Dear Reader,

Isn’t it ironic that the day you get your hair professionally styled it rains or blows a gale? And isn’t it ironic that when you have rushed like a mad thing to get to an appointment only to find when you arrive the person you have booked to see is running behind?  

There are three types of irony: verbal, dramatic and situational.

The one I explore in One Night Heir is situational. In fact, I would hazard a guess that a lot of romance themes play with situational irony. Think of the marriage of convenience when two parties who hate each other are tied together in marriage and end up falling in love. Or what about the rags to riches theme where the bad boy becomes a billionaire and the rich girl penniless?

My heroine Maya has an ironic situation to deal with. She is in the throes of divorcing the rich and powerful head of the Sabbatini family. She has been married to him for five years but was unable to do the one thing he required of her: produce him an heir. The heartbreak of several miscarriages and then subsequent fertility issues has brought her to the point where she can no longer foresee any type of future with Giorgio.

But a one night encounter at Giorgio’s brother’s wedding brings about a surprise Maya had never thought possible. She is expecting her soon-to-be-ex-husband’s baby! But what is she to do? She has not carried a pregnancy further than a couple of months. She doesn’t want to get all excited in case this too ends in tragedy.  So she keeps quiet...

Giorgio has never been agreeable to the divorce, so when his grandfather informs him privately of his terminal illness Giorgio seizes the chance to get Maya to come back to him, even if it’s temporarily just so his beloved grandfather can rest in peace believing Giorgio and Maya are happily reunited. More situational irony!

I just loved writing this book because it explores some deep issues to do with love and commitment. Both Maya and Giorgio had to learn that true love doesn’t have conditions attached. Maya had to trust that Giorgio would love her even if she failed to produce a live heir. And Giorgio had to learn that he was capable of loving someone so much that nothing mattered more than being with them.

I hope you enjoy Book Two of the Sabbatini Brothers Trilogy.

Happy reading,

Melanie



Excerpt from One Last Night

© Melanie Milburne


‘When do you leave?’ Giorgio asked into the pulsing silence.

With an effort she met his gaze. ‘Next Monday.’

‘This is all rather sudden, is it not?’ he asked, frowning darkly. ‘I thought you had decided long ago you weren’t going to go back to teaching. Or are you trying to imply to outsiders that I’m not paying you enough in our divorce settlement?’

Maya refused to rise to the bait. ‘I don’t care what people think, Giorgio. I want to go back to teaching because I have a brain that longs to be used. I was never cut out for the ladies-who-do-lunch set. I should never have given up my career in the first place. I don’t know what on earth I was thinking.’

He continued to study her with his dark unreadable gaze. ‘You seemed pretty happy with the arrangement to begin with,’ he said. ‘You said your career was not as important as mine. You jumped at the chance to become a full time wife.’

Maya mentally cringed at how romantically deluded she had been back then. Although she hadn’t for a moment thought he was marrying her for love, she had longed for it to happen all the same. His marrying her had more to do with tradition and expectation from his family. He had reached the age of thirty and, in the tradition of the Sabbatini blood line, he’d needed a wife and heir. Giorgio had showered her with diamonds and she had been fooled into believing in the whole fairy tale that one day they would get their happy ever after. How young and naive she had been! Just twenty-two years old, fresh out of university, she had fallen in love on her first trip abroad. It had taken her five heartbreaking years to finally grow up and realise not all fairy tales had a happy ending.

‘I had stars in my eyes,’ she said, knowing it would feed his opinion of her as a gold-digger but doing it anyway. ‘All that money, all that fame, all those luxury hotels and villas and exotic holidays. What girl could possibly resist?’

His brows snapped together and that leaping knot of tension appeared again at the corner of his mouth. ‘If you think for even a moment that you are getting half of all I own, then think again,’ he bit out. ‘I don’t care if it takes my legal team a decade to thrash this out in court, I will not roll over for you.’

Maya raised her chin at him. It was always about money with Giorgio. She had been yet another business transaction and the thing that rankled with him was it had failed. The truth was they had both failed. She hadn’t made him any happier than he had made her. Money had cushioned things for a while but she had come to see the only way to move forward was to part.

‘You will only delay the divorce even further,’ she said. ‘I am not after much, in any case.’

Giorgio gave a snort. ‘Not much? Come on, Maya. You want the villa at Bellagio. That has been in my family for seven generations. It is priceless to my family. I suppose that’s why you want to take it away from us.’

Maya steeled her resolve. ‘The place should have been sold years ago and you know it. We’ve only been there the once and you acted like a caged lion the whole time. Both of your brothers haven’t been there for months and in the whole time we’ve been married your mother has never once gone there. For most of the year it lies empty, apart from the staff. It’s such an obscene waste.’

His eyes moved away from hers, as she knew they would. He absolutely refused to discuss the tragic event that had occurred during his childhood, and every time she had tried to draw him out over his baby sister’s death he put up a wall of resistance that was impenetrable. She hated the way he always locked her out. She hated the way it made her feel as if she was not entitled to know how he felt about even the simplest things. But then all he had wanted from her was a cardboard cut-out wife, a showpiece to hang off his arm and do all the things a corporate wife was supposed to do—all the things except unlock the secret pain of his heart.

He turned his back and paced back and forth, his hands clenching and unclenching by his sides. ‘My mother might one day feel the need to go back to the villa,’ he said. ‘But, until she does, the place is not to be sold.’

Maya shifted her tongue inside her cheek, still intent on needling him. ‘Are you planning to go there any time soon?’ she asked. ‘How long’s it been, Giorgio? Two or three years, or is it four?’

He turned and faced her, his eyes blazing with something hot and hard and dangerous. ‘Don’t push it, Maya,’ he said. ‘You are not getting the villa. Anyway, Luca and Bronte will most probably use it now they are married. It’s a perfect place for Ella to spend her childhood holidays.’

Maya felt her insides clench as she thought of the dark-haired, blue-eyed toddler Luca had introduced to his family a few weeks ago. His new wife, Bronte, a fellow Australian, had met Luca two years ago in London, but Luca had broken off the relationship before he had realised Bronte was carrying his child. Their reunion and marriage had been one of the most romantic and poignant events Maya had ever witnessed.

Being around gorgeous little Ella on the day of the wedding had been a torturous reminder of how Maya had failed to produce an heir. She wondered if that was why she had acted so stupidly and recklessly once the reception had ended. She had been so emotionally overwrought, so desperately lonely and sad at the breakdown of her own marriage that she had weakened when Giorgio had suggested a nightcap.

Going back to his room at the Sabbatini hotel in Milan where the reception was held had been her first mistake. Her second had been to let him kiss her. And her third…well, she was deeply ashamed of falling into his arms like that. She had acted like a slut and he had walked away from her when it was over as if he had paid for her services like a street worker.

‘I want the villa, Giorgio,’ she said, holding his diamond-hard gaze. ‘I surely deserve some compensation. I could ask for a whole lot more and you know it.’

His jaw moved forward in an uncompromising manner, his eyes now darker than ink. ‘I wouldn’t want you to get the wrong idea here, Maya. I want this divorce just as much as you do. But the villa is not negotiable. I am not going to budge on this.’

His intransigence fuelled Maya’s defiance, so too did his all too ready acceptance of the divorce. Surely, if he had ever felt anything for her, wouldn’t he have fought to keep her by his side no matter what? The only reason he was dragging the chain a bit was over the settlement.

Her bitterness was like a hot flood inside her, scorching its way through her veins. ‘You bastard,’ she threw at him. ‘You’re rich beyond belief and you won’t give me the only thing I want.’

‘Why do you want it?’ he asked. ‘You’re moving to London within days. What use would you have for a thirty-room villa?’

‘I want to develop it,’ she said with a combative toss of her head. ‘It would make a fabulous hotel and health spa. It would provide a supplementary income to my teaching. It would be an investment, a great investment in fact.’

His eyes flashed like lightning. ‘Are you deliberately goading me?’ he asked. ‘Dio, Maya, I’ve already warned you not to push me too far.’

‘Why?’ she tossed back at him. ‘Are you worried you might show some human feelings for once? Some anger, some passion, or maybe even some vulnerability for a change?’

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Contest!


Melanie is hosting a very special contest just for NewsWire readers this time! She has an official Facebook page and would love to have you join her there. Here's how to win:

1 - Visit Melanie's page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Melanie-Milburne/351594482609.
2 - Click the LIKE button towards the top of the screen.
3 - Now suggest the page (or forward this newsletter) to 3 friends who may enjoy Melanie's books.
4 - Then email us at staff@authorsoundrelations.com with the names of the friends you suggested it to.


Be sure to include your full name and mailing address in the email.   Please also remember to mark the subject heading as 'OneLastNight'.

NOTE: If you don't have an account on Facebook, no problem. Skip the first two steps and just forward this newsletter to 3 of your friends and then email your entry. You'll still be entered in the contest!

Do make sure you email your answers only to staff@authorsoundrelations.com or your entry will not be counted!

Four winners will be contacted shortly after June 20th, 2011.

1st Prize: $150 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a book from Melanie's backlist.
2nd Prize: $50 gift card to Barnes & Noble and a book from Melanie's backlist
3rd & 4th Prizes: Two books from Melanie's backlist.

Good luck!

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