Today I’m highlighting author Edale Lane’s latest release, Merchants of Milan, the first title in the Night Flyer series. Make certain you read to the end, folks, because there’s a giveaway at the bottom of the post you can enter.
Publisher: Past and Prologue Press
Format: Paperback, eBook
Word Count: 72,000
Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa
Genres: Historical fiction, historical romance, alternative history, action, intrigue, steampunkish
Pairings: FF is primary front and center with a secondary MF romance
Tropes: overcome class differences, employer-employee trap, hide relationship from society, potentially a love triangle, attraction between intellectual and beautiful
Keywords/Categories: Renaissance, Leonardo da Vinci, vendetta, vigilante, secret identity, love, artists, trade, Italian wars, political intrigue
Series Title: Night Flyer
Position (Number) in Series: First
Warnings: reference to an off-scene rape, fighting violence
Book Blurb: Three powerful merchants, two independent women in love, one masked vigilante.
Florentina, set on revenge for her father’s murder, creates an alter-ego known as the Night Flyer. Madelena, whose husband was also murdered, hires Florentina as a tutor for her children and love blossoms between them. However, Florentina’s vendetta is fraught with danger, and surprising developments threaten both women’s lives.
Merchants of Milan is the first book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like gadgets and gismos, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and fast-paced action with a slow-boil lesbian romance, then you are sure to love this series. Buy this one of a kind novel today and let the adventure begin!
Non-Exclusive Excerpt: In the next instant Maddie placed a caressing hand to her face, leaned in, and kissed her. Although she had been anticipating this very possibility for hours, it came on her as swift and unforeseen as a summer storm. The sensual heat of those urgent lips melded to hers ignited something deep within Florentina’s core that sprung to life for the very first time and exploded throughout her being, a sensation so phenomenal, so novel that she had no context in which to place it. Breathless, her mind went totally blank, and she simply savored the moment.
When Madelena withdrew she whispered, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to overstep.”
“Sorry?” Florentina’s heart sank and her head spun. How could she be sorry? “Why? I’m not.”
“You’re not?” Maybe Maddie was as uncertain as she, as overcome with raw emotion and not knowing how to express it. “It’s just that–and I have contemplated this–with me being your employer and all, I don’t want you to expect you must do something you aren’t comfortable with. I would never pressure you-”
It was Florentina’s turn to be impulsive. She silenced Maddie by repeating the gesture, tasting again those full, cherry lips that flooded her mind, body, and soul with sensations. When it broke, they gazed into each other’s eyes looking for confirmation. “I understand I am only a servant in your household.”
“Don’t say that!” Maddie replied firmly. “That is not how I view you. Please, Fiore. How can I explain?”
The earlier butterflies began to settle in Florentina’s stomach and the fog of trepidation evaporate. She could perceive that the beautiful wealthy widow did regard her with esteem, did have feelings for her. This was not a mere dalliance she realized. “I care for you also,” she spoke softly and stroked Maddie’s luxurious strands. “Do not think you press me to do something I have not wanted to do since the moment I first saw you.”
Relief engulfed Madelena’s expression, and she brushed her cheek to Florentina’s then nuzzled her neck with moist, eager lips. A euphoric sigh escaped Fiore’s mouth at the intimate touch and she pulled Maddie closer. When their lips found each other’s again she opened to the honey-sweet tongue that was impatient to delve into it. Without willing them to do so, she realized her fingers were wound in those silky red strands while her other hand slid down Madelena’s back as far as the bench would allow. She could perceive her heartbeat against her own heated breast. This is what she had dreamt of and it surpassed her expectations. All she wanted to do was touch, caress, explore, and please this singular woman. Even as she was rendered breathless from the physical passion, her heart was telling her head that what she felt was far more, endlessly deeper. It was a very dangerous cavern, a bottomless pit that could spell her doom; she was falling in love.
Madelena realized she was making a mistake. She had acquired a good tutor for her children and a new friend to share meaningful experiences with, but a romantic affair? Where could that possibly lead? What would her brother think or do when he found out, and she knew he would, eventually. Hadn’t she lived a well-disciplined life? Could she not control her desires for more than a few weeks?
As her mind was blaring at her all the reasons to say no, her heart had been pleading an opposing case. Yes, she had found a teacher and a friend, but in Florentina she had discovered abundantly more. She was interesting, witty, talented, intuitive, and compassionate. She opened whole new worlds to the widow whose entire education was meant only to prepare her to be a merchant’s wife. For the past six months she had felt lost, as if she had no place and no purpose. She had helped Alessandro with the bookkeeping and personal relations with customers, but she had also spent her nights alone speculating on what the future may hold for her. She still could not answer that question, but she had spoken honestly when she said that Fiore made her feel real and alive. Since growing closer to the dark-haired inventor’s daughter she had begun to experience so many things. And today–today had likely been the best day of her twenty-eight years on this earth! Then the emotion of sharing her story, it was just all too much to expect her to maintain self-control. But now that she had initiated this passionate encounter, what would she do next?
Presently, she drew back from those sultry lips trying to regain some restraint. “Have you ever been with a woman before?” she asked to fill the silence.
Florentina shook her head. “If you mean sexually, I am quite inexperienced with anyone, male or female. Years ago when Cesare told me he was attracted to men, I mentioned that I was more drawn to women. I didn’t think he’d ever say anything; it’s not like we talked about it much, but now,” she paused casting starry eyes at Maddie, “I’m glad he did.”
She smiled and stroked Florentina’s cheek. “So am I.”
“I know you have experience,” she noted. “So, what do we do next?”
What indeed! Madelena considered. “Take one step at a time. May I suggest we try to get some sleep and take a night to process it all? I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed at the moment.”
“You’re overwhelmed?” Fiore laughed. “I’m not certain my legs will carry me upstairs!”
Maddie hesitated to move, as the tug of an invisible cord was drawing her back to her newfound treasure. Neither was Florentina was moving away. One more kiss and you must move. Give both of us time to think. She touched her lips to Fiore’s and closed her eyes. What makes one kiss a sloppy flop and another a driving, sensuous pleasure? Is it one’s mental perception or a physical current that connects two individuals who are similarly charged? I can feel the energy pass between her and I unlike any other before.
“I shall see you in the morning.” She released Florentina and pushed herself to her feet with a sheer force of will. Florentina followed saying her good-nights and Madelena closed the bedroom door behind her as she left. Alone once more, she glanced around her empty chamber and wished her lover could have stayed all night.
Unique Post Provided by Author: The World According to Betta
My name is Betta Carcano and I’m five years old. I live in a big house with my brother, Matteo, Mama, Uncle Alessandro and his family, and servants… but I still have to pick up my toys, make my bed, and wipe up anything I spill. Matteo spills more than I do.
Everyone was sad when Papa died. Mama said she didn’t know what to do, then she remembered that she helps Uncle Ally with the business. She writes lots of numbers on pages and talks to people. The people like talking to Mama best because she is so pretty! I’m pretty too, only her hair is red and mine is sunshine blonde. Her eyes are the color of summer leaves and mine are blue like the sky. Mama says I’ll be a beautiful donna one day!
Livia is supposed to take care of us; her job is… governess, but she isn’t very good at it. She never plays with us and gets lost a lot. But we have a new tutor–Florentina. She knows EVERYTHING! Florentina is very nice and smiles a lot and tells us how smart and well behaved we are. Matteo can read and write more words, but I’m better behaved. I love my brother; he’s my best friend, but he thinks because he’s older and bigger that he’s better at everything. When there’s something I’m better at, I have to speak up! Sometimes my cousin Pollonia plays with me but she’s a lot older and goes to some special girls’ school. I really like Florentina; she gives us presents and lets us wear our play clothes to lessons because sometimes we go outside to study nature or get our exercise.
Mama and Florentina are friends, too. Sometimes at night when we are supposed to be asleep, Florentina goes to visit Mama in her room. Sometimes we all go on outings together. One time we went to see a HUGE painting on a wall called the Last Supper. Jesus was in it. This guy named Leonardo painted it and everyone says he’s the pinnacle. Then we ate at a café and flew kites in the piazza. It was a wonderful day! I want to be like Florentina when I grow up, except more girly. She climbed a tree once to get our kite down in her skirts and everything! I just love Florentina! I wish she could live with us forever.
Oh yeah, and there’s this guy called the Night Flyer who wears all black and has wings, but he’s still a person. I haven’t seen him yet but Mama and my cousin Bernardo have. He steals from Don Benetto and gives the money to people in the street. Don Benetto is mean and yells a lot and we don’t like him. Mama calls him a “rat’s bastard.” I don’t know what that means, but it’s probably bad. Only my oldest cousin Antonio likes Agnese, and she’s Don Benetto’s daughter. He won’t let her talk to Antonio because he doesn’t like us either. Mama says the Night Flyer is a vigil… a viga… ante… someone who isn’t really a bad guy but people just think he is because he wears a mask.
My Uncle Alessandro is the head of the House. He’s also REALLY tall! It’s funny because Aunt Portia is so tiny. No one messes with him, but he doesn’t yell like Don Benetto. He says if people respect you, you don’t have to yell; they will just listen even if you are very, very quiet. People respect Uncle Ally. He sells things like silk and wool and cloth and all those kind of things and makes LOTS of money.
We all live in Milan–that’s the richest city in the whole, wide world! Florentina showed it to us on a map and it looked really small, but to walk or ride around in a carriage it is REALLY big. And there are so many people–people everywhere, and then more people. Sometimes the grown-ups talk about a war, but there’s no fighting near the city so we’re safe as a bank on the moon.
We go to mass, sometimes at one of the big cathedrals if it’s special, but usually at a chapel close to our house. Afterward, Mama sits around and chats so Matteo and I can play with the other children. Sometimes Uncle Ally doesn’t go because he works a lot and travels and stuff.
Uh-oh, someone’s calling me. It’s just about dinner time and I have to go wash up. Matteo gets way dirtier than me, but I always wash up because you’re supposed to even if you can’t see the dirt. Anyway, that’s the story of my family!
Author Bio: 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.
In 2019 Melodie founded Past and Prologue Press. Please visit her website.
Author Website: https://www.pastandprologuepress.lpages.co
Author Facebook (Personal): https://www.facebook.com/melodie.romeo
Author Facebook (Author Page): https://www.facebook.com/EdaleLane/
Author Twitter: @EdaleLane
Author Instagram: melodieromeo
Author Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/15264354.Edale_Lane
Author Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Edale-Lane/e/B07GRFPDRZ
Giveaway: Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour. For a chance to win, enter via Rafflecopter.