Guest post and review: Holiday with the Mystery Italian by Ellie Darkins

Holiday with the Mystery Italian

Blurb:   Since the accident that paralyzed him, Italian tycoon Mauro Evans vowed to embrace life. So when he stars in a dating show for charity, picking prickly journalist Amber Harris as the winner to take on holiday is a challenge he can’t resist!

In Amber’s experience, relationships equal pain, so she’s determined to ignore her attraction to charismatic Mauro. But his bravery and strength threaten to tear down her defenses, giving her a new Christmas dream—ringing in the New Year with wedding bells!

Guest post:  on dating shows.

My initial idea for my latest Mills & Boon story came from watching a dating show with my friends. It had been years since I’d sat and watched Blind Date with my family on a Saturday night, and I was shocked by what I saw. It was bigger, bolder and brasher than Cilla had ever been, with a host of gorgeous women making the lone man work hard for their attention.

But what really struck me was that the reason for watching was the same as back in the days of Our Graham and the slightly wobbly Blind Date screen – we love to watch people falling in love.

Since that reintroduction to the world of TV dating, I’ve got hooked on a load of different shows with wildly differing formats, demographics and levels of cringe. There’s Dinner Date, where the unlucky contestants get a microwave meal for one delivered to their door by way of a let-down (I nearly wept at the unlucky contestant who didn’t even own a microwave), and the high-concept Marriage at First Sight, where the couple meet for the first time at their own wedding. And my all-time fave – First Dates – which takes a fly-on-the-wall approach to a restaurant patronised solely by couples meeting for their first date. It’s an hour of TV that leaves you shocked, surprised and disbelieving in turn, but by the end of the show the resounding feeling is one of hope – that one of the couples you have been watching will get their HEA.

In this way it’s not that different from picking up a Mills and Boon, seeing those tentative first steps that the hero and heroine take together. Trying to find out what makes them connect, where the difficulties in a relationship are going to lie. Whether they’re going to be prepared to work hard to overcome those difficulties. The one major difference, however, is the outcome. Much as we might be cheering those TV couples on as they share their first meal together, more often than not the catch-up taglines at the end of the programme show that even some with the most promising starts fizzled out before they really started. The success rates vary from ‘not great’ to ‘really terrible’ depending on which show you watch. But when you pick up a good romance, you know that that’s one thing it will deliver – a happy ever after, every time.

And as for how my para athlete Mauro and heartbroken journalist Amber get on when they meet in front of the cameras? Well you’ll just have to read on to find out!

My Rating: 4.5/5

Review: There’s a lot in this post already so I’m not going to say much other than I really enjoyed this book.  Yes, it’s a romance and you can probably guess what will happen in the end but the journey there is the most important and interesting part and this journey in particular is quite different from the other books of this genre that I’ve read in the past.  The two main characters are flawed but in different ways than you might expect and watching them come together and spark off each other was rather fun.  There aren’t many characters in this story and it works even better for it, the focus is on Mauro and Amber and that’s exactly where it should be.  The premise is good and different from usual and it works really well and I especially liked the twist about the holiday abroad and it’s exact location.

If you already enjoy romance books then you’ll definitely enjoy this one and if you haven’t read any before but fancy something a little different, especially in the hectic run up to Christmas then this is definitely an excellent choice.  Perfect in whatever setting you choose as long as it is away from any hustle and bustle and you can just drift away abroad and watch the magic happen.




Ellie Darkins writes heart-warming stories about falling in love, finding your soul mate and fighting hard to make real relationships work. The HEA is guaranteed, but nothing else along the way is. Expect to see surprise babies, breath-taking settings and alpha heroes by the bucketload. Plus steamy kisses, heaps of sensual tension, and fireworks just audible from behind a closed bedroom door.




















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