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Thursday, October 25, 2018

SPOTLIGHT: What's Love Got to Do With It by Anna Premoli @aria_fiction

What's Love Got to Do With It
by Anna Premoli

Thank you to Aria Fiction for this stop on the Blog Tour - continue below to learn about the book, the author and read an excerpt.

Kayla David is a high-flying journalist in New York City, spending all her time drinking martinis and writing about fashion trends. She is perfectly happy with her life, and she certainly has no time for falling in love.

That is, until, her boss decides to send her on a secret mission back to her hometown of Arkansas: she is tasked with exposing the truth about the fracking industry and to use her reputation as a lifestyle columnist as a disguise. She is horrified at the thought of returning to this boring country town, but up for the challenge.

Yet, she didn’t plan on having to deal with Grayson Moir, the sexy but aloof mayor of Heber Spring. As Kayla settles into life there she soon realises that it might be a bit more difficult than she thought to keep her real mission a secret. And what’s more, she finds it increasingly difficult to keep her heart under control too… 

Anna was born in Croatia but moved to Milan as a young child and has lived there since. She has worked in the Asset Management industry for JPMorgan and is now employed in Private Banking for an Italian bank, where she manages HNW positions. She started writing romantic comedies to fight financial markets stress after the Lehman crack, when she was expecting her son, now six. Writing was supposed to be only a hobby, but her husband self-published her first novel as a birthday present four years ago, and it was a great success in Italy.


The pickup of the man who hates electric blue pulls up in front of a pretty house with planking walls and a dark roof. It is surrounded by a garden full of flowers and bushes and shady areas from tall trees. The grass is perfectly mown and the plants beautifully kept. I can’t help but smile at the thought of what a perfectionist Aunt Jill is – or at least, she is with her plants and flowers. She doesn’t care about much more important stuff, but she’s absolutely hardcore about the height of the grass or the shapes of the bushes. I guess each of us decides our own priorities in life.
I pull up behind him and stop the car. The cowboy gets out of his truck and waits for me to join him. “There you go: Jill Ferguson’s house,” he declares with satisfied look on his face.
I recognise it immediately. It’s true that I haven’t been here much over the last few years, but my mother used to bring me to see Aunt Jill quite often when I was a child. I used to like it here, and I used to like hanging out with her. I remember that we had a lot of fun together. She used to be pretty eccentric, and I hope she still is. I think that happy people age better.
“Home and dry,” I say with a grateful smile. “Okay, well, thanks a lot…” I suddenly realise I don’t know his name.
“Greyson,” he informs me.
“Thanks a lot, Greyson. I am Kayla,” I reply, and stretch my hand out to shake his. He takes it very firmly, and the contact between our hands is surprisingly intense. Well, to be completely honest, it’s not that surprising.
“Yes, I know,” he says as if it was perfectly normal, and then turns round to walk back to his car.
I give him a curious look. “And just how, exactly, do you know?”
He stops for a moment and then climbs into the pickup. “I know everything,” he says, giving me a wink.
Greyson’s car has just left when Aunt Jill appears and starts running over to greet me. She’s just how I remember her except for one small detail: her hair is blue. Not completely blue and absolutely not electric blue, but close enough. Greyson must have decided the whole family is crazy and that our obsession with this colour is in our DNA, something we’ve passed down from generation to generation. And to judge by the sight of Aunt Jill, I can’t totally exclude the idea.
“Kayla!” she says while she hugs me. She’s small and skinny, but she’s gripping me tighter than a boa constrictor. I must remember to ask her about her training routine.
“Aunt Jill! You haven’t changed at all!” I exclaim in surprise. I didn’t want her to look old, of course, but she looks even younger than the last time I saw her.
“Oh, what nonsense,” she replies immediately. “I’ve changed plenty – but for the better.” She really is the same person I remembered: straight shooting and a little crazy. “Let me take a good look at you instead… That big city’s air isn’t good for you at all, my dear – why, you’re as pale as a sheet!” she informs me. To be fair, this year we haven’t really had a proper spring yet, which is why my complexion is still so winter like. I also have dark hair, which makes my skin look even paler than it actually is.
“I’ve been writing a column about night life in New York, so I never really get much of a chance to spend any time in the sun…” I say, trying to justify myself as best as I can.
She glares at me. “I know. It’s obvious that you don’t take good care of yourself. But your bag is fabulous!” she exclaims, staring at it ecstatically.
“And you haven’t even seen my shoes…” I say, showing them off very proudly.
She bursts out laughing. “If only I was about fifty years younger I’d steal them from you. But as I’m eighty-two already, I think that might be a little dangerous.”
“Well, thanks for admiring them anyway,” I say. “Finally, someone who appreciates beautiful accessories.”
“Why, who had the cheek not to like them?” she asks so seriously that I love her even more.
“Oh, nobody important… I had to ask some guy for directions to get to your house. He was driving along the highway and stopped to help me. He’s called Greyson, do you know him? Tall, blond…” I say, trying to keep my voice and my expression as neutral as possible.
I must have failed though, because now she’s looking at me with a very curious expression on her face. “Honey, this town is very small and everybody knows everybody. So of course I know Greyson.”
Yes, I was afraid she might. “And is he trustworthy, as far as you’re aware? Or is he a serial killer?”
My aunt starts laughing as if I had said the most ridiculous thing in the world. “Oh my God! Greyson a serial killer? No, he’s not a serial killer. I can assure you that you’re completely safe with him.”
Personally speaking, I wouldn’t use the word ‘safe’ to talk about a man like that. He might have a reassuring face, but apart from that he doesn’t look safe at all. He’s a mystery. I can’t say why, but I know men enough to recognise one who might be dangerous for me. And I’m not talking about the kind of danger where you get dragged into the woods… The risk concerns me, mostly: I might end up doing something stupid. I need to be careful, because I came here for a very precise reason. Or actually, for two very precise reasons, one of which is official and the other of which must remain secret. Both things will keep me busy enough, though, so I mustn’t waste energy with dumb daydreams.
“Well, it doesn’t matter anyway. I doubt I’ll run into him again,” I conclude, although I’m clearly just trying to reassure myself.
But with my aunt, things are never that easy. “Oh I’m sure you are going to run into him again. And often too.” She makes it sound like a threat – a scary one.
“Well anyway, let’s forget about Greyson for now. Let’s talk about serious stuff: are you sure that you’re okay with me staying with you for a few months? You’re sure I’m not going to be bothering you?” I ask. I’ve called her to ask if I could stay about twenty times already, but I feel I should ask her again, this time in person. When you look someone in the eye, it’s easier to tell if they’re just being nice or lying.
My aunt is being honest though, much to my surprise. She looks very serious as she says, “Of course I’m okay with it! I’ve been getting so bored… you have no idea! You’ve come just in time to save me from a very dull period. At my age it’s really hard to meet interesting men…”
Her words make me smile. “And you can’t imagine how hard it is at my age…” I admit.
She stares at me sceptically. “Well, at least they’re almost all still alive at your age. You have a wider selection to choose from. At my age they’re mostly underground… It’s a pain in the ass that we women live longer. I’m not joking: it’s a serious problem.”
“So what’s the problem, then? Just go after younger ones!”
I’m just kidding around, but Aunt Jill’s answer sounds very serious.
“I’ve already tried that, my dear, and I realised just how many immature men there are around. It’s amazing.”
What can I say, I totally agree with her. I should probably have some witty comeback, but I can’t come up with anything. My aunt has succeeded where many others before her have failed: leaving me speechless.
“Anyway, your room is ready. It’s the same one you used to stay in when you were a kid. Do you remember it?”
Unfortunately I remember that room very well… My aunt is lovely, but our tastes in interior design couldn’t be more different. I think her inspiration comes mostly from the British nineteenth century, because she really loves floral wallpaper and coordinated accessories. I prefer something a bit more minimalist, personally: white walls, a few pieces of furniture in neutral or grey shades and some tasteful ornaments.
Trying not to feel too depressed at the thought of the room, I grab my luggage from the back seat of the car and follow her inside. There are flowers everywhere, even more than I remembered. I just hope that they are all fake, otherwise there’s a good chance that I’ll die of hay fever. And in fact, in less than a minute I start sneezing. It’s practically a record.
“Are you OK?” asks Aunt Jill, turning towards me.
The first thing I need to do today is look for a pharmacy. There must be at least one even in this place, right? I really need some powerful antihistamines. In big dosages.
“Absolutely,” I smile.

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