Forever You - The Fairy Tale Match book 2 is now available on Amazon Kindle! I am so happy that this book is finally coming out and will be releasing it as a paperback in the next few days.
In celebration of the books release, I am putting my first book Wild Fire on promotion on Amazon Kindle. It will be free for download over the next five days, Thurs 22th to Mon 26th Aug 2013. If you are interested, you can find it on https://www.amazon.com/author/
This has been a wonderful project to work on and I loved the characters so much. I will certainly miss them, but I am excited to be working on a new series, which I will keep you posted about on my blog and facebook.
Below is the Prologue for Forever You, just to whet the appetite!
Erica ignored the heads that continuously turned in her direction. She resisted the urge to stick out her tongue or pull a particularly stupid face. No matter how many years passed, she still couldn’t get used to people gawping at her. It’s what came with inheriting what the world called extreme beauty and what Erica called one big pain!
Somehow she’d ended up with every good feature her family possessed and not one of the faults. Her long blonde hair was twisted up in a loose knot at the back of her head, several strands escaping to caress her face and neck. Her vivid violet eyes were framed by thick dark lashes. Her bone structure would have made artists weep to capture her image on canvas or stone. She was like an angel plucked from the heavens and placed on the Earth.
Unfortunately, Erica hated the way she looked. Her whole life people had made assumptions about her, judged on her face and figure. The biggest crimes that she hated most of all was the assumption that she had no brain or that she had no personality! She had fought hard every day of her life to earn respect and somehow she still hadn’t won that fight.
“Did you get all that dear?” asked the small plump woman seated across from her. Erica jumped guiltily. She hadn’t heard one word the woman had been saying.
“Oh, yes. It’s all very clear.” Erica mumbled hoping Ms Wandworthy wouldn’t guess how unclear it really was. She didn’t seem bothered as she beamed happily at Erica, patting her hand that lay on the table next to her coffee cup. Erica thought the woman was a tad too touchy feely for her taste. She slowly pulled her hand off the table and placed it on her lap, hoping the woman wouldn’t notice and take offense. It didn’t seem likely. The way Ms Wandworthy threw herself into her work, Erica doubted she’d notice if a bomb went off.
Erica’s mind drifted as Ms Wandworthy launched into yet another round of explanations. She wondered if she was doing the right thing. Joining a dating agency was either sheer genius or totally stupid. Either way, it would get her out of the country as inconspicuously as possible. Pete would certainly never think to search for her using one. She’d be able to stay somewhere for three weeks, without her name being used on any hotel or accommodation files. She’d even make sure she flew into a different country, then she’d travel overland to her destination. It would make it virtually impossible for him to track her down if he did come looking.
She felt slightly guilty that the man she’d be staying with would be expecting a woman looking for love, instead of a woman looking for a safe retreat, but it really couldn’t be helped. At least using this agency meant that he’d get his fees back at the end of the three weeks when she categorically stated there would be no relationship between them.
“Any questions dear?” Ms Wandworthy asked, her face beaming away at Erica.
“One thing that concerns me is whether there would be anyone staying at the place I go, as a kind of chaperone? I don’t feel comfortable being with a man I don’t know, all by myself on his property.” Erica twisted her fingers together under the table. This was her biggest concern. She didn’t want to end up with another psycho crazy man on her case.
“As I said, you are free to either take someone with you or generally we ask the man to have a female friend or relative to stay during the three weeks if he lives alone or only with male companions. We do check our gentlemen out very thoroughly, I can assure you. You won’t have any problems.” Ms Wandworthy took a sip of her coffee. “You are, of course, also free to have the gentleman come to you, if you feel more comfortable in your own environment.”
“NO!” Erica nearly shouted. Ms Wandworthy jumped, spilling her coffee down her blouse. Her face crinkled with displeasure at the spreading stain. “I’m sorry,” Erica apologised. “It’s just I would prefer to visit him. I also want to leave the US and meet someone from another country. My preference would be Italy.” She hoped the woman wouldn’t think this was odd and start questioning her. She needn’t have worried.
“Oh Italy!” Ms Wandworthy exclaimed clasping her hands together enthusiastically, the coffee stain forgotten. “Such a romantic country! Such handsome men! I can’t blame you at all dear. Let me see if we have any matches for you there.” She began tapping away on her laptop, her lip caught between her teeth as she concentrated, her grey hair escaping her bun to frame her face in wild disarray. Erica smiled to herself. Ms Wandworthy really was perfect for a dating agency called the Fairy Tale Match. Even her name fit the role. She wondered if the woman had changed it to suit her job on purpose.
Erica watched Ms Wandworthy as she searched through her laptop, hoping beyond hope that someone in Italy would be found. It would be the perfect place for her to go. Erica’s grandmother had been Italian. She’d learned the language at the elderly woman’s knee when her own mother couldn’t be bothered to raise her. The elderly woman had regaled her with tales of her home country and Erica had always wanted to go there. She’d been devastated when she’d lost her grandmother at the awkward age of fourteen. She’d been the one person Erica had felt really loved her and she missed her terribly, although she felt like her grandmother was still with her somehow.
Even now, she could feel her grandmother guiding her steps in this journey she was undertaking, encouraging Erica to run to her beloved Italy for safety. When the notice had come through that Pete was making parole, she’d nearly died on the spot in terror. She knew she had to get out before he was released. She couldn’t trust that he wouldn’t come after her, even though part of his parole conditions was to stay away from her. She knew Pete. He didn’t take orders from anyone.
She’d been searching for somewhere to escape to when an advert had come up on her computer for the Fairy Tale Match. She’d been about to click it shut when a strong smell of roses had drifted over her senses, reminding her of her grandmother. She’d looked all around, but she already knew she’d had no flowers in the apartment at the time and nothing from the street outside could account for the smell. She’d felt then that her grandmother was sending her a message and she’d clicked to apply to the dating agency on the spot.
Ms Wandworthy gave such a loud cry at that moment, it was Erica’s turn to jump. “This is wonderful. We have a match for you in Italy. The only thing is that he lives in rural Italy. You don’t mind being out of a big city do you dear?”
“Not at all,” Erica was thrilled. A quiet country place would make it that much harder for Pete to find her, if he did come looking for her as she suspected he would.
“He lives with his grandparents, so you will be well chaperoned as well,” Ms Wandworthy continued. “All we need to do is finish the contracts and arrange a date for you to leave, which I suspect may be as soon as you like.”
Erica felt a weight lift from her shoulders. This was going to work. She just knew it.
The tall thin woman made him nervous. Her sharp blue eyes peering at him over her thin spectacles gave him the eerie feeling she could see right through him and knew exactly why he was really there. Darius squirmed, trying to resist the urge to flee.
“Is everything clear so far Signor Valente?” Ms Feather asked, her lips thinning in what he was sure was complete disapproval of him. He had to give it to her though, her Italian was flawless.
He cleared his throat. “Yes, it’s clear.” He took a gulp of his drink, nearly choking on it. Did the woman have to look like such an authoritarian? He felt like he was racking up penalty points with every minute he spent in her company.
“And you want the lady to travel to you, is that correct?” She flipped through several papers and tapped a few things on her laptop as she awaited his reply.
“That is correct,” he assured.
“Is there anything else I need to know?” Ms Feather enquired.
He really wished he had someone friendlier to put his next request to. He just knew she’d shrivel him up for this one. “Yes, as a matter of fact there is,” he coughed pulling at his tie. It felt like it was trying to strangle him. He wished Nonna hadn’t insisted that he wear one.
Ms Feather cleared her throat impatiently. “Yes?”
He winced. “Well, she has to be, um, well………beautiful.”
“I beg your pardon?” Ms Feather’s eyes narrowed onto him as if he’d just sworn foully.
“I said she must be beautiful. The more beautiful the better.” The stony expression on her face made him feel like the worst heel going. He wished he could explain that he had only joined this dating agency with the hope that he could snare the woman he really wanted and stop her from marrying another man. But he couldn’t tell this woman that or she’d never agree to send someone to him for three weeks.
Ms Feather drew herself up with a sniff down her nose at him. “You do realise Signor Valente, that women would much rather have a prince and not a frog?”
“Regardless, she must be beautiful,” he insisted. If the woman wasn’t beautiful, she wouldn’t catch Nina’s attention and make her jealous. Nina knew that no woman around her could match her beauty. She knew Darius loved her, but she still insisted on marrying another much to his devastation. Right now she felt she had them both. Darius had to make her change her mind. If she saw him with another woman just as beautiful as her, she would be jealous and think she’d lost him. Then he was sure she’d change her mind when faced with not having him in her life.
“Very well,” Ms Feather said shortly. “I will see what we can find you as a match.” She tapped on her computer, her face looking like she’d sucked on lemons. Finally she nodded to herself. “I do believe we have a match for you. The woman in question wants to be able to travel to Italy as soon as possible. Would this be a problem?”
“No, it’s perfect.” Nina would be marrying soon. The quicker he could put his plan in motion, the better.
Ms Feather went through the contracts with him and soon everything was set in place. The woman would be with him in the next couple of weeks. Darius left the café with a broad smile on his handsome face. Things were going to work out, he just knew it.
Darius had no sooner left than Flo popped into his seat, making Lotta jump. “Everything went to plan then?” she asked conjuring a cake and mug of coffee in front of her at the same time as removing a stain from her blouse.
“Flo! Please remember we are currently visible.” Lotta admonished, looking round in haste to make sure nobody had noticed the little fairy godmothers entrance. Thankfully, the patrons seemed to be too involved in their own business to have seen anything. She looked back at Flo’s glowing face, rolling her eyes in despair. What had she done to deserve Flo as a partner? Hadn’t the last assignment been enough? It had nearly taken everything Lotta had to keep Flo in check. Still, it had turned out wonderfully well in the end. She just hoped this one would too.
“Did he sign the contract?” Flo asked, nudging Lotta with her small plump hand.
“Yes, he did. And he most specifically asked for a beautiful woman,” Lotta knew the reason behind his request. She shook her head. It was going to take some doing to show that young man that his heart wasn’t really taken………yet.
“Well, he’s certainly going to get that,” Flo giggled. “You should see her in real life Lotta. She looks like an angel princess. I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone more beautiful than her.”
“Merribelle really did go over the top with her gift of beauty!” Lotta sniffed in disapproval. “No wonder the poor girl has had so much trouble.”
“How difficult do you think this assignment will be?” Flo asked as she delicately picked up the remaining crumbs of her cake with her finger.
“Well, we have a man who thinks he loves someone else and a woman who won’t love at all. It’ll be a breeze!” Lotta said sarcastically.
“Oh good!” Flo announced. “Maybe we can take some time to sightsee around Italy. It is a very romantic country after all.”
Lotta just about resisted the urge to bang her head on the table.