by Susie Warren
A filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help
Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry.
Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.
Isabel felt a moment of panic as she watched the driver make a swift exit. She carefully walked up the stone path that led to the front door, being careful not to catch her black Manolo Blahnik heels in the stones.
The front door swung open and Isabel felt the oxygen leave her body. She wasn’t prepared for seeing Marc Santoro in the flesh again. She could feel his gaze rake over her in appraisal, apparently sizing her up. He looked every inch the wealthy business owner: he was dressed in an expertly tailored gray shirt with slightly darker gray trousers that were pressed to exactness. He was even more striking than she remembered, and she reminded herself to just breathe and focus on her pitch.
It was his intensity that she responded to; he seemed to be absorbing everything about her. Isabel hid her expression as she acknowledged to herself that while he may appreciate her outward appearance, he wouldn’t appreciate her damaged body.
Would he remember meeting her before?
She forced herself to reach out and offer her hand. As his warm fingers enveloped hers, she felt a spark of attraction travel through her body. She immediately pulled back, but not before she saw his eyes darken.
He merely smiled at her reaction, saying, “So you are not just a figment of Alberto’s imagination.” Guiding her inside, he added, “I was beginning to doubt that the old man had any relatives interested in the marble trade.”
Isabel felt her spine stiffen. Was he questioning her family’s loyalty?
“My grandfather speaks very highly of you,” Isabel said as she took in the luxurious setting, trying to get her bearings.
His voice was cool and didn’t give her any clue if he welcomed her visit. “It isn’t often that Alberto Neri asks for a favor.”
Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm.
Susie loves to hear from readers and responds to each email and Facebook post. Please reach out to her via Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/pages/Susie-Warren/647556668647832 or Twitter @susiecwarren
For more information on her upcoming releases, new excerpts and other related postings, or to sign up for free promotions, please visit www.susiewarren.com
Amazon at http://www.amazon.com/dp/B00N09UD32
Tell us about your book? How did it get started?
For Ruthless Perfection, I came across a beautiful coffee table book with images from the Carrara Marble Quarries in a local bookstore. The images were so captivating that I purchased the book and began to consider setting a story with the marble quarries as a background. I spent time researching the history of the marble quarries and the background for the characters naturally evolved. I knew I wanted to weave in a character’s struggle with issue of seeking perfection in their life and how that would impact meeting the love of their life. There are so many beautiful works of art created out of marble that it seemed like a natural extension to carry that over to seeking perfection.
How do you create your characters?
It starts with an idea. I knew I wanted one character to have physical flaws (the marble trade could be risky) and for the other to be concerned about seeking perfection in their work. How the two of these contradictory elements could work together was the starting point. Ultimately I knew that his acceptance of her flaws would be healing for both of them.
What inspires and what got you started in writing?
I’m definitely inspired by reading great stories. If an author tells a story in a unique way, has a character leap off the page, or builds an interesting world, I’m always in awe. I love getting lost in a novel and caring about the plight of the characters as if they are real people. If I’m a little reluctant to finish a book then I know it was a great read.
I started writing for the sheer joy of creating stories. I like to play with language and enjoy learning about the craft of writing. As a writer, I have ultimate control and can let my imagination run wild. For me, there is something so satisfying about telling stories and having readers read them. I love to imagine an unknown reader downloading one of my books and sitting down on the sofa ready to begin an adventure.
Where do you write? Is there something you need in order to write (music, drinks?)
I live in an 1830’s stone house in upstate New York. My home office has an historical feel with refinished plaster walls, built in bookshelves and deep window seats. I much prefer to write in my home office but sometimes, I’ll take a notebook or my laptop and write wherever I happen to be – waiting at the orthodontist, a ballet class or in my car.
I like to start my writing each day with a scalding hot cup of coffee from my French press and almost always wear an old cashmere sweater.
How do you get your ideas for writing?
Often my ideas begin with a visual image. It could be while traveling and looking at a new landscape or seeing an interesting photograph of a landscape. After considering who would live and work in that landscape, I think about the characters and the possible challenges they could face.
What would your advice be for authors or aspiring authors in regards to writing?
I would recommend attending writing conferences and workshops to learn new skills and network with other writers and industry professionals. I try to reach out of my comfort zone and attend a few workshops that I’m not naturally drawn to instead of just sticking with my favorite topics.
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