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Sunday, February 17, 2019

SPOTLIGHT and EXTRACT: Summer on the Italian Lakes by Lucy Coleman @aria_fiction @lucycolemanauth

Summer on the Italian Lakes 
by Lucy Coleman

Thank you to Aria Fiction for this spotlight - continue to read an extract and head to my Instagram Page and look for the photo to enter and win 1 of 2 e-copies!

Publisher: Aria
Publish Date: February 5, 2019
Kindle Edition
404 Pages
Genre: Romance

Bestselling Brianna Middleton has won the hearts of millions of readers with her sweeping - and steamy - love stories. But the girl behind the typewriter is struggling... Not only does she have writer's block, but she's a world-famous romance author with zero romance in her own life.
So the opportunity to spend the summer teaching at a writer's retreat in an idyllic villa on the shores of Lake Garda - owned by superstar author Arran Jamieson - could this be just the thing to fire up Brie's writing - and romantic - mojo?
Brie's sun-drenched Italian summer could be the beginning of this writer's very own happy-ever-after...

‘Paul Turner looked the part and he seemed genuine enough, but he’s a marketable commodity and he knows that. Falling in love is a luxury he can’t afford, even if he wanted to. He has to make money while he can and that means as much red carpet, tabloid and TV exposure as he can get. Everyone he dates is scrutinised and I should have warned you what you were getting yourself into. He’s so charming, though, and I don’t for one minute think his attraction to you was fake. But his business head dictates his decisions, because no one knows how long fame and public favour lasts. You mustn’t confuse that type of existence with real life. It’s about putting on a show.’

I look at her, shame-faced; she’s trying so hard to make me feel better.

‘He thought I was… boring, Mel. That bit was real. And I am. Look at me – I’m thirty-one years old and I live in my PJs most of the time. I seldom go out these days and I’ve lost touch with the world out there. All the posh frocks, facials and professionally applied make-up couldn’t disguise the me underneath it all.’

‘Look, Paul was one smooth guy in public, but in private even he was using drink and a few choice recreational drugs to cope with the pressure. That alone would have been tough to handle in a relationship, but the personal attacks you suffered were beyond belief. Now, well, you’re just going through a bit of a rough patch in the aftermath of it all.’

‘And some. Every time I look at myself, I fear the trolls have won. I don’t go out any more because none of my clothes fit me and I don’t feel like me. I’ve let myself down by allowing the trolls to erode my confidence and that’s a horrible feeling. They’ve stolen my sense of… worth. The truth is that I’ve done this to myself and now I feel like I’m a prisoner in someone else’s body.’ Mel sidles up to give me a hug as the tears begin to roll down my cheeks.

‘Hey, it’s not that bad. We can fix this. You’re one strong lady, Brie, and now you’ve come to your senses you will turn this around. You wouldn’t be human if you didn’t occasionally get a bit lost. Personally, I think we learn more from our mistakes than we do from our successes, but it’s a painful process. First of all, we have to sort out that hair. I mean, it looks like you’re wearing a stuffed cat.’

I look at her and laugh. ‘It’s a bit matted, I’m afraid.’

She looks around the room.

‘How about we do a makeover of the house and you at the same time? I’ll get on the phone and call in the cleaners to spruce this beautiful cottage up a bit. You and I can then head off to a spa at the weekend to kick start your programme. What do you think?’

That gives me two days to get my act together, ready to face the world outside my door. My brain might have stopped functioning but at least I still have a sense of pride.

‘I think you’re a life saver, Mel. You’re the one person who really understands me. So yes, let’s do it.’

‘Your problem is, Brie, that you spend too much time talking to your characters rather than talking to the people who love you. And that includes Carrie. She isn’t just your agent, she’s a good friend and she’s concerned about you. This was her idea, actually.’

I smile. ‘That doesn’t mean she still doesn’t scare me at times. She’s ballsy and I wish I had a fraction of her energy and bubbly personality. When she enters a room, everyone is well aware of her presence whereas I slink in and hide in the corner.’

Mel stands back, giving me a stern look.

‘Don’t you ever apologise for being you! We wouldn’t be friends if you were some over the top, conceited author who was constantly seeking the spotlight. That’s why I should have realised Paul was wrong for you, from the start. You aren’t an attention seeker, Brie. But you wear your heart on your sleeve and maybe you need to toughen up a little. Let’s get the old, confident Brie back. The one who was content and optimistic about finding her Mr Right one day soon.’

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