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Saturday, April 2, 2016

Hearts Under Fire by Antonio Scotto di Carlo ♥ FREE Romantic Suspense

Jenny is a beautiful young businesswoman. She lives in an Italian tourist town where she owns a shop. Her need for independence is her strength, but her innate distrust sometimes creates problems with others.

One day she encounters love. More than an encounter, it’s a collision, a head-on collision. Her heart isn’t Eros’s only target, and everything changes …

Police begin investigating suspicious events around her, slowing down the construction of a new great hotel in town and rocking her life even more.

Text copyright © 2015 by Antonio Scotto di Carlo

1. My Way

Dark streaks in her wavy blond hair. That was what Jenny wanted.
I should be first one in the line at this time of the day.
She had been thinking about that for weeks, although, for one reason oranother, she’d never followed through. But she felt inspired that day, as if it was a special day.
That was her state of mind, probably because of her phone call to Mr. Marzarotti the day before …
Stepping out of her house, a breeze softly brushed her gorgeous face. She looked up: a single sheet of blue was the ceiling of that sunny July morning.
Jenny felt all was right in her life. She was a successful businesswoman, happy, and healthy. At thirty, Jenny was very proud of her body. She was able to follow a healthy diet, and she went to the gym twice a week for aerobics classes—she wasjust three pounds above her ideal weight: she’d gotten rid of them once, but the mirror’s verdict was disappointing because she was perfectly fit but had somehowlost that extra bit of femininity.
She approached the shop, seeing the hairdresser had just opened. His assistantwas still sweeping the floor.
While waiting for him to finish, she pulled out her phone.
“Hey, sis. What’s up?” said the voice after the dial tone.
“Listen, Marti. I just want to let you know that I’m coming around ten.”
“Everything all right?”
“Yeah, don’t worry. You’ll understand when you see me.”
“You’re always so mysterious!”
Jenny laughed.
“That’s fine. Do your thing. I’m gonna finish washing the showcases.”
“Later then.”
“Later, Jenny.”

Excited because of her new hairstyle, Jenny left the salon at ten fifteen, and headed for Youth—that’s what she’d called her own shop, which specialized in teen fashion.
It was a five-minute walk through the historic center of the small Italian tourist town where she lived.
The pavestones and the old buildings lent the air a distinctly ancient quality.Jenny loved walking there when she had the chance to. She enjoyed following and dodging the disorganized flock of tourists, according to their movements. Womenwho stopped to look at bags and pashminas, men focused on belts for pants orstuck and fed up with waiting for their wives deciding what to buy, others who wandered into pottery shops looking for souvenirs, salespersons placing items on display or dealing with customers, everything in a quaint medley of voices and noises. That’s why the sound of a violin was able to easily filter up to her ears.
And the step from ears to heart was immediate, a celestial sound bringing goose bumps to her white skin.
“My Way,” she muttered, ecstatic.
She recognized it right away. She loved that song. It wasn’t The Voice or thelyrics. Just the melody. Those four notes floated from one chord to another withclassic dancers’ lightness and grace, maintaining the complicated ease of a petal at the mercy of the wind. Then, without warning, they came crashing into people’s hearts.
Jenny no longer heard anything else. Just the violin, a sweet voice that silencedeverything and summoned her.
Hypnotized with wonder, she followed the music.
As she approached, the emotion produced by those notes reminded her of how sweet a tear of joy’s flavor could be.
Going ahead, she kept her eyes in the direction where the divine call seemed tocome from.
Among backs and faces of the passersby, next to the wall between a tobacco shop and an ice cream parlor, she saw a man’s silhouette. He was tall and blondwith a globe-shaped belly, and he was wearing shorts and blue polo shirt. He was playing the violin. An orchestral background, coming from two small speakers, accompanied him in his solo performance. The open violin case lay at his feet, a few coins scattered inside.
Jenny stopped to listen to him, but after just a few seconds, she realized she wasn’t the only one. From the corner of her eye, she saw a figure six or seven stepsto her right, a man also standing still and facing the busker.
She glanced with a fleeting movement of her irises: Adonis had escaped from the myth to materialize beside her.
An interior thud. Her heart began palpitating in an absurd way.
Was this because of the song or how fascinating the man was? Maybe music was just amplifying the turmoil caused by the sight of him.
She stood there, astounded. It was a feat just to control her breathing.
He was standing too. She perceived him there, against the background of people walking all around them.
She longed to look at him again, but the fear of meeting his eyes stopped her.
Fear? Fear of what?
She moved her eyes fast.
He was focused on the busker. He looked to be in his thirties, wiry, wearing dark trousers and a white shirt with long sleeves—strange, given the warm weather—hehad one hand in his pocket and with the other, held the neck of his jacket slungover his shoulder.
She was staring at him. Definitely. And maybe he knew. Maybe he was pretending to be interested in the song.
She moved her head cautiously, so as not to attract his attention. She looked back at the busker.
The angelic instrument’s voice kept singing love in its universal language. Thosemelancholic notes drew the man’s clean-shaven face into her mind. The light-brown hair, short and artfully tousled, gave him the air of a rebel. His slightlyaccented cheekbones expressed a great confidence through his serious expression.
What a torture, that music! It continued prompting her to quench her arid eyeswith the refreshing image again.
She peeked.
His features seemed to be dashed by a Caravaggio who wanted to bewitch anywoman who looked at him. And his green-gray eyes … she saw them very well. In fact, he had just turned to her: the direct contact with that granite on mantles ofsnow froze her with bliss.
He smiled. A gentle smile. She smiled back at him, like the simultaneouscounterpoint of the oboe to the violin.
Their eyes were kissing on the poignant musical phrase before the refrain.
Jenny shuddered. She had to move her eyes back to the busker. Chills scratchingher back demanded her tears.
What am I doing? Why am I not going away from here?
The violin was whispering the sad beauty of the melody.
She’d been standing still for a minute, and yet was panting like she had just run.
Her gaze was lost. With her mind’s eyes, she saw the man again and again. Theopen top buttons of his shirt unveiled a gold chain and the smooth line of hismuscles. He must be nearly six feet tall. Maybe a little less.
The mental picture was fading out. The chord changed, immediately seconded by the violin, pushing her to take another look. Caught! He hadn’t been fast enough to redirect his eyes to the busker. Afraid of being caught too, she returned her gaze to the violin.
The final note woke her up. The street noises erased the last echo of magic.
She looked inside her purse, excellent diversion to conceal her feelings. And by the way, the busker must be rewarded for the priceless emotion he gave to her.
She found three euro and stepped to the violin case. She bent. At the same instant, the man approached too. She dropped the coins inside and stood up, butcouldn’t help noticing that he held a five-euro bill.
“Thank u zo mok, matame,” the busker said, happy.
She smiled at him, remaining to stare at the man’s hand.
Dammit! I could’ve given five too.
Jacket folded over his forearm, he sat back on his heels, lingering with the bill in his hand.
She felt humiliated. And angry.
He suddenly turned to her, a smile full of sweetness. Then returned to the violincase.
She saw him lay the five-euro bill in there, take a two-euro coin, and raise his eyes toward the busker.
“May I?” he asked him, showing it—there were several coins in the case, but hehad chosen hers.
“Yez, zir. Thank u zo mok.”
He clenched it in his fist and got up.
He had uttered just two words, but it was enough for his deep and warm voice to stamp her heart.
He was just a step away. At her height, her eyes reached his chin, marked by aslight dimple only perceptible at that distance. He smelled of cologne. The scentpenetrated her and assaulted her senses from inside, while outside, he looked at her with the same disarming smile. A siege.
This time, she didn’t smile back. She could not. In fact, she walked away.
My Way kept playing in her head through the sublime hiss of the violin. She knew why she’d left so rudely: the silent echo of the song nailed her intention and made her teary-eyed.
“May I?”
She wanted to look back to see if he was following her. At least with his eyes.
And if he is? No. Better to forget.
This verb turned those tears into true weeping. The taste was bitter. Taste of regret.
“May I?”
She wasn’t walking at her normal pace. She noticed she was faster. She wanted to move away as soon as possible from a dream that could never be. And the moreshe thought this way, the more her eyes poured her sadness.
No, Jenny. It’s just the song. It’s just the freakin’ song. Come on. Everything will be over in a couple of hours, and you won’t even remem—
She couldn’t finish her thought. Her sobs prevented her.

2. Would You Give It to Me?

“Two farmers chat, leaning on a fence. A third farmer passes by, pulling his cow on a rope. The first farmer says ‘Hey! Great cow.’ ‘Thank you,’ he replies, flattered.‘Would you give it to me?’ the first farmer asks. The third farmer smiles ironically and walks away. Then the second farmer turns to the first one: ‘Did you reallybelieve that he would give you his cow?’ ‘No, but if he did?’”
“What’s the point of this story?” Martina asked, perplexed.
“Just wait till Marzarotti comes and you’ll see,” Jenny said, pushing herself to mute My Way in her head and focus on the upcoming meeting.
“He’s coming here?”
“Then your joke has something to do with that?” Martina asked pointing to the ceiling—a storage unit owned by Marzarotti was directly above their shop.
“There you go,” smiled Jenny. “I’ve got a great plan.”
The location in the historic center gave Youth’s showcases a high volume of passersby, but storing the merchandise was a big problem.
The shop was just a thousand square feet, and Jenny didn’t like to stuff it full with items and displays, which would give off a sense of oppression. The customers would feel suffocated in there, especially with only ten-foot ceilings. On the contrary, a pleasant, trendy, and airy place would attract people, even if only out of curiosity. And, once inside, they might be in the mood to do some shopping.
That’s why Youth was so welcoming. Its recessed lighting system made the clothes look great and the space pleasantly bright. There were displays with piles of folded T-shirts, shirts, and polos, arranged to beckon people inside. Jackets, jeans, and other items hung on racks all around, basically working as colored mobile walls. And she always had some pop and rock music playing in the background.
“No way!” said Martina, excited. “You’re thinking of renting Marzarotti’s unit, aren’t you?”
“Sort of.”
“Then, no more back and forth?”
“Yep. I can’t do that one more day,” sighed Jenny.
To solve the storage issue, Jenny had been using her father’s garage as a warehouse. But it wasn’t a comfortable solution.
Her parents lived in a neighboring town, four miles away. And the garage wasn’t that big. The suppliers left the merchandise there, so she had to go back and forthevery time to restock the shop: drive to her parents’ place, open the garage, load the car, drive up to the historical center, park the car—it was closed to traffic—load a trolley, and push it up to Youth. This routine had been going on for almost four years. It was killing her and Martina, who took care of it when Jenny was too tired.
Sometimes, Jenny had been tempted by the idea of just making better use of the space in the shop, but she didn’t feel like sacrificing the beauty of her creation to make things easier. She found it terrible on the eyes and really bad for business.
“So you’ve already paid off your dad?” Martina asked.
“Not completely, but I’m almost done,” Jenny said, pride shining in her eyes.
Maintaining her independence was vital to Jenny. That’s why she hadn’t rented a warehouse space yet …
Her very first plan had been to contact a bank, since her personal funds covered just two-thirds of the sum for buying the shop. She would have used the shop itself as collateral for the loan.
“Why you wanna throw away all that money on interest?” her father had fumed.“Let me be your bank. You’ll pay me back to the last penny, but without the rush and interest.”
She hadn’t wanted to. She hated feeling in debt. Her need for independence had made her promise herself that she would never ask for anybody’s help. And what was the foundation of her business? Daddy, will you help me buy the shop? Simply unbearable. On the other hand, the chance to save the interest on the loanwas a good reason—idealism is a great thing, but at the end of the day …
“Don’t let your pride turn into arrogance,” her mother said, finally convincing her.
Her business had gotten off to a great start—without the rope of a loan around her neck, she could breathe more easily. When her turnover increased, the back of the shop became too small to stock the merchandise. She needed more space, but to rent a place, she would have to reduce the monthly amount she paid her father. She was so annoyed by the awareness of being helped by her family that she couldn’t wait to get rid of that feeling, the simple weight of it. So she decided to use his garage: it was free, and this allowed her to pay him off faster.
“Why do you keep staring at me?” asked Jenny, kind of flattered by Martina’s admiring expression.
“You look so different with this new hairstyle. I mean … You look great. Really great! It’s just that I hardly recognize you.”
“You just need to get used to it,” smiled Jenny.
“I guess. By the way, my dear cousin, I gotta say I’m impressed. You’re an extraordinary, amazing woman. I hope I’ll be so accomplished by the time I’m your age.”
“Thanks, Marti. But you know, I never would’ve made it without you.”
“Haha, thanks for saying that, but we both know I didn’t do anything.”
“Believe me, Marti. When you came here, it was such a relief,” Jenny said, seriously. “I still remember the stress of my first months. I spent all my time here! And when I finally closed down for the night, after restocking the shop … well, I just didn’t have the energy or even the desire to do anything else but sleep.”
“Yeah, you told me all the time how you were losing control of your life.”
“Exactly. I wanna succeed as a businesswoman, but not at that price.”
Jenny thought back to those days, how stressed she’d been trying to make that decision. How could she hire someone she didn’t know? How could she trust a stranger with her shop? She knew her innate sense of distrust was a big problem. And it went even deeper than that—she felt so ill at ease when she thought someone was fooling her: everyone hates being fooled, but when it’s just theimpression of being fooled that creates actual problems with others, she had to admit that was her fault.
When she suspected a person of that, something snapped inside her. She lostspontaneity. Because of her doubts, she saw dark intentions behind that person’s every action. And if the doubt persisted even after her secret investigations, she had no qualms about telling the person what she thought up front.
She acted this way to prove that she wasn’t dumb. She couldn’t stand the ideathat someone thought of her like that: whether the deception was real or notbecame of secondary importance at that point, given that she could no longer be at peace.
If her suspicions were unfounded, she apologized. She poured on the charm,and her friendliness went a long way to making the apologies work. If she were right, though, the relationship with the person was damaged beyond repair, since she was the kind of person who couldn’t forget. She’d never give someone a second chance in this department.
To manage her business with this state of mind was quite complicated.
She’d never dreamed her boutique shop would be such a hit right away. She was excited about it, of course, but after two months of running the shop alone, she’d come to the end of her rope. She needed to employ somebody, but she loathed the idea of letting a stranger manage her business. Her fear was that if she wasn’t at the shop, the salesgirl would steal some merchandise, sell items without giving a receipt and pocket the money, or be lazy in dealing with the customers, since she would be paid anyway. That’s why it took her five months to find the right person.
At that time, Martina had just graduated from high school. When she learned about Jenny’s situation, she thought about working for her, since she really wasn’t ready to jump straight into college. Plus, she felt incredibly close to Jenny, despite eight years’ difference in age: she’d had a bad break-up at thirteen, and Jenny was the one who’d helped her move on. They had bonded through the experience.Then their paths split when Jenny left to study at university, getting her degree in Economics and Commerce. They were only able to meet at communions, weddings, and during the Christmas holidays, but Martina never forgot that Jenny was there for her when she needed a shoulder to cry on.
Now they’d been together at Youth for three and a half years. Still going strong.Jenny opened and closed the shop. She was very strict about the opening time. She felt her position as a responsibility, not as a privilege to sleep half an hour longer.She usually stayed there in the morning—unless she had errands to run—and went back at night to close down the register and count the day’s earnings.
Martina, aware of Jenny’s mistrustful side, knew how to behave. She knew what to do, but most importantly, what not to do in order to stay on good terms with her. And, as the clever girl she was, never confused the roles: Jenny was her cousin in blood and sister in spirit, but also the shop’s owner where she was justan employee.
“That’s why you kept staring at the Chinese family packing their stuff last Saturday!” Martina realized.
“You could say they left at the right time, haha.”
“So you’re lucky too.”
“I guess I am. You know, Marti, I regret that I never tried their restaurant.”
“I went there once.”
“Did you?” Jenny asked, surprised.
“Uh huh.”
“Well? How was it?”
“I’m afraid Chinese food is not for me,” Martina sighed.
Jenny had learned about the local Chinese restaurant going bankrupt when she saw the owners leave Marzarotti’s unit: in fact, they’d used it as a pantry—and alsoas a dormitory for some homeless countrymen of theirs—for a couple of years.
That was the moment when Jenny decided to contact Marzarotti. The idea of having all her merchandise right there, ten feet above her head, had quickly andmorbidly taken root in her mind. She could already see an opening in the ceiling and a stairway against the back wall connecting the two units. Here was her great plan! And the fact that she had almost paid her father back made it possible. She could cry with joy just thinking about the day she could stop going back and forth to the garage.

3. Olé!

Jenny and Martina were expecting Marzarotti any time.
Jenny had found his number on the For Rent sign affixed to the building door,and called him the day before.
Probably due to a female voice, he’d invited her to discuss it over coffee. Jennydeclined with elegance, on the pretext that she couldn’t leave the shop. Countingon her appealing tone, she asked him to show up at Youth whenever he’d pass by there.
“See you tomorrow, at twelvish,” he’d said.
Jenny had checked out this guy before contacting him. He had a reputation for being lazy.
Mid-forties, he was a well-known playboy around town whose success with women depended on his wallet in the first place … He came from a wealthy family,drove a convertible, and wore designer clothes. Crumbs for foreign chicks! The factthat he didn’t have a job proved that he lived off the rent of his many properties. It was said that when he needed a substantial amount of money, he sold one of themwithout caring who the buyer was—he wasn’t well liked because, instead of sellingto his fellow citizens, he sold to outsiders, sometimes bringing shady newcomers to town.
“Miss Salvini?” said a man, stopping at the entrance while Martina was dealing with two customers—two girls.
“Mr. Marzarotti?”
“Para servirle, señorita,” he said, raising his dark glasses and resting them atop his head.
“Come on in, please,” she invited, smiling to disguise her disgust.
The man before her—all five feet, four inches of him—was a walking cliché, complete with dyed jet-black hair, thick black sunglasses, a Rolex on one wrist, and a gold bracelet on the other. His arrogant expression was that of somebodywho believed himself to be worth much. But the face that bore it was utterly plain,without a single wrinkle surviving the facelift and a ridiculous tan like a touristfrom Maldives—okay, it was July, but even he made a tan look bad, especially as it clashed with his gaudy, turquoise shirt. This property owner was already gettingon her nerves.
She welcomed him from behind the shelter of the counter. The invisible drooldripping from his mouth made her uncomfortable even though her legs wereencased in a pair of black jeans.
“How do you do?” she asked, holding out her hand, in an attempt to show some manners.
“Encantado,” he said, bringing her hand to his lips for a kiss. “Valerio,” he added, pulling out a smile he likely thought would charm her.
His teeth were very white, but she wasn’t impressed. However, his confidence affected the strategy she’d devised to deal with him. She became bolder.
In the meantime, the two girls had led Martina outside to the showcases.
“How chivalrous you are, Mr. Marzarotti. It’s so rare to meet such a gentleman nowadays.”
“If you like, you can call me Valerio.”
“Only if you call me Jenny, Vale. Can I call you Vale?”
“You can call me whatever you want.”
“Okay, Vale. Listen,” she said, proudly passing her hands through her new hair—as she lifted her arms, she pushed up her breasts, and her snug pink shirt made the movement very sexy.
“Tell me,” he said, as if he was struggling to keep his eyes on her face.
“I really can’t leave the shop right now. Please forgive me, but we have to talk here.”
“Your boss doesn’t give you a break, does he?”
“Ahem … Actually, the boss is right in front of you.”
“Really?” he said, his smile crystallized in his face.
He turned to the other side of the counter where Martina was now wrapping the purchase for the two girls. Then he looked back to her, embarrassed.
“You didn’t expect that, did you?”
“Forgive me, Jenny,” he blushed. “I think I just made one of my worstblunders.”
“Come on, Vale. I know I match a salesgirl’s profile. It’s fair that those whodon’t know me make that mistake … You don’t think you’re the first one, do you?” she lied.
“Well, this relieves me a bit, but it’s still inexcusable.”
“You’ve just been excused, then.”
“Too kind, Jenny. However, let me say how I appreciate women who takeinitiative and make their way in this society where, alas, equal opportunities arefictional …”
“Thanks, Vale. Then the reason why I’ve asked you to come, and I heartily thank you for your time, will make you appreciate me even more.”
“Let’s see,” he smiled, leaning his elbows on the counter.
With this movement, his shades fell awkwardly onto his nose.
Jenny struggled to be serious, to keep from adding to his embarrassment. She failed.
“Here we go again,” he chuckled, taking the glasses from his head and hanging them from the collar of his shirt instead.
“How do you like my shop?” she asked him, trying to nudge the talk back in the right direction.
“Congratulations, it looks great. I feel younger in here.”
“You’re saying that because of the name I gave to it, aren’t you?” she flirted.
“Of course not,” he replied, serious.
“Excuse me,” Martina interrupted them, approaching the cash register.
After the two customers had paid, Valerio introduced himself to her too.
“Martina,” she said.
“She’s my cousin,” Jenny added, surprised that he didn’t kiss the hand of that pretty, long-haired brunette—perhaps he wasn’t the pervert she imagined.
“Jenny’s associate, I guess.”
“No. I just work here.”
“Coño, I can’t catch a break today,” muttered Valerio.
“It may be just a bad day,” smiled Jenny. “Anyway, I was telling you …”
“Tell me.”
“I have a problem with storage of my merchandise. Since your unit up here is free at the moment, I thought it would be great for me to use it.”
“I see. It wouldn’t be bad from your point of view,” he agreed, affably. “I alreadyreceived a couple of calls, but they say that the rent is too high. They’re going tocall me back, but I certainly don’t have to wait for them to make up their minds.”
“Great!” rejoiced Jenny, glancing at Martina.
“I wonder if your opinion will still hold when you hear what the rent is.”
“Actually, I was thinking of buying it.”
Jenny’s answer, expressed with confidence and serenity, must have bewildered him.
“Would you give it to me?”
“Huh? … Well, you … You’ve caught me off guard,” he flushed. “I admit I didn’t expect this situation.”
“I’m an endless source of surprises for you, am I not?”
Valerio remained quiet for a while, looking at her. Then he resumed.
“Well, the matter is getting important.”
“Yes, Vale. It’s very important to me.”
“Muy bien, señorita Jenny. Look. Let me think about it. Then I’ll come back and we can discuss it.”
“Sounds good. I just want to make sure you won’t accept other offers in the meantime.”
“I give you my word as a gentleman,” he replied solemnly. “The fact is that I’d like to consider things thoroughly before reaching an agreement with you.”
“Sure, Vale.”
“The unit is almost six hundred square feet, and it’s in good condition. I had itrepainted less than three years ago. When I come back, we’ll go upstairs and take a look.”
“That would be great.”
“Perfecto. Give me a call tomorrow and tell me what time I can meet you.”
“Thanks, Vale. You’re very kind.”
“Es un placer, Jenny.”
When the two cousins were sure he was gone, they looked at each other andburst out laughing.
“What a wacky guy!” said Martina, with tears in her eyes.
“Did you see his shirt?”
“So tacky!”
“At one point I was about to stop. It was so clear I was making a fool of him that I thought, He’s gonna catch me.”
“I was going to laugh in his face when he blushed on your double-meaning question, haha.”
“Now you get the farmers’ story?” Jenny winked.
“Yeah. But this Latin lover seems to be like the farmer who owns the cow.”
“Sure, Marti. It was a joke. I didn’t expect he would give it to me, of course.”
“But if he did? Hahaha, there are strange people around … You never know.”
“Anyway, you can be sure that I’ll buy the unit and pay less than it’s worth.”
Jenny smirked. Her great plan was going well. And she would do everything on her own this time. She was proud of herself.

4. Andre

On the morning of Monday, October 28, Andre was focused on the project thatwould ensure his career success. He was a young architect with a very promising career, even though he didn’t show much promise as a student.
Since elementary school, he was often scolded by his teacher because he used to draw eyes, nose, and mouth on any “a” he wrote.
In middle school, he was the leader of the low-achieving students in classbecause he spent his afternoons playing soccer with them instead of doinghomework. There was only one subject where his grades stood out: Art Education.The teacher praised him for having a great imagination and a good hand to materialize his visions.
And so, his mother thought it was a good idea to send him to art school. After discussing it, he was excited to go: he’d heard that art school students were almostall female—aside from soccer, this was the aspect that was most dear to Andre, athirteen-year-old boy who began to feel his … ahem … interest increasing when he happened to run into the fairer sex.
His passion for architecture blossomed during his junior year. Then he earned adiploma, degree, certification, and he joined the Order of Architects of the Province.
His only sister, seven years older, got married when she was twenty to Giulio DiVasi’s eldest son—Di Vasi was a wealthy hotelier in town. So, Andre’s parents were able to focus on his future. While he was studying, they’d bought a four-room apartment for him, one of which would become his studio.
His Trials for getting a good row at the starting grid in the race of Life were hard, but with his team’s help at the family-box, he was able to put his car to a poleposition. The first curves were terrible: all those drivers in such a narrow racetrack! Nevertheless, he safely passed the opening laps and could run his race, even though the goal was still far away.
He’d gotten a great opportunity the previous August.
Outside the historical center of town, there was a dilapidated building. Nobody knew who exactly the owner was. Di Vasi, Andre’s sister’s father-in-law, owner of three four-star hotels, became interested in the building. He discovered that it belonged to City Hall. The mayors who were in charge over the years had neverconsidered the idea of enhancing that property. Other things in town deservedpriority. So Di Vasi decided to buy it and make his fourth hotel out of it.
The negotiation with City Hall went well. Thanks to the intermediation of his dear friend, an assessor, City Hall saw that eyesore of a building change into alittle more than three hundred thousand euro. Di Vasi was very satisfied, since he paid exactly what was fair in his humble opinion …
Being on good terms with his daughter-in-law, Di Vasi thought to give her younger brother a chance.
Di Vasi was clear. He liked Andre, but with such big money at stake, kinshipwouldn’t be enough. He considered him to be a well-bred, honest, and ambitious young man. If he showed some skills, he would be the right man for the project. Di Vasi told him to sketch some ideas for the new hotel. Eventually, the quality of Andre’s work convinced Di Vasi to give him the job.

Andre looked so confident and sexy when he was focused on his drawings. He was concentrating so hard, he didn’t hear her come into his study. She had been admiring him from the doorstep for a couple of minutes.
“Hey, handsome.”
He shuddered and turned to her.
“Hey, hon!”
“How did it go this morning?”
“I’ve almost finished the latest details. I’m exhausted.”
“Me too. There were no customers today, so I gave the shop a good cleaning.”
“That cruel Marti didn’t help you at all?” he pitied her playfully, spreading his arms.
She went along with it. She put on a pout that demanded cuddles and headed toward him.
He hugged her.
“Poor, poor little Jenny,” he pampered her, patting her shoulder. “Now, I’m gonna cheer you up.”
She took a step back. They looked at each other, her arms around his neck, hison her hips. It seemed like they were dancing a slow dance.
“What do you have in mind, handsome?” she flirted.
“Something really special, hon.”
She touched his lips with hers.
“Something like … what we did last night?”
He touched her lips with his.
“Kind of, but muuuch better.”
This time the kiss wasn’t just lips. She loved the taste of him, it always kindledher desire to end up in the sheets.
“The thirty-first is a Thursday,” he suddenly said, breaking the atmosphere.
“And the thirtieth is a Wednesday,” she laughed.
“Hahaha … How about taking advantage of the long weekend and leaving for theCanary Islands?”
She winced. Now it was clear why he said muuuch better.
“I found a deal for two people. Three days to Fuerteventura. You had a hard summer at the shop. You definitely deserve a little holiday.”
He was always so nice to her. She could read his wish to make her happy on his face. She felt like melting. Out of a burst of love and gratitude, she hugged himtightly.
“Ow. Easy, hon,” he chuckled. “I guess that’s a yes.”
“You couldn’t have chosen a better place, Andy. Vale often talks about his tripsto the Canary Islands! How clear the ocean water is, how beautiful the beaches are, how …”
She stopped because she felt something was wrong in the way he suddenly stiffened.
“What’s up?” she asked, looking for his eyes.
“You really needed to mention that friend of yours, didn’t you?”
She looked perplexed.
“I’m not acting jealous, Jenny. I know he’s just a friend. But this is our moment.Mine and yours. That third-rate Casanova, what does he have to do with us?”
“Come on, Andy. Don’t act like a kid. I talked to him this morning. When you mentioned the Canary Islands, what he said about it just popped up. That’s it.”
“Okay, babe. Sorry. And what did he say about the storage unit? Have you persuaded him?”
How she loved him! Even though he was annoyed, he forgot his mood and focused on her project for Youth.
“He confirmed that he would consider selling it to me. In the meantime, I’ll keep renting it. It’s a waste of money because I’m gonna buy it anyway, I know.But when the Chinese people left three months ago, I had to hold it somehow, since he didn’t want to sell it then.”
“You know that it’s a waste of money or that you’re gonna buy it?” he teased her.
“I have no doubt that you’ll get what you want. You made him lower the rent bytwo hundred a month, nothing is impossible for you!”
“Thanks, handsome,” and she clung to him again, as intensely as before.
Not all guys would accept that their girlfriend had a friendship like that, and she knew it. That was another reason she loved Andre so much. He was a special man.Not that he wasn’t jealous: he was, but in an intelligent way.
“So, is it okay with you?” he asked. “Can I make a reservation for Fuerteventura?”
“Are you really asking me that? Marti can take care of the business for two days. Then we’re closed on a Sunday.”
“Cool! It’ll be the best way to celebrate our two years together.”
End of this sample Kindle book.

I'm an Italian Author because I was born in Italy, so I must be Italian. Then I happened to write a couple of novels, so I started to call myself an Author. Eventually, I dared to have them translated in English... so here I am :)



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