Book 2 of the California Coast Romance Series
All she wanted was a memorable trip with her college-bound daughter. What she got instead was a second chance at romance.
For Elizabeth it’s a bittersweet trip exploring the best of Italy with her daughter. When the young woman goes off to party with some friends, Elizabeth gets a taste of what’s to come when her daughter leaves home.
After going through a bitter divorce, Marcos is happy to tend his grapes and enjoy the dolce vita, the sweet life. But when he sees the beautiful, lonely tourist dining alone, he is compelled to ask her out.
At first Elizabeth is reluctant. She doesn’t know the man. Her life may be sad, but it’s safe. But he’s very good-looking, a lot of fun, and, it turns out, the cousin of the hotel manager. With a trembling heart, she steps into the unknown.
By the time she and her daughter are ready to leave Italy, Elizabeth realizes she is falling for the winemaker. But it’s impossible! They live worlds apart. She needs to chalk up the experience to a fun time in a foreign land and move on.
But Marcos is not ready to let her go.
Will he be able to convince her to take a chance on a long-distance romance, or will Elizabeth decide she’s done with any kind of love?
Buy California Wine, the second book in the California Coast Romance Series, and settle down with a glass of wine for a comfortable read.
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Read an Excerpt
Elizabeth’s eyes locked with a pair of the most intense blue eyes she’d ever seen. They belonged to a man with thick black hair to his shoulders, a strong aquiline nose, and high cheekbones. His smile was warm; his straight white teeth a sharp contrast to his light olive skin.
Why did Italy produce such heart-breakingly handsome men?
She looked down at the restaurant table and then looked up again. He was still staring, the smile even broader.
Maybe her daughter Sarah was right. Elizabeth should dine out more often, especially if the scenery was going to be like this.
The waitress brought her a salad and Elizabeth looked at it morosely. Was it possible to eat salad and not get some stuck in her teeth when a gorgeous man was staring at her? Or worse, drop a huge leaf of oily lettuce on her blouse, calling his attention to her less than abundant breasts?
But the salad looked so good … tiny red cherry tomatoes interspersed with baby carrots and radishes on a bed of mixed greens. She sighed and stabbed the nearest tomato with her fork.
The red orb escaped her plate and went bouncing off the table to land on the floor, rolled to the center of an open space, and sat there for only a minute before being squished by a waitress’ black shoe.
“Such a tragic end for a little tomato.” A rich masculine voice spoke near her ear.
She looked up into the blue eyes of the man standing next to her.
“Perhaps if you had not stabbed at it so viciously, it might have survived,” he continued. She had to grin at his mock seriousness.
“May I join you?” he asked his hand on the chair.
She considered him. She’d intended to eat her supper alone, go upstairs to her room, run a hot bath, and relax with a good book.
He waited for her answer.
Suddenly, her plan seemed a lonely way to spend one of her last days in Italy. “Sure.”
He sat down next to her and a frisson of heat zapped her body. For the first time since her mother had died, life stirred in her heart. She put down her fork.
“My name is Marcos,” he said, holding out his hand.
“Elizabeth.” She shook. His palm was smooth and cool, and the long fingers fit the rest of his lean body. His touch electrified her skin.
He grinned, looking as if he’d guessed a game-show answer correctly. “Are you here on business? Pleasure? Traveling all by yourself or is your husband with you?”
She took a sip of wine. Her best friend Annie had told her not to reveal too much personal information about herself when she was traveling. What could she safely tell her new acquaintance, a man she knew nothing about, other than he exuded masculinity?
He must have seen the suspicion in her eyes because he waved his hand and gestured. The proprietress of the hotel came over to their table.
“Is there something wrong?” she asked, a frown creasing her forehead. “Marcos, are you being a bother?”
“Nothing like that. I was only trying to assist the lady with her vegetables. They seem to be escaping.” Marcos pointed to the stain on the floor.
The woman snapped her fingers at the nearest waitress and pointed. Then she turned back to Elizabeth. “I am so sorry. Would you like me to bring you another tomato?”
“Another tomato? No, no, I’m fine.” Elizabeth stifled a laugh. “It’s nothing, really.”
She glanced at Marcos, who was holding his hand over his mouth. His eyes were sparkling with laughter.
“And him,” the woman poked a long fingernail into Marcos’ shoulder. “Is my cousin annoying you?”
“Uh …” Now was Elizabeth’s chance to get rid of him if she wanted.
Marcos’ eyes pleaded for a reprieve.
End of Excerpt
“A little bit of Italy, a little bit of California, a lovely, determined and independent American, Elizabeth Ladina, and a hunky, independent, and driven Italian, Marcos Gamari, all come together to create a fun, endearing story about compromise, acceptance, and meeting in the middle. Richly rewarding and well worth the time.” ~ Cary Morgan, author of The Thornless Rose