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I am thrilled to be joining in with Jackie Ladbury’s The Magic of Stars blog tour today 🙂

(Many thanks to Rachel.)


So, you put the bandage under your arm, the point to your elbow, like so?’ He slid the bandage under her elbow before looking at her for reassurance.

Yes.’ The word came out breathily and she cursed and straightened her spine, determined to get through this ordeal without giving anything away.

He elevated her arm. His touch, soft and warm, was unnerving, his fingertips a silken caress on her skin. She tried to speak, but her voice caught in her throat and it came out like a whimper.

Did I hurt you?’

No.’ She coughed to mask the audible moan. ‘I’m just reminding you that I have a broken arm.’

I’ll be gentle,’ he whispered, a hint of a smile crossing his face. ‘So, the next move is to secure the bandage with a knot by the collarbone, yes?’ His breath was warm, close to her ear, his all-too-familiar scent intoxicating, his voice soft and low. ‘Just so?’

She shivered as he lifted her hair gently from her neck and whispered, ‘Bei capelli.’

She understood a smattering of Italian and blinked. I have beautiful hair? Her senses heightened to full alert as he blew a loose strand away from her neck. A Sirocco wind blasting hot, dry sand would have been easier to bear – and if she had been the sort of girl to swoon, she would be flat out.

He ran his finger down the side of her neck, stopping in a natural hollow where her shoulder sloped. His thumb skimmed across the clavicle, setting her senses on red alert. Surely he knew what he was doing to her?

And you tie a knot … just here,’ he crooned, his breath tickling her ear, the mundane words sounding like a declaration of love.

Yes, very good,’ she managed, her voice strangling in her throat.

His lips twisted with concentration as he examined the sling, tested the strength of the knot. His fingers brushed hers as he slid his hand down the length of the triangular bandage to where her fingers peeped out.

Sapphire’s nerve endings tingled all the way up her arm and she stiffened, not wanting Marco to see how his touch unnerved her. Their eyes met briefly and she stepped backwards in shock, thinking she saw tenderness in his eyes.

As if on cue, he blinked and his expression once again became unfathomable, his eyes the usual flinty grey. ‘All done,’ he said, smiling firmly and then murmured something else in Italian that she didn’t understand.

His every move seemed to be larger than life to Sapphire and she was glad that he was no longer in her immediate space. She breathed freely, relieved, although her chest felt constricted – as if her lungs were full of concrete rather than air.

Marco casually rested his hip against the desk, his arms once again folded as he surveyed his handiwork. ‘How does it feel?’

Sorry?’ Why was he asking that? ‘Feel?’

The arm. Now I have made it secure?’

Oh. Fine. Lovely.’ She flapped her arm in its bandage. He was joking, right? ‘Never felt better.’ She waggled her fingers in the sling as Marco studied her, his head tilted to one side.

She blew upwards, trying to cool her cheeks down with her breath as heat washed over her. Lurching forwards on her decidedly weak legs, she turned back to face the class. ‘I think we all know how to administer bandages now, but there is one last thing to remember. Can anyone tell me what that is?’

Finbar’s hand shot up and his suggestion rang out loud and clear. ‘Is it kissing it better, miss?’ There was no mistaking his insinuation, and Sapphire, who was holding on by a thread, felt her body temperature hit meltdown.

She swallowed hard, trying to regain her equilibrium. ‘No, Fin, that isn’t the answer I wanted, although a bit of TLC never hurt anyone. You need to check that the fingertips don’t turn blue.’ She held her own burning fingers up to emphasise the point, half expecting sparks to fly out of them. ‘If they do, you’ve tied the bandage too tight.’ Her heart was thumping erratically as she glanced over at Marco. If this carried on, she would be the one needing defibrillation.

We’ll have a break now and then we’ll split into two groups. One can work on Resusci Annie while the other practises splints and burns.’ She gripped the edge of the table, trying to look nonchalant, but her mind was racing as quickly as her heart. Had she really fallen for that man’s sex appeal?

A few minutes later she watched Marco as he tried to breathe life into Resusci Annie, his lips pressed firmly over Annie’s rubber ones. For one second she imagined those lips were hers – but she cast aside the image quickly. Marco gently put his hands over Annie’s breastbone to practise heart compressions and she noticed her own breasts felt oddly tingly under her shirt. She was just too hot, that was all; it meant nothing.

The Magic of Stars cover

The Magic of Stars

Sapphire Montrose always felt like a loser in the struggle of life, but when she becomes the airline manager of a run-down airline she starts to believe she is a winner – until she unwittingly propositions her new boss and all her hard work is undone. In a moment of recklessness air stewardess, Sapphire Montrose throws caution and her dress to the wind by propositioning a handsome stranger in a hotel in Florence, only to find herself waking up alone and embarrassed in her hotel room.

Unfortunately for Sapphire, it turns out that her new boss, Marco Cavarelli, is the man she failed to seduce and she is now fighting for her job and her self-respect when he tells her there is no place in his revamped airline for an alcoholic woman with lascivious tendencies. To make matters worse she is increasingly attracted to him and he seems to be giving out the same vibes. Or is he simply testing her? One wrong move could be the end of her career. But what if he really is offering love – and is he worth the risk?

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About Jackie Ladbury…..

Jackie Ladbury

Jackie Ladbury was desperate to become a journalist when she left school but was ousted within minutes on the day of the exam at her local rag because she’d forgotten to bring a pen.

Short and sharp lesson learned.

Her budding writing career was not on hold for long, though, as Jackie found herself scribbling love stories of pilots and ‘hosties’ while she flew in aeroplanes of various shapes and sizes as a flight attendant herself.

Fast forward a good few years and, after being short-listed in a couple of prestigious romantic writing competitions, Jackie decided it was time to discard her stilettos, say goodbye to the skies and concentrate on writing romantic novels, where the only given is a guaranteed ‘happy ever after.’

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The Magic of Stars blog tour


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