FRIENDS-TO-LOVERS CHRISTMAS ROMANCE ALERT!! Who’s ready for a cozy Christmas story? One that happens in ITALY!! Ahhhhhh Christmas in Italy. YES PLEASE!! Plus, it’s super-bargain priced today AND it’s on Kindle Unlimited. 😀 !!! MERRY CHRISTMAS & HAPPY HOLIDAYS EVERYONE!!!
Soleil is celebrating her recent book release, Sisi’s Alpine Christmas: A heartwarming, grown-up couple, friends-to-lovers holiday romance full of uplifting, sensuous joie de vivre to savor better times (Niccolò Count of Marezza Book 1) today by sponsoring today’s newsletter.
P.S. I love this author’s name so much!!! “Sun” in French. 😉
This friends-to-lovers Christmas holiday novel is a slow-burn romance. Two passionate people that were hurt in the past, may get another chance at love. This beautiful story full of joie de vivre, sensual longing, and heart-pounding moments, may just make your knees go weak.
“Soleil puts the romance back into romance! Italy! The Alps! A hidden Baroque palace! Lovable eccentrics in an Italian small-town! Horses! Dogs! A heroine fallen on hard times! And an enigmatic Italian Count that might be my new to-swoon-over Hero.” (Beatrice van Paulson, author)
Five Fun Facts
1. I wrote Sisi’s and Niccolò’s story because I believe that true love is the greatest thing worth fighting and living for. Even if we are disappointed, older, and pessimistic. Even if statistics tell us lightning would sooner hit us than for us to find love, we should never give up on true love. Just remember the princess bride!
2. Niccolò’s room resembles my uncle’s room in the attic of my grandmother’s chateau. My uncle was a famous dandy and playboy. And he was breathtaking. When I was a little girl, he granted me to sleep in his room. I loved how everything smelled, and at night I read his Ian Fleming and John le Carré books with a flashlight under the bedcovers. He also was a world class fisherman. As a teenager, he won the World cup trout fly-fishing championship in Lough Mask, Ireland. He was always binding gorgeous flies from feathers. And sometimes he gave me one as a present. That’s why Niccolò’s table is loaded with all the tiny boxes containing feathers and flies.
My uncle died of cancer when he was just 45 years old. He had more zest of life than anybody, and I will always miss him.
3. Niccolò’s character showed up in my imagination sitting on his miraculous Andalusian stallion. I had very little impact. He came to me fully furnished, overpowering, and set the pace. I could only follow and write everything down as it took place in my consciousness. He is a loner, very emotional, and he has a giant heart. But Niccolò isn’t even aware that hidden from view he has also some dark, sinister and a bit disturbing traits. I find men like that fascinating.
4. Rick, the anti-hero of my story, parallels some extremely rich men I met. Niccolò, in contrast, embodies the natural qualities that since antiquity where thought of as manly and virtuous. He is an aristocrat by nature. I wanted to pit this ‘true’ man against the anti-hero Rick sporting all the ‘delicious’ qualities defining your alpha-billionaire of today. Super successful men of today who believe that they can do whatever they want, that they can buy whatever and whoever they want, and are only concerned with appearance, power and money. When I met such wealthy men for real, I realized how terrified, jealous, and small-minded they were; that they felt always disadvantaged, sorry for themselves, and needed to show everybody that they made it. I found this so uncool and unsexy!
5. The Casa dei Sogni is an homage to the mountain chalet I grew up in as a child. The house stood at the end of a gravel road, before the mountain forests started. A roaring mountain stream rushed close to it. Its sound filled my mind all night. In the morning, us kids ran outside and helped bring the cows of the neighboring farm to the meadows. We had to use an outhouse, and the shower was in the kitchen where you had to heat the water first. When my fisher-uncle visited us, he caught trout in the ice-cold mountain stream with his bare hands und we grilled them on a wood-fired stove.
So what’s it about?
Who exactly is this elegant Count Niccolò of Marezza in his Baroque pleasure palace hidden in the wintry Italian Alps? Is this Alpha a villain or a hero? Is he a callous seducer or the last true gentleman? Or is this gorgeous aristocrat destined to remain a mystery?
Single Sisi, haunted by past trauma, is appalled by all the uncouth men and disillusioned with modern dating. Rejecting the brazen demands of Rick, her billionaire client, gets her fired from her job at a contemporary art gallery in Los Angeles.
At 36, with no life and no prospects, she escapes for the Christmas holidays to a picturesque small-town in the magic, snow-covered Italian Alps of South Tyrol.
It is there that she meets the aloof Count of Marezza, whose family ruled the region for the last millennium. The two loners slowly become best friends while preparing together a Christmas masquerade at his manor.
But does he see her merely as a friend? Or is this charismatic bachelor intentionally using his wiles to make her lose her sanity? Is he playing with her like a cat with a mouse?
“She found it suspect that he, obviously a master in seducing women, supposedly was just sitting here, innocently, all alone, in his pleasure palace. Just think of the aristocrats of yesteryear. How often was a poor girl seduced, and afterwards discarded with?! Unfortunately, the imagination of being artfully and selfishly seduced by Count Niccolò von Marezza didn’t allow her mind to become any more serene.”
One fateful night as she finds herself all alone with him, snowed-in in his fairy tale manor, her resolve is put to the test.
Sometimes Sisi believes Niccolò is her soul-mate.
“Let’s start all over again?” he asked softly and began “Silent Night.”
He took both of her hands in his own. This time they sang the old song as if tonight was a holy night.
She was happy and still sad, as if her heart wanted to burst in her chest. But when she looked at him, she saw the same sadness and melancholy in his eyes that sank deeper and deeper into hers.
And at that very moment, when they were holding hands, Christmas was happening.
As if the two of them were connected to everyone. To everyone in this world. And as if at that moment there was only love that covered everything else, just like the lonely falling snowflakes. She and Niccolò, in the castle courtyard, under the lights, the falling snow, the forest, the mountains, and all, all people and animals in the snow globe of the winter world. Alone and together.
But she realizes he is a natural seducer.
They faced each other and measured each other, ruthlessly laying out the underlying truth that they had hitherto concealed – a truth that was unbidden and unconditional and ungallant.
He jumped from his horse, took Pedro, who was stretching, by the reins and came ever closer to her. She was very pale and her eyes had become huge. They were still sucking his gaze in. She shivered and her knees gave out.
He was so close now that she could have touched him with a slight twist of her body. The great effort of the ride made him breathe hard. His body burned. She leaned back against the pillar and waited. He loomed over her and looked down at her. He raised his hand and stroked her cheek so slightly. Then he leaned over her. His moist, warm breath and his cheek touched her. He whispered softly in her ear in his dark, hoarse voice, “Did you like it?”
She nodded, turned her head two inches and searched his gaze. He returned it and then kissed her on the cheek. Almost without touching her. She inhaled his scent. He smelled of leather, wood, salt, and Zino Davidoff. She got dizzy.
“Come on, Principessa,” he said in a firm, harsh voice, “I’m starving.” He stepped back, turned, and led his white horse into the stable. She closed her eyes and wondered what he was starving for.
Yet she doesn’t know his sinister secrets…
He told himself he had gone further than a gentleman should. Yet he didn’t find it disrespectful at all, it put him in a wonderful mood.
Now, he had had her before, many, many times in his mind. He perceived of her consciousness of his imaginary invasions, and that this had forged a tenebrous bond, some secret coalition, between them. For all his self-sufficient, natural masculinity, he knew that her magnetic, female counter-power wanted him. Her intense want drove his desire.
In their case, the power of the potential, of what had not yet manifested itself, of total containment, proved to be as powerful as the strongest force of gravity. As real as if they had consummated their union for centuries. As real as becoming and passing away. Like life and death.
Still, he was aware of his transgression. He had taken her, right under her eyes, in staggering imagination, while she could not resist in her sleep. It didn’t bother him at all. It was only an innocent foreplay of what he was already planning for her. His behavior was of course not innocent, but downright unscrupulous. But since he had so esthetically sublimated his savagery, it seemed to him, in retrospect, an act of pure beauty. Brutality turned into art.
Soleil has a Ph.D. in psychology and philosophy. She was a faculty member at an Ivy League university and stems from an old European family.
She writes stories about powerful emotions. Emotions that are subversive, dangerous, and change lives.
Living a romantic or at least colorful life in many places, she’s had many professions, among them scientist, maid, intelligence consultant, fashion designer, farmer, band promoter, actress, director, CEO, and writer. On her way, she encountered some intriguing characters and learned a lot about people.
She believes a writer should be a subject-matter expert. And so she only writes about things she knows a thing or two about, such as rebels, aristocrats, castles, spies, billionaires, rock stars, actors, and mythological figures.
The book series about the elegant heartbreaker, Niccolò Count of Marezza, and the lone artist, Sisi, is her first in this genre.
Check out her website: https://soleilwrites.com