I'm back in sunny Florida and delighted to post the concluding installment of the preview. Enjoy your Sunday afternoon and some light reading!
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Alessandro stared at her departing figure. Her hasty exit took on the appearance of flight. He looked at the image of himself reflected in the Venetian mirror placed over the marble mantle of the fireplace to see if he’d grown horns and a pointed tail in the last fifteen minutes. A tall, handsome man, his brown hair streaked with golden highlights that complemented the golden tone of his tanned face, gazed back at him. Nope, nothing there to cause a panicked exodus. The paparazzi doesn’t do me any favors, but they have never accused me of waylaying unsuspecting victims either. What gives? He shrugged off the feeling of distaste thinking about the vagrancies of the press always caused and went in search of Franco. Both the hour and the circumstances called for wine and some late afternoon canapés.
* * * *
In the bath adjoining her room, Siena splashed her face with cold water, brushed out her tangle of blonde curls, and refreshed her light makeup. With her armor in place, she picked up the notes she’d made at the library, descended the stairs, and found her way to the south loggia.
Alessandro stood at the railing directing Franco to place a tray containing cold San Pellegrino, a carafe of a straw-colored wine, and a plate of canapés on the small table set between two carved marble chairs. She noted the bright floral print pillows that cushioned the hard seats.
“Doctor Jordan, perhaps we could start over. Let me introduce myself. I am Alessandro Falconieri and I am delighted you agreed to give me the benefit of your expertise.” A polite, charming smile sparkled in the depths of his dark blue eyes.
Thrown off balance, Siena stared at him for a minute in consternation before her sense of the ridiculous surfaced. “How are you, Mr. Falconieri? I am happy to make your acquaintance and the benefit of my expertise is all yours—for a price of course.”
“Touché.” He gestured to one of the chairs. “Please, sit and let me pour you something to drink. Will you have sparkling water or a glass of wine?”
She stole a quick look at her watch. “Since lunch can’t be far off, I’ll have both, thank you.” She waited while he poured her drinks and then settled his long, well-built body in the other chair.
“Now, tell me. What are your initial impressions?”
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