Breathing Room

Breathing Room

4.1 83
by Susan Elizabeth Phillips, Kate Fleming
     
 

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Join the New York Times bestselling author on a journey to the sun-washed hills of Tuscany. Another sexy, wonderful, contemporary love story with all the heart, wisdom, and wit that have made Susan Elizabeth Phillips the gold standard for women's fiction.See more details below

Overview

Join the New York Times bestselling author on a journey to the sun-washed hills of Tuscany. Another sexy, wonderful, contemporary love story with all the heart, wisdom, and wit that have made Susan Elizabeth Phillips the gold standard for women's fiction.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
The familiar tricks of the trade are refreshingly revamped in this lively contemporary romance set in Tuscany. Lorenzo (Ren) Gage is a devilishly handsome movie star, best known for his villainous roles onscreen and his playboy antics off. Isabel Favor is a tightly wound self-help guru and author of The Four Cornerstones of a Favorable Life whose own perfect life has recently come crashing down around her. Both have come to Italy to escape the endless rehashes of their latest misfortunes in the public eye, and the equally endless drone of self-criticism. Ren and Isabel meet under what can only be described as unusual circumstances, leaving each of them thinking, thankfully, they'll never see the other again. Imagine their surprise when Isabel turns up on Ren's doorstep, her much anticipated rental villa belonging to none other than her ill-advised one-night stand. As might be anticipated, their fiery antagonism soon breeds sparks of a different kind. The relationship develops in a somewhat familiar fashion, but the development of Isabel and Ren as characters makes their story shine. Meanwhile, at the villa, all is not as it seems, and the two lovers find themselves playing amateur detectives, trying to untangle the strange behavior of the townspeople and of Ren's hired caretaker. As if things weren't complicated enough, Ren's ex-wife, Tracy, suddenly appears on the scene pregnant and with several kids in tow. Tracy's appearance ushers in a touching subplot centering on the nature of marriage in the real world an unexpected and affecting treat in the midst of this steamy, lighthearted romance. With this intriguing combination of the fantasy and reality of romance, Phillips has created a very modern and textured tale: witty, moving, passionate and tender. 9-city author tour. (June) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
With the personal, professional, and financial aspects of her life all in shambles, counselor and self-help guru Dr. Isabel Favor escapes to the Tuscan countryside for two months to rest, write, and rethink her future. But her hopes of a peaceful idyll are dashed when the locals try to convince her to leave her rented farmhouse, whose owner turns out to be Lorenzo Gage, the film world's favorite psychopath and the man with whom Isabel had an impulsive, out-of-character, one-night stand on her first evening in Florence. Chaos reigns and so does passion in this funny, occasionally whacky, yet surprisingly insightful contemporary romance, which gives its optimistic heroine and conflicted movie-idol hero a little "breathing room" and lets Italy's hill country work its magic. With stunningly vivid descriptions and some of her most complex protagonists to date, Phillips (This Heart of Mine) has once again produced a thoroughly delightful romance. Phillips lives in the Chicago area. Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.

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Product Details

ISBN-13:
9780792726630
Publisher:
Blackstone Audio, Inc.
Publication date:
06/28/2002
Edition description:
Requires MP3 Format Player
Product dimensions:
6.90(w) x 6.30(h) x 1.00(d)

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

Dr. Isabel Favor prized neatness. During the week she wore exquisitely tailored black suits with tasteful leather pumps and a strand of pearls at her throat. On weekends she favored tidy sweater sets or silk shells, always in a neutral palette. A well-cut bob and an assortment of expensive beauty products generally tamed her blond hair's inclination to rearrange itself into disobedient curls. If that failed, she resorted to narrow velvet headbands.

She wasn't beautiful, but her evenly spaced light brown eyes sat exactly where they should, and her forehead rose in proportion to the rest of her face. Her lips were a shade too lavish, so she camouflaged them with nude-toned lipstick and dotted foundation on her nose to mute an unruly splash of freckles. Good eating habits kept her complexion creamy and her figure slender and healthy, although she would have preferred slimmer hips. In nearly every respect she was an orderly woman, the exception being a slightly uneven right thumbnail. While she no longer bit it to the quick, it was markedly shorter than her other nails, and nibbling at its edges remained the only habit from her very untidy childhood that she'd never entirely been able to conquer.

As the lights in the Empire State Building went on outside her office windows, Isabel tucked her thumb inside her fist to resist temptation. Lying on her art deco desk was that morning's issue of Manhattan's favorite tabloid. The feature article had festered inside her all day, but she'd been too busy to brood. Now it was brooding time.

America's Diva of Self-Help isDriven, Demanding,
and Difficult

The former administrative assistant to well-known self-help author and lecturer Dr. Isabel Favor says her employer is the boss from hell. “She's a total control freak,” declares Teri Mitchell, who resigned from her position last week....

“She didn't resign,” Isabel pointed out. “I fired her after I found two months' worth of fan mail she didn't bother to open.” Her thumbnail crept to her teeth. “And I'm not a control freak.”

“Coulda fooled me.” Carlota Mendoza emptied a brass wastebasket into the receptacle on her cleaning cart. “You're also -- what was those other things she said -- driven and demanding? Sí, those, too.”

“I am not. Get the top of those light fixtures, will you?”

“Do I look like I got a ladder with me? And stop biting your nails.”

Isabel tucked away her thumb. “I have standards, that's all. Unkindness is a flaw. Stinginess, envy, greed -- all flaws. But am I any of those things?”

“There's a bag of candy bars hidden in the backa your bottom drawer, but my English isn't too good, so maybe I don' understand this greed stuff.”

“Very funny.” Isabel didn't believe in eating her feelings, but it had been a horrible day, so she slid open her emergency drawer, pulled out two Snickers bars, and tossed one to Carlota. She'd simply put in extra time with her yoga tapes tomorrow morning.

Carlota caught the candy bar and leaned against her cart to tear it open. “Just outta curiosity...you ever wear jeans?”

“Jeans?” Isabel smooshed the chocolate against the roof of her mouth, taking a moment to savor it before she replied. “Well, I used to.” She set down the candy bar and rose from the desk. “Here, give me that.” She grabbed Carlota's dust cloth, kicked off her pumps, and tugged up the skirt of her Armani suit so she could climb onto the couch to reach a wall sconce.

Carlota sighed. “You're gonna tell me again, aren't you, about how you put yourself through college cleaning houses?”

“And offices and restaurants and factories.” Isabel used her index finger to get between the scrollwork. “I waited tables all through graduate school, washed dishes -- oh, I hated that job. While I wrote my dissertation, I ran errands for lazy rich people.”

“What you are now, except without the lazy part.”

Isabel smiled and moved on to the top of a picture frame. “I'm trying to make a point. With hard work, discipline, and prayer, people can make their dreams come true.”

“If I wanted to hear all this, I'da bought a ticket to one of your lectures.”

“Yet here I am giving you my wisdom for free.”

“Lucky me. You done yet? 'Cause I got other offices to clean tonight.”

Isabel stepped down from the couch, handed over the dust cloth, then rearranged the cleaning bottles on the top of the cart so Carlota wouldn't have to reach so far for the ones she needed. “Why did you ask about jeans?”

“Just trying to picture it in my mind.” Carlota popped the rest of the Snickers into her mouth. “All the time you look ritzy, like you don't know what a toilet is, let alone how to clean one.”

“I have to maintain an image. I wrote Four Cornerstones of a Favorable Life when I was only twenty-eight. If I hadn't dressed conservatively, no one would have taken me seriously.”

“You're what, sixty-two now? You need jeans.”

“I just turned thirty-four, and you know it.”

“Jeans and a pretty red blouse, one of them tight ones to show off your boobs. And some really high heels.”

“Speaking of hookers, did I tell you those two ladies who hang out by the alley showed up at the new job program yesterday?”

“Those whores'll be back on the street by next week. I don' know why you waste your time with them.”

“Because I like them. They're hard workers.” Isabel kicked back in her chair, forcing herself to concentrate on the positive instead of that humiliating newspaper article. “The Four Cornerstones work for everybody, from streetwalkers to saints, and I have thousands of testimonials to prove it.”

Carlota snorted and...

Breathing Room. Copyright © by Susan Phillips. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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