Please welcome Deborah Mello to the blog with her latest romance release with Kimani Romance, Tuscan Heat!
A coveted teaching invitation gives Donovan Boudreaux the chance to leave his New Orleans comfort zone and meet his secret email pen pal—world-renowned author Gianna Martelli. But when he arrives at the Martelli wine chateau in Tuscany, he discovers he’s been deceived. His misgivings dwindle as Gianna introduces him to the hidden pleasures of Italy—and a passion that takes both Donovan and the reclusive writer by surprise.
Gianna loves her simple life on her family’s legendary vineyards. Until her matchmaking twin initiates a clandestine correspondence. Determined to make amends, Gianna soon realizes that she and the charming professor share a bond that can’t be found in books. A friendship soon flames into an intense affair they know can’t last forever. And now a vindictive rival could destroy Donovan’s reputation, career and any hope of a future with Gianna…
She and her sister were identical twins, and most people were never able to tell the two women apart. But Gianna Martelli had taken a pair of scissors to her sibling Carina’s dark locks, cutting the young woman’s waist-length tresses to pixie short. Carina’s natural curls were suddenly less abundant as she stood in the center of the room, her head waving slowly from side to side to show off her new hairdo to their family.
“Wow!” Graham Porter exclaimed, his dark eyes shifting back and forth between the two women. “Wow!”
“What’s that mean?” Carina questioned, her eyebrows lifted as she tossed her husband a look. “Why do you keep saying wow like that?” A wave of panic flashed across her face. “You don’t like it!”
He met the look his wife was giving him, holding his hands up defensively. “No… I mean yes… I do! It’s just unexpected,” he said, turning to his father-in-law for assistance. “What do you think, Franco?”
Franco Martelli grinned. “It’s lovely, daughter. But it’s a definite change. And like Graham said, it’s unexpected! I think what your husband is trying to say is that you’ve surprised us, is all.”
“I told you to trust me,” Gianna said as Carina smiled, pulling her hands through the new short length of her hair. “It really does look great!”
“Are you going to cut yours, too?” Franco asked, turning in his seat to stare at Gianna.
The young woman shrugged. “I was thinking about it, but Carina doesn’t want me to.”
“I want us to look different,” Carina said. “Just for a little while. No one will mix us up now.”
Gianna rolled her eyes skyward, tossing the extensive length of her own dark waves over her shoulder. “It’s been forever since anyone last got us confused.”
“Last week at the market, Mrs. Falco thought I was you.”
“Mrs. Falco is half-blind,” Gianna said with an eye roll. “She gets papa and Graham mixed up!”
Graham chuckled as he rose to his feet, moving to his wife’s side. He leaned down to kiss her cheek. “It’s a very flattering style on you, sweetheart. I really like it,” he said softly. “You look beautiful!” He trailed a finger across Carina’s cheek, and she smiled brightly as he leaned in to kiss her lips.
Gianna threw the two a look, the faintest hint ofjealousy furrowing her brow. She blew a low sigh. “You two need to get a room,” she quipped. She rose from her seat and moved toward the door. “I’ll be in my office. Some of us have work to do.”
“Speaking of,” Carina said, “I sorted your mail and typed up your notes. And your agent called. She needs to speak with you about the changes in your next contract.”
“I don’t have a next contract. I told you to tell her I’m not interested in what they’re offering.”
“I did, which is why she wants to speak with you.”
Gianna nodded. “I’ll call her,” she said, trying to ignore the gentle caresses passing between her sister and brother-in-law. The couple’s very public displays of affection were often distracting and unsettling, the love the two shared enviable. Gianna couldn’t help but wish that she had what they had. With one last wave of her hand she turned and disappeared from the room.
Behind the closed door of her office, Gianna ran her fingers through her own thick tresses, pulling the wealth of her hair up into a high bun. She found herself wishing that she’d cut her own hair first, motivated by the effort it took to maintain the lengthy locks. That, and she found herself in want of a change. One that might bring a man into her life with a slow hand that glided like silk across her bare skin. She blew a low sigh as she turned to stare out the window to the landscape outside.
The sun was shining brightly, and she had full view of the family’s vineyards. Their family home was situated in the Ombrone Valley, one of the most beautiful stretches of countryside in Italy. She stared out to the Chianti vines, the cornfields and the lengthy rows of cypress trees. In the distance the expanse of chestnut forests reached up to kiss the bright blue sky. The view paid homage to unparalleled art, the land a masterpiece of blessings. For a brief moment Gianna sat staring at the beauty, lost in her thoughts as the morning’s bright rays peeked through the window to kiss the round of her high cheekbones.
She blew one last sigh as she spun around in her leather executive’s chair toward her computer. Powering up the device, she waited for the unit to engage then typed in her password. Minutes later she stared at a blank screen, unable to decide in what direction she planned to take her next story. Writer’s block had suddenly crept in with a vengeance. When nothing came, she swung her chair around to stare back outside.
Donovan Boudreaux found the pomp and circumstance of the Catholic ceremony somewhat sobering. He was standing at the altar of Saint Patrick’s Church in New Orleans holding his niece, Cecily Boudreaux, in his arms. The infant was being christened, she and her twin brother, Sydney, both receiving the sacrament of spiritual cleansing and rebirth. Light shimmered through the stained glass that enclosed the building’s front turret.
He fought the urge to yawn as Father Charles Dussouy made the sign of the cross in front of one baby and then the other. He stared down into the infant’s sweet face as the priest announced her Christian name, sprinkled holy water over the child’s head and welcomed her into the congregation. She never once opened her eyes, barely shifting her small body when the water saturated her curls. Her brother, on the other hand, screamed at the top of his small lungs.
Donovan grinned as he and his brother Kendrick exchanged a look. Kendrick was rocking young Sydney vigorously, trying his very best to calm the baby down. But Sydney wasn’t having any of it, no ounce of consolation from his uncle and godfather bringing him any comfort. It wasn’t until the matriarch of the family, Katherine Boudreaux, lifted her grandchild from her son’s arms did the little guy finally settle down as she snuggled him against her chest. There was something about their mother’s touch that put them all at ease, and as each of her children watched, it made them all smile.
About the author
For Deborah Fletcher Mello, writing is as necessary as breathing and she firmly believes that if she could not write she would cease to exist.
Her first novel, TAKE ME TO HEART, earned her a 2004 Romance Slam Jam nomination for Best New Author. In 2005 she received Book of the Year and Favorite Heroine nominations for her novel THE RIGHT SIDE OF LOVE. In 2008, Deborah won the Romantic Times Reviewers Choice award for Best Series Romance for her ninth novel, TAME A WILD STALLION. With the release of her second literary work, GRAYE in 2012 and her fifteenth romance novel, PASSIONATE PREMIERE in 2013, Deborah knows that there are no limits to her writing career.
A true renaissance woman, Deborah’s many career paths have included working as a retail buyer and size model for a national women’s clothing chain, a finance manager for a well-known beverage organization, a sales manager for an infamous candy company, a telecommunications administrator and corporate trainer for a hotel-owning company, an art gallery director for a world-renowned artist, and an administrative consultant for multiple organizations throughout the United States. Deborah is also a licensed real estate broker and general building contractor.
Born and raised in Fairfield Country, Connecticut, Deborah maintains base camp in North Carolina but considers home to be wherever the moment moves her.