*throws virtual confetti* (because I don't want to clean the real stuff up)
I'm super excited that you all get to read about Alessandro...my poor, tormented ex almost-priest. I don't even have words for how much I love this guy, and that's saying something since I'm a writer. He is beautiful in so many ways.
We first met him in A LITTLE TOO FAR, when he was sure of his path. He stumbled on that path when he met Lexie Banks. She made him question his choices, and in the end, if you've read A LITTLE TOO FAR, you know what he decided.
So, now he's back in New York City. He has some ghosts from his past that have haunted him. One of those ghosts goes by the name of Hilary McIntyre.
Alessandro stands again as I walk back to the table. He holds the back of my chair as I lower myself into it, then helps me slide it in. He sits again and looks at me for a long, awkward minute, swirling his coffee. “I’m sorry I was so awkward last night. You took me by surprise. I wasn’t planning to ring the buzzer, but I’d just found your address and I …” His eyes pinch a little and I realize it’s because I caught him there. He’s embarrassed.
“You were stalking me?”
His whole face pinches now. “I never meant to … I wasn’t going to contact you.”
“How did you find me?”
He presses back into his seat and hesitates before answering. “It took some ingenuity … and Google.”
I slam my teacup down on the table. “My address is not on Google!”
“It’s actually pretty shocking, the amount of personal information that can be found online.”
“So you were stalking me.”
“In a manner of speaking, I suppose I was, if there’s a non-creepy connotation to that term.”
“How is this non-creepy?” I say, waving a hand at him. “You show up in New York eight years after vanishing off the face of the planet, and I find you poking around my apartment building in the middle of the night, then you admit to cyberstalking me. Nope …” I say, folding my arms across my chest and scowling at him. “Nothing creepy there.”
He breathes deeply. “As I said, I didn’t plan on—”
“How long have you been back in New York, anyway?” I ask, cutting him off. I don’t want to hear any more of his lame explanations. I just want to know what the hell he’s doing here—why he found me. If he knows.
“About a month,” he answers, and my gaze is drawn back to his eyes.
“You’ve been here a month,” I say, trying to absorb that. “Doing what? Do you have a job?”
“Not at the moment. For now, I’m volunteering at the West Side YMCA.”
“Where were you? Before?”
He takes a long sip of his coffee, and below the rolled-up cuff of his sleeve, I watch muscles of his forearm ripple as he sets his cup down and swirls it. “A few places, but mostly Corsica and Rome.”
“Rome.” He was in Rome while my life fell apart. “So … why did you come back?”
“To put some old ghosts to rest.” As he says this, his gaze darkens … becomes more intense, seeming to bore through me.
But I won’t back down. I hold his gaze. “Am I a ghost?”
“And you’re going to put me to rest,” I say, unable to curb the cynical edge to my voice.
“I needed to find you,” he says, finally lowering his gaze. “The way things were left … I’ve never felt right about it.”“The way things were left …” I repeat. The way things were left sucked. He has no idea how much.
He's in for a bumpy road, because some ghosts aren't so easily put to rest.
For all you A LITTLE TOO FAR readers, you know he has a dark past, so A LITTLE TOO MUCH is a darker read than ALTF. Alessandro and Hilary both are some of the most complex characters I've written, and at times they tore my heart out. But Alessandro also shows a side of himself we didn't get much of a chance to see in ALTF.
His playful side makes him even hotter in my eyes. See if you agree!