- Garden Avenue Press
- Release Date
- July 2017
- Book 6 of Love Unexpected
She has never forgotten Venice. Neither has he.
Reed Stewart is busy with his daughter. Anika Taylor is busy with her career. Then they run into each other years after a trip that turned their lives upside down. When Reed hires Anika's interior design firm to redecorate his home, the attraction between them burns just as strong as ever. But Anika has a painful secret. If she shares it, she runs the risk of losing Reed for good.
BOOK INTERVIEW on September 2017
Interview by Laura
Hi Delaney, welcome to The Romance Reviews, and let's talk about your recently published book THAT TIME IN VENICE, the 6th book in the Love Unexpected
series, and a second chance story about loving yourself and letting yourself be loved.
Q: THAT TIME IN VENICE is the 6th book in the Love Unexpected series. Where did you get your inspiration for this series? How are the books tied together?
Love Unexpected wasn't even supposed to be a series. The Blind Date (book 1) was a serial novel on my website that I eventually released as a book. During the course of writing the story, I fell in love with Ryan Stewart's smart aleck, cynical best friend, Tomas. I thought hmm...he needs a woman. That's when the idea to create a book 2 was formed, and eventually it blossomed into a six-book series, with each of the novels as standalones. The books are tied together through friends and family members that appear in the series. For instance, Ryan and Tomas are friends. Ryan's brother gets an HEA in book 4, and his cousin gets an HEA in book 6.
Q: What was the significance of Venice?
Sometimes a title will come to me before the storyline, and I end up using the title as sort of a writing prompt. In this case, I visited Venice several years ago and fell in love with the city. One day, the title entered my head—That Time in Venice. And I knew I had to write a story that centered around it. So for Reed and Anika, Venice is the place they fell in love. They spent almost a week exploring the city—going to museums, dining out, clubbing, and making love. Most of the book takes place in the present, but through a few flashback scenes see the couple connect and why Venice was such an unforgettable experience for them both.
Q: Please tell us more about the heroine, Anika Taylor. What kind of person is she?
That Time in Venice is book 6 of the series, but you first meet Anika in book 5, where she helped her cousin get dressed up for a date with her own hero. She's funny and kind. She thinks nothing of bringing chocolate pastries as a treat to the receptionist or teasing her co-worker Edgar. She also believes in love and romance, but because of a problem she's lived with since the age of eighteen, she thinks that she can only attract a certain kind of man. I would also say she's focused, smart, and organized and does an excellent job as an interior designer.
Q: How about Reed Stewart? Men who love their kids are so sexy. Tell us more about him. What makes him a swoon-worthy hero?
One of the things that makes Reed swoon-worthy is that he recognizes his past mistakes and wants to do the right thing. He regrets not staying with Anika after Venice, and when he meets her again, he's determined to right the wrong and show her how much he cares about her. As a father, again he wants to do the right thing. He was hands off when his daughter's mother was alive, but once she passed away, he went to Texas to get his daughter so he could raise her in the security that he didn't have as a child. His love for both the women in his life makes him the kind of guy you could absolutely fall in love with.
Q: How is their first meeting like seven years later?
Reed shows up as a new client at Anika's design firm—which is a complete surprise to them both. They haven't spoken since Venice. They both remain stoic, but there's a lot of emotion simmering below the surface. The excerpt below is from Anika's POV. Enjoy!
Time had been good to him. His black curly hair was cut shorter than in the past but was just as thick and lustrous, and his eyes remained on her with the same intense, assessing stare.
He seemed taller, but she knew that couldn't be right. Perhaps because years ago he'd been comfortable wearing jeans and T-shirts, while today he oozed style and polish and appeared a little imposing in all black—black jacket, black shirt, black slacks.
Damn. He looked so…good.
Hair covered his chin and jaw, enough scruff to tickle and tease, but not enough to bother or annoy. She knew the sensation well—across the tips of her breasts as he sucked her nipples, and down her spine to the small of her back. His hands and lips had been everywhere on her body. For months after they'd parted ways, she'd woken up at odd times of the night, aching for him.
Her body reacted to the warm sound of his voice, the low, sexy sound echoing inside of her. Her nipples tightened. Her pulse jumped. Her entire being quivered, recognizing the voice of the man who'd given her exquisite memories one summer a long time ago.
"Y-you live here now?" Anika asked.
He nodded. "I moved from New York six months ago."
Laura glanced from one to the other. "So the two of you know each other?" she asked slowly.
Anika swallowed. "We—we haven't seen each other in a long time. Years. Not since…"
Reed's jaw tightened at the unspoken words left dangling in the air. His jaw had often tightened under the weight of intense emotion—anger, sadness, ecstasy. Suddenly, the memories of fierce passion, inexhaustible and relentless, evoked heat in her insides.
Her mind flashed back to heated whispers, her back pressed against a hard wall, and his hands beneath her skirt. His driving thrusts as he pinned her beneath him in bed, their hearts beating rapidly in synch, and their sweat-sprinkled bodies wrapped around each other during what had been, without a doubt, the best week of her life. An unbelievable, breathtaking six days in Italy.
Seven years, and she'd never forgotten that trip—or him.
"That time in Venice," he finished for her.
Anika swallowed again, forcing back the constriction in her throat. What they'd shared had been so unexpected, starting out innocently enough before snowballing into an avalanche of emotion that almost broke her.
"Yeah," she whispered. "Not since Venice."
Q: What makes them perfect for each other?
They're both caring people to whom family is very important. They have great chemistry, but can also be playful and just have fun together. So it's not just about the sex with this couple. You get to see how and why they work in scenes where they're teasing and playful. Anika's great rapport with Reed's daughter is also an important aspect of how they can work, not just as a couple, but as a family unit.
Q: What for you is a romantic moment between them?
One of my favorite scenes is when they attend the art stroll together. This excerpt is from Anika's POV, and lets you see their playful side, while at the same time showing a romantic moment between the two of them. At this point, they've become very comfortable with each other, and it shows how much they make each other happy. And what could be more romantic than making someone you care about happy? Enjoy this excerpt:
She'd made her way back to the front of the gallery when Reed sauntered in, his tall frame dominating as he stood on the threshold for several seconds, searching for her. Once spotting her, he came over, his eyes filled with warmth as his gaze caressed her face.
If it were possible to make someone melt simply by looking at them, Reed would leave puddles of melted females in his wake everywhere his feet tread. Taking her hand, he closed the gap between them with a gentle tug.
"Hi." He lifted her hand to his mouth.
Anika's breath caught and held before releasing again. "Hi."
He bit his bottom lip, eyes lowered to half-mast as he skimmed her body in the figure-hugging black dress. The neckline boldly dipped between her breasts and showed ample cleavage. She'd styled her hair in loose curls and wore more makeup than usual, which included red lips and smoky eyeshadow.
"You look incredible. How am I supposed to concentrate on the art in the galleries when I have a spectacular work of art right beside me?"
Anika giggled, warmth heating her cheeks. She'd taken great care with her appearance, and his reaction was exactly what she'd hoped for.
"You keep talking like that, and you might get lucky tonight."
Reed's eyes darkened and a predatory smile skated across his lips. "In that case…"
Shoving him with a laugh, Anika shook her head. "We're here to look at art. I let you join me, but remember I'm also working."
"Oh right, right." Reed's fingers brushed hers, and she leaned in, forgetting for a minute that they were in a gallery filled with patrons. He simply had that effect—he drew her in and made her forget her surroundings.
Their fingers laced together. Her hand fit comfortably in his warm clasp—as snug and secure as lambskin gloves. Touching him, holding hands, wasn't awkward in the least.
Q: What kind of research did you have to do to write this book? Please share an interesting fact or unique behind the scenes experience.
I was very familiar with Venice because I'd visited before, so I didn't have much research to do on the city except to make sure I spelled place names correctly and got historical information correct about the glassblowing industry that thrives there.
Since Anika was an interior designer, much of my research was about her career to make sure I understood it. One thing I learned was that designers and architects have a love-hate relationship with each other. That was news to me, lol. Through reading articles and blogs, I learned about the tools designers use, how they work, and their day-to-day tasks. I also watched an emotional video of basketball player Kyrie Irving on Houzz. He hired a designer to remodel his father's home, as a Thank You for his support and the sacrifices he made throughout the years—giving up his own basketball dreams to raise Kyrie and his sister as a single father. It was very touching but also gave me a couple of ideas to sprinkle into the story.
Q: What's up next for you?
That Time in Venice is the last book in the Love Unexpected series. Next, I'm wrapping up the final book in the Latin Men series, Undeniable. The hero is the vice president of operations of a restaurant company, and he falls madly in love with the assistant to the CEO. They have a love-hate relationship going on, so there will be fireworks between these two. Heh-heh.
Sounds fun! *grin* Thank you for your time, Delaney!
Bio of author, Delaney Diamond:
DELANEY DIAMOND is the USA Today Bestselling Author of sweet, sensual, passionate romance novels and the owner of Garden Avenue Press, publishing romance and women's fiction with diverse characters. Originally from the U.S. Virgin Islands, she now lives in Atlanta, Georgia. She reads romance novels, mysteries, thrillers, and a fair amount of nonfiction. When she's not busy reading or writing, she's in the kitchen trying out new recipes, dining at one of her favorite restaurants, or traveling to an interesting locale. Enjoy free reads and the first chapter of all her novels on her website. Join her mailing list to get sneak peeks, notices of sale prices, and find out about new releases.
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