Book Excerpt Magic of Stars

Book Excerpt

Wow – he was a fast mover, Sapphire thought, as she gazed into his brooding eyes. She did a quick once over of the man: tall with a mop of dark silky hair, expensive looking suit, good olive coloured skin and enviable white teeth. Decision made, she threw back the last of her wine and coughed as it caught in her throat and dribbled down her chin. Wiping her mouth with the back of her hand, she said, ‘Now that’s an interesting proposition.’ She ran the tip of her tongue over her lips and tried to make her eyes smoky, like the blonde in her boyfriend’s bed. Sadly, it just sent her vision out of focus once more.

She put out a tentative finger and traced it down the man’s tie, looping her thumb under it before yanking hard to draw him closer to her irresistible pouting lips. Or was it the woman in her boyfriend’s bed who had those – not stupid Sapphire, with her boring, un-kissable, devoid-of-shiny-pink-lip-gloss lips, and with absolutely no pulling power whatsoever?

 The man grabbed her fingers and loosened her hold on him, setting her back on the stool. ‘Not a good trick, if you don’t mind me saying so.’

‘Whoops, sorry. It was supposed to be an enticement, not a garrotting.’ She swayed with laughter and almost toppled off her stool again, the effort of staying upright suddenly difficult.

‘Lady, it really is time you left my bar.’

‘I’m going, Captain – and my name is Sapphire.’ She saluted him as she climbed off her stool, fumbling for her bag. As she stood up she caught her heel in the foot rest and felt herself falling. She clutched at the bar top, her nails scraping as her stomach swooped with alarm ––

Marco Cavarelli was by her side in a second, his hand under her elbow, helping her to stay upright.

She winced as she righted herself, the room spinning on a different axis to her own. ‘Ooh, I didn’t think you could get drunk this quickly.’

‘You can if you try as hard as you did.’ He grabbed her arm as she teetered unsteadily on her heels.

‘I really don’t drink, you see.’

‘Your impression of a teetotaller is way off kilter, if you don’t mind me stating the obvious.’ He gripped her arm to pull her up and steady her. ‘Take a couple of painkillers with a glass of water before you go to bed – it makes all the difference,’ he instructed, his lips a tight line of disapproval.

The barman slid the bill over. ‘Just to keep the books straight, Signore.’

‘Of course, no problem.’ He let go of Sapphire and turned away from her to sign the chitty.

Sapphire suddenly couldn’t bear to see him go. It was so important that he stayed; that he understood she really, really didn’t want to be as drunk as she clearly was. ‘No, don’t go!’ She dashed a tear away as it rolled down her cheek, only for it to be replaced by another one.

Her rescuer sighed. ‘I don’t need another maiden in distress, you know.’ He ran a hand over his face, puffing out his cheeks, resigned as he turned to the barman. ‘Why can’t we just throw ’em over our shoulders and dump ’em somewhere, like we used to do back in the caveman days?’ He sighed and shook his head.

Si, Signor Cavarelli, she is trouble.’ The bartender waggled his head, weighing up the dilemma. He turned to Sapphire with a sigh, pointing at his boss and enunciating clearly. ‘He look after you.’

Sapphire was confused by the exchange, but she had sufficient brain cells still functioning to know she would never find her room unaided. She grabbed the bottle of champagne from the bar counter and waved it at the barman. ‘I don’t drink, you see.’

‘Had me fooled, that’s for sure,’ the barman said, winking at her.

The Magic of Stars

Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone.

In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

Purchase from Amazon UK

About Jackie Ladbury

Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.

Short and sharp lesson learned.

Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.

Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

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