Monday, June 6, 2011

SURRENDER TO DESTINY Coming 17th June to New Concepts Publishing

I'd like to announce the release of SURRENDER TO DESTINY a Historical/Contempory Romance
by Maggi Andersen

While making a movie about Giovanna Russo’s life in Victorian London, Astrid Leclair and Dylan Shaw steam up the screen with their passionate scenes.
Two men desire the beautiful artist’s model, Giovanna Russo. One intends to make her his mistress and the other wants her dead.

PG Excerpt:
LONDON 1890
            Gina Russo looked up at the attic window where driving rain had caused a leak to form.  It dripped down onto the floorboards, forming a pool at her stepfather’s feet.  He seemed completely unaware of it, but then, when he was painting, the building could burn down around him.
            “You must move your easel, Milo,” she ordered him, placing her hands on her hips.  “Your trousers will get wet and in this miserable, moldy climate, you’ll catch your death.”
            He looked up blankly, paintbrush poised above the canvas where he painted a still life.  “But, the light, Gina!”
            “I do not intend to be orphaned in this cold-hearted city.  What would I do without you?”
            He laughed and wiped his brush on a cloth, then threw it down onto a table piled with brushes and half-squeezed tubes of paint.  “You have made a good point.  You’re not just pretty, my girl, you’ve got something up here,” he tapped his forehead.
            She helped him move his things away then ran to place a bowl under the drip. 
            “When will you pose for me again, Gina? I have great hopes for the last painting I did.”
            “When you have sold another painting and we can afford some coal,” she said firmly.  “I am not stripping off in this cold.  And we need decent food.”
            “Aah.  I can taste a tender turkey breast stuffed with sweet Italian sausage and chestnuts.  That would be most welcome.”
            “We shall be eating your Still Life with Apples, Milo, long before that.” Gina watched as he settled at his easel once more, and pick up his brush.  There would be no more conversation for the afternoon. 
            She grabbed the broom and began to sweep the floor at the far end of the room.  She worked to warm herself.  She’d swept the floor that morning, but no matter how many times she cleaned it, it always looked dirty.  Work also helped to clear her head.  She was constantly thinking up schemes to leave horrid, foggy London.  She had been thirteen years old when her mother brought her to England, old enough to remember the sunny days and green hills of Tuscany. 
            She turned to study the bowl of wizened fruit and vase of wilting flowers she had purchased from the market that morning for Milo to paint.  Surely, the sun-ripened fruit of her homeland was sweeter.  Her mother had been like a delicate flower, she not thrived in an English winter.  She hated the cold and fog.  She was fond of saying that Italians knew how to live and the men knew how to love. 
            It was certainly true that the Englishmen who pursued Gina had money where their hearts should be.  They knew nothing of a love that took hold of you, mind, body, and soul.  To them she would be an acquisition, someone they could flaunt in front of their friends and boast about in their clubs.  She would have none of it.  She had promised her mother.
            When her mother had married Milo and came to England, she had become a much sort after artist’s model.  Even after her death, Gina and Milo remained loyal to their friends of the demi-world, the shadow world of fellow artists, models, writers, thespians, courtesans and musicians, through which the upper classes wandered, paying for anything they desired.  It could be an exciting world, but had a dark side of despair, poverty, ruin and untimely death.
            Her mother had died of inflammation of the lungs at thirty-six.  She was already ailing when she married Milo, fifteen years her elder.  She knew he would take care of Gina after she was gone.  Even when her health was failing, she would drag Gina to church every Sunday.  Her final words still echoed in Gina’s ears.  “We have a saying in Italy, sweet child.  You never forget your first love.  I loved your father and if only he’d lived....  No matter how hard life gets, don’t ever be tempted to sell your body, for that will destroy your soul.  Remember you are a good Christian girl.  Promise me!”
            Gina touched the hair-bracelet on her wrist, made with her mother’s lovely golden hair.  When she had asked her mother about her father, she would always turn away.  “Better that you don’t know.” Her standard reply left Gina wondering what made her so sad and reluctant to reveal the past.  Had her mother and father been married?
            “Bah,” Gina said, swatting at some imaginary speck of dirt.  She was sick of being grindingly poor.  The struggle to live tore the heart out of you and dragged you down.  She hated London, its miles of rat infested, filthy cobblestone alleys and shabby brick and stucco houses, the noise and the smells and the dirt.  She hated feeling desperately sad for the tatty, barefoot children.  She hated her cheap dresses, and longed to have something store-bought and pretty.  She hated their ugly, leaky attic rooms that no amount of cleaning could turn into a home, most of all. 
            A block away, the street prostitutes trolled between the gin shop and the pawnshop, younger than she, some of them.  Green from the country, they quickly become addicted to the drink and their gentle eyes turned hard.  Lying in bed at night, she’d listen to them out there under the gaslights.  Dancing, drinking, and singing into the small hours.  The sounds of their hollow laughter made her want to weep and pull a pillow over her head. 
            As she put away the broom, Gina’s thoughts turned to Milo.  How did he produce such beauty in his paintings, in a place like this? She put her hand to her mouth.  How could she be so ungrateful?
            “Did you say something, mio caro?” Milo asked, adding a highlight to a painted apple.  The apple had become his signature and appeared in most of his paintings.  His painted apple was so much fresher and redder than the one in the bowl.  Perhaps that was his secret, he saw life through rose-colored glasses.
            “No, Milo,” she said, going to stir the minestrone soup that with bread and cheese, would have to do them until the end of the week. 
            “You’re a good daughter, Gina,” he said absently.
Second Excerpt:
LONDON 2008
A knock came on Astrid’s dressing room door.  “Enter.” She continued to remove her makeup at her mirror her hair held back by a white band. 
            Dylan came in, ducking his dark head slightly.  A gesture she recognized, one of a tall man used to living in old houses. 
            She met his gaze in the mirror, the brilliant blue of his irises had caused women the world over to fall in love with him. 
            “I’m sorry we didn’t have a chance to chat before rehearsal,” he said.  His voice had an attractive, Irish lilt.   “I did hope to, but the flight was delayed.”
            Astrid swung round to face him.  “Only two takes.  I thought it helped in the end, kept it fresh.  Did you feel it went well?”
            “Good for me.  The more takes I do, the worse I get.” He grinned.  “Frank Sinatra refused to do more than one take.  I think he had something there.”
            She expected him to be arrogant, not unassuming, or was this part of his charm offensive? If so it was disarming.  Aware her face shone with cold cream she turned back to the mirror.  Grabbing a tissue, she quickly wiped it off.
            “You look great without makeup.”
            “Oh please!”
             “No.  You do, honestly.  Like a kid.”
            “I’m supposed to like that?” She pulled the Alice band from her long hair.  “French women are not afraid to grow old.”
            He laughed.  “You hardly need to worry about that.  Are you over here in England on your own?”
            She dropped the tissue into the waste basket.  Her hairdresser had been right.  She would have to be careful.  “I am.  Why?”
            Dylan leaned against the wall, his arms folded.  A smile pulled at the corners of his well-shaped mouth.  “I read somewhere that you and Philippe had broken up. I was going to offer my condolences.”
            “That article in The Truth? Pure fabrication. Philippe considered suing them, but in the end we couldn’t be bothered.” She picked up her hairbrush.  “We are still together, and very happy, thank you.”        
            “Then I pity all the young men,” he said, his hand on the doorknob.
            Did he disapprove of Philippe? Some men did resent older men dating young women, she knew.  “You are an actor who likes to mix work with pleasure, yes?” she said mildly.  The inference that he slept with all his leading ladies hung in the air.
            He frowned as he opened the door.  “Not usually.”
            The door closed behind him.  She’d been rude, and she wasn’t sure why.  She usually made an effort to get on with co-stars.  It could get quite difficult if you didn’t.  She shook her head.  After all, he’d only been flattering her, and that might have been his way of breaking the ice. 
            And why had she lied about Philippe? Was it because she wasn’t ready to let him go?  Or was it apprehension at the effect this man had on her.  She trembled when he came near her with the same sexual thrill she felt driving through the Bois de Boulogne.



3 comments:

Maria said...

Congratulations on your new release!

Historical Writer/Editor said...

Sounds intriguing. I wish you many sales. -laura

FICTION AUTHOR said...

Thanks Maria and Laura