Excerpt: She Has Your Eyes by Elisa Lorello

SheHasYourEyesBook Blurb:

The heartfelt sequel to Kindle bestsellers Faking It and Ordinary World will have readers in stitches and in tears, all over again.

Andi and David have settled happily into Andi’s Northampton home, but David wants more. He wants them to get married. Their discussion is put on hold when Wylie, a fifteen-year-old girl, shows up in their backyard, bearing news that takes David’s mind off the future and sends it spiraling into the past.

Reeling from David’s news, Andi receives a startling announcement of her own, one that leads to a relationship with her estranged mother. As Andi and her mother get closer and Wylie weaves her way into their lives, Andi finds solace in an old comfort: her ex-fiancé.

With the past threatening to eclipse their future, the timing for a wedding is all wrong. But if Andi knows anything about timing, it’s that there’s no time to waste.

Buy: She Has Your Eyes

Excerpt: c h a p te r t h i r te e n

By the time I got home from Port Jefferson it was about seven o’clock, and I decided to return the rented car the next day. When I entered the house I called for David, but heard no re- sponse. Too tired to eat and still without an appetite, I put my untouched lunch into the fridge and slowly dragged myself up the stairs. The downstairs and stairwell were unlit, but I saw a f licker  coming  from  my  bedroom  in  the  hallway  and  was greeted with the soft glow of strategically placed votive candles around the room, emitting a scent of vanilla cake. A towering crystal vase of red roses covered the dresser, their ref lection in the mirror giving off the illusion that the bouquet was twice as bountiful. David had fallen asleep on the bed, a hardcover book resting on his chest along with his reading glasses. He was dressed in blue jeans and a maroon T-shirt. My favorite colors on him. He still had the body of a model sculpted from marble, of the alluring escort I’d met ten years ago who’d taken my breath away. His brown hair, more salt-and-pepper, remained full and thick and perfect for running my fingers through.

In short, he still took my breath away.

I kicked off my shoes and climbed onto the bed. A red rose rested on my pillow. I gingerly picked it up, pulled it to my nose and inhaled, then moved it to the table, careful to keep it away from the f lame. Then, with the same touch I applied to the rose, I slid his bangs to the side. His eyes f luttered and opened, then turned warm upon seeing me.

“Hey, beautiful,” he murmured. “Hey, sleepyhead.”

The book and glasses fell to the side as he moved, and he tried to orient himself.

“What time is it?” he asked.

“A little after seven. There was an accident on I-91. Sur- prise,” I said sarcastically. “Didn’t you get my message? I left it on the landline.”

He yawned and stretched. “Forgot to listen to voice mails.” He gave me a look as if noticing me for the first time. “So how was lunch with Genevieve?” he asked. David never called my mother “Mom.”

“OK, I guess,” I said. He sat up, instructed me to do the same, and massaged my shoulders from behind. “It had its moments.”

“Good moments or bad moments?” He kissed my neck as he worked out a knot.

“A little of both, although ‘bad’ is probably too strong a word. Just”—I searched for a better adjective—“typical, I guess,” I said, unsatisfied with the choice. I often had trouble putting together any kind of coherent thought when David was kissing my neck.

“You told her everything?”

I nodded. “Mm-hmm.” A soft moan escaped me. “God, that feels good. . . .” I trailed off into a whisper. My eyelids grew heavy. “What did you do today after leaving Hartford?” I asked. “Besides romance up the room to get me laid?”

He chuckled. “What makes you think I was trying to get you laid?” I turned to face him in mock offense, only to be un-done by his wink. “Not much,” he replied. “Made some calls, answered some e-mails, that kind of thing.”

I gestured toward the f lowers. “Those are beautiful. You buy them for your girlfriend?”

“Nope,” he corrected, “my fiancée.” I opened my mouth. “Wha . . .”

David stopped massaging me, arose, and moved to the edge of the bed, where he beckoned me to join him. He then knelt and pulled a box out of his pocket.

Mia cara Andrea,” he began, knowing how I melted when he spoke Italian.

I took in a breath and put my hand to my chest, feeling my heart pound.

“Please, please marry me.”

Despite all our recent talk about marriage, I hadn’t ex- pected anything so formal as a proposal. The last time David had popped the question was Christmas Eve almost two years ago. I had said no, and we broke up for almost a year after that. Back then I was still clinging to Sam, still afraid to let myself love another man, even the man who had taught me to love myself. But in the present moment I could almost see Sam in what was once our bedroom, his and mine, standing behind David and giving me a thumbs-up sign of approval. I could almost hear him say, “Go ahead, sweetheart. It’s time.”

Shortly after David and I had gotten back together, I moved the engagement ring Sam had given me from my finger to a chain around my neck, and put our wedding bands in a keepsake box that I kept in a drawer beside my bed. The ring David had presented to me the first time he proposed was a hunk of a square diamond on a platinum band—magnificent in its radiance. I had never asked if he kept it. This new one was more like an anniversary band than a traditional engage- ment ring, yet still dazzled in the glow of the votives.

Moist and misty, my eyes met his.

“You rat-bastard,” I said, a tear slipping down my cheek; his expression turned confused for only a second as I laughed. “I was gonna ask you first.” And then he understood and re- leased his smile.

And with that I let out a squeal as I hopped off the bed and nearly knocked him over. “Yes,” I said as I plastered his cheeks with salty-teared kisses. “Yes, yes, yes!”

We knelt in the middle of the f loor, maniacally kissing each other and laughing simultaneously, until David grimaced and said, “Fuck, I’m too old to stay on my knees like this!” We clumsily lifted each other up to standing positions, and em- braced for a long time, the outside world disappearing with every second. And as our breathing slowed and evened to something more sultry and serene, I took a step back, looked at him fiendishly, and it hit me.

“Ohmigod, Dev, I am starving.”

David looked at me as if I was nuts. I bent over to put my shoes back on. “C’mon, let’s get some Chinese food.” He did a face-palm, shook his head with incredulity, and laughed as he blew out the votives and followed me down the stairs.

“You sure know how to tease a guy,” he said.

“I’ll let you feed me the dim sum,” I said seductively. “Who knows where it’ll lead.”

Buy: She Has Your Eyes

ElisaLorelloElisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, the youngest of seven children. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and eventually launched a career teaching rhetoric and composition. Elisa spent six years in North Carolina, where she split her time between teaching writing to university students and publishing her own work. She has since returned home to the Northeast.

Elisa is the author of Kindle bestselling novels Faking It and Ordinary World, Why I Love Singlehood (co-authored with Sarah Girrell), and Adulation. Faking It, translated in German as Vorgetäuscht, also spent three consecutive weeks at #1 on the German Kindle Bestseller List.

When not writing, Elisa is an unapologetic Duran Duran fan, Pop-Tart enthusiast, walker, and coffee shop patron, and she can sing two-part harmony.

Review: Faking It by Elisa Lorello

Summary: Writing professor, Andi Cutrone, first sees Devin at a cocktail party and learns he’s an escort. Months after their initial meeting, she calls him up and barters for his services. He will give her one-on-one love lessons and she will give him a one-on-one writing course. It’s a deal he doesn’t initially go for but in the end agrees to and the two sign contracts stating one thing very clearly… falling it love is out. But when does life and love ever adhere to a contract?

Review: Set up a bit like a diary, with the chapters being the month. There are a couple of things I could have done without – a reference to a shady school pediatric doctor for instance. Other things I loved – the emails between Andi and a special someone. Very cute.

Devin is an interesting character with a lot of emotional entanglement issues. He has a love/hate relationship with his father, who thinks he’s gay or a prostitute by turn.

Andi hates her body and is on the heavy side. This and several harsh memories have made her a thirty something virgin who wants to but can’t get intimate.

I was hoping for a little more Sex and the City when it came to their lessons, but that wasn’t the case. A little less literary short pieces would have been nice too as I didn’t feel they did much for the story. The art review at the end though was a good touch.

The story is on the serious side, but the focus on change and growth is nice. Andi falls in love twice and her final romantic relationship is very cute.

Rating: ★★★☆☆

Buy: Faking It

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Fiction and Flowers Giveaway – Win Faking It and California Blooms

About the Book: In FAKING IT we meet Andi Cutrone, a 30-something writing professor whose personal life is in flux after she breaks off her engagement. Deciding to yield New England to her ex, Andi moves home to Long Island and new teaching position at Brooklyn University, eager to get a fresh start on her career and herself. Things seem to be going according to plan, Andi’s classes are invigorating and she’s enjoying the company of her best friend and colleague, Maggie.

Then, just when Andi seems to be finding her footing, she meets Devin, a male escort whose client list seems to include at least half of the accomplished women she knows. Devin, totally handsome and charming (and decidedly out of her league), has something else underneath his sexy exterior that piques Andi’s interest. So she proposes a “teaching” arrangement: each of them will educate the other in what they know best. Devin will teach Andi to be a better lover, and she’ll teach him to be a writer.

What starts out as a clear-cut contract slowly develops into a deeper, unexpected relationship. In the midst of lessons in rhetorical theory and foreplay, Andi and Devin delve into profound questions about everything from art to love to politics, stripping away the emotional walls each has built up, and ultimately opening themselves up to each other and the rest of the world.

Buy: Faking It

About the Author: Elisa Lorello was born and raised on Long Island, the youngest of seven children. She earned her bachelor’s and master’s degrees from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and eventually launched a career in rhetoric and composition studies. She has been teaching first-year writing to university students since 2000. Elisa currently resides in North Carolina, where she splits her time between teaching and writing. Faking It is her first novel.

FICTION AND FLOWERS GIVEAWAY: You don’t need Valentine’s Day as an excuse to treat yourself to a good book and beautiful flowers. One winner will receive a copy FAKING IT and from California Blooms, a premier online flower delivery service, 1 dozen roses, sent anywhere in the continental US. The winner could have the flowers and book sent to herself (who doesn’t want a dozen roses and hot read delivered to her door?) or someone she loves. Enter by leaving a comment below and/or on Elisa’s guest post! 1 entry per relevant comment; multiple comments and entries allowed. Last Day to Enter: March 25, 2011.

My Not-So-Secret Crush on Junior’s Cheesecake

by Elisa Lorello, guest blogger and author of Faking It

I am frequently asked how much, if any, of myself is in Andi, the protagonist of Faking It. My answer is always the same: the surface stuff—things like her being a native Long Islander, her profession and education, etc. She also shares a fear of flying with me, and most importantly, her eternal devotion to a cheesecake. Junior’s cheesecake, to be exact.

Believe it or not, the first time I heard the name “Junior’s” in reference to cheesecake was in a movie some twenty years ago. Since then, I had learned that it had become a landmark and an icon of Brooklyn, dare I say right up there with the Brooklyn Bridge and the long-gone Ebbet’s Field (at least to Brooklynites). I didn’t actually taste the cheesecake until 2007, when I visited a friend. By then, I had already written the scene of Andi meeting Devin in Junior’s for the first time. But following my visit, I rewrote the scene. It turned out the actual cheesecake was as delectable as I’d imagined for Andi, if not better. I knew then that Andi was in love—not with Devin (although that was inevitable), but with Junior’s.

I self-published Faking It in 2009, and that year, when I visited my grandmother for Christmas, she instructed me to go to the refrigerator. Ever see those commercials where someone opens the fridge, and a blinding light emanates from it, as if deified? Yeah, that’s what seeing the bright, classic, orange-and-white-striped box was like. “I told everyone to keep away from it until you’ve had a piece,” said my grandmother. She’d read my book. To my surprise, it turned out that my uncle had work connections to the Rosens, the family who owned and operated Junior’s for generations. Following that day, my uncle told them about my novel, and Andi’s love for their signature dessert. For my 40th birthday, I received a complimentary Junior’s cheesecake, delivered to me in North Carolina.

Wow. Best. Birthday. Ever.

My permanent attachment to Junior’s thanks to Andi and Faking It is only one of many pleasant surprises to come from having written this novel. This past Christmas, a dear friend of mine gave me the ultimate gift—Welcome to Junior’s! Part history, part cookbook of select Junior’s recipes ranging from meatloaf to strawberry sauce, the book really tells the story of what it was like to live in Brooklyn, beginning in the 1930s when Junior’s first opened, to the 1990s. It even contains the classic cheesecake recipe, although I wouldn’t dare make it. Ever. Some things you just don’t mess with.

About the Book: In FAKING IT we meet Andi Cutrone, a 30-something writing professor whose personal life is in flux after she breaks off her engagement. Deciding to yield New England to her ex, Andi moves home to Long Island and new teaching position at Brooklyn University, eager to get a fresh start on her career and herself. Things seem to be going according to plan, Andi’s classes are invigorating and she’s enjoying the company of her best friend and colleague, Maggie.

Then, just when Andi seems to be finding her footing, she meets Devin, a male escort whose client list seems to include at least half of the accomplished women she knows. Devin, totally handsome and charming (and decidedly out of her league), has something else underneath his sexy exterior that piques Andi’s interest. So she proposes a “teaching” arrangement: each of them will educate the other in what they know best. Devin will teach Andi to be a better lover, and she’ll teach him to be a writer.

What starts out as a clear-cut contract slowly develops into a deeper, unexpected relationship. In the midst of lessons in rhetorical theory and foreplay, Andi and Devin delve into profound questions about everything from art to love to politics, stripping away the emotional walls each has built up, and ultimately opening themselves up to each other and the rest of the world.

Buy: Faking It