Hi Annie and welcome to HJ! We’re so excited to chat with you about your new release, Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir!
Hi, and thanks so much for hosting me. I love being here! 🙂
Tell us about the book with this fun little challenge using the title of the book:
HER – the central character is Molly, a school teacher who’s out of her depth in Italy because she’s
FORGOTTEN – everything! She relies on other people to tell her everything about herself, even her name. Enter her
LOVER(’S) Pietro Accardi. At least he claims to be her lover, in fact her husband, yet Molly can’t remember him… And then there’s his
HEIR For the one thing she knows when she wakes in hospital is that she’s pregnant! Can she trust him, or is she making a terrible mistake, falling in love with a man she can’t remember? Above all, what will happen when Molly finally recalls the past?
What’s your favorite line(s) from the book?:
Oh, easy. It’s when Molly is visited in hospital by an enigmatic (and thoroughly sexy) stranger who tells her her name is Molly Agosti. She asks his name he replies ‘Pietro Agosti’. When she’s surprised at them sharing the same surname, he answers:
‘That’s because I’m your husband.’
Please tell us a little about the characters in your book. What first attracts your Hero to the Heroine and vice versa?
Molly appealed to me from the start. Alone and with no memory, she’s terrified yet tries to hard to be strong, which I admired. She’s such a positive, loving person, but nor is she a fool, which means that she never makes things easy for Pietro when he tries to make decisions for her – even if he thinks they are for her own good!
Pietro is a strong alpha hero but with a decent core and a loving heart. He lost all his family in a tragic accident and will do just about anything to secure his child when he learns he’s going to be a father. Along the way he’s determined to take care of Molly and make up for past mistakes, but he still has a lot to learn about himself and her, and most of all about true love. I loved his honor and caring side as well as his determination to get just what he wants. It’s a great combination that leads to all sorts of problems!
When you sat down to start this book, what was the biggest challenge you faced? What were you most excited about?
The two were the same – I was excited by the notion of a ticking clock in this book, the feeling that the more Molly remembered, the more things would change for her and Pietro because there’s a mystery involved. At the same time it’s a delicate issue to handle and I was always conscious that the story had to flow easily and their relationship develop naturally. I love that sense of a time limit, ratcheting up the tension and providing doubt about what the future will hold.
What, in your mind, makes this book stand out?
This story has a real energy about it and a mystery as well. In the beginning Molly doesn’t know anything about herself and has to discover who she really is as the story progresses. I loved the way her true character gradually emerges, and how Pietro’s does too. Our first impression of him is true as far as it goes, but he’s a much more complex and troubled man than he first appears. I thought they were a fabulous couple.
The First Kiss…
Her words ended as Pietro’s big hands wrapped round her elbows and pulled her against him. Her breath expelled in a tiny puff of air. Not from the physical force of the action, but from raw shock.
Molly had told herself she was prepared. Didn’t she crave intimacy with him? Yet the sensation of Pietro against her, of that wall of hot muscle making every nerve receptor in her body twang into overdrive, was so much more than she’d imagined.
Stunned, she looked at that firm mouth just inches away. It was intriguingly sculpted, strong yet sensual, and it curled up in a delicious invitation that made every atom of her needy body sit up and beg.
Molly swallowed hard, all her bravado swamped by the certainty that, as far as kisses went, Pietro was a consummate expert and she…
Thought atrophied as his head lowered and his mouth opened over hers. Electricity jolted through her. That was the only way she could explain the sizzle that drew her skin tight and puckered her nipples against her bra.
Pietro’s lips were softer than she expected, gentle, moving with aching slowness over hers as if taking time to relearn what must surely be familiar territory. Familiar to him. To her this caress felt shockingly new and unfamiliar. His mouth moved again, his tongue licking the seam of her lips and something drove hard and fast down through her belly straight to that achingly hollow place between her legs.
Molly trembled and grabbed Pietro’s arms. She felt the power of them, taut with restraint. He held himself utterly still but for the tantalising slide of lips and tongue.
Another caress, this time more insistent, and something inside her gave way, yielded yet at the same time blossomed into life.
Molly’s lips opened and Pietro’s tongue swept deep.
Her knees caved so abruptly it was only his hold that stopped her crashing to the floor. The effect of that deep, searching kiss was instant and overwhelming. Her blood fizzed as every neuron in her brain ignited.
This was what she wanted. What she knew and craved.
If your book was optioned for a movie, what scene would you use for the audition of the main characters and why?
Probably the scene where they meet in hospital. Molly is at her most vulnerable, not recalling any of her past and Pietro is wary of whether his plans will work and how to proceed. In that early stage, with emotions raw, I’d like to see the actors really connect with each other. Here’s a snippet:
‘You’ll feel better when you’re out of here.’
‘Out of here? You mean out of the hospital?’
He nodded. ‘Of course.’
‘Really?’ Her tentative smile reached her eyes, making them shine more blue than grey. ‘They’ll let me go?’
Again Pietro felt that strange sensation in his chest as he looked into her hopeful eyes. He told himself it was satisfaction that this would be so straightforward.
‘You’re not a prisoner, Molly.’
‘I know that. I know they’ve been doing their best for me.’ She looked up into that brown-gold gaze and told herself there was nothing to be frightened of now. Her husband was here. The person she presumably trusted above all others.
Yet still that nervous tingle of energy ran from her nape to her fingertips and down her spine as her gaze collided with his. Each time it felt like a shock, an assault on her senses.
There was definitely a sizzle of awareness as she took in his proud features and the strength of his rangy, powerful form. Yet shouldn’t there be something more? A sense of relief and comfort? Of…homecoming, when she looked at him?
It wasn’t relief she felt, at least not solely. There was something else mixed in there too. Something her subconscious tried to tell her, except she wasn’t very good right now at reading subliminal messages.
Who was she kidding? She wasn’t much good at anything. Complex thought made her head spin and any attempt at delving into the past made the grey walls around her close in.
Defeated, she shut her eyes as her struggle to remember failed and pain rose.
‘Molly? What is it?’ His tone was sharp. Even with her eyes closed she clearly caught his sense of urgency.
Which was natural for a man seeing his wife in these circumstances. It was absurd for her to think there was something not right here.
The only thing not right is you. Your brain isn’t working properly. You don’t even recognise your own name!
Did you really think one sight of the man you love would bring your memory flooding back?
Logic told her she expected too much. Yet she couldn’t shake the feeling something was wrong.
The chair scraped across the floor and she opened her eyes to see Pietro Agosti striding towards the door.
‘Don’t go!’ Was that desperate voice hers? She shot forward to sit straight up in the narrow bed, ignoring the way the movement slammed the ache in her skull from dull to throbbing.
So much for masking her fear. Faced with the prospect of being alone again, the strength she’d relied on to see her through this nightmare evaporated. ‘Please stay.’
‘I was getting the doctor. You’re in pain.’ Yet he stopped on the threshold, his dark eyebrows tilting down in a frown.
‘Please don’t leave.’
Was she always this needy? She hoped not.
How did she explain to this sexy, forbidding stranger that she’d give anything for a little ordinary human comfort instead more medication?
Pietro Agosti’s gaze dropped from her face. She followed the direction of his stare and saw her hand was raised, stretched towards him. Her fingers trembled. She hadn’t been aware she’d reached for him.
She let her hand fall and swallowed hard. Her desperation for his presence, his touch disturbed her. Maybe because it proved she’d finally reached the end of her tether. She couldn’t face being alone with her fears any longer.
‘Aren’t you going to take me home?’ She gave up worrying about how weak that made her sound. She needed to know.
‘Of course.’ His voice came from right above her. She hadn’t heard him cross the room. Still, she didn’t lift her face to look at him. She felt as if that searing golden gaze could see right inside her, that she was vulnerable to this man in ways she didn’t understand. While he, with his air of control and unreadable expression, was a closed book. Surely lovers, husbands and wives, were more…equal?
But then, what did she know? Everything was new to her. She didn’t know whether to trust her instincts and the ideas that popped into her head, or whether they were the product of trauma and medication.
‘I’ll take you home as soon as the doctor says you’re free to go.’
Relief was a splintering wall, letting hope flood her. Soon. Soon she’d be away from here and her memory would come back in familiar surroundings. Surely it would.
The chair scraped again, softly. Then a long arm in a dark sleeve stretched across the bed. Old gold gleamed against a pristine cuff then hard fingers closed around hers. His touch was gentle and reassuring, enfolding her hand in warmth and comfort.
He didn’t say any more and she didn’t look at his face, too scared of the terrible strangeness she felt when she looked at the man who was her husband.
Instead she focused on his hand holding hers, the rhythmic stroke of his thumb across her flesh. The tiny caress counteracted the sickening lurch of anxiety in her belly.
Heat spread from his touch. Tiny ripples of delicious sensation that radiated through her whole body till soon she floated, limp and relaxed in a sea of wellbeing.
Her fingers tightened around his and he gently returned the pressure. A sigh rose in her throat even as her heavy lids flickered.
She’d been wrong.
There was a connection between them after all. She could feel it now. Not just the warmth and delicious sense of peace. But something else. Something vital right at the heart of her. As if a missing part of a puzzle had slotted into place and everything was all right again.
Because Pietro Agosti was with her.
Her mouth curved up in a tiny smile and her weighted lids closed.
Everything was going to be all right.
If your hero had a sexy-times play list, what song(s) would have to be on it?
I’ve been listening to a number of Italian songs lately so I’d have to include those for my Italian hero. Love songs rather than sexy songs but soooo attractive. I’d have to include:
‘Con Te Partiro/Time to Say Goodbye’, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TdWEhMOrRpQ
‘Il Mondo/The World’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vu-iNE_xD9I and
‘Nel Blu Dipinto Di Blu/Volare’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EJIEvmVwmzk
What do you want people to take away from reading this book?
Definitely that warm and fuzzy feeling that a really satisfying romance gives you. I love reading the ups and downs of a couple whose road to love isn’t easy, and then getting that payoff of satisfaction at the end. That’s what I’d love you to feel if you read Molly and Pietro’s story. I just had reader feedback from someone who talked about ‘walking on a cloud’ for the rest of the day after finishing this book. Here’s hoping other readers feel that way too.
What are you currently working on? What are your up-coming releases?
I’m currently working on a secret baby story set in the desert. Yes, think sheikhs! As for upcoming releases, mid January will see THE GREEK’S FORBIDDEN INNOCENT on sale. It features a royal, a masquerade, an island escape, a billionaire determined to get justice and a faux-engagement that doesn’t work out the way he expects. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07DGWCPR8 Then in April the book I wrote as a result of my wonderful stay on the island of Corfu is released. It’s a runaway bride book called WEDDING NIGHT REUNION IN GREECE and I had an absolute ball writing it. Here’s a link: https://www.amazon.com/dp/B07HH7RY33
Thanks for blogging at HJ!
Giveaway: I’ll offer two winners each a signed copy of HER FORGOTTEN LOVER’S HEIR (no geographic limitation).
To enter Giveaway: Please complete the Rafflecopter form and Post a comment to this Q: If you suffered from amnesia and were just beginning to remember your past, what is one special memory you’d want to recall?
Excerpt from Her Forgotten Lover’s Heir:
‘We have to talk.’ Her voice was overloud in the lengthening silence.
Pietro’s brow furrowed and he half turned towards her, seemingly unwilling to look her in the eye. ‘Of course. But tomorrow, yes? There’s some work I need to do tonight.’
For a second Molly hesitated, aware that he’d neglected so much in order to look after her. Maybe she should wait till the morning—
Except she knew it was cowardice thinking that way. Because she was scared what she might discover when she confronted Pietro.
‘This won’t take long.’
Molly crossed her arms to hide the fact her hands were trembling and strode past him into the sitting room. Its pristine, pared back elegance mocked her pretensions, as if asking ‘Who do you think you are demanding anything here?’. Despite its beauty she’d never felt at home in this showpiece room. As if she were an imposter who didn’t belong.
The trembling in her hands became a shiver that ran the length of her body, weakening her knees.
She whirled around, surprised to find Pietro close behind her. His brow was corrugated, this time with worry.
Unfairly, the sight made her impatient. She was tired of feeling like she was ill.
‘What’s the matter, Molly? You look flushed.’
His gaze bored into hers, the flecks of golden bronze flaring brighter. He breathed deep and shoved his hands into his pockets. The action parted his jacket, making her aware of the breadth of his chest and the power in his long limbs.
‘Go on.’ He didn’t smile or try to close the space between them. For a second Molly’s courage faltered, but she refused to back down. She had to know.
‘What’s wrong between us?’
Pietro’s eyes widened and for an instant she saw something like horror and a sharp stab of fear reflected back at her from those leonine eyes.
Shock made the air snag in her throat.
Molly was trying to process what she saw when it disappeared. All she saw now was curiosity and confusion. And a hint of that never-ending store of patience that seemed Pietro’s specialty.
Had she imagined that blank moment of alarm?
‘What do you mean, wrong?’ His voice rasped.
Molly swallowed hard but refused to back down. ‘You’re understanding and supportive. You’re sexy and strong and it feels like we’re connected. And then suddenly and completely, you withdraw, like tonight outside the restaurant. As if you don’t want anything to do with me. As if you’d rather be somewhere else.’
Molly hated the betraying hint of a wobble on that last word. She dragged in a quick breath and another, aware that her heart beat too fast and her breaths came in choppy gasps.
Aware that she’d all but told him she wanted him.
Pietro’s face froze in stark lines that accentuated the proud jut of his chin, that uncompromising nose, those narrowed, shrewd eyes.
Then, to her astonishment, his mouth split in a wide grin and a shout of deep laughter reverberated around the room.
White teeth gleamed against olive skin and his eyes sparked with life.
‘Is this your way of saying you want me?’ Pietro’s voice roughened to a sandpaper growl that scratched and teased the soft skin at her nape, her breasts and belly. And lower, down her inner thighs.
Stunned at her response, Molly stiffened, feeling abruptly vulnerable before a man who now seemed anything but diffident. There was something in his stare and the curve of his lips that made her feel like a small animal staring up at a prowling predator.
Pietro hadn’t moved, hadn’t even tugged his fists from his pockets, but he seemed much closer, his heat, his essence, wrapping around her, leashing her to him.
Molly blinked. It was absurd. She wasn’t frightened of him. She wanted him. And yet she had the unnerving feeling that the careful balance of their relationship had shifted. That she was poised on the brink of danger.
Pietro’s expression changed, grew thoughtful. His smile remained, though now it had a sharp, hungry edge.
Slowly he pulled his hands from his pockets. It was a mundane gesture, the sort you saw every day without even noticing. But there was something deliberate about this movement. Molly focused on those big, beautifully shaped hands. The innate strength in them. The way they flexed, fingers spreading.
A phantom heat rippled through Molly and that scrape of arousal spread up to the apex of her thighs. Her internal muscles tensed then softened in a telling signal of feminine readiness so blatant it shocked her.
Molly swallowed as Pietro paced towards her. It wasn’t that she was scared, she told herself again. But, though her body hummed with awareness, part of her brain was frantically trying to process physical and emotional signals that, however natural, now seemed devastatingly new and unfamiliar.
Face it, Molly. You can’t remember sex, even if you’ve imagined it every night since you came to Pietro’s house.
As far as memory is concerned, you’re a virgin.
‘I just need to know what’s going on.’ Her voice was uneven. But given the way she trembled, that was no surprise.
‘What’s going on, is that I’ve had the devil’s own time, keeping my hands off you. Giving you space to feel comfortable with me.’
He stood before her now, so tall she had to angle her chin to hold his gaze.
‘Really?’ Relief made her wobbly knees even weaker. So there wasn’t some horrible, dark secret? It was simply that he found it hard to keep his distance too? ‘Is that all?’
‘All?’ His mouth twisted into a grimace. ‘Isn’t that enough?’ He shook his head, his eyes never leaving hers. ‘You have no idea.’
His voice dropped to a low rush of liquid syllables she recognised as Italian. They curled from his tongue, running into each other, forming a velvet ribbon that danced around her, enticing, caressing and coaxing, delving low across her abdomen, drawing tight around her hips, teasing as it flicked her budding nipples.
She swayed a little, coaxed by the lyrical sound. Then he lifted his hand, cupped her chin and cheek with one big hand, and Molly sank into his touch. Something inside her sighed in recognition and relief. Yet, even as it felt like homecoming, the connection ratcheted up the beat of her heart and the thrumming, insistent need that pulsed between her thighs.
Did it really take so little to turn her on? To make her tremble with anticipation?
The answer was a resounding yes. With Pietro it was that inevitable.
‘I want you, Molly.’ His voice didn’t just waft to her ears, but hit a low note that throbbed through her belly. ‘I’ve missed you. I was scared I’d never find you again.’
Instinctively she pressed her fingers to his lips, stopping the words.
It hit her, a skewering thrust to her insides, that while she’d been busy bemoaning her memory loss, she’d spared little thought to the anguish Pietro must have endured.
She recognised it now in the raw, aching echo of his words.
‘But you did find me.’ She’d finally prised more detail from him, about how he and his staff had scoured the country round the clock for her, not just Rome, but the whole of Italy and Australia too when the initial search proved fruitless. Molly knew that even if he hadn’t been rich enough to have staff help search for her, if he’d been one man alone, he’d never have given up looking. ‘I’m not going anywhere.’
She dragged her fingers from his face and anchored them around his broad shoulder, revelling in his sure strength.
His other hand closed on her waist, long fingers splaying towards her hip, the thumb reaching up her ribs. His touch was deliberate, perfect.
Molly shivered at the rush of sensation, the heady craving for more. She leaned into him, till her breasts brushed his chest and the fierce heat of his body engulfed her.
‘No, you’re not. I’m never letting you go again, Molly. You’re mine.’
It sounded like a vow. She felt it with every atom of her being and didn’t doubt it for a second.
Emotion coiled in on itself, filling Molly to the brim.
She’d wanted to belong, hadn’t she? She’d wanted certainty. And here it was. Stronger, more overwhelming than she’d thought possible. Briefly she wondered why she hadn’t recognised and responded to it sooner.
‘No,’ she whispered, gaze fastening with his. ‘Don’t let me go.’
Deep down, Molly knew she could look after herself. That she was independent and capable, despite her amnesia. But to be loved like this. To be…vital to someone, and to feel that answering compulsion to wrap him close and keep him with her… Surely that was the most precious thing in the world.
‘Love me, Pietro. Please.’
Excerpts. © Reprinted by permission. All rights reserved.
She’s carrying the billionaire’s child…
But he seems like a stranger!
Brooding Pietro Agosti was stunned when his sizzling fling with vibrant teacher Molly Armstrong resulted in her pregnancy. Finally, the merciless Italian would be able to continue his legacy—but then an accident left Molly with no memory of him! Pietro must help Molly remember the fierce attraction that drove them together, and the fact that the baby she’s carrying is the Agosti heir…
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Meet the Author:
USA Today Bestselling author Annie West loves writing passionate, intense love stories. She has devoted her life to an in depth study of tall, dark, charismatic heroes who cause the best kind of trouble in the lives of their heroines. Creating heroines who are a perfect match for those strong, stubborn men is one of her all time favorite things. As a sideline she’s also researched dreamy locations for romance, from vibrant cities to desert encampments and fairytale castles. She leaves on the east coast of Australia and her favourite things are books, good company, good food and travel.
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