Rosso is missing and no-one knows where. Danger lurks everywhere in medieval Italy and it doesn't always come in the form of a sword or a plague!
The apartment on the other side of that little door was sumptuous. So many things in that room dazzled my eyes leaving me bereft of any comprehension of what I was looking at.
“Its very pretty isn’t it?” the lady said as she came and stood close beside me. For my part I wasn’t aware of one thing in the room, all I was conscious of was the rustle of her silk dress which reminded me of the soft swirl of leaves in springtime: and of the musty, feminine scent that came from her body which was now almost pressing against mine. She came and stood right in front of me and gazed at me with those misty, beautiful grey eyes of hers saying “Do you find me attractive Señor?” As she spoke she reached out and lightly touched my cheek. Every muscle in my body responded to the lightness of her touch. She must have read the reaction in my face because she moved closer until I could feel her breasts touch my chest. I found myself intoxicated at the intimacy of her body as she slowly reached her hand behind my neck and arched her head up towards me.
Pulling my head towards her own, she dug her little finger into the flesh of my neck. It was that touch that brought me back to reality and saved me from a treacherous and foolish fantasy.
The last time I'd felt the touch of a little finger was the time when Laura and I had been parted from one another.
Lucrezia D’Este immediately sensed the change in me and paused. “What is it? Are you afraid of being seduced by me Señor?" A flickering fire lingered in those grey eyes of hers before it faded and was replaced by a gentle smile.
“Yes and no Milady” I smiled back at her. “I am honoured by your attentions, Forgive my impertinence, but I am just a simple blacksmith with a wife and four children whom I love and care for. I am sure that there are many men who are far more worthy of your attentions than I”. Lifting my arms up to release her grip from my neck, I gently let them down until we were just two humans holding hands and facing each other, as normal people so often do.
As I looked at her face through clearer eyes, I now saw faint lines around her own. Her look changed slightly to reveal a glimpse of what I thought might even be fear. But it disappeared in a flash as she looked at me questioningly. “Your wife is a very lucky woman Señor blacksmith. Very few men would refuse the attentions of Lucrezia D’Este if they knew what was good for them”. But there was no malice in her voice which surprised me. “So Señor blacksmith, tell me what name do they call you when you are a blacksmith, and not the almost lover of Lucrezia D’Este?”
By now her eyes were giddy with fun and she turned her back on me to head to a seat in the mullioned window. “Come” she airily ordered. “Come and sit by me. We have some things we must discuss and we mustn’t keep the girl waiting too long because these children have suspicious minds. I know, because I am a parent too”. Patting the seat next to her to indicate where I should sit, she smiled in such a playful manner that even I was forced to smile and sit down next to her.
Editing is a long slow process, but it's fun re-discovering all the characters that you've populated your book with. I hope you enjoy Where's Rosso too when it comes out later this year.