CHARACTER INTERVIEW for Marc Santoro from Ruthless Perfection
You are known as a control freak with reclusive tendencies. So why would you allow Isabel Neri to travel with you and film the work going on at your marble quarry?
It’s complicated. Her grandfather, Alberto Neri, had taken me under his wing when I was a young child. As an adult, I watched his quarry go bankrupt. So when he called with a favor, I couldn’t decline. Alberto wanted to give his granddaughter a way to document an old way of life that was perishing. I understood his need.
What is your overarching goal?
In business? Being profitable and winning the most contracts. I’m not ashamed of wanting to be the best and needing to come out on top. It’s a game in the end but a game that I will fight to win.
Do you fear chaos as most control freaks do?
No. I’m not drawn to chaotic situations. But I know how to keep a level head in difficult circumstances. Chaos comes from a lack of planning or strategizing. I don’t have that issue.
What are you passionate about?
Marble. It’s in my blood. I know how to mine it, sculpt it, design with it and sell it. Marble is tangible, durable and a work of art. There is a long history of Santoro men working in the marble trade. I’ve been fortunate to be able to branch out into other mining operations so the quarry has become part of a larger business that can handle price drops and too much inventory.
What relationships are important to you? What makes you happy?
I have a network of close friends and business associates. My closest living relative is my Aunt Alda. I adore her but find I need to keep her at arm’s length.
I think happiness can be fleeting but I appreciate my life. I work long hours but feel satisfied and seek pleasure as I need it.
How would you describe yourself in one word?
When did you know that you were in love with Isabel?
When I first caught a glimpse of her at her parent’s deli. I knew there was chemistry between us and that it would be a battle within myself to resist her. I tried for weeks to keep her curiosity and insatiable quest for knowledge at bay. But in the end, I didn’t want to resist her. I wanted to knock down all of her barriers and convince her that she could trust me with her secrets.
by Susie Warren
A filmmaker wanting to honor her family’s legacy approaches a reclusive billionaire for help
Isabel Neri’s innocence captures the attention of a well-known Italian marble mogul, Marc Santoro, when she approaches him against her family’s wishes. Wanting to honor her disgraced grandfather, Isabel needs Marc’s permission to produce a film about the Carrara marble industry.
Faced with honoring an old family obligation, Marc allows Isabel to travel to Italy with him but seeks to limit her exposure to his family’s tragic past. Isabel discovers the untold story and challenges Marc to reveal the truth. She is forced to expose her own secret as their desire sparks out of control.
Isabel felt a moment of panic as she watched the driver make a swift exit. She carefully walked up the stone path that led to the front door, being careful not to catch her black Manolo Blahnik heels in the stones.
The front door swung open and Isabel felt the oxygen leave her body. She wasn’t prepared for seeing Marc Santoro in the flesh again. She could feel his gaze rake over her in appraisal, apparently sizing her up. He looked every inch the wealthy business owner: he was dressed in an expertly tailored gray shirt with slightly darker gray trousers that were pressed to exactness. He was even more striking than she remembered, and she reminded herself to just breathe and focus on her pitch.
It was his intensity that she responded to; he seemed to be absorbing everything about her. Isabel hid her expression as she acknowledged to herself that while he may appreciate her outward appearance, he wouldn’t appreciate her damaged body.
Would he remember meeting her before?
She forced herself to reach out and offer her hand. As his warm fingers enveloped hers, she felt a spark of attraction travel through her body. She immediately pulled back, but not before she saw his eyes darken.
He merely smiled at her reaction, saying, “So you are not just a figment of Alberto’s imagination.” Guiding her inside, he added, “I was beginning to doubt that the old man had any relatives interested in the marble trade.”
Isabel felt her spine stiffen. Was he questioning her family’s loyalty?
“My grandfather speaks very highly of you,” Isabel said as she took in the luxurious setting, trying to get her bearings.
His voice was cool and didn’t give her any clue if he welcomed her visit. “It isn’t often that Alberto Neri asks for a favor.”
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Susie Warren writes contemporary romance. Besides being an avid reader, she spends much of her free time crafting intense and complex stories about falling in love. When she is not writing, Susie works as an administrator in a small, independent school while caring for three teenagers and keeping tabs on her inventor husband. With the launching of her first book, The Forgotten Heiress, she has slowly begun to navigate the social media realm.
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