Men of the Zodiac novel by Annie Seaton
One lie will ruin everything…
Gia Carelli waits tables in her small Tuscan village, dreaming of a life in which her overbearing family allows her to move to Florence to pursue art. Everyone expects her to marry a nice local boy and raise a horde of bambini, but when a gorgeous, wealthy stranger visits, Gia wonders if maybe her stars are about to change.
Nic Baldini has returned to his Tuscan Villa for a much-needed break from the responsibilities of his powerful family. Struck by local artist Gia Carelli’s raw talent and passion, he finds himself wanting to help her…and lies about his identity in order to gain her trust. But as theirpatron-protegée relationship is quickly eclipsed by desire, Nic realizes that one tiny lie could cost him the woman he’s falling for.
A few things first:
1. Ms. Seaton is one of my go to authors that never ceases to amaze me.
2. I’m a sucker for the Indulgence line from Entangled Publishing. Sue me.
3. I like my stories were the sex scenes make sense, relateable and appropriate for the characters and just a bit of spice. Ms. Seaton nails Nic and Gia’s scenes perfectly. 😉
4. Did I mention that I love Annie? No…well, I do.
Okay, now to the actual review. This book had me from the beginning. A sucker for the movie Under the Tuscan Sun with Diane Lane. Italy is one of my countries on my bucket list to visit. You can tell that Ms. Seaton has spent time there and I love that she used a part of her trip to insert some scenes into this book.
I know that most people aren’t going to like Gia’s family but that’s just the Italian way. I could understand their over protectiveness but if there is one family member that stepped up it was her brother Gabriel. He finally got it at the apartment in Florence. I honestly didn’t feel sorry for Gia at all. I know I should have but she LET it happen. She never stood up for herself until the end and oh boy…LOVED IT! Nailed it. Too bad that her family never understood that her painting is how she truly expressed herself. Nic got that.
Nic was a bit confusing to me in the end. Yes, I read the last 20% of the book 3 times to fully understand him. I felt like I was missing something with him but in the end the light bulb FINALLY come on for me. *shakes head* In the end, I did love him but it just took me awhile. Plus, he really was trying to help Gia, not control her.
If you are looking for a sweet, sexy book set in Italy this book is for you. I love art so the subject matter was right my alley, too. I actually learned a thing or two about how an artist “thinks” about their own art and another person sees it. As I’ve always said, art is subjective and no one is going to like everything that the artist paints. Or writes. Even a reviewer.
If you have never tried Indulgence, I highly recommend the line from Entangled. Annie Seaton is one of the best because she always sets her stories in countries that I want to visit and I feel like I’m there when I read her. Plus, she brings true emotion and depth to her characters. No weaklings or too Alpha in her books. Just enough for this reader.
If I had one compliant…I wanted more of their story. Maybe another book, Ms. Seaton? With Antonio, Gabe or even Louisa?
About the Author: Annie Seaton lives on the edge of the South Pacific Ocean on the east coast of Australia and she is fulfilling her lifelong dream of writing. She has been delighted to discover that readers love reading her stories as much as she loves writing them. Annie lives with her own hero of many years. Their two children are now grown up and married, and two beautiful grandchildren have arrived. Now they share their home with “Bob” the dog and two white cats. When she is not writing she can be found in her garden or walking on the beach… or most likely on her deck overlooking the ocean, a chilled glass of wine in hand as the sun sets.
“Hmm. Let me see. Can I find a spot that needs attention?” Nic’s voice was low, and he was so close to her it vibrated through her skin. Gia looked down at his chest and her eyes lingered on the beautiful script that was embedded into his skin.
“So that is the tattoo. Courage, Nic?” She grinned up at him as she placed both of her hands on the word that was inked on his skin. “I have no doubt you have plenty of that.”
Slowly he lowered the brush, and for a moment, Gia thought she’d escaped retaliation for daubing his cheek with paint.
“Maybe you need a little courage. Do you think, bella?”
He grabbed both of her hands with one of his and held the brush high with the other. Her breath caught as Nic used his body to gently push her back against the wall. She watched fascinated as he lowered his head and caught the thin straps of her singlet top in his teeth, and the stubble of his chin brushed her shoulder as he slid the strap down with his teeth. A shaft of pure desire ran from her shoulder and honed straight between her legs. If Nic hadn’t been supporting her with his body, Gia would have slid down the wall into a useless heap; her legs were trembling with anticipation.
She swallowed and lowered her voice. “Courage for what?”
Nic lifted his head and held her gaze. “Coraggio. To have faith in yourself and your exhibition.” His eyes were half-closed, but Gia watched with fascination as he leaned back and lowered the brush. The first strokes on the top of her breast were feather soft, and she tipped her head back and closed her eyes. A half swirl for the C and her fingers tingled with the need to touch Nic, but he still held her hands firmly in his. His brow was creased with concentration as his eyes remained firmly fixed on her breasts as the brush tickled her. The circle for the O was painstakingly slow, and she was sure he was deliberately taking his time to complete each letter. The R was completed just as slowly, and Gia closed her eyes when Nic began the next letter. The paint was cool on her skin, and the sensation of the tip of the fine brush was sending quivers to her belly.
“Hmmm. We have a problem.”