I have a super extract for you today as part of the blog tour for Olivia Hart’s Upstairs, Downstairs, but first, here’s the blurb …
Aria (1 Oct. 2017)
Secrets on your doorstep don’t stay secret for long… A romantic comedy perfect for fans of of Debbie Johnson and Holly Martin.
When Daniele Bracci – a musician at Rome’s Opera Theatre arrives at his new apartment, he is surprised by the warm welcome he receives from his neighbours. Giovanna however, is more preoccupied with introducing him to her daughter Anita. But what she doesn’t know is that for the last two years, Anita has been secretly seeing someone else.
When Anita is introduced to the new tenant, she has the shock of her life – Daniele was Anita‘s first love at high school. Can she come to terms with the terrible way things ended between them?
But Anita isn’t the only one with something to hide… and none of these secrets go unnoticed by Pina, the apartment gossip who writes everything down in her secret diary…
The extract …
Appointment at the Pyramid of Cestius
Anita was in front of the Pyramid of Cestius the first time she
saw him. The evening before, when the agency had asked her
if she was available to guide a tour for a Japanese group, she
had to go over the history of the monument for tourists rarely
visited it. In front of the polyhedron, covered in Carrara
marble, she would tell the story of that rich man – Caius
Cestius – who wanted to be buried in a pyramid so as to be
remembered like the great Egyptian Pharaohs. And, amused,
she would add that his will was very clever: the pyramid had
to be built by his heirs in three hundred and thirty days,
otherwise they would lose their inheritance. And they made it!
When she saw an elegant man approaching, she was
curious and surprised: the formality of his dark suit
contrasted with the huge camera he held, which was like those
of paparazzi hunting for scoops. And after looking around for
a moment, he came straight towards her; Anita thought that
he was the first one to arrive. She was wrong! Mizuki
Murakami was the only one in the group. He’d booked a
private tour, a one-on- one archaeological visit.
“Enough of this Japanese rock!” Anita turns off the computer and steps in front of the mirror. She examines herself, “To dress or not to dress? Assuming he calls… and provided I still want to go out…”
This had never happened before: to be the tour guide for
only one person. After a moment of embarrassment, he’d
gently bowed and introduced himself. Yet in a second, Anita
had already forgotten his name, so she began to tell the story
of Caius Cestius’s delusions of grandeur. And, while he
listened to her with deep attention, she kept asking herself
how much that private tour had cost him.
Before starting, she had asked him if he preferred the tour
in English. “No, you can speak Italian. It’s good for me to
practice.” He’d smiled slightly.
Anita couldn’t help but notice his full lips and his dark,
smooth hair, not short, combed back revealing his high
forehead. He reminded her of someone, but she was too
distracted by his charm to remember who it was.
“Anitaaa! I’m back…”
Giovanna’s voice interrupts her daydreaming. Anita tightens her shoulders, waiting for the blow.
“My God, Anita! What have you done?! Didn’t you notice that the coffee was over-flowing?”
“Yes, Mum, I did – but too late. You put the coffee on the burner and then you disappeared!” Anita yells from her room.
“What’s wrong with you… It’s always the same, don’t worry, Mum’s always here to clean! Right?”
Giovanna enters Anita’s bedroom ready for battle, but it only takes one of her daughter’s smiles to soften her.
“Are you going out?”
“Yes, Mum. Maybe… I think I told you.”
“Will you be home late?”
“I don’t know…”
“What does I don’t know mean?”
“Mum, I’m twenty-eight!”
“Ok, ok, understood… Now, I’m off to the kitchen to fix that mess. Ah, I almost forgot! We have some funny things going on in the building…” But Anita interrupts her.
“Tell me tomorrow, Mum. I need to get ready now.”
Anita often wonders what her mother’s reaction would be if she found out that for a year and a half she’s been dating a forty-two year old Japanese man, and that for over a year she’s been sleeping with him. She also wonders about Mizuki’s face, if he ever saw her building with its stone dragons on the roof, the communal vegetable garden and their small apartment full of knick-knacks.
Has that whet your appetite? Thought so! You can get your copy now over at:
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About the author …
Olivia Hart is a collective group of authors who met five years ago on a writing course and then could no longer do without each other's company. They decided to write a novel that would bind them forever.
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