“Do you ever wonder where the nice women are?” International playboy Alessandro Falconieri’s question to his good friend and colleague, Jason Peters, couldn’t be more prophetic. He should be careful what he wishes.
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Today we'll take a look at the adventures of Siena Jordan and Alessandro Falconieri with a preview from "A World Made New" the third book in my Venetian Masquerades series. The series is available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, MuseItUpPublishing and other online retailers. Enjoy this Sunday afternoon.
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Music swelled, a complicated succession of trilled notes in a minor key filling the empty recesses of the entry hall, its crescendo echoing off the hard stone surfaces. Siena halted in mid-step. The piano concerto could only issue from one source—the expert keyboarding of a master. All assurances to the contrary, Alessandro Falconieri was in residence at the villa.
Faced with the choice between curiosity and retreat, Siena tossed a mental coin and curiosity won. She cleared a nervous tickle from her throat and mounted the staircase toward the music room that she’d discovered during her tour of exploration the previous day. A rueful shake of her head confessed the thought the composer would appear during her stay hadn’t figured in her calculations. She entered without knocking and caught her breath at the sight of the man sitting on a stool at the Steinway. His half-closed eyes and the intensity of his concentration on the music only added to his physical aura. Not that it needs any help. So golden Apollo must have appeared when the muse was upon him.
Alessandro’s surprise at her sudden appearance caused his hand to still mid-stroke on the Steinway’s keyboard. He swiveled on the bench and gazed at her in silence.
“I beg your pardon. I didn’t intend to interrupt.” Siena’s words came out in a rush.
“No need… To beg my pardon that is.” His eyes swept over her in a brief glance of pure masculine appraisal.
Caution gave Siena’s smile the coolness people in the past mistook for unfriendliness.
“I am extremely grateful I came to visit.” His eyes again roamed the face and figure of the petite woman facing him. He watch her eyes freeze to crystal ice.
“Are you expected?” The ice slid from her eyes to her voice.
“Apparently not, but after all, I’m Falconieri and known for doing the unexpected.” He shrugged his shoulders in a self-deprecatory manner as if disclaiming the reputation.
She merely raised an eyebrow in astonishment. “Does your staff know you’ve arrived, or should I alert them to your…presence for dinner?”
“I’ve already taken care of the housekeeping details. I plan to stay for a few days. Now that we have the formalities out of the way, perhaps you’ll tell me what progress you’ve made on our…discovery.”
Siena took a step back and forced herself to relax the muscles of her shoulders, which she tightened unconsciously at his announcement. The sudden thought the composer was the one paying her fees, not the Monsignor, caused her to re-evaluate her dismay at his sudden appearance. “I’ll be happy to give you my initial findings, but perhaps you’d rather I wait until you’ve finished…” her words tapered off. Practicing, composing—how should I refer to what I interrupted?
He rose from the bench, crossed the room, and placed a hand at the small of her back. She stiffened at the unexpectedness of his gesture. He removed his hand and gazed down at the briefcase she held in her left hand. “You’ve just returned. Forgive me. Why don’t I have Franco bring us something cold to drink—say in fifteen minutes?”
“That would be lovely, Mr. Falconieri. I’ll meet you on the loggia.” Siena nodded once in his direction and beat a dignified, albeit hurried retreat. (To be continued next week)