Dante needs to hire a live-in girlfriend to smooth a business deal and he hires Belle, a waitress he meets in Southwest France.
I used Gascony where I spend spring and summer for the background for this story and even took a trip to Paris and a snazzy hotel to cover my hero and heroine’s experience.
Part of the story is set in Italy because Dante is Italian and both characters come from turbulent backgrounds which allowed me the pleasure of developing their personalities. Dante very much distrusts women and Belle cringes from the idea of being financially dependent on a man. But they have off-the-chart chemistry and nothing goes as smoothly as they planned.
This is one of my more romantic tales with a Cinderella heroine swept off her feet into a jet set world and I always enjoy that scenario the most.
Excerpts From the Book
Sounds dodgy and dangerous:
‘You should hire an escort to play your girlfriend, that sort of a woman, someone you pay,’ Steve disconcerted him by suggesting, his voice dropped to a discreet level across the table lest he be overheard.
‘Sounds dodgy and dangerous,’ Dante countered with a grimace, his attention stolen by the petite young woman standing by the bar with a tray.
Froze like a detonator:
For a terrifying split second, she froze like a detonator had gone off inside her and her whole body burned as if he had set her on fire.
Flushed and filled with discomfiture she took their drinks order and hastened back to the bar to fill it. She shouldn’t have looked at him, shouldn’t have looked anywhere near him, she scolded herself fiercely. He was extraordinarily good looking and he knew it, of course he did.
A job? What kind of a job?:
Belle tensed like a greyhound fired up at the starting line. Her eyes lifted from the table they had been carefully studying and surged up to his lean darkly handsome features instead. There she clashed unwarily with stunning dark golden eyes and she took a very slight step back, gooseflesh tingling on her exposed skin.’ A job? What kind of a job?’ she questioned.
A lazy grip on his beer bottle, Dante lounged back gracefully against the balustrade surrounding the decking.’ Later,’ he murmured silkily.’ That is…if you can contrive to stay awake that long?’
Belle reddened at the comeback. He was so sure of himself he set her teeth on edge. He dangled the bait and then waited for her to jump. Well, she wasn’t going to jump, was she? What sort of job could he possibly offer her? Aside of waitressing, her only work experience was in housekeeping and caring and it was unlikely that he would seek to hire her for domestic work.
Sex isn’t part of our arrangement:
‘Sex isn’t part of our arrangement…is it?’ Belle demanded in sudden dismay.
‘Of course not,’ Dante assured her silkily, smoothing her small fingers in his to keep her close.’ But what we choose to do outside those boundaries is our business alone.’
‘Er well…yes but I don’t think we should be getting too friendly,’ Belle mumbled in an awkward rush, trailing her hand free of his.
Where The Story Takes Place
Image Credits: Pinterest board for Belle.