SEATTLE -- Raffaele Sollecito, whose budding love affair with American exchange student Amanda Knox helped land him in an Italian prison for four years, maintains the couple's innocence in a new book but acknowledges that their sometimes bizarre behavior after her roommate's killing gave police reason for suspicion.

The pair was imprisoned for the November 2007 death of Meredith Kercher at Knox's apartment in Perugia, north of Rome. An appeals court overturned their conviction and freed them last fall, issuing a 143-page opinion that blasted the utter lack of evidence against them. Rudy Guede, a petty criminal who was convicted separately, remains imprisoned and is serving a 16-year-sentence.

Sollecito's book, "Honor Bound," is due out Sept. 18. The Associated Press purchased a copy Tuesday.

In it, he describes how the early days of their relationship became a nightmare: the horror of Kercher's slaying; the misunderstandings that swept them up in the case; their tabloid portrayals as two suspects unrecognizable to themselves.

Knox became "Foxy Knoxy" and received the brunt of the attention as she shopped for underwear after the killing and turned cartwheels in front of investigators. While police investigated the crime scene, Sollecito caressed her and they kissed, unaware of the television news cameras across the street.

Later at the police station she climbed in his lap and draped her arms over him, making Sollecito uneasy, he said.

Police found their behavior "odd" and he acknowledged they had no "real alibi the night of Nov. 1 except each other."

Knox is also writing a book, due out next spring. Her deal, with HarperCollins, is reportedly worth $4 million.

The couple were arrested several days after Kercher's death and later convicted in proceedings that made headlines around the world. Prosecutors portrayed the case as a drug-fueled sexual assault, and Knox and Sollecito were sentenced to 26 years and 25 years, respectively.

The appeals court found the prosecution's theory to be unsupported by any evidence. Prosecutors have appealed the acquittal, and Italy's highest court will hear their arguments next March.

Sollecito frequently criticizes the police for their handling of the case, reaching for a far-fetched conspiracy instead of the simpler explanation that Guede had on his own committed a burglary gone wrong.

Sollecito, then finishing his undergraduate studies in computer science, writes that he met Knox at a classical music concert at the Universita per Stranieri, the University for Foreigners, on Oct. 25, 2007 – a week before Kercher's death. He asked for her number, and she told him to come by the bar where she'd be working later that night. At the end of the shift, he writes, they took a walk, held hands and kissed. She accepted an invitation to come back to his apartment and spent the night.

Soon the couple became inseparable. She began spending the nights at his apartment. They shopped for groceries together, and took a sightseeing day trip to Assisi.

Sollecito wrote about his first night in prison, saying he wavered between "great waves of indignation and a nagging sense of guilt." He said that while he knew he was innocent, he was angry at himself for having a foggy memory of the night of the killing because he and Knox had smoked marijuana.

When they were finally acquitted, Sollecito writes that he felt "indescribable joy." He remembers looking at the police, hoping to see them appear defeated, but they wouldn't look at him. He saw Knox sobbing, and they later had a private moment in the basement of the courthouse, waiting to be taken back to prison one last time. According to Sollecito, she squeezed his hand and said she couldn't wait to see her home and friends.

Knox moved back to Seattle. It's not clear where Sollecito is living.

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AP writers Manuel Valdes and Rachel La Corte contributed to this report.

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  • Nov. 2, 2007

    British student Meredith Kercher, 21, is found murdered in the Perugia, Italy apartment she shares with 20-year-old Amanda Knox, an American student. Post-mortem examination reveals evidence of sexual activity before death.

  • Nov 6, 2007

    Knox and 23-year-old boyfriend Raffaele Sollecito (right) are arrested. Knox's boss, 38-year-old bar owner Patrick Lumumba, is also arrested after revealing he'd canceled Knox's shift the night Kercher is murdered. He is released Nov. 19.

  • Oct. 28, 2008

    A third suspect, 20-year-old drug dealer Rudy Hermann Guede, is sentenced to 30 years in jail after confessing to being in the house on the night of the murder. He maintains his innocence, instead blaming an Italian stranger for the crime.

  • Sept. 26, 2008

    Knox and Sollecito meet in court for the first time since their arrests.

  • Jan. 16, 2009

    Knox and Sollecito's trial begins.

  • March 6, 2009

    After claiming she was pressured to name a suspect, Knox tells the court she was at Sollecito's house when Kercher's murder took place.

  • Nov. 21, 2009

    Italian prosecutors request life sentences for both Knox and Sollecito.

  • Dec. 4, 2009

    Jury retires to consider verdicts. Both defendants are found guilty. Knox was sentenced to 26 years in prison, while Sollecito received 25 years. On Dec. 19, Guede's sentence is decreased to 16 years.

  • June 17, 2010

    Knox appears at a preliminary hearing in view of her upcoming appeal trial.

  • Oct. 1, 2010

    Knox briefly reappears in an Italian court for a hearing on possible police slander charges.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    Knox was escorted by a policewoman into the same Perugia courtroom where the first trial was held.

  • Nov. 8, 2010

    Knox is indicted on slander charges for claiming she was beaten by police when questioned in 2007 about her roommate's slaying.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    Knox returns to court for the start of her appeals trial, about a year after the American student was convicted of killing her British roommate in a case that drew global attention.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    The appeal trial for both Knox and Sollecito is scheduled to open in Perugia.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    The 23-year-old was convicted in December 2010 of sexually assaulting and murdering Meredith Kercher, and sentenced to 26 years in prison.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    Knox chats with her lawyer Carlo Della Vedova.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    Sollecito, right, is escorted by a penitentiary police guard as he arrives for a hearing in the appeals trial.

  • Nov. 24, 2010

    Knox is escorted by a penitentiary guard.