Set in sun-drenched Lake Garda, church mouse Tamsin Heriot, an English rose, pairs off with sexy, privileged Luca Leopoldo who’s half Italian half Somali. But Luca isn’t what he seems…
Orphaned, aged seven, when his childhood in Mogadishu is brutally destroyed, Luca is left emotionally broken. Ragged and starving he seeks refuge in Italy where kindly aristocrats adopt him.
Ever since she was fifteen, Tamsin has had a crush on Luca and the summer before she goes to university, she’s determined to lose her virginity to him.
It’s eight years before their trajectories re-converge. Tamsin, still lusting after Luca, receives devastating news that triggers her return to the dilapidated family casa when an unexpected bond develops between her and Luca’s widowed, adoptive mother.
A will alters what starts as a dalliance and there’s no shortcut to love, everything to lose, as the relationship between two wounded people, Luca and Tamsin, is pushed to breaking point.
ALCHEMY STORY EXCERPT
I am eighteen, going on nineteen and have never been fucked. Tamsin morosely hummed her thoughts to the tune of Liesl and Rolf’s duet in “The Sound of Music” as she gazed at her reflection in the lopsided, oval bedroom mirror that scorching August day. The interior walls of La Casa della Fontana sloped, the floors listed, so straightening the mirror, in the crooked little house of the nursery rhyme, was routine. This grandly named, spectacularly moldering house in a picturesque village on Lake Garda had been snapped up by her bohemian parents, Patrick and Eve Heriot, on the back of a legacy from a crusty uncle, and it was from here that, for the past twenty-five years, they ran year-round painting and creative writing courses.
Tamsin’s first year at university beckoned in six weeks’ time. Below bold brows, large, gold-flecked hazel eyes set in a plump, milk-fresh face stared back at her and she sucked in her cheeks. She peeled off her nightie, courtesy of a thrift shop, her wardrobe mainstay, and sighed. Her luscious boobs owed nothing to silicon implants but her tummy was majestically rounded and there was no avoiding it, she was a dumpling who couldn’t afford liposuction.
Her spirits boosted as she brushed her hair. Licorice-dark, thick and glossy, it tumbled to her shoulders in loose curls. He would surely throw her down and lose himself in it. And those deep dimples when she smiled, which she’d almost forgotten how to.
The three graces – her trio of close girlfriends, all lissome and nubile with antelope legs, all clones of the hottest models - had been fucked, or so they bragged. Fucked by their brothers’ buddies, fucked by their fathers’ buddies, fucked by studs in one-night stands. Fucked against library shelves groaning with texts on particle physics, fucked in the swimming pool, fucked knee-deep in mud at Glastonbury, fucked on the hallowed green grass of Glyndebourne to the shrill vocals of Brünhilde wrapping up the immolation scene. There was no doubt they’d fucked and she claimed likewise, although disbelief was palpable and vociferously voiced when, with narrowed eyes, they compared notes. Well, this summer she’d get fucked, by hook or by crook. Her summer of love. The summer Cinderella would go to the ball. She refused to go down in history as the only virgin fresher.
She had A PLAN. A plan that had simmered gently all night after she’d masturbated whilst poring over “Bonking For Tyros” and munched her way through two bags of prawn flavored potato crisps. A plan she would implement at once.
A party of five couples was expected that evening on a week’s course. Patrick and Eve with Tamsin’s brother Gareth, six years older than her would, as usual, meet and greet them at Milan airport, herd them onto a minivan and, after two hours, speed proportionate to vehicle’s decrepitude, puttering down the autostrada, decant them at the casa. Nine-year-old Ruby, Patrick and Eve’s last hurrah, was vacationing in style in Ibiza, with her best friend Isla, at the hip, minimalist beach house owned by Isla’s family.
It was ten a.m. and Tamsin heard a rumble of bickering voices as the Heriots left. The minivan was temperamental, so plenty of time was allowed for mishaps. Tamsin was delegated to stay behind to lay the well-scrubbed, rough-hewn communal refectory table, to ensure the pre-cooked meal was properly defrosted and heated up and the wine was chambray-ing. That was an affectation of Gareth’s, since the Heriots could afford, and served, what could only be politely categorized as easy drinking.
She glanced down at the plan, although she’d no need to as she’d memorized it by heart.
Change bed linen and sprinkle lavender water.
Flash the flesh.
Buy condoms and new knickers.
Rehearse Luca pretext.
Ah Luca! Ever since she was fifteen, she’d had a crush on him. Her head swarmed with fantasies of the scion of Il Principe Salvatore Leopoldo di Monte Valla and Principessa Catarina. He, godlike, was sole heir to the noble title and extensive agricultural land holdings, to the sumptuous Leopoldo palazzo in Milan where masterpieces in oils by Titian, Raphael, Caravaggio and El Greco hung in proximity to canvases by Impressionists, Cubists and Fauvists. Comprising one of the most fabulous private art collections in the world, it was on loan to the Italian government. And few dynastic families in Italy possessed the twentyfour carat pedigree of the Leopoldos, who counted among their ancestors the Chief Treasurer to the Emperor Barbarossa, a Pope, a composer, two saints and Renaissance Ambassadors.
Yes! Tamsin swiftly executed items one and two, painted her finger and toenails a shimmering Chinese red, slapped a flash of azure on her eyelids and whirled down to make breakfast. Contemplating the third homemade roll with lashings of salty butter and gooseberry jam coursing through her arteries, she hesitated.
ALCHEMY ADULT EXCERPT
Quickly they ripped off each other’s nightwear until they were both naked. It seemed the right response because she took it no further and wrapped her arms round him, settling in to him with a sigh. He pulled her soft curves into him and held her, kissing her fiercely.
Try something new today—the supermarket catchphrase—ran through Tamsin’s thoughts as, with her heartbeat tripling, Luca shot her that look that always gave her a warm, damp rush.
“ Signora Leopoldo di Monte Valla. ”
She let her legs fall apart. Just the deep cadence of his voice turned her ready. “ Do it, make me come.” She knew what his tongue could do, what his cock could do. “I want you now, my prince, my lord.” She swept her hair over his balls, and took one then another into her mouth.
“Wider still and wider for me, babe. I want to see every bit of you.”
‘I hear and I obey.” She shifted and opened up, spreading her sex to him and a deep growl emerged from somewhere low down in his chest.
“Love that womanhood, love your big, tight ass.” Firm hands clamped the cheeks of her butt trapping their bodies front to front. He paused, his eyes glittering under the long, black lashes and then he was dipping his head and she felt the ridge of his tongue slamming inside her, sucking her swollen clit, his breath moist and hot.
She gasped and shut her eyes. “ I want to taste you.” Her pussy clenched and throbbed as his hands rested on her thighs keeping her wide.
“Keep it going.” She whimpered.
She watched him rip the foil and roll on the condom, nudging her with the tip of his warm, smooth cock. She reached for it and took the hardness of his length in her mouth, savoring the nectar, wanting his thickness to enter her, wanting his juices in her, over her.
He wet his fingers in his juices and, circling her labia, she bucked.
“That’s what I like to know.”
“I’m going to…come.”
“Not yet you won’t.” His lips twitched in a smile. “If you do,” he whispered a sweet torture, “ that’s it for tonight. Hush now. We’re going there together.”
He slid his fingers deep into her clit, moving in and out, the slick, accepting sound of her desire like a metronome beating time.
He stopped and she felt she’d die. “Move,” she moaned.
His eyes were darker than she’d ever seen before. He bent into her and nibbled a jutting nipple as he eased the head of his silky cock into the peachy damp of her slit. Her cunt flared up around him, waiting, ripe, needy, her heartbeat going wild as he thrust his cock deeper as he marked his territory, staked his claim to her. She was his for the taking.
“ Sweetie.” His gaze tangled with hers. And then he was hammering into her, rocking hard and fast and she was spiraling out of control until the orgasm lurking somewhere over the rainbow rushed down to ignite them and they shuddered and shattered round each other as he spilled himself into her with a shout.
With a soft sigh he eased out and rolled to one side. He realized something else. Tamsin had messed with his emotions. He’d got caught out. He’d have to watch it. He didn’t do emotions.
Later that night, Luca turned to Tamsin and murmured. “How about a chaser?” He nuzzled his tongue down her cheek.
She felt her pulse beating in her throat as her lips slid down his cock. And then he was flipping her over onto her belly, running his fingers down her spine. She got on her hands and knees and he slid his tongue into her hole slicking her, coaxing her with a slow sweetness that craved for more. Then bending right over her, his fingers eased in and out of her slippery cunt, fucking her till she came, in spasm after spasm.
“The best is yet to be.”
The thought of his swollen cock riding into her ass made her quiver anxiously.
He must have sensed it for he said softly. “It’s going to be alright.”
“No pain, no gain?”
“Honey, trust me.” He slipped one lubricated finger into her ass and pressed down. A sensation so new, so wicked, coiled heatedly through her, almost tipping her over the edge. And then his thumb was gently driving in and she jerked and bucked and before she knew it the head of his cock was inching into her asshole just as his fingers slid lazily into her cunt to meet her G-spot. Her juices rained down and, replete with him, she gasped and came, sobbing at the pleasurable wonder of it, and he came too.
WHERE THE BULBUL SINGS
The past and the present interweave - from the last days of the Raj to the present day, and from the small railway town of Ajeemkot and the princely state of Walipur to the cutting edge of the modern city of Delhi, and Sivalik - a pine scented hill station in the foothills of the Himalayas.
In this atmospheric, passionate and poignant account of a clash of cultures, caste and creed, divided family loyalties, wealthy heartthrobs and the power of love, the story is told through three women and an American Baptist missionary couple whose lives entwine. Can they confront the storms or are their dreams destined to shatter?
Hermie - a headstrong and bewitching Anglo-Indian - turns her back on the Anglo-Indian community and reinvents herself only to find that a dark secret threatens to send her life spiralling out of control and cost her everything.
Sharp-witted Edith, exiled in India from her native Germany by Nazi persecution, faces stark choices in a future very different from that she envisaged.
Kay, separated by more than a generation from Hermie and Edith, is haunted by a long-buried family mystery and abandons a promising career in London to pursue a quest for roots in India where fate hurtles her in an unexpected direction.
‘A ripened peach and just seventeen, man. She’ll be heartbreaker and trouble stirrer, yawl see,’ the railwayman muttered to a workmate their gaze locked on Hermie Blake as she propped up her black Raleigh bicycle against a betel-stained wall of Ajeemkot’s two-storied mustard and red brick station building and un-looped a basket from the handlebars. Then, tucking her broad brimmed khaki solar topi under one arm, she hurried, her bronze tumble of hair lit by sunlight, up the dusty, stone steps to the arched entrance. After a humid night that promised the monsoon, the temperature had climbed. That June day in 1939 was cloudless with a slight heat haze and above the raucous bustle of the station the chimes of the town’s Victoria Jubilee Memorial clock danced across on a spice-spiked breeze.
Eight o'clock! Hermie – christened but seldom called Hermione - glanced across for confirmation to the station clock - accurate to a second - courtesy of its German manufacturer, and gave a gusty sigh. She wiped her damp forehead, grimly conscious that she was late again for work and mentally hurled invective at Bishu, their absent chokra.
'Girlee. Wait! That jungly boy has hopped to the bazaar forgetting Pa’s tiffin as usual.' Hermie’s mother, Noreen, had buttonholed her as she was about to leave home. 'And mind, yawl know Pa’s a picky eater. So drop this in for him on your way.'
Noreen was pin thin, her frame that of a distant forebear – an English infantryman in the pay of the East India Company, once a mighty London based commercial venture with its own private army. Three hundred and fifty years ago in a battle waged in Bengal mangrove swamps against a local ruler, he’d survived to marry his Indian village sweetheart and stayed on, never to return to the green meadows of home. To cement allegiance the Company tossed a gold mohur coin to every India born child of an Indian mother and European father and from such beginnings the hybrid Anglo-Indian Community evolved. This was the Community to which the Blakes belonged, its distinct genetic footprints leading back to European ancestors in the male line of descent who’d flocked to India to seek fame and fortune – and found love.
Anglo-Indians were English speaking and Christian; skin tone ranged from fair to swarthy, hair colour fair to black, they bore European names and adopted the customs and traditions of the British. Most inter-married within the tight – knit, mixed-blood circle; few married Indians.
After a scandal-busting probe, the Company, whose trading crusades had led to terror-ridden land-grabs, was ousted by the British government – the Raj - who gained direct rule of India - its jewel in the Crown. Applying divide and rule, it accorded Anglo-Indians preferential treatment in subordinate jobs on the railways, tea and coffee plantations, mines, hospitals, schools, post and telegraphs, customs, the police and government service. The Raj turned India into its very own treasure-trove, and the Community- a buffer engineered by the Raj between itself and its Indian subjects- spurned its ancient Indian heritage yet won scant social acceptance from its colonial masters who were scornful of its mixed-race. There were Anglo-Indians who yearned to go home – to the Britain of which they were not born, did not know, had never before visited, but which they considered, by virtue of tenuous links to long-dead kinsmen, to be their natural homeland.
'Why should I do Bishu’s chores, Ma? Tell me that, eh? Hermie’s creamy-skinned oval face had sharpened with indignation. ‘It’s the second time this week and just once more and I'll suffer. Yawl know the Bank's rule – three late days in a row means half a day’s leave docked.' She wondered why Ma tolerated the feckless chokra - who'd come to them bearing a testimonial that read: Without any reservations we can recommend him as a thoroughly useless servant.
'Just this once, pet.' Light brown eyes peered anxiously at her.
'All right then, as a favour to you,' Hermie's resolve faltered and her voice softened affectionately, ‘but mind, never again. There can’t and won’t be a third strike. I’m fed up of making allowances for him.' Her singsong accent, like that of Noreen's and characteristic of the Community, ended on a note of finality.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Serena Fairfax spent her childhood in India, qualified as a lawyer in England and joined a London law firm.
Romance is hardwired into her DNA so her novels include a strong romantic theme. However, she broke out of the romance bubble with IN THE PINK, a quirky departure in style and content, that you can download free from her website until 1 August 2014.
She’s also written several short stories that feature on her blog
Fast forward to a sabbatical from the day job when Serena traded in bricks and mortar for a houseboat which, for a hardened land lubber like her, turned out to be a big adventure.
Apart from writing and reading (all kinds of books), a few of Serena’s favorite things are collecting old masks, singing (in the rain) and exploring off the beaten track.
She’s a member of the Romantic Novelists Association, which is a very supportive organization. Serena and her golden retriever, Inspector Morse, who can't wait to unleash his own Facebook page, divide their time between London and rural Kent. (Charles Dickens said: Kent, sir. Everybody knows Kent. Apples, cherries, hops and women).