The release date is May 18, 2012, but my fans couldn’t wait that long. Amazon put Santorini Sunset on sale yesterday! Okay, it has nothing to do with clamoring fans and everything to do with Amazon doing whatever they darn well please, but let me have my little fantasies, okay?
Blurb: Caroline Clayton’s sister, Gabriella, is getting married . . . to Caroline’s former fiancé, Albert. Instead of drowning her sorrows in a vat of ice cream, Caroline recruits her sultry co-worker, Raul Sobrevilla, to be her wedding date. Showing up with Mr. Hotter Better Sexier has the desired effect. Both Gabriella and Albert are jealous and Caroline’s mother is speechless for the first time in history. Even Caroline’s dad is happy with that result.
Raul Sobrevilla hired on at Synergy so he could work with the best, Caroline. When she asks him to attend the wedding in Santorini, Greece, he sees it as an opportunity to prove to her that he’s her perfect partner both at the office and in the bedroom.
Excerpt: Around two o’clock, I ducked out to meet my friend Jessica for coffee. I needed more caffeine and a friendly ear. She greeted me with a hug. Her presence and the heady aroma of exotic brews calmed my nerves. Jessica had a thing for the prison-tattooed, heavily pierced barista and always tried to get his attention by ordering complicated coffee.
“I need details! Your e-mail was lacking,” she demanded.
“Let’s order coffee first,” I suggested and smiled at multi-pierced Barista Dude. “I’ll have a—”
Jessica interrupted me and nudged me aside.
“She’ll have an Austrian-goat-milk, double-half-caf, half-decaf cappuccino—extra hot—with a dash of Madagascar cinnamon with a half tablespoon of sugar-free hazelnut and two shots of vanilla. Please.” She managed to say all that in one breath. “And, I’ll have a thirteen-shot venti, soy, hazelnut, vanilla, cinnamon, white mocha with extra white mocha, a splash of caramel and a dash of nutmeg, please.” She smiled brightly at Barista Dude.
“Good heavens, Jessica. Are you actually going to drink that? You’re not going to sleep until next Wednesday.”
“I’ll give up sleep for love.” She looked longingly at Barista Dude’s back.
“Sorry, sweetie. You gave him a double whammy.” I rubbed her arm. “I can’t believe the thirteen-shots didn’t pique his interest.”
“Yeah, me too. I give up.” When he handed us our cups, she didn’t even waste the effort of a smile.
We found seats in over-stuffed, mismatched, wing-backed chairs. The fire in the hearth nipped the autumn chill from the air. Tentatively, I took a sip of my exotic coffee. “Dang. This is pretty good.” I smiled.
“Is it really?” She chuckled.
“Gee thanks. I’m all for helping you find love, but messing with my coffee is going a bit far.”
“Who cares about coffee?” Jessica scooted forward in her seat. “So, Raul moved in last night! I can’t believe your luck. You should’ve asked him a month ago. Living with the hunk has to be amazing. What did you do?”
When I told her she looked at me like I was an idiot. Either that, or the fifth shot of espresso kicked in and she could no longer blink.
“He did the dishes while you took a bath?” Her voice was getting louder with every sip of coffee.
“Why didn’t you think of an emergency that required you to walk, dripping from the bath, into the kitchen? Drink of water or something?”
I reached over and eased the cup from her quivering hands. “Honey. No more coffee for you.”
“I’m fine!” she screamed. “Answer my question. How could you have stayed away from the man?”
Everyone in the coffee shop stared at us. Barista Dude laughed. I glared at him and he winked. At least Jessica had his attention. I was about to tell her, when she jumped out of her seat and rushed to the counter, bought a brownie and returned.
“So, why no kitchen emergency?” she asked as she crammed chocolate and pecans into her mouth.
“Jessica, the man has agreed to save me from my mother. Why would I traumatize him more by showing up naked in the kitchen?”
“He wouldn’t have agreed to help you if he didn’t like you to begin with. What was it he said about going to work for Synergy because of you?” She picked up her coffee and started sipping it again.
“He didn’t mean that. He was hamming it up for Mother’s benefit. Are you sure you want more of that?” I nodded toward the cup.
“It’s really, really good.” She was tapping her foot, her knee bobbing up and down at a frantic pace. “He wasn’t hamming it up. Caroline, he likes you. Now’s your chance to make your move.”
“Sweetie. I appreciate your confidence in my feminine wiles, but I’ve worked with the guy for over two years. He’s never even initiated a conversation with me, much less lusted after me. I’ve already shown him my truly distressing weakness. I’m not about to compound my indignity with an attempt to seduce the hottest man alive. The disgrace would be intolerable.”
“Caroline, you’re a true beauty. Don’t listen to Dragon Mother.”
I hugged her again. As we were leaving, Barista Dude nodded at me and smiled.
Jessica jogged back to her office.
I trudged back to mine–dread squeezing the willingness to live out of my body with every step.