If Raffaele Ferrarotto thought for one minute he was going to ignore her, he was dead wrong. Olivia shifted, trying not to feel exposed as her driver wound the car through the streets of New York City, bound for the Plaza Hotel and the party Mr. Ferrarotto was hosting. The man had so boldly refused to see her two weeks earlier when she showed up at his offices in the city demanding answers. She never made it past his secretary before being dismissed. It appeared that Mr. Ferrarotto didn’t have time for a little girl looking for a lost sibling. She wasn’t a child, and tonight Raffaele Ferrarotto was going to learn a very valuable lesson.
The car slowed and her door opened by a slightly stunned doorman. Good. She felt a smile pull at the corner of her lips as the smooth material of her gown whispered across her skin. Without turning she knew the man was getting an eyeful of the dramatic back of her gown. When she saw the light pink silk chiffon creation in her friend’s shop she knew it was the dress she was looking for. Seemingly demure with a simple scoop front neckline, the wide pearl-beaded trim continued around the back to scoop low and attach just above her bottom with a loose bow. The style left most of her back and sides exposed while still giving a classic romance vibe. Quite frankly, it made her feel powerful and naked all at once. She loved it.
Stepping into the ballroom she was taken aback by its beauty. The arched double doors were mirrored by the private seating areas set across a sea of towering centerpieces overflowing with fragrant flowers. The dim light of what had to be thousands of candles gave the large room an intimate feeling. Like all of this was done for one person alone. As her eyes followed the columns to the frescoed ceiling she imagined she was that one person.
“Amazing isn’t it?” The words were spoken so close to her ear she stumbled forward in surprise. A cool hand gripped her elbow to steady her and she fought not to pull away from the touch.
“I was just thinking that.” She turned, offering the man a smile. The candlelight set the perfect scene for his dark good looks. It danced across his high cheekbones and defined jaw. It also drew attention to his dark, calculating eyes.
“I know.” He returned her smile but it didn’t quite make it to his eyes. Like he knew he was making her uncomfortable and was enjoying it. “I saw you from across the room and thought to myself, surely if a room could up put that look of wonder on this woman’s face then I have to meet her. I have to find out what else could bring you pleasure.”
He was smooth, she’d give him that. Smooth and probably as oily as his predatory gaze suggested.
You have a unique voice and the reader’s interest is certainly piqued. (What is she going to demand answers for?! What’s going to come out of the mouth of this gorgeous Italian alpha?) In order to give these crucial opening pages more immediacy though we would suggest that you throw the reader into the heart of the action and have the book open with Olivia standing at the door of the event room. Layering in more dialogue right at the start would also help the reader to get a real and immediate feel for who these characters are going to be – you want people invested in Olivia and Raffaele and curious to see their journeys as soon as possible!
Hopefully this helps while working on the manuscript. Remember-get the reader intrigued as quickly as possible! We’ve had a couple of stories starting in a car–skip that and open the door, unless there’s a really, really good reason for it! 🙂