Edale Lane has a new FF alternative historical fantasy out, book two in the Night Flyer trilogy: “Secrets of Milan.”
The Night Flyer had brought Florentina and Madelena together but now threatens to drive them apart. While Florentina searches for a mysterious underworld organization that has attempted to murder the woman she loves, Maddie struggles to deal with the danger Florentina is courting. Her brother, Alessandro, has become the most prominent merchant of Milan, but the Night Flyer uncovers a secret so shocking it could destroy them all.
Secrets of Milan is the second book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like drama and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and s romance that deepens into true love, then you’ll want to continue the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy today!
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Turning her attention back to the pulpit, Maddie determined to listen to the homily. When they returned home, she would invite Fiore to her room to try to explain the emotions she had been struggling with and to reassure her and ask forgiveness. It was time to put everything right and stop letting fear rule over her life.
Madelena had just cleared away the mental replays to concentrate on the service when a most unusual occurrence diverted her complete attention. Florentina had scooped up Betta and Matteo and was pushing her out of her seat toward the aisle. “Run,” she commanded fiercely as she jerked her chin at the door.
For an instant Maddie was too stunned and confused to move, but for only the blink of an eye. Florentina–the Night Flyer–had the most excellent instincts and if she was bolting out of Epiphany Mass, imminent danger surrounded them. “Get out now!” Florentina shouted as she continued to push Maddie down the center walkway.
There were likely murmurs and stirring among the congregation members at the outburst, but Madelena, heart racing, dashed ahead with a glance over her shoulder to see her tutor with one child under each arm a mere step behind her. The sudden noise was deafening, but it was the shock wave from the blast that sent them all flying. Maddie hit the floor hard amid screams and the sounds of breaking glass and crashing bricks. Smoke began to fill the chapel, and someone stepped on her hand in their haste to evacuate.
“Remain calm!” a tenuous voice intoned as panic broke out in earnest.
“Mama!” Maddie pushed up to her scraped hands and bruised knees and turned toward Betta. The wide-eyed, frantic child clutched her arms around her mother’s neck.
“I’m here, baby; I’ve got you,” she comforted and reached a hand to Matteo. “Are you both alright?”
“Florentina saved us,” Matteo said in astonishment. “We aren’t hurt; don’t be afraid, Mama.”
“Keep moving,” Florentina insisted as she stumbled up to the trio. “Out the door, now.”
Madelena did not argue, but with somber eyes fixed on Fiore’s gave her a nod. Carrying Betta in her arms, she forged on through wreckage and stampeding parishioners toward the open doorway. Florentina followed, holding tight to Matteo’s hand. Once past the archway, they collapsed on the steps.
“Are you injured?” Florentina’s voice was drowned in concern. They were all covered in pink brick dust with small scraps of debris having showered over their hair and clothing.
“No, just some bruises from falling. What about you?” Maddie turned her gaze to Fiore who sat an arm’s length away leaning against the exterior wall of the church.
“I’ll live,” she replied queasily. “My back feels as if it’s on fire and my head is pounding like a chorus of drums.”
“My children,” Maddie uttered in disbelief. “You saved them, and me.”
With smudged face and disheveled hair, Florentina raised radiant eyes to hers. “Si. You may not love me anymore, but I am still devoted to you and to them. I would lay down my life to save any of you without hesitation.”
Panic of a different sort grabbed hold of Madelena’s soul, threatening to undo her. “Is that what you think?” Grief clouded her verdant gaze, and her mouth fell into a gape of horror.
“What am I supposed to think?”
“I am so sorry!” Tears swam in Maddie’s eyes. “That is not the problem; it never was.” Quite the opposite, she thought.
“We love you, Florentina!” Betta declared and left her mother’s lap to hug her tutor. “How did you know the church was going to fall down?”
“It didn’t just fall down,” Matteo stated as he took his turn to embrace his mother.
“No, it didn’t,” Florentina confirmed exchanging a look with Madelena and then it clicked.
Even greater shock swept over Maddie’s features, turning them pale as death. “A bomb? Someone bombed the church?”
“Someone did indeed, and I need to go back and help. People are injured and some may even be dead.” Florentina started to push to her feet but collapsed on the step again with her head in her hands. “Seems I’m a bit dizzy still.”
“You don’t have to do everything,” Maddie said and reached a hand to tenderly stroke her head. “Look, some city watchmen have arrived and the fire brigade will be here any minute. You alerted everyone and saved lives, including ours. How did you know?”
“Paying attention,” she answered with difficulty. “Knew something wasn’t right, then glass breaking, saw the bomb… was on our row… two of them.”
“Fiore, don’t try to talk now,” she instructed. “I’ll secure a carriage to drive us home and then I’m going to inspect you for injuries.”
“It’s only a few blocks,” Florentina dismissed. “I can walk.”
“That may be, but we aren’t sitting here waiting for tomorrow, and that’s about when you’d be able to walk home,” Maddie declared.
“I’m scared,” Betta said in a small voice as she snuggled back against her mother again. “Church is supposed to be a safe place.”
Matteo took her hand in his as he settled on the spot between Florentina and Madelena. “Don’t be scared, Betta,” he said with assurance. “I’m right here.” Then with his other hand he patted Florentina’s shoulder. “Thank you. I’m glad you are the smartest person in Milan and that you’re with us.”
“I’m glad I’m with you, too, Matteo,” she replied and offered him a weak smile.
Maddie could tell by her pained expression and weakness that Florentina had absorbed some measure of shock from the blast. She was also certain that without Fiore’s lighting reflexes they would all be seriously wounded or dead. Feet rushed past the spot where they sat; men called out, women screamed, children cried. She looked around, between those coming and going, to see a gigantic hole in the side of the brick facade, broken windows with smoke trailing out, and a body lying on the ground. She closed her eyes and swallowed hard.
“Make way for the fire brigade!” a man shouted.
Madelena pushed to her feet and reached a hand for Fiore. “Come now,” she instructed. “We have to move out of the way. Let’s get you in that carriage and home.”
Character Interview With Don Benetto
Marco: This is Marco Marcello of the Daily Gazette, and today I am speaking with Don Benetto Viscardi, the once powerful owner of Viscardi Arms and Weapons. Benetto, tell us: how does it feel to lose absolutely everything – your wealth, your business, your mansion, and your influence?
Benetto: Are you completely daft? Did your mother drop you on your head as a child and you failed to recover? What kind of asinine question is that? How the hell do you think I feel?
Marco: Now, Benetto, calm yourself. It was not my intent to upset you. My readers desire more than cold facts; they want the human element of the story. How are you coping?
Benetto: Let’s see: the Night Flyer blew up my shipments, distributed my gold in the streets, destroyed my warehouses filled with inventory, burned my mansion to the ground, made me a complete laughing-stock, and banished me to my country vineyard which he also salted such that I cannot even produce wine. How am a coping? I want to execute him – then we can speak of coping!
Marco: Yes, I see. But Benetto, isn’t it also true that the Night Flyer could have killed you yet did not?
Benetto: Si, he let me live so that I may drown in my misery and become the cautionary tale the other merchants tell their sons. In truth, what have I to live for?
Marco: Don’t you have a family?
Benetto: My son Niccolo will have nothing to do with me. He blames me for everything, claims that I created the Night Flyer though my ruthless dealings with men who have crossed me. Stefano, my brother – he left; picked up and moved out, took some job at the docks. Then my wife Daniella and daughter Agnese say I ruined Christmas – me! I told them it was the Night Flyer who stripped away our lives. But… at least they haven’t forsaken me… yet.
Marco: I can’t imagine that your own wife and daughter would abandon you.
Benetto: Yes, well, you see, I haven’t always been the best husband or father. My sweet daughter who used to laugh and sit on my knee can barely occupy the same room with me, and my once beautiful wife cringes and flinches whenever I come near. I think… I know that is my fault.
Marco: How so?
Benetto: Agnese has become a young woman and I have been seeking a good husband for her, an older established man who can take her under his wing and care for her properly, someone who I esteem and think worthy. But the child has her own ideas, and all this talk of love and happiness. She has her heart set on that Torelli boy, Antonio. I forbade it… and drove her away. There were other things, I suppose. I have become hard and distant, but one must be a hard man to succeed in the arms business. And I can’t stand that Alessandro Torelli! He thinks he is better than everyone else with his high and mighty standards, his stunning wife Portia, and his sister Madelena who he allows to participate in his business affairs. And If that wasn’t enough, he hired a woman as a tinker, Florentina something if I recall. Sure, she’s some kind of child’s tutor, but he has her repairing equipment and who knows what else. Then there’s his flawless brood of children, except Antonio isn’t perfect – he is a fool! Boy ran off and joined the army. Can you believe it? Heir to a fortune and he becomes a soldier. Whatever could Agnese be thinking wishing to marry Antonio? (sigh) But… who will wish to wed her now that I have lost everything? I don’t want to lose her too. And Daniella? I’ve given her ample cause to leave me over the years. I supposed she stayed out of propriety and for the money. Now we have none and yet, she is still with me.
Marco: Why do you suppose that is?
Benetto: Because she took a vow? Because she has nowhere else to go? How should I know? Then again, there was a time when we were young and there was… love? Is that what it was? We were ready to take on the world together, but somewhere along the way we lost that. Do you think… is it possible for a man to change who he has been? I mean, I almost died and all I have left is Agnese, Daniella, and the memory of a family that once was. Do you think it could be done?
Marco: I don’t know; I’ve heard of men turning their lives around, changing old habits and such. But I admit, it is rare.
Benetto: Change is hard. I am just so angry all the time. And when I’m not angry, I am depressed. I used to think crushing my enemies and increasing my wealth were what made me happy, but I don’t think I was ever happy. I doubt I even know what happiness is. But I am old friends with misery, hatred, and bitterness. I know how to lash out and crush the hopes and dreams of others. Maybe in order to be happy, I must attempt the opposite. I have to become someone else. Even if I wanted to, I am not certain that I can.
Marco: I cannot answer that, but I have observed that over the years you achieved quite a lot through determination and hard work. I suppose if a successful man such as yourself were to set his mind to it and not give up, you could do just about anything.
Benetto: Si! I think you are right.
Marco: Thank you for speaking with me today, and I do apologize if I upset you earlier. You are – were, to be sure – a man I do not wish to anger. But before I go I must observe that your vineyard is quite lovely, even if it can’t produce edible grapes.
Edale Lane is the penname used by Melodie Romeo for LGBTQ fiction novels. She is a native of Vicksburg, Mississippi, earned a bachelor’s degree in Music Education from the University of Southern Mississippi and a master’s degree in History from the University of West Florida.
Ms Romeo is a retired school teacher who currently travels the country as an over the road truck driver. Her first book, Vlad, a Novel, an historical thriller, was published in 2002. She has had short stories published in anthologies by Seventh Star Press, Charon Coin Press, Alban Lake Press, Less Than Three Press, and Past and Prologue Press.
Edale Lane’s first novel, Heart of Sherwood, is an historical retelling of the Robin Hood story supposing that the hooded outlaw had been a woman:
In addition to driving and writing, Melodie is also a musician who plays the French horn, composes, and has spent many years as a choral and instrumental director. She aspires to be a successful enough author to quit driving and devote herself to writing fulltime. Melodie resides in Utica, MS with her longtime partner, Johanna.
Some of her works can be found at http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00WFFFEA4
In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.
Author Website: https://pastandprologuepress.Ipaged.co/
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Author Twitter: https://www.twitter.com/edalelane
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