls plain and white-washed, drawing the eye upwards to the heavens and the spectacular frescoes painted there.
In the centre of the ceiling sat a young girl with her head bowed. An angel stood before her, wings outspread, a hand extended in blessing. All around them stretched a sky as blue and cloudless as the one outside. At the very edges of the painting, where the vault met the walls, wove a band of intertwined vines and acanthus leaves.
Though she did not hear him move, she knew that Stefano had come to stand behind her. Then his hands were on her arms, holding her safe and tilting her body back so that she could look up at the ceiling without straining her neck.
“She prays for what her heart desires.” His voice brushed against her cheek, soft as silk. “And the angel grants her prayers, as he grants the prayers of everyone who is brave enough to ask for what they want. What do you pray for, Bella?”
Her voice was little more than a whisper. “I don’t know.”
She turned in his arms. Though she wasn’t yet sure what she wanted for her future, she knew what she wanted right now. She dragged her gaze away from his mouth, aware of the heat flushing her cheeks as their gazes caught. The chapel faded away and she was aware of nothing but his darkening eyes, bright as though illuminated from within. She was sure her breathing must be as unsteady as her hammering heart.
“I know what I pray for.” He leaned close, reaching up to slide his hands into her hair, slowly unpinning the weight of it until it spilled around her shoulders. Hairpins clattered to the uneven floor.
“Bellissima.” His voice was low, reverent. “The colour of spun gold.” He ran his fingers through the loose curls that fell around her face. She resisted the mad urge to close her eyes and arch her head back.
Then his hands cupped her face, drawing her inexorably closer, and she was helpless to resist. No, not helpless. She smiled to herself. She didn’t want to resist. Inspired perhaps by his vision of her, she boldly lifted her chin.
As his lips touched hers, her eyes drifted closed. Her entire body, all her senses, focussed on that one point of contact, the slow, soft brush of his mouth across hers.
The pressure of his lips deepened, and she sighed, opening her mouth. His tongue, as though awaiting the opportunity, slid into her mouth. Her eyelids fluttered in surprise, but she could not open them, so deliciously heavy did they suddenly feel.
She laid her hand on his chest, fingers spread as if to push him away. The warmth of his body seeped through her fingers, and unbidden her hand slid down over the hard planes of his torso, feeling his heartbeat through the thin cloth of his shirt.
His mouth tasted of coffee and almonds, a bitter-sweet taste that sent her senses into overdrive. The madness inside her grew insistent, irrepressible. She darted out her own tongue, to explore the heat and hardness of his mouth. His lips curved against hers in a smile. He wasn’t put off by her boldness. He liked it.
Then slowly he pulled his mouth away from hers, and her body cried out in agony, not wanting to be separated from him. It was as well his hands had slipped down to her shoulders. Without his support, she might have sunk to the floor. She seemed incapable of standing on her own.
“Grazie,” he said.
About the Author:
I’ve always written stories for myself, but didn’t even think of being an author until I realised that being over thirty and living in a fantasy world was a little odd. Writing those same stories for other people makes it a lot more acceptable!
By day I dress in cargo pants and boots for my not-so-glamorous job of making movies but at night I come home to my two little Princesses, in Johannesburg, South Africa, where I live, and I get to write Happy Ever Afters. Since I believe every girl is a princess, and every princess deserves a happy ending, what could be more perfect?
You can follow Romy on Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, Goodreads or on her website/blog.