NY Times & USA Today Bestselling Author
Teresa J. Reasor
On leave after a difficult mission, Navy SEAL Tony Gallo steps off the plane in Rome and tumbles right into the arms of the woman who dumped him nine years ago, and they’re both there for family events. He discovers Darcy’s attending the wedding they planned but never had, but now it’s someone else’s.
Darcy Moreau is traveling for the first time and fulfilling a dream. She’s in Rome to be her best friend’s Maid of Honor. But she’s also there to bury the past and start a new life.
When she and Tony meet again, she wonders if the past might not be such a bad thing if her future can include the man she left behind. But can she make amends and convince him to give her another chance?
Tony is on his way to Rome to celebrate his parents 35th anniversary with his whole family. On the plane he helps out a young mother with a hellacious little boy and spies someone he hasn’t seen since she walked away nine years ago.
Darcy is heading to Rome to be her best friend’s maid of honor. A wedding she helped plan. The last person she expected to see was Tony, but she really wasn’t upset to see him only regretful for the way things played out.
This is a favorite scene.
DARCY BRACED HER hands on the armrests as the plane landed while the jolt of the tires hitting the runway and the sudden tug of the brakes jerked her forward and back. Everyone clapped as they slowed, and the pilot addressed them over the cabin speaker. “Welcome to beautiful Rome, ladies and gentlemen. The skies are clear, and the temperature is eighty-three degrees Fahrenheit, twenty-three degrees Celsius. Have a nice visit, and to those of you who are returning from America, welcome home.” He repeated the message in Italian like a native speaker.
It took several minutes for everyone to gather their carry-on luggage. Her legs felt stiff and uncooperative as she joined the crush and stepped out into the aisle. Thank goodness the lines through customs looked manageable, since there was more than one border agent.
She fell in behind two women and contented herself with looking around the Leonardo da Vinci Airport. She’d seen pictures, but they didn’t convey the size or the busyness of the place. She heard four different languages in as many feet, and she didn’t speak any of them.
While she was arranging all those virtual trips for Chandler, she should have studied a language.
“Il passaporto, per favore.” The Italian customs agent beckoned her forward.
Understanding “passport” and “please,” Darcy placed the document on the counter in front of him.
“Motiva del a visita?” “Motiva” meant reason, and “visita” meant visit. “I’m here to participate in a wedding.”
“Per quanto tempo si ferma?”
“I’m sorry, I don’t understand.”
“How long wil you be staying?” he asked, in perfect but accented English.
“A week.” He stamped her passport and handed it back to her. “Have a good visit, and welcome to Rome.”
She smiled. “Thank you.”
A rush of anxiety hit her as she wandered toward signs directing her to the baggage reclaim area. She was in a foreign country. Alone.
She hoped Leslie had sent someone to pick her up, but if not she had enough Euros to pay for the taxi ride to the hotel.
Though it was heavy, she dragged her large suitcase off the carousel and turned to search for one of the overhead directional signs.
Her heart stuttered, then leapt as she caught sight of the man coming toward her. His dark hair, brushed back off his forehead, was just as thick as it had ever been. The shadow of beard that darkened the lower half of his face underlined the more mature masculinity of his features. He looked taller, broader through the shoulders and chest, more muscular. Of course he would. He was no longer eighteen, but twenty-eight, and had spent ten years as a Navy SEAL.
Her legs went weak even as she was striding to meet him. They were but a few feet apart when a child rushed between them and attached himself to Tony’s leg like a little monkey, and Tony tripped.
Darcy was already leaping forward as he twisted to keep from falling on the tyke. They collided, and she went down, her arms and shoulder cushioning his fall.
“Michel!” A woman rushed to them. “Oh, Dio.” A rapid stream of Italian rained down on them, the tone apologetic. She reached for the child and tugged him to his feet. The little rascal was laughing with delight.
Tony waved a hand. He looked up at Darcy, his head stil cushioned on her shoulder but his cheek rested on her breast, and every inch of her went liquid. “Are you okay, Darcy?”
“Yes. I think so.” In truth she was probably going to have a bruise on her hip, but it would heal, and it was a small price to pay if it saved Tony a head injury.
“Michel will one day be a famous rugby player,” Tony murmured, then reassured his mother they were fine with, “Noi stiamo bene, signora,” as he sat up. He rolled his shoulders, got to his feet, then offered Darcy a hand up.
Two airport employees hurried over to them, inquiring about injuries.
Tony’s eyes zeroed in on her once more, and his hand ran down her arm. “Are you sure you’re okay?”
Her hip ached a little, but just holding hands with him was enough to distract her from it. “Yes, I’m fine.”
“Michel wished to say grazie,” the mother said in halting English.
Michel’s mother’s expression was half exasperation, half concern, but she continued to offer her apologies. She pointed at Michel, and the boy stepped forward to apologize and give Tony a hug.
When the small family finally continued on its way, he said, “She needs some kind of safety harness on him. The kid’s a wild child. And how will she get her luggage and haul it to the train or a cab while holding onto him and the baby?”
Acutely aware that he was stil holding her hand she said, “It looks like she’s getting help.” An airport employee appeared pushing a stroller with two seats, and while the mother strapped Michel and the baby in, the employee collected her luggage.
When Tony turned to look at her it was like a blow to her heart.
His gray eyes delved deep and made her stomach jitter, and she gripped the handle of her suitcase to steady herself.
“Thanks for covering my six. You hit the floor pretty hard. You’re sure you’re not hurt?”
“I promise I’m not.” Just looking into his face brought everything back. A bruise was a smal price to pay compared to that.
“What are you doing here?” he asked.
“I’m here for a wedding.”
His eyes narrowed and he released her hand. “You’re getting married?”
“No. My best friend from college is marrying an Italian businessman and wil be moving here permanently.” She shifted her purse against her hip. “What are you doing here?”
“Family vacation with the folks. It’s my mom and dad’s thirty-fifth anniversary, and everyone’s here to visit Nonna and celebrate.”
She remembered Tony’s grandmother. She’d been visiting when Darcy’s life went to hell. “How is she doing? She must be in her late seventies now.”
“She’s doing fine. Still feisty. I haven’t seen her in person for nearly three years, but Mom keeps me posted, and I FaceTime with Nonna for her birthday, Christmas, that kind of thing. After I get my bag, let’s walk down to the main entrance. Mom and Dad are sending a car for me.” He strode to the luggage carousel and retrieved his suitcase.
He seemed to know where they were going as they strolled down the wide aisle. To keep from staring at him as she wanted to do, she studied the interlocked triangular structures above that held the roof.
The entire building was an interesting mishmash of different architectural designs and seemed to stretch on forever.
“Are you still in the Navy?”
“Yeah. I put in for this leave almost six months ago and stil almost missed it.”
“But you didn’t, and I’m sure your family will be thrilled to see you.”
“And you,” he added. Just looking at him brought to life the loss she suffered after he left. A loss that had been partially numbed by time, but now the ache had been jolted alive again.
“You’ll make some time to see them? Mom said she stopped hearing from you once you moved away.”
She bit her lip. She had no choice back then. It had been too painful to continue communicating with them after breaking things off with Tony, and she couldn’t expect them to split their loyalties between their son and his ex-girlfriend. “I don’t know what Roberto’s family has planned, Tony, but I’ll try.”
“Where are you staying? I’ll drop you off where ever you need to go.”
“I’m staying at the Starhotels Michelangelo, near the Vatican.”
He grinned. “So are we.”
Fate was either playing a joke on her by putting them in such close proximity, or rubbing her face in it.
Teresa Reasor. Hot SEAL, Roman Nights (Kindle Locations 77-141). Kindle Edition.
What ensues is a fun-filled adventure through Italy. With lots of characters from both the bride’s family and Tony’s.
I loved Nona, she is the best grandmother ever. Even she knew Darcy and Tony belong together. All they have to do is get passed the reasons she walked away.
I laughed, cried, envisioned the scenery and Tony and Darcy totally steam up the pages.
I can’t wait to read more in this multi-author series.
5 Contented Purrs for Teresa!
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New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Teresa Reasor was born in Southeastern Kentucky, but grew up a Marine Corps brat. The love of reading instilled in her in Kindergarten at Parris Island, South Carolina made books her friends during the many transfers her father’s military career entailed. The transition from reader to writer came easily and she was a closet novelist for many years until 2007 when her first book was published.
After twenty-one years as an Art Teacher and ten years as a part time College Instructor, she’s now retired and living her dream as a full time Writer.
Her body of work includes both full-length novels and shorter pieces in many different genres, Military Romantic Suspense, Paranormal Romance, Urban Fantasy, Historical Romance, Contemporary Romance, and Children’s Books.