My Fake Italian Lover is available now!
Here’s an excerpt:
It was in this state of calm and bliss that Chloe stirred from her third glass of wine to answer her phone. It was Leo’s ring. Leo had been her best friend since she moved to the coast. They met when he highlighted her hair and she freaked out over the four hundred dollar charge. “Darling,” he’d told her, “don’t tell me you’re worthless.” If a man that good-looking had called her darling and she hadn’t melted on the spot, it was largely due to the prominently featured wedding portrait on the wall of the waiting area, depicting Leo with his Italianate handsomeness holding hands with his spouse, the pure definition of all-American hunkiness.
So, thankfully, she’d realized he was both taken and gay before he’d darling-ed her or she would have been lost entirely. It was impossible not to love Leo. He was smart and exuberant and creative—she still went to him for highlights, but she’d learned not to complain about the prices since he had a waiting list for clients.
“Hello, gorgeous,” she answered, a bit sleepily. “What’s up?”
“The sky is falling, Coco!”
He gave her that nickname ages ago because of her long brown hair.
“I told you to buy those slacks when they were on sale. The price doubled this afternoon. And damn, if your Italian accent isn’t turning me on right now.”
“Sorry, I had some wine. More than some, probably. I can’t stop thinking about my life. Do you think I would make a good mom someday?”
“Chloe… I’ve got problems!”
“I’m rambling. Sorry. What can I do to help?”
“You can write me a happy ending.”
“Is something wrong with my favorite couple? Did you and Brad have a fight?”
“No, we’re fine. It’s my wayward brother.”
“The beach bum?”
“Ironically, I was being sarcastic when I called him that. Now it’s literal. He’s in some serious trouble, and I’m calling my most creative friend to help me bail him out.”
“Do you need bail money?”
“Not that literal, darling! Besides, I’ve got plenty of cash, not to brag. He’s left his job, the one that supplied his work visa.”
“No clue, only that he’s tending bar at some seedy tiki joint—I shudder to think of it!” he said. “And I doubt the part time bartending gig comes with documentation paperwork to retain his temporary citizenship.”
“Maybe he’s got it handled. I mean, he’s got to be over twenty-one, no offense, Leo.”
“He’s well over twenty-one, about your age, but that doesn’t mean he has anything handled. He’s, shall we say, significantly younger than my divine self and, as the baby of the family, he’s always been taken care of. When he left the nest, he went far away and we all hoped he was finding himself.”
“Was he lost? It sounds to me like he was pretty pampered,” she said with a snort.
“Were you drinking pinot? It always makes you bitchy, Coco.”
“No it doesn’t,” she grouched.
“Right, well, I want you to work out a way to engineer a happy ending for Dominic.”
“I assume you mean something more sophisticated than sending him to that Thai massage place,” she sighed.
“Not that sort of happy ending,” he said derisively, “the kind where you figure out some marvelously clever way to keep him from being tossed out of the United States for being careless with his work visa.”
“I’m a romance novelist. I think you’re more in the market for an immigration lawyer, Leo.”
“I want a plan. Not an attorney, although we’ll have one of those as well. Think up one of your smart little plot twists to get him out of trouble before he’s discovered to be in violation of…something with immigration.”
“You do realize that my little plot twists involve imaginary people whose actions and dialogue I control, right? Because you’re freaking me out with the assumption that I can solve this. I don’t know the guy. He’s obviously not very responsible. So unless I’m going to put on a push-up bra and try to seduce an immigration investigator like I’m on some basic cable sitcom, I have no clue what you expect of me.”
“Look at the life you’ve created for yourself. You went from rags to riches. Now show some ingenuity!”
“I can describe a sex scene in detail. Is that helpful? I can tell you which hybrid roses are thornless and that women find tapers more romantic than votives in a love scene…”
“Focus! Did I say focus already? Yes, yes I did!” he said with exasperation, “now tell me how you’d get a character out of this mess.”
“I’d have him grow up and take care of it himself so his adorable brother would stop harassing the heroine and let her have a glass of wine in peace,” she protested.
“By glass you mean bottle? Use your skills. You come up with unique solutions all the time. Remember when Alonzo the Spaniard swordsman was severely wounded in a duel, and you made sure that Marisela ripped off part of her petticoat to make a tourniquet? That was resourceful! Be resourceful like Marisela!”
“I’m fresh out of petticoats. And nobody’s bleeding. It’s all drama,” she said.
“And what is your specialty, Coco, if not drama?”
“Emotion. Sentiment. Feelings,” she said.
“Blah blah blah, darling. Think!”
“All right, I’d have him get married. Didn’t you see Green Card on TV when you were a kid? That movie where Andie MacDowell marries the obnoxious French guy? And like, every soap opera ever that needed an opposites attract/marriage of convenience subplot?”
“Brilliant. We’ll do that, shall we?”
“We? As in WE have to get back to OUR meeting with a wine bottle and the crash of ocean waves. I’m quite sure you have plenty of eligible maidens visit your salon every day. It shouldn’t take any time to choose a bride for your prodigal brother,” she said, “Good night.”
End of sample.
My Fake Italian Lover is available now!
iTunes: Still waiting to publish
Barnes & Noble: Still waiting to publish