I read the first book in this series and was blow away by its passion, backdrop, characters and story development. Now granted, the romance got a bit on the tempestuous side, but they were very passionate people who suppressed their feelings a lot.
Anyhoo, I had the opportunity to read the companion novel about Alek’s little sister and jumped on it because Adriana was a little firecracker in the first book and was just waiting for her opportunity to blossom if she ever got out from under her family’s loving, but smothering protection. Let me tell you, the author did it to me again. I was enchanted by this little ‘bad ass ballerina’ as Luca calls her.
This is a standalone companion novel to The Prelude. It takes place at the same time and hits briefly on the same events, but only just enough so that the reader knows where they’re at in the timeline. This is very much Adriana’s story. I suppose it can be read successfully without reading the first book, but personally I think the reader misses out by doing so. Whenever there were references to Aleks’ story in this one, I liked knowing to what the story was referencing.
Adriana Dostovsky is an aspiring ballerina in her mother’s company, but the work to hold her place and rise higher is all her own. She auditions for a lead role, but the day was distracting between a fellow ballerina sabotaging her costume and the man she has a crush on giving her the brush off yet again. Nikolai is her hero and she has always loved him, but he only sees her as his bestfriend’s little sister and won’t take her seriously. Adriana has had enough. She tells her fellow ballerina and best friend/roommate, Lis, that she needs to ditch the V-card or Nikolai will never take her seriously and she knows just the man for the job when she sets eyes on her mother’s new costume designer, Luca Martuccio.
Adriana’s plot to get Nikolai to sit up and notice along with boldly accosting the known womanizer, Luca, works in ways that she would have never imagined. She sees conflict in Nikolai’s emotions right up until the moment he looks her in the eye and tells her that nothing will ever happen between them and points her straight at Luca. And with Luca, she owes him a favor after he played along and made Nikolai jealous so now she plays along as his girlfriend to make his mother happy who is a beautiful, wise and sweet lady. The ploy works only too well and Adriana finds herself accompanying the family to Venice where she must continue the pretense as Luca’s mother revisits all the places that she was with her late husband when they first fell in love. The time spend with Simona teaches Adriana more than she ever could have imagined.
Taking my hands in hers, she locks gazes with me; a fire blazes inside her dark eyes that reminds me so much of Luca when he’s hard at work on a design.
“Be happy, my girl. Always dance like the world is watching you. And love my Luca as though it will be the last breathe you take. For he cares so very much about you.”
Loc. 3449 Simona to Adriana in An Aria in Venice
Luca feels things are getting out of control. After a tragic event in his life, he never plans to love again, but the angelic ballerina is getting under his skin. As they pretend for his mother, he makes a deal with Adriana that he can help her forget the guy who makes her sad if she will give herself to him for the duration of their trip. He is surprised to discover hidden depths to her that make her even more bewitching. Adriana has her secrets as does he and those might destroy the beautiful thing between them before even her controlling and manipulative relations come after him.
This story was multi-faceted Shakespearian tragedy-type piece where it grows from a young woman’s quest to be acknowledged as the adult she is most of all by the damaged man she loves. Things become complicated when the other man in the story who was never meant to be anything more than short-term becomes a real person to her and she develops feelings for him. Just about the time she begins to discover her true self during the pilgrimage in Venice, the first guy figures out what he is losing and now want Adriana enough to fight for her. And that’s just the romance which yes, there is a triangle thing for a little while and that is totally not my thing, but in this case I gave it a pass since the way it was written and the way the author didn’t leave doubt to the outcome for long if at all.
Then there are the complexities of the three narrators (narrated first person, by the way), Adriana, Luca and Nikolai, set into their backgrounds of the dark and dangerous world swirling around all of them. The author is not afraid to expose the darker, grittier side of things. These are flawed people and they’ve seen and done things that make them who they are. I loved the honesty in them to accept this. Luca was a player and his actions cost his family more than once, Nikolai has a dark nature with dark proclivities, and Adriana is the daughter of an ambitious, cold and dangerous woman and a vicious Russian mob boss.
Pulling it all together, I was once again seriously impressed with the whole package. As far as I can tell, this series is just getting stronger as it goes along. Those who enjoy contemporary romance set against the backdrop of beautiful urban Italy and the world of ballet and fashion with two passionate well-written characters should give the Musical Interlude series a try.
My thanks to the author for providing a copy of her book in exchange for my honest review.
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