Monday, April 21, 2014


Love, In English

Karina Halle

Contemporary Romance

Release Date: 
April 20, 2014


He’s thirty-eight. I’m twenty-three.

He speaks Spanish. I speak English.

He lives in Spain. I live in Canada.

He dresses in thousand-dollar suits. I’m covered in tattoos.

He’s married and has a five-year old daughter.

I’m single and can’t commit to anyone or anything.

Until now.

Because when they say you can’t choose who you fall in love with, boy ain’t that the f*#king truth.


To a restless dreamer like Vera Miles, it sounded like the experience of a

lifetime. Instead of spending her summer interning for her astronomy major, she

would fly to Spain where she’d spend a few weeks teaching conversational English

to businessmen and women, all while enjoying free room and board at an isolated

resort. But while Vera expected to get a tan, meet new people and stuff herself with

wine and paella, she never expected to fall in love.

Mateo Casalles is unlike anyone Vera has ever known, let alone anyone she’s

usually attracted to. While Vera is a pierced and tatted free spirit with a love for

music and freedom, Mateo is a successful businessman from Madrid, all sharp suits

and cocky Latino charm. Yet, as the weeks go on, the two grow increasingly close

and their relationship changes from purely platonic to something…more.

Something that makes Vera feel alive for the first time.
Something that can never, ever be.

Or so she thinks.


Claudia shrugged and pulled down at her yellow tee. “Not my problem. Eduardo is nice but Ricardo is really nice.”

“How did it happen?” I asked, kinda wanting the sordid details.

She was coy. “The way it usually happens.”
“Did you make the first move?”

Another shrug. “Why not?”

I swear, a shrug and a “why not?” were the

Spaniards’ go-to answer for everything.

“Well, then I guess it seems safe—and a little

boring now—to tell you that I have a crush on someone.”

Her brows quirked up. “Other than Mateo?”

“You are sleeping with Mateo, no?”



“No!” I exclaimed, appalled. “Why does everyone

keep thinking that?”

“Because you are always together,” she said

simply. She took a sip of wine. “The attraction is very obvious. So, I figured you must

be sleeping together.”

“He’s married!”

“Yes, but you are not.”

I shook my head adamantly. “It’s wrong. I don’t

want to be the other woman. I’ve seen my dad go for the other woman, and I can’t

put Mateo’s daughter through that,” I said. “Or his wife,” I quickly added.

“That doesn’t mean that you can’t have feelings for

anyone else.”

“Yes, it does mean that.”

“Maybe you are meant to be together.”

“We’re not! There isn’t even a together. We’re

just friends. I haven’t done anything about it, and so far my feelings are totally one-

Claudia got up off the couch and brought a pack

of cigarettes out of her front jean pocket. “If you think it is on the one side, you have

not seen the way he looks at you.”

She walked over to her small patio table and

pulled out a chair. I got up and stormed after her, my nerves dancing excitedly.
“What do you mean, the way he looks at me?”

I asked, lowering my voice in case there were people around listening. I felt like

bouncing off the walls.

She slid the ashtray toward her as I sat down. “You

do not see it. But I do. I think everyone does. He looks at you like…like you’re his

favorite food.”

“Favorite food?”

She lit her cigarette. “Yes. You’re like his favorite

food in the whole world. He wants to have you, eat you, devour you. He thinks about

you all the time, craves you. But he cannot have you for one reason or another.

Perhaps you upset his stomach. Maybe he is on a diet, yes? All he wants is a taste,

but he cannot even have that. That is how he looks at you.”

I sat there, stunned, as some of her smoke blew

in my face. That’s how Mateo looked at me? Like he wanted to eat me? I was pretty

sure that’s how I looked at him. Just last night I was contemplating nibbling on his


“And yes,” she said, leaning closer to me, a small

smile on her lips, “that is also how you look at him.” Great, a mind reader. “But you

are more subtle about it. You try not to let everyone know. But, we know.”

“There is nothing to know,” I reminded her,

poking the table with my finger for emphasis. “We are not sleeping together. He is

married. I have a crush. That is it. The end of the story.”

“A crush?” she questioned. “Vera, I think you’re in

love with him.”

No fucking way. Not love. That did not happen

with me, not ever and not now.

“You can’t fall in love in a week,” I told her


“You can fall in love in a second,” she said with a

snap of her fingers. “The heart has no regard for time.”

With that sobering thought, Claudia told me about

her ex-boyfriend and how they fell in love at first sight then took the conversation

back to Ricardo and their exploits. I envied her so badly right then and there. She

could fawn over Ricardo, kiss him, fuck him, and no one would ever bat an eye. It

was okay for them to be together. It wasn’t forbidden.

I gulped the rest of the wine and left her

apartment, heading back to reception to meet Cristina for my next one-on-one, my

mind and heart and hormones all over the place. Lo and behold, Mateo was walking

up the path toward me.

He was on the phone, smiling.

His shirt was off and slung over his shoulder,

exposing his bare chest, abs, and arms.

Holy fuck.

For a moment, I was sure that time had stopped.

Or maybe ever single nerve, cell, vein, bone, muscle in my body just slowed as I took

him all in.

From his thick-veined forearms to his sculpted

shoulders and broad chest peppered with neatly-trimmed chest hair, to his six-
pack abs, he had, by far, the best body I’d ever seen on a man. He kept himself in

fine-ass shape, looking more like a young athlete than anything else. He and David

Beckham had more in common than I thought, although David’s skin tone wasn’t

as mesmerizing. Mateo’s color was amazing, just beautiful, this dark, golden bronze

that covered him everywhere. I wanted so badly to just touch him, to lick the sheen

of sweat off his skin. I bet he tasted like victory.

And to think this was the man that Claudia said

wanted to taste me.

I really, really wanted to believe her.

Meanwhile, I was just standing there like I was

melting into a puddle of myself. I clamped my mouth shut as he walked past and I

heard him say into the phone, “No, mi tesorito, it was easy, I didn’t injure myself.” He

was beaming, talking about the game, to his wife. To his tesorito. And he called their

relationship complicated? This was complicated.

He winked at me in acknowledgement, his smile

becoming broader. I tried to smile back but it wouldn’t come. I just stared at him,

feeling stupid, foolish, and strangely rejected. In a perfect world I may have been his

favorite food, but it still wasn’t what he got served every day. I turned around and

walked down the hill, my heart feeling like a pincushion.

“Vera!” I heard him call out from behind. I stopped

and nervously glanced over my shoulder. He was holding the phone’s receiver to his

chest, grinning at me. “I need to ask you your question.”

“What?” I asked, hoping it was quick.

“Who is your favorite Spaniard here?”


And yet I couldn’t lie to him.

“You,” I said, more to myself than to him. Then I

turned around and walked away as quickly as I could.

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About the Author

With her USA Today Bestselling The Artists Trilogy published by Grand Central Publishing, numerous foreign publication deals, and self-publishing success with her Experiment in Terror series, Vancouver-born Karina Halle is a true example of the term "Hybrid Author."  Though her books showcase her love of all things dark, a sexy and edgy, she's a closet romantic at heart and strives to give her characters a HEA.... whenever possible.

Karina holds a screenwriting degree from Vancouver Film School and a Bachelor of Journalism from TRU. Her travel writing, music reviews/interviews and photography have appeared in publications such as Consequence of Soud, Mxdwn and GoNomad Travel Guides.  She currently lives on an island on the coast of British Columbia where she's preparing for the zombie apocalypse with her fiance and rescue pup. 


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