Friday, April 11, 2008

Flashback Friday--The Streets of Florence

Given yesterday's post about Italy, I thought I would post today about The Streets of Florence. I'm really fond of this story for two reasons--first, because I wrote it while I was in Florence and tried to pack as much of the atmosphere and details as I could and second, because it was the beginning of a so far very happy and lucrative relationship with Amber Quill Press. It was the Heatwave Winner in 2006, and AQP is a by-invitation only publisher. Also, the cover incorporates a photo I took in Florence--the building, not the man.

Anthony has spent his entire adult life chasing Christine, but she never allows herself to be caught. Once he finally stops searching for her, he runs into her on a business trip to Florence. He knows it can only end as it always does, with her walking out and him heartbroken. Nevertheless, he follows her back to her hotel, where he learns a shocking secret that can turn their entire relationship upside down...

And an excerpt.

Christine stopped outside room 207 and unlocked the door. She looked up at him, her eyes wide and unusually naked—unusually vulnerable. Those eyes stung his heart. He’d been driven through the streets of Florence by lust and the memories of it. But now he saw the girl he’d fallen in love with twenty years ago on a bright Sunday morning, and she was all he could see.

Anthony took her hand, gently bringing it up to his mouth. He kissed the knuckle of each finger, barely touching his lips against her skin. Still holding her hand, he opened the door. He inhaled deeply as she brushed against him, intoxicated by the sweetly familiar scent of her hair.

They stood in the room silently, within touching distance, but not making any contact. A purple past swirled between them, almost thick enough to touch, almost thick enough to keep them from touching.

“I missed you,” she finally whispered.

The small concession was enough to make Anthony move. He folded his arms around her, holding her tightly against him, and kissed her deeply. It was like kissing a completely different woman. She didn’t resist him at all, didn’t fight him. She melted beneath him, wrapping her arms around him, responding to his mouth with passionate sincerity.

“Say you missed me, too,” she said against her mouth.

“I missed you,” he breathed, pulling the coat from her shoulders. They let it fall to the floor without a second glance. His hands worked frantically, desperate to get beneath her clothes and touch her soft skin. He pulled her sweater over her head and unsnapped her bra. “I missed you, I missed you.”

They tumbled backward to the bed, Anthony still undressing her as they moved. Christine stretched out in front of him, as sleek and smooth as a cat in the filtered sunlight. He pulled her lacy thong down her thighs, following the path of his fingers with his lips.

“I missed you,” he murmured against her thighs like a prayer. “I missed you.” He licked the sensitive skin of her inner-thigh, tasting the salt-sweet spice of her skin. “I missed you.” What he meant was I love you, and they were the last words he could speak now.

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