Monday, October 14, 2019 | By: The Write Way Cafe

Monday Morsels: The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci

...a taste of romance

by Belle Ami

It was nearly closing time, and there were few people left in the North Pavilion where pre-1700 paintings and sculptures were displayed. Natural light from the ceiling cast a warm glow, washing the precious masterpieces in a filtered luminosity. Alex Caine entered one of the gallery rooms and noticed a young woman sitting by herself. Something about her stillness drew him.

Her midnight hair, secured in a bun atop her head, and her black-framed glasses couldn’t hide her beauty. The prim accoutrements enhanced her high cheekbones and full mouth. He moved closer to get a better look at her. She was oblivious of him and showed no sign that her private sojourn had been intruded upon.

With her hands folded in her lap, the young woman sat like a statue. Her dark eyes were riveted to a painting. A portrait of a young man captured in eternal contemplation. The subject’s eyes were hidden from the viewer. Why Botticelli had chosen to paint the young man with his eyes downcast was a mystery. The youth was handsome, almost beautiful. Thick dark waves of hair framed his face. He wore a stylish red velvet tunic that distinguished him as a man of royalty or rank. However, wealth could not dispel the overwhelming sadness imbued in his face. In three-quarter profile, his finely etched brows portrayed a man of extreme sensitivity, his face and demeanor more of a poet than a man of commerce.

He recognized the painting of Giuliano Medici—he’d seen it before, in Berlin. But never had he witnessed such a visceral reaction to a painting as this young woman had. The woman was so deep in contemplation that he could have broken out in song and she wouldn’t have flinched.

He hovered for a few moments, inexplicably drawn to her serene beauty. She began to whisper as if she were speaking to the painting, but he couldn’t hear what she was saying. Peculiarly, the lights dimmed, and an encroaching darkness descended upon him and the young woman. Looking up, he noticed the skylight showed a clear, blue sky.

What the hell is going on?

A fog swirled up from the floor, forming a cloudy curtain, separating them from the other visitors to the museum, who seemed completely oblivious.

A sudden flash of light over the painting propelled Alex to protect the woman. He rushed to crouch in front of her, but she continued to stare at the painting as though in a trance.

“Are you all right?” he asked her with concern. He felt compelled to protect her, but protect her from what?

What happened next made him doubt his sanity.

Her eyes changed color, turning from dark brown to forest green. Her gaze fixated on the young man in the portrait as though he were alive and standing before her. Her expression reflected radiant, passionate, love. Intense. All consuming.

It took his breath away.

Alex’s eyes shifted back to the portrait and what he saw sent his pulse racing.

The young man in the painting came alive, turned his face, opened his eyes and stared at the young woman, his dark eyes mirroring the same intensity as hers.

Alex was stunned. Never in his life had he witnessed such intense love in just one look, let alone directed at a portrait of a young man who’d died more than five centuries ago.

He shook his head, trying to clear his vision. Any minute he expected to hear Rod Serling’s voice.

Another flash of light, like a lightning bolt, shot out from the painting toward them. Reacting on pure instinct, Alex covered the woman with his chest and arms, feeling the jolt hit him in the back. Not pain, exactly. But certainly a shock.

He pulled away from the woman, hoping she was okay. And then something remarkable happened. She looked him straight in the eyes, laid her hands on either side of his face and spoke to him.

Ti amerò per sempre.” I will love you forever.

He couldn’t take his eyes off her as she spoke.

Sei l’unico uomo che amerò mai.” You are the only man I will ever love.

Alex had lived most of his life in Europe and was fluent in Italian. He understood every word she said.

She leaned in and pressed her lips to his, provoking him to respond. Desire seized him, his fingers tangled in the silk of her hair, pulling it free from the confines of her bun. A waterfall of dark waves cascaded down her back. Their tongues danced together and for long, breathless moments, he lost himself in her kiss.

Regaining his composure, he pulled away from her luscious mouth. The woman gazed at him with the same intense love she’d directed at the painting only moments before. Her eyes, still the color of forest-green moss. He was mesmerized. A yearning flowed through him, the likes of which he’d never felt before. He wanted this woman with every fiber of his being. Shocked at his own visceral response, he let go of her and leaned back, his gaze straying to the painting of the young man. He was relieved to see the portrait had returned to “normal” and the young man’s visage was turned away once more.

The young woman turned his face back to hers. “Siamo insieme in questo,” she whispered. “Devi aiutarmi. È il nostro destino.” We are in this together. You must help me. It is our destiny.

And without another word, she got up and left, walking through the swirl of gray mist.

The gallery filled with light again, the cloud lifted and the buzz of visitors walking by filled his ears. There was nothing to indicate anything out of the ordinary had occurred.

His heart was pounding, and he got up from the floor and sat on the bench. His face felt hot and feverish. The surprise kiss had unglued him. Hell, the entire experience had unglued him. He sought to find a plausible explanation.

He hadn’t had a PTSD attack in about two years. It had taken a year of intense therapy to mitigate the effects of four deployments in Afghanistan, capped off by a compound fracture that had nearly cost him his left leg when the Humvee he was driving was blown up. He closed his eyes, breathed deeply, and focused his mind until the raging storm passed. This didn’t feel like PTSD. This was something completely different.

Inanimate objects don’t come to life. It must have been the light playing with my imagination. And the kiss? Yeah, it’s been too long… This case must be getting to me.

Want to read more?

In the spirit of The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown comes a suspense thriller that unravels an unforgettable mystery  . . .The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci by Belle Ami.

by Belle AmiOne painting, three lifetimes, 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.

Angela and art detective, Alex Caine 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 elusive 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 forcing them into the crosshairs of fate.

Amazon          Softcover          Audiobook

📚  Find Belle Ami here:  @belleami5     Website        Facebook        Bookbub


Lynn said...

Great sounding story! I can't wait to read. Thank you for being on our blog!

The Word Warrior said...

Thank you for hosting me today on The Write Way Cafe blog! It's a pleasure sharing The Girl Who Knew Da Vinci with you.
Thank you, again.
Belle Ami

The Write Way Cafe said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
HiDee said...

What a unique and interesting story! Thanks for sharing with us today, Belle!