Alessandra Podesta writes illicit tales unsuitable for a young lady. Exasperated, her father sends her to visit relatives in Naples to curb her wild imagination. But in her undying need for adventure, she toys with the affections of her tutor and is forced to marry him. When she unknowingly falls into a dangerous game of supremacy between two countries, she trusts the wrong people and endangers her life.
French tutor Dante Santangelo is secretly aiding the French in maintaining their rule over Naples. When he is manipulated into marrying the visiting cousin of the Valente Family, he seizes upon the perfect opportunity to infiltrate the family, who are under suspicion of helping the Spanish.
When Alessandra's life is in jeopardy Dante must choose between love and duty. Will he offer up his life to save Alessandra? Or remain duty-bound to the French?
Page Count: 302
Word Count: 78365
“Well said, Signor Santangelo.” Thrusting the loaves of bread between her arm and body, she smacked her gloved hands together in complimentary cheer. Although she had spoken in earnest, she instinctively knew the man would give naught of himself away. He was far too clever to fall into a game of words in which he might reveal more than intended.
“The truth often is.”
She angled her head in confusion.
“Well said,” he reminded her. “The truth cannot be hidden by ugly words.”
Her curiosity heightened. “It seems lies fall from one’s tongue much easier than truths.”
“So it seems.”
His ease in agreement prickled her seldom provoked ferocity. Bluntly she asked, “What of your carousing after curfew?”
A smile eased the tautness of his lips. “A man needs no protection.”
“Especially a French man in a town guarded by the French?”
Not a twitch marred his lasting smile. “Careful, signorina. Do not delve into a man’s life else you may find more than your little mind can devour.”
Alessa bristled. “Are you belittling my intelligence, signore?”
“On the contrary. I am simply warning you against venturing too deeply into the politics beleaguering Naples. And trust me, the men in this town have strong opinions of King Rene and the French occupation.” He glanced over her shoulder and nodded at the rows of tiny cakes and other sweets. “Have you a preference?”
Sì, but he’d not been happy to learn she preferred to taste his lips than the mouth-watering morsels within reach.
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