Title: Sworn to Forget
Author: Maria Imbalzano
Genre: Contemporary Romance
By all appearances, Nicki Reading is a star. PR director at a major music label, Nicki is sharp, successful, independent and confidently calls the shots. She dates whom she wants, when she wants, with no strings attached. But beneath that shine, loneliness flickers. Events from her past prove love leads only to pain. Commitment is not an option.
Until Dex Hanover, a classy, principled, and prosperous CPA, enters the picture.
Undeterred by his unhappy childhood, he has an amazing capacity to be both caring and generous; giving his free time as a mentor for a child from the projects. Dex wears his paternal yearnings on his sleeve and he is at a point in his life where commitment is the only option.
Despite their opposing views, Nicki and Dex ignite each other. But will events from their pasts ruin their challenging relationship and prevent them from experiencing everlasting love?
Saturn Hall was crowded with prospective purchasers of mediocre, mass-produced art work.
Nicki took in the scene. “Why do people think they’re getting a good deal on this stuff because they’re on a cruise ship? And why would anyone want to spend hundreds, maybe thousands, on art work with no significance or connection to the places they’re visiting?”
Dex leaned in close to her ear, a move that sent glorious shivers down her spine and tingles to her core. “Are you an art snob?”
She turned to look in his eyes, a few inches from hers, and saw the playfulness in their depths. “Yes,” she whispered, not at all sure she was answering his spoken question.
His eyes grew serious as their color darkened. Their lips were so close, getting closer, and Nicki wanted nothing more than to be kissed senseless by this gorgeous, funny, sensitive guy who found her last night.
“Excuse me. Would you like a drink?” A waiter with a tray of white and red wine looked at them expectantly, and the moment vanished.
“No, thanks.” Disappointment at the interruption vied with relief.
She shouldn’t be going down this road with a virtual stranger. She was here with Jonathan, although Jonathan didn’t seem to be here with her. His weakness for gambling tipped the scale against him. C’est la vie. One more casualty in her long list of casualties.
But considering someone to replace him before he even knew he was being replaced was mean. Although it wasn’t her fault. It wasn’t like she was looking.
Dex steered her toward a wall of paintings, modern in technique and subject matter. “Here are some originals for your consideration,” he teased.
“That one wouldn’t look bad in my office.” Nicki stepped to the left, then the right, to see it from different angles. “I kind of like it.” Maybe the spirit of the cruise was infiltrating her brain. Or Dex.
“The art snob has reconsidered.”
She smiled and inched closer to him as they moved around the room. She didn’t care about the art. It was a means to spend time with Dex, in a venue where Jonathan wouldn’t venture. Hopefully, Lisa was similarly averse. She wanted to feel the heat Dex generated, the fizzy sparks that ignited within at his mere presence. An emotional overload she hoped wouldn’t short circuit.
An hour passed much too quickly. “I told Jonathan I’d meet him for lunch at one thirty.” Frustration over making such a date deflated her high.
Dex pulled her into a corner of the room. Facing her, he traced her cheek and jawline with his index finger, green eyes penetrating hers with a power that lunged into her soul. He leaned close, then brushed his lips over hers, so softly, so fleetingly, she wasn’t quite sure she’d just been kissed. Yet her body hummed to life and heated from within.
His mouth was a breath away from hers, his eyes holding her captive. Pure desire coiled in her core and her hand, seemingly of its own volition, reached up to caress his face before sliding around his head to pull him closer, her fingers getting lost in dark, soft hair. She angled her mouth to connect with his, and he complied with her silent plea. Light pressure turned insistent and demanding as he swept his tongue inside. She shamelessly pressed her body to his, reveling in the firmness of his muscles, his strength. She kissed him back with all the pent-up hunger that had built within, since she first saw him across the gaming table.
Nicki reached for her senses. This was crazy. And dangerous.
She pulled away, a delicious burn singeing swollen lips.
“I have to go.” Her husky voice rasped like raw sex, the same passion she saw in his eyes.
She slipped sideways, her breasts brushing his chest, fanning the flames of their smoldering chemistry.
She had to escape this soon-to-be inferno.
Despite her yearning to ignite it.
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It’s a brand-new year, full of possibilities Did you make any resolutions/goals for 2020? If so, please share one.
I’m working on a novella for the Deerbourne Inn Series published by The Wild Rose Press. I’ve never worked on a project where many authors write a story that takes place in the same town (Willow Springs, Vermont) with the same people (plus others added with each new story). I’ve read the series bible and many of the books already written for this series, and I’m loving it. The tentative title for my manuscript is “A Song for Another Day.” The heroine is a singer/dancer and takes a summer job at the Willow Springs Playhouse while waiting for rehearsals to begin for her role in the national touring company of Cats. The hero is a country singer/songwriter from Willow Springs, working toward his big break.
Why is your featured book a must-read in 2020?
“Sworn to Forget” is a story about secrets, self-forgiveness, girlfriend power and love all rolled into book one of The Sworn Sisters Series. My heroine is an independent, strong woman who is afraid to love. Until the right man comes along.
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Maria Imbalzano is a retired matrimonial lawyer who now writes full time. Instead of drafting motions, legal memoranda, and briefs, although fascinating, she now spends her days creating memorable characters and taking them on their emotional journeys through her contemporary romance novels.
In addition to writing fiction, Maria is on the Friends of Thomas Edison State University Foundation Committee and is still involved with Dress for Success Central Jersey, having been a founding Board member. She has received the distinguished Family of Edison Award for her work with The Thomas Edison State University Foundation, the Iron Mike Professional Achievement Award from Trenton Catholic Academy and was inducted into the Italian American National Hall of Fame.
Her novel, “Unchained Memories,” won the Wisconsin Romance Writers Write Touch Readers’ Award and the ACRA Readers’ Choice Heart of Excellence Award. “Sworn to Forget,” the first of the four-book Sworn Sisters Series was a finalist for the illustrious RONE award as well as the Book Buyers Best Award.
Visit Maria at www.mariaimbalzano.com
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