REVIEW and EXCERPT
A Million Different Ways
(A Horn Novel Book 1)
(A Horn Novel Book 1)
by P. Dangelico
Author P. Dangelico stops by to share an excerpt from A Million Different Ways, the first book in the Horn Novel series. You can also read my review. Coming soon: A Million Different Ways to Lose You.
Set against the elegant backdrop of Geneva, Switzerland, worlds collide when a medical student finds herself working for a wealthy American financier. Escaping a scandal that threatens to land her in prison, Vera Sava flees to a new country and reinvents herself in hopes of pursuing a career in medicine. Her plans derailed, she finds employment as a housekeeper, in the one place that will offer her a job without legal documents.
She thought her life fell apart when she found her father hanging from the exposed pipes in his office. That was only the beginning. Six long years later, hiding in shadows and fake identities have taken a toll on her. But she has to keep moving. She doesn’t know what lengths the Albanian authorities will go to find her. Homeless and practically destitute after her Swiss visa expires, the only employment she can find is working as a housekeeper on a country estate.
Sebastian Horn may be the heir to a legendary banking fortune, and currently the most eligible bachelor in the western hemisphere, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t wrestling with his own demons. After having lost his beautiful, young wife in a terrible car accident, he’s pretty much decided that life is best lived under the comforting influence of booze and pills. Crippled spiritually and physically, he’s almost relieved when he discovers that someone is trying to kill him.
An unlikely, sensual love story between two people that vowed to never love again when life decides otherwise. Transcending class and culture, Vera and Sebastian must heal their past for their future to have any hope.
I flipped open my book with every intention of reading a couple of chapters as a refresher. But as I lay down, with my knees hitched up and my feet on the ground, a lazy feeling stole over me. The wind whispered a lullaby in my ear, and sunlight broke through the canopy of flowers, dappling my face. Swaddled in a deep sense of serenity, I closed my eyes and floated somewhere between fantasy and reality.
I’m not sure if I heard him or felt his presence. Nevertheless, my eyes crept open to find him a few paces away, standing rigid, his face taut with apprehension. Even from afar I could tell he was struggling with something. My stomach sank with a thud as all hope for a peaceful afternoon fled.
He was wearing a white v neck t-shit that outlined the power of his broad shoulders, the width of his chest. However galling, I had to admit his beauty seemed to increase exponentially every time I saw him…and his virility. My newly resurrected libido snuck that one in.
When he stepped forward, I scrambled to sit up and banged my leg against the trunk, flopping around as graceless as a fish out of water. He came close enough that I was forced to look up. Shoring up my defenses, I pressed my back up against the tree and wrapped my arms around my bent legs.“I didn’t mean to wake you,” he said looking up at the tree, his eyes narrowing at the sunlight. His silky hair rustled in the wind and fell over his eye. Deep in the back of my mind, where the dark, shameful part of me lived, I saw myself pushing it aside with my fingers. I looked away, a flash of heat tickling my neck.
“You didn’t. I was only resting my eyes.”
“Is that what you call it?”
He was exceedingly good at obliterating my self-control. Good sense would dictate that I did not get into yet another argument with the man that paid my salary, but why start using good sense now––that train left the station the minute I met him.
“Shouldn’t you be at the office? What are you doing skulking around the property? Or are you so obsessed with provoking me that you walked all the way out here to get your daily quota in.”
The side of his sensual mouth curved up briefly before he trained it back into a firm line. “I do own the property, so I’m not sure you can call it skulking. I’m working from home today…and I didn’t have to come all the way out here to provoke you, I could’ve just waited ‘til you came back to the house.”
The silence stretched on. Neither one of us hurried to fill it. Instead of it being awkward, it felt––strangely comfortable. I noticed he was leaning a little more heavily than usual on his cane. He tipped his beautiful face up towards the sun and closed his eyes. There was an extra tightness around them indicating his injury was causing him pain. An overwhelming urge came over me. I wanted to take his pain away, soothe him.
“Did you leave an Apple laptop in my room? I can’t keep it.” I kept my eyes on my bare flexing toes as I spoke.
“Because it’s beyond inappropriate. I’m not in the habit of accepting expensive gifts from strangers.” I gathered my hair and tied it back in a ponytail, readying myself for battle.
“I’m not a stranger, I’m your employer.” His voice was unusually bland. I didn’t let that fool me.
“Well that would be stupid,” his anger percolated quickly, “those books are outdated…you need a computer.”
“You make perfect sense, but I still can’t accept it. It’ll be in your office tonight.”
I doubted anyone ever dared to disagree with him, not if they valued their welfare. His eyes assessed me shrewdly. His jaw tightened and he raked his fingers through his hair. He was working up another argument, as apparent on his face as if he had shouted “pistols or rapiers?” Surprisingly, though, he pivoted and walked away with ground eating strides. Needless to say, I was relieved, although unsure if the issue had been settled.
The cane must have sunk into a soft patch of grass because I watched him lose his balance and crumple to the ground. Instinct thrust me forward, towards him. He was clutching his knee when I reached his side. I knelt down closer and discovered his face twisted in pain.
“Should I go to the house and get somebody?”
“No!” he barked out. “Give me a minute.” Reaching into the pocket of his athletic pants, he pulled out a prescription bottle. I snatched it out of his hand and read the label.
“These are very strong. When was the last time you took one?”
His eyes darted away from me briefly, then returned weary and cautious. “Four hours ago.”
“You’re not due for another hour,” I said as gently as possible. Unlike him, I gathered no pleasure seeing him brought low.
He stared at his leg and didn’t respond. When he finally did look up, the mask was gone. His eyes were two deep pools of emotion, allowing me a glimpse of his pain and frustration, beseeching me to understand.
[Want more? Click below to read a longer excerpt.]
Praise for the Book
"Sexy, intriguing, suspenseful and heartwarming, A Million Different Ways will grab hold of readers’ emotions and leave them wanting more. Sebastian is a broody, swoon-worthy alpha male, and Vera is a beautiful, courageous heroine. These two characters will pull at your heartstrings in this emotional and dangerous tale.” ~ RT Book Reviews
"This is probably the best book I ever read in my life. It had me up all night searching for book 2 and I literally cry because all I see is COMING SOON and no date. P. Dangelico you really need to release book two because I can't stop reading book 1 and everytime I do, the wait gets me more and more excited." ~ Amazon Customer
"You won't be able to put this book down!" ~ Leslie Ward
"A must read for anyone who enjoys a good romance novel." ~ AMB 18
The book starts with Sebastian's childhood letters to Santa detailing the breakdown of his parents' marriage. They serve to show us that the gruff man we are about to meet was once a sweet little boy, however, I found them an unnecessary gimmick. Flash forward 24 years to Geneva, Switzerland, where our narrator, Vera Sava, has just lost her job. Desperate, and under the threat of deportation to her native Albania, Vera takes a housekeeping position at the Horn estate, even though she is a fully trained doctor. Vera's first encounter with Sebastian Horn, the master of the house, is anything but idyllic, but we all know they're going to end up together! The question is, how? She'll undoubtedly have some competition along the way from the rest of the young female staff and numerous wealthy socialites. But what secret is Vera hiding from her past that has led her to where she is now? And when will it catch up with her?
This book is a described as a contemporary romance, but it should be labelled as an erotic romance, and the cover should be changed to reflect this genre. There is not much to the story, which mostly consists of graphic sex scenes. My major complaints: I would have liked to have seen more of Sebastian's high flying business dealings and less of Vera's domestic dramas; there are way too many misunderstandings and incidences of lack of communication between Vera and Sebastian; Vera is a trained doctor but can't even work out what's causing her illness; French words are not in italics which can lead to some confusion (e.g., French diner means "dinner" but looks like a spelling error); there are numerous editing errors, mostly incorrect word usage not picked up by spell-check; the title doesn't come into the story until 80% of the way through the book, then it is repeated four more times; the story ends on a massive cliffhanger, leaving a plethora of loose ends.
Warnings: coarse language, prescription drug abuse, numerous graphic sex scenes (including BDSM and voyeurism, and even bestiality in a dream sequence), ends on a cliffhanger.
About the Author
I make up stories, that's what I do. In the shower, while I'm driving, when I'm at the movies. It only seemed sensible that I should put them down on paper ... or computer screen. You could say romance is in the blood, I grew up watching my father paint the book covers of best selling romantic authors of the 80's and 90's such as Daniel Steele's Palomino. And after writing film scripts for years that never reached the screen, I finally made the switch to novels.
When I'm not writing, I'm usually painting, cleaning horse poo at the barn, or watching the NY Jets lose ... although I'm cautiously optimistic about the new season.