Please say hello to Heloise West and
If I Were Fire
In 18th century Siena, Count Salvesto Masello has returned home to find the family villa and his father's estate steeped deeply in debt. In order to save it, he has been selling off valuable family heirlooms, but he is running out of silverware. Somewhere in the villa his deceased father had hidden the art treasures that will pay the debt, but Salvesto can't find them anywhere.
Amadeo Neruccio has been on the run from the vicious pimp, thief, and pawnbroker Guelfetto, but his toughs finally catch him and bring him to the cellar where Count Masello is selling off his silver. When the count learns what fate Guelfetto has in store for Amadeo, he intervenes and trades the last of his mother's dowry for the young man's freedom.
Salvesto had left home over ten years ago to live the life of adventure he craved. He had also hoped to leave his broken heart behind. When he rescues young Amadeo, he did not expect to find love again, or that his adventures had yet to end.
Everyone knew everyone’s business in the small hilly honeycomb town of Siena. The house the Masello had once occupied for short periods during the year belonged to a rich merchant now. The eldest Masello had died in a hunting accident in the countryside, and his father, it was said, died of grief a year later. This event had brought the new conte home to the villa with the leaky roof, the broken-backed barn, and massive debt. Yet perhaps Conte Masello was not as bad off as they said, for he had paid Amadeo’s debt to Guelfetto.
Likely Amadeo was wrong about that, too, as the conte had traded for his freedom with silver dishes and spoons. Amadeo swallowed hard but could not dislodge the lump in his throat, a combination of gratitude and resentment. Life in a Florentine bathhouse and sexual slavery to the traditional enemies of Siena was no life at all. He shuddered. He had meant it about throwing himself on the tender mercy of the river.
What kind of master was the new Conte Masello? He glanced at the man beside him and found warm hazel eyes gazing down at him. His new master’s hair was as brown as chestnuts and touched with gray strands. Whatever he’d been doing while the family fortunes dwindled—soldiering, sailing, perhaps even tramping about in the New World—had made him a man with a face weathered by the sun and muscles that strained the seams of his fine clothes. He was broad-shouldered and a forearm’s length taller than Amadeo, who felt like a willow tree beside such an oak.
The hard press of the conte’s velvet-clad shoulder and the intimacy of his warm breath on Amadeo’s neck sent a small shock through him, and his cock stirred restlessly in response.
Oh no, you don’t. You are not to ruin this chance for me either. Pardon me, dear Saint Catherine. I pledge to you I will stay away from the gaming tables and this man’s bed.
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We had an opportunity to ask the author a few questions...
Hi Heloise, thank you for agreeing to this interview.
1) What are your ambitions for your writing career?
More of this, more books, more novellas. Just keep writing and publishing,
telling my stories, entertaining readers.
2) How many published books do you have? Can you tell us something about
Um, one. “Hitting Black Ice” was released in December of 2014. I’ve been
working on the sequel to that titled “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses”
continuing the adventures of Hunter and Alex, who always seem to be in
the wrong place at the wrong time. There’s a short story in the
Dreamspinner Press anthology “Juicy Bits” and this novella, If I Were Fire.
I did have some setbacks timewise this year, but I am a slow writer.
3) Give us an insight into your main character. What does he/she do that is
Count Salvesto Marsello left home under less than auspicious
circumstances. Caught out with his lover in the monastery they had both
been consigned to by their families, he was sent back to his father, but ran
away and became an adventurer. He’s a survivor, a fighter, but he’s a kind
man who won’t turn away anyone in need if he can help them.
4) What are you working on at the moment? What’s it about?
Revisions for “Send Lawyers, Guns, and Roses” take up all my time right
now, though by the time this post goes live, hopefully it will be in the
hands of my editor. Hunter and Alex, after a series of new traumatic events
interfere with their lives together, get a chance for a long vacation on a
Caribbean island to rest and recover. Yeah, right. Like that’s going to
I’m working on a steampunk novella, posting early bits on my blog.
Also by the time this post goes live, I will hopefully have revised my Renaissance romance murder/suspense story for my editor at Loose Id.
5) Do you aim for a set amount of words/pages per day?
I used to get at least 2000 words a day out, but not anymore. I slowed down, I
don’t know why, except I do revise as I go and family and work stuff has
distracted me. I’m thinking of signing up for Nano this year and maybe get
back into that groove. For revision, I don’t measure by page, as I’m going back
and forth. I work on a chunk at a time and send those to betas.
About the author:
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mahem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.
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