Summer of My Secret Angel
by Anna Katmore
Author Anna Katmore is currently on tour with Reading Addiction Book Tours. The tour stops here today for an excerpt from Summer of My Secret Angel. Please be sure to visit the other tour stops to find out about some of Anna's other books.
It isn't nicking an expensive watch or a diamond bracelet that lands streetwise Jona Montiniere in the clutches of the police. It’s a darn sweater. When a judge decides she has to return to her terminally ill mother, who dumped her in an orphanage more than twelve years ago, Jona finds herself doing time through charity work on her estranged aunt’s vineyard in France.
Jona is determined to sneak off at the first chance she gets - until she meets Julian, her mother’s caretaker. Playful, understanding, and sinfully sexy, he’s everything she’s ever dreamed of - but she’s not about to let him know that. Because even though he’s fast becoming Jona’s best friend, he also has a secret that makes the little hairs on her arms stand on end ...
So when the first week in her new home is over, Jona asks herself two things: One, how did she let herself end up in Julian’s arms after all? And two, how the hell did he awaken her mother from the dead?
Tossing my notepad on the mattress, I rolled out of bed and sneaked to the door leading to the balcony. Carefully, I leaned only my head outside to peek around the corner.
Palms braced on the wood railing on his side of the balcony, Julian stared down at the vineyards. The faint shine of light from his room tinted his silhouette in soft gold. He hung his head, his shoulder blades flexing underneath his shirt. An invisible weight seemed to press down on his shoulders.
One had to be blind not to notice it was my mother’s health that concerned him. The image of Quinn ruffling my hair when I was down or in trouble haunted me for a second. Maybe Julian needed a little comfort himself, and I could be the one offering it. God forbid, no ruffling, of course.
Teeth clenched, I fought against this urge. The story about him only being Charlene’s caretaker struck me as a masquerade. Even if everyone else fell for it, I wouldn’t.
What wouldn’t I have given to find out about their uncommon relationship… Anything - but my pride. No way would I ask him about the matter. Leaning against the doorframe, I studied him silently.
“Can’t you sleep?” His words, little more than a whisper, drifted to me.
My heart thudded in my ribcage, shocked he’d caught me staring at him. “I’m not tired.” The answer came quick, yet my voice sounded like a stranger’s in the dark.
“Come out, it’s beautiful up here at night.”
“Mm-mm.” I shook my head.
For a brief moment, his eyes narrowed to slits. “You’re scared.” He said it with such conviction I wondered if he felt personally insulted by my refusal. Pushing away from the railing, he shoved his hands into his pockets and ambled toward me. “Hopefully, it’s the height of the balcony that makes you nervous and not me.”
“Why would you make me nervous?” The words shook slightly in my throat. I shifted against the doorframe as he drew nearer.
He halted before my room and leaned with his backside against the railing. “Why indeed?”
For an immeasurable moment, we stared into each other’s eyes. If I hadn’t known better I would have thought he actually wanted me to be nervous around him. Silly idea. I shoved it aside, clearing my throat. “Who are the two people Marie wants me to meet?”
“Valentine and Henri? They’re nice people.” Hands planted on the railing at either side of his hips, he hoisted himself up onto the edge.
“No, don’t!” My warning echoed across the field as I let go of the doorframe and reached out in a helpless attempt to stop him from falling backwards over the balustrade. Yet fear kept my feet rooted to the floor inside.
His arms still braced against the wood, Julian cocked his head while one of his brows arched up. Not bothered by my concern, he eased onto the insecure railing, his gray sneakers dangling two feet above the floorboards.
His gaze mocked me like it suggested I come out of my room and make him get off the railing.
Oh, for the sake of my frazzled nerves, just get down! I tamped down the anger over his ignorance and kept to the safety of my room.
He cast me an amused glance from under his lashes then continued as though nothing had happened. “Henri and Valentine Dupres live down the road. They’re an elderly couple working for your aunt and uncle in the yards. You will meet them tomorrow morning.”
At his words, pictures of tonight’s dinner rose before my eyes. Maybe now was the time to thank him for his concern, even though I cringed at the thought of letting him know how I really felt. I coughed slightly, tilting my head so the curtain muffled my voice. “It was actually kind of you to delay their introduction until tomorrow.”
“Sorry, what did you say?” He smirked, and for an instant I considered tossing a pillow at him. But that might have caused him to fall backward off the balcony. I didn’t want to take the responsibility in case he broke his neck.
“Thank you,” I said more clearly, though through gritted teeth.
His teasing grin disappeared. “You are very welcome, Jona.” His soft purr gave me chills. “Earlier, you seemed surprised I would care about you. Why was that?”
His serious words touched the spot of my mind responsible for lying or telling the truth.
“I thought you didn’t like me.” My croak clearly betrayed my unease. I dropped my gaze to the gaps between the boards of the balcony floor.
“You do your best to pretend not to like me either.” His soft, smooth tone reminded me of sand running through an hourglass. “And yet you’re worried I might fall off the balcony and get hurt.”
“Hey, buddy, who says I’m pretending?” Looking up at his face, I found something in his stare that I couldn’t quite place. It reminded me of Rottweiler Rusty when he’d ogled a bone.
My mouth was dry, a cloud of pleasant warmth expanded in my chest. A couple of seconds later, Julian slid down from the railing. A hundred tense muscles in my body relaxed, and a breath I didn’t know I was holding whizzed from my lungs.
Damn him for making his point clear.
“Sleep tight, Jona,” he said through a lopsided smile as he headed back to his side of the balcony.
“Goodnight,” I whispered, hardly audible to myself.
Julian chuckled then disappeared through the floating curtains.
Praise for the Book
"I didn't quite know what to expect when I first got this book, but once I started reading it I could NOT put it down. Towards the end though this book definitely yanked more than a few tears from me, which is pretty hard to do." ~ Pippi-3763
"The only books that I give five stars are the ones that I am reluctant to put down. For me this was one of those books." ~ Amy
"It's a beautiful story that tugs at your emotions. Highly recommended." ~ JP10
"This book was amazing. I couldn't stop reading.. the people were amazing and Jona was super funny and witty just like I wish I was.. Summer of my Secret Angle well always be on my mind.. One of the few books that made me cry." ~ Amazon Customer
"I absolutely love this book. The author made everything seem so real to me. I cried at certain parts and laughed at other. I didn't want this book to end." ~ kersleaf
"This is such a good book. Anna Katmore captures your emotions. This book even made me cry. She is a wonderful writer." ~ Julia
About the Author
Anna Katmore grew up in Vienna. After she graduated from school at the age of 18, she moved to Austria’s country side.
Apart from traveling around the world, her one big passion is writing. She says about herself that she has been a storyteller all her life. Already in kindergarten, she came up with the most exotic fantasies and tales. Her teacher used to call her a liar. Anna calls it the cornerstone of her writing career.
Inspired by authors such as Lisa Jane Smith, Stephenie Meyer, and Becca Fitzpatrick, she started writing her first novel in 2009. Excessive reading and analyzing the structure and characters of her favorite books helped her develop the necessary skills and her very own voice. Because of her love for the language, she writes stories in English first, and when she finds a few weeks to squeeze into her tight writing schedule, she translates them into German later.
Her preferred genres are YA and fantasy romance.
In late 2012, Anna debuted with her novella Play With Me and later made this the first book of a series called Grover Beach Team. Play With Me was a finalist in its category for the RONE (Reward Of Novel Excellence) Awards, hosted by the InD’Tale magazine at the Romance Novel Convention 2013 in Las Vegas.
One funny fact: People always told Anna that she can’t make a living with being a writer. So when Play With Me came out and sold more than 500 units every day during the first four weeks, she was thunderstruck. It took her a few days to realize what was going on.
Anna is married and has a 12-year-old son. She loves her two cats, Lily and Emma, as much as she loves her family, tries to stay fit with ZUMBA dancing twice a week, and usually spends 86% of her day writing. The remaining time is used up for food and inevitable sleep.