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I’ve changed the title of this novel from Ardent Fire to Ardent. Too many of my titles are burning 🙂
The village of Torrenta, Tuscany, June, 1475
The sun thrust warm fingers into the ancient Tuscan earth. The gray-green leaves of the olive trees shimmered, and the woods beyond beckoned Morello to leave the painters’ workshop for its cool refuge.
In the growing heat the apprentices inside had settled into an afternoon nap, curled on benches in dark corners behind him. The harsh fumes of linseed oil and varnish had irritated Morello all morning, and he was unable to sleep in the miasma. A long tramp in the woods pulled at his bones. Perhaps before their visitors from Florence arrived, he might escape the heat.
He reached for the walking stick behind the door, but a horse’s whinny stopped him, and a man’s voice called out. When no one stirred within to answer, he cursed the sleepers and stomped back through the shop, thwarted in his escape. In the lane in front of the workshop, two men removed packs from their horses.
(photo credit: anatomia_Leonardo_da_Vinci memorise.org)