I've received so, so many messages and emails about Beppe and Gia's book. I really appreciate your interest in this world I have created, and knowing that someone besides me loves the characters I've written makes me happy beyond words! Thank you!
To answer the most reoccurring question - when is the book coming out - I don't have a set date yet. I'm hoping it would be in August, but there are so many things about publishing a book that are not entirely up to me that I can't guarantee anything yet. For me, writing the book is the easy part. Everything that comes after that is the hard part and the slow part. So, please, be patient with me and I promise to do everything I can to get the book out as soon as I can.
Here's a little scene I wrote recently so that you can have a taste of the book. I have to warn you though - it's going to be much darker than In a Heartbeat. It's not going to be a happy book, although I'll try to give them some sort of a HEA.
Max and Beppe are 13 years old in that scene, and Gia's 15.
The rhythmic tap on the window startled Gia. She knew who it was without even looking, but she’d been so absorbed in her homework that she hadn’t even heard him climbing up like she usually did. Sighing, she stood up from her desk and went to open the window.
Beppe swung his legs hastily over the frame and hopped inside.
“Oh my God!” Gia’s hand flew to her mouth instinctively. Beppe’s right eye was swollen shut, his lower lip was split and there were tiny drops of blood on his t-shirt. “What the hell happened?” she asked as she took hold of herself. The last thing Beppe needed right now was her freaking out and judging him.
“He found out about the weed. I don’t know how. Maybe he smelled it on my clothes. Who the fuck cares.” Beppe moved around Gia and flopped on her bed.
“What’s going on?” Max burst through the door without knocking, probably alarmed by Gia’s shrieks. Thank God their parents were not home right now or this whole thing would turn ugly very fast. “What happened to you, man?” Max zeroed on Beppe’s face and moved to sit next to him on Gia’s bed.
“Dad.” Beppe had closed his eyes and covered them with his arm.
“I told you smoking the weed was a very bad idea, Gia. Look what happened.” They had smoked a blunt the previous day, curious to find out how it would feel to get high.
Stupidest idea ever.
“We need to call the police.” Gia ignored Max’s accusation – she already felt guilty enough. It was her who had scored the joint and came up with the bright idea to smoke it. Beppe’s busted face was all her fault.
“No.” Beppe said, so quietly that Gia wasn’t even sure he actually spoke.
“Beppe...” she began, sitting on his other side and glancing nervously at Max. They were the only ones who knew what Beppe’s father was capable of. Up until now, he’d always been careful not to hit him on the face, though. The respected accountant didn’t want any rumours circling his perfect family man reputation.
“I said no, Gia. Drop it. I smoked weed. Dad punished me for it. It’s how it works.”
“No, it’s not how it works, Beppe, and you know it. Why are you finding excuses for him? You’re not stupid enough to think the way he’s treating you and your mum is right.”
“He’s my dad. Mum and I don’t have anybody else.”
“That doesn’t mean you’re his property and he can beat the crap out of you every chance he gets!” Max jumped from the bed and ran his hands through his hair, resting them on the back of his neck.
Gia looked at Beppe, concern written all over her face. What could she do to help him? God knew they’d hidden him from his father’s wrath countless times. But it wasn’t enough. Not anymore.
Just as she was about to say something to support Max’s argument that this madness had to stop, she saw a single tear slip from Beppe’s swollen eye. Gia looked at her brother and shook her head. Max ran his hands over his face in frustration, but didn’t argue. He turned around and left, slamming the door behind him. For a moment Gia wondered if Max would do something stupid and reckless, but thought better of it. He’d always been impulsive but he also loved Beppe like a brother and knew that confronting his father wouldn’t help.
“You can stay here over the weekend. Mum and Dad are away celebrating their wedding anniversary and won’t be back until Sunday evening. Technically I’m in charge of the house so I want you to stay.”
Beppe removed his arm from his face and looked at Gia, the sight of his one good eye filled with sadness and despair breaking her heart. It wasn’t the first time he’d be staying in hers or Max’s room for the night, and it probably wouldn’t be the last, but he seemed to be surprised by the offer every single time. Nodding, Beppe stood up to take his shoes and dirty clothes off and then scooted back on the bed, curling around himself and closing his eyes. Gia covered him with the soft blanket, her eyes grazing the familiar scars on his back, turned the light off and quietly left the room.