Hi Kate and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Ciao For Now!
Please summarize the book for the readers here:
CIAO FOR NOW follows Violet, a fashion design student, who’s pushing thirty and has gone all-in on her dreams of becoming a successful fashion designer. About to graduate at the top of her class, she and two other classmates win an internship in Rome at an Italian fashion label where they will be competing for a job back in New York.
On her first day in Rome, Violet has a coffee-run gone terribly wrong where she ends up smashing the laptop of a very grumpy, very handsome TV writer named Matt. Later that night, Violet discovers that Matt also happens to be Matteo, the son of her professor who she’ll be staying with for the duration of her trip. With her future on the line, Violet needs to do everything she can to keep her eyes on the prize and to win the competition, all the while contending with her feelings for Matt — specifically their animosity….and their very inconvenient chemistry.
Please share your favorite line(s) or quote from this book:
There’s his scruff. I won’t deny it—I like the scruff. It’s not that I have a full-fledged beard kink or anything; I’m simply a lady who enjoys many a Viking show.
And granted, I’m not for everyone. No one is universally liked, save for Bob Ross, our eternal lord of the landscapes, but still, I guess I didn’t fully grasp that Matt disliked me to the degree that he obviously does.
“Nervous about what?” I ask. He looks at me and in a split second, I think that I can guess his answer. “You’re nervous that this is going to be a big mistake?”
He shakes his head, accepting and slow. “I’m nervous that this is going to be the opposite of a big mistake.”
Please share a few Fun facts about this book…
- I fell in love with Rome when I studied there for four weeks when I was in college. It was the first time I left the country and I was so nervous to be on my own, but the city was absolutely magical.
- I wanted to write a story where the main character was a fashion designer because I’m obsessed with watching design shows, and I think the process of designing and constructing clothes is fascinating.
- I edited CIAO FOR NOW when I just had my newborn, and I was so tired all the time that I genuinely don’t remember editing it at all.
What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
I think at first, their attraction comes from the high-charged animosity between them. They elicit such strong emotions in each other, with tempers flaring as they both try to one-up each other. Not to mention that both of them are in Rome on a time-sensitive purpose, so the last thing either of them wants is to deal with each other. But then as they start to be civil to each other, they become more and more intrigued and forge a connection that neither of them saw coming, and by the time they both see it, it’s too late to stop it.
Did any scene have you blushing, crying or laughing while writing it? And Why?
A few scenes definitely made me blush, but here’s a small little snippet of one of my favorites:
“And what if my opinion of you is starting to change?”
There are only a few feet between us, yet I find myself moving toward him again—an invisible current pushing me forward. I stop myself when we’re just a foot apart, but Matt reaches for me under the water, gripping my hips and pulling me all the way into him. We’re chest to chest and my legs instinctively wrap around his waist as my arms drape around his neck. This has to be wrong, but I don’t care. It’s just the right amount of quiet now. All I hear is our mingled breath- ing and the soft splashes of the water around us.
“If your opinion of me is starting to change, I’d tell you to be careful.”
His words catch me off guard, and I lean away slightly as my eyes remain fixed on his. “Why would you do that?” I ask. Matt holds me just a little bit tighter. “Because I don’t like many people, but I do like you. And if you’re thinking that I’m going to be the one to end this first, you’re going to find yourself disappointed, after all.”
Readers should read this book….
Readers should read CIAO FOR NOW because it’s a fun, romantic, escapist read. Life can be so stressful, and sometimes you just need to get whisked away to dreamy Italy a via a steamy, humorous, warm-hearted love story.
What are you currently working on? What other releases do you have in the works?
I’m currently working on next swoon-worthy summer rom-com.
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: A print copy of Ciao For Now by Kate Bromley
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: Have you ever been to Italy? If you have, what did you love about it? If you haven’t, what do you think you would love about it?
Excerpt from Ciao For Now:
“On a scale of zero to heartbreakingly Italian, where would you say that I land?”
Turning my eyes from the architectural wonders to my left and right, I glance over at Marco as we roll our overpacked luggage down a cobblestoned street in Rome. It’s mid afternoon and the sun is out in full force, casting a heat and a haze over us that would feel stifling back in New York, but here, it feels lighter. Simmering with possibilities. Snippets of Italian and the buzz of scooters reverberate around and through me like a new favorite song, and it’s all so surreal that it takes real effort to respond to my friend instead of drifting off into a highly elaborate Roman Holiday fantasy instead.
“Are we talking your overall aura or your physical appearance, too?”
“Whole package,” Marco replies, pulling at the collar of his black T-shirt. “Like we just crossed paths, you see me, you take in my vibe and you think to yourself, ‘Hmm… In my humble tourist opinion, this gentleman is clearly this much Italian.’”
“I don’t know,” I answer, giving my suitcase a determined yank as the wheel catches on a stone. “Maybe a five?”
“A five?” he seethes. “Not that I’m trying to sway your decision, but how dare you?”
I stop walking then, my body needing a break even with all the euphoric adrenaline that’s been pumping through me nonstop since we landed two hours ago. I reach into my tote bag and pull out the bottle of water I bought at the airport and all but guzzle it down before speaking again.
“You know what? I’m amending my original answer. You’re an eight. A solid eight, which is a highly respectable score that also allows room for growth.”
Marco reaches out his hand and I pass the water over, giving him the okay to finish it off. He drinks an equally ravenous amount and tosses the empty bottle into a nearby bin. “I’ll accept an eight. At least it’s better than the three-point- seven that you’d pull in.”
“How am I a three-point-seven when I’m biologically half Italian?”
“Yeah, I’d challenge Ancestry.com on that one,” he says. “Your name might be Violetta Luciano but your freckles and complete inability to tan reads as more of a Sinead O’Connor.” I chuckle and make use of the hair tie that’s forever on my wrist, pulling my thick auburn hair into a ponytail as Marco goes on, “By the way, do we know what time Holly is getting in?”
“Not a clue,” I tell him. “I can barely get Holly to ac- knowledge my existence, let alone keep me abreast of her travel plans.”
“Same here. Maybe we’ll finally win her over now that we’re interning together, though. I mean, come on. Who wouldn’t love us? We’re delightful.”
“We’re somewhat delightful,” I reply. “Borderline absurd but delightful.”
“True, but to be fair, all fashion designers are at least a little absurd. I’d take a cinched, tulle-layered ball gown over a practical mindset any day of the week.”
“Oh, one hundred percent,” I agree.
Marco smirks and we continue down the busy street. It’s teeming with tourists and locals alike, and I’m surprised we don’t bump into anyone. In Manhattan, even a leisurely stroll can turn into limitless rounds of sidewalk chicken, with no one willing to swerve or give the right of way ever. In Italy, people weave in and out of pedestrian traffic like synchronized swimmers on pavement.
The midday riposo clearly works wonders for the soul.
Five minutes later we stop again, having now discovered a picturesque commercial cul-de-sac. There’s a restaurant, a café, a clothing store and a gelato shop, and they’re all wildly tempting in their own ways.
“I need a break,” I tell Marco. “We’re supposed to meet Professor Leoni at her apartment in an hour, so let’s just hang out here until then.”
“Sounds good. I’m going to do some perusing first,” he says, lifting his chin toward the clothing store. “Care to join me?”
“I’m too tired to peruse. I’ll meet you at the café.”
“See you in fifteen.”
He bounces off, still bursting with excess energy, and it’s
in moments like this that I’m painfully aware of our age difference. True, we’re only seven years apart, but sometimes the gap between twenty-two and twenty-nine feels immeasurable.
It’s not that I mind being older than most of the people I go to school with. Even now I’m proud of the fact that I’m an adult student. But the downside of it does hit me on occasion, periodically reminding me of just how far behind I am in my life. Of how much harder I need to work to make up for the time I lost.
Pushing that moderately depressing thought aside, I channel my angst into a resolute march forward, making my way toward the al fresco café. I stop to stand just outside the waist- height partition and find that it’s filled to capacity with every table occupied.
Deciding to wait it out, I pull out my phone and do what I always do when I have a few minutes to pass—I look at old pictures of me and Greg. And granted, it’s an incredibly un- healthy go-to, but for all my eccentricities, I’m also a creature of habit.
Scrolling through the photos now, I feel the same as I usually do. Accepting but sad. Uncomfortably comfortable. Cross- ing an ocean hasn’t changed that. And the strangest part of it is, even though I miss him, I don’t necessarily want Greg back. At least, not right now. I don’t even want to be the girl in the photos. I’m not her anymore. I haven’t been for two years. But I still look at who we were then and for some reason, I can’t leave us behind. Can’t stop myself from thinking that when the time is right, we’ll find each other again. Maybe it’s be- cause we still keep in contact, sometimes constantly texting each other. It’s hard to leave someone in the past when they’re still a lingering part of the present.
Minutes go by and I keep scrolling—taking in photo after photo of the two of us smiling and laughing in our old apartment—until I notice a couple in the café making their way to the exit. I immediately survey the area and find that their empty table is in the direct center of the space. It’s not ideal, but it’s doable.
Desperate not to miss my chance, I power walk into the seating area, doing my best to maneuver myself and my Cadillac-sized suitcase to the open table and offering a co- pious stream of scuzis and gratzis to everyone I nudge past. Soon enough, I’m only a few feet away. I’m already imagin- ing how moan-inducingly wonderful it’s going to feel to sit in the shade when a mop of blond hair catches my eye from across the square.
My heart pounds as a terrified thrill shoots through me. I lean my body to the right, nearly contorting to get a better look. It can’t be him. I know it can’t. But my eyes stay fixed on the silhouette. Tall and lean with his hair sweeping right. Always right. The direction I’d forever push it when we’d sit around talking or lounging in bed. He turns in my direction and the world tilts on its axis. No, wait—that’s me—I’m tilting—no, I’m falling—I’m straight-up toppling into the café table beside me with all the dead weight of a wrecking ball.
Hello, and welcome to my nightmare.
In the span of three seconds, I’m thrown into a state of sensory overload. I feel a hot, wet surface against my now moist chest, a sickening crunching sound fills my ears and all I can see is a startled but intense pair of brown eyes staring back into mine. I stay focused on them for longer than I should before I turn away, instead looking down as I push myself up from the nearly demolished café table that I’m now sprawled across. All the while I keep thinking to myself, That didn’t just happen. Please tell me that didn’t just happen.
Standing up on shaky legs, my still-stunned eyes dart around the café. Every patron is watching me in some con- figuration of empathy, shock and terror.
Oh yeah, that fully freaking happened.
My hands shift to my shirt, which is now saturated with strong-smelling coffee. I’m only just starting to mentally re- calibrate when my gaze returns to my brown-eyed neighbor. He’s standing and sort of hunched over as he assesses his own damage, wiping at the coffee that’s splattered across his gray button-down and khaki shorts. My horrified gaze pans lower as I spot what I can only assume is his laptop on the ground. It now has a gruesome crack down the center of the screen.
If it were ever possible to vanish into a cloud of smoke like the Wicked Witch of the West, minus the cackle, this would be the time. Unfortunately, no dormant magical powers mani- fest, and I’m left to deal with the aftermath on my own.
“Oh, my god,” I sputter, compelling myself into action as my neighbor’s eyes once again collide with mine. “I’m sorry. I’m so incredibly sorry. Are you okay? Are you burned?”
He’s looking at me like I’m a feral animal who’s foaming at the mouth, and in my somewhat rabid current state, his con- cern is warranted. He says nothing.
“I’m sorry,” I try again apologetically. “Parli inglese? I don’t know how to ask if you’re okay in Italian.”
He levels me with a cold stare. “Stai bene.”
“Stai bene?” I echo.
“It means ‘are you alright?’ in Italian.”
And we officially have inglese. At least now I’ll know what
he’s saying when he threatens me with legal action.
“Oh good. Great,” I tell him. “So are you stai bene?”
“I’m fine.” The tone of his voice, though decided and deep,
sounds far from fine. He straightens up completely then, and I’m surprised by how tall he is. The top of my head just reaches his shoulders, and I have to tilt my chin upward to meet his gaze.
“But I broke your laptop. I’ll pay for it to be fixed or re- placed.”
What’s the going black-market rate for spleens in Italy? I spent almost every dollar I had on my plane ticket over, and my airways instantly tighten as I try to think of how I can pull the money together for a new computer.
“It’s fine,” the man says, pulling me out of my rising panic. He runs a hand through his dark brown hair, pushing it to the left. His facial hair is the same shade of dark brown, walking the line between scruff and a full beard. It gives off a distinct lumberjack boardroom kind of vibe and I def don’t hate it. Too bad the glare he casts my way leaves very little doubt that he absolutely hates me.
Squatting to pick up his laptop, he takes in the mangled screen and tries not to wince as he attempts to close it. It’s no longer wholly connected, so the top half folds awkwardly without closing all the way. He stands and slides it into an over-the-shoulder case, which is also splattered and stained. Apparently, nothing was spared from my caffeine carnage.
Wanting and needing to smooth the situation out further, I step around the wreckage that is his table and gesture to mine. “Please sit with me. And let me get you a new coffee. It’s the least I can do after destroying your afternoon, if not your whole life.”
At my words, he glances around the café, either looking for an escape or stalling. Both options are understandable. My eyeline slides a little sideways, too, discreetly searching for Greg across the square. He isn’t there. Of course he isn’t. My overactive imagination is a menace, and this humiliating interlude was all for nothing.
I turn to refocus on my neighbor, giving him an innocent yet pleading smile.
Just sit with me, dude. Put me out of my misery.
I’m entirely expecting a staunch refusal when he stiffly says, “I wouldn’t want to intrude.”
“You wouldn’t be intruding,” I tell him eagerly. “If you don’t sit with me, I’ll torture myself about this for at least a year. Maybe two.”
I almost laugh at myself. Two years? Yeah, right. My over- analyzing ass will be reimagining and reliving this unforgettable horror until the end of time.
He appears to sense my obvious turmoil and lets out a defeated breath. “Yeah, okay,” he answers. “And forget about my laptop. I was planning on getting a new one.”
It’s probably a lie, but I’m still grateful. He begrudgingly sits down next to me, and I quickly sit as well, straightening my posture like I’m gearing up for a job interview.
“So,” I say in the most chipper voice I can muster, “I should introduce myself. My name is Violet.”
He makes eye contact but in no way returns my smile. “I’m Matt.”
“It’s very nice to meet you, Matt.” I then initiate a stiff business handshake and he drops my hand so fast that you’d think I casually licked my palm right before we made contact. I’m not quite sure how to cope with his barely veiled contempt, but thankfully, a waiter appears and asks what we would like. I order a cappuccino, and Matt asks for an Americano. The man walks away with a grimace, which I can only assume is due to my making such a scene a minute ago.
“So I’m batting a thousand in the popularity department today,” I joke.
“Don’t worry about Giuseppe,” Matt says evenly. “I come here all the time and he’s only ever scowled at me.”
“Yeah, but you seem like someone who doesn’t particularly mind scowling.”
The thought somehow slips out of me, and I’m hoping it didn’t come off as offensive. Matt only shrugs.
“I’d rather a scowl than a fake smile.” He looks at me pointedly and my permi-grin falters.
M-kay, Matt. Let’s not be an ass.
“Good manners cost nothing,” I answer easily.
Matt sits back a degree in his chair. “I think you can be
polite without being fake. Why should I alter my personality to make other people feel better? I used to do that, and it was draining. And people still didn’t like me.”
I consider personally attesting to his last statement but stop myself. Instead, I say, “I’m sure there’s a difference between altering your personality and presenting yourself in a way that doesn’t come off as rude.”
The corner of Matt’s mouth pulls up in the smallest hint of a smile. “Is that how I come off to you? As rude?”
More like a disproportionally handsome bridge troll, but maybe it’s best not to mention that.
Excerpt. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
When an American interning at a fashion house in Rome butts heads with her professor’s surly son, sparks fly!
With her thirties rapidly approaching and a mountain of student debt looming over her, Violet Luciano’s dream of finishing design school and working in fashion has cost her everything. So when she lands an internship at an up-and-coming fashion brand in Rome, she brings her A game to Italy. With nothing left to lose, Violet plans to win the competition among the interns for the ultimate prize—a job at a New York label.
But when a coffee run goes wrong and Violet accidentally destroys a stranger’s laptop, all of the apology Americanos in the world won’t help her. Because it turns out that the man from the café is Matteo, her professor’s eternally grumpy son, who thinks she’s a clumsy American…and maybe a stalker. Their animosity (and undeniable chemistry) grows as together they’re forced to face a summer of chic parties, adventures through Rome and sharing a home…with the person they can’t stand the most.
The more time she spends with him, the more distracted she finds herself. With her chance to win the competition slipping out of her grasp, Violet has to decide whether to say ciao to Matteo—or ciao to her dreams.
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Meet the Author:
Kate is a writer of romantic comedies and contemporary romance. She lives on the east coast with her husband, sons, and her somewhat excessive collection of romance novels. (It’s not hoarding if it’s books, right?) She was a preschool teacher for almost seven years and is now focusing full-time on combining her two great passions — writing swoon-worthy love stories and making people laugh.
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