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In The Vendetta, vengeance intersects the international world of fine art when ski town barista Lisa Schumacher serves up espresso—with a dollop of passion—for Italian businessman Nick Carnavale. Lured to Rome by family ties, Lisa must race to find a mysterious missing painting in time to convince Nick that love, and life, is worth more than his revenge.

Available in e-book from Etopia Press at Amazon (Kindle), Barnes & Noble (Nook), All Romance E-books, or your favorite digital book outlet.

What the reviewers are saying:

“The author paints a beautiful portrait of the art world, Italians, and the Eternal City. I highly recommend this if you are looking for something beyond your typical romance novel. I promise that the intrigue behind The Vendetta will keep you turning the metaphorical pages and you will fall in love with Nick and Lisa’s story and their passion for one another.” ~Watching Paige on Amazon.com

“… this book has it all. Adams is a skilled writer, and one to keep an eye on. Highly recommend.” ~Nevada on Amazon.com

EXCERPT

Chapter One

Niccolo Carnavale hated to wait, but for Italian Principessa Giovanna Maria Severino di Giorgio—and her art collection, of course—he had made an exception. To occupy himself, he prowled the gallery of Palazzo Severino and made a professional’s mental catalogue of the room’s objets d’art.

As always, the need to feel the art pricked at his fingers and raised the fine hairs on the back of his neck. He fought the urge to pat the cool marble pate of Julius Caesar, drag his finger down the cracked varnish of a seventeenth century seascape, and upend the Chinese vase to note the maker’s mark. To lessen temptation, he shoved his hands deep into his pockets.

At the end of a thorough circuit, he stood in front of the only incongruity, the only piece that didn’t fit the room’s theme. Over the ornate marble mantle hung a black and white photographic portrait of a young woman, taken in perhaps the early part of the twentieth century. Out of all the fine pieces in the principessa’s collection, the artistry of this photo had earned Nick’s highest personal ranking—priceless.

“I can assure you that the pose was as uncomfortable as it looks.” A raspy voice carried the length of the room.

Nick turned to see a white-haired woman in a wheelchair at the entrance to the gallery. A young nurse pushed the chair, and the woman—the principessa—held her back straight and her head high as she rolled forward. Delicate, crocheted shawls in vibrant colors swathed her shoulders and legs down to her feet, clad in beaded slippers. Her only jewelry was a large, yellow diamond on her left ring finger. Her skin had the fragile look of the very old, but her expression was open and interested, her features carved and aristocratic. The wheelchair came to a stop close to where he stood.

“Your Excellency,” said Nick, “I am very honored to meet you. Your collection is stunning.”

“Thank you.” Her mouth twisted into a charming smirk. “I have kept you waiting, have I not?”

When the principessa offered her hand in an elegant gesture, Nick caught a flash of resemblance to the young woman in the photograph. He bent and raised her fingers to his lips.

“I would have waited much longer to meet you,” he said.

“Ah,” she said, squeezing his fingers lightly, “you’re a charmer, signore. I did not think young men had such manners anymore.”

Nick gave her a direct look. “My mother was a stickler for manners.”

“Your mother.” Her gaze ran over his face to his hair and down the length of his dark suit to his shoes. “Yes, I imagine she was.”

The principessa pulled her hand out of his and turned to the nurse. “You may go, Laura. I will call you when I need you again.”

The nurse’s mouth dropped open. “But, ma’am, the doctor said—”

“You will go now, if you please. Signore Carnavale will take care of me.”

“But—”

Nick noted a swift change in the old woman’s demeanor. The principessa commanded with just her eyes.

“Yes, ma’am,” said Laura. The little nurse set the wheelchair brake and rearranged a shawl. Her soft-soled shoes made no sound as she exited the room.

“She’s probably gone to the doctor to tell on me,” the principessa murmured.
“Your Excellency, if—”

“Please, call me Donna Giovanna. I find the older I get, the more informal I wish things to be.” She cast a sidelong glance at him. “If you are going to lecture me on my risk taking, Signore Carnavale, save your breath. Even if I am on death’s door, I believe I can safely tolerate a few minutes of conversation.”

He hid a smile. “Yes, ma’am.”

“Now, sit down, please. Since I have kept you waiting, I will get right to the point. My sources tell me you are in search of a certain self-portrait by the Old Master, Rembrandt van Rijn. A very rare one.”

A jolt stabbed his midsection. Had she found it? He had designed his revenge around this painting, but this particular portrait of Rembrandt’s had proved elusive. To have a lifetime of searching come down to a simple transaction between collectors was unimaginable. Nick forced himself to settle calmly into the silk-covered wing chair and smooth his expression.

No, it would not be that easy.

He crossed an ankle over the opposite knee. “Donna Giovanna, it is true I have a personal interest in that painting, but I am also aware that its history is not particularly…ah…savory.”

The principessa snorted. “Signore, let us not mince words here. Savory or not, I have seen the painting. Recently.”

He balled his hand into a fist. At last. “How recently?”

The principessa nodded, her eyes warming with approval. “My curator, Peter Van Alstrand, showed it to me about a month ago. It took me a while to track you down.”

Van Alstrand. Nick’s eyes narrowed. “Are you sure it was authentic?”

She inclined her head. “I have no doubt.”

The pressure in his chest built as he studied the principessa’s face. This woman had not accumulated nor held onto a world-renowned collection through stupidity or carelessness. He could not afford to underestimate her.

“Just out of curiosity, where is it now?” he said as casually as he could manage.

The principessa patted him on the knee. “Very good, my boy, but you can’t fool me.”
Her faded hazel eyes danced with suppressed glee. “You want this painting. I can see it in your face.”

It nearly killed him to calmly brush an invisible speck of lint off of his trousers. Every muscle tensed, and his stomach pulled tight. He let his hands rest loosely on the chair arms and met the principessa’s gaze. His eyebrows lifted when he caught her expectant look.

Suddenly, she grinned. “The painting is in my safe, of course.”

Triumph blazed in his chest and he sat forward.

She held up one hand. “Since the Rembrandt is so important to you, I am willing to offer an exchange,” she said.

He should have known. “An exchange? My collection—”

She cut him off. “I am not interested in your art collection, signore. I have a more personal request.”

She looked down at her hands.

He waited, digging deep for the patience to play out this game.

“I do not have much more time on this earth.” The principessa’s voice sounded hesitant for the first time in their conversation. “So in the time I have, I wish to reconcile with my granddaughter. Five years ago, she lived here with me but we…argued.” Those long hands fluttered on her shawl, pleating and unpleating the delicate fringe. “She left the Palazzo, and we have not communicated since.” The fluttering stopped, and she met Nick’s gaze, her eyes once again sharp and determined. “Here is the bargain, signore. If you will bring her to me, I will give you the Rembrandt.”

A spark of real curiosity eased some of the pressure in his chest. “A priceless painting in return for a long-lost relative. What makes you think she will be interested in coming back for a reunion just because I ask her to? And why won’t she come if you ask her, Donna Giovanna?”

She laughed, but this time the sound was dry and brittle. “Come now, signore…Nick. May I call you Nick?”

At his nod, she continued, “We have already established your charm. Your reputation as a lover of women is well known, even to me. Surely you can convince an attractive, unattached young woman to visit you in the Eternal City.” Donna Giovanna took up the fringe of her shawl again. “She has…resisted my efforts to contact her so far. But once she is in Rome, I know she will change her mind. I will take care of the rest.”

He fought the urge to rub his hands on his trousers. Something was off here, and he would have to discover exactly what it was. But for now, he couldn’t afford to let the Rembrandt slip away again, no matter what devil’s bargain this woman offered.

The principessa placed a hand on his arm, capturing his full attention. “So do we have a deal, Nick? It may make it easier for you to know that you do have something very important in common with my granddaughter.”

His heart began to pound in earnest, but he drawled, “Really, and what would that be, Your Excellency?”

Donna Giovanna made a gesture encompassing the gallery walls. “The art, Nick. You’re both in love with the art.”

* * * *
Lisa Schumacher placed the customer’s order—large caramel latte, no whip, soymilk with five-count-them-five shots of decaf espresso—on the counter of the coffee bar. She called out the drink, and a harried-looking woman in a thousand-dollar ski jacket claimed the sleeve-wrapped paper cup and whirled out the door with barely a nod in Lisa’s direction.

Lisa shook her head as she wiped down the counter with her bar rag. How did a person rationalize five shots of decaf paired with soymilk and caramel? That wasn’t coffee—that was an exercise in self-delusion.

The low level of beans in the coffee grinder caught her attention, and she squatted down to dig out another bag of the espresso roast. As she poured hand-roasted coffee into the big machine, she looked around the café. Comfortable chairs vied with little round tables for space in the long, narrow store. Local art, all for sale, decorated the walls, forming an impromptu gallery and adding dashes of color to the somber coffeehouse hues of dark gold, green, and brown.

Her late-afternoon clientele was a combination of après-skiers and between-meal snackers. The store’s patrons currently included an older man dressed for skiing (cappuccino, extra froth), a mom and her two kids (black coffee-of-the-day and two hot chocolates, extra marshmallows), and an elderly woman in a full-length mink (now there was a surprise—mint chocolate mocha with a double shot). People could learn a lot about each other just from the type of coffee drink they ordered.

One thing was certain—at this hour no one came in for the art.

The bell on the entrance jangled, and she cast a quick glance at the door. A dark-haired man in a cream fisherman’s sweater, jeans, and boots stepped into the gallery. Well, hello, gorgeous. Here was a shot of espresso, unless she missed her guess.
“Welcome to Art and Bean. What can I get for you?”

The man stepped toward her, and without saying anything, tipped his head back to read the menu above Lisa’s head. The strong, tanned column of his throat drew her eyes.

A flush bloomed in her cheeks, and she bit her lip. Get a grip, Lisa.

He met her gaze, holding up his thumb and forefinger about an inch apart. “Espresso? A small one?”

She held back a grin to ask, “Single or double?”

He smiled, and her heart skipped a beat.

“Single, definitely.”

She turned to the big Cimbali espresso maker that took up almost the whole wall behind the counter. “Paper or china?”

His hesitation surprised her, and she glanced back over her shoulder. At his scowl of confusion she held up a little ceramic cup and raised an eyebrow.

Comprehension dawned on his face. “China. Please,” he said.

His voice had dropped from smooth to growly, and Lisa guessed his subsequent deep study of the artwork on the gallery walls was a cover for his embarrassment.

While she waited for the espresso machine to heat up, she cast a couple more looks in his direction. Her grandmother would have called him troppo bello—too beautiful—with his longer-than-civilized haircut, lean body, and gray eyes framed by dark lashes. Beautiful or no, dark parts of her had throbbed to life in his presence.

Her cheeks heated again and she frowned. Down, girl. Just because she’d been going through a little dry spell this month—okay this year—didn’t mean she had a right to drool on the customers. But, jeez, this guy really did it for her. When she got past the sheer, sexy impact of the man, he seemed oddly familiar. Probably famous. Telluride usually crawled with celebrities during the ski season.

Or maybe it was his accent, which put her in mind of her mother.

Shrugging off that thought, she dispensed the dark, thick espresso. She stretched up to retrieve a saucer from a small bin overhead but couldn’t quite reach it. A low drawer filled in as a step stool.

“You have so many choices here.”

An electric jolt shot through her at his voice, and she bobbled the saucer but luckily didn’t drop it. Her penny-pinching boss would have charged her retail to replace it.
She looked at Gorgeous Foreigner over her shoulder. “Yes. We pride ourselves on choices. Where are you from?”

“Italy.”

Startled, Lisa yanked her heel out of the drawer and bashed her knee on the lip of the counter. She squeezed her eyes shut.

“Are you all right?” The smooth, velvety voice raised goose bumps on Lisa’s skin.

She took a deep breath and let it out slowly. Come on, Lisa, get it together, for God’s sake.

She opened her eyes. The Italian stared at her with a concerned look on his face.

“Yep. I’m fine.” Lisa cleared her throat. “Sorry, no one ever asks for ceramic. Americans usually want it to go.”

As the Italian opened his luscious mouth to reply, Kimmi, Lisa’s fellow barista, breezed in from the back room. “Hey, Lisa. I just talked to Ty. He said you need to put the coffee order in tonight instead of tomorrow. Some kind of…” Kimmi’s eyes darted between Lisa and the interesting customer. “…vendor thing.”

Without looking at Kimmi, Lisa slid the Italian his coffee. “Here you go. Single espresso. China cup.”

“What do I owe you?”

Lisa smiled. “On the house. Italian special. Welcome to Telluride.”

He grinned back and saluted with his cup. She couldn’t help peeking at the stranger’s very fine rear view as he walked over and positioned himself on a barstool near the window to peruse the Wall Street Journal and, apparently, sip at leisure.

“I didn’t realize…” Kimmi whispered to Lisa, leaning in close, “I mean, that’s Nick Carnavale.”

A tingle of awareness brushed the back of her neck. Unsettled, Lisa raised an eyebrow. “Who is Nick Carnavale?”

Kimmi kept her voice low. “Oh, come on, Lis’. As if you don’t know. I read in Vogue yesterday that Nick Carnavale, native of Rome, Italy, just bought some old painting for, like, a zillion dollars.”

The tingle became a more persistent prickle that swept down her arms. Lisa put a hand to her nape. Oh. That Nick Carnavale. The one who’d bought the Titian for a cool twenty-two million dollars. Lisa had read about it too.

“Kimmi,” Lisa said, her voice also pitched low, “you’re going to have to get used to the fact that we cater to the Nick Carnavales of the world. It’s our business to sell them expensive coffee and even more expensive art. Discreetly.”

“Oh, I know.” Kimmi took out a tray and began piling on clean napkins and sugar packets. “Movie stars and so on don’t faze me. But this guy, my God, he must be worth billions. And he’s kind of a mystery man, you know.” She looked up to toss a grin at Lisa. “Besides, if we’re selling expensive coffee, why’d you just give it away for free?”

Lisa put on her stern face. The last thing she needed was star-struck help gossiping about a potential client. Or flirting with him. Although, she reminded herself, she was the one who’d wanted to strip the man naked and inspect him for flaws as soon as he’d walked in the door.

“An impulse of the moment. He seemed to need a little welcome,” Lisa replied, glancing over at the window. “But don’t tell Ty. He’d have a heart attack.”

Kimmi shrugged and finished loading the tray. She picked up a rag to wipe the tables. “Are you sure you don’t need help with the coffee order tonight? I can stay and—”

Lisa cut her off. “Nope, I’ve got it. I’ve already done most of it on the laptop.”

Kimmi moved around the counter with the tray. “That’s why Ty loves you—you’re so efficient. Anyway, Nick Carnavale…wow.” She silently mouthed the last part.

Lisa rolled her eyes, but couldn’t help grinning back.

She turned to the espresso machine to dump the used grounds out of the filter and ready it for the next drink order. Despite a demanding, stingy boss and the occasional difficult customer, she put the last three years of working at Art and Bean into the “good gig” category. It certainly paid better than some of her previous jobs, art history degree or no. A warm glow lit her heart when she thought of the modest pile of money she had been able to save for her dream to own an art gallery. If she could just stay focused, in a few months she might be able to put a down payment on the space she’d had her eye on.

She caught herself looking over toward the window again and forced her gaze back to the espresso. Maybe that was why mystery man Nick Carnavale intrigued her. In addition to being wildly attractive, she knew he knew about art. Bought it, collected it. But he probably just considered art a prudent place to stash his money. While to her, art was life.

She readied two tall coffees of the day for the next two customers, dispensing free samples of the gallery’s signature muffins with an absent smile.

All the while Lisa kept track of Nick, who had moved to a more comfortable leather club chair. He turned the pages of the paper with crisp precision. The afternoon sunlight played over his face and cast it in bold lines. Strong jaw, straight nose, slashing brows, dark hair. His eyes flicked up and caught hers. They were a bright, crystalline gray.

The jolt to her midsection forced a grin and a blush. The Italian’s eyes lit up, and for the briefest second, Lisa felt connected, whole. Then his face blanked, the dark eyebrows drawing into a frown, and he returned abruptly to his paper.

Her stomach sank to her toes. Jeez, Lisa, why don’t you just ask the man for his autograph while you’re at it? With a slight shake of her head she went back to cleaning the steam wand on the Cimbali.

Kimmi burst around the corner. “Lisa, we have a problem.” She grabbed Lisa’s wrist and pulled her over to the main seating section where the cappuccino-extra-foam man lay on his side on the long bench seat that took up one wall. Sweat beaded his forehead, and his undone jacket straggled across his chest. Lisa approached him and went down on one knee. At this range she could see the mottled color of his face. His breath wheezed through his mouth and nose in labored gusts.

“Can anyone tell me what happened?” she asked.

The man’s eyes rolled toward her, open to mere slits between puffy lids. His head moved weakly on the cushion, and his fingers scratched at the neck of his shirt.
“Can’t breathe…can’t breathe…please…”

“Maybe it would be better if you sit up. Can you do that for me?” Lisa stood and grasped the man’s damp shirtfront with one hand, pulling on his shoulder with the other. He was heavy, dead weight.

“Here, let me.” Nick Carnavale reached around Lisa and pulled Cappuccino Man up so he was sitting on the bench.

“Thanks.” Lisa cast a grateful smile at the Italian. The distressed man’s breathing eased, but his hands still scratched nervously at his collar.

She turned to the small crowd gathered in the shop. “Do any of you know him?”

The blank stares and shakes of the head from the bystanders revealed nothing, but she was conscious of a vibe from them that she needed to do something. Good thing she’d dabbled as a flight attendant after college and, briefly, as an EMT when she’d first come to Telluride. Only the Italian—Nick—had stepped forward to help so far.
OK then, plan B. She took a seat next to the man and gave him a reassuring smile. “I know your drink, sir. But what’s your name?”

The smile he returned was sickly at best. “Berger…Sam Berger.”

“Okay, Mr. Berger, do you have any pain?” she asked, automatically sorting through emergency scenarios in her head.

“Not pain, exactly,” he said, his voice a mere croak.

She played a hunch. “Do you have any allergies? Peanuts, shellfish, berries? Do you carry epinephrine or an inhaler for asthma?”

“I don’t know,” he said, gasping, “Well, yes…peanuts. But I’ve never had a, you know, reaction…”

Lisa looked into Sam Berger’s eyes, saw his panic and confusion. She leaned over to take his hand, squeezing it gently. “Don’t worry, Mr. Berger. You’re going to be fine. We’ll take care of you.”

She released him and stood, looking for Kimmi. She spotted her by the photo gallery and motioned her over to speak quietly in her ear. “Kimmi, please call 911, now.”
Kimmi’s eyes grew wide but she kept her cool and turned to the counter where the phone was. Good girl.

The bell on the door jangled. Her boss, Ty Reynolds, walked in and Lisa’s heart sank. Ty was the worst person to have around in any kind of crisis.

“Lisa, Kimmi, is there some sort of—?”

A choking gurgle came from Berger, and everyone in the room looked over as he slid to the floor. Lisa felt a jolt of panic stab at her stomach. She knelt and struggled to pull Berger flat on the floor next to the bench. With two fingers on his neck, she felt for a pulse. There it was, faint and thready. Come on, Cappuccino Man. She bent down, hoping to feel even a tiny bit of breath on her cheek. Nothing. She looked up and happened to meet Nick Carnavale’s silver-gray eyes.

“He’s stopped breathing,” she said.

* * * *
“Let’s move him over where there’s more room.” Ms. Schumacher—Lisa—spoke in a calm, firm voice. Nick positioned himself to slide his hands under the sick man’s shoulders. He and one of the other men lifted Berger and settled him on the floor so Lisa would have more room to maneuver.

Nick backed out of the way as Lisa knelt and spread Berger’s shirt open across his chest. She leaned over him, her ear close to the man’s mouth. Positioning herself over his chest, she pressed his breastbone with a series of short, shallow compressions. Nick could hear her counting softly to herself.

Lisa looked up again, but not at him. “Kimmi, I need you to take over CPR while I continue rescue breathing.”

Nick glanced over at the other barista. Kimmi stared transfixed at Berger’s limp form. Nick tightened his jaw and held back, acknowledging to himself that he didn’t know what to do, and clearly the young girl did.

Lisa leaned over Berger and breathed into his mouth. The man’s chest rose once, twice, and Lisa sat back.

“Kimmi.” Lisa’s voice sounded sharp. She continued the chest compressions. “I need you. I can’t do this by myself. The EMTs could be as much as ten minutes away.”
Frustrated by the girl’s hesitation, Nick opened his mouth to offer what assistance he could, but Kimmi finally broke out of the shock that had been holding her back. She stepped forward and knelt opposite Lisa. Lisa placed Kimmi’s hands on Berger’s chest while her steady gaze held the younger girl’s eyes.

“Just think of it as another training exercise,” she said.

Kimmi nodded and then closed her eyes briefly before she took over the shallow compressions from Lisa.

Reduced to the role of spectator, Nick rubbed the back of his neck as he watched the two women at work. One thing he could say for sure, Lisa Schumacher was not at all as he had expected. As if she felt his eyes on her, she turned and looked right at him.
Dio, that jolt of electricity zapped him every time her green gaze met his. It had hit him earlier too, when she had glanced up from her coffee preparations behind the bar.

He wanted her.

He rubbed a hand across his mouth in automatic denial. No.

Her sunny smile and long, honey-colored hair had intrigued him from the moment he’d walked into this little gallery-café, but it was the determined set of Lisa Schumacher’s jaw that recalled the portrait he’d seen in Rome of Italian Principessa Giovanna Severino di Giorgio in her younger days. And why not? The woman was Lisa’s grandmother.

He had never imagined that his bargain with the shrewd old woman would place him at this remote ski area in the middle of winter. But, on reflection, he had done many unexpected deeds in pursuit of his revenge. Nick had already deduced that Lisa was very like her grandmother in more ways than just her appearance. The old woman’s determination mirrored a similar quality in Lisa. As far as he knew, none of Nick’s acquaintances had the skill and courage to save the life of a stranger as Lisa was doing right now.

Nick’s father’s face flashed in his mind, the gray eyes dark with pain, and then blank and staring. He shook his head to clear the image. The situation was not the same at all. There was no knife here. No blood. No despair. He clenched his fists, willing away the memory of Papa’s death.

“Mr. Carnavale.”

Startled, he looked at Lisa, who was taking a momentary break while the younger girl, Kimmi, administered the chest compressions.

“Please,” he said, “call me Nick.”

“Okay. Nick, I need you to do me a favor. Can you look in this guy’s bag to see if he might have an EpiPen for his peanut allergy?”

“Of course.” He walked over to the bench seat where the man’s backpack rested. “What am I looking for, exactly?”

“It looks like a thick pen or a marker, about the length of your hand, and it contains a dose of epinephrine. You’ll know it when you see it.”

“I’ll tear the bag apart if you think it will help.”

Her mouth lifted in a small smile. “I think a thorough search is enough.” Her smile faded, and she shut her eyes for a second. “God, I hope you find it. It may just save his life.”

Nick opened the backpack on the table and began rummaging through the man’s business items—laptop, files, pens, phone. He spied a small toilet kit, pulled it out and unzipped it.

The jumble of toiletries made him curse in frustration. He made a mental list as he sorted the items onto the table. Shaving cream, toothpaste, razor, toothbrush. Small bottles held shampoo and cologne. He seized on a leather case, but it was only a grooming kit with adhesive bandages and nail clippers. The toiletry bag was now empty. He turned it upside down and shook it. From somewhere inside the bag, a black and white cylinder fell to the table.

“Is this it?” he asked, holding up the pen.

Lisa’s head turned and her eyes widened. “Does it say EpiPen on it?”

It did. In large letters. Grazie a Dio. He brought it to her.

“This is it. You’re a hero,” she said with conviction. “I could hug you right now.”
His turn to smile—he would welcome a hug.

“Help me get his pants down,” Lisa said to Nick. “I have to inject it into his thigh.”

Kimmi continued CPR as Lisa and Nick wrestled Berger’s designer ski pants down to his ankles. Dignity in an emergency was hard to come by. Nick observed Lisa’s efficient movements as she prepared the injector. She swiftly brought it down into the meaty part of Berger’s leg.

A scraping gasp came from Berger as his airways cleared. He coughed and sputtered, but he definitely breathed.

Nick let out the breath he’d been holding.

The bell on the door jangled again.

“Somebody call for an emergency?” The EMTs, fully geared up, entered the gallery.
“Over here, George.” Lisa waved them over to the man on the floor. “Anaphylactic shock. Just administered an EpiPen, and he’s coming around now.”

“Oh, hey, Lisa,” said the largest of the emergency responders. Though they clearly knew Lisa well, the EMT and his colleagues were all business, taking the man’s vitals, securing the patient to a stretcher, and asking quiet questions of Lisa and Kimmi.

As the responders did their job, Nick took a seat on the floor next to Lisa. The man was going to live. He met Lisa’s gaze and was stunned when her green eyes filled with tears and delayed panic. His fists clenched against the unexpected need to draw her close to his body, to comfort her. He knew he could not touch her, though. He was a stranger to her. A fact that would have to change, and soon.

“Thank you,” she whispered.

He nodded but didn’t know what to say as his heart eased its pounding tempo. No matter what her grandmother had told him, Ms. Lisa Schumacher was as courageous as they came. But now there was no doubt she could make his task to bring her back to Rome as difficult as possible.

11 thoughts on “Books

  1. sally says:

    Okay, I’m hooked! There are so many interesting characters here – and fabulous settings too! Thanks for the great read!

  2. susielindau says:

    This looks like such a great book! Congrats on publishing it. Thanks for sharing it with us~ 🙂

  3. gomesspeak says:

    I finished the The Vendetta in one sitting. Loved the suspense, liked the interpersonal conflicts between the main characters, entertaining and fun to read. Good job Kecia!

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