Authors: Lily Zante
It Takes Two
(Italian Summer Series, Book 1)
Text copyright © 2015
All Rights Reserved
Book Description: A summer in Verona…
Rona Fernández left Verona with a clutch of happy memories. Her late night and frequent visits to the charming Gioberti's restaurant had raised some eyebrows but nobody was overly suspicious of why she would go alone each evening.
Not even her husband.
Married and still looking hot despite a baby and almost seven years of marriage, Rona prides herself on looking good and getting noticed. Her five-two diet, love of tight and bright clothes, flashy jewelry and signature big hair make sure she is never a wall flower.
It's just a shame that her hard-working husband is too busy working to pay her much attention.
When she returns to Verona to help her pregnant sister with her business and impending wedding, Rona sees another opportunity to make the most of life.
A harmless flirtation every now and then isn't such a bad thing. As long it stays that way.
‘It Takes Two’ is the first book in the ‘Italian Summer Series’, which is a spin-off from the ‘
’ and the first book in that series, ‘
Honeymoon For One
,’ is currently free at all retailers.
consists of a series three standalone books which tell the stories about the lives of characters who first appeared in the ‘
. In addition you also get to discover what is going on in the lives of the main couple, Ava and Nico, from the first series.
If you haven’t read the first three books in the Honeymoon series, please be aware that there will be spoilers in this book.
The timelines of both series are connected and
you can find a recommended reading order here
It Takes Two
’ is Rona’s story. Gina’s and Andrea’s stories are expected in Summer 2016.
Italian Summer Series:
(A spin-off from the Honeymoon Series)
Honeymoon Series Boxed Set
(Books 2, 3 & 4)
Perfect Match Series:
Perfect Match Boxed Set
(Books 1, 2 & 3)
Tainted Love Series:
(A spin-off from the Perfect Match Series)
Tainted Love Boxed Set
(Books 1, 2 & 3)
The Billionaire’s Love Story:
“Can I buy you a drink?”
Rona glanced at the tall stranger with his unkempt hair and eyes so intense that a lesser diva would have melted. She assessed him casually, appeared to consider his offer but shook her head even though she enjoyed the way he looked at her. “I’m good, thanks.”
“I bet you’re not that good. Not really. Not dressed like that.” His gaze dropped to the deep V of her turquoise top and he licked his lips in appreciation.
“I’m old enough to buy my own drinks.”
“I’m sure you’re old enough to do a lot of things.”
This guy wasn’t shy. She held up her left hand so he could see her wedding ring.
“My husband thinks I am.” She picked up the pitcher of Margarita in one hand and a pitcher of mint Mojito in the other and walked away.
“If you ever get lonely...” He shouted after her. She sashayed back to the table where her friends were waiting; three pairs of wide open eyes stared back at her.
“You’ve still got it, girlfriend,” Mercedes commented as she refilled her empty glass. “What’s your secret?”
“The five-two diet,” said Rona. “It works, I’m telling you.” She held up her cocktail glass. “May our girls’ nights out never end—even when we’re old and past it.”
They all tapped their glasses lightly with hers.
“Amen,” said Mercedes, solemnly. As a mother of two children under the age of five, these nights out were her life buoy.
“I’ll get the drinks next time,” said Celine, turning to give the man a good once over. At twenty-seven, she was the youngest of them all. She was still desperately trying to find ‘the one’ and had been single for nearly three months.
“I tried that diet, but it didn’t work for me. Besides, I hate being told what I can and can’t eat,” lamented Jodi.
“Why would you bother trying? You’ll be pregnant soon enough,” said Celine, carelessly.
A silence hushed their carefree chatter.
“I’m not pregnant
and we’ve been trying for months,” complained Jodi, refilling her glass.
“I bet you’re having fun trying,” sniggered Celine. “I know I would if I had a man.” Her smile vanished just as quickly. Rona rolled her eyes at Jodi.
Celine and her endless quest for A Man.
“How come we had to keep rearranging tonight?” asked Jodi. Rona let out a low groan. “Ava,” she reminded them.
“She kept you busy, huh?” asked Celine. “Maybe I need to get myself to Italy and get me a fine specimen of a man just like the one she has.” Her friends knew Ava and they were all fully up to date with her exploits in Italy which had now resulted in a baby on the way as well as an impending wedding to one of the most eligible and handsome men in Verona. She was their icon. All, except Rona’s.
“She’s a slave driver,” complained Rona. Her sister had returned to Denver briefly in order to resolve some of the issues with her online store. It was expanding too fast for her to keep up and now that she was going to live in Italy, she had to come up with a solution for handling her US operations.
Rona picked up her cocktail glass. It wasn’t her problem now. The only problem she had was one called Kim.
The problem being that she wasn’t a virtual assistant anymore.
Mercedes wanted to know. “How’s it working out—this other woman and you? You said she was a pain in the butt.”
“She still is a pain in the butt,” Rona confirmed. She’d suffered while her mother had been in Verona. Carlos could only look after Tori one weekday, and the order numbers had exploded. Some days she’d take Tori with her and put her in the playpen in the kitchen, just so she could get some work done. Other times she’d do the unthinkable: start work at six in the morning and work until around eleven, leaving Tori with Carlos. Since he worked in this family’s restaurant business, he often started work late and finished late. But during Ava’s recent visit, she had employed Kim, who was once her virtual assistant, to help out with order processing, as well as dealing with customer queries.
“Now you’re sharing the work?” Celine asked.
“She does a few days and I do a few days. Different days,” Rona quickly added.
“I don’t have to see the woman,” Rona smiled.
“How old is she?” asked Jodi, curious.
“And her son?”
“Wow,” said Mercedes, her eyes wide with admiration. “That must be so hard. I bet she’s really ambitious.”
“Getting knocked up at nineteen doesn’t sound too ambitious to me,” retorted Rona, flicking her nails. “Anyhow, I only have to work two days a week now. It was killing me having to work everyday.”
“I bet,” said Mercedes. She’d given up work the moment she’d had her firstborn and had no intention of returning. “By the way, your haircut suits you. It makes you look younger.”
“I didn’t realize I looked older before,” Rona replied, running her fingers through her light brown hair. Previously long and layered it had now been stylishly cut to just below her shoulders. She couldn’t resist swishing it around—just like the models did in those hair ads.
But Carlos hadn’t even noticed until she’d forcefully stood in his way. “What?” he’d asked, frowning at her.
“You look happier?” he’d commented, clueless.
“Anything else?” she’d asked, giving her head a jiggle.
“It’s colored? And…it’s…shorter,” he cried in dismay. “Aww, baby, why did you go and do that for?” It hadn’t been the response she’d been looking for.
“I loved your hair the way it was before.” He’d told her.
She pushed thoughts of Carlos out of her mind and glanced over at the bar again. The tall stranger had been watching her and he raised his glass to her. She raised hers in return.
“Are you going to encourage him?” said Celine, irritated.
“I’m not encouraging him. He knows I’m married.” replied Rona.
“Some men don’t care,” remarked Mercedes.
“Why don’t you go over and start talking to him if you’re so desperate to meet a guy?” Rona shifted her gaze from the stranger to her friend. Celine couldn’t stomach it when any of the others, all married, got attention she thought she deserved on account of her single status.
“Nice to be noticed,” sighed Jodi.
“What diet was that again?” Mercedes asked. “I can’t diet to save my life. The only time I lose weight is when I stop breast feeding.”
“Yeah,” agreed Rona. “Apparently it’s meant to fall off then. So I heard.” Not that she’d breastfed Tori. Breasts, in her opinion, were for adult use and she was relieved she’d never let a baby near hers. Tori had done just fine with infant formula.
“Don says he wants another one,” said Mercedes, her face contorting.
“Really?” asked Jodi, wincing.
“He wants four,” said Mercedes, matter-of-factly.
“Ouch,” said Rona, pulling a face. “How many do
“I don’t mind. If he wants more, why not?”
want more?” asked Rona. It wasn’t as though they were talking about a bag of sweets here. She couldn’t imagine agreeing to another child or three just because Carlos thought it would be
. She couldn’t put her body through nine months of hell to be followed by hours of blood loss, damage to her sensitive parts and months of inconvenience afterwards. Not getting nine hours of uninterrupted sleep for months was bad enough.
“This is when sex gets scary,” remarked Celine. Kids weren’t in her game plan yet.
“He says he comes from a family of three, and that three is an odd number. So he wants two or four. But now that we’ve got two, he kinda likes the idea of having two more. It’ll be even then.”
“But what do you think?” asked Rona, intrigued.
“It’s okay with me. The other two are going to be at school soon enough and it’ll be nice having another one around the house.”