Monday, 14 August 2017

Love at the Italian lake with extract

Sophia Bertoni discovers her boyfriend in bed with another woman, and realizes her life is going nowhere. Leaving her high-pressure job, she travels to Italy to stay with her grandmother while she figures out her next move. When Sophia –​ quite literally –​ bumps into devastatingly handsome Joe Lancaster her plans are turned upside down.

 As the two realize they’re both spending the summer in the same town, a love affair seems on the cards. But Sophia and Joe are both burdened by family secrets. Despite their attraction, will the sun set on Sophia and Joe’s romance – or will they find love at the Italian lake?


Sophia checked her handbag again for the fiftieth time. Passport, purse and tickets were there just as they had been five minutes ago. Her stomach churned with nerves and she took a few deep breaths to try to release some of the tension. It wasn’t that she was nervous about flying, though. More that she was going away in the hope that being in different surroundings would help her to find a new direction in life. The lack of a more solid plan than this was actually terrifying, because Sophia had always had focus, always known her goals. So the fear in her belly was fear of the unknown.

Her mother and Kaisha had insisted on taking her shopping the previous weekend and it had been a learning curve for the usually clothes-cautious Sophia. Kaisha had asked her how much she had to spend on her getaway wardrobe and when Sophia had told her, Kaisha’s face had lit up. The first purchase Kaisha had encouraged her to make, a pair of oversized Chanel sunglasses with gold rims, had made Sophia giggle. Her usual sunglasses were smaller and selected not to attract any attention. But the size of the Chanel ones alone drew attention to her head. However, when she put them on, she was pleased to find that they suited her face shape and her mother told her they made her look like Sophia Loren.

Something about that compliment sparked something in Sophia and, with her mother and sister-in-law as cheerleaders, she spent a very happy day trawling the shops and splurging on a whole new wardrobe. After being accustomed to wearing her low-key work uniform of suits and blouses, and weekend casuals in beige and cream, trying on clothes that were colourful, daring and with significant price tags, was extremely liberating.

She peered out of the airplane window at the clouds and her eyes watered. It was so bright out there. Hopefully, it was a sign… that her future would also be bright, or at least that the weather was nice in Italy. She pressed her nails into her palms; she was being silly, looking for signs. She just needed to relax and enjoy whatever lay ahead. Be… what was it they
called it… more accepting? More… positive? Even if her new wardrobe did make her feel like she was a bit out of her comfort zone.

Also at Kaisha’s insistence, there had been the almost total body waxing, including her eyebrows. Sophia usually gave her legs and underarms a quick swipe over with a razor but when Kaisha had seen Sophia’s legs in the changing room, she’d immediately dragged Sophia off for emergency waxing. It had hurt like hell and Sophia swore she’d never put her flesh through such agony again. But afterwards, she did have to admit that her skin was extraordinarily smooth. And she liked the way that her new eyebrows framed her eyes so neatly. She’d been worried she’d end up looking completely surprised but the beautician had reassured her that she knew what she was doing. When it had come to permanent makeup though Sophia had refused, horrified at the idea – no matter how good Kaisha claimed permanent eyeliner was. They had reached a compromise by Sophia allowing herself to be talked into buying buy an extra three bikinis and her mother had been delighted.

Saying goodbye to her parents at the airport had been difficult, especially seeing the conflicting emotions war in her mother’s eyes because Sophia was going to visit her own mother. Sophia hadn’t seen her Italian nonna in about ten years. Her parents didn’t visit as often as they’d have liked because of the restaurant, but Sophia’s mother assured her that Nonna Spinoli was as fit and sprightly as ever. She refused to get involved in social media, but telephoned Sophia’s mother every week without fail to fill her in on the ins and outs of her life and those of her friends in the pretty town of Malcesine. What Sophia could recall of her grandmother was a strong dark-haired woman with a personality that filled every room she entered. Even as a child, Sophia had sensed that Nonna Spinoli’s presence had a significant impact upon her mother, and that her mother changed when Nonna was around. 

It was as if she shrunk like a flower in the too-hot sun, as if Nonna shone brightly enough for
the two of them. Perhaps that was another reason why her mother didn’t try to get over to Italy more often; she didn’t like to lose her identity as she seemed to around Nonna Spinoli.
Sophia’s ears popped and she realized that the plane had begun its descent. She held tightly onto her handbag and swallowed hard.

‘First time in Italy?’ the woman sat next to her asked, eyeing Sophia’s white knuckles.

‘No but I haven’t been out here for a while.’

The woman, who appeared to be about the same age as Sophia, nodded. ‘It’s beautiful. You’ll love it.’

‘I hope so.’

‘It’s the land of love and dreams.’ The woman smiled broadly. ‘You’ll find whatever it is you’re searching for here.’

About the Author :
Darcie Boleyn has a huge heart and is a real softy. She never fails to cry at books and movies, whether the ending is happy or not. Darcie is in possession of an overactive imagination that often keeps her awake at night. Darcie fell in love in New York, got married in the snow, rescues uncoordinated greyhounds and can usually be found reading or typing away on her laptop.

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