This series is amazing. Sisters Gabriella and Lia Beterrini accidentally time-travel back to 14th century Italy... smack-bang in the middle of battle. These books are filled to the brim with action, suspense, danger, family loyalty and romance! Not convinced? Even after reading my reviews of WATERFALL and CASCADE? I'm hurt, but maybe reading an excerpt of the first book will tempt you? Go, go, go!
Excerpt - From Chapter 3 of BOURNE by Lisa Bergren
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD IF YOU HAVE NOT READ WATERFALL, CASCADE AND TORRENT!
“Patrol approaches!” called out a guard. “And a second, right behind them!”
Rodolfo rode in first at a canter, astride his massive gray gelding, and caught sight of me and my tearstained face before I could duck my head. His men were right behind him, two of them clearly wounded. But his attention was solely on me. He whirled his horse around and dismounted before he was fully at a stop. He hurried over to me and eased an arm around my shoulders. “Gabriella,” he said, his voice a moan in shared grief before he even knew what pained me. “Is it Marcello?”
I glanced at him in confusion. His tone held both fear and hope. Which outweighed the other? “Nay,” I said, shaking my head and sliding out of his uncomfortably familiar embrace. The guards…everyone would see! See his obvious attention, undue care…
“Then what burdens you so?” he asked, still holding my hand in both of his, insistent.
But then the second patrol rode in, Luca at the front, his face a mask of fury. I did a double take, so unfamiliar was his expression. Gone was the playful, fun Luca; in his place was solely a warrior on point. “Greco!” he screamed, charging toward us.
I frowned in confusion and alarm. Rodolfo took my hand and pulled me to the right to avoid Luca’s horse, but this seemed to only aggravate Luca further. He jumped to the ground and ran toward us. Rodolfo eased me behind him, just before Luca struck him. Hard. A massive belt to the cheek.
Rodolfo stumbled to the side, but kept his feet. And my hand.
“Luca!” I cried, reaching out toward him with my other.
But he ignored me, his attention only on Rodolfo. “Unhand m’lord’s wife,” he seethed.
Rodolfo let go of my hand and lifted both of his to the air in a sign of submission. Luca moved so close that they were chest to chest, his face a snarl of challenge, while Rodolfo’s was resigned.
“Nay! Stop!” I cried, trying to part them but failing. “What…what has transpired?”
“This man,” Luca seethed, tapping Rodolfo’s chest as if he wanted to pierce it, “went out there”—he gestured angrily above the wall—“with a wish to meet the Angel of Death.”
I glanced back in confusion, but Rodolfo just slowly wiped the blood from a small cut in his cheek and stared hard at Luca.
“Of what do you speak?” I asked Luca, fully facing him now.
“We came across more Fiorentini,” he said, pacing, shaking his head as if trying to figure it out himself. “I commanded he hold in formation, to wait, but Rodolfo charged, instead. But for the hand of God, they all might’ve been killed.”
“I knew you would come to our aid in time,” Rodolfo said in a monotone. I gave him a hard look, but he wouldn’t return my gaze, still watching Luca as if he couldn’t be trusted. Which he probably couldn’t. The other men formed a semicircle around us, watching. Waiting.
“Why?” I asked. “Luca is the captain in charge of any knight that departs these gates. Even you, so new to us, understood this.”
Still, Rodolfo wouldn’t look at me.
Luca neared again, and Rodolfo tensed. Luca was shorter than Rodolfo by several inches, but you’d never know it by his demeanor. He got right up into Rodolfo’s face again. “Because he’s wracked by guilt,” Luca said.
He looked over at me meaningfully, and I felt an arrow go through my heart. What was that? Guilt over my own memories?
Others neared. My Dad, with Tomas. Captain Pezzati and his patrol rode in. “Let us go to the Great Hall and speak of this in private,” I said.
“Nay!” Luca shouted, making me jump. His face collapsed in sorrow. He shook his head and rubbed his neck with a grimy hand, which he then lifted to me, begging me in gesture. “Forgive me, m’lady, but permit me to see this through. In Marcello’s absence…”
He took my silence as all the permission he needed. He moved toward Rodolfo again. “You are my brother.” He angrily rolled up his sleeve and lifted the tattoo into his line of vision. He snorted in derision. “You may as well be my brother by blood.” He dropped his sleeve and lifted both hands to grip Rodolfo’s shirt. “You have sacrificed everything, everything for Siena. For this house. For these people.” He leaned in, inches away from Rodolfo’s face again. “And I shall not let you kill yourself as a means of appeasing the pain.”
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