It’s a brilliantly warm summer’s day here in New Zealand. I’m on holiday but I’m doing some writing this morning, then I shall hit the pool for a few lengths, and finish the day with a stroll through the grape vines at sunset. Sounds beautiful doesn’t it?

It’s the type of day I imagine my hero and heroine from my latest release, THE RELUCTANT WIFE, experience all the time. Why? Because my story is set in Italy, in a Tuscan villa, and the hero is a Conte.  Conte Dante Lombardi who is the sexiest thirty three year old head of a Corporate Empire, on two legs. Unfortunately he’s also married. To Abby Taylor.

Their marriage started off pretty rocky, but they both learned what’s truly important in life- the time we spend with our loved ones…

Abby Taylor walked out on her irresistible husband three years ago. Now she has no choice but to return to Italy to ask him for a favor. To pay for her grandmother’s heart operation she needs his money, but it comes with strings attached.

Conte Dante Lombardi has it all—an Italian villa, a successful family business, and a noble title. But he needs a child to carry on his legacy and time is running out. He also hopes to satisfy the desire Abby rouses in him.

As Abby uncovers why he’s in such a hurry for a child, she falls in love with him again … just as she realizes it might be impossible to keep her end of the deal.

…an intense, passionate rollercoaster of a love story—just perfect!
USA TODAY bestselling author Natalie Anderson

This is my first contemporary. As you all know, I usually write historical romances (and I still do), but I wanted to write something that was personal to me and I couldn’t set it in the Regency era (read the book to see why). For a long time I tried to ignore Dante and Abby as they stormed about in my head, but eventually I realised I wanted to tell their story. As it happens, it was very cathartic.  I went on a journey along with my characters.

It’s a story about love – surprise! Not really that much of a surprise as it’s a romance. But it’s a story about what we will sacrifice, what we will hide from, and what we are scared to face when it comes to love, especially if what we know can hurt the people we love.

I set my story in Italy when I saw a picture of the Italian football (soccer) team. Dante came roaring into my head and proclaimed himself an Italian Conte – what was I to do? He was so handsome, a lot arrogant, but with such a big heart I couldn’t bring myself to make him leave. Then when he told me about his troubles, I just wanted to hug him.

Dante was thrown into responsibility at the age of twenty. His father died young and suddenly he had a huge corporate empire to manage, a large extended family to take care of, and a mother who was distraught with grief at a relatively young age-39. He saw what the death of his father did to his family and when his latest test results indicate an abnormality, he fears he might die young like his father and grandfather before him. What would that mean to his family? If he dies without an heir, the family loses the title and the estate that goes with it.

What would you do if faced with this situation? You’d want to protect your family and the people you love.  He is so used to shouldering everyone’s troubles he forgets that those who love him would do the same. Instead, he decides to ensure his estranged wife comes back to him and provides him an heir. But he thinks it would be selfish to make her fall in love with him again. He saw what his father’s death did to his mother. Abby is still in her twenties. He wants her to be able to move on with her life and marry again.  He’ll sacrifice his own happiness to ensure her future happiness.

So silly, but then that’s men for you. They put their family’s needs first and want to fix everything themselves! Here’s an excerpt which highlights Dante’s way of dealing with his private life…

When the knock on the door came, she was prepared. She stayed on the balcony and hardened her heart. There was no way she’d waste one tiny piece of her heart on a man who categorically stated he didn’t “do love.”

“Come in, Dante.”

She heard his footsteps across the bedroom tiles. Then large, warm hands massaged her shoulders. “You didn’t run far this time, cara.”

“I wasn’t running.”

She felt a sense of loss when Dante removed his hands. He took off his sunglasses and put them in his jacket pocket. “Interesting choice of hotel.” He looked over at the bed. “Abby,” he said with corrosive lightness, “I remember many pleasant hours spent in a bed similar to this.”

“Obviously not pleasant enough or you would have come looking for me.”

“Frankly, I was too bloody angry. If after everything I’d given you… You didn’t even leave me a good-bye note.”

Guilt crushed her tension-filled shoulders. “I didn’t think you’d care. Actions speak louder than words. You didn’t even care enough to call my grandmother to find out if I was all right.”

“I did call, Abby. I called every day for weeks.”

“Nana didn’t pass on any messages.”

“At first your grandmother told me you didn’t wish to speak with me. Then she told me you’d gone traveling and she didn’t know how to contact you.”

A shiver chilled her spine, and she closed her eyes momentarily. If only she’d known…

“There was a time I thought that if I gave you your space, you might come back on your own. That living with me, sharing my life and my bed, wasn’t so terrible.” His clear blue eyes met hers. “But obviously I was mistaken. You only returned when you needed something from me. ”

I hope you pick up THE RELUCTANT WIFE and follow Abby and Dante’s struggle to work out their marriage.  The HEA is worth the journey.

Giveaway: Leave a comment telling me where in Italy you’d love to visit and why, and I’ll draw one lucky winner who’ll receive a copy of my May 2012 Regency historical, Invitation to Scandal, in book or eBook format.

Amazon http://amzn.to/VdnXzK

B&N http://bit.ly/UCy4Rp

About Bron:

New Zealander Bronwen Evans grew up loving books. She’s always indulged her love for story-telling, and is constantly gobbling up movies, books and theatre. Her head is filled with characters and stories, particularly lovers in angst. Is it any wonder she’s a proud romance writer?

She writes both historical and contemporary sexy romances for the modern woman who likes intelligent, spirited heroines, and compassionate alpha heroes. Her debut Regency romance, Invitation to Ruin won the RomCon 2012 Readers Crown Best Historical and was an RT Reviewers’ Choice Nominee Best First Historical 2011. To Dare the Duke of Dangerfield was a FINALIST in the Kindle Book Review Indie Romance Book of the Year 2012. Look out for her first Entangled Publishing Indulgence released Dec 2012, The Reluctant Wife.

Bronwen loves hearing from avid romance readers at romance@bronwenevans.com
You can keep up with Bronwen’s news by visiting her website www.bronwenevans.com