The debut novel from SYTYCW winner Amanda Cinelli!
Suave, sensual and utterly scandalous…
Leo Valente is as notorious as the tabloids make him out to be. But feisty wedding planner Dara Devlin isn’t deterred. She needs his family castle for her top client, so she boldly accepts Leo’s outrageous challenge to be his fake girlfriend.
If Dara thinks her sensible suit and unwavering professionalism will discourage him, she’s mistaken. They only make Leo want to get beneath her buttoned-up exterior all the more!
Surrounded by the imposing walls and haunting memories of his opulent Sicilian castello, Leo finds seducing Dara is the perfect diversion – and claiming her will be this playboy’s ultimate prize.
And the story continues in the bonus christmas novella included!
This story began as a flicker of an idea—as most stories do. I was newly engaged and exploring a wedding fair in Dublin when I spotted a kiosk that advertised dream Italian weddings. The idea that someone could have such a glamorous job—planning events in such spectacular locations—was fascinating. The character of Dara was born instantly: a super organised wedding planner on a mission to take her career to the next level.
I’ve always been a dreamer—some say I was born into the wrong century entirely—so getting married in an ancient castle by the sea is the ultimate fantasy for me. While my own wedding took place in Ireland, Italy seemed like the perfect place for a honeymoon. Many of my summers have been spent in my father’s home country, exploring historic towns and eating gelato by the sea.
It was while researching possible locations that I stumbled across the breathtaking Castello di Donnafugata in Ragusa. Leo’s family estate is inspired by this ancient Sicilian landmark. I fell in love with the dramatic façade and wondered what it would have been like to grow up in such a place…to wake up in the morning and look out of the arched windows to see waves crashing on the cliffs below… There I go—daydreaming again!
And so it came about that I entered the 2014 So You Think You Can Write competition with the aim of finally typing ‘The End’ on Leo and Dara’s story. I had no idea that it would be the beginning of a wonderful adventure of my own. The support I received was overwhelming, and being named winner of the competition is a moment I will never, ever forget.
Writing, to me, is like dreaming on paper, and I am honoured to be able to share my dreams with you.