But somehow Holly became enchanted by the pleading eyes of a motherless little girl and entranced by the girl's mysterious father, Matteo. Before she knew what was happening, she had been swept away to their luxurious family villa in Rome.
But as the long summer days slowly began to fade, Holly discovered that within the walls of this home and in the heart of the man she was coming to love, hid some dark secrets--secrets that would finally set them all free.
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February 13, 2007
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Excerpt from One Summer in Italy... by Lucy Gordon
Not much longer if I can just hold out, please, please, don't let them catch me!
The soft vibration of the speeding train seemed to be part of her thoughts. It was five minutes late but she should still reach Rome in time to get to the airport and catch her plane home.
Just a hundred miles to Rome"that's not much really"unless the police saw me get on this train.
Had anyone seen her? She'd hurried, keeping her head down, trying to get lost in the crowd. Nobody had troubled her so far, but it was too soon to feel safe.
Perhaps she would never feel truly safe again. The man she had loved and trusted had betrayed her, throwing her to the wolves to save his own skin. Even if she managed to keep her freedom, the world had changed, becoming ugly and bitter, like the inside of her own mind.
Somebody eased past her in the corridor and she turned hastily away, staring out of the window to conceal her face. Outside, the Italian countryside, bathed in the glowing colours of summer, rushed by, but she was barely aware of its beauty. Only her fear existed.
When she next looked, she could see two uniformed men at the end of the corridor.
She must escape before they reached her. Edge away slowly. Don't attract attention. Try to look casual.
She wondered exactly what kind of description of her they had: Name, Sarah Conroy, but answers only to Holly; a young woman in her late twenties, tall, perhaps a little too slim, with light brown hair, cut short, blue eyes and a face with nothing special about it: a face that hadn't lived very much.
Nondescript.Yes, that was the word for her, and for the first time she was glad. It might save her now.
Here was the end of the carriage.A short step and she was in the next one. It was first class, divided into compartments. But each one had the blinds down and it was too risky to take shelter in one of them without some idea of what she would find.
Without warning, the blind beside her flew up and she found herself staring straight at a little girl. She was about eight years old and in a childish temper. That was all Holly had time to take in before making a lightning decision.
It took a split-second to open the door, dart inside and pull the blind down again.
In the corner a young woman looked up from her book and opened her mouth, but Holly just managed to get in first.