Valentine Trail - Max's Italian Romance by Serena Yates

News from Serena Yates

I'm currently working on Diamonds of Victory, book four in the Gemstones Chronicles series. Sam's New Family is up for a transformation from short story to novella length next. I'm planning rereleases of my Workplace Encounters books later this year, and I recently submitted book four in the Modern Battles series; hopefully Fighting for Freedom will be out in May or June with Dreamspinner Press.

The Book

Max still can’t get over the loss of his lover two years after the accident – so a trip to Florence and its famous works of art might be just what he needs.

Max Travis is a lonely bus driver, stuck in a job he doesn’t want but he has to pay the bills. He’d love to be a photographer and is interested in art, so his brother gives him a trip to Florence for Valentine’s Day. Even though Max thinks the gift is too lavish, he can’t resist the temptation and goes. When he runs into hunky art professor Rocco Moretti on his first day there, the attraction is immediate.

The two men share a steamy romance, but what will happen when Max must return to the USA?
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Comment on this post to win one of Serena's ebooks - winner's choice.


Rocco Moretti was taking in the scene as he completed a leisurely walk through the centre of Florence on this beautiful Saturday afternoon. He’d lived here for almost ten years now, but he could never get enough of its statues. Maybe it was because he was a sculptor himself, at least when he wasn’t teaching art history to mostly unwilling young artists. But mostly he thought it was the sculptures' beauty and majestic permanence that drew him.
Rocco grinned at his own melodramatic thoughts as he rounded the octagonal fountain, looking up to admire Neptune glistening in the sunshine. He was nothing like the bronze river gods, satyrs and marble sea horses around the perimeter of his domain. Made from Apuan marble, he stood above and apart from them, dominance and authority pouring from his every beautifully sculpted muscle.
Rocco stopped in his tracks, whipping his head around to find out who had run into him. A flash of longish blond hair turned into a bright face with light blue eyes and pink lips when the smaller man looked up at him. He blinked and wobbled on his feet, clearly disoriented.
Scusi.”  Rocco grabbed the man by the shoulders to prevent him from falling.
“I... Sorry.” The stranger grinned, steadying himself as he held onto the camera.
Aha, a tourist. His fine facial structure and white skin reminded Rocco of marble. His body was well proportioned without being muscular. Rocco felt physical attraction tugging at him, intensified by the adorable confusion in the brightest blue eyes he’d seen in a long time. Their owner looked young, maybe in his early twenties.
“It is I who am sorry.” Rocco switched to his mother’s language easily. He didn’t let go, liking the feeling of the unexpectedly strong shoulders and upper arms under the down jacket. “I should have watched where I was going. It’s not the first time I’m here, after all.”
“No, no, I’m sorry.” The tentative smile on his lips made his face light up. “It’s just that I didn’t expect the fountain to be this beautiful, so I wasn’t paying attention to anything else.”
“Well, it appears you weren’t the only one.” Rocco reluctantly let go and took the smallest possible step back. “I was just as distracted, and I’ve lived here for a long time. I still take weekly walks around the centre, just to enjoy the beautiful art and architecture everywhere.”
“You live here? Wow, you’re very lucky.” He didn’t seem to want to move away either. “I’m just visiting.”
“Is this your first visit?” Rocco would bet it was, he’d rarely seen this much wide-eyed wonder in anyone’s gaze.
“Yeah. I’ve wanted to come here for a long time.” He grinned. “I can’t wait to explore everything.”
“Would you like some help with that?” Oh, Rocco would like to explore this man as well, but they could always start with the sights. He’d use any excuse to spend more time with the cute stranger.
“Uhm...” He frowned. “I don’t want to be a burden.”
“You wouldn’t be. It would be my pleasure because it gives me an excuse to visit all my favourite spots again. My name is Rocco Moretti, and I’m an art history professor at the Florence Academy of Art.” Rocco held out his hand, delighted with their first skin to skin contact when the other man took it. “I only have two classes to teach on Friday, so I would be happy to take you around the city any time.”
 “That’s a great offer.” He man took a deep breath. “I’m Max Travis, just arrived a few hours ago and here for a whole week.”
“So, do we have a deal?” Rocco held his breath. He really, really wanted to get to know Max better. A lot better.
“Only if you let me invite you for a coffee.” Max grinned and took his hand back.
“Okay.” Good place to start.
“Would you—maybe—know the best place for coffee around here?” Max’s smile turned impish. “I mean, it wouldn’t do if I took you somewhere awful, would it?”
Rocco laughed out loud. Max was cute and had a sense of humour. It looked more and more like it was going to be a great week.


  1. I enjoyed reading this book and I'm looking forward to your new ones.

  2. I love books set in Italy - thanks for a chance to win a copy

  3. Looks like a good book to read. My list keeps getting bigger & bigger with these new authors :)

    Deborah H

  4. Although I live in Italy, I haven't been to Florence yet. It would be nice to read a book set there. Pls count me in :)

  5. I think Italy is a bit warmer than here right now. :) Reading about Italy is almost as good as being there for Valentines.

  6. Great excerpt. Makes me want to go back.
    debby236 at gmail dot com

  7. I love Italy, but have not yet been to Florence. I would love to read this book.

  8. Florence is one of my all-time favorite cities! It would be a dream to live there. And the story sounds very promising.

  9. Great excerpt! Sounds like a fun book!!

  10. So sweet! I love this excerpt.


  11. Thanks for the chance to enter Serena would love to read this.

  12. As a former art history major, everything about this appeals to me!


  13. Sounds like a very good book.
    sstrode at scrtc dot com

  14. Hi i'm italian. I think I'll read this bokk but i want to let u know that in Italy u don't say "mi amore" (the word mi dosn't meas my) but u say "amore mio" or if u really want at least "mio amore" (even if in this case is very strange but more likely)