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One Italian Summer
Janet Mills
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Could it be amore?

A middle-aged woman recently stung by betrayal and divorce meets a dashing younger man still grieving from his wife’s death. Their unlikely romance ignites in the heat of One Italian Summer.

When American Natalie Compton travels to Italy and encounters Giovanni Ragazzo in a centuries-old monastery in Florence, she never expects the handsome Italian to be interested in someone like her. She considers herself too old, too chubby, and too jaded from her failed marriage.

Gio loves Natalie's vitality, her spunk, her wit...everything about her that stands in contrast to his late wife, whose death from a long illness devastated him.

Both Natalie and Giovanni are harboring secrets that would ruin most romantic relationships. But does the truth really matter when they have only ten days to be together?

Natalie Compton gripped the armrest of her coach class window seat as the jet bounced and shuddered on its ascent above the gleaming waters of the Atlantic. Take-offs always frightened her. Landings did too. She took several deep breaths and thought how ironic it would be to die before her feet touched foreign soil when she did not even want to go to Italy. Not anymore. Not since her friend had to back out of the trip. And not since Natalie had learned that she would be living alone when she returned home in less than a month.

“Don’t go there,” she whispered. “Don’t even think about it.”

The elderly gentleman in the seat beside her gave her a curious glance.

“Don’t go to the Riviera,” Natalie told him in a weak attempt to hide the fact that she’d been talking to herself. “Too many tourists. Too expensive.”

He nodded, then proceeded to pray aloud for the safety of the plane and its passengers as the aircraft continued to fishtail through the clouds. If she was frightened and he was frightened, then maybe there was something to be frightened about. Her fingernails made crescent-shaped dents in the armrests on both sides of her seat. She glanced out the window at the engines mounted in the wing, half expecting to see sparks shooting from them. After several tense moments of what the British captain called “light turbulence,” the airplane finally leveled off enough for Natalie to stretch the kinks out of her knuckles.

The seatbelt light chimed off on the panel above them. Natalie turned to the man in her row and smiled. “It should be pretty smooth sailing now until we land.”

“If the good Lord wills it.”

Natalie’s smile faltered. “Right.”

“Hey, Nat.” Brenda, one of the young women in their group, called from a seat in the middle section. Natalie knew the cute brunette’s mother from a recent technology workshop. “Check out the Italian thong. Did you get one?” An object with thin black straps dangled from Brenda’s fingers. The two blonde girls, in the seats next to her, giggled.

Natalie’s eyes widened. She had tucked the small plastic package that had been on her seat into the stretchy storage pocket in front of her. She reached for it now, finding a pair of socks, a travel toothbrush with a tiny tube of toothpaste…and a black thong. Never having been on a long flight before, Natalie had no idea what the airlines normally provided its passengers. Fresh socks and underwear—if thongs counted as underwear—sounded reasonable enough, she supposed.

Natalie stared at the item for a long moment, then shrugged. “Attire for the beaches of the Amalfi Coast, I guess.”

Brenda and her friends burst into laughter. Natalie gaped at the girls, who now wore their “thongs” over their eyes. One glance at other passengers reclining in nearby seats confirmed that the item in question was actually a sleep mask.

“Of course,” Natalie said with a chuckle, “they could double as eye covers, if you really needed them to.”

Brenda pushed the mask up onto her forehead. “You’re a good sport, Nat.”

“Oh, I know you’re laughing with me.” She smiled at the girl.

“Here.” Brenda passed a book across the aisle.

“Pardon me,” Natalie told the man beside her as she leaned over him. He’d been watching the exchange between her and the girls with a disapproving frown. Natalie glanced at the book cover. The Agony and the Ecstasy, one of the titles from Dr. Larson’s required reading list.

“Thanks, Brenda, but I’ve finished it. Didn’t you just love it?” The tome on Michelangelo’s life had fascinated her. Knowing that she would have the opportunity to see some of his masterpieces in person had helped convince her to make the trip regardless of her misgivings.

Brenda shrugged and made a face. “I found it a little dry. But look inside.”

The instant she saw the small white pill hidden in the center of the book, Natalie slammed it shut in alarm.

"This is an entertaining read. It's refreshing to read about an older couple given a second chance at love and romance. Mills writes breathtaking and crisp visual descriptions of Italy, enjoyable for armchair travelers. This romance is well written and well detailed, from the couple's growing emotions to the scenery to the other characters. This book is truly enticing." 4 Stars - Katherine Taylor-King, Romantic Times Book Reviews


For a truly poignant and romantic read, readers won’t go wrong selecting One Italian Summer.”
Talia Ricci for Joyfully Reviewed


“There comes a time in one’s life when a change is needed to refresh the spirit, to drag it out of its present slump. One Italian Summer offers a reader a Harlequin-type romantic escape, to live and experience everything Natalie Compton feels. Janet Mills' prolific writing style takes you step by step through her character’s emotions, and brings the trip to Italy alive right in your living room. I recommend this Great Read to anyone seeking a bit of ‘Italian fun’.” - Lea Schizas – The Muse Book Reviews

Fiction Books :: Romance Books :: Contemporary Books

ISBN: 1593744323
ISBN(13-digit): 9781593744328
Copyright: 2008
Book Publisher: Whiskey Creek Press
Binding: Perfect
No. of Pages: 312
Paper Weight (lb): 13.4

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