Saturday, February 11, 2023

The Italian Holiday Blitz

The Italian Holiday
Nicole Sharp
Publication date: February 7th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance

Struggling writer Keats McCall is Italy bound by Valentine’s Day – but it’s certainly not for amore. She needs to escape her mindless barista job, the four walls of the rented room closing in on her, and the memories of last year’s disastrous break-up. Thank the Roman gods she can pack a bag and passport and run to her sister in Florence, Italy, in the hopes of getting her life back on track.

Keats expected to spend her days meandering through the rain-soaked cobblestone streets of Florence. What she didn’t expect was Lorenzo, who smells of espresso, Italian history and self-assurance, to propel her on an unimaginable journey.

From Florence to Venice, Keats basks in a luscious exploration of Italy and Lorenzo while she tries to figure out if the escapist mindset of an Italian Holiday can duct tape her life back together.

Goodreads / Amazon


A soft knock at my door was accompanied by Lorenzo’s deep voice, “Principessa?”

The endearment floated through the wood and twirled around me. I gave it an overdramatic swat on my way to the door.

“I don’t think you should call me that…” I said as I partially opened the door, however the conviction behind the words trailed off as I took in the man standing before me.

Lorenzo shouldn’t still be shocking. His cleanly shaved bald head shouldn’t be attractive. The light shadow of beard on his chin, the way his amber eyes lit up. Those shoulders, whose mass I was now too keenly aware of, shouldn’t send a tingle to my fingertips. Fingertips that suddenly had a mind of their own, and were deeply curious of how said muscles would feel beneath them.

Lorenzo’s appeal reminded me of the early days with my ex; how his attention and smile distracted me, caught me in his net. And that worried me.

The attraction to Alec had morphed and twisted; breaking me. A feeling I had almost eradicated from most of my body, but some of it still lingered in the marrow of my bones.

And here was Lorenzo, a landscape of emotional landmines.

I hugged the door, trying to keep the bulk of my body behind it; trying to keep something tangible between us.

“Why shouldn’t I call you la mia principessa?” His voice lowered as he asked the question.

Come on, man.

“Cuz it’s too…sexy.” The words barely out, I turned to get my shoes, coat, scarf and bag.

Lorenzo settled himself against the door jamb and I heard the smile in his voice as he asked, “How sexy?”

“Don’t get yourself all worked up, it was really just an observation,” I muttered as I finished getting ready. “Where are we going?”

“Lunchtime,” he replied.

I nodded as I added a notebook and new wallet to my bag before zipping it and slipping it on my shoulder.

“Do you like the room?” He asked.

“Eh.” I shrugged.

Lorenzo straightened and looked around, searching for what could be wrong. “Do you want to switch?”

“Are you serious?” I laughed.

“If you don’t like the room…” he offered.

Did he really think I didn’t like this room? “You know the room is gorgeous. I love this room.” I looked around and then wondered if his room was better. “How’s your room?”

“Similar, but perhaps you should come see for yourself?”

I grunted at the comment laced with innuendo.

He held the door for me and as I passed, he snaked an arm around my waist and pulled me close to him. I glanced up at him with a slight frown and a warning in my eyes. I wasn’t ready for this dance yet. I wasn’t ready for the random brush of his hand against mine, for the stolen kisses, for the sexy, effortless flirting. I wasn’t ready for how good it felt to be pressed against him.

But still, I gave in and remained still, locked in his orbit for several long breaths. Our inhales and exhales became shallower. He was as excited as I was, evident from the tightening of his arms around my waist. He moved his head toward mine, a slight almost imperceptible move, but it was there. He was there for the taking. If I wanted to meet him halfway.

I pushed against his chest with my hands, ending the moment.

He let go and I slid down his body to reach the earth once again. When had my feet abandoned me?

I opened my mouth to say something, but what? My only defense was to turn and walk away. Marie’s stupid words of not overthinking things made my feet stumble. Part of me wanted to turn back around and kiss him and push him into the room and find out if that bed was as soft as the sofa and if he was as warm and hard as I predicted. The other part wanted to keep moving forward until I could break free into a run and find the next train back to Florence.

“We’ll ride the funicular. It will take us up the hill to la Città Alta. The station for it is close by.” Lorenzo fell into step next to me as he pulled on a beanie and wound his scarf around his neck.

I veered toward the stairs rather than the elevator, because there was no way I was about to get into a phone booth sized elevator where he might be tempted-

Keats, get into the elevator!

I took the stairs.

Author Bio:

Legend has it that Nicole Sharp was born to hippies during an ice storm in Stone Mountain, Georgia. While confirmation of said events cannot be agreed upon, one fact is for certain, it was a Tuesday.

By age twelve, Nicole was sure of two things: 1) She wanted to be a writer and 2) She wanted to travel. She begged her parents to allow her to voyage alone to exotic lands. They permitted her to go from California to Boise, Idaho to visit a great-grandmother.

After muddling through the college years, Nicole graduated with a Bachelors in History (think Greeks and Romans). Why didn’t she major in English if she wanted to be a writer? There were better stories in history class.

Nicole is Italian. According to it’s a rather low percentage, but she feels that she is at least 51% Italian. When she returned to the homeland, she fell in love with the Italian cappuccino, so much so that she studied the language until she was fluent; thus she could order the magical elixir herself: Posso avere un cappuccino, per favore!

Nicole’s first concert was to see the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene when she was a fifteen-year-old, thanks to her parent’s bluegrass phase. However, she never admits it, and instead tells everyone that They Might Be Giants, whom she saw in college, was her real first concert.

Her first car was a yellow Chevy Celebrity and her favorite job was working as a docent in a museum in an old mining town in Colorado. She has written extensively about both.

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