Thursday, February 27, 2014

Thursday Tasters

It's time for Thursday Tasters -- a creative meme for writers who want to show short excerpts of their work. Today I'm offering a the prologue from my award-winning Victorian polyamorous bi romance written with an unusual touch of reader-interactive art history ~ Loving Leonardo
(Book one in the Loving Leonardo series)



Prologue
Carlo Posateri shrugged his cloak back on his shoulders, the thin wool gone heavy from absorbing the September fog. He peered into the night then checked his pocket watch under the misty gaslight. Few people would be out in an evening fog like this and there was a word to describe many who were — Ladro. It was a perfect night to make deals with a thief.
The acquisition ritual played in his mind. To start: a warm bath and a brandy, followed by an excursion into the most brilliant and salacious mind ever produced by the Renaissance. He envisioned the sinful eroticism the book was certain to contain; the impression settled heavy in his loins. Salivating in anticipation, he swallowed. He wasn’t a sinner. His disdain for the sodomite artists didn’t mean he couldn’t enjoy their unique and compelling art. But he wasn’t one of them. He simply appreciated their artistic technique.
Born and raised in Rome, he’d planned to return after his Silvia died. But her older brother Pietro encouraged him to stay because without other family, they were all each of them had in the world. Though he liked Pietro well enough, familial ties weren’t incentive to remain. Rather, being his wealthy brother-in-law’s sole heir was. Beyond that, he had other reasons to stay in Venice. Outside Florence, old Venice drew deviants like a candle flame attracted moths. Then and now, the world had no place for such debauchery. The most depraved artworks could be found in the ports and once purchased, he’d destroyed many of them for the filth they were. A few pieces he’d keep to study.
His collection grew in the seat of Renaissance decadence; how fitting. Carlo often imagined living during that artistic age. Had he lived exactly four hundred years ago, he would have helped Girolamo Savonarola build the pyre for the Bonfire of the Vanities. Carlo licked his lips, seeing it in his mind’s eye: the pair of them feeding the flames with art and artist alike. A small lantern light maneuvered along the Grand Canal. Looking around him once more, he moved closer to the water.
Curiously, tonight’s meeting had been arranged by a different man. He’d received a note from one E. Fortuna describing several antique books in his employer’s possession, including one of homoerotic art reminiscent of Leonardo da Vinci’s work. Quoting a price, Fortuna added he’d also contacted other potential buyers, no doubt to spur him to act quickly. But in the span of a day, a second note arrived. This one from Signore Falconetti, saying the book changed hands and was still for sale. What happened to E. Fortuna?
Carlo didn’t like dealing with Falconetti, though he had twice before. Both times he felt fortunate to leave with his life. The prospect of owning such a work, however, was too tempting to ignore. He looked around again to be sure this meeting was private, as Falconetti demanded. Falconetti had a reputation, and it wasn’t a good one. Men like this often found themselves employed by multiple clients, who would occasionally be at cross purposes with one another.
The small gondola bumped in the darkness and Carlo heard rather than saw the removal of the remo pulled from the forcola. The oar wouldn’t be in his way, for he had no intention of stepping into the man’s boat.
***
Without a doubt, Carlo Posateri knew the Heavenly Father watched over him. He ran his trembling fingers over the precious book’s leather and brass bindings. Beyond a doubt this was the pinnacle of his private collection. As soon as he had laid eyes upon Falconetti’s amazing offering, Carlo was driven to pay any price. Unfortunately the price had quadrupled, from E. Fortuna’s initial quote. He’d somehow managed to convince Falconetti to take what money he had with him by swearing he was good for the rest, and more. The dangerous man told him his life depended on that being true.
Doing the church’s work had made him as poor as a beggar in St. Peter’s Square — he simply didn’t have more money to give the man. As it was, his last maid would only be working until the end of the month. Carlo poured himself a brandy, his shaking hands sloshing the amber liquid onto his sleeve. It took both hands to hold the snifter still long enough to allow a fortifying sip. He must persuade his brother-in-law to lend him more money. He glowered into his glass. Experience told him this would prove difficult. Pietro frowned on Carlo’s sacred mission even though he knew the last Pope himself approved.
And now there’d be no time to ask him. Pietro was inopportunely traveling to London England for an appointment with an American diplomat regarding selling his raw fibers to the American textile markets. Awash in a mixture of elation and hopelessness, Carlo raked a hand over his sparse head of hair.
With no other option, he took up a pen and scribbled a quick note to his brother-in-law to say he wanted to go with him. Pietro had made the offer weeks ago; he’d no doubt be pleased. Carlo rang for the maid then wrote another note to Falconetti promising the money by mid-October at the latest. He hoped the delay wouldn’t matter, but just in case, this note would be delivered after he and Pietro sailed.
~*~
Calmer from his bath and double-shot brandy, Carlo Posateri fully appreciated his purchase. He couldn’t have imagined better; the sinful sketches in the book were enhanced by shockingly seductive prose. In full appreciation of the art, he found his release in the first four pages. Deciding he wouldn’t turn another page until his return, he sought a latch behind several leather-bound volumes on his shelf. The false front sprung open to reveal a secret recess with a stack of paintings and several old books. Compelling erotic vignettes lingering in his mind, Carlo placed da Vinci’s book with the rest.
 
Sample all of my love stories for free,
including both books in this series

https://www.smashwords.com/books/view/333971


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9 comments:

  1. Tis prologue is incredibly well written and very well done. The comparison of history was finely crafted. I love your writing.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Excellently written. A great taster/ I'd love to read yje whole book. Perfect visuals. I really want to go for a ride in a gondola ;)

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  3. Reading this awesome taster is like watching a movie, only so much better. Well done Rose. Please keep them coming.

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  4. Mmm, I love reading your beautiful work! Your imagery is so rich and enveloping!

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    Replies
    1. Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed that snippet.

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