Book Extract: The Casanova Papers by Kate Zarrelli

A big welcome to Kate Zarrelli. She’s here with the blog tour for her latest novel, The Casanova Papers. 

Ellie Murphy takes a contract teaching English at a school in Venice. There she meets the sexy, enigmatic Professor Piero Contarini, from an ancient Venetian family, and agrees to help him in his work curating a new edition of the memoirs of the famous seducer, Giacomo Casanova. T

aking their task seriously, they start to enact his adventures with each other, ecstatically revealing their own kinks as they do so. But who is watching them from the shadowy alleyways of Venice?


Kate has shared an extract with us today so sit back and enjoy. 

(Content warning: adult themes.)


*****beginning of extract*****


Ellie, a young English teacher working in Venice, has agreed to help the enigmatic Professor Contarini curate his definitive edition of the writings of Casanova….


Piero walked her through the maze of alleys and passageways with such confidence that Ellie thought he could probably have done so blindfolded. Shortly after they had crossed the Grand Canal at the Accademia Bridge, she lost her bearings completely. Sometimes they would emerge into a piazza bright with lights and laughter, only to plunge into a dimly lit gap between high, dark buildings, in which all that could be heard was the sound of their footsteps. Often the narrowness of the path meant he was right at her shoulder—he’d indicate where to turn by a hand gently at her elbow guiding her over a little bridge across a darkly-glittering canal. Later, the hand came to rest more proprietorially in the small of her back. I’m completely in his power. If I turned and ran away from him now, all he’d need to do is stand and wait, as I’d be bound to go round in circles and meet him again.

“First stop,” he said, coming to a halt in a little square. He pointed up at a plaque. “Casanova was born right here,” he said, “the son of two actors, but he was brought up by his grandmother, perhaps the only woman he ever really loved.”

Ellie looked up at him. “I wondered about that, too, reading his life. Always after the next conquest, never satisfied—like he was searching for something he never really found.”

“You’ve got him, Ellie. I think he was a lonely man at times, even though there were plenty of women who wanted to love him. He ruined their lives in some ways—who’d be satisfied with another man after he’d had them, the greatest lover of them all? Yet he got close to none of those women. He thought he was in love for a while, and then his head would be turned by someone new.”

Ellie remembered Pat’s words. Perhaps he’s like his beloved Casanova: it’s the thrill of the chase, the conquest, and then looking around for another one. Yet she recalled that the aged Casanova had taken pride in his memories, as if he knew he’d be remembered most as a lover, not as a poet or a diplomat or any of the other things he’d been. So why did Piero speak with regret? Perhaps it’s not regret at all. This might be his technique.

They walked on, coming out into a tranquil little square, where Piero stopped in front of a handsome Renaissance palace. “This is where his dear friend Giorgio Baffo lived,” said Piero. “He married a beautiful girl seventeen years younger than himself and wrote erotic poetry in the Venetian language. At carnival time he used to give public readings out here in the square, to the scandal of the Church. Baffo is another of my pet projects. I plan to produce a complete edition of his writings after I’ve finished with Casanova—if I ever finish with him, that is. Perhaps…if you stay…you would help me with that translation too?”

“I don’t know if I would be much use with Venetian—my Italian isn’t that good…”

“I could show you,” he said. “Speaking of which…”  Before she could say anything, he took hold of her hand as if he might lose her. “It’s a bit of a walk—we’ll cross the Grand Canal again at the Rialto—then we’ll be back on the right side for me to see you home.”

I’m in your hands—I have no idea where we are. You could take me anywhere, do anything with me.

Ten minutes later they were standing on the Rialto Bridge, having taken the outside steps where there were fewer people.

“It’s magic,” breathed Ellie, looking down the length of the Grand Canal at the boats bobbing at the landing-stages. Above the water, lights winked off the Murano glass chandeliers in the piano nobili, the grand upper-floor apartments of the palaces overlooking the canal.

“It is, isn’t it?” said Piero, before grasping her shoulders and bringing his face down to hers. Ellie shut her eyes to the beauty of the night and opened her mouth to the gentle promptings of his tongue as the world stopped turning, there on that bridge in the most beautiful city in the world.

At last their faces separated.

“I’ve been wanting to do that since the moment I saw you,” he said. “I don’t suppose you’ll believe me now, but I really do need someone to help me with my work. From what Maria told me about you, I thought I’d found that person. Then I saw you—and told myself not to mess up. I love your sharp intelligence, the way you answer me back even when I talk at you—no, don’t pretend I don’t, I know that’s what my students think I do, even if they like listening to me. But your face—that midnight hair—those eyes the colour of—what do they call that flower? Speedwells. I…is it all right for me to want your body, as well as your brain, Ellie?”

“Yes,” she said, “we could…”

“Could what, Ellie?”

“We could explore Casanova together.”

“Then let’s,” he said, and went back into their kiss.


It took a little while to get to the next place on their itinerary, because every dark corner, every covered walkway with welcoming shadows was an opportunity. I can barely breathe. I’m on fire for him. With his body pressed close to hers, she felt his arousal, too. Finally they came to a little bridge, and he pointed out the name painted high up on the stuccoed wall. “Ponte de le Tette” he read out, “the Bridge of the Tits, in Venetian. This was our red-light district. The ladies of pleasure would sit at the windows here with their breasts exposed, enticing their clients.”


***** end of extract*****



About Kate Zarrelli: 

Kate Zarrelli is the romance and erotica pen-name of Katherine Mezzacappa. 

Kate is Irish but now lives in Carrara in Northern Tuscany, between the Apuan Alps and the Tyrrhenian Sea, with her Italian husband and two teenage sons.

She is the author of Tuscan Enchantment (eXtasy: Devine Destinies). Kate/Katherine writes historical, erotic, feel-good and paranormal fiction, set all over Europe, and in her spare time volunteers with a used book charity of which she is a founder member.

Say hello to Kate on Twitter and Facebook.

The Casanova Papers was released by eXtasy Books Inc on 7th June 2020. Click to view on Amazon UK and Amazon US


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I’m Laura. I started Novel Kicks in 2009. I wanted a place to post my writing as well as give other writers like me the opportunity to do the same. There is also a monthly book club, a writing room which features writing prompts, book reviews, competitions, author interviews and guest posts.

I grew up by the sea (my favourite place in the world) and I currently live in Hampshire. I am married to Chris, have a cat named Buddy and I would love to be a writer. I’m trying to write the novel I’ve talked so much about writing if only I could stop pressing delete. I’ve loved writing since creative writing classes in primary school. I have always wanted to see my teacher Miss Sayers again and thank her for the encouragement. When not trying to write the novel or writing snippets of stories on anything I can get my hands on, I love reading, dancing like a loon and singing to myself very badly. My current obsession is Once Upon a Time and I would be happy to live with magic in the enchanted forest surrounded by all those wonderful stories provided that world also included Harry Potter. I love reading chick lit. contemporary fiction and novels with mystery.

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