Bella Natale! A Florentine Christmas Romance by Marianne Evans
Ashley Coratini is bucking her family, and the odds, by embracing the chance to pursue a dream. Her grandmother has given her the gift of a three-week trip to Florence, Italy where she’s determined to immerse herself in the world of art and explore the gifts God has given her.
Widower Luca DeRosa owns and operates a premiere art gallery at the heart of Florence: L’arte Della Vita. He’s just over a year away from turning forty, but doesn’t mind the milestone. He enjoys a life spent raising his five-year-old son and scouting artistic talent.
During a walk across the Arno River via the Ponte Vecchio, he comes upon Ashley. At once he’s captivated by her artistic skills and fluid grace. From her first meeting with Luca, Ashley’s dreams take off at high velocity
But as love blooms, questions mount. Will Ashley embrace her gifts and a life in Italy that’s worlds different than the one waiting for her back in America? Can Luca trust his heart and instincts enough to embrace the love of a vibrant young woman whose spirit speaks to him so deeply?
What comes next when the dreams that they’ve dared to dream really might come true…?
When the dreams that you dare to dream really do come true…
The first thing Luca DeRosa noticed about the stranger was her hands. Perched just below him, on a ledge of the Ponte Vecchio, a waifish, brunette stroked swift, confident lines across the surface of a wire-bound sketch pad centered across her lap. Fluid grace punctuated the way she crafted a scene of the Arno, bringing her vision to life with a level of detail and eloquence that pulled him to stay put and absorb. Engrossed, she paused infrequently, just long enough to give brief study the world around her—the inward roll of fat, moisture-laden clouds, the dancing spikes of sunlight that intermittently pierced the cover of gray—before returning to her drawing.
What a gift.
The three words sounded through his spirit like a gong, eliciting a craving, the tantalizing curves of a wistful dream…
The creationist that had always resided in Luca’s soul admired the woman’s skill. Ever a tactile person, he continued to watch the way she used the tips of long, slender fingers to blend and shade. Her gentle strokes evoked a responsive warmth that built at his chest and flowed through his gut—launching the kind of intrigue and hunger only a fellow artist would truly understand, for the hunger he felt wasn’t merely physical, it seeped through the farthest reaches of his senses in a call that left behind an empty ache. A longing.
That fact alone should have prompted him to a hard pull-back from a reckless topple into attraction. Hadn’t his heart just been extracted with nothing more than a blunt spoon? Hadn’t he just traded one hope, one dream, for another?
Luc blinked, regrouped, and took a deep breath of cold air spiced by the promise of a December snow to come. Forecasters projected a blanket of white would soon cover the cobbled streets, slated rooftops and dormant balconies of Florence. He refocused when the artist stood, carefully, since her perch was somewhat narrow and precarious. She lifted onto the wide cement rail that served as a lookout post along this particular stretch of Florence’s most historic and storied bridge.
When she swung her legs over, Luc ignored an instinct to withdraw and instead stepped forward.
Takes you to the heart of Italy. Ashley goes on what should be a short visit. A chance meeting gives her all she's ever wanted and more.
Another wonderful read from Ms Evans that leaves you breathless and wanting more.