LessonsInCorruption_Ebook

Lessons In Corruption COVER REVEAL

🍏 About the Book🍏

He was eighteen.

The heir to a notorious, criminal MC.

And my student.

There was no way I could get involved.

No way I could stay involved.

Then, no way I could get out alive.

 

I know, right? It’s stunning.
The cover model, Preston Trites, is a gorgeous NYC based model I found and stalked on Instagram. The wonderful Tlaloc Villarreal is the photographer who captured those intense eyes and Najla Qambar at Najla Qambar Designs is the woman who put this straight-up badass cover together.

Please feel free to share the cover across social media and with your friends, a face that pretty was meant to be stared at! Just share the photo and the info below:

🍏 #LessonsInCorruptionCoverReveal 🍏

Lessons in Corruption by Giana Darling.

The Fallen Men Series, book #1. Release December 1st 2017.

#Taboo #Erotic #MCRomance #Forbidden #Standalone

🏍 Add to Goodreads: http://bit.ly/2eKk6Mo

🏍 Sign up to promote: http://bit.ly/2gLDsSa

🏍 Enter Cover Reveal Giveaway: http://bit.ly/2tKhTKO

To celebrate, I am doing a big giveaway on my Facebook page here for a $25 Amazon Gift card so make sure you enter!

Also, have you added Lessons In Corruption on Goodreads yet?

I do have some news for you that you may consider bad but it is actually a really good thing.
I am pushing the release date of the book back to December 1st 2017.
This is for a number of reasons but mostly because I just literally moved to Europe from Canada and it took the stuffing out of me, and because my team and I want more time to tighten up the story for you and publicize it to more readers so we can get some new Darlings! I hope you aren’t too disappointed but if you sign up for an ARC, don’t worry, you will still get the book super early <3

In other, more exciting news, I am hosting a Release Party on the new release date December 1st in my reader’s group Giana’s Darlings! The line up is INSANE and includes some of my favourite authors such as Saffron A. Kent, LJ Shen and K Webster!
Come join us for dirty giphs, book news and tons of giveaways <3

As always, I love to hear from readers so connect with me by email, Twitter, Goodreads, or Facebook to tell me what you think of The Evolution Of Sin Trilogyor my upcoming student/teacher romance Lessons In Corruption!

xoxo,
Giana

Lessons In Corruption Teaser by Giana Darling

The Secret. The Evolution Of Sin Book Two.

The Secret Cover Reveal & Blurb!

The Secret. The Evolution Of Sin Book Two.

It’s gorgeous, right?

Here is the beautiful cover for The Secret (The Evolution Of Sin #2) made by the lovely Najla Qamber.

The man on the cover is our enigmatic Frenchman Sinclair revealing the New York City artwork on his washboard abs… Yum!

Here is the blurb:

Is it possible to keep a life-changing secret from your family and friends when it is burning you alive from the inside out?

One week.

It didn’t seem possible that a person could change in one week yet after only seven days spent with the mysterious Frenchman in Los Cabos, Mexico, Giselle was moving to New York City a changed woman. Confident, sexy and in charge, Elle is ready to take on the challenges she knows await her when she reunites with her family and begins her career as an artist in earnest. If she is a little heartbroken at the prospect of never seeing the cool and dominating Sinclair again, she’s braced for it.

That is, until Sinclair shows up in her mother’s kitchen and Giselle discovers just who his ‘darling’ girlfriend really is.

The Secret (The Evolution Of Sin #2) is available on Amazon for preorder:

Amazon USA: http://amzn.com/B01E98A7Y2

Amazon UK: http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01E98A7Y2

Amazon CA: http://www.amazon.ca/dp/B01E98A7Y2

Amazon AU: http://www.amazon.com.au/dp/B01E98A7Y2

What do you darlings think of the new cover and blurb?!

The Secret. TEOS. Teaser1

The Secret. The Evolution Of Sin #2. Excerpt!

The Secret is coming out in just over a month….!

To say that I am thrilled to share the second installment of Giselle and Sinclair’s love story with you would be a gross understatement. The Affair explored the fantasy of having a holiday fling with no strings attached and no consequences. Well, The Secret explores what happens when fantasy and reality collide. Sin and Elle are forced to make incredibly difficult decisions and I have to warn you, it gets pretty angsty!

I’ve shared the first chapter with you below in case you didn’t read it at the end of The Affair. Let me know your thoughts in the comments or email me your predictions!

 

The Secret. The Evolution Of Sin #2.

Chapter One.

The waiting area in front of the arrival gates at JFK airport was crowded with people waiting for loved ones and before I was even fully past the sliding glass doors, a wonderful voice – rich and decadent like a spoonful of chocolate ganache – called out to me.

“Giselle, mi amore!”

Cosima Lombardi was one of the lucky ones. Easily the most beautiful person I had ever seen, she crossed the crowded space with strong strides, her waist-length onyx hair floating behind her and attracting the glances of everyone in the terminal. Oblivious to it, she enveloped me in her long, thin arms and pressed me close to her body, so that I was flush against her famous curves. This was the way a woman like Cosima Lombardi hugged, no boundaries, and no embarrassment, just passion.

She pulled back to regard me with startlingly long-lashed eyes the colour of melted butter. “I’ve missed you, mi amore.”

It was still hard to believe a woman like this could be my sister.

“I missed you too, Cosi.” I dragged in a deep breath of her spicy scent and instantly felt at ease. “But you didn’t have to pick me up, I thought you had some work thing tonight?”

As one of the hottest young models on the fashion scene since Karl Lagerfeld championed Cara Delevingne, she was constantly working.

She swished one caramel hand through the air, the gold bangles on her wrist just as musical as her mild Italian accent. “My sister comes before work, Gigi, you should know that. I haven’t seen you in seven months and two weeks.” Her frown was fierce, and it was obvious to me why photographers loved her face as devotedly as they did.

“Excuse me.” A teenage girl, no older than fifteen, approached us with barely concealed excitement, dragging her embarrassed father behind her. “Are you Cosima Lombardi?”

My sister smiled genuinely at them and extended her long fingered hand. “Hello darling.”

She winked at the awkward father and leaned over to give the strange girl a kiss on each cheek.

“Wow,” the teenager gushed, and I smiled as my sister obligingly took a picture with both father and daughter.

There was no one in the world I loved more than my sister. It felt good to watch her interact with the people who approached her for her face and fame only to become enchanted with her warmth.

I was still smiling when she returned to my side and pressed a kiss to my cheek. “I’m sorry about that. Now, tell me absolutely everything I’ve missed in the last seven and a half months.”

The shadow of Christopher crossed my thoughts but I stubbornly refused to acknowledge it. There were only two other people in the world who knew the truth about why I was moving to New York after years abroad, and I intended to keep it that way, no matter how much I loved my sister.

“Your life is much more interesting, Ms. Sports Illustrated.”

Cosima laughed at my teasing and it felt good when she took my arm in hers to march me over to the baggage claim.

Yet, I found myself casting my gaze about the airport in search of a certain man with electric blue eyes. I knew that he wasn’t on the same flight but I had done three laps of the plane just to make sure of the fact. The rest of the journey I had alternated between staring blankly at the seat in front of me and bursting into intermittent tears. The poor man beside me hardly faired better than Pierre on the flight from Paris. At least this time the Gravol tablets I had taken kept me from throwing my guts up. Still, I knew my eyes were probably still red from crying and I was pale from lack of sleep. Thankfully, Cosima was too excited to see me to notice the telling signs.

“It was very weird,” Cosima was saying. “The fact that people pay me just to pose for a camera is still strange to me. Do you know how much I got paid for that shoot?”

“Do I want to?” I winced, thinking about how much my studies at L’École des Beaux-Arts cost. Though I had been slowly climbing my way to success in the Parisian art scene, uprooting my life cross continents was bound to take its toll and I was reluctant to rely once again on my sibling’s generous financial support.

“Probably not,” she agreed cheerfully and casually reached out to smooth my wayward hair. “Let’s just say it was enough to put a down payment on a two bedroom apartment in Tribeca!”

It still surprised her, I knew, that her face could buy such an opulent lifestyle for herself and our family. I would never understand what it had been like for her, running away to Milan from our small town in Southern Italy in order to raise enough money for us to leave our impoverished life behind. Sometimes there was sadness in her eyes that I knew no one would ever reach.

“That’s amazing but you know I’m not surprised. You work so hard.”

She made an unattractive sound and easily swept my luggage from the carousal. “Modeling isn’t work. At least compared to what you do. I loved the print you sent me for my birthday, it’s in the office of my new apartment.”

We pushed out into the parking lot and I was hit with a burst of bracing air. Greedily, I gulped in deep breaths because I knew the quality of the city air would be far from this clean, far from the pastry scented, Seine flavored breeze of my beloved Paris.

“I’m thrilled that you’re home, Gigi, but I think I should warn you.” Cosima peeked at me from the corner of her eye as she handed my bags to a cab driver. He was an older, East Indian man with a particular smell and lovely brown eyes who stared at my gorgeous sister with nervous appreciation. “Elena is going to come down on you like the hammer of God for not coming home in four years.”

“I saw her two years ago,” I protested weakly but I couldn’t meet her eyes as we got into the yellow cab because I knew that was a lame excuse and so did she.

“I know you two have…” Cosima struggled for diplomatic words, but they did not come easily. “A distance between you, but you are sisters and it hurts her that you never come home.”

“I’m home now.” But I leaned my head against her thin shoulder and sighed because I knew though she was talking about Elena, she was really speaking on behave of the whole family. Four years was far too long, especially for a family as close as ours. “And I brought Elena her only vice, Bonnat chocolates. I took the train to Voiron for the weekend just to pick some up for her.”

Our eldest sister was one of those women whose work was their life, which was the main reason, I think, that she liked America so much more than our native Italy. She had enrolled in law school as soon as the twins had enough money to bring her over from the motherland and now, only four years later, she was articling for one of the top firms in the country. For her to take time out of work to make room for a man in her life was a pretty big deal.

“So I guess she and this guy are pretty serious.” I said with a massive yawn.

Cosima clucked and took my hand in her bronze one. We looked so dissimilar that no one ever believed we were related. The twins, Cosima and Sebastian, were mirror images of each other while Elena hovered somewhere in the middle with deep red brown hair and stormy gray eyes similar to my own.

Cosima snorted inelegantly. “They’ve been together for nearly the entire time you’ve been gone. Elena wants them to adopt a baby.”

“What about marriage?” I sat up, startled.

Marriage was a huge thing for our very traditional Italian mother; I couldn’t imagine her reaction to a baby born out of wedlock.

“Daniel doesn’t believe in marriage.” She shrugged but the sadness flashed in her eyes and I wondered what she knew about the mysterious Daniel. “Mama might not understand that, but she loves Daniel enough to forgive him for it. Besides, it’s already hard enough for Elena. You weren’t here but she had a melt down when they realized she couldn’t have children.”

I pursed my lips and looked out the window at the passing blur of lights in the night. Elena had always wanted to be a mother; of all of us, she was the most traditionally Italian, lusting after the family life at the cornerstone of the culture. It was ironic, I had always found, that she was the least maternal person I knew. Despite my reservations about my older sister, I felt deeply ashamed that I hadn’t been there for her.

“Ah the city.” Cosima tugged my hand. “She won’t welcome you, bambina, but I promise you, in time you’ll come to love her.”

I sighed and rested my head against the stale smelling headrest to watch the vibrant lights of New York City come at me. I had the feeling that Cosima was talking about more than the city. I hadn’t realized until now how much I had missed in the past four years, and maybe, how hard it would be for me to come home.

***

My anxiety fled the moment Cosima and I pulled up to Mama’s town house on the border of Soho and Little Italy. It was an old brick affair with black trim and red flowers in the window boxes. Mama had lived there since she and Elena had moved to America four years ago but I had only been inside once, when Cosima had flown me in for Mama’s restaurant opening.

As soon as Cosima opened the door, we were hit with the pungent smell of Mama’s Italian cooking and the warmth of many bodies. We shuffled through the small entrance area and into the long living room where, to my slight horror and surprise, a small gathering of people stood yelling, “Surprise!”

I laughed delightedly at Cosima as she propelled me into the many waiting arms, “I can’t believe you did this!”

“Giselle.”

My mother’s voice, the thickly accented, heavy sound of it, froze me in my tracks and without knowing why, tears came to my eyes. Hers was the only face I saw in the crowd and I realized with sadness that I had forgotten what she truly looked like. The twins had inherited her coloring, the inky waves, the golden eyes and caramelized skin, but her figure, a classic hourglass like Sofia Loren but softened with good food and kind age was like mine. A silent sob escaped me when she wound me up in her warm arms and the scent of rosemary and sunshine enveloped me.

“Giselle, my French baby,” she murmured over and over as she held me, her fingers pulling gently through my tangled hair.

“Mama,” I breathed once, before tucking my face into her hair.

We stood like that in the middle of a room full of people for a few minutes before I could compose myself. Though we had talked almost every day on the phone or by email, it felt unspeakably good to be with my mother again. As with my other siblings, she was everything to me and it astonished me – now that I was home – that I could have ever been comfortable staying away.

“Quit hogging her, Ma.” A rich voice, the male equivalent of Cosima’s, but deeper, darker, resounded throughout the room and with a shriek of joy, I threw myself from Mama’s arms into Sebastian’s.

He chuckled as he caught me, and lifted me easily into his arms. “You’ve grown, mia sorella, and your hair…” He tugged a piece. “I think this is the first time I’ve seen you red since you were twelve.”

I pulled back and smiled into his ridiculously handsome face. “God, I missed you.”

Mama tapped me on the bottom and tsk-ed at my use of God’s name but Sebastian and I only laughed as he placed me once more on the floor.

Seb had visited me last year in Paris while he shot a movie, and it still wowed me that my two younger siblings were doing so well in their respective careers. Two years ago, Sebastian had starred in a low budget indie movie about an impoverished Italian immigrant in New York during the 20s. It had won three awards at the Toronto International Film Festival and now, my baby brother, the same person who used to run naked through the grimy streets of our home in Napoli, was a burgeoning movie star.

“I missed you too, bambina.” Though I was older than the twins, they both called me baby because I was decidedly shorter than their towering heights.

“I like it better this way.” Elena stepped forward, suddenly in front of me, her hands awkwardly extended for an embrace. “Your hair, I mean.”

My oldest sister shared my coloring but little else, her auburn hair was darker than mine, a red so black it was the color of wine, cut short and chic around her angular face, showcasing a creamy expanse of freckle-free skin and sloe eyes the colour of storm clouds. Her body was lean and small boned where mine was softer, curved like the other women in our family and I knew, as her eyes fell over my breasts and tucked waist, that she felt a pang of isolation at seeing me again. Whereas I took comfort from knowing that we looked at least vaguely similar, Elena saw only the things in me that made her different. She was the spitting image of our father and we all knew that was hard on her but I always found her heartrendingly beautiful anyway, somehow sharp and romantic all at once.

And though she was also the smartest person I knew, and despite my deep respect for her, our embrace was awkward. Something between us had wilted years ago and I was still unsure how to recover it.

“You look beautiful too, Elena.”

We both took a large step back after our hug but the twins and Mama filed in around us.

Though I was tired and still mildly queasy from the long flight, it felt good to spend time with my family and the close group of friends they had made over the years. I met Sebastian’s girlfriend Kayla, who I had recognized immediately as being a model for Calvin Klein and a good friend of Cosima’s. It wasn’t serious, Seb assured me later as he refilled my wine glass, but she was a good lay.

There were also my Mama’s three best friends, all chefs like herself, and Cosima’s old roommate Erika, a Dutch model with cheekbones that could cut glass, and Elena’s assistant Beau whom I had known for years and who I was closer to than Elena herself.

“So,” Cosima began as she caught my arm and spun me through the doorway into a dark room off the main hall.

I had only visited the house once, on my only trip to America after the twins had officially moved Mama and Elena here three years ago and the layout was still unfamiliar but I thought we were in the guest bedroom.

“Tell me how things ended with the Frenchman,” she said before she flicked the light on and gracefully collapsed on the deep red covered bed, patting the space next to her so that I would sit.

I sighed and placed my head next to hers on the pillow, comforted by her spicy scent and the way she casually took my hand in hers. “I left.”

“Oh?”

“I left before he woke up this morning. I just couldn’t say goodbye. What was I going to say? Thanks for the hot sex and amazing adventures. I love you. Catch you never?”

I held myself still in the ensuing silence and resisted the urge to turn over to look into her expressive face for her response. Cosima was careful with her words – when she wasn’t in a temper – and I knew she was meticulously shifting through them like individual grains of sand.

“I was worried you would love him. You didn’t tell me much about him, I don’t even know the mystery man’s name, but I know you.” Her thumb swept back and forth over my palm. “And intimacy for one so passionate cannot be untangled from love.”

I scoffed. “You’re the passionate one, Cosi.”

She propped herself up on one elbow in order to glare down at me. “Can there be only one passionate woman in this family?”

I pursed my lips but said nothing.

“Exactly. Now tell me why you left like this. You took away his chance.”

“His chance to what?” Break my heart in person?

“To ask you home with him.”

She said it as if it was a simple choice, as if it was only natural that he would want to take a complete stranger home with him.

“He didn’t know anything about me.” But I winced even as I said it because I knew it wasn’t true.

“You can know a person without knowing the trivialities.”

“I don’t even know where he lives, that’s a pretty big omission.”

She snorted inelegantly and I couldn’t help but smile at her. Before Sinclair, I had never loved another human being like I loved Cosima. To me, she was the essence of beauty and life, full of volatile emotions and overwhelming love.

“You would have liked him.”

Her expression softened and she smoothed a piece of hair away from my face. “I’m sure I would have.”

We both turned to look at the door as it creaked open, revealing Elena who blinked owlishly at us cuddled on the bed before muttering an unintelligible apology as she closed the door.

“Get in here, Elena,” Cosima scolded and jumped up to tug her forcibly into the room.

Our eldest sister looked uncomfortable but allowed herself to be maneuvered by Cosima so that we lay in a row with Cosima at our center, connecting us but tactfully giving us the space we needed with each other.

“We were talking about men.”

“Ah.”

“Giselle had a little fling in Mexico.”

“Really?” Elena’s brows almost touched her hairline. “That doesn’t seem like you.”

Anger rushed through me like a brush fire before I settled it with a deep, careful, breath. “It isn’t but I’m glad I went through with it. I want to be more bold.”

“There’s a thin line between bold and reckless,” Elena said in her schoolmarm voice, the same tone I had heard countless times as a child and the same tone I still heard every time I faced a potentially thrilling situation, always cautioning me to stay safe.

“Oh come on, Lena, it’s only a harmless fling.” Cosima winked one of her golden eyes at me. “And besides, you of all people can’t blame a girl for falling for a pretty face.”

“True.”

“Daniel was a model for a few years.” Cosima laughed at the expression of prudish disapproval on our sister’s face. “That’s how we met.”

I remembered Sinclair’s terse expression when he brought up his own short lived modeling career and even though I didn’t know his foster parents, a flare of hatred burned up my throat. I was grateful to Mama for not pressuring Cosima into the profession but that didn’t mean my little sister didn’t carry invisible scars on her pretty gold skin.

“Wait till you meet him, over the last few years he’s become even more stern.” Cosima made a face, comically constipated looking, before dissolving into laughter. “If Elena didn’t make him have Bran cereal every morning, I’d think he was having serious issues.”

I laughed, scooting from the bed as I did so. I indicated pouring some wine and moved towards the door when I got their nods of approval. It was a rare conversation amongst our family that didn’t include a bottle of wine.

“Very funny.” Elena smiled indulgently at our favorite sibling. “I should get out there, he’ll be here soon.”

“Where was he this time?” Cosima asked, idly running a hand through Elena’s short, elegantly curled tresses.

“Mexico,” she said as I closed the door behind me and made my winding way back into the large kitchen at the front of the house.

It was an open space punctuated with a large wooden island over which Mama’s prize copper pots and pans resided on a sort of rustic trellis. The cabinets were an unfinished birch and the gleaming countertops were cool under my questing fingers as I sought out the clay pitcher of red wine Mama kept filled at all times.

I smiled at the sounds of laughter from the main room and for the first time that night, I relaxed enough to stop worrying about Sinclair. The decision to leave him without a word would plague me for the rest of my life, I knew, but at least for this first month in a new city, surrounded by my loving family, I would have plenty of opportunities to take my mind off of it.

I was pouring out three glasses of wine when I felt the prickle of awareness race up my spine. There was the soft fall of shoes crossing the wooden floors and then the heat of another body pressed close to my back. Somehow, though I didn’t know how it could be possible, when I turned around to face the stranger it was my Frenchman.

“What are you doing here?” he snapped, his eyes blazing.

He looked at ease in the space. His crisp shirt was still pristine and tucked into his charcoal grey pants but it was open at his throat to reveal a deep slice of brown skin, the cuffs were rolled hastily over his forearms and his jacket hung across his shoulder casually as if he had just taken it off to relax. Even though I had just seen him this morning, the sight of him in my Mama’s kitchen threw into stark relief just how absurdly good looking he was.

“Well?” he growled when I didn’t immediately answer.

I couldn’t believe that he was here. My mind spun wildly, trying to confirm his presence. It seemed more probable that I was imagining him. I had the strongest urge to reach out and run my fingers through his glossy red brown hair.

“What are you doing here?” I whispered, afraid he would disappear.

Confusion crossed his face but something like horror came over his features and he croaked, “Elle… Giselle Moore.”

 

 

The Inspiration For The Evolution Of Sin

I’ve always been a romantic.

Seriously.

When I was twelve years old, I watched the movie Pretty Woman every single day of my summer break. To this day, I know all the lines not only to the dialogue but to the musical soundtrack of that movie. I think it’s a byproduct of growing up a single child with a broken-hearted mom and an absent dad. I searched for love stories wherever I went. I asked my neighbours and teachers how they met their spouses, I planned imaginary weddings between kids at daycare and played very inappropriately with my Barbie and Ken dolls in makeshift beds.

Pretty Woman Gif | Giana Darling Author

I found my first love story when I was fifteen years old. One day, I’m sure I’ll write about it because loving that boy haunts me to this day. He was still slightly round cheeked with baby fat and this silky halo of golden hair so bright, I remember dying to run my fingers through it. He was my first love and I loved him hard, with a ferocity that I feel echoed in my soul even today. We were too young for a love like that and ultimately, he cheated on me. It led to a period of heartbreak that I indulged by my writing truly angsty poetry. I emerged from the mourning period a little worse for wear but still eager for love.

Since then, I’ve never had an easy romantic relationship. Which isn’t to say such a thing is impossible, I’ve personally witnessed partnership that are so symbiotic that their interactions seem as intrinsic as the waves kissing the shore. But my own romantic trials have taught me that love is never a cake walk. You have to make the conscious decision every day to love a person no matter the obstacles in your way.

Love Actually Gif | Giana Darling Author

It was when I was thinking about this one day that I wondered about the possibility of falling in love with someone who you simply could not be with. Not a teacher or your therapist or a guy from the other side of the tracks, but someone whose love was morally and thoroughly off-limits to you. I played with the scenario and asked one of my best friends about it…

Me: Say I am happily in love with my boyfriend but you and he have a special connection that you cannot deny. You love him completely. What would you do?

Friend: I would be with him.

Me: Umm, okay…

Friend: I know it sounds harsh but I don’t think making that decision means I don’t love you. It just means that I was lucky enough to find the kind of love that most people only read about or watch on TV. I’d be crazy not to act on it.

At first, I’ll admit, I was a bit outraged. What kind of loved one would steal my hypothetical boyfriend from me!? But then I realized what she said was true. The only tragedy in that situation would be if they stayed ‘loyal’ to me out of guilt, leaving all three of us unhappy.

This is how the idea for The Evolution Of Sin trilogy came to me and when The Secret is released in June, I think you will understand exactly how this conversation influenced the story line!

The Affair Excerpt

Fourteen days until the release of The Affair, my first romance novel and the first in The Evolution Of Sin trilogy!

Eeeek! I am so nervous and excited that I’m practically bouncing off the walls and my cat Persephone keeps meowing at me to take a chill pill.

In anticipation of the big day, I have included a brief excerpt from the book bellow for you! It takes place in the first chapter just after our heroine Giselle meets the mysterious French hero on the plane to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico. Let me know what you think in the comments bellow!

When I woke up, it was to the delicate tapping of rain against the window and the brisk click of fingers on a keyboard. Deeply rested and disorientated, I moaned and stretched myself across my seat before righting it. Blinking away sleep, I looked up and met the searing eyes of my stranger.

“You had a good rest,” he noted, and for some reason, I flushed.

He was even more handsome than before, if that was possible. In the darkening night, his hair was mostly black, kissed red by the artificial overhead lights. He seemed like some creature of the night, something dark and too sexy to be true.

“Yes, thank you.” We were speaking in English now and I couldn’t remember if we had switched over before I fell asleep.

“We land in twenty minutes.” He watched my surprise and handed me a plastic cup of sparkling liquid. Our fingers brushed as he passed it off and a current of electricity made my grip on the cup shaky. Quickly, he righted it with his other hand and pressed both of my hands to the plastic. “You’ve got it?”

I nodded and flexed my fingers under his hold but he remained holding the cup, holding me, for a beat too long. He stared at me with a slight frown between his thick brows but I couldn’t begin to discern if it was out of displeasure or surprise. I had never been so attracted to a man in my life, and I wondered if I was imagining the thickening tension between us. My tongue darted out to coat my dry lips and his eyes followed their path intently. Abruptly, his hands were gone and he was sitting back in his seat, his fingers flying on the keyboard of his Blackberry.

I blinked and slowly sank back into my chair. Obviously, I had misread the signs. I took a sip of the sparkling liquid and discovered with delight that it was Ginger Ale. Sipping it slowly to savor the sweet pop of bubbles on my tongue, I turned my attention to the early evening turning into twilight the colour of a bruise outside my window. The sparkling lights of Los Cabos could already be seen ahead of us and instead of wondering about the intrepid stranger beside me, I focused on my excitement. I had one week of paradise before I met with reality in New York City.

After five years in Paris and only a handful of visits in that time, I would finally be reunited with my family. The last time we had all lived under the same roof I had been nineteen years old. My twin siblings Cosima and Sebastian had been the first to leave, Cosima when she was seventeen in order in model in Milan and Sebastian to New York City when a family friend had offered to take him in a short while later. I had lived with my mother and eldest sister Elena after that. 

I squeezed my eyes shut and refused to think about those years. It had been nearly five now since I had left our small life in Napoli to attend the National School of Fine Arts in Paris. Though I was close to my family, it had been good for me to spend these years apart from them. I was returning home to them a better person than I had been when I had hastily fled and I was both excited and anxious for them to see that.

“What are you smiling at?”

His question was faintly brusque, as if he was irritated with me. When I turned to him though his eyes were on the glowing screen of his phone.

“I haven’t been home in a long time, I’m looking forward to seeing my family again.”

“Your husband?” he asked tersely.

I laughed and it felt so delightful after hours of sickness and sleep that I laughed some more. He watched me with twisted lips, as if he wanted to smile but couldn’t understand why. “Was that funny?”

“Oh, not really.” I leaned forward conspiratorially. “But one needs a boyfriend to get married and I haven’t had one of those in years.”

“Now, that is funny.” He put his phone back in his pocket and I felt a flash of triumph that he was once more focused on me. “It is incomprehensible to me that you would be single.” His eyes sparkled as he leaned forward, and a lock of that overlong hair fell across his golden forehead. “Tell me, other than your obvious fear of flying, what’s wrong with you?”

I laughed. “We’re almost in Los Cabos, I don’t have time to list all my flaws.”

“I have a feeling there aren’t many,” he murmured, and stared at me in that way I was discovering he had, of looking through me and at me all at once. “But perhaps it’s better that you don’t tell me. A woman of mystery,” his voice was low and smooth, so captivating I didn’t register the pilot ready the plane for landing, “is a seductive thing.”

“You had better tell me about yourself then.” I leaned back in my seat as the plane began its steep descent into the city. “You’re handsome enough already.”

His loud chuckle surprised both of us. It was husky with disuse and his expression, though inherently beautiful, was almost pained. When the sound tapered off, it left him frowning. “What would you like to know?”

“Something repellent,” I demanded cheerfully.

“Repellent? That’s a tall order.” Though normally I was uncomfortable under the eyes of another, those baby blues against my skin invigorated me and I beamed back at him. “When I look at you, I can only think of,” his fingers found a lock of my auburn hair and he rubbed it between his fingers to release the scent, “Lavender and honey.”

“Well.” I cleared my throat. “Happily, we are talking about you.”

His grin was wolfish as he leaned back in his seat again. “I make a very good living.”

“Ah, you’re one of those.” His silver cuff links shone even in the dim light of the descending plane. “That helps, I’m more the starving artist type.”

“Hardly starving.” His eyes raked over my curves even though I wore a modest cotton shift.

Despite myself, I flushed. “No, but an artist all the same. Let me guess, you work with money.”

“In a sense,” he said, and his eyes danced. “Is this twenty questions?”

I laughed. “I haven’t played that since I was a kid.”

“Not so long ago.”

“Long enough,” I corrected and shot a look at him from the corner of my eye. “How old are you?”

“Thirty-one. I’m also 6’1 and I’ve broken my right arm three times.” His small smile was a boyish contrast to his sharp, almost aggressively drawn features. I wanted desperately to trace the taught line of his jaw and dip a finger into the slight hollow beneath his cheekbone.

“Twenty-three.” I pulled the bulk of my wavy hair to one side in order to show him the tattoo behind my ear.

When I didn’t explain its significance he frowned. “What is it?”

“A mark,” I said simply.

I jerked slightly when his fingers brushed over the swirled ink. “I like it.”

“Thank you.” My voice was breathy as I draped my hair once more over my shoulders.

“What brings you to Mexico? I take it your family doesn’t live here.” A finger ran done my arm lightly, indicating the paleness of my skin.

“My family is much more exotic than I am.” I thought of Mama and the twins with a slight grimace, years of hero worship were hard to completely eradicate. “My best friend booked the trip but couldn’t make it. I was only too happy to take her place.”

He nodded, his eyes intense as he contemplated me. The connection between us thickened and hummed like the air during an electrical storm. Disturbed, I shifted away from him to look out the window as we swooped low over the ground above the runway. Strangely, I did not feel my usual apprehension as the plane tentatively brushed the tarmac once, twice, before smoothly landing.

We did not speak as the pilot came on the overhead system announcing our arrival and it was only when he docked slowly at the terminal that I turned back to him. He faced forward, a furrow etched deeply between his brows and his mouth was firm with concentration. I wondered what he thought of me, of this strange meeting.

Sensing my gaze, he spoke, “I’ve been trying to decide if I should see you again.”

“What makes you think I would want to?” His eyebrow arched and I gave into his silent reproach with a little shrug. “What’s stopping you?”

The seat belt sign turned off and we both stood at the same time, suddenly almost touching, the slim space between us charged with electricity the color of his eyes. He looked down at me, his deep chestnut hair softening the dangerous edge of his features. “I have never wanted someone the way I want you.” His hand skimmed over my hip and sent a deep, throbbing shock through my system. “But I don’t like the idea that you could very well change my life.”

My heart clanged uncomfortably against my ribcage and though I desperately wanted to say something, I couldn’t find the words to untangle the jumble of hormones and desires I had been reduced to. So instead, I watched a serious smile tilt one side of his closed lips as his eyes scraped over my face one last time and then, without a word still, he left. I waited five minutes after he walked off the plane to follow.

The Affair Blurb

My first novel The Affair — a contemporary erotic romance about a young artist and an enigmatic businessman who meet and begin an affair on vacation in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico — has been edited, formatted, beta read and now it even has a (GORGEOUS) cover courtesy of the amazing Najla Qambar! So, I am finally ready to release the blurb and announce that before January is done we will have an official release date!

Is a week of passion enough to warrant changing their lives forever? 

Italian born Giselle Moore is reinventing herself for the second time in her short twenty-four years of life, trading in her bohemian artist’s life in Paris for the grit and glamour of New York City where the family she hasn’t seen in years awaits her. But before beginning her new life, she travels to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico searching for a week of relaxation and reprieve before barreling into her turbulent future.

She never expected to meet the handsome and enigmatic Frenchman Sinclair on the plane and she certainly never would have imagined herself accepting his proposal for a weeklong, no-strings-attached affair. Giselle has never experienced anything as heady as Sinclair’s controlled seduction and cool yet devastatingly erotic commands and she finds herself powerless to stop the ferocity of their passions, even when she discovers he has a partner back home. The last thing she needs in her life is another complication, yet as the week wears on, she finds it surprisingly easy to relinquish control to Sinclair, a man she knows nearly nothing about. And to her horror, the one thing she promised never to submit, her battered heart, is just as easily captured in the business mogul’s unyielding hands.

If you are as excited as I am for the release email me at gianadarling[at]gmail[dot]com or comment bellow with questions or just to say hi!

xoxo

Giana