Today my husband and I are celebrating twenty-seven years of marriage. As confetti was thrown at me after our wedding in the local chapel, it was definitely my happy ever after moment.
But the story continues...
Which got me thinking, how would life be for the characters of my stories twenty-seven years on?
So, I delved back into one of my favourite books to write, Di Marcello’s Secret Son.
Italian tycoon Antonio Di Marcello relishes a challenge – but running into Sadie Parker while working undercover as a mechanic rocks him to the core. Four years after their fevered fling stripped away his iron guard, he’s confronted with the shocking consequences…
Sadie has given up hope in her desperate attempts to contact Antonio. Now she has to face the day she’d both dreaded and longed for! And Antonio’s claim over her and her son is hard to resist – especially as he’ll use a sensual onslaught to get what he wants!
Twenty-seven years later…
‘You look as beautiful as your mother did on our wedding day.’ Antonio held his emotions in check as he danced with his daughter, now married to Dante Carvella. She might be twenty-six, but to him, Mia was still his baby girl.
She laughed, her eyes sparkling with happiness. At least her road to true love hadn’t been blighted by all he and Sadie had gone through. It still broke his heart to think of missing those first four years of Leo’s life – and that time with the Sadie.
‘And if Dante and I are as happy and in love as you and Mamma, then that will be a dream come true.’ Mia said, blushing prettily. ‘You two are my inspiration.’
Antonio glanced around the magnificence of the ballroom as he danced, searching for the woman who’d captured his heart from the very first moment he’d set eyes on her. It was an honour to be dancing with his daughter in all her bridal finery, but it was Sadie he wanted in his arms.
‘Mind if I cut in.’ Leo’s deep voice halted their practiced steps. ‘I want a dance with my little sister on her wedding day.’
Antonio stepped back and allowed his son to whisk Mia away. If someone had told him the day he’d gone undercover as part of Sebastien’s challenge that it would change his life forever – and in the most unexpected way – he’d never have believed them. But Sebastien was a wise man. He’d known exactly what he’d been doing the night he’d laid down the gauntlet to Stavros, Alejandro, and himself to go two weeks without their wealth and family names to support them.
For Antonio, accepting that challenge had been a turning point.
It had changed him forever. Brought Sadie back into his life as well as love and happiness.
‘Penny for your thoughts,’ Sadie’s soft voice broke through the memories.
‘I was just remembering those two weeks when I worked at Centro Auto Barzetti. Who’d have thought being a mechanic would change my life forever.’
Sadie blushed, looking as gorgeous as she’d done that weekend they’d first met. The weekend that had resulted in their son, Leo. Antonio pushed back the anger that his mother’s pride and need to keep up appearances within Milan’s society had prevented him from ever being told about his son. Dio, he’d found out by chance. Because of the challenge.
‘But you don’t regret it, do you.’ Sadie’s voice was a purr as she moved into his embrace, that sexy and very suggestive look twinkling in her eyes.
‘Never.’ He brushed his lips lightly over hers. ‘Twenty-seven years of marriage and two children later, there is only one thing I’d change. That it was four years longer.’
‘Don’t go there Antonio,’ Sadie said as they began to dance. ‘We agreed never to look back. Especially as we are still enjoying our happy ever after.’
‘Always the wise one,’ he teased her with a smile. ‘What would I do without you.’
‘Probably still be doing wild and reckless things with Alejandro and Stavros.’ Sadie laughed as he guided them towards the open doors and onto the terrace. ‘What are you doing?’
He moved them into the shadows of the evening and drew her tight against him. ‘What I’ve done for the last twenty-seven years.’
‘Oh?’ The husky question stirred up his senses.
‘Doing wild and reckless things with the woman I love.’
She wrapped her arms around his neck, lifting herself onto her tiptoes and reaching up to whisper against his lips. ‘Then I don’t want it ever to stop.'
Antonio brushed a stray lock of hair from Sadie's face, love overflowing inside him. 'I'm never going to stop enjoying our happy ever after. Ti amo, mia bella. Ti amo.'
Di Marcello's Secret Son, the first in the Secret Billionaires trilogy with Dani Collins and Jennifer Hayward, is available on Amazon right now for 99p. Get your copy here!