Interviewing the Italian – A Free Read as a Thanks and a Gift


I will be posting a free read, in chapters, on here and on Wattpad as a gift to you, the readers and the fans, it will take some time to get it all posted, it is actually a lengthy read, but well, you guys deserve it.  A few caveats: it is written in first person, I know how some of you don’t like that, but that is your prerogative…Also, it is roughly edited, real rough, that is why it is free, and here, not on Amazon or anything like that.  This was supposed to be out there somewhere, but things happen, ish implodes, et cetera… but that is neither here nor there… On with the goodness… Chapter One starts here…..

 

Chapter One

“Please tell me you aren’t wearing those sneakers to the interview?” My best friend stared  at me with her mouth agape and her brown eyes bugging out of her head.. I laughed at her horrified expression. Lena Bath, self-proclaimed tomboy, wasn’t going to let me wear sneakers to an interview?

“Lena, Lena, when have you known me not to wear my lucky sneakers to an interview? This one is no different.” I looked at my outfit in the full-length mirror. Lena was on my bed still in her scrubs.  Most people would have been mortified to have a coroner sitting on their bed still in their scrubs, but I didn’t care. I found her stories about working with the DC police fascinating.

“Yvonne, please, you are about to interview Augostino Romani.. You can’t possibly wear those ratty high tops. I don’t care how good that Donna Karan suit looks on you, ditch those shoes[Km1] .” She pointed at the offensive [Km2] sneakers on my feet. I looked down at them knowing what I would see. White Reebok classics, with Velcro straps, scuffed and marred from walking, running, and sticking my foot in closing doors.  There was a huge grass stain on the left shoe and a pinkish spot of unknown origins on one of them . I smirked, the shoes were ratty, hell, downright ugly, but I wasn’t taking them off.  

“Girl, please, I’m not trying to jump his bones! It is an interview. Like all my other interviewees, there is no sex, no dates and no flirting. Even though he is fine as I-don’t-know-what.” I said, sighing. Yes, Augostino was handsome, but zero fraternizing with the interviewees.  That was my firm policy. I was twenty-seven year old journalist and I was determined not to let my work be judged on who I slept with. . Crossing my arms under my chest, I gave Lena the hard stare.

“Don’t give me that look. Yvonne, you have been itching for this interview for years. You can’t fool me. I’ve seen the  pages and pages of notes you hoard on the man, not to mention you  have several of his software programs. Let’s not forget, you made it out of grad school on one of his company’s scholarships. You’ve talked about this  interview for what, three years? Don’t give me that just another day bull.”

“This is why I am wearing the shoes! I can’t be drooling all over the man and looking like some inexperienced deranged stalker, now can I?  I have to have the sneakers to remind me why I am there.”

I grabbed my trusted worn brown leather shoulder bag. Lena was right about one thing. I had idolized Augostino Romani for five years. Maybe it was because he came from nowhere, under the radar and into the spotlight or perhaps it was because most software engineers didn’t look like him, or it could be that Mr. Romani only does only one interview a year. I don’t know what had made Romani Industries call my editor and offer the coveted interview, but I am glad they did. I remembered when my editor pulled me to the side after the morning meeting and told me that he wanted me to do it..

Gary, the editor, cleared his throat and asked me to stay behind while the other reporters cleared out. Normally jovial, Gary looked at me with an assessing stare. He started down at my tennis shoes, traveled up my khaki chinos and stopped at the men’s button down oxford that I’d adorned with a wide chain link belt. As he finished his survey of my clothes, he nodded and spoke.

“You would be perfect to interview Mr. Augostino Romani. I like your no-nonsense attitude, and you don’t preen and cluck like a hen around good looking men. Plus, your last story gave me a good laugh.”  Gary handed me a card and shooed me out with a wave of his hand. “Oh, and Martin?” I looked back over my shoulder at Gary, his brown eyes looking stern and unforgiving,  . Savannah Martin was my pen name. It wasn’t that I didn’t love my real name, Yvonne Mason, for some reason most of my work was rejected when turned in as Yvonne Mason.  Perhaps it told people I was a stubborn person, but I chose Savannah Martin because it sounded softer, not because I was soft!   If Shakespeare asked again, ‘what’s in a name?’ I would tell him a whole lot! 

“Yes, sir?” I said, almost wanting to salut him.  The way Gary gave me the assignment, I felt like I was in the military. .

“I don’t need to remind you that this is a confidential interview. Not a word, to anyone.” I nodded and walked out.  Of course I knew how everyone tech hound coveted this interview, if I said anything it would be to Lena, but everyone else, no way.  They would run me over with a MACK truck before they let me have this interview unhindered.   It was the big break I needed.   The only reason my editor picked me because I wouldn’t be speechless from hero worship like the men at my job, nor would I try to audition to be Mrs. Augostino Romani. Women like me do not catch the attention of men like him. Unlike my friend Lena, mixed with Asian and African-American, there was nothing exotic about me.  My skin was an ordinary milk chocolate color. Almond shaped eyes were my best asset, and I had worn contacts for years, but more people took me seriously when I wearing my glasses. For my interview with the reclusive Romani, I picked out a chocolate brown and pink pants suit to make me feel confidant and look older. I piled my hair on my head into a loose bun, put on my black rimmed glasses. Again, I reminded myself, don’t get slack jawed; he is still just a mere man.

Yet, I still couldn’t help but feel like I won the lottery. I had to work my way up to get the interviews of engineers that were lower on the totem pole.  I figured I had at least another year of waiting for the ‘great Romani interview’ as I dubbed it in my journal. 

“He is still a software engineer. I have had all my notes pre-approved, and I am sure we’ll be monitored by his entourage so I don’t ask any off the wall questions.  He is just a man.”

“Right Vonne, he is good looking and available man. He has, been called one of Washington D.C.’s eligible bachelors for the past four years. He is constantly giving back to the community by donating computers, software, and his time. Don’t tell me you don’t find all of that attractive?”

“Lena, despite his humanitarian efforts, according to the tabloids, he was known for being a flirt, elusive, and arrogant.  Not to mention a different flavor of woman every month.  So no, I know he is a philanthropist and all that, but I don’t understand how you can be so caring for the community one minute and then pretty much be called a dog the other fifty-nine minutes of the hour.”

 Lena giggled and stood up.  She eyed me and sighed, I knew she had given up arguing with me. “Yeah, ok Vonne, just don’t forget, you are human. A red-blooded, human woman about to meet, for an exclusive interview, a man that you have followed his career ever since yours took off. Have I mentioned he is  good looking? The man is  intelligent obviously, and available. Just because you are interviewing him now, doesn’t mean that it couldn’t be something later.” Giving a careless shrug, Lena looked down at her watch. “I’ll see myself out. I got to get to the lab.”

“Yeah I got to get going too; I want to get there early so I’m ready.”

I drove to the location the marketing department told me where Mr. Romani wanted to be interviewed. He respected his privacy and preferred not to be out in the open.  I pulled up to what appeared to be a town home turned into a private restaurant of sorts. I walked into the front door and was greeting by a fidgeting, barely five foot woman talking rapidly in Italian.  I couldn’t catch most of what she was saying because whatever she was saying, wasn’t in any formal Italian classes I’d taken.  She erratically pointed at walls, and said pareti hanno bisogno di pittura, which from what I understood her walls were painted for her but why was she telling me this?   Was she just as nervous to have the great August Romani in her restaurant?  Up and down she pointed, to the hardwood floors, the ceiling fans, and one really big chandelier.  If this was supposed to be a tour, I wasn’t grasping a thing.  The only thing I could do was stay behind her and try to follow her erratic shifts in direction.  How she managed to move that fast on wood floors in heels was beyond me.   Finally she led me to the bar area and stopped so fast in front of me,  I almost barreled right over her.  She turned to look at me, her eyes full of tears.

Ha pagato per tutto!”  Ahh, I see.  He’d paid for it all.  That was why she was showing me everything, Mr. Romani had paid for the extensive renovations to her restaurant.    She didn’t have to sell me on the fact that August Romani was a good guy, he was just a reclusive guy that everyone wanted. 

 She showed me to the bar area and very politely asked me to wait.  She waddled out of the room at a much slower pace than when she was showing me the place. As I looked at everything from the painted ceilings to watercolor frescos on the wall, I realized that he must have thrown a lot of money into this place.  As I was flipping through the pages of my approved questions, the aura in the room changed. I no longer heard the hostess clicking around in her heeled shoes and it seemed as though the ceiling fans turned slower.   I felt a tenseness course up my spine and in my heart knew that Augostino Romani had entered the room.  I turned to look. As soon as my eyes landed on him, I went from looking to staring. He was not someone you just ‘look’ at, he was to be admired. As his eyes swept the room I studied his form and movements. He was wearing a deep navy suit, tailored, with pin stripes. His tie was turquoise while his shirt was an innocent white. The simplistic hues seemed at odds with his dark hair. He looked at me with a gaze as acute as a hawk and it took every ounce of will power I had to not gasp and to not put my hand to my chest like some fainting southern belle. This man was a walking advertisement for sex. There is no other way to put it. I was in over my head. I knew it, I felt it, and as he started to walk towards me, his demeanor said it. The long strides he took put him in front of me in mere seconds. I don’t remember blinking, but as soon as I did, he took my hand and raised it to his mouth.  A brief kiss, his warm lips grazing the tops of my knuckles and then he was sitting in the barstool. I felt like I was so was screwed because  I didn’t expect him to look half as good as he did in the tabloid pictures or even on TV. No, he looked even better.  Turning, I took a sip of my water and counted to ten before I twisted back to him.   His gaze finally met mine and I paused.  Was he even looking at me?  It looked like he was looking right through me, as intense as his eyes were.

“Buongiorno, signore Romani. I’m glad to have this interview.”  I thought maybe it would snap his attention back to the moment, and ok, who am I kidding, I wanted  to impress him with my knowledge of Italian. I’m so pathetic that I wanted his approval. Luckily for me, he wasn’t impressed. In fact, he barely acknowledged that I had spoken to him at all. There was a slight tilt of the head, and perhaps his lips pursed into a line, but that was it. Not even a grunt. Most men at least grunted. Better get this over with.  That quickly put me back into professional mode.  No longer wanting to impress the man, I wanted to get to the heart of the interview.  

I started off with simple enough questions. 

“So what is this new software? What makes it revolutionary?”  Then I saw something flicker across his face as if he was ready to put on a show.  From several years of interviewing, I knew this was about to be a long rehearsed answer.

“The concept behind this software is to provide heightened security to even the most casual of computer users. We have used the theory behind human DNA to develop this new security software. We are calling it Double Helix…” his deep voice was monotone and perfunctory. I could have had more fun reading instructions on cooking rice. Something wasn’t right with this. Most people get excited, animated and antsy when discussing something they are passionate about. This guy, nothing. He stared at me with this intense stare, as if he was trying to hypnotize me. I sat and listened to the bits of sentences, only scribbling a few lines here and there. Even there, Mr. Romani’s eyes never left my face. Most media shy or even the slightly insecure will want to try a peek at what you are scribbling. No, his eyes were trained on my face. I frowned and tried to listen more intently.

“The software is not faulty like the current finger print masking. Masking is never efficient. Masks will eventually be cracked,” Mr. Romani’s voice cracked from that monotone voice. That made my ears perk. He just said ‘mask’ several times, and each time he got more agitated. That is more than just my boredom, hoping for something, I had to know more. A new line of questions began to formulate, ones that were not approved in the slightest, but I was a journalist, it was my job to dig. . From behind my glasses, I slyly look around and that is when I noticed, there was no one here but us. He didn’t have a huge entourage, no doppelgangers. It was me and him, although I am sure the jittery host was lurking somewhere.

I hated myself for wanting to ask it, but I felt the question itch and burn on my tongue. I knew then that the rest of interview would not go as smooth as I hoped. Before my rational, professional mind could clamp down on the words, they shot out my mouth like a bullet from an automatic weapon.

“So what mask are you wearing?” Damn it, damn it, damn it. I would have sworn out loud if he was not already staring at me in contempt.  

“Excuse me?” He practically hissed at me. Had I just pissed off one of the most influential men in the engineering business?  Yeah  I did, yet, from the quiet intensity of his expression, I didn’t think it took much to stir the dragon within him.  I continued to stare at him as if I wasn’t petrified.  

Mr. Romani looked at me and I looked at him from the top of my glasses, and said it again with the most sincerity.

“What mask are you wearing?”

 “Scusi?” He barked in Italian and he quirked his eyebrow. Perhaps it was that slight raise of his eyebrow that was supposed to command a response. I am sure the dark black contrast of brow to his pure blue eyes caused a heart or two to stop. It was obvious he was agitated. I didn’t blame him; he was in the middle of an explanation on the concept behind his new software program. Honestly, I just did not care. The answers were rehearsed, until he went off on the mask tirade, and I did not want the light stuff. I wanted his soul. As dark as that sounded, I wanted to know what drove him.  

The best plan was quickly rephrase the question to a friendlier, less Barbara Walters and more the journalist that I was. I wrote for a magazine, not Nightline.

“That is to say,” I said, clearing my throat for emphasis, “your new software shows a different side of you, different than what we seen before. Is it because you’ve changed your line of thinking at thirty-six years old or did you just want to try something new?”

I hope I sounded sweet enough to make him answer the question. I was not some young cotton for brains writer seeking squeal points; I was a journalist and I wanted to know what set him off on that tirade and I wanted just a hint of the man behind the engineer.  

He still looked at me like he wanted to take my head off. I wasn’t going to budge. Some people might have backed down from that glare of those icebergs they call his eyes, but I was not moving.

“I just wanted to try something new.” That was it? No tears? No sniffles, not even a glimpse into his inner most secrets?

“Did you experience something new?” I was going to have to be scientific about this but he was starting to piss me off, I don’t give a damn how fine he is, I want my Pulitzer award-winning interview.

“No. I wanted to create something that I had been playing around with. The concept is very simple, but the design was complicated. Plus I had to see if the audience would even like the concept.”

If I were the reaching type, I would take that as being insecure, yet it wasn’t enough. I liked cold hard facts, facts which he did not want to seem to give me.    

“How long were you experimenting with the new software?”

“About 2 years. Then I had a test group and it seemed to work the way I intended.”

“Did you run these by your friends or the executive…?”

“No, I am the only executive on this project, so I did what I felt to do.” There’s the arrogance I heard so much about.

 “Point taken and what was the feeling behind the December 24th release date?” I said, getting irritated more by the moment.  He might as well have been a robot his tone was so controlled. 

His eyes narrowed into slits, but still no emotion.   Well, him shooting me with shitty stares could be classified as lack of control right?  No, as quickly as his eyes had given him away, he recovered to his normal bored look. 

From the side of his mouth he murmured the words “Early Christmas present.”

That was it? What person does not want to talk about a new project they were working on? I knew then I was about to blow up at my dream interview. I looked down at my notes, all of my questions I had spent almost 3 years coming up with, and felt rage. I had wanted above all things to interview the man whose products were exciting to a tech junkie like me. Now face to face with him, I wanted to do nothing but scream at him, that no one could possibly be this emotionless. As I flipped through my pages of questions, the more frustrated I got.  All of the questions would only produce one word answers.  No wonder he only gave one interview a year, he was either dull as fuck or he knew damn well he wouldn’t give up any more information than was necessary. The wheels started to turn in my head on how  I was going to make this the interview I’d fantasized about for years.  I was not particularly one for reverse psychology but anything was worth a shot.

“Ok, well that does it for me,” I clicked my lucky pen, retracting the point as I was retracting form the interview. He looked startled.

“You only asked me a few questions. Is it really over?” Now he was looking at me from above the rim of his glasses.  

“Yes, it is really over. The information you are telling me I can get from the press release notes when the software drops in another month. I see no need to waste your time any further Mr. Romani. I am sure that you have some Thanksgiving festivities to fly to or something, I know I still have to get to the grocery store…” I was putting my purse on my shoulder. I was staking my career on this act; if my editor found out I did this and didn’t come back with any good information for pissing off the most formidable software developer on the east coast I will be back to writing columns for the local community college.  

“Please don’t call me that.”

“Ok, Signore Romani.” I said sarcastically. I think I saw him smirk but I held firm, I was taking a huge gamble.  “Seriously, I am sure there is something else you would rather be doing. Please do not linger on my account. I waited three years for this interview. I think I can wait a month for your new software to come to the stores to get the information that I need.”

I took a breath, this was my last chance.  I stared at him in silence and waited. Something strange happened in his eyes. Either it was a spark of interest or I pissed him off royally.  The irises became dilated and the color became such a vibrant hue of blue, it looked like the sky.

“Sit. Down. Miss. Martin.” Augostino Romani carefully enunciated each word as he took off his glasses. From the tone in his voice, I would say I had succeeded in really making him angry. He gingerly folded his silver rimmed glasses and set them down on the dark wood bar top. I noticed the lenses in his glasses don’t magnify anything. Why would this man hide behind a pair of glasses with his gorgeous yet intimidating eyes? He gestured toward the chair I just vacated. So what could I do? I sat. “I don’t like being talked to that way, but I am making an exception for you.” His voice was stern and cold.

“I will take your word for it.” His eyebrows shot up and his eyes narrowed again.  I was putting on the not interested anymore act a little thick, but hell, he started it. 

“Why Christmas Eve, because that was the one night I knew I would have everyone’s attention. I like attention. So what better than a holiday?”

The question hung there, rhetorical or not.   I looked at him, knowing damn well he didn’t expect an answer, but from the way his eyes steadily stared at me, I could tell he was gauging my reaction. 

“So,”  I said drawing the words out,  “do you enjoy being a spectacle?” The press had a field day with his career so far. It has been ten years and they have not ceased to be on his heels at every moment.  

“I am always going to be a spectacle, whether I like it or not. Fame has a way of doing that to you.” I had never met anyone so cynical, well despite myself of course.  

“That is true, but fame also affords you money to slink back into the mountains of Montana or Idaho if you wanted to.”

“Are you always this direct?”

“Depends on the subject…”

“Am I a subject to be studied under a microscope?”  his words sounding clipped. Augostino Romani fenced with words.  Each question was either deflected or swayed.  While his way of deflecting and avoiding real questions may have been useful anywhere else,  I was the one giving the interview not him.

“No. What you are, sir, is trying to avoid answering my question.”

“Touché Miss Martin.  Why do I keep going out? I love to invent. That is why. I love what I do. Going out to a few events every once and while pads my pockets so I can fund my personal side projects without using company funds.”

“Was there ever a time that you fell out of love with inventing new software? It is a pretty frustrating field.”

“Before I made this program, yes, I had fallen out of love with it. After a while, you do get tired.”

“You mean you were suffering from exhaustion?” Captivated that he was giving me so much information, I had to keep on prying.

“No, the touring, showcasing and selling was the easy part. It was the politics, the promos, and the interviews, no offense.”

“None taken. So why aren’t you tired now?”

“I grew up. I realized that people take more than they give. So I am going to give a whole lot that they didn’t ask for.”

“And who is the ‘they’?”

“Anyone who stands in my way.” He looked at me with the glare that I am sure the big bad wolf gave one of those pigs before he blew their house down.  I am not easily intimidated, but the gleam in his eyes made me want to stay far away from him when he was angry. I had already accomplished pushing his buttons twice in fifteen minutes. Not off to a good start, but I was not finished yet. We were just getting to the good stuff, and I had waited too long for this.

“Has anyone been in your way recently?”

“Yes, myself.” His eyes slunk off into the distance staring at something beyond me. Considering we were the only two people in the room, I find it impossible that someone else had his attention.

“So did you go around yourself or did you mow yourself down?” I knew all too well what he saying. Sometimes you find the only thing that is keeping you from getting to the next level that you want to achieve is yourself. You have either to tear it down, or go with the flow. I spent most of the time tearing down my own personal walls, just to get an adrenaline rush.  

“I mowed it down. And this is getting too personal…” I could see the invisible fortress he keeps himself in going up in front of my eyes, and I had to stop it. Not for the sake of the article, but because now I was generally intrigued. I stopped the tape recorder.  

“Ok, fair enough. Why don’t you ask me some questions?”

He quirked his eyebrow at me and did not believe that I would put my own neck on the line.

“Look, I spend most of my time getting people to talk about themselves; I don’t talk about myself a whole lot. Things got a little heavy, so this is like a cease fire.”

“Ok, is Savannah really your name? “

“It is my middle name. Why do you ask?”

“Because you don’t look like a Savannah. I was to walk in here, expecting some blonde nitwit, and instead I get a leggy chocolate dessert, whose skin reminds me of gelato.” Yeah sure, Casanova. I had my fair share of smooth talkers in my lifetime, and that was not the smoothest line I have heard.

“Yeah, Ok Mr. Romani, you don’t have to try flattering me, I have waited for this interview for years.” And there was no way he was going to convince me that I was like a Tyra Banks or Naomi Campbell, even if I did stand five feet ten. That is where the similarities ended. I packed a little more in my derriere. I wasn’t thin, that I knew, and his offhand flirting made me self-conscious. I don’t diet, and I eat a steak when I can. I am thick and I like it that way, but not when he is staring at me as if I am standing here in a bikini instead of a pants suit. He quirked an eyebrow again and who taught him that one eyebrow trick anyway? He posed an unasked question as if he did not understand, I added, “There is no need for you to flirt with me in order to get the good stuff in the article. I know all about your company already .”

“Well, someone with integrity, it is about time. But that does not mean that I don’t think your skin is satin like gelato, just an observation.  As an engineer I have to observe every detail of everything.” I groaned and rolled my eyes. If he weren’t so Italian, it would have came off as being extremely corny.  I looked at him over the rim of my glasses, and he smirked again. Arrogant bastard.

“So what else do you want to ask me?”

“What is your first name?”

“Yvonne,”

“I like your first name better. Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?”

“No, I am pretty young yet, I don’t wish to be doing this much longer, but until I finish my novel, well this is writing, and I like it.”

“So are you a journalist or a writer?”

“What makes you separate the two? Most people don’t…”

“Anyone can write. Every so often, I have to write a memo, or write a press release, or something to stay published. A journalist, well there is a difference. Only you would know that.” I looked at him and realized that maybe turning the tables on myself was not a good idea.

“I am a journalist. I take what I see and push deeper. You know the old adage; a picture is worth a thousand words?” He smirked and gave a brief nod. “I try to use a thousand words to paint a picture. Something that is tangible or real. Whether you were a can opener or the formidable Augostino Romani, you are still going to get the best that I got.” I stared at him and he was smiling at me. God he had some killer dimples. Then his countenance changed.

“I am not formidable.” He said, casually, as if it never occured to him that he was an intimidating figure.

I let out a pent up breath and mumbled, “If you say so.” I went back to looking at my notes. He was formidable to me. When he walked in the room earlier, I had felt his presence before I saw him. He seemed to emit masculinity from all his pores and it is almost suffocating.  As I flipped through my notes, I realized that I did not want to ask him anything that I had previously written down, I wanted to have a conversation with this man. Shaking my head, I thought that I was just falling for his rumored charm.  I looked back up at him, and he was regarding me with, damned if I know, but it was not friendly.

“I am not anything of what they paint of me.” He said in a low growl, and there was definitely an accent there. Oh my, was he pissed. I just could not tell if he was pissed off at me or at the they. Either way, that was the third time he growled.  

“I figured that much Mr. Romani. Most of what people write is fluff. But they don’t know you, and I can’t say that I do either. You’re still an intimidating figure. I mean have you looked in the mirror? Not to mention you have a multibillion dollar company and you are merely thirty-six. ” Not that the man needed to have his ego stroked, but he couldn’t be that obtuse to his own charm.  

“Was that a rhetorical question? I think it was, so I won’t answer it.  Miss, what is your last name?”  

“What makes you think that Martin is not my last name?” I was getting a little peeved at him asking me these questions about my name.  

“It does not suit you. Why did you pick such a plain name? It is not you.”  

I was not about to get into the reasons behind me changing my name to be taken seriously as a journalist. Having a name like Savannah Martin opened more doors than having a name like Yvonne Mason did.  I tended to hit an invisible wall when shopping around my other work as Yvonne Mason.  One editor told me it sounded too ethic.   That is why my name was a touchy subject. 

“Yes, it was a rhetorical question and my last name is Mason.”

“So then paint my picture, tell me what you see that is so intimidating.”

Was this guy serious? I mean, I thought I had hit the gold mine by getting this interview but I was beginning to think that I was in way over my head here. Looking at him,  I don’t imagine anyone has told this man no and not had to pay some consequences.  I licked my lips and played with my pen. How many times had I described him to myself? Did I really even need to look at him to describe what I already knew to be there? I was never good at backing down at challenges and his question was definitely a challenge.   So I told him what I had written as part of my thesis on the Sexual Appeal of Engineers and Programmers.  

“Mr. Romani stands at a proud six foot three inches, broad shoulders defined by ten years of swimming. Although his height is daunting and the span of his chest would make you think twice about picking a fight, that is not the most foreboding factor about Augostino Romani. His eyes are an azure blue, as the sky is during a summer rain, but when he is troubled, bothered or angry, they turn to a deep navy, storming like the angry sea in Homer’s Odyssey. This combined with his well-set square jaw proves that he is a man that knows what he wants and gets it, no matter what.”  It was the truth, but the way his eyes were watching me, just as stormy as I described, I felt like I bared a bit more than truth and felt like I left a part of my soul on the table.  I sounded like some sex starved lunatic. That was not journalism, I chastised myself.  I was supposed to be a professional and sharing with him my thesis statement didn’t paint that picture.   

We sat and stared at each other for a few more seconds before he broke the silence.  

“That was not a thousand words, but I will take it for now.” He said in a softer, gentler voice. It was still deep, but it sounded more like a caress than an order this time.  I did not realize that I was holding my breath until I exhaled.  Then he smiled.  

“I got a wonderful idea, Ms. Mason. It is Miss, right? Otherwise this isn’t going to work.”

“Yeah, no rings, no offers, no boyfriends.” Oh man do I ever know when to shut up?

“Good, you are going to by my personal journalist.  You will follow me where I go, you will send press releases and you will write my biography.”  He stood up and handed me a card.  “Stop here at eight Friday morning. I will call your editor and explain. You will still get the exclusive interview, but he will be without you for a few months. Don’t be late.” Mr. Romani just exited the room. I didn’t say yes, but I damn sure was not going to say no.  All I did say was,

“Oh shit.”

New Release! Get Ready To Chase Nickels…


 

Chasing Nickels Around Dollar Signs

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Are you ready for a little treat?  This inexpensive little treat will definitely get you revved and ready.  Are you ready for a little heat to start your summer off just right?

I know, enough with the questions right? (See what I did there *smirk*) The tax season is finally over and we all get a little punch drunk and woozy during those times.  Let’s face it,  working into all hours of the night, your mind tends to run away with you.  You never know what may happen once your brain is fogged.

Take Sasha Nickels for example.  She works hard and well…take a peek ~

The April tax deadline is fast approaching for Sasha Nickels, and the last thing she needs is an unannounced visit from her questionable client Cesar Parisi and his associate Sonny Amato.  Cesar and Sonny are two men who won’t take no for an answer. Obedience is expected.

When they show up unannounced on the busiest tax day of the year, she wants give them both a good piece of her mind.  However, Cesar and Sonny make it known they’ll take a piece of her mind, but they want her body as well…

Excerpt:

It was difficult to stand in their menacing presence one at a time, let alone both of them at the same time.  They both stood well over six feet, but Sonny had the advantage by an inch.   The stare down couldn’t last all night.  She moved to the side and pushed her hair behind her ears.  Keep it quick and simple, stick to the points, and don’t think about touching their hair.    Touching their hair was always on her mind, as Sonny’s hair was jet black and Mr. Parisi’s hair was a tussle of blonds and browns.  For the two years of their working relationship, she was more often tempted to touch their hair than their money. Clearing her throat, she motioned to the leather chairs in front of the desk.  She watched as they sat and noticed there wasn’t a briefcase between them.  What the hell is going on?

“So to what do I owe the pleasure of your presence, Mr. Parisi?”
Sasha walked to her desk, sat down, and folded her arms in front of her.
“Come on, Sasha.”  His voice dipped, and her name sounded like a melodic seduction rather than a greeting.  “You’ve known me for years now. Can’t you bring yourself to call me Cesar?”

Not if I want to keep myself from sitting in your lap as if you’re Santa.
“Mr. Parisi, I’m a busy woman.”

“And Mr. Parisi is a busy man.”  Sonny’s voice was as gruff as always.  She cut her gaze to him. Like she didn’t know that.
“Since we are both so busy, why don’t we skip this verbal sparring and get to the point of why you’re here?”   She’d directed her question at Sonny, but it was Cesar who answered.

“You’re amazing.”
That wasn’t what she’d expected.
“Excuse me?”
“You said to drop the verbal sparring and that is exactly what I’m doing.  Sasha, mia cara, you’ve done an amazing job for me for the last few years, and I wanted to show you that I’m more than grateful.”

“Send me a bottle of Chianti and a box of chocolates and we’ll call it even.”  She waved him off with a flick of her wrist and picked up her pencil with the other hand.  Sasha didn’t have time for this. She needed to review returns and try to get at least three hours of sleep tonight.

“You are worth far more than a box of chocolates and some wine,” Sonny said. For once, he didn’t sound ticked off.

She turned to look at him.  In her line of work, as frigid as it may seem, she wasn’t surprised by much.  In her life, being the only child, growing up dirt poor and having barely enough to eat, she could match attitude for attitude, but this bad cop, good cop or whatever these two were doing was unraveling her carefully constructed wall of self-preservation.

“Your eyes are sparking.  Does that mean you are interested, mia cara?”  Sonny’s voice was definitely lethal, and he was using it to his full advantage.  She’d never bothered to wonder if her eyes sparked or not because they were hidden behind her glasses most of the time.   Sasha stared at him a long time before she spoke.
“Interested in what, Sonny?  You haven’t proposed anything for me to be interested in.”

“A proposal would be a bit premature. How about one night together first? We’ll get around to wedding plans later.”

End Excerpt

Want to know how Sasha responds?   Pick it up: Available at the Beautiful Trouble Publishing website ONLY:

http://beautifultroublepublishing.com/genres/new-releases-home-page/chasing-nickels-around-dollar-signs-ebook.html

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE NEXT BIG THING – Blog Hop


BLOG HOP-The Next Big Thing

Okay, I was tagged for the BLOG HOP- The Next Big Thing

Thank you to Kimmie Thomas from http://shereallysaidit.wordpress.com.  Now, I’ve blogged and ranted, but I’ve never hopped, so this should really be fun.

The rules for the Blog Hop are as follows:

*****Give credit to the person/blog that tagged you

*****Post the rules for the blog hop

*****Answer these ten questions about the current WIP (Work in Progress) on your blog

*****Tag five other writers/bloggers and add their links so we can hop over and meet them.

Ten Interview Questions for the Nest Big Thing:

What is the working title of your book?

I’ve been real busy.  First there was Falling Leaves in Autumn which is out now.

 

Right now, I’ve submitted one story for a new series I am working on, Midnight and Mayhem.  It is my first foray into paranormal with a sexy vampire.  It is is the editing stage now.

Next on my list is a Christmas Domination tale that will be placed with a very special publishing house (Shara Azod, some of you may know her) I’m working on the plot line now, although I might need to  post some thoughts on my blog to get some feedback.  This one is going to be way way different and outside the box, so stay tuned for that.

Where did the idea come from for the book?

Like any fiction writer, I think a bit of our stories always involve real life scenarios.  Some of us write true to life scenarios and take only a bit of creative license.

What genre does your book fall under?

Romantica? Romance with a little Erotica? Erotic?  I can’t be pigeonholed but you can bet your bottom dollar it will be hot.

Which actors would you choose to play your characters in a movie rendition?

I would love to see Eric Bana play Clark Pinot in Falling Leaves in Autumn..  He is so Clark  and I think I was watching him in an Adam Sandler movie when I came up with the character of Clark.

What is the one sentence synopsis of your book?

Never judge a book by its cover.

Will your book be self published or represented by an agency?

I use several publishers but my absolutely favorites are Beautiful Trouble Publishing, Mocha Memoirs Press and Shara Azod Presents.

How long did it take you to write the first draft of your manuscript?

That depends on what manuscript I am working on.  I can write one in a week or take several months to draw it out.  For example, my free read, Private Dancer took me a year to write.  So I guess I should say that all depends.

What other books would you compare this story to within your genre?

I think my books are more like movies.  Since I practice safe short writing I try to start with a bang and end with a bang.   So if I were to label my writing style it is like Crash or  Mobsters. 🙂

Who or What inspired you to write this book?

Falling Leaves in Autumn was inspired by life events.  I tried so hard to keep my husband a ‘late night snack’ he just kept getting into my heart and mind and eventually became my husband.

What else about your book might piqué the reader’s interest?


It is written in first person, but the characters do come alive.  I know that is the biggest issue with some who write in first person is getting to know the other characters.

The writers I’m tagging are:

http://sherrodstory.wordpress.com

http://valloryv.wordpress.com

http://roslynhardyholcomb.com/

http://musetracks.wordpress.com

http://liviaellis.com

Tag!

Well That was fun…  I hope everyone can participate.

 

New Release! “Falling Leaves in Autumn” Available Now


Click Here to Buy Now!
 
 
I love Autumn!  I love the smell, the sounds of leaves crunching under your feet.  Your eyes become sensitive to all the sensitive hues of orange, yellow and gold…  Which is why I had to give Autumn its own book in the Seasons of Love series.   There was “Disturbing the Yuletide” then “Shaking up the New Year” and now you have “Falling Leaves in Autumn.” Check out the excerpt below and enjoy! 

 

Justine Marshall is in a mood. Not that she doesn’t adore the fact that her best friend Topaz is was marrying the great love of her life; she’s ecstatic, but being alone while trying to plan the wedding to end all weddings has her in a funk and admittedly jealous. In an effort to keep her emotions from spilling into Topaz’s happy day, Justine comes up with one surefire solution: find a bed buddy. 

Clark Pinot has been trying to get Justine’s attention for months, which is the only reason he volunteered to go shopping with the guarded woman in the first place. When she comes to him with the ridiculous idea of being her “booty call,” he sees it as the one opportunity to prove he isn’t the Casanova she thinks he is and what he wants is much more than a tumble in the sack. Breaking down Justine’s defenses won’t be easy, but he’s determined to see them fall like the leaves in autumn.


**EXCERPT**The sun was setting, casting a comforting orange glow over the turning leaves. It was my favorite time of year, the transition into autumn, and I found the hues of oranges, yellows, and reds comforting. Taking in a deep breath, letting the partially chilled air fill my lungs, I knew I had to get a grip. What are you doing? You know dang well Clark Pinot is nothing but a rolling stone with an accent. Who’s to say you can’t have a bit of a fling before he leaves? I sighed. Flings weren’t in my nature. Even as I tried to summon up some of my courage to just flirt with the man, I couldn’t even do that. It’s funny how when you are warring with yourself, you can’t pick a side. 

“Well that is one way to end a discussion.” His voice made me gasp. It was a rich baritone that vibrated when he laughed, like it was doing now. I had to cross my legs to keep my wayward womanhood under control. 

“There was nothing to discuss. You have your opinion, and I’ve got mine. You don’t make it in this world without having to drop the rose-colored glasses sometimes. I’m not jaded on love, I just don’t think it is perfect, and I haven’t found the other half to my imperfection yet, just like you, Clark.” 

“I can see that, Justine.” Oh the way he said my name made me want to curl up beside him and purr. Yet, I still couldn’t bring myself to even entertain the idea of making a bed buddy out of Clark. It would be too dangerous. 

“So, you want to take some bags with you back to…” His lips touched mine before I even realized he was standing that close to me. It was a gentle, tentative, and explorative kiss that left me breathless. His hand, which was resting slightly on my shoulder, moved down my biceps, down my forearm, and then, just when I thought I couldn’t take any more of his subtle touches, his large, tanned fingers intertwined with mine. It wasn’t the kisses I’d read about and hoped for in my novels, the ones that bruise your lips, but a light kiss, an appetizer with the promise of so much more.

Coming Soon to Mocha Memoirs Press


Are you looking for a short and hot read, something like a shot of espresso to your senses?  How about something that will get you going and in the mood like your favorite cup of coffee? Look for Java Rain, by yours truly coming soon to Mocha Memoirs Press and an eReader near you.  

Java Rain by Nevea Lane

Why Are Free BWWM books Hard to Find


writing
All of this work isn't free

Why Are Free BWWM Books Hard To Find (or How the Internet told on You)…

I love technology.  I’ve been given the title Techy by a select few and here is an example why I love technology, the internet and the right to free speech.   I was checking my WordPress analytic for the search terms people have used to stumble across my blog.  (Savvy, I know, right?)   This one came across my radar today: why are free BWWM books hard to find?   Obviously this was typed in a browser search engine and someone wanted to know why.  I’ll be happy to step up to the plate and answer that question with some bias but with stark honesty.

It depends if you are looking for GOOD free BW/WM books.  Of course the emphasis being on GOOD.  Now, you can go on to Smashwords, Literotica and various other places to find BW/WM stories.  They are all over and you have to ask yourself the question: is it good?  If you want just a ‘story’ there are plenty and they aren’t hard to find.   If you want GOOD, well let me break it down for you why it won’t be free.

We know we are a niche group, and for those of us that band together, we know just how small or large this niche can be while writing.   We know that we are a quiet genre that doesn’t get much exposure except for among ourselves, and what we represent, we want to represent it well.    Let’s say you are getting dressed for the prom, are you going to put on your holed up jeans, a mustard stained t-shirt and flip-flops?   No, you are going to present your best side because it is important to you.   I will only speak for myself, but being ‘good’ in the world of authors these days is hard work.  You have to know your own worth, you have to know your story’s worth and you have to be willing to grind out that manuscript, sit down and write as the muse strikes, not to mention work your job that has nothing to do with writing.  You have to hone your skill, learn vocabulary, research your topic, ferret out facts, learn your characters, get their habits straight, and come up with a story that will compel readers to go beyond page 1.   Not only do you have to know what you are talking about, you also have to make time to write.  I’m  a short story author, and if I could have a nickel every time I heard a story was too short, well, I wouldn’t have to work so much overtime some days to cover my bills.   So not only do we have to make time to write, we have to pour out our character’s heart, our heart and our story into something that won’t get slandered as ‘too short’.  Try writing 9,000 words that string together beautifully and you will see it ain’t a pretty picture or process.  Now, do you expect a free work to be error free and without some grammatical mistakes? No, so we use proofers and beta-readers.  They don’t work for free either.

So after our hard work. our toiling, back-spacing and rewriting until we find a better word for ‘said’, why would we throw it up for free?  We all go to work every day, but wouldn’t one get mad if they asked you to work for free?  I love my job, but seriously, free?    Some of us, myself included, have written plenty of free stories.  We felt like we owed something to our fans, we felt like we needed to ‘give back’.  Guess how we were repaid: plagiarism.  Plagiarism and having our free work lampooned for various reasons.  A free work,  shared out of love for the genre and knowing there isn’t much out there to get your hands on, gets plagiarized,   and some other is making money off of what you put out there in love.   That would be one reason that some of us don’t post free reads anymore.  We find our work repackaged and our name replaced with someone who didn’t write not once sentence in it.   Can you believe that?

Good BW/WM is so hard to come by, true.  It is hard to come by, and it is harder  to please the readers of BW/WM or any other interracial combination you can think because we are picky.  We want a GOOD read.   If you want a GOOD steak, do you really expect someone to be on the street corner giving away 16 oz porterhouse steaks for free?  No you go to a steak house and you pay for what you want.  The same thing with books.    You pay for what you want.

As much as I would love to live a life of leisure and spend the day writing, I can’t.  I’ve got obligations, a mate, a job, a car to pay for… none of which are free.  We’ve been nice, we’ve tried the ‘free’ route and got screwed.

So to the searcher out there looking for free bwwm, there are plenty, but if you want quality, ante up and just buy what you crave.

 

Getting Better, All the Time


Can you believe that it has only been one year since I was actually published?  (Thanks Beautiful Trouble Publishing for taking a chance on me.)  Today I stopped and wondered, how do authors improve?   That being said, let me state that writers/authors/songstresses/singers all get better over time.  I don’t think anyone can look back and say they haven’t grown in some way, shape or form.  I don’t want to be the same I was last year, I want to be better.

How do we get better?  Taking criticism for starters is the only way that you can get better.  Some of us may get down in the dumps after being criticized.  I used to be one of those that would sulk and wonder why don’t they like me (cue sad puppy eyes and violin).   After a while, I got tired of hearing the same sad song and decided to let the violin be a fiddle.   I looked at everything with the critical eye and said to myself, yes, this could be better, longer, easier.

So back to my original point; how do we get better?   Run towards everything with fresh eyes and with courage.  We are going to be scared to try new things and we are going to always be skittish to step out of our comfort zone, but do it with courage.   Courage is one of those things that separates the movers and shakers from the wallflowers.

How else do we get better? We listen.   Sometimes the best things you get out of life is when you just shut up and listen.  Say nothing.  Be Silent for a moment and listen, let it come to you.

How am I improving?  I’m writing longer works for one.   I love the short story format,  a lot of yum in a little space.  I realize that sometimes people need, want and earn for a longer work.  I’m trying to do that but to do so in a way that makes me proud of my work and not something that is just long for the sake of being long.

So that was my quick check in… Back to the races people… some of us are chained to our laptops .

Not Hot Enough For You – New Books Available from Nevea Lane, Marteeka Karland and Shara Azod


Take a trip into the back seat for a spicy lunch or midnight snack to get you all hot under the collar!!
Click the Pic to Purchase!


Zoe was content with her life as the king’s gardener. She had a home and the finest garden in the galaxy. What more could a girl want?

Well, there was the king’s son, Prince Abbas. He was Zoe’s greatest wet dream come true. For five years, she’d fantasized about him from afar, but never dared to approach him. Besides, he was too… royal for her liking.

When the king arranges a marriage for Abbas, Zoe’s life is changed forever. Will she be content to forever lust after the prince, or will she grab what she wants and take it?

Or will he make that decision for her…

Paxton Wainwright never planned on coming home to Essex, Connecticut, especially after fifteen years of being free of the title of the `mayor’s son’. The small town held nothing but dark memories and an unrequited need for one female, Delilah Gibbs.

Imagine his surprise when he returned home to see none other than Delilah in his father’s bedroom, acting as his physical therapist.   Paxton still felt the same flash of need as he did all those years ago.

The question is, can he make Delilah feel it too?

Skylar Moore had been looking for a new, exciting job. Taking a position as a civilian contractor in the middle of a war zone was probably a tad extreme, but it was the best decision she had ever made. 


How could she complain when she had not one, but two of the sexiest body guards/escorts on the face of the earth. Majors Ashe Marshall and Shannon O’Shea were the finest damn Marines in the entire Corps. It was hard to pretend she wasn’t interested in more than an escort to local Afghan villages. The problem was which one did she like the most? There was no way she could choose.

Luckily she didn’t have to…

Pulling, Tugging, Screaming and Finally a Hot Toddy


To borrow a line from one of my favorite lyricists, “Some people ask where the fuck I’ve been; shit I don’t know, but what I do know, is that I’m back now!” (Eminem, “Underground”, Relapse)

Where have I been?

I will only answer that if you promise not to squeal, scream or tell my probation officer (The probation thing is a long story). I’ve been trying something deliciously new.  I’ve been attempting to write with a plot line.  Rarely do I ever actually plot a story.  More often than not, I’ll hear a line in a song, or hear a funny anecdote and I take off running, and my fingers will only leave the keyboard long enough to wipe my brow.

I know, I know.  Some true writers will probably want to blow up my condo with a nuclear missile for that approach.  However, it works for me.  Except on this last particular story.  I haven’t been in the habit of posting excerpts of work in progress lately because of the fact that there are some characters that I’m keeping close to my heart, but my work, before it is edited, is probably atrocious.   If you’ve read most of the free works that I’ve posted here, you realize that I don’t contract all that much.  So one new approach that I’m trying is to actually contract while writing instead of going back and using the beloved ‘find and replace’ feature.

Still not answering the question of where you’ve been Nevea….

I digress then.   Where I’ve been is writing.  I hate going back and re-reading what I’ve written.  (If you ask how do I edit and re-write, it is this simple, I usually start over).  So I’ve gotten to read some of the things that I’ve written, and I found myself wishing things like, this should have been longer, or his eyes should have been blue. So how does one deal with those I Wishes? I just do it.  I’ve got enough chips on my shoulder and so on where I don’t need another one, so I would rather re-write it than wish I had.     When do we get to the point where we just stop wishing?  So I did it.  I’ve begun the process of re-writing some of the works you’ve seen here.  Stay tuned on what happens with these free reads.

Now, I’m working on some delicious stories with my beloved publisher; and I wish I could tell you just how delicious these stories are, but I’m still tweaking and working various plot twists.  But I can tell you this much, they are longer.

Speaking of longer, and you would have had to been there to understand, I just celebrated my birthday for about a week.  A week-long celebration for a heck of a milestone… one over the big 3-0.   Why would I celebrate that occasion for a week?  We don’t do things for ourselves often enough with purely selfish intentions.  We, as people, do things because it seems like the right thing to do, or it would look good in someone else’s eyes.   This is commendable, respectable even, but that is why I chose to do a 180║ on my moral compass.

I hung out late, stayed up for two days straight, had great times with friends and lived each day as a celebration.   At the end of the week, I caught a cold but it was so worth every single minute of living each moment to its fullest, and it gave me an excuse to have a hot toddy and nurse my cold.

So there is an update on where I’ve been.   Just wait till you see where I’m going…

Sex, Erotica and the Stuff in Between


I was having a discussion the other day about what makes my writing any different than a screenplay for a porn movie.    I jokingly replied that my stories have a plot.  

Seriously, it got me thinking; if you don’t typically read well put together erotica, is it just sex in words?   I insert the caveat of ‘well put together’ because let’s face it, there are some books out there that is just plain trash and makes you want to grab the oil barrel and get an old fashioned book burning going on… but I digress.

Erotica (from the Greek Eros—”desire”) or “curiosa”, are works of art, including literature, photography, film, sculpture and painting, that deal substantively with erotically stimulating or sexually arousing descriptions. (en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Erotica). So how is that different than porn? Pornography: creative activity (writing or pictures or films etc.) of no literary or artistic value other than to stimulate sexual desire. (wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn)

I know, this is a topic that has been flushed and probably beat into the ground, but it still applies and is still relevant because I still get termed ‘smut writer’ by those who prefer literary greatness.  To those people, I give the one-finger salute because I don’t write to please those that are looking to find the second coming of Rene Descartes in my writing.   

I don’t write just to give any reader sexual gratification, but if they get that from reading one of my scenes, I’m going to pat myself on my back and do a happy dance.   If, however, you read my work and can spy the romance that is involved, then I can say my mission is accomplished. 

In the real world, many of us can have stellar relationships without sex.  Yet, how many of us can admit that the sex in a good relationship is important as well?  I am not talking about what equipment you have either.   I’m talking about do we stimulate each other’s senses in the way that a well written erotica does?  Sex is the cherry on top of a good relationship.  Just as sex is the cherry on top of a good romance book.

There are some readers out there that prefer a good old fashioned romance where the sex is ‘behind closed doors’ and implied.  I started off that way.  My first erotica book, which came at the ripe age of 17, was supposed to be in my mind, a basic collection of short stories.  I didn’t know at that time or age what Black Lace Omnibus was.   Before that moment, I mainly read historicals, Regency romance, contemporary Harlequin novels and so on.  My eyes were definitely opened and so were my tastes.  I blushed and hid the book under my mattress for years, only to be dragged out after a break-up or a really bad day. 

Yet, every romance that I read after that collection of erotica seemed to be lacking.  I wanted more, needed more from the characters.  I wanted to know if the characters were explosive in bed as they were out of it.   However, that is just me.   If you like your romances squeaky clean with no cussing (swearing for the rest of you), I am probably not the author for you.   I can admit that, but as the saying goes, you can only please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.   

So what is the “in-between”?  It is that murky gray area that makes you wonder if your book is a) Erotica b) Romance with a little sex thrown in, or c) none of the above.    Books written by me, by choice, have one sex scene namely, but sexual tension is apparent through the whole story.  I wouldn’t classify my actual published work as erotica, but some would due to the graphic nature of the scene.   I would say that my short stories that are peppered around here are erotica, period.  So I am happy to be the in-between.  I don’t write porn, but I just don’t write erotica either.

I am always interested in knowing what the readers want from what they have paid their good money for.  Leave a note, drop an email…every author wants/needs/craves feedback.