by April Lindner
Release Date: January 27th 2015
While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food...and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her "vacation flirtation." But just because summer is over doesn't mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.
In this coming-of-age romance, April Lindner perfectly captures the highs and lows of a summer love that might just be meant to last beyond the season.
Jesse was waiting for her in the lobby looking freshly scrubbed, his dark hair still damp. “Hey,” he said.
“Hey,” she said back.
He surprised her with a quick hug, as though they hadn’t just seen each other the day before. Lucy inhaled deeply, taking in his clean, delicious smell. Almond and mint, she decided. “I’ve been wondering all morning where you’re planning on taking me,” she said.
Without a word, Jesse ducked behind the front desk, and emerged with two motorcycle helmets, one under each arm.
Lucy’s pulse sped up. She followed him out into the square, then down the street to a row of parked motorbikes. He walked up to a silver-blue scooter, and pulled a set of keys from his pocket.
“A Vespa? Like in Roman Holiday?” Lucy was simultaneously thrilled and terrified. “Is it yours?”
“I wish,” Jesse said, straddling the seat. “It belongs to Nello, but it’s ours for the day.” He handed Lucy one of the helmets, strapped the other on, and backed the Vespa out into the street. A chorus of horns and what sounded like Italian curses immediately started up behind them. “Aren’t you going to get on?”
Lucy thought of what her mother would say, if only she knew. Lucy had never been on a Vespa before, and she wasn’t exactly a fan of high speed. “Is it safe?” A motorbike zipped past them on the narrow street, so close it blew her hair back.
“I’ll be careful,” Jesse promised, his voice muffled by his helmet. Lucy hesitated, then thought of Audrey Hepburn zipping around Rome with Gregory Peck. She pulled on her helmet and slung a leg over the Vespa, leaning into Jesse’s back. The engine’s hum traveling through her whole frame, she wrapped her arms around his waist and shut her eyes tight. Several minutes went by before she dared open them. By then they were zooming down a city street, the people and store windows streaming past on both sides.
“Do we have to go so fast?” she yelped, her words drowned out by the engine. Jesse leaned into a turn, and she gasped, putting all her concentration into hanging on. When they stopped for a red light, she allowed herself a look around. They were on the road that ran along the Arno; sunlight danced on its dark surface. Lucy clung to Jesse, adrenaline coursing through her veins. The view of the river had been beautiful before, but now it was thrilling.
After that, Lucy forced herself to keep her eyes open, to watch the city unfurl through the scratched plastic visor of her helmet. She didn’t want to miss a thing.
April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, due out in January, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.
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