Author Name: Heloise West
Book Name: If I Were Fire
Release Date: September 16, 2015
In 18th century Siena, Count Salvesto Masello has returned home to find the family villa and his father’s estate steeped deeply in debt. In order to save it, he has been selling off valuable family heirlooms, but he is running out of silverware. Somewhere in the villa his deceased father had hidden the art treasures that will pay the debt, but Salvesto can’t find them anywhere.
Amadeo Neruccio has been on the run from the vicious pimp, thief, and pawnbroker Guelfetto, but his toughs finally catch him and bring him to the cellar where Count Masello is selling off his silver. When the count learns what fate Guelfetto has in store for Amadeo, he intervenes and trades the last of his mother’s dowry for the young man’s freedom.
Salvesto had left home over ten years ago to live the life of adventure he craved. He had also hoped to leave his broken heart behind. When he rescues young Amadeo, he did not expect to find love again, or that his adventures had yet to end.
Pages or Words: 19,000 words
Categories: Fiction, Gay Fiction, Historical, M/M Romance
Everyone knew everyone’s business in the small hilly honeycomb town of Siena. The house the Masello had once occupied for short periods during the year belonged to a rich merchant now. The eldest Masello had died in a hunting accident in the countryside, and his father, it was said, died of grief a year later. This event had brought the new conte home to the villa with the leaky roof, the broken-backed barn, and massive debt. Yet perhaps Conte Masello was not as bad off as they said, for he had paid Amadeo’s debt to Guelfetto.
Likely Amadeo was wrong about that, too, as the conte had traded for his freedom with silver dishes and spoons. Amadeo swallowed hard but could not dislodge the lump in his throat, a combination of gratitude and resentment. Life in a Florentine bathhouse and sexual slavery to the traditional enemies of Siena was no life at all. He shuddered. He had meant it about throwing himself on the tender mercy of the river.
What kind of master was the new Conte Masello? He glanced at the man beside him and found warm hazel eyes gazing down at him. His new master’s hair was as brown as chestnuts and touched with gray strands. Whatever he’d been doing while the family fortunes dwindled—soldiering, sailing, perhaps even tramping about in the New World—had made him a man with a face weathered by the sun and muscles that strained the seams of his fine clothes. He was broad-shouldered and a forearm’s length taller than Amadeo, who felt like a willow tree beside such an oak.
“We have another stop to make,” the conte whispered. “Finish your prayers.”
The hard press of the conte’s velvet-clad shoulder and the intimacy of his warm breath on Amadeo’s neck sent a small shock through him, and his cock stirred restlessly in response.
Oh no, you don’t. You are not to ruin this chance for me either. Pardon me, dear Saint Catherine. I pledge to you I will stay away from the gaming tables and this man’s bed.
IN WHICH I INTERVIEW MYSELF
Tell us something about your character’s friends.
Amadeo lives in 18th century Siena, the son of a man who raises and trains horses. Amadeo has gleaned himself an education and manner from some of the young aristocrats who have befriended him and fancies himself a poet. He’s the pet of this group of lusty young men, men who gamble and drink to excess and get into trouble, but always help one another out.
Salvesto’s friend in this story is the local doctor, an eccentric who collects medical oddities.
What is your character’s favorite meal? Favorite dessert? Favorite snack food?
Both Amadeo and Salvesto have suffered privation, so mostly they’re happy to have whatever is available. Dessert and snacks are whatever the fields, woods, and vines yield to them during the growing season.
What activity does your character absolutely hate?
Amadeo is not really a fighter. Well, he’s scrappy when he gets his back to the wall, and he’ll fight for whomever he loves or needs him, but he hates guns and violence.
Salvesto hates doing the accounts. He’d rather be out in the fields, riding his horse, or hunting.
What’s your favorite decade and why?
I have no favorite decade—early 80s, simply because I was young. Early 90s when I was with my late husband. My least favorite was the 70s, for disco and all the silliness that went with it. Yet I do confess to finding myself nostalgic for music like disco and listening to it now with a more mellow attitude. I can’t believe I didn’t care for Nirvana and grunge then as much as I do now. The 60s, not because I was a child, but because so much changed in the world, so fast, and for hippies and the music and the push for Free Love and equality. Godspell. Hair. Herbie the Lovebug.
Buy the book:
About the author:
Heloise West, when not hunched over the keyboard plotting love and mahem, dreams about moving to a villa in Tuscany. She loves history, mysteries, and romance of all flavors. She travels and gardens with her partner of 10 years, and their home overflows with books, cats, art, and red wine.
Where to find the author:
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press
Cover Artist: LC Chase
Tour Dates & Stops:
Tour Dates & Stops:
6-Oct Prism Book Alliance
20-Oct MM Good Book Reviews
27-Oct Divine Magazine
3-Nov Love Bytes
10-Nov V’s Reads
17-Nov Emotion in Motion
24-Nov Parker Williams
1-Dec BFD Book Blog
8-Dec Amanda C. Stone
15-Dec Inked Rainbow Reads
22-Dec Molly Lolly
29-Dec Jessie G. Books
Rafflecopter Prize: One of three copies of ‘If I Were Fire’