Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Spotlight-Excerpt & Giveaway: THE GIRL WHO KNEW DA VINCI by Belle Ami

The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci
Belle Ami
Series: Out of Time Series Book 1
Genre: Paranormal Romance, Thriller
Publisher: Tema N Merback
Publication Date: May 31, 2018
What she knows could kill her.
In the spirit of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown and Shadows of the Stone Benders by K. Patrick Donoghue The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami unravels an unforgettable mystery.
Three destinies, one remarkable painting.
Will her visions lead her to the truth?
Art historian Angela Renatus is haunted by dreams of Leonardo da Vinci and a mysterious painting of Giuliano Medici and his mistress Fioretta Gorini. A painting that, as far as the world knows, doesn't exist. Compelled by her visions, Angela is determined to find out the truth.
When Angela is contacted by art detective, Alex Caine, she's shocked to learn that he too is seeking the same painting. Alex's client, a wealthy German financier, is determined to clear the name of his late uncle, Gerard Jaeger, an art historian, who went missing in Florence, during World War II. In letters written before his disappearance, the historian describes his love affair with a beautiful young Italian woman named Sophia Caro, and the discovery of an extraordinary painting by the great master himself-a painting depicting Giuliano and Fioretta.
Alex and Angela journey to Florence in search of the priceless treasure. Is it a lost da Vinci, potentially worth hundreds of millions of dollars, or a wild goose-chase that will only lead to a dead end? But someone else is searching for the illusive painting-Alberto Scordato is a powerful man in the art world and a sociopath who will stop at nothing to get what he wants, even murder. Scordato knows something about Angela that even she doesn't know, something that could threaten both Angela and Alex's lives, forcing them into the crosshairs of fate.

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Florence, Italy
Leonardo da Vinci’s Studio
September 1, 1475
Amico mio, you have been working on this sketch of me for hours. I’m exhausted. I must stretch.” She stood up from the platform where she’d been reclining. Her body draped in only a sheet.

Fioretta yawned, forgetting to cover her mouth. She shivered, feeling a tingle on her shoulder. Her aunt had warned her that the Devil himself could catch you unawares and enter your body when you yawned. She shook off the foolish notion but crossed herself just in case. Her aunt was always trying to scare her. Admonishing her for going out, even to the market. And especially for her friendship with da Vinci. If her aunt new that Fioretta was posing for Leonardo she would have an apoplectic fit. Unfortunately, secrets were necessary if she was to have any enjoyment in life.

“If you must, Fioretta. But I’m close to getting what I’ve been looking for. I would like to continue once you’ve had time to rest.”

“Leonardo, you must practice patience.” She walked around the artist to view the drawing. “Is this what I look like…”

A knock at the door brought an end to her words. Leonardo opened the door and bowed.

Fioretta grabbed her clothes and tried to flee to the back of the studio, but she stumbled on the sheet, tripping to the floor. When she looked up, she stared into brown eyes so dark they seemed black. A young man dressed in royal garb stared back at her.

“Giuliano Medici, meet my model and friend Fioretta Gorini.”

O Dio, it’s the impertinent young lord from the Medici Palazzo. Seeing her like this he must think her a fool or a wanton woman. Who else posed for artists? She was certain her blush was discernible from the roots of her hair to her toes. She struggled to arrange the sheet adequately so she could stand without revealing any of her body.

He smiled and bent to help her up. “At your service, signorina.”

“You will excuse me if I don’t curtsy.”

Leonardo had retrieved her clothing and stood there with a grin on his face. She grabbed her clothing, still holding tight to the sheet, and with as much dignity as she could muster left the room to change.

She could hear the two men speaking in hushed whispers and then breaking out in laughter. She was determined to behave with dignity and bring Giuliano Medici down from his high horse. As for Leonardo, she’d give him a piece of her mind later.

When she returned to the studio she was perfectly attired. She’d loosened her hair and because she had no comb to tame it with, it fell wild about her shoulders. She heard Giuliano suck in his breath when he looked at her. He bowed again. “I apologize, Fioretta, for my unbecoming behavior. Please forgive me.”

“In truth, you owe me two apologies.” Her deep curtsy emphasized her dignity.


“Please excuse me for a few minutes.” Leonardo gathered up his drawings. “I need to make some notes on our sitting, Fioretta. I’m sure you can entertain our guest accordingly.”

Frowning at Leonardo, she watched him retreat to the back of the house, then she turned to Giuliano. “Yes, two.” She held up two fingers, fixing her gaze on him. “The second is for the discomfort you caused me at your palazzo.”

“I beg your forgiveness. I’m afraid I was swept away by your beauty and unable to find anything that compared to you with favor. I’ve been inquiring about you ever since.”

“A poet you are not, sir. Just because you found me in compromising attire, do not think you can seduce me with such declarations.”

Giuliano’s countenance sank. “Please indulge me, Fioretta. I do not wish to insult, deceive, or seduce you. I’m simply speaking from my heart.”

“You would do well to teach your heart to be respectful of this woman.”

Giuliano dropped to his knee and took her hand, pressing it to his lips. “I am your servant. I only wish to know you better, Fioretta. Please allow me a chance to prove myself to you.”

His lips on her hand heated her blood. She didn’t understand what was happening to her. Her anger had dissipated, replaced by a longing to share his company. Never had a man knelt before her. It made her giddy, her face flushed.

Giuliano rose, still holding her hand in his. “Do you think we might start over. I feel destiny at work here. I believe God has brought us together.”

Her eyes dropped to her hand in his. “Perhaps we can get past the awkwardness of those first moments. But let us leave God out of this.”

“I’d like that very much.”

She smiled, meeting his gaze. “Can I get you a glass of wine?”

“Yes, if you will share one with me.”

She returned with two glasses. “Shall we sit in the garden? The weather is lovely.”

“Yes, wherever you wish. I am your servant.”

She led him outside and they sat on a bench near the fountain. The sound of water trickling and bees buzzing provided an accompaniment to their conversation.

“Fioretta, might I be so bold to ask how you came to know Leonardo, and why, in a city as small as Florence, I have never laid eyes on you before I saw you at the palazzo? You’re not betrothed, are you?”

“I’m not from Florence but rather Siena.” She smiled. “I’m not betrothed and don’t mind telling you how I came to be posing for the Maestro.”

“Please tell. This is a story of the greatest interest to me.”

“Very well.” She told him about her meeting in the marketplace with Leonardo and his desire to paint her. She had Giuliano laughing uproariously about her first meeting with the artist and how they bickered over an eggplant at the mercato, each trying to dissuade the other from purchasing it. She also shared the sad story of the death of her parents and being forced to live with her aunt, a woman with no compassion for her. Giuliano touched her hand, his eyes radiating warmth and understanding. The minutes flew to an hour. Giuliano seemed to have nowhere on earth he’d rather be. And then, as if it was the most natural thing in the world to do, he leaned in and kissed her.

Her eyes were closed and she pressed her lips more fully against his. It was the first time she’d ever been kissed. When they broke the kiss, they were both breathless.

She opened her eyes and found him gazing at her. She leaned in closer. “Again, please.”

A breeze tickled the back of her neck and the garden began to spin around her. Caught up in a whirlwind, she flew through a dark tunnel, away from the light. The force of the wind overwhelmed her. She fought to breathe, but her lungs refused to fill.

“Giuliano help me…”

Strong arms wrapped around her, anchoring her.

She awoke with a start, gulping air as if hours had passed since she’d taken her last breath. Her body was coated in sweat and her eyes brimmed with tears. She pressed her fingers to her lips, still feeling the burning imprint of a kiss.

She opened her eyes and realized Alex was holding her, comforting her. It didn’t make sense. “Alex…” She shook her head trying to focus on the here and now. “Why are you holding me?”

“I heard you calling me.”

“I was calling you?”

“You must have had one of those dreams.”

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Join the Book Tour from June 5 - 25, 2018.
Join us and visit each tour stop daily! Discover features, excerpts, reviews, interviews, fun facts and more. To check the latest tour schedule, visit the The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci Book Page at Book Unleashed.
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About Belle Ami

Belle Ami writes intriguing romantic/suspense/thrillers with a teaspoon of sex. A self-confessed news junky she loves to create cutting-edge stories about politics, espionage, and redemptive love.
She is a Kathryn McBride scholar of Bryn Mawr College in Pennsylvania. Writing, cooking, spinning, hiking, boxing, and skiing are her passions.
She is the author of The Only One series, The One (#1), and The One & More (#2). Her third in the series titled One More Time is Not Enough, was published July 13th, 2016. She was honored to be included in the RWA LARA Christmas Anthology Holiday Ever After featuring her short story The Christmas Encounter. Her next series entitled The Tip of the Spear begins with Escape, published January 10, 2017. The sequel to Escape, entitled Vengeance was published September 12, 2017.
The Girl Who Knew da Vinci is her latest release. Itís an intriguing romance/paranormal/thriller. She is currently working on book three of The Tip of the Spear Series, titled Ransom.
She lives in Southern California with her husband, two children, a horse named Cindy Crawford, and her brilliant Chihuahua, Giorgio Armani.


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Prizes up for grabs:
$25 Amazon Gift Card
Three (3) The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci (Paperback - US/Canada Only)
Three (3) The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci (eBook - International)
Contest runs from May 31 - June 25, 2018.

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