Blog Tour : Extract - Stuck On You by Patricia Mar

Today on Becca's Books, I'm delighted to be sharing with you an extract from Patricia Mar's Stuck On You as part of the blog tour organised by Aria Fiction.

Available on Amazon UK | Amazon US
Arrives September 1st 2016 (eBook)
A hilarious love story for anyone in search of a happy ending. Perfect for fans of Sophie Kinsella.

At last, it's the day of the interview, and Sara absolutely must get the job. It's two years since she graduated, and she's not had much luck in her personal or professional life. Much to her dismay she is desperately late, teetering on her heels, soaking wet and out of breath by the time she arrives at the offices of Inside Look magazine.

Things are going from bad to worse and when the receptionist tells her the job has already been given to someone else, Sara tries to slip away without being noticed. But she finds herself stuck in the lift with none other than the dazzling model Daniel Grant. After being thrown together by chance, Sara can't believe it when Daniel wants to see her again. Is her luck beginning to change?

Chapter 1
Tentacles and Rubber Dinghies

How many damn hands did he have? Not even the giant octopus in that old B-movie had this many tentacles. Sara tried to work out how best to break free from that lascivious embrace: should she deal him a mortal blow to his manhood, or play the contortionist and duck under his arm? And, urgh! those lips that kept trying to kiss her – they were like two wet rubber dinghies! Yuck! Get off! At exactly what point could she class this as going beyond getting a little over friendly and feel justified in fighting back? She ought to have realised that he wasn’t her type when she first clapped eyes on that unnerving mole set proudly beside his aquiline nose, which by rights should have set an alarm bell as loud as Big Ben in her head to warn her that this blind date was doomed to be another failure. She would certainly be complaining to her friend Lia who had set it up, possibly emphasising her words with a series of kicks up the backside. Sara put her hands on the chest of Marco, or whatever the hell he was called, and pushed him away, glaring at him furiously with her piercing grey eyes – if she concentrated hard enough, maybe she could actually incinerate him. Hands on hips, her long hair flowing down her back, she stood immobile for a moment, then took a deep breath and pursed her lips. “Get your paws off me!” Thank God they were no longer in his car, a rusty old jalopy that should have been another warning about this Latin loser. “What kind of girl do you think I am?” She stepped back – not out of fear of him, but out of fear that she might punch him if she didn’’t. “I’m sorry, Sara,” Marco began to stutter. “I thought you…” “You thought I what?” Ok, maybe she was going over the top a bit. Before long, heads would probably start poking out of windows in this quiet street in Rome’s exclusive Parioli district, but she didn’t care. Let them watch!
“I thought you liked me!” Yeah, right… Just because I was nice to you and listened to you talking rubbish all night over a plate of sushi – which I hate, by the way – you thought I liked you so much that our tongues were destined to meet? Obviously, she didn’t say it out loud, though she did wonder why she was sparing him the cruel truth. It was her conscience which answered her when she saw the mole trembling on a face which was now as pasty looking as a bowl of blancmange, and the pleading eyes which made Marco look like a baby in a nappy advert. A couple more seconds and there would be tears glistening on his cheeks. “Marco, look – let’s just call it a night, ok?” Forever, she added mentally, to underline the concept in her memory. “But I want to see you again.” With his army polo neck, perfectly cut black trousers and doe eyes, he was moving closer again. God, no… What exactly was it that he hadn’t he understood? “We’re not right for each other. I’m sure you’ll find the girl for you.” One who loves sushi and all your blah blah blah… Marco looked at his feet. “They all say that. What’s wrong with me?” “Nothing, we’re just not right for each other. These things happen, it’s not the end of the world.” She walked over and gave him a fraternal pat on the back, perhaps a little too energetically. Subconsciously she still wanted to punch his lights out. “Good luck, Marco.” She was about to add “You’re a nice guy,” but the memory of the tentacles and the rubber dinghy lips came flooding back, so she bit her tongue, smiled and turned around, key in hand, and a few seconds later was walking through the front door of her flat. Goodbye Marco, you and your mole, your bucket of bolts and your sushi.
Feet up on the coffee table, Virginia was sprawled on the beige sofa hugging a bowl of popcorn as if it was a dear old friend and giving Sara a strange look. Her green eyes shifted to the clock on the wall near the door and then returned to her. “Congratulations, Sis, that’s a new record – it’s only nine twenty-five. You managed to get rid of Marco even faster than his predecessor!”
Sara sank down on the couch beside her, grabbed a handful of popcorn, greasy with butter and sprinkled with plenty of salt, and stared at The Man of Steel on the television. “You watching this again?” “I like Henry Cavill,” said Virginia, with a shrug. You’d have struggled to find two more different sisters. Sara was outgoing and curvaceous, with curious, watchful eyes and a mass of soft, curly, dark brown hair, while Virginia was blonde and thin, with hair as straight as spaghetti and an apathetic expression which quickly turned sprightly whenever her eyes happened upon some hunk in a movie or a hot underwear model. Sara was twenty-five, and was once again looking for a job after being laid off during the downsizing of the accounting firm she used to work for. She was the type of girl with what you might call a good head on her shoulders – one of those who doesn’t really care what type of job she has to do to put the bread on the table: she needed to earn money, and she left the idealism to Virginia, who was twenty-two and still had a head full of dreams. Sara took another handful of popcorn. “I’m starving!” “I thought tonight’s teddy bear was taking you out for dinner?” “And exactly how much of a plate of sushi do you think I ate?” Virginia passed her the bowl sympathetically before going back to drooling over Henry Cavill like a St Bernard. Sara finished the popcorn in silence, throwing the occasional glance at the film on the forty inch HD TV. Superheroes weren’t really her thing, though, so she picked up one of the fashion magazines her sister was always buying and began to leaf through it. As she flicked through the pages, she came upon a photo that made her jaw drop in surprise. “Wow… this guy is pretty well put together!” Virginia leaned over to look and burst out laughing. “My dear sister, who obviously lives on another planet from the rest of us – that’s the model of the moment. The sexiest, most sought after, most highly paid model in the world, beloved of magazines and designers. And his backside has to be seen to be believed!” “And I’m believing it, in all its glory!” His harmonious curves were displayed in black and white, posing on mattresses, sheets and sofas, and what he couldn’t do with a shirt wasn’t worth doing. After studying the photos closely, Sara could have written an article on a thousand and one ways to use a dress shirt without actually putting the damn thing on – and she was pretty sure it would have been a bestseller. A few minutes later there wasn’t an inch of that body whose geography Sara didn’t now know by heart – and to think, geography had never been one of her favourite subjects at school. Virginia burst out laughing. “You should see your face – you look like me!”
“After a long period of hibernation, my hormones have just woken up and they seem to be throwing a party. God, this man is perfection!” “Give me that,” said Virginia, snatching the magazine from her and looking more closely at the photos. “I know, he’s pretty outrageous, isn’t he?” “He’s a gift to humankind – he deserves a monument!” “Ha ha! Let’s write to Unesco to ask if they can get him declared world heritage so that we can all have access to him,” proclaimed an excited Virginia. “Or at least get a decent look!” Sarah laughed and took back the magazine. “And check out those eyes.” “Actually, I was more interested in…” Virginia pointed, and after a moment’s silence the two sisters burst out laughing. And after a long discussion of the beauty of the human race – well, one member of it, at least – Virginia and Sara went to bed, ready to dream unforgettable dreams.

Chapter 2 
Go to the Mattresses
Could the day possibly have got off to a worse start? Well, yes, obviously it could have – she hadn’t got her heel stuck in a manhole cover and seen a man sprint athletically to her assistance only to be run over by a passing truck. It hadn’t been quite that bad. No, it was just plain old bad luck – the type of bad luck that starts with an alarm not going off and the bus getting to the bus stop three minutes early and setting set off without you on board… Sara continued to stare at her watch, a small gold disk which reminded her of when she had graduated two years earlier from the faculty of ‘Good luck on getting the type of job you’re looking for with this piece of paper’. But the more she looked at the time, the more it seemed as though the bus, which she’d caught half an hour later than she should have, was never going to reach its destination – the road stretched ahead like a nightmare. And of course, it would have to be today, the day when she had an important job interview. She’d been looking for the right opportunity for weeks, and now perhaps she had found it. Secure employment – not the best maybe, but she could start as a secretary and work her way up. She was bright, a quick learner who’d run an entire office by herself, and she knew how to treat clients and bosses. And she wasn’t bad looking. Okay, she might not be a supermodel, but she was definitely pretty, and with a little hard work she’d make sure they noticed her. If they took her on, she’d shine herself up like a silver tea service, because even if she wasn’t obsessed with fashions and looks, she knew everything about each line of cosmetics thanks to her sister and had become an expert in the field despite herself. Wanting to make a good impression, she’d bought a really smart, understated suit in a creamy shade whose soft curves highlighted her own in all the right places. The problem was that she was late for her appointment. And that didn’t look good. She’d kept her face glued to the window all the way, as though she could make the lines of cars open up to let the bus pass, until at some point she had decided to cut short the agony and walk the last few metres. Her interview was supposed to have started over forty minutes ago. Panic! The bus doors slammed shut behind her, ejecting her gracelessly onto the crowded pavement, and, despite the high heels that she’d put on that morning, she broke into a run.
Sara didn’t really know why she was taking it all so seriously. In the back of her mind she knew that they would never offer her the job. It mattered little that she could speak three languages, had a degree and loved hard work – she just didn’t possess many of the skills the job required. She didn’t have the charisma, the charm or the presence. She didn’t look like one of those secretaries you see in films, always perfect – the ones whose nail polish was never chipped, whose hair looked as though they’d just been to the hairdresser’s, even when they’d just got out of bed, and who had eyelashes so long they could cause a tornado with a simple flutter. She was simply Sara De Michele, with a cute face and the gift of the gab – the type of girl who would do perfectly well but who was certainly no teacher’s pet – and who had always hated the teacher’s pet. Enterprising, but not exactly Supergirl. She was out of breath by the time she reached the building which housed Inside Look, the new magazine of fashion, gossip and other stuff of which her sister Virginia was an avid reader. “And it’s a good thing she is,” Sara thought, as she smartened up the soft curls the hairdryer had tortured into place that morning to make herself look a little less like an early morning lunatic. Sara had studied her adversary closely and read through all of Virginia’s jealously hoarded back numbers from cover to cover, so she knew plenty about the magazine and the company that published it. She felt ready. The glass doors, so transparent that they hardly seemed to be there at all, opened and let her through, though to tell the truth her entrance was hardly triumphant – she was still pulling at her suit and breathing slowly through her nose in an attempt to slow down her heartbeat, which was racing after her unexpected little morning run. She walked over to a large panel upon which were the names of the various companies. Inside Look – seventh floor. Like a condemned man, she took a last deep breath and headed toward the lift. Once inside, she had another quick peek at her watch and shivered in horror – she was an hour late. The doors opened and she found herself on a landing staring disconsolately at another set of transparent sliding doors. She walked through them and made for the huge, ultra-modern reception desk, behind which sat three girls, who turned as one to stare at her: each of them was engaged in a conversation on a bluetooth headset that made them look like something out of an episode of Star Trek – the three Uhuras. Starting to feel a little uncomfortable, Sara glanced down at her attire. Maybe it wasn’t quite as stylish as she’d thought. Today’s lessons: choose the jobs you apply for on the basis of your natural inclinations, and buy another alarm clock. Not necessarily in that order.
Girl number three, raven-black sci-fi hair, Chanel No. 5 and Rouge Dior lipstick, looked at Sara as though she were an insect to be crushed. If there was one thing Sara couldn’t stand it was having somebody look down their nose at her – it brought immediately to mind ‘go to the mattresses’, the expression she’d adopted as her motto after seeing You’ve Got Mail. “Can I help you?” And get lost, you insignificant loser, her tone of voice seemed to say. “My name is Sara De Michele. I have a job interview with Mr Marzi.” That’s the way – confident, audacious, sure of yourself… Girl number two, red hair as smooth as a lino floor, an unidentified fragrance and Estée Lauder Rose Tea lipstick smirked sarcastically without raising her eyes from her monitor. Hmmm, that doesn’t look good. Girl Number Three stared at her as though she was pleased with what she was about to say. “I’m afraid you’re late. Mr Marzi has finished the interviews for today and he has already selected a candidate.” Girl number two was still chuckling under her breath, and Sara was about to give her an impromptu make-over when she noticed that the eyes of the three women were suddenly staring at some mysterious object behind her. Something which was obviously moving. The girls looked nothing short of ecstatic, and three dazed expressions took the place of the ridiculous I’ve-made-iteven-if-all-I-do-for-a-living-is-answer-phones arrogance of a moment before. Sara turned her head too late, just in time to see the back of a very tall man walk out through the door and approach the elevators. She looked back at the three over perfumed airheads who had now turned their glares back to her with the sole intention of getting rid of their unwanted guest. “Have a nice day.” Like a firing squad, the three graces had just dismissed her. What sweethearts! Sara had two options: one, fight to see Marzi and do the bloody interview, or, two, leave with her tail between her legs because it was, to be honest, all her fault – being late, the way she looked, everything. What was she even doing there? She hated giving those three space age hags the satisfaction, but she was a well brought up girl, so she said goodbye – through gritted teeth – and then headed back through the fairy portal, finding herself on the landing just as the lift door closed. “God, no,” she thought, “not with those three staring at me while I wait…” “Stop!” She stuck her arm between the closing doors and, certain it was about to get crushed to a pulp, was preparing a loud burst of bad language, when a providence intervened from inside, and the doors opened again as if by magic.

Chapter 3
The Bermuda Triangle

“Thanks,” she said, once she’d recovered from the shock of all that handsomeness. Because, lo and behold, there was a knight in shining armour standing right there in front of her. This was like something straight out of some cheesy romantic novel. Well, it was about time something interesting happened to her, she thought. The man looked at her with his dreamy eyes. No, not quite dreamy – mostly curious, or perhaps annoyed? There wasn’t a sound. No, that’s not actually true: there were phones ringing in the distance, which almost broke the spell, but somehow didn’t. Sara slowly slipped into the lift next to this Adonis, and the lift doors closed. This can’t be happening, the little voice in her head kept repeating. It’s him – it’s him… The model! That wonderful being, with a body that would put a statue to shame, was standing right there next to her – fully clothed, though the healthy nudity in the photos she had so carefully studied with her sister was bouncing around in her brain. Her heart was hammering away like the drums in a heavy metal band. Their arms were almost touching – only a few centimetres separated them, and Sara could feel his warmth through the thin fabric of her jacket. What the hell was that god who descended from Mount Olympus to live amongst mere mortals called? If she hadn’t been so distracted by those pictures of his sculpted buttocks, she might have noticed his name in the article accompanying them. Salivation: zero. Pulse: racing. This must be how fifteen year olds feel when they have the incredible good luck of meeting their favourite member of One Direction. Her hormones were going crazy. And the funny, or possibly pathetic, thing was that this Adonis didn’t seem to have noticed her. Of course, he had kept the lift door open to stop her from getting squashed into an omelette, but he certainly wasn’t casting any appreciative glances her way. Clearly, even if he was Adonis, she was no Venus. Her heartbeat slowed with the sudden disappointment, which instantly turned into a vague feeling of depression. Never before had someone like her caught the eye of someone like him.
But did she even want him to notice her? What was the point, when in a matter of seconds he would be gone forever? Very dramatic, but also pretty realistic. Wanting to shore up your ego after having it punctured by Huey, Dewey and Louis up there on reception didn’t justify losing your grip with daydreams that unrealistic. She was already putting it out of her mind when suddenly the lift lurched and, thrown off balance, she instinctively grabbed the arm of the mysterious model. Another jolt. This was no time to indulge herself in thoughts of the muscles of the man standing next to her, thought Sara – what the hell was going on? She lifted her eyes to his face and found that this time he was looking back at her. Don’t panic, don’t panic just because he’s staring at you! If the situation had been different she would have been gratified, but in this case her panic had a much less noble origin. The elevator had stopped moving, the lights had gone off and a red emergency light had come on, casting a gloomy hue over the cramped space. It was like being in a cave in hell. “Fantastic!” muttered the girl, straightening up and letting go of her lucky handhold. “Are we stuck?” The man hadn’t yet spoken – in fact he’d walked away from her and gone to the lift doors, which remained closed, and had begun to push at them experimentally before giving them a couple of bangs with the side of his fist. Sara, who could sense the palpable nervousness of her fellow prisoner, watched him moving around with undisguised agitation. At last she heard him speak. His voice was so husky and warm that under normal conditions it would have made a rock hot and bothered, but in that situation it sounded worried. “Can you hear me? Is there anybody there? We’re trapped in here!” Sara could hear a trace of anxiety mixed in with a fairly marked foreign accent. The frenetic movements he began to make told her that the situation was desperate. The man started randomly pressing all the buttons on the control panel near the doors. How could she tell him there was no point? Sara moved over to him and with a friendly gesture laid her hand on his arm and said, in the kindest, calmest voice she could muster, “Don’t worry, they’ll have us out of here in no time, you’ll see.” The man turned around and peered at her. God, he was gorgeous – it was a shame that his features were contracted into a grimace. “I suffer from claustrophobia – do you know what that means?” Well, that was news that Sara would rather not have received.
The model turned and peered around him like a trapped animal, staring at the metal walls as though they might suddenly close in on him and crush him, the way they nearly did to Han Solo and friends in Star Wars. She ran a hand over her forehead, trying to think of something intelligent to say. “Take a deep breath – they’ll have us out of here in no time.” “Do you think so?” Hope, that’s was what he needed. Still moving restlessly, he loosened his tie as though he was choking, took it off and stuck it in the pocket of his leather jacket. God, he was like a caged lion! “Of course they will, we’re in a building full of offices! It’s all just business here, they need the lifts working to make all their Euros! They’ll have us out of here in no time at all.” Okay, maybe she’d gone a bit over the top with the enthusiasm, but too much was better than too little. He looked at her and gave her a half smile which was actually more like a grimace of pain. There was obviously an anxiety attack on its way – the signs were right there on his face. Not that Sara knew what the signs actually were then, but the sight of him getting more and more agitated was making her extremely nervous. Any other girl would have probably paid to be locked up in a small space with this god-like hunk who looked as though he’d fallen from the heavens, but she was beginning to regret having taken the same lift. Well, she thought, I’d better do what I can to get him to relax: he looked as though he was about to go into a full on nuclear meltdown, and if he did, Sara didn’t want to be near him when he exploded – although there wasn’t really anywhere to go in that sardine tin. She reached out her hand to him without actually realising that she was introducing herself. “Hi, I’m Sara De Michele.” Ah, finally she’d found a flaw in that monstrous beauty – his hand was as slippery as an eel. She looked him straight in the eyes and saw beads of sweat sliding down his forehead in the dim light. “I’m Daniel – Daniel Gant.” He seemed to be making an effort to keep his voice under control. That’s what he was called! Daniel Gant. Was he English? American? Australian? He certainly spoke pretty good Italian. “Pleasure to meet you, Daniel, now… Let’s try and relax, okay? Why don’t we sit down, eh?” And without waiting for an answer, she slid to the floor, leaning back against the wall and staring upwards. She preferred not to think about the colony of microbes she’d probably squashed beneath her bottom – she’d worry about washing her clothes later. “I suffer from claustrophobia. I’m going to die in here.”
They weren’t exactly the words that Sara wanted to hear. He was getting decidedly agitated. Houston, we have a problem. With a brisk, nurse-like move she took him by the hand and pulled him down, forcing him to sit beside her. “Try and relax – you’ll see that we’ll be out of here in a few minutes.” Daniel ran a hand through his hair fretfully and leaned against the makeshift backrest. “I don’t know how long I can handle this. It’s not the first time I’ve been trapped in a lift.” Sara looked at him sideways. What a career – male model and serial lift prisoner. Very eclectic. “What happened?” she asked, curiously. It was a good sign if he wanted to make conversation. “Believe me,” he replied, staring straight at her, “you don’t want to know.” Was he trying to hypnotise her or just frighten her? Whatever it was, it was working. “Maybe you should focus on something nice – close your eyes and think of a beach, the waves lapping on the sand and… What’s the matter?” she asked, noticing that Daniel was staring at her as though she were a kind of Rubik’s cube he had to solve. He didn’t look particularly willing to go along with her idea. Too bad, it was a good one. Sara frowned. “Think of something…” “What do you do?” he asked suddenly, resting his head against the wall and closing his eyes. He bent one leg and rested one arm on his knee. Cool pose… shame there was no photographer to capture that epic moment. Sara relaxed. “I’m unemployed, I don’t do anything. I came here to Inside Look for an interview today, but it all went wrong. My alarm clock didn’t go off, I missed the bus, there was a traffic jam and…” Daniel’s eyes widened. “Oh great! I’ve walked into your personal Bermuda Triangle.” He sounded a little too resentful for her taste. “Are you suggesting that I bring bad luck?” She was shocked to say the least. “I’m just saying that we got stuck in a lift during your personal nightmare.” “I got into the lift second – maybe the lift has it in for you!” He pulled a face and leaned back against the metal wall, crossing his arms over his chest. How rude! And after she’d tried to be kind and help him avoid an unpleasant anxiety attack. Daniel’s drawn lips softened into a half-smile and once again became full and sensual. “You might be right – after all, lifts and me don’t really get on. I always try to avoid taking them if I can, but you know… Sometimes there’s just no way around it! Skyscrapers… There’s just too many stairs…”
Sara tried to maintain her composure even though she wanted to laugh. “Are you trying to be funny?” There was a note of reproach in her words. Perhaps he was ready to actually talk to her without being rude. Daniel glanced at her sideways and smiled, genuinely this time. “Look, I’m not usually such unpleasant company, honestly, but believe me, at this precise moment I’m really struggling.” “I thought it must be me who was the problem,” she joked, more to get him to talk than anything else. He made himself more comfortable and turned to concentrate on her while he took deep breaths and distractedly unbuttoned his shirt, a movement Sara couldn’t help noticing. Flashes of the photos she’d seen danced before her eyes and the tasty looking section of his neck which was now on show confused her more than it should have. She had to concentrate on her interlocutor – dressed! They sat there in silence for a few minutes, seemingly studying one another surreptitiously, until Daniel suddenly asked, “So the interview didn’t go very well?” He was trying to distract himself as much as possible, and actually even seemed interested. “I didn’t even have an interview. I got here late and they’d already hired someone else. I really made a fool of myself – I’m never usually late. Today, destiny must have had it in for me.” “Maybe destiny’s got something better in mind for you.” Sara tilted her head to observe him better. Yeah, sure – destiny had reserved for her a two metre square honeymoon suite to share with that hunk! “Or perhaps destiny was distracted and hadn’t read its appointments… ‘Today’s the day Sara gets a job at Inside Look” She smiled at him without a trace of resentment for his snarky jibe earlier. At the end of the day, he really was having a hard time of it, so she could forgive his rudeness. Daniel laughed, a full, deep laugh that made her legs, stretched out on the floor of the lift, turn to jelly. God alone knew what a woman would do for a man like that. “Why are you looking at me like that?” Sara jumped and went red in the face – but fortunately, it would have been impossible to notice in the spectral light “I’ve seen some of your photo shoots.” She said the first thing that came into her head. Bad idea, because it was one of those photo shoots that was disintegrating the few shreds of sanity she had left. “So you know who I am?” he asked. “Let’s say I do, but I’ll be honest with you – I didn’t remember your name.” She bit her lip. That might sound a bit ambiguous. “I mean, I don’t read fashion magazines much, it’s my sister Virginia who’s the expert.” “And you were looking for a job here?” he chuckled, in a way that irked her.
“Do you need to know the names of all the models in the world to be a secretary here?” She wanted to puncture his ego. He was bound to have an overdeveloped one if he could show off his body and had a job where his appearance was worth its weight in gold. “Touché! But I’m not all the models in the world.” Three cheers for humility, then. Hang on, was he flirting with her? In there? Sara’s eyes fell upon a portion of flesh that had started to make her feel embarrassed and swallowed slowly. It was another of those moments – the ones straight out of a cheesy romance novel: the man and the woman are talking and sense a mutual attraction, and then the moment of truth… Clang. What was that noise? Clang… There it was again, this time accompanied by the lift shaking. Daniel’s eyes became wary, and his body started to tremble. Sara was beginning to feel scared too. Daniel jumped to his feet and started walking back and forth. “I can’t breathe, there’s no air in here.” He took off his leather jacket and then his shirt, balled them up and then threw them angrily into a corner of the lift. Sara got to her feet uncertainly. “Come on, take it easy, you’ll see…” “You don’t get it, I can’t breathe,” he said, raising a hand to his throat as though to prove that he really couldn’t. Another bang. Keep calm, Sara, we’re not going to fall… are we? With her hands she started fanning the model’s face, which was now contracted into a grimace of terror. His chest, dripping with sweat, pumped air at a dizzying speed. He was hyperventilating. What the hell could she do to calm him down? Slap him? Try suggesting that he think of something nice again? Insult him? Shake him? With his low rise trousers and incredible physique, Daniel was gasping for breath as though he might pass out at any moment, and the worrying noises around them were increasing in intensity – never mind Mills & Boon, this was more like something out of Steven King. Think, Sara – think! “I can’t breathe!” Daniel kept whispering, as though she could actually do something about it. The girl stared at him and summoned up all her courage because what she was about to do was absolute madness – she was risking all of her pride and self-esteem. She reached out, took his face in her hands and pulled him close, while he gave her a stunned look. Sara took a deep breath, pressed her mouth against his soft lips and kissed him. Daniel’s mouth squirmed in a strange and not particularly reassuring way. She was kissing an attractive man, and even if she did survive the lift crashing down the shaft the shame would
definitely kill her – but if by kissing him she could distract and surprise him enough to stop him working himself into a state of hysteria then the sacrifice would have been worth it. Hang on, was that Daniel Gant’s tongue that was trying to make its way into her mouth? That had found its way inside and was now carefully exploring? And were those Daniel Gant’s hands that were now gently stroking Sara’s hips? The girl’s heart began to pump furiously: she was in danger of getting drunk on oxygen – and on Gant. With a body and a mouth like this, this guy could be a sensual serial killer by profession. Clang, and there was yet another jolt. She was about to die, but at least she would do it in the arms of Apollo while giving the hottest kiss of her life. “Excuse me, are we disturbing you?” an amused baritone voice interrupted them. Sara and Daniel broke off awkwardly and turned to look at the stocky man wearing the uniform of the firefighter and staring at them with a smirk. Yes, it probably did look like a slightly compromising, and perhaps even embarrassing, situation, what with Daniel shirtless and the two of them entwined like octopuses, busily snogging with a certain enthusiasm… They climbed to their feet, and Sara straightened her suit while Daniel picked up his shirt and leather jacket. “Thanks for getting us out!” exclaimed Sara shrilly, as she walked out of the elevator. The firefighter let her pass and she found herself in front of a wall of people. At least five of them – two more firefighters and a few curious onlookers. She saw their expressions change from amusement to amazement as they looked from her to the inside of the lift and then back to her with renewed curiosity. Sara turned round to catch Daniel’s eye, he looked as uncomfortable as she felt. He had reassumed his cool exterior, though, and was speaking to their saviours. “Thanks for the help. I suffer from claustrophobia and this lady—” “Yes, I saw,” said one of the others, “she was giving you mouth to mouth resuscitation.” Daniel joined him in the laughter that followed. “Something like that, yes.” She had been his benefactress, had sacrificed her reputation to distract him, the idiot, and now here she was, the laughing stock of the century. While everyone’s attention was focused on Daniel, Sara took one, two, three quiet steps towards the back stairs. A few flights on foot wouldn’t kill her, the important thing was to get out of there in a hurry after this awful morning. Although it hadn’t all been awful: she was hardly going to forget a kiss like that – it was one of those that remains etched upon your memory, just like your first crush. “Sara?” A voice with a marked foreign accent – the voice of the ultra-sexy model she had just been kissing. If she kept going and pretended she couldn’t hear him, he might give up.
“Sara!” Nope, he wasn’t going to give up. Right – put on a smile, calm down, don’t feel embarrassed. “Yes, Daniel?” She spun round, flashing him a beaming smile as fake as a Monopoly banknote. “Why did you run off like that?” he asked. Now that they were under the bright lights of the building and there were no shadows altering their features, Sara could see the perfection of his jaw blurred by a few days stubble, the blue of his eyes and his slightly tanned complexion. He was gorgeous and she felt small, ugly and insignificant. It was really not her day. “I ran away because I was embarrassed and… Ok, I’m sorry…” Great, she was stammering! “I read somewhere that kissing helps calm people down when they’re suffering from panic attacks and so I thought it was worth a try. I didn’t want to kiss you, I just wanted to help you. I don’t normally go around kissing topless strangers in lifts… or even ones with shirts on… in lifts, I mean… I’m babbling, aren’t I?” Daniel laughed and gave her face a gentle caress. “Relax – I get what you mean and it worked, I was totally distracted. You’re a very good kisser.” “Are you trying to make me turn as red as a tomato? I’d rather not, if you don’t mind.” “Ok. You’re a character all right.” Sara ran her hands through her hair and began to laugh. “That’s just what every woman in the world wants to hear after being kissed. Come on, I’m kidding.” Finally she felt comfortable – she’d stopped feeling agitated and embarrassed. More or less. The whole thing had ended in the best possible way. She saw Daniel taking his phone from the pocket of his jacket. “Can I have your phone number?” he asked, as though it were the most natural question in the world. “What for?” said Sara, staring at him in genuine puzzlement. “What do you mean, what for? Come on, give me your number so I can take you out to dinner to thank you for helping me get through my panic attack. You’ve got your methods, my girl, and they work.” “All right then, call me whenever you want…” she said, with enthusiasm. “Not to kiss you, though, eh?” Sara’s shoulders slumped and she lowered her head. “I’m weird, I know.” “A bit. You do seem to be constantly explaining everything, but there’s nothing to explain here – I just want to take you out to dinner, what’s wrong with that?” “Nothing,” said Sara, and gave him her number, with absolute certainty that he would never, ever call. They walked down the stairs together, chatting about their adventure, and said goodbye with a smile as they exchanged a few pleasant words and a promise to meet again. Sara was sure it
wouldn’t happen – Daniel was immediately surrounded by a swarm of screeching young girls equipped with phones, pens and autograph books, desperate to get their hands on some memento of the most handsome model in the world. He smiled kindly, as though he enjoyed being in the middle of the crowd and the chaos. As Sara was about to leave the building she turned to look at him one last time. Daniel was smiling back at her. And he gave her a wink before disappearing from sight, swallowed up by his fans.

Chapter 4
Ommm Ommm
The tapping of fingers on the keyboard indicated that Sara was busy updating her Facebook profile, updating the curriculum that was obviously of no particular interest to any of its recipients, and chatting with a virtual friend who went by the absurd nickname of Ildebrana33. Sara liked calling herself a multi-tasker, perfectly capable of doing several things at once and doing them all well. The only one that seemed impossible was finding a bloody job. By now she was down to reading the newspaper ads – the seedy ones near the adverts for phone sex lines. Things were not looking great, money was getting tight and the rent on her two bedroom apartment wasn’t paying itself. She’d decided to let her sister Virginia move in back when, thanks to her previous job, she was able to afford to live in peace, but now her savings were running out. Virginia, who was on a scholarship at university, couldn’t help with expenses and Sara was too proud to ask her parents for help. She was a grown-up, independent woman who had learned to look after herself and manage her own bank balance. The sound of the keyboard was interrupted by her ring tone – Only Girl by Rihanna – announcing the arrival of the one phone call that came every single day. Sara snorted, pushed up the sleeves of her sweatshirt in readiness for battle, grabbed her phone and, after taking a long breath, answered. “Sara dear! You took your time answering.” “Hello, Mum – I was in the other room…” Lie number one – Sara grimaced. “Hmmmmm.” Sara’s lips shrank to a slit. “So? What’s new?” asked her mother, with a sigh. Caterina De Michele was a woman of fiftythree with a lean physique, perfect hair, flawless make-up, watchful eyes focused like binoculars on her goals and a very Zen concept of life. Sara walked over to the kitchen area and opened the refrigerator, taking out the orange juice. With methodical, almost slow motion, movements, she put the container on the counter and poured the juice into a glass, wondering which answer would sound least pathetic. “I see – nothing, eh?”
“It’s not easy, Mum. There’s a recession on, you know?” “Oh, of course. You’ll see, something will come up. Do you remember Luisa Candelari, our neighbour? Her daughter teaches step work-outs, you could do that.” Sara sat down on the stool, feeling like Snoopy in Joe Falchetto mode. “Mum, I don’t do ‘step’. I don’t even know what ‘step’ is, I’ve never set foot in a gym in my whole life.” “If only you knew how good it is for the glutes! It makes them wonderfully firm, you know.” Most of the time she tried to forget just how embarrassing the woman was capable of being: from a mother you could expect anything except comments on their firm buttocks. When it happened, she just tried to ignore it. “Your father says the proof is in the pinching,” her mother added, with satisfaction. Sara downed her juice, wishing that it was a double whiskey. “And what about these dates you’ve been going on? I’m starting to worry about you dear – a healthy love life lengthens your life, you know.” From her mother’s slightly laboured breathing, Sara imagined that she must be sitting on her exercise bike while talking to her daughter about her pathetic sex life. “Mum, please!” “Sara, what harm is there in having some sex? I mean, you’re all grown up now, enjoy your life! And don’t be so picky in your choice of men.” “I wondered how long it’d take you to get to that,” Sara muttered, in annoyance. For her, making love was important, and she wanted to do it with someone special, not just for the good of her skin and her circulation. “You’re so old-fashioned, it’s hard to believe you’re actually my daughter.” “They must have me swapped me with another baby in the hospital.” Caterina laughed her silvery laugh – the laugh that many years earlier had enraptured Sara’s father, a painter with a poetic soul, a dashing heart – and not a lot of cash in his pocket. “I’m saying it for your benefit – you’ve been single for… what is it now? Three years? They’re all either too tall, too short, too stupid or too clever. You do realise that if you go on like this you run the risk of ending up as a spinster?” “I’m only twenty-five!” Caterina wasn’t even listening, however – she just carried on talking. “Even your sister’s going out with someone. I think he’s a loser, but it doesn’t matter. What matters it is that she’s not alone and that she’s happy.” “You’re certainly not one of those typical mothers who dreams of a wealthy husband with a bright future and a supplementary pension for her daughter, are you?”
“Oh, good God, no – I’m not that silly, for goodness sake.” Sara couldn’t help smiling – her mother was completely out of her mind. She loved her, even though it was often hard to show it because Sara felt like the more mature, sensible and down-toearth of the two of them. They looked as though they’d walked straight out of Meet the Fockers: Caterina was a slightly less over the top Barbra Streisand and she was a cuter Ben Stiller. The woman was like a ticking daughter-embarrassing time bomb – and her daughter never knew when she would go off. “Anyway, Sara, Prince Charming doesn’t exist, so stop looking for him.” Her words made Sara grow gloomy: how could she forget that her father, Leo De Michele, had never been her mum’s Prince Charming? Nice way to destroy my rosy childhood vision of my parents, Mum – they were unusual, certainly, but she loved them a lot. “Listen, it’s not like I’m the last of the romantics, but I just need to feel something intense before I get intimate with someone.” “Never mind getting the flutters from falling in love, a good sex life helps to understand the person you’re with. Otherwise how can you know if the one you’re with will be right for you forever?” “If you put it like that, you make everything sound like market research!” “I’m just being practical! And I don’t like the idea of you on your own, and without a job to boot.” “I’m not alone – Virginia lives with me.” “You know what I mean.” “All too well – and it’s embarrassing.” “You’re always the same old prude.” Sara imagined Caterina smiling. For all her precious progressive advice, her mother knew she would never change. “And if you’d lived in the sixties, you’d have been a hippy!” said Sara, affectionately. Caterina laughed heartily. “I’m afraid so, darling! Anyway, I’d better be off – the girls will be here before long for the session.” She had opened a centre for celestial and spiritual relaxation and harmony, whose existence Sara was still trying to ignore. She sighed again. How many sighs could she get out in the course of a five minute phone call? Thousands, if it was her mother and the world of Zen on the other end of the line. “Go on, I’ll see you soon.” “Sure… and remember to smile at life. It’ll smile back at you too.” “Bye, Mum.” “Bye, dear – and say hello to Virginia.”
With a thud, Sara let her head fall onto the counter. It was terrifying to think that her mother had a more satisfying sex life than she did. Only Girl interrupted her thoughts. What did she want now? Wasn’t annoying her with one phone call a day enough? “What is it now?” she grunted. “Sara?” The girl immediately sat up straight at the sound of a voice as warm as a cup of hot chocolate in winter. A familiar accent tickled her ears. There they were, those flutters her mum had teased her about, deep inside her chest. “Sara, are you there?” She could imagine the folds of his lips, which that miraculous twist of fate had allowed her to sample, curling sexily. “Errrr, I’ve made a fool of myself again, haven’t I?” “Do you always answer the phone like that?” He sounded amused. “Oh, only when I know that I’m going to make a fool of myself in front of you…” Daniel laughed. “Sorry I didn’t get in touch earlier, I’ve been busy.” “I didn’t think I’d hear from you. I mean, it’s been two weeks.” “Hmm, that’s interesting – you’ve been keeping count!” Lightning, strike me down here and now and get it over with. Hang on a second, had Daniel Gant really phoned her? And was she really sat there wearing an old tracksuit and drowning in a sea of orange juice while she spoke to the stunning model? It couldn’t be happening. “I meant that I didn’t think you’d call.” “But I said I would… And you’ve been counting.” “Well I’m obviously going to remember the date when I missed out on getting a very good job,” she lied. “But you met me.” “Just listen to him, the arrogant so-and-so! Do you really think that meeting you was that big an event in my life?” Were they flirting? They couldn’t be. “You haven’t written the really important one on your calendar yet,” he whispered, with conviction. “We are sure of ourselves, aren’t we?” “A little – does it bother you?” “No, I find it reassuring.” “Reassuring? Really?” He sounded intrigued.
She couldn’t know it, but at that moment Daniel was lying on a sofa, his eyes gazing out over the modern landscape of the vibrant city of Sydney. “Certainly, given the idea that I had about you.” “Well, now you’d better tell me what idea that is.” “And show my hand?” “What, are we playing poker?” “This conversation is getting weird.” “No it’s not, it’s getting interesting, I’ve learned a lot of interesting stuff.” “What stuff?” “That you’ve been counting the days, for example.” “But I haven’t…” Yes, she had. “And that you’ve been fantasising about me.” “I never said that!” protested Sara vigorously, as a wave of heat swept over her now burning face. “You said you had an idea about me, and that implies that you’ve been thinking about me. Well I’ve got an idea about you too.” “Oh, really?” “How about if we meet up to compare notes? For that famous dinner that I owe you?” Slow down, my heart, or you might just kill me. “I thought you were joking.” “You must have some really strange ideas about me. And just think, you’ve seen my hidden side that nobody else knows about. You ought to be flattered, instead of judging me by appearances.”  Now he sounded a bit piqued even if he was trying to camouflage it with sarcasm. Sara remembered the minutes they’d spent in the lift. She could almost smile at the memory now, but it must have been pretty horrible for Daniel. He’d displayed a fragile side of himself, a side that he would certainly have preferred to hide, and she had been there when he had needed her. It sounded like the beginning of a love story – Prince Charming and the glass slipper. She could already imagine her mother teasing her over her childish fantasies. What on earth could she ever have in common with Daniel Gant? She could aspire at most to being a passing flirtation in his stormy love life. Yes, she had thought of him in those two weeks, dreaming that he would call her out of a crazy desire for excitement to shake up her monotonous existence and allow her to meet his lips again. But fantasizing about him had made her indiscreet. She’d looked into him and discovered that his life was a series of whirlwind romances that all ended at the speed of light – and which were all
documented in the gossip pages. In all honesty, even though he was as attractive as hell there was no way he could give her what she was looking for. A bit of temporary personal fulfilment, a memory to cherish and perhaps a bit of self-esteem maybe, but that was all. What a mess it would be if she’d fallen for a model who would never feel anything serious for her. She was a methodical, rational person, and she wasn’t ashamed to admit it – everything had to be organised, budgeted and planned, and there wasn’t much room for spontaneity. With two parents as eccentric as hers, it would have been impossible for her to grow up without trying to create a wall of stability around herself. Being out of work had knocked her off balance and not having a boyfriend had only made it worse. Getting a call from Daniel was flattering, and she almost felt like saying ‘yes’ just to pamper her wounded ego, but her head was saying ‘let it go, this isn’t right for you, you’ve got nothing in common with that man and his absurd life’. She tried to remember what she had been saying. “Look, I’m flattered, even though I have to remind you that you didn’t really have a choice about displaying your weakness. I was just a casual spectator.” “Come on, come out for dinner with me. I’d really like it. I’m in Sydney at the moment, but I’m coming back to Rome tomorrow. I’ve been here for a photo shoot – it’s really boring, but the city’s beautiful. Come on,” he repeated, with more conviction this time, and with a hint of tenderness and of mystery, “come out for dinner with me.” And that singular accent of his made the hairs on her neck tingle. “Daniel, we shouldn’t.” Hush. A long silence. She could hear the gears spinning without biting. “Why not? Don’t you like me?” He sounded absolutely amazed. “On the contrary, I think you’re delightful!” she joked. “But to be honest, I just think that we’re from such different worlds…” “I get it – my reputation has preceded me.” “My sister has millions of magazines full of interviews and articles, it’s impossible not to end up reading one.” “Especially if you’re looking for information,” retorted Daniel, trying to sound friendly, but in a voice which sounded less sure of itself. “Let’s say that I found what I was looking for.” “There’s no ulterior motive behind my invitation, I just want to talk to you and thank you, and be friends. I don’t see what’s so wrong with that. Are you scared that I’m going to come on to you?” Oops. Had she misjudged the situation? Could he really just be offering her friendship? Of course he could! What the hell had made her daydream anything else? A kiss given to hold off a panic attack wasn’t the start of a relationship!
She stood before the mirror, thinking that if Daniel had been there and had seen her at that moment he would have retracted his friendly invitation to dinner and cancelled her number from his expensive phone on the spot. “I didn’t think you… I mean, I didn’t mean you were coming on to me…” She blinked and bit her lip – she was babbling again. She really must learn to filter what she thought before she said it. “I’m flattered, very flattered… but I’d feel uncomfortable… uncomfortable in your world.” “You talk as if I were some kind of alien, Sara, and I’m not. We live on the same planet, both of us.” Was that reproach she could hear in his voice? Maybe a hint of annoyance? His tone had definitely cooled. But after all, it was better that way – there was no point living with your head in the clouds. “I didn’t mean to offend you, Daniel, but I’m sure you know plenty of nice, interesting people, believe me. I’m just an ordinary girl – methodical, boring and a million miles away from the fashion world.” God, I’m neurotic! What the hell am I doing? Go for it! Accept! She heard a long sigh – one of those ‘I’m stretching out like a cat’ ones, and swallowed hard as she imagined it. She sat down on the couch and casually picked up the magazine with the naked pictures of Daniel, blushing at the thought of having that divine creature on the other end of the line. “So basically you’re telling me to cancel your phone number and forget I ever met you?” Sara winced. To tell the truth, she wasn’t exactly thrilled, but she knew herself and she was certain that whatever relationship they might end up having wouldn’t be the right one for her. “I’m saying it for your sake. I’d lower the standard of your acquaintances,” she joked. “I’m just a normal girl.” “I get it. Well, it was nice talking to you Sara. I hope you find a job soon. Goodbye!” “Goo—” She didn’t even have time to finish the ‘goodbye’ when Daniel hung up. Sara stood there like a pillar of salt. Had she really refused an invitation to dinner with the man who was now staring up at her from the page of the magazine as though to say ‘take me, I’m yours’? Why? She still didn’t really know what had made her reject him. She’d always wondered if she was crazy. Well now she had the proof.

Chapter 5
The Merry Wives
“You must be nuts!” exclaimed Virginia, dressed in lilac, brown boots and with her hair in a long ponytail, as she distractedly stirred her cocktail with her straw and stared angrily at her sister. “No, nuts isn’t exactly the word that comes to mind,” chimed in Lia, with her sly little face, heart shaped lips, eyes as blue as the sky and black curls that fell to her shoulders. She was a nurse at the Bambino Gesù Children’s Hospital, was twenty-four years old and had been a friend of Sara’s since she had moved to Rome three years ago. The three of them were in a noisy, crowded bar with loud rock music blaring out in the background. Their night out had just begun and Sara was pleased to see that they’d identified their topic of conversation: her! “Come on, girls, are you kidding? Daniel Gant and I have nothing in common.” “Except for a bit of saliva!” laughed Lia, as she sipped a very red Bloody Mary and looked around for prey. She’d been single for three months, was desperate to get back into action, and was taking no prisoners. In the background Bruno Mars was shouting about being Locked Out of Heaven, setting the mood for the three young women’s thoughts. Sara leaned back in her Wild West style wooden chair and snorted. “You ought to be telling me that I’m right!” Virginia and Lia looked at each other and burst out laughing, then clinked their glasses to toast her stupidity. Sara glared at them and sipped her mojito. “She said no to marble-arse!” “She turned down an invitation to dinner with Mr ‘I-might-be-naked-but-I-still-look-stylish’!” “She’d rather stay at home with a book and a packet of crisps than eat dessert with Mr ‘Let-metake-you-to-heaven-tonight’—” “That’s enough!” said Sara, while the other two giggled. “Listen, I’m looking for someone who’s able to make me feel special! One who knows how to make me smile, and who’s all mine – not one that belongs to the entire female population of the planet.” “God you’re so boring – wake up, sweetheart! You’re twenty-five and you missed out on an incredible opportunity yesterday. Daniel Gant is monstrously cool – he’s sexy, he’s exotic and he’s
fun. I saw an interview with him on the Letterman Show and I think he might even be a bit intelligent! What more do you want?” Lia was right, and Sarah knew it. “Ok, I messed up.” She lowered her eyes and began to pretend to sweep crumbs off the table with her hand to hide her embarrassment. “Call him,” suggested Virginia, her sly eyes on her sister. “No way!” “Well you’d better hope your pride keeps you warm on the chilly Roman nights, then,” said Lia, motioning to the tall, dark, muscular waiter to bring her another cocktail. “Girls, it’s out of the question, I’m not going to call him. I don’t want to look like a little girl who can’t make her mind up. I stole a kiss from him and you have no idea how embarrassed I am about it.” “You were being a good Samaritan,” said Virginia, looking at Lia. The two burst out laughing again, and this time Sara joined in. She took a handful of peanuts and put them in her mouth. “God he’s a good kisser,” she said, as she munched greedily. “I knew it!” Virginia leaned forward conspiratorially. “Nobody that well put together couldn’t not be.” She nodded smugly, as though she was an expert on the matter. “A sex god!” chuckled Lia. “You’re getting vulgar,” scolded Sara. “Hey, this is a girls’ night out – everything’s legitimate!” chipped in Virginia, adding, “Anyway, apparently Mr Gant has split up with Delphina McDougal, the model in those Dolce & Gabbana adverts.” “Oh, she’s gorgeous – she’s got an amazing body, and all that silky black hair. Who knows how they get it so shiny,” said Lia, looking puzzled. “They must use Ambrosia,” retorted Virginia. “I don’t remember seeing the advert for that,” admitted Sara, imagining Venus rising from the waters clad only in enough sex appeal to put Miss Universe to shame. “You live on another planet, you know that? I sometimes wonder if you really are my sister—” “Yeah, yeah, I know, I’m always saying to Mum that they must have switched babies in the hospital. Anyway, see? I was right to say no – Daniel Gant goes out with models, actresses, TV presenters—” “Hold it right there!” Virginia made a dramatic gesture and a devilish smile appeared on her face. “What?” asked Sara, casting her a suspicious glance. “You’ve been reading up on him! My perfect sister who always has everything under control, everything planned, has been doing her research!”
From behind her second Bloody Mary, Lia stared at her like a hunting dog. “So you do like him!” “I’d have to be dead and buried not to find him attractive, girls, come on… but the truth is that it just didn’t feel right.” Virginia became serious. “What are you talking about?” “It’s the truth – I just… lost my nerve. I never thought he would really call anyway. He’s part of the glitterati, he’s always in the gossip mags, always looks so amazing in every photo. He doesn’t even seem real.” “That kiss in the lift was real enough!” remarked Lia. “That situation was anything but real. It was like a hallucination – total madness…” “A magnificent twist of fate that threw you together with that stupendous creature,” sighed Virginia. “How else could you ever possibly have met him?” “And that’s exactly my point – I wasn’t supposed to, because people like me and him have nothing in common, nothing at all. Me and Delphina – and what kind of stupid name is Delphina, anyway? – are as far apart as fire and water, earth and sky…” “All the greatest love stories come from exactly that type of thing,” said Lia, with conviction. “Opposites attract, everybody knows that!” “Yes, in romance novels and Hollywood comedies! Wake up you two – this is real life, and I want a real boyfriend! One who’s all mine and who isn’t going to go into anaphylactic shock just because I’m wearing baggy old jeans, a ponytail and no make-up.” “As far as I’m concerned you’re just narrow minded, not to mention a chicken!” said Virginia crossly. “For God’s sake, you’ve gone on loads of dates, you’re a lovely looking girl – ok, you might not be a Delphina, but who is? Probably not even her when she wakes up in the morning with dried dribble around her mouth, no make-up and messy hair. You’re scared of not being up to going out with Daniel. You’re scared of actually having a relationship.” “Well, can you blame me, after Carlo?” “No, of course not. But not all men are bastards like Carlo, sis, and you can’t spend the rest of your life alone.” “I just never find the right guy.” “That’s because you never give anyone the chance to be the right guy – as soon as you meet them, you’ve already cancelled them from your personal database. For the last three years you’ve only been on first dates. Just let that sink in for a minute.” “You let it sink in that I’m not letting someone I’ve only just met stick his tongue in my mouth, ok?”
Lia finished her second cocktail and, in a vaguely tipsy voice, said “You let Daniel stick his tongue in your mouth the first time you met him, and that wasn’t even a date!” Virginia nodded smugly and Sara could only raise her eyes to heaven in defeat. They were right. About everything.

About the author
Patricia Mar was born in Ravenna. Her great passions have always been writing and reading. She never leaves home without a book in her handbag. Stuck On You, originally self-published, has been a bestseller in Italy.

You can find Patricia Mar on Twitter

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