And MISSING, my first historical fiction novel, is now available at Barnes & Noble for the first time since publication and at Amazon for only 99 cents.
ME & TIMOTHY COOPER has received nice 5-star reviews this week. This one is my favorite. Love hearing from teens.
★★★★★ "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHH. I LOVE THIS BOOK!!!! I was holding in a scream the whole time I wrote this review. You know why?? Because it is 12 in the morning people are asleep but this book was just too good I couldn't help myself... I started reading and didn't stop until I reached the happy ending!!! Great book!!"
Also, in my writing news, all four of my YA stories will be released soon in audiobook format (for sale at Audible, Amazon, and itunes). LOVE & REDEMPTION, The Florida Irish #1, will also be in audiobook. I'm particularly excited about that because the narrator has a great grasp of Michael's Irish accent and a willingness to speak some Gaelic as well as sing. Yes, I said sing.
Today's excerpt is from my newest, FLIGHT RISK, the first novella in "The Italian Series", now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble. I wrote this story after having asked a friend for a crazy romance plot. It was the most fun to write and will be joined by two other novellas in the series.
In this scene, Giovanni Cavatelli finds himself reluctantly piloting a hot air balloon with a girl who drives him crazy.
Gio twisted his shoulders, jerking himself upright, and hooked a foot around the door frame. One last try. There had to be a way out. “Sergeant,” he shouted. “Stay strong. Don’t give up.”Don’t give up. God, help me. God. He would answer. Somewhere there was a purpose in this. But his doubts rose higher each time Sergeant screamed his name.---Giovanni Cavatelli simply wants to survive this one hour balloon flight. Never mind the girl he’s flying is antagonistic, overbearing, and stubborn. Never mind it’s her birthday. So they don’t get along. He can survive one hour.But when bad weather sends them crashing into the rural mountainside, one hour turns into three days and a dangerous game with a group of anti-government activists out to destroy them both.
Will her courage and skills be enough to save them? Or will something as simple as true love prove far stronger?
Why she antagonized him so much, he couldn’t figure out. Was it her confidence, her stupid name, or that he found her attractive in some basic way? The last bothered him the most because watching her walk toward the balloon reinforced her strength.
Her stride told him she was used to getting her way, the swing of her arms that she knew how to handle herself, and the set of her shoulders that she could take a lot of mental weight. Those were the last things he liked in a girl.
They approached the balloon, and Bruno shot him a curious look, his eyes crinkled at the corners. Gio dared him with a glance to say anything about the shirt. He didn’t, but what he would have said was displayed there anyhow.
Gio climbed in the basket and took control of the burner, not at all surprised when Sergeant hopped in without asking for help. Bruno’s gaze moved from him to the girl.
“This is Sergeant Hayes,” Gio said.
Bruno’s face developed an additional crease, running left to right across his forehead.
“Today is her birthday,” he added. He glanced at the propane tanks, checking the valves and then looked upward into the inflated envelope. The balloon bobbed from the ground. “Hour’s flight. See you at the end.”
He didn’t watch for Bruno’s nod, but waved his radio instead. Not that it’d work well near the mountain. Why wouldn’t his uncle ever upgrade anything?
The balloon climbed into the morning sky, and for a few minutes no sound came but the rush of the burner and creak of the basket. The girl looked the opposite direction, her head held high and chin up, her feet at a shoulder’s width stance. She exuded confidence.
The breeze of their movements across the sky fluttered the red fabric of her shirt against her spine.
They’d climbed a couple hundred feet when she spoke. “You know, I’m a pretty good judge of character. Your problem is you’re attracted to me, and you don’t like it.” She made no effort to turn around.
“You’re not my type.” He stated plainly. Forget she was right; he wouldn’t ever admit it.
“And what’s your type? No, don’t tell me. I’m thinking buxom bimbo.”
He restrained a laugh. She would say that.
“Okay, you want to play this game,” he said. “I know what your problem is.”
She turned around then and licked her lips, and Gio’s gaze was drawn to the action. A sly smile played on her face. He snapped out of it.
“Well?” she said.
“Well, your problem is you’re afraid to be a girl.”
That his point hit home she demonstrated by flipping to the side. She gripped the side of the basket with white-knuckled fingers. “My friend, Cindy, said that last night. I believe her words were, ‘Show some cleavage.’” She glanced at him.
“So why don’t you?”
This made her cross her arms over her chest, a protective gesture.
“That’s not what I’m about.”
What was she about then? Being tough? Showing up any guy that came near her? Even her name suggested she could kick your butt.
“A little goes a long way,” he said.
She stepped forward, and he inhaled the mingled scent of lotion and shampoo.
“Tell me,” she said, an inch from his face. “This little enough?”
He recognized what she was doing. Make him uncomfortable. Make him squirm. Because she was right, she fired up his blood in some primal way. But that didn’t mean he’d pursue it. Granted they were in a confined space, but this was only for an hour, and then she’d be gone on her way. He could last that long.
He flicked at the top button of her blouse with his forefinger and it easily popped free. A thin trail of creamy flesh revealed a hint of cleavage. “Better,” he said.
She curved up one corner of her lips and stepped back. “I’m sorry about the pasta comment.”
He nodded. Growing up with Cavatelli as his last name, he’d heard all the jokes young boys could make and had survived them all. He used to tell them to be careful or he’d send the mob after them. But that was all for show. Young boys would believe such things, and there wasn’t any truth to it. Not every Italian carried around a gun and a bowl of noodles.
“Aren’t you going to apologize to me?” she asked.
His eyes spread wide. “Apologize? For what?”
“For trivializing this trip. For saying it doesn’t matter.”
So she was female after all; she wanted him to say something. A guy would have grunted once and gone on his way, but not a girl. No, they were all about apologies. Fine, he’d give her one.
“I’m sorry for saying the trip doesn’t matter because every dime you put in my uncle’s pocket does matter.”
Her face wadded into ball. “You’re a jerk. You know that? How’d I manage to pick the one company with the biggest a––”
Her colorful language surprised him. Then again, it didn’t.
Her face changed, her eyes growing bright, and her cheeks flushed. “Oh, I get it,” she said. “You’re going to make this hour completely miserable, so how ‘bout I figure out why I bug you so much and why you’re mad at your uncle?”
“My uncle is an old fool. I can answer you that one.”
“I thought you Italians were all about the family.”
He laughed. “You’ve been watching television too long. You think I wanted to be named Giovanni Cavatelli? I’d have settled for John Smith.”
Her next remark surprised him. “I like your name. I’d be more inclined to look at you twice as Giovanni than John Smith.”
That was a first. He couldn’t recall any girl ever saying that.
“What about you?” he asked. “People call you Sergeant all day? That doesn’t get old?”
She shrugged. “Sometimes I’d rather have a girl’s name.”
“Like what?” What would a tough-as-nails female pick for herself?
“Heather?” she asked.
He chuckled. “Heather? No, I dated a Heather once and you do not look like a Heather.”
“Too ditzy.” He shook his head.
She gazed out over the basket toward the horizon. “I met a girl named Journey once. I thought that was cute.”
“Journey?” he said. “What kind of name is that? Then people will sing your name your entire life.”
“I do have a middle name,” she said, “but I hate it. It was my mom’s choice. Sergeant was my dad’s. She disliked it, but they’d made some sort of first-child promise to each other.”
He didn’t remark at first, but concentrated instead on the drift of the balloon.
Ten minutes passed and he’d still not replied, so she straightened and moved toward him. “You’re not going to ask?”
“Ask what?” Why did she care about his opinion? She didn’t like him, and he didn’t like her. Both were evident.
“My middle name. You don’t want to know?”
“You said you didn’t like it, so why would I ask?”
Her nearness to him warmed his skin, her soapy fragrance somehow enticing. Why was she driving him wild like this?
“Giovanni,” she said softly.
God, help him. His name on her lips said like that made this worse. He did not want to like this female.
“Ask me my name,” she said.
He swallowed hard. A ray of sunlight struck her face and her eyes shone, not brown like he’d thought, but green and gold. A thought shook him awake. She was playing him again, testing his resolve. He leaned toward her on one hip, halving the distance.
“You’re missing the view.”
-------------------------------Suzanne D. Williams
Suzanne Williams Photography
Suzanne Williams is a native Floridian, wife, and mother, with a penchant for spelling anything, who happens to love photography.