Castle of Dreams Part Three

Dear Reader,

Welcome to the third installment in the Violet Femmes Round Robin. Our site traffic has been wonderfully busy, and we hope you are enjoying our spunky heroine, Amelia, and her Italian cioccolato eye candy, Rafaele.

 Each of the Violet Femmes has their own unique writing style, which is why this project is so fun to do!  It sure makes critiquing manuscripts so much more interesting. (BTW: Thanks Maria for leaving me at the tail end of such a steamy scene!)

 My goal was to up the conflict a notch. Somehow, a diamond necklace wove its way into the plot, twisting the genre toward a romantic suspense. Be forewarned, Joanna’s writers pen is lethal so you never know where this story might go.

 I hope you like it.

 Happy reading,



Amelia’s hands fell to her sides as she faced the source of their interruption. A gloriously spitting mad Madonna—or rather Prima Donna—who seemed to be everything that Amelia was not, stood glaring from the doorway.

She was tall, with long legs immaculately dressed in crisp, white linen pants. Not a wrinkle or crease in sight, as the material shifted from the incessant stomping of a high heel shoe. A fuchsia colored silk shirt, unbuttoned at her collarbone, adorned her thin body. Rich, dark hair cut in a sophisticated bob framed her perfectly symmetrically features. Amelia despised her on sight.

And when Amelia caught sight of the object around her lovely neck shimmering from the chandelier light, she hated her even more.

So this was Rafaele’s fiancé, and in all likelihood, partner in crime? The dossier hadn’t done her justice. Beautiful and arrogant, yes, but she also possessed an overabundance of confidence Amelia could never pull off. It was Tuesday afternoon, for crying out loud. No sane woman wore a diamond necklace—a stolen diamond necklace—around her neck as if it were a simple, everyday adornment. Especially not a 747 c. Ming diamond worth millions.

What Amelia had neglected to tell Rafaele was that aside from her B.S. and Master’s degrees, she already had a PhD. in Criminal Justice. Her first assignment, two years ago, had been to investigate the sexy man standing so close to her, every nerve in her body stood at attention. Rafaele.

Clearly, her passion for him hadn’t faded over distance and time. Her lips felt hot and swollen from his kisses. Her body burned from the memory of his touch. Yet her mind was cold. A kind of frigidness a rational woman felt after her emotional hormones had run their course, and all that remained was that nagging feeling of being dupped.

A year in his arms, and she’d been convinced of his innocence. Convinced she’d had it all wrong. Convinced she’d never love someone as much as him. What had started as a strictly business had turned personal, very personal, within a few months. Getting intimate with an accused criminal hadn’t exactly been on her investigative job application.

Turns out, she wasn’t suited for undercover work after all—either type. Her rascal of an Italian stallion had had the necklace all along. Proof lay around Prima Donna’ s beautiful neck.

She had risked everything by letting him go.

You broke my heart, cara. I’ve been lost here without you. She glanced over at hunky, cioccolato eye candy. He didn’t seem so broken hearted or lost at the moment. His eyes caught hers, and he . . . shrugged.

I’m driving a fiat the size of a jewelry box because of you!  The bruise on her leg still throbbed. Resisting the urge to give him a swift kick with her wedged sandal, she ignored him and the realization that she still loved this handsome thief, despite what he was and in spite of the consequences.

A year had passed. She’d hung up her investigative badge for fancy wallpaper, with a hope of starting at new career as an interior designer. Clicked the end button on her cell phone more times than she could count. Sugar beets! She’d even returned his airline ticket—the hardest decision of the year. That is, aside from letting him go.

Amelia took a step toward Prima Donna. She wasn’t going home empty handed, or empty-bedded.

Castle of Dreams

Thanks to everyone who commented on our blog last month. The winner of the two free books is Jenna Blue! Congrats, Jenna, on your win, and thank you for being a loyal reader! 

Welcome to the special June edition of the Violet Femmes blog. To mix things up this month, we’ve decided to depart from offering our usual words of wisdom ;), and instead, offer you a short story, co-written by us all. It’s a story round robin, with the jumping off point a picture prompt. Jaye starts us off. Thanks for visiting. Don’t forget to leave a comment for a chance to win this month’s prize…a tin of specialty tea and a mug, from Hugh Jackman’s Laughing Man coffee and tea company (

Fiats were not designed for girls with hips.

As Amelia put one wedge-sandaled foot out onto the drive, a small pouf of dust rose up, then swirled off to join the full-on storm of grit that had materialized behind the miniscule car as she had driven up the road leading to the imposing structure now before her. She twisted in the driver’s seat, attempted to put the other foot out. No luck. Reaching down in front of the seat, she grasped the lever and wrestled it to the side. The driver’s seat shot back, causing her thigh to slam into the car’s door frame. “Sugar beets!” she swore. Amelia rubbed at the spot, knowing that when she got ready for bed later, there would be a nasty bruise on her leg.

Able now to swing her other leg around, she found her footing on the uneven ground, and used the armrest on the car door to push herself up out of the car. She gazed up at the octagonal turret, its crenellations reaching toward the sky like fingers trying to harness the clouds. She suppressed a shiver, and drew her hooded capelet tight around her shoulders. If it weren’t for the sunny Italian countryside surrounding the austere facade of the castle, Amelia would be convinced she had just stepped into an animated feature film, complete with dancing candlesticks, singing tea kettles, and a big hairy beast.

She retrieved her oversized Fendi knock-off purse from the back seat, and picked her way across the dusty drive and along the cobbled walkway to the front door of the castle. If you could call a cross-section of a sequoia a door, because that is what the oversized portal reminded her of. Amelia lifted the heavy bronze ring at the door’s center and let it drop. “Knocker” was too tame a word…the force of the metal hitting the door sounded more like a battering ram.

Immediately, the door cracked open, and a pair of watery black eyes under bushy grey eyebrows peered out at her. “May I help you?” a weak masculine voice asked in Italian.

“I’m here to see Signore Buzzino,” Amelia replied. Italian was second-nature to her, thanks to her Nonna…and a year spent in the passionate arms of the man of the house.

The eyes looked her up and down, and the man’s upper lip curled up in a sneer. “Signore Buzzino is not at home. Good-bye.”

The butler, or whatever he was, tried to shut the door. Unfortunately for him, Amelia thought, he didn’t know whom he was up against. You didn’t mess with a girl from Jersey. She flat-palmed the door, and, catching the man off guard, she pushed the door open farther.

“I’ll just wait, then,” she said, and stepped inside onto the worn marble floors.

“You cannnot…” the man sputtered.

“Si, signore…I can. And I will. Please tell Rafaele I am waiting.”

Resigned to do her bidding, the butler led Amelia through the cavernous foyer of the castle, into a small library off to the side. He indicated a large, velvet-upholstered chair. “You may wait here. It may be awhile.” He left her to find his master.

Amelia removed her cape and hung it on the back of the chair, then made her way to the shelves along one wall. She perused the titles, running her fingers along the spines of the leather-bound books, trying to glean some insight into their owner…a man she had thought she knew quite well, only last fall. It was five months since she had seen him. Had he changed as much as she had?

She caught her reflection in a mirror hanging on the wall. My, she looked a wreck! Reaching into her purse, she looked for the comb she always carried. With it in hand, she returned her gaze to the mirror, and froze. Electricity shot through her, from her toes to the top of her head, as her green eyes met Rafaele’s deep mahogany ones. His hand grasped hers, and she dropped the comb she held.

He turned her around to face him. “Don’t, cara mia. I like your hair wild. It reminds me of how you look, right after our lovemaking.”

Amelia gasped, and in a breath, she was in his arms, his lips crashing down on hers.

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