Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult Romance
Released on March 29, 2013
A romance story set against the world of Italian fashion design and music in Milan sounded so appealing that I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to read it even when I suspected that it would do things to my emotions. Have to say that I couldn’t put it down, but for the direst of emergencies once it got to a certain place in the story.
A young American girl, Erin Angelo, with a sad past has finally arrived at an exciting place in her life. She and a few others have the first commission for their new fashion house and it is the sort of commission that can launch them with success make their new business venture a bust if they flop. They have the designing of the costumes for a new innovative musical production at the La Scala Opera House. Unfortunately, a series of mishaps leaves her off her pace when it comes to the director of the production, Aleks Dostov. Erin is strongly attracted to Aleks, but her SOP has been to look, but don’t touch for a long time.
Aleks is intrigued from the start by the cool American who resists his charms and has a personality that is parts bold and fear-filled. He is a player and doesn’t do relationships, but Erin Angelo makes him rethink many things. Aleks sets out to seduce her, but finds that he might be the one seduced instead.
While the two circle each other warily, their relationship doesn’t grow in isolation. People, secrets and other things tug at them and in the end a big secret threatens to pull them apart for good that is if the dangers from Aleks’ past don’t get them first.
The plot is told first person by both Erin and Aleks. It was nice getting both their perspectives though Erin’s ‘Good Erin/Bad Erin’ voices got annoying for me. I don’t mind a little internal monologue on occasion to know how a character thinks, but an internal dialogue? No, not so much.
The growing relationship was the central part of the story and I was rooting for it all the way. I got irritated with what felt like unnecessary angst on occasion because Erin was truly a hot mess. She would push Aleks away out of fear and lack of trust in herself and him, but then she’d get all uptight if she thought he even looked at someone else. For a player, he had the patience of Job most of the time. Though to be fair, I understood her reservations to a certain point. I was probably more satisfied than Aleks and Erin (if that’s possible) when she finally agreed to start up a relationship with him. I laughed until I snorted when they tried to make rules and settle that it was just to scratch their physical itch. Yeah, right! You guys just keep telling yourselves that. Those two were searingly hot and not just when they came together. Just being in the same room with the two of them would leave a person scorched.
I was vested in ferreting out the secrets from both their pasts. Erin was so damaged and she carted around a load of guilt and I wanted to know why since it had made her the way she was. Aleks’ past was pretty traumatic too and he had a real piece of work for a mother. My jaw literally dropped open when she admitted to turning her son into a manwhore (what mother does this!). Yeah, her life was loaded with bitterness and disillusionment, but to do that to a child. I couldn’t get past that and was disgusted with her.
So yes, this story grabbed me up from the beginning with its damaged, hurting characters that I really wanted to finally come into their own and take a chance on happiness. As to my interest in the backdrop, I did not close the book disappointed because fashion, music, and the culture of Milan and its environs played a strong role in the story. The back of the book mentions a Pinterest page highlighting music, fashion and Milan with character suggestions for further interest.
Speaking of strong roles, the secondary characters weren’t just part of the backdrop. Erin’s co-workers, Aleks’ family and friend Nikolai were all a wonderful addition. I’d love for the story to continue and tackle any of their stories particularly Nikolai (I have a soft spot for that guy).
I would recommend this to those who enjoy either New Adult or Contemporary Romances that are full of passion and drama.