A fairy tale ending – Cassie Rocca

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By Cassie Rocca

My debut in the publishing world was a bit like something out of a fairy tale. I’d always dreamed of seeing my novel come out with some big publisher, but my shyness and the fear of seeing my expectations dashed had prevented me from even thinking about trying for years.♥

Four years ago, after working very hard, I decided to send one of my manuscripts to some publishers. I chose the ones I thought I might have a chance with – I didn’t want to aim too high right away, that would have felt presumptuous as well as impossible. In any case, after almost a year it was clear that I had failed – no one had answered. They hadn’t liked my book.

Even though I was upset, I didn’t give up, and it was in that period that A New York Love Story was born – a novel that I decided to self-publish as an experiment. I wanted to understand if readers did like my style or whether I should actually just give up.

Two weeks later I was at the top of the bestsellers lists and a month after that, I signed a contract with a big publishing house.

And from that moment on, I’ve never stopped! After the success of my first book, Crazy Stupid Love – the second chapter of my Blame it on New York trilogy – came out. A more realistic story than the previous one, but still full of the magic of love and, of course, of New York, the city where everything is possible… Where even a shy nerd can win the heart of the most beautiful woman in town! And that’s how Eric Morgan wins the heart of Zoe Mathison: with sweetness, determination and patience. Because in love, it’s not those who run away who win out – it’s those who persevere!

I had a lot of fun writing this novel and I hope it will put a smile on the faces of those who decide to read it too. Here’s an extract:

Eric was right. Who knew her better than him, anyway? He had been listening to all her complaints and putting up with her outbursts since university. Lately, though, he’d been a lot less patient with her and they seemed to be arguing for no reason at all.

Sometimes she thought it was strange that their relationship had lasted so long. They couldn’t have been more different from one another! But they had bonded immediately, no matter how strange it seemed: she was a pretty waitress, always surrounded by suitors, while he was a lonesome physics and informatics student, taciturn and shy. He had quickly become her best friend and the only one who had supported her on every occasion. He had consoled her when Stuart Harris, the only guy she had ever fallen in love with in her whole life, had broken her heart by cheating on her repeatedly with her best friend and since then had been putting up with her, and especially with her hysterical hunt for a man – an obsession that had led her into ruinous relationships with the wrong men.

Maybe he had finally had enough and didn’t want to babysit her any more. Was that the reason why he had been so touchy lately?

The idea was terrifying to her: Eric was the only person she trusted unconditionally. She didn’t get on particularly well with other women and apart from Clover and Liberty she didn’t have many friends, so losing Eric’s affection and support would have left her feeling desperately alone.

His unusual coldness and distance were hurting her. It wasn’t normal for him to be like that, and he would never usually have spoken about such delicate matters in public.

He seemed to have read her mind and gave her a rather contrite look.

“Hey, sorry – I went too far.”

That made Zoe feel a lot better – how could she feel hurt by someone who would apologize for just telling the truth? Her good mood restored, she smiled at him brightly the way she always did – and the way that allowed her to conquer the heart of any man of any age. “I’ll accept your apologies when you do something for me,” she joked.

Eric suddenly raised his brown eyebrows. “Something like what?”

“Well, if I can’t find anyone to go out with in the next few days, you could take me to dinner on Valentine’s Day.”

Eric looked up to the sky. “Right, like I’ve never done that before.”

“Hey, don’t act so smart, it would be a mutual favor. It’d be a fun evening between friends and people would think that we were a couple, and that way we’d both save face.”

It was almost a tradition: when both of them found themselves single, they spent their time together. Zoe couldn’t remember how many times Eric had stepped in to stop her getting drunk alone. He had put up with accompanying her to family celebrations, stepping in for dates to take over from some partner who had stood her up at the last minute, to Valentine’s dinners all those years when they were both single, and they had even gone on holiday together! In other words, Eric Morgan was the man she had spent the most time with – he was her longest lasting relationship… and they hadn’t even slept together!

She felt the need to demonstrate her affection to him, so leaned down to kiss him on the cheek. “I don’t know what I’d do without you.”

Eric pushed his glasses up his nose the way he always did when he was embarrassed.

“You don’t need to sweet-talk me – I’ll take you to dinner.”

Their conversation was interrupted by the sound of the bell indicating that someone had come into the shop.

Zoe raised her eyes and smiled at the new client, and when she saw that it was a handsome blond guy of about six feet tall, she immediately smoothed out her wool skirt and primped her dark bob haircut.

“God, look how cute he is! I’ll deal with him.”

Liberty sneaked out from behind the counter and headed to the upper floor.

“We had no doubt that you would,” she giggled with a weird smile.

Zoe turned to the client. “Welcome to Giftland! How can I help you?”

The man looked her over from head to toe and smiled. “There are a lot of things you could help me with, but right now your smile will do just fine,” he said playfully.

Zoe chuckled and went into seduction mode.

“So I guess I’m going to be free the evening of Valentine ‘s Day after all,” muttered Eric as he walked past her on the way to his office.

Clover followed him.

“Let’s not make snap judgements – maybe she won’t like him.” But at the sight of the look Eric shot her, she sighed. “OK, I’ll just shut up.”

Zoe ignored her colleagues’ comments and stood in front of the new customer, smiling all the time. It had become a habit for her: she would feign interest in any attractive men who happened to enter the shop, flirting with them and doing her best to appear attractive. It was almost like a sort of hobby and a way of boosting her self-confidence. Lately, she’d really needed it.

The New Year hadn’t started out great, to be honest, and over the last few days she had felt really agitated and restless. New couples seemed to appear out of nowhere and seeing them everywhere made her feel lonely. And what was worse was that her relatives couldn’t stop congratulating her on the ‘fantastic new boyfriend she had found’, and it felt like an unbearable weight in her stomach.

Cassie Rocca is a writer of Sicilian origin who has lived in Genoa since the age of three. In everyday life she is a child-minder, a job which gives her plenty of ideas for her modern fairy tales. Crazy Stupid Love is out now.


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