This week's blog provides an excerpt from Chapter 10 of Chandelier, Philippe and Viola.
Philippe D’Arenberg is the older brother of Raoul, descendants of wealthy aristocratic parents. Where Raoul has advanced the family legacy, Philippe has squandered his inheritance from an addiction to gambling. Living in Italy and beholden to the mafia who funded his gambling debts, Philippe runs a mafia owned jazz club as a way of repaying his debts. There, he meets a promising singer, Viola, who wants one day to perform opera. Secretly, they become lovers, and Philippe begins to hatch a plan to return to the Garnier and, with the mafia's support, manage the Garnier Opera company and help Viola achieve her dream.
Excerpt from Chapter 10
"I do it mainly for you," Viola replied, seemingly hurt by Philippe's slight.
"Let's get this straight, Viola. We work for Capo. Reggi reports to Capo. You do nothing to raise his suspicions, including mingling with any of the family's clientele."
"Reggi doesn't have any interest in my singing. So why should I care or even bother helping him or you?" she replied, noticeably hurt.
"Because you want to be a diva. Remember?"
Viola let go of her warm embrace, any desires she had for him spent. She brushed her long hair over her shoulders and adjusted her top, walking toward the entry, not caring to look back, and pronouncing defiantly, "more than anything or anyone," before disappearing into the nightclub, her musical home.
Philippe watched her walk to the entry. Viola had the voice of an angel and the curvy body to match. He didn't hold back, showing his new performer that she had the appeal of a diva with the alluring charms of a goddess, but their relationship remained playful even though he lusted for her. If not for Reggi, he would have taken her on their first day together. Viola had Christine's voice and Carlotta's body, a charismatic force that would take them to the Garnier. But, first, he just had to persuade Capo.
The lights faded in the club as the stage lit up, revealing Viola at the front, her band jamming in the background. Philippe rejoined Reggi, two cutty sark whiskies in hand, one for his overly intoxicated companion. Mercifully, alcohol brought out Reggi's brighter side, allowing both to enjoy Viola's soothing tones and her backing band. He cast an eye across the audience, primarily enamoured men, studying Viola's amply filled black dress. She performed with an equal measure of skill and feminine seduction, a survival technique well-honed to overcome her meagre past. He believed that to be the single biggest reason for her succeeding in the most challenging and demanding industry in the world, opera.