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I’ve changed the title of this novel from Ardent Fire to Ardent. Too many of my titles are burning 🙂
Morello and Benedetto had to part ways after a whirlwind romance in the Tuscan countryside. Benedetto has returned home to Florence and the workshop where he is the manager–mostly he manages the master painter Leo Guisculo, his former lover.
Florence, Tuscany, September, 1475
High up on the scaffold, Benedetto touched the brush laden with lead white to the putto’s wings. Who could resist smiling at the fat limbs and faces of the messengers of Aphrodite? He had thought to put his heart and mind aright by setting thoughts of love aside, but the putto flapped his wings in Benedetto’s face and scattered all his good intentions to the wind.
I will love you, Angel…
Why can I not forget you, Morello?
“Benedetto,” Leo spoke quietly from below. “Little cat?”
Oh, no, Leo was not using a childhood pet name to soften Benedetto’s wrath toward him. Benedetto climbed off his ladder, stepped to the edge of the scaffold, and looked down at the master. “You’re late!”
The brush dropped from his fingers; end over end it flew and scattered white feathers of paint as it fell. The younger apprentices laughed, perhaps thinking he’d thrown it in a fit of temper. Leo laughed with them, his handsome face turned upwards.