Cooking The Books – Dana Mitchell

Chef with cookbookTHIS week we’re back in Italy and it’s my great pleasure to welcome Dana Mitchell. Not only is Dana one of my two treasured critique partners but she’s a wonderful friend. And now that we’re both published by Destiny Romance, the icing is on the cake. While I was writing Her Italian Aristocrat, Dana was working on A Venetian Affair. It was alpha heroes at three paces and a lot of fun. But now it’s over to Dana!

It’s such a pleasure to be on your blog, Louise, thanks for having me here!0000007130

Ahhh, Venice…it conjures up romance, the curling steam from an espresso, pistachio ice-cream, lingering looks from lovers amongst the briny, fresh breeze and gondoliers serenading them as they float the canals.

Helen meets Gabriel in ‘A Venetian Affair’, they’re not really thinking about food, but more about their mutual, exploding attraction.

When Helen runs after that most passionate night, she never dreams she will meet Gabriel back home in Sydney. The Helen in Venice is the complete opposite of the Helen in Sydney. Hounded by the press and the daughter of a notorious criminal family, Helen doesn’t have much of a life. Without giving too much away, Helen spends night after night in Gabriel’s suite, where they share dinner together. Sydney is famous for its food and the Four Seasons Hotel is no exception.

9781743481189Here is an excerpt from one of their dinners…

 ‘We were all wearing masks. Didn’t you notice the other performers?’ Helen asked with a frown.

‘No, mio tesoro, I noticed only you.’

Oh. Helen swallowed.

A discreet knock at the door suspended their conversation, but Gabriel gave her a look that promised he would continue. Room service entered, and the delicious aroma of the food being served had Helen temporarily forgetting the tension. She hadn’t realised how hungry she was.

‘Arguing with me has increased your appetite.

‘Can’t talk, too busy eating,’ she retorted and hid a smile when he chuckled. A feeling not unlike exhilaration filled her but it was tinged with foreboding and sadness. The ever-present threat of him leaving was now just a matter of time. In Venice, courage had helped her to take a piece of happiness, just for herself. Could she find it within herself to step up again? Even though he would be the one leaving, this time for good, and taking her heart with him?

‘So the meal is to your liking?’

Oh, yes. Two fat, spicy pumpkin-filled ravioli parcels, topped with just the right amount of creamy sauce, were very nearly finished. ‘Yes, thank you.’

‘No dessert?’ he asked, finishing up his own meal.

‘No, just —’

‘— a coffee,’ he finished, giving her a warm smile.

No, just you, she thought dazedly, fighting the attraction that blazed between them. And then, safely ensconced back in their comfortable chairs in front of the large window, they began again.

‘So you liked singing in Venice?’

‘Yes,’ Helen said, adding, ‘So why were you in Venice?’

Now it was his turn to veil his eyes and hesitate before answering. ‘I was meeting one of my employees, a cousin of mine.’

‘And how did you find me down that alley with those two criminals?

‘I was watching you, of course,’ Gabriel answered immediately, giving her a steady look, ‘You and the other two performers were in the Sala Delle Stagioni, and I waited until you left. I saw the two men follow you and I realised they were up to no good.’

‘I’m very lucky you did, and I’m still very grateful. One of them, I think, would have been a lot crueller if you hadn’t come. I got off pretty lightly.’ Helen shuddered. A small silence ensued, broken only by a discreet knock on the door, signalling the arrival of their coffee. Then they were alone again.

‘Why did you make love to me in Venice?’

Sipping her coffee, Helen carefully put down her suddenly wobbly cup. What sort of question was that? ‘Why did you make love to me? An unknown woman, wearing a mask?’ Helen asked, going on the attack.

‘Because the attraction between us was something I’d never experienced before.’

Stunned, she could only look at him, wondering if he were telling the truth.

Helen doesn’t have a sweet tooth at all, and in a later scene, Gabriel tries his best to have her eat his favourite dessert—tiramisu. The one thing they both have in common?—a love of sharing a coffee after a meal. To find out what else they have in common you have to read the book!

‘A Venetian Affair’ can be found here:

Amazon and Amazon UK


Apple (iTunes Store)

Destiny Romance

Want more about Dana Mitchell?


19 comments on “Cooking The Books – Dana Mitchell

  1. Lovely post, Louise and Dana. Just wanted to say, I thoroughly enjoyed ‘A Venetian Affair’, Dana. Don’t mind a bit of tiramisu, either…

  2. Italy and food–don’t they go together! On my bucket list is to go to Carnivale in Venice, while I’m still young enough to dance! Love the masques. Looking forward to reading both books now holidays are here. A lovely post, Dana. Thanks for hosting, Louise.

    • Hi Susanne. Thanks for commenting. I haven’t been in Venice for the Carnivale but I have been there during the Biennale. I have a gorgeous memory of sitting on the steps of a little stone bridge one evening, and listening to the glorious music floating out the open windows of a recital hall. Bliss.

  3. You mention Venice and Four Seasons in the one blog. I’m hooked!! LOL Congrats on your novel, Dana. Loving your series, Lou.

  4. Hi Dana,
    Oh I adore Venice. I was there many years ago, and my companions in the Gondola were my Papa and my best friend who was in Italy visiting her grandparents, but it was still a wonderful time. There’s something magical about Venezia!! (And Tiramisu!!)
    Lovely blog. Thanks for having Dana here as your guest, Louise.

    • I can’t help but sigh when I think of Venice, Serena. I had my husband and another family with two small girls that were just delightful on our gondola. And it didn’t stop the young gondolier serenading us. The water was so clear and the air was fresh, the sun was warm. It was just perfect, floating past so many ancient landmarks. Adore is exactly the right word! xo

    • Hi Serena. Despite having been to Venice twice I’ve never ridden on a Gondola! But I do love exploring all the little alleys and crossing bridge after bridge until I’m lost. Then looking for those little pointers that say San Marco in order to get my bearings. Thanks for dropping in.

  5. Hi Dana,
    Great excerpt. I have only been to Rome, and that was on a quick weekend visit from the UK. I have always wanted to go to Venice. Oh well, still time.



  6. Congratulations, Dana on your new release, A Venetian Affair. Loved the hint of suspense/trouble brewing in the background with your heroine’s crim connections! I was getting quite hungry reading about their meal together. I’ll have the pumpkin filled ravioli please, no sauce. All the best.

  7. Hi there Suz,
    Thanks so much. I’ve had the pumpkin filled ravioli at an adorable little Vegetarian cafe in Sydney and thought it would make a great meal for Helen. And you NEED the sauce…*wink…thanks for dropping by!

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