Cover & Excerpt Reveal
by Lynette Rees
Journalist Joanne Smith encounters Sicilian millionaire Dante Alphonso while conducting an interview for Life Today magazine.
Dante has been well known to the media for years, where constant scorn has been thrown upon the playboy lifestyle of his younger years. He detests that reputation as he would much prefer to be known for his charity work for The Children’s Hope and Dream Foundation, an organization he established to help terminally ill children achieve their wishes.
Dante has already had his fingers burned by bloodhound journalists, but takes a chance on Joanne, inviting her to his home country to visit his vineyard and meet the Alphonso Family.
Things begin to sizzle between them under the Sicilian sun as Joanne embraces their lifestyle.
A thorn in the side for Joanne is Dante’s ex, Carla, a strong alpha female whose family owns a rival vineyard in the area. Carla betrayed Dante before, so trusting any woman is difficult for him.
However, Joanne has a secret she has kept from Dante, which is stopping her from growing close to him. The secret is revealed after he invites her on board his luxury yacht on the way to the island of Lipari.
Will their love for one another be strong enough to withstand the stormy seas that lie ahead? Or will it get washed up on the shore?
Note: Originally published April 2014 by Hartwood Publishing under the title Under a Hot Sicilian Sun and later as Beneath a Sicilian Sun.
Genre: Contemporary RomancePurchase link(s): Amazon BAM B&N
Content/Theme(s): Journalist, Millionaire, Vineyards
Release Date: April 18, 2015
Excerpt & More
She wrapped her large beach towel around herself and came above deck to find Dante had already changed into a pair of white swimming trunks. She held her breath when she saw his tanned, trim body. He had a smattering of black hair on his chest and looked very muscular. His chest was broad, and she longed to run her fingers over its contours and lay her head on it. She inhaled, exhaled, and tried to keep her composure.
“Come on, Joanne,” he teased. “Drop the towel.” His chocolate brown eyes glinted devilishly.
She let her towel fall to the floor and watched as his eyes widened with desire.
“Mamma Mia. Why do you fear showing your body to me? You are beautiful…and that gold chain around your stomach, it makes you look very sexy…”
No one had ever called her sexy before, ever. Her mouth dry, she licked her lips.
“I haven’t let a man see me in a bikini for years, Dante. I’m not as slim as I used to be.”
“No, no, Joanne. To me you look fabulous. I love your curves. They suit you. A man needs somewhere comfortable to land.” He laughed, making her laugh too, and it helped to ease her heightened nerves. He pecked her on the cheek and then, much to her astonishment, he turned, walked to the side of the boat, climbed on the edge, and dived into the water, sending up a huge splash of sea spray.
She stood and peered overboard but couldn’t see him for a few seconds; her heart thudded. Where had he gone? Then there was a splash as he emerged and wiped the water out of his eyes, laughing and bobbing up and down in the water.
“Come on in here, join me please, Joanne,” he urged. She hadn’t been expecting this at all.
Gingerly she sat on the side of the boat. “Will you help me into the water?” She bit her lip.
“Of course, amore mio. Jump to me, I will catch you.”
She closed her eyes and with blind faith threw herself into his arms. For a moment the combined weight made them dip under water and she began to panic a little. Then they were fully submerged, and eventually returned to the surface, bobbing up and down. There was a small ladder at the side of the boat she could cling to if she wanted to and that reassured her somehow. Who could fail to feel safe with Dante around?
“But…but…where are we?” she spluttered.
“Joanne, we are only just off the coastline of Sicily. Over there are the Aeolian Islands.” He pointed and she made out some dark shapes in the distance. “We shall have a little swim here, rest later, and eat too. Then I am going to sail the boat over to one of them. It’s called Lipari and it’s the largest island, it’s volcanic. The food there is out of this world.”
“You are full of surprises, Dante.”
“I know.” He smiled and drew her close to him, stroked her face, and then pressed his lips down on hers, stealing her breath away as his tongue danced with hers. “Like that you mean?” he asked, drawing away.
She nodded. “Yes.”
“And like this?” He wrapped his arms around her and untied her bikini top. She gasped at his cheek and watched as he spun it around his head and tossed it aboard the boat.
“What did you do that for?” She blinked several times.
“Because you have a beauty, Joanne, that needs to be admired.” He cupped a breast in his hand and lowered his head to suckle. She groaned as a tingle of desire coursed around her body. “Please do not worry, there is no one to see us here like this.”
He pushed her up against the boat; the water was so clear, so aquamarine and warmer than she thought, though that might have been because he had switched on her button of desire. There were some fish swimming down below in among the fronds and rocks. She gazed in awe.
“Yes, this is a good place to catch fish, Joanne. I have been scuba diving here. You should join me sometime.”
She laughed. “I think this is as much of the ocean I can stand, Dante. I’m not a strong swimmer.”
He ran a wet finger along her cheek. “Ah, you are frightened, I can see that, but you need not be when you are with me. I can teach you about so many things.”
She shivered; without a doubt, there were many things Dante Alphonso could teach her, not least of all love-making. He was her tutor and she was about to become a very willing student...
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