Title: THE PRELUDE
Author: KaSonndra Leigh
Publication Date: March 31st 2013
Source: ARC provided by the author in exchange for an honest review
"After finishing design school six months ago, Erin Angelo left her tragic past behind in the States and started a new life in Milan, Italy. Burying the grief, silencing her demons, and living a life without any real attachments has worked well for her so far. But when Erin secures her first real job as a budding clothing designer, her controlled world is shaken to its core by the mysteriously sexy director of the local symphony.
Alek Dostov is a man who knows what he wants and how to get it. He’s successful, hot, the son of a millionaire, and women all over the world flock to see one of his performances. For Alek, Erin represents the ultimate challenge: sexy, smart, and unaffected by his charms…or so she thinks. Just like Erin, Alek avoids attachments that leave him emotionally vulnerable. But unlike Erin, his pursuit of all things pleasurable is ruthless.
Knowing how wary they both are concerning any kind of committed relationship, Alek finds a way to pursue Erin, satisfying the intense attraction between them without sacrificing the freedom they both enjoy. Sometimes the deepest passion brings out the darkest emotions. And Erin finds herself completely unprepared for the forbidden world of the young maestro and his truths and even his secrets, as she struggles to deal with her own.
Music, passion, betrayal and forbidden love spun together in one of the most romantic cities in the world.
This novel contains sexual situations and mature language. It is intended for an audience at 17+ years of age"
Here are two excerpts from the story. One from Erin and one from Alek...
Erin Gets Her Happy Dance On…
I’m walking in a daze.
I think I’m going to pass out. Whoa! What just happened out there? The most gorgeous, successful, beautifully arrogant man ever just kissed my hand. My best friend, Selene is going to hate me for being so lucky. I can’t wait to tell her.
“Alright, chill out, Cinderella.” I walk through my door and let all the pretense, aka Miss Control USA, go flying out the window. I hop right up in the middle of my living room floor and start doing my hot damn dance.
So, yeah, Alek’s statement about the prelude freaked me out for a second. The word reminded me of something Jada used to say. His line was just the tiniest bit corny, too. But I meant what I said when I told him I thought his words were cute. He can say anything with that accent and get away with it.
I glance at my watch. 10p.m. It’s too early to call Selene. She works as a bartender in Florence. Sometimes her nights don’t end until around 2am.
I sniff the contract Alek gave me. His scent still lingers on the paper, reminding me of the day I first experienced the scent of his cologne. That was the day I fell on my butt, and he offered me his jacket to cover my body. He’s a true gentleman. Well, maybe a little.
So what if the gesture came after I had bolted for the door because he was looking me up and down at first. I feel myself forgiving his neglect to inform me of his true identity. He’s yet to explain himself. I consider agreeing to meet him for dinner just so he can tell me why he led me to believe he was an assistant.
I shower and throw on my Betty Boop sleeping shirt, a pair of booties, and then try to bring my racing thoughts back under control. Heading to my bedroom, I lie down on the bed and pull out a romance novel Selene let me borrow.
She thinks I’m destined to become either a nun or a homicidal maniac. Her reasoning being that no normal person goes without sex as long as I have done. Selene’s boyfriend and my old design lab partner from school, Christopher, even chimed in to help drill the thought into me one day when the two of them visited. I study the book in my hands.
This just doesn’t seem right. Erin Angelo is pulling out a romance novel and actually considering reading it. Now I know something’s wrong with me.
Erin Meets the Ex
“So, your mother was born in Dallas? That means you’re all mixed up, like me. Interesting,” Erin says and shakes her head as though she’s in deep thought.
She takes a bite of her focaccia, a type of yeast roll covered in garlic. Since we’re still well into the aperitivo, Milan’s happy hour, this is about all we’re going to be served for the time being. “It all makes sense now. I was wondering why Adriana doesn’t have a Russian sounding name. And how you got those…nevermind.”
“Don’t do that stopping mid-sentence thing. It drives me insane, yes. Finish. What do I have?” I lean over on the table, so I’m closer to her face. A rush of pink spreads through her cheeks. She blushes so easily. I enjoy watching it happen.
She shrugs and stabs at her food until I’m ready to snatch the plate away and eat the bread myself. I place my hand over hers. “Erin, you were going to tell me something, yes?” Our gazes meet, and she stares deep into my eyes.
“Your eyes. They’re not blue like a lot of Russians. That’s all. You don’t need me to be telling you things you’ve heard all your life, I’m sure.” She glances down at her plate and then over at my hand massaging the skin on top of hers.
“Look at me, Erin.”
“No. I mean, I’d rather not.”
“What have we here? The two of you look cozy,” a familiar female’s voice says, ripping through our bonding moment. Nadya. I sit back and give her a hard look. She’s wearing fur in July, the same thing Mother likes to do. And she looks ridiculous.
“Nadya. You look warm today,” I say, smiling.
“I am. These Milan nights can get a little chilly. Especially when a girl sits at home alone more often than not,” she replies.
“I’m sure a woman of your means can easily find male companionship,” I say with a smirking grin. She turns to Erin.
“Hi there. I’m Nadya, Alek’s ex-girlfriend.” She holds out her hand for Erin to shake.
“I’m Erin. And I’m not the new girlfriend.” Shaking her hand, Erin passes a quick glance in my direction.
“Erin Angelo, the student designer who wooed and won the hearts of all three Martuccio brothers? I’m in awe. Tell me, what kind of sexual favors did you do in order to convince them to take you in and spend all that money for you?”
“Nadya. This isn’t the time or place for that shit,” I warn.
“Oh, Alek, this is girl talk. Obviously, Erin has what it takes to survive in the fashion capital of the world. I simply want pointers on how she managed to snag yet another successful man so very quickly. Has he taken you to the waterfall yet?” Nadya gushes, her voice dripping with sarcasm. I stand up and face her.
“I’m warning you, Nadya,” I repeat.
“No, Alek, it’s okay, really. I don’t mind helping Nadya out,” Erin says, a devious gleam in her gorgeous eyes. Easing back down to my seat, I get the feeling that Nadya is in for a surprise.
“First, I signed up for design school. This meant I actually had to use intelligence over sex,” Erin begins, using the sweetest voice I’ve ever heard on a female. “And then, my instructors noticed I had a sharp eye for identifying trends. You know what I mean, right? Real. Raw. Talent. Now, this doesn’t include shopping sprees and matching up the designer labels in all my outfits. I’m one of the people who actually sat down and created the design for that acrylic, also known as, fake fur vest you’re wearing.”
Erin beams a smile at Nadya and then glances at me just before she says, “Men can’t help but to notice someone who does this kind of thing. Right, Alek?”
“Damn right. I couldn’t help it, anyway,” I add, feeling more turned on by Erin than I’ll ever care to admit. She removes her shawl and exposes the way her dress dips low enough to show off her generous cleavage. I lower my head so neither one of them will catch me laughing.
“In fact, Alek told me that my ambitious nature outside of the bedroom turns him on so much that he can’t wait to get back and make mad, passionate love to me tonight,” Erin says with a smile. I almost choke on my saliva.
“Obviously. Have a nice dinner,” Nadya says in a flat voice and walks off toward a man standing near the bar.
“I cannot believe I just said those shitty things to her,” Erin says, shaking her head and gasping.
“She opened the door wide,” I answer.
“Can we have a subject-change moment, please?” she asks and moves on without questioning me about the waterfall statement Nadya made. I appreciate that she doesn’t question or judge me. Not yet.
*I Hereby Award This book 5 Wings!*
When I was first asked if I wanted to be part of the Street Team for release day of this book, I was excited to get my hands on the book and dive in. Unfortunately, I had other blog tour commitments that meant I couldn't get to it right away. However, when I picked this book up yesterday, there was no putting it down.
I read the first 76% in one sitting and then finished the rest this morning.
It's taken me a few minutes to compose myself enough to write a review though because I was sat with tears streaming down my face as I got to the end. Well, technically I had tears in my eyes from about 83% I think it was. Why? Read on to find out...
The Prelude is an amazing story, it totally blew me away. Right from the first word on the first page, I was sucked in. There was nowhere for me to go except head first into the pages. From then, I was surrounded by a world of music, art, passion, pleasure and love. But in this world, there was also loss, guilt, heartache and betrayal. This culmination of things made for one of my favourite books of the year, if not that I've EVER read!
Alternating chapters are told from two POV's. One is Erin and the other, Alek. For me, this was a lot of fun. It meant we had insights not only as to one MC, but two. Both of whom are passionate, feisty and stubborn as mules. They both have a love of music and the arts. Theirs is a beautiful, yet tragic tale - they both have obstacles to overcome in their lives before they can see their way to love.
Erin is in Italy, working for Black Butterfly Designs. She co-runs the place with two other people, the delectable Luca and Rafe. She has an assistant called Carla who helps her make her creations come to life after her initial designs on paper. That's right, Erin is a very talented clothing designer. BBD is a small, yet very good design house. They have a possible new contract with a man called Alek Dostov, a prominent maestro. He's a man who knows what he wants and just how to get it.
Erin's designs land BBD the contract, meaning they have to create 6 sets of outfits for an upcoming ballet that Alek is arranging. His friend Nikolai is a dancer and together, they are hoping to pull off the performance of a lifetime, Requiem.
When Erin meets Alek, she's not interested in men. Well, she is, but in a no-strings way, not looking for a relationship. She can't help but think he's very handsome, but still, her interest in him is to remain professional. That doesn't mean to say he doesn't ask her out on a date though. She just keeps refusing him.
There's a reason for Erin's reticence. Her past still haunts her every day. Before she moved to Italy, when she was younger, there was love and happiness in her family until one tragic day, her father and sister are killed in a car accident. After which, Erin made a promise to herself that she would never be happy again, never love again. She would remain stoic, because if she didn't, and she let herself feel, she would be opening herself up to a world of hurt. She believed that she didn't deserve to feel happiness as a result of what happened that day. She said it should have been her in the car that day, not Jada. She thought her sister was meant to go on and become someone, make her mark on the world, not her.
Back to present day and Alek is still pursuing the idea of getting Erin to go on a date with him, but he's not sure why he cares so much. He doesn't normally care about women, he just uses them and tosses them aside. His mother usually sets him up with women with whom a lucrative future could be paved. But there's something different about Erin. She challenges him in a way no-one has done before.
Erin finally agrees to go on a date with him, for the sake of appearance. She doesn't want to lose the design contract for BBD. But more than that, she actually likes Alek. she won't admit it, not even to herself, but she does.
What ensues from here is a beautifully told story of how Erin and Alek both must face their demons and overcome many obstacles set on their path. Erin must come to terms with what happened in the past not being her fault, and Alek must learn what it's like to truly woo a woman - he needs to win her affection, and ultimately her heart.
They say the path to true love never runs smooth, well that is certainly true in this case. I heard something once, and it holds true in this instance; Ad Astra Per Aspera - A Rough Road Leads To The Stars.
This is a story laced with many emotions. The layers of the story are complex and at times, I wanted to reach in and smack Erin upside the head. But the fact is, she needed to come to terms with things in her own time and her own way. Whether she will always carry these demons around with her or whether she will let herself truly live and be free, is up to her.
We meet some amazing characters in this story, as well as some not so great. We even meet one or two who aren't all they make us believe they are. But obviously, I can't tell you who - you need to read The Prelude and find out for yourself.
KaSonndra Leigh is a very talented author who builds an amazing story, one in which I became quickly immersed. She paints the most vivid picture with her words and you can't help but truly lose yourself.
Erin and Alek are both very similar in their ways, even though they don't know it at first. Or is it that they just won't admit it?
I must admit, this is one emotional journey from the moment it begins and it only builds and gets more emotional along the way. When I reached around 83% I began to cry and I didn't stop until long after I had read the final word on the very last page.
I really hope that this is a series that will continue for a long time because I want to learn more about the secondary characters as well as read more about Erin and Alek. Maybe we'll get a book from Luca and Adriana's POV's? I truly don't know what the future holds for the characters within these pages but I know one thing, the road ahead won't be an easy one. But they do say, if something is easy then it isn't worth doing!
I hope you all will pick up a copy of The Prelude today. I hope you enjoyed the excerpts that KaSonndra chose to share with you and I hope you were persuaded by my words to give it a try for yourself.
Thank you to KaSonndra for the ARC copy of this fantastic story. I hope it's released in paperback because it's something I'd like to own a signed copy of - it can sit in my collection of signed, most favourite books.
Thank you all who came by to read my review. I hope to see you all here again soon!
Author of the Lost Immortals Saga and the Path Seekers Series. I’m also a mother, blogger, reader, gardener, home renovator, and a slayer of undead Egyptian mummies in Tomb Raider. I believe in karma, coffee, and seriously wish that the producers of Xena would bring my favorite show ever back.
Strange things about me: Everything. I am weird, odd, unusual, and generally tend to make people think I swooped down from another planet. I don’t know. Maybe I did. Who knows? I’m also a member of the #zombiesurvivalcrew on twitter. So if you need protection from the upcoming apocalypse, don’t hesitate to call on us.
I was born in the race-car city of Charlotte, NC, and now live in the City of Alchemy and Medicine, NC, when I’m not hanging out in Bardonia (Lost Immortals). Most of my characters are based on people that I’ve met throughout my travels and adventures. People tend to stop and start conversations with me as if I’ve known them my entire life. Does this freak me out? Not really. My mom says that one day I’ll get kidnapped by one of them. I told her that if it weren’t for these lovely people then I wouldn’t be able to create the stories that I do.
KaSonndra’s Author website: www.kasonndraleigh.com
Prelude's Fan page: http://facebook.com/kasonndraleighbookspage
Prelude's Pinterest Board: http://pinterest.com/alestasia/the-prelude/
KaSonndra’s Twitter: http://twitter.com/kasonndraleigh
Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/KaSonndra-Leigh/e/B0066W7GY4