Temptation's Song. Janice Sims
“I don’t think that’s funny,” Elle said.
“I need to know your rules for this situation, Signor Corelli. You have rules for everything else. So let me have them.”
Dominic cleared his throat. “All right, I make it a rule never to get romantically involved with anyone I’m working with. In my opinion it adds an unwanted level of stress to the workplace.” He turned and bent low to whisper in her ear, “But in your case I’m willing to make an exception.”
Dominic’s mouth descended upon hers and she instinctively wrapped her arms around his neck and pulled him closer. Their mouths hungrily devoured each other and the ache that both of them had been suffering for the past two and a half hours finally eased.
Never in his wildest dreams had Dominic thought a kiss could be this powerful. And he considered himself somewhat of an expert on the subject. It was so intense that as he was kissing her he found that the longer their mouths were locked in the act, the more he wanted. He could go on kissing her and never get enough.
is an author of seventeen novels and has had stories included in nine anthologies. She is a recipient of the Emma Award for her novel Desert Heat and two Romance in Color awards. She also received an Award of Excellence for her novel For Keeps and a Best Novella award for her short story in the anthology A Very Special Love. She lives in central Florida with her family.
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Some friendships last a lifetime. Temptation’s Song is the first of what I’m calling the Temptation Books, a trio of books about three friends who met at Juilliard, a performing arts school in New York City. In three different disciplines—Elle Jones in voice, Patrice Sutton in theater and Belana Whitaker in classical dance—they were not in direct competition with each other, but they were always there to support and lean on one another through times both good and bad. Be sure to look for Temptation’s Kiss and Temptation’s Dance in the coming months.
If you’d like to write to me you can do so at [email protected], or visit my Web site at www.janicesims.com. You can also find me on Facebook, and I have a reading group on Yahoo. If you’re not online yet you can write me at P.O. Box 811, Mascotte, FL 34753-0811.
When I was a teenager I saw Grace Bumbry perform in Bizet’s Carmen. I think it must have been on PBS. I didn’t understand a word she sang, but just by the power and beauty of her voice, I was mesmerized. In December 2009 she was one of the recipients of the Kennedy Center Honors. I might not have ever thought to write about an opera singer if I hadn’t seen her perform all those many years ago.
Common Italian Words and Phrases
Dominic Corelli sat in a balcony box at Teatro alla Scala, brooding. The room was dark, as he had requested. No one in the theater could see him, but he could hear and, when he stood, see everything going on below.
The opera house in Milan, Italy, had undergone several renovations since its opening in 1778 and today was one of the world’s most famous theaters. Maybe, Dominic thought, his mind roaming because the singer auditioning for him was performing badly, the architects were too good. Thanks to the wonderful acoustics in the auditorium he could hear every off-key note she was warbling.
“Grazie!” he exclaimed, denoting he’d heard enough.
The mezzo-soprano onstage, a petite Italian woman in her midthirties, realizing her time was up, abruptly stopped singing and smiled in the direction of his voice. “Grazie, Maestro,” she said before exiting the stage.
Because her voice had not been up to par, Dominic didn’t rise from his seat to get a glimpse of her. When auditioning singers, he preferred them to sing a cappella, and to be hidden from his view. To him the voice was everything. Lately the opera world was becoming as shallow as other forms of theater by showing favoritism to physically attractive performers. He remained true to the art form by hiring gifted singers rather than those who were easy on the eyes but possessed mediocre talent.
True, the role these singers were auditioning for was that of Adama, a woman who was so desirable that she could tempt Satan himself to give up his throne in hell for her. But in the story the devil had first been drawn to her singing, so Dominic was looking for a singer with a truly remarkable voice.
Yet, after three days of auditioning every mezzo-soprano in Europe, it seemed, Dominic hadn’t heard that voice.
His cell phone rang. Seeing that the caller was Roberto Ribisi, a La Scala employee who was assisting him during the auditions, he answered, “Roberto?”
“It’s nearly lunchtime. Do you want to break now, and continue at one-thirty?”
“How many more have we to go?” Dominic asked.
“Seven,” Roberto replied with a tired sigh.
Dominic smiled. He did not envy Roberto the job of keeping a bevy of sopranos happy. Opera singers weren’t called divas for nothing. They could be very demanding. Plus, poor Roberto was easily smitten by a pretty face. He imagined the women were trying to twist him around their fingers, hoping for a choice spot in the lineup to go onstage. In actuality, there was no choice spot. Dominic treated them all equally.
He was casting roles for his third opera, Temptation. He had worked with several of the women auditioning for the role of Adama. Still, he had no favorites. The moment the woman who deserved the role began to sing for him, he would recognize her.
He didn’t care if she was an established singer or a newcomer. All that mattered was that the purity of his composition be maintained. And for that to happen, he needed someone who was fresh, passionate and had the voice of an angel.