Sabrina arrived safely at the casa where she lived. Scrambling out of the gondola, she rushed into the house through the water gate, the canal-side entrance. She did not bother to call any of the servants to take her cloak as she hurried across the rough tiles of the andron, the undecorated water-level entry hall. She ran up the stairs to the study. The room, lit brightly by the center wrought iron chandelier, seemed empty. She circled around the massive gum wood desk and went directly to the small table which held several decanters and glasses. Her hand trembled as she poured herself two fingers of brandy. She gulped it down, but even its burn did not stop her shivers. She turned to the fire and its warmth.
She jumped. Harold Dunfield, the uncle of her late husband, stared at her in shock from his chair before the blaze. His cool blue eyes pinned her. He was dressed to go out for an evening’s entertainment, impeccable in his burgundy velvet coat and yellow silk waistcoat, his silvery hair perfectly tied back with a black satin ribbon. He had obviously been waiting for her. She had not seen him sitting there.
“What is the meaning of this?” he demanded, indicating the empty glass in her hand.
Guiltily, she placed the glass on the mantle. “Someone just tried to kill me.” She choked out the words.
His brow furrowed, but he said nothing.
“You never warned me my life could be in danger.” Her voice shook, and she took a breath to steady herself.
“Really, Sabrina, I’m sure you are being overly dramatic.” Dunfield waved away her reproach.
Of course he would show no sympathy for her ordeal.
“A stiletto missed me by inches,” she said.
“You must have been mistaken for someone else. There’s no reason why anyone should wish you dead. I’m only selling artwork.” Dunfield took a casual sip of his own brandy.
Frustration at his callous reaction to her fright brought tears to her eyes. She blinked them away and tried to make him see the problem—again. “They are Italian masterpieces, and you are selling them to our English king. If the Venetians discover their art is leaving the city—”
“They won’t.” His gaze sharpened. “Did you get the message?”
Sabrina swallowed. She did not want to confess what had occurred in the chapel. She would never reveal to this man that a shadow had saved her life. He would think she had gone mad. Perhaps she had, and the apparition in the chapel had merely been a hallucination. Except she still felt the bruise where she had landed on the hard marble floor. How could she explain something she did not understand herself?
“I lost it.” Her admission came out small and quiet.
Anger turned his eyes to ice. “So you thought to cover up your incompetence with some fantasy about an attempt on your life?”
“Stop.” Dunfield gave her a hard stare. “If you cannot perform a simple chore for me, like retrieving a message, then you are of little use. I am disinclined to support a destitute widow with a son if you are unable to give me some recompense.”
Lady Sabrina Dunfield is desperate. Widowed and destitute, she must rely on the dubious benevolence of her secretive uncle, an art collector living in Venice. Determined to make her way and provide for her young son, Sabrina is forced to take on clandestine and dangerous errands for her tyrannical relative. But when a mysterious shadow man saves her from an assassin’s blade, she knows she must do everything in her power to keep her son safe.
Alessandro D’Este, Prince of Auriano, is cursed. Doomed to live a life half in shadow, he is determined to free himself and his family from the evil that stalks them. When Alessandro saves the English woman’s life, he is captivated by her beauty and shocked at her ability to touch him in his shadowy form.
When Sabrina meets Alessandro in his human form, heady attraction sparks between them. She has no idea he is her shadowy savior, and she wonders what her life might be like with this charismatic man. Alessandro has never met a woman who affects him this way. Although life has taught him to trust only family, Sabrina might be the key that could deliver him from the diabolical darkness.
Lachesis Publishing: http://lachesispublishing.com/?product=moon-dark
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
Patricia Barletta always wanted to be a writer. That was right after she realized that becoming a fairy ballerina or a princess wasn’t going to happen. But being a writer meant she could go places in her head and be other people as much as she wanted. She could even be a fairy ballerina or a princess!
As a native of the Boston area, Patricia has been inspired by its history, which influenced her stories, and probably had an impact on her decision to become a high school British Literature teacher so she could pay the bills. She received a Master of Fine Arts in Creative Writing degree at the fabulous Stonecoast program in Maine. And now she’s an author writing about dark heroes, feisty heroines, magic, and other fantastical things.
Find out more about Patricia Barletta and her books on her website: www.patriciabarletta.com.
Connect with Patricia Barletta on facebook: https://www.facebook.com/patricia.barletta.3?ref=br_rs
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