Peep Rep: Is there a prize?
Liza: A very unique prize. Arianna will be giving away an original hand-made Venetian mask from Venice to one lucky who enters her rafflecopter.
Unmask My Heart
by Arianna Giorgi
When Rome’s loveliest rose and Venice’s fiercest lion team up to win back the love of their respective spouses-to-be, the Serene Republic may expect a hilarious romp – and perhaps the most torrid love story to have ever bedazzled its gilded canals…
Survived a pirate attack on the Isle of Lina, Venice’s sturdiest outpost, Roman Princess Isabella Pamphili and Venetian war hero Brando Loredan escape from the island and arrive in Venice.
Isabella discovers her fiancé is a cheat, her bride dream a lie. Her future husband, the man she loves with all her heart is flirting in… Brando’s fiancée’s arms!
Shock. Disappointment. Anguish. Fear for her future. The rascal deserves a lesson he will not forget, because a princess of Rome doesn’t bow out so easily. Brando Loredan will not be that hard to convince for he is jealous, angry and vindictive enough to get some brilliant idea. So she joins forces with him to get back her fiancé and put together the little dream back on track. But while trying and insisting on regaining the dream, she discovers a new path of light and love. It is not a lie, like the first dream, but it may be even harder to win.
Unmask My Heart is a story of love and sweet revenge set in sparkling, sumptuous Casanova’s Venice where everything is possible and sins are concealed behind a mask.
Brando grabbed her by the arm and forced her to turn around. She struggled against him, punching her fists on his chest.
“Unhand me.” The princess looked like a puppy facing a lion. Brando dragged her in a hidden corner and pinned her between his body and the wall.
“Stop running away, Isabella.”
“Let me go.” She panted and refused to look at him.
“No. I’ll never let go.”
With a deep sigh, Isabella wiped away her tears that threatened to overflow, and collapsed into his arms.
Brando’s arms slid around her waist to hold her upright.
Isabella looked up at him. Brando drowned in her clear emerald pools. His knees were weak and, his desire to kiss her devoured him. He pushed her ermine soft hair from her face. That neck, that skin ... his fingers tried, struggled in every possible way not to touch her. Brando wanted with all his heart to act like a friend. He sincerely wished to comfort her but his hands ached for her, his lips craved her kiss.
He wanted to scrub away the desire for her kiss. Isabella was here in his arms and he could never love her, or taste her as he wished. His face contorted with the pain in his heart.
Isabella stepped closer and wrapped her arms around his neck.
It was too much for him. Brando’s hands cupped her neck and her shoulder. His fingers trailed along her neck and she leaned her head back.
Isabella was there, she wanted love, consolation and passion.
Unmask My Heart begins with a rousing battle and an adorable kitten, so I was sucked into the story. The island is being overwhelmed with Turk pirates and the Venetian Captain Brando risks his life to save the young princess Isabella and return her to Venice. During their journey to safety, an attraction develops between them, but both manage to recall they are engaged to others. Then things go bad. The adorable kitten is lost and once they arrive in Venice they discover that their intendeds have become lovers.
Instead of openly admitting their feelings for one another, Brando and Isobella join forces to entice their intendeds back to them through various ploys including jealousy. All the while, conspiracies roll beneath the surface which puts them both in danger throughout the book.
Even when Brando has lost all interest in his intended and recognizes he’s fallen in love with Isobella, she stubbornly denies she reciprocates the feelings. Instead, she keeps insisting she loves Leonardo.
And as a reader, I became anxious and discontented as this pretense persisted. Even after she gives her virginity to the Brando, she still reverts back to her claims of love for Leonardo, putting what she thinks are her father’s wishes before her true love for Brando.
While the author gives ample reasons for Isobella’s lack of honesty, it still greatly annoyed me. I do not like waffling heroines, even when they are firm in their conviction of love inside, but only lie about it to the world for the sake of others. It made life very hard for Brando, and frankly, he had more than enough problems.
I am aware it is a common writing technique to create tension and angst, and I must say, I was very tense, nor could I stop reading. But I greatly wanted to smack the heroine about at times. If she had just been honest with her father and Brando, this book could have ended with a HEA much sooner. And personally, I would have been happier. Now I’m a bit grumpy for having had to suffer so much for my HEA.
If you love 50% angst in your romances, with strong passions from your heroine and hero, diabolical misdeeds from the villains, then you should adore this book. I personally like to keep angst down to 25%. On the positive side, the book kept my attention from beginning to end. I loved the hero, had a love/annoyed relationship with the heroine, and missed the kitten from the island (its replacement couldn’t fill its paws).
Don’t judge the book harshly about my angst complaints. The story line, as written, required it. I just personally prefer a less rocky road to happily ever after.
I give this book 4.4 stars, which sadly rounds to 4, but if you don't mind angst, it would be a 5.
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Arianna Giorgi is a historical romance author and a journalist, a college graduate and an avid reader. She makes her home halfway between the Vatican City and the picturesque old quarter of Trastevere at the heart of the city of Rome in Italy, where Julius Caesar kept an apartment as a young man about town and from where a long list of artists gave the world some of its greatest masterpieces.
She has an intrinsic appreciation of beauty and everything eccentrically romantic, including a strong affiliation to the city of Venice which she visits at least twice a year.
Independent and curious, Arianna has travelled extensively around the globe, from America to Africa and back to Europe. Frankly, she never misses a chance to pack her bags and jump on a plane. Driven by a passion for European history and art, she wanders and investigates every hidden corner of the Old Continent, armed with a camera and a notebook, and looking for intriguing stories and settings for her books.
She loves history, astrology, gourmet cooking, and cats. She lives with her husband, her beautiful daughters and her red cat, surrounded by her own cultivated flowers and the magical grandeur of the Eternal City.
DON'T FORGET TO ENTER TO WIN THE FABULOUS HAND MADE VENETIAN MASK!