Thanks Casey for inviting me over to visit the Naughty Author Chicks again. I love this blog and am honored to be asked by for natter. I have a new book out today called Venetian Masks. It’s a romantic adventure that takes place in Venice, Italy and Bangkok, Thailand. The heroine is an American oil painter who visits the city of Venice in order to take advantage of all the wonderful architecture of the city as well as the canals. She’s dying to paint the scenery there. She meets an Italian man almost the first minute after she arrives. He’s the driver of the water taxi she takes to her hotel, but he’s so much more than that.
This story was inspired by my own most recent visit to Italy in the summer of 2011. My water taxi driver was very sexy and handsome as only an Italian man can be. The excerpt at the end of this post is totally inspired by my driver. Venice is a city like no other. No matter where you look, there’s something beautiful. The buildings, the water, the gondolas, the men…. Well, you get my drift, right?How about an excerpt?
She turned her head to see if she could find where the line was for the vaporetto, the waterbus service she’d read about on-line before she left home. When she saw a mass of people standing in one spot, she headed that way. The vessel pulling up to the pier seemed to be pretty large but with the number of riders waiting, she knew she’d never get on the thing with her bags. She sighed and moved toward the line. Nothing to do but wait for the next one unless she wanted to hoof it the long way around that she’d also heard about.Before she could get far, a man in a navy-blue windbreaker approached her. He held his hand out for her suitcase. The jacket had a patch on it with gold lettering that said Canal Taxi. "Signorina, I work for a private water taxi company. Perhaps you’d prefer to travel in comfort instead of on the vaporetto?"
"Is the price the same?""Only a little more. A little." He held his thumb and index finger close together to indicate how small the difference was and reached for her bags again.
Exhausted, she let him take them and followed him as he led the way to a different dock. She smiled when she saw that there were only two others waiting for the next taxi. She liked that there would be more people than her on the vessel but she also was glad that it wouldn’t be massively crowded.The vessel itself was gorgeous, made of what she thought was teak wood in a beautiful light brown color. Charlotte could see down inside the cabin. There was a deep-brown leather banquette for the passengers to sit on. There were also a lot of half-open windows spattered with water drops. They should let in a nice sea breeze once they got underway. She relaxed the tension in her shoulders and took a deep breath.
The man with her bags handed them over to another man in an identical windbreaker. When all the bags were loaded, the man turned his attention to the passengers. He assisted each one onto the boat and then leapt off. Charlotte was amazed that he didn’t fall on his ass. She knew she would have if she tried that trick. Hell, she still might when she had to get off the thing.The other two people on the boat were together and chatted to each other all the way across the basin. The ride was soothing and Charlotte caught herself almost dozing off. Startled when the vessel stopped, her head jerked to the side and, wide-awake now, she watched as the driver assisted the other two passengers off the boat and handed their baggage to them.
For the first time, Charlotte actually paid attention to the man who’d been piloting the boat. She almost gasped at his handsomeness but restrained herself in time. When he looked down into the cabin at her, she stood. "Is this where I get off?"He stuck his head inside the passenger area and addressed her. "No, signorina. Vito told me where you’re staying. Your pension is closer to St. Mark’s Square. These people," he shrugged, "they chose the wrong travel agent. They’re not going to be happy at the long walk to the tourist area. You, on the other hand, even though you’re at a small place, are close to the middle of everywhere important."
"Thanks. I’m not really a tourist, but I’m glad to be near the action.""You will be for sure since this really is a walking city. We don’t have vehicles in the streets since they are too narrow to navigate on anything but foot. Now, let me get you to your destination." He turned away and went back out of the cabin and up to the steering wheel.
Charlotte peered up at him under her lashes. He was very attractive with his olive complexion and dark hair. She watched his arms as he moved the wheel. Perfection. She loved a man who had sexy forearms. His short-sleeved shirt emphasized the strength of them as he twisted and turned to maneuver the boat through the smaller canals. Mesmerized, she finally realized she was being an idiot again by gaping at this man’s arms instead of the amazing architecture she’d come to Venice for in the first place.With an effort, she pulled her gaze away and forced herself to focus on the passing façades of the houses and palazzos. She almost giggled. The scenery she really wanted to ogle was the man. At least for the moment. After all, who knew when or if she’d see him again? The buildings had been here for centuries, they weren’t going anywhere. She did giggle then.
Venetian Masks trailer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7LHfpKFPWbg&feature=youtu.behttp://store.sweetcravingspublishing.com/index.php?main_page=book_info&cPath=4&products_id=154&zenid=c02766cd300e522eb5065c0c1323ff58 Buy link
Contact Jillian at:www.Jillianchantal.com