The Alice Series #2
Angel of Time
by E. Graziani
Alice Ferro didn’t travel 500 years into the past to save her soulmate from persecution only to discover her journey had been in vain. Forced to return from 1512 Italy to 2029 Boston without him, she can’t focus on family, school, or friends as thoughts of Claudio constantly flood her mind. When she discovers her love’s future is dire, Alice decides she must return to the past to save him once and for all.
With a little help from her friends and a lot of determination, Alice sets off to rescue Claudio. Unfortunately, she hadn’t planned on things going so terribly wrong, and she soon finds her own life in peril.
Written with charm and intelligence, the sequel to Alice of the Rocks encompasses everything you could want in a young adult, time-travel romance. Adventure, true love, intrigue, and dynamic characters fill the pages alongside the elegant landscape of Renaissance Italy.
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Excerpt Coming Soon
“My phone has a new function—it’s taking a 3D shot of everything around it—including us...voice and everything.”
Gracefully, Ali backed away from the little device and sat down beside Claudio. “Smile!” she ordered, placing her cheek against his to pose for the video. “It plays back in high-res 3D—it’s awesome,” she added proudly. Claudio, a broad smile on his face, took her slender wrist and stood, pulling her to her feet.
“Well, we cannot just sit here then, let us see what it can do...come on. Dance with me.” He took her hands in his and improvised a loud song, singing uninhibitedly off-key as he stepped forward, left and right, guiding her in his spontaneous dance. Alice laughed without reservation. His silly steps were totally out of character—she was pleasantly surprised at Claudio’s openness and ease around her.
“Right now, big finale—” He scooped her up with a final swaying motion and dipped her gracefully, guiding her arms and holding her tightly at the waist. Lifting her back up with no effort, he kissed her hand, his eyes never leaving hers. Ali’s world stopped for an instant. She allowed herself the pleasure of gazing into his eyes and then broke contact, walking briskly to retrieve the device.
With an abrupt wavy click, the image stopped transmission.
Alice Ferro stared at the blank room around her—she reached over to her device and pressed the hologram control again as she swallowed the lump in her throat.
“My device has a new function...”
Ali watched the hologram again and again, losing herself in the one minute and forty-seven-second recording. Sitting, with her knees gathered up under her chin, she smiled wistfully at the transmission. “Right now, big finale—” This is my favorite part. He looks unbearably beautiful, too beautiful for words.
Their images undulated and then faded again.
Ali scooped up her phone, minimized it, and placed it back on her bedside table. Zombie-like, she walked to her desk, rummaged vaguely through the drawers for something, and pulled out a black, hardcover journal, beat up and worn. Ali’s journal had been her best friend on days when she couldn’t talk to anyone else. So many doubts and feelings were swirling around inside, and she needed to express them before she either lost her mind or burst. She had no one else to turn to because what happened to her last summer was...impossible.
Ali poked around further and discovered a thin-tipped marker. With her eyes downcast, she walked to her bed, settled onto it, and opened the book. She poised her pen over the first page, and began to write—carefully at first, then progressing to a furious pace—her hand unable to keep up with her brain.
Even though she and Claudio had only been together for two weeks, she had a lifetime of emotions stored up inside her. She should have known that it was a doomed relationship from the beginning. As much as she ached for him, there was no alternative to their end.
Yet, she couldn’t stop wondering what had become of him. Maybe, one day, she would have the courage to research Count Claudio Moro—just to make sure he was even real in the first place—but not now. The hurt was still too much, still too raw.
Ali lifted the marker off the page. Sticking it between her teeth, she flipped the pages back and forth to check over what she had written—a habit that had been fixed firmly into her by her English teachers.
Ali closed the book, placed it beside her on the bed with the pen resting on top, and flopped down, her face emotionless, staring at the ceiling. The gnawing feeling in her stomach was back. Every time she allowed herself to think of him, it came back. She walked into his love with her heart wide open, and now grief and despair tore at it piece by piece.
She turned her head. Outside her window, the maple tree swayed in the late summer breeze. September—ugh!
There was already a crisp nip in the air at night, and before long the leaves would turn their brilliant autumn colors—a last valiant show before the drab nakedness of winter. The last of the humid heat, reminiscent of the Tuscan climate and the endless summer rides on the Vespa, would fade, leaving only the cold and snow. Slowly, she rolled herself up into a ball and lay sideways on her bed, staring at the lazy waving maple, reliving the pain of that final scene.
Alice shot up, startled. Her mother stood at the door to her bedroom, looking impatient and annoyed.
“Oh my gosh!” Alice put her hand to her heart. “Can you make a little noise before creeping up on me like that?”
“Creeping up on you?” Barbara’s brows were furrowed, an incredulous look on her handsome face. “I called you three times from downstairs! When I come up here to check on you, I find you rolled up in a fetal position on your bed. Didn’t you hear me?” Her Italian accent thickened as it always did when she became agitated. Barbara sat herself down on the edge of the bed and gently cupped Ali’s chin in her hand. Her tone softened. “What’s wrong? You look as though you’ve lost your best friend.”
Ali sighed and remained silent. The words to describe what she was feeling hadn’t been invented yet.
“Ever since you came back from Italy, you’ve done nothing but languish around the house. Half the time you don’t even answer your phone. You don’t go out with your friends, and I would be surprised if you’ve seen Caleb more than once or twice since you’ve been home. Not that I’m pushing you to see him or anything—he seems too perfect to me, but...talk to me, sweetheart.”
“I’m sorry, Mamma.” Her attempt at a smile produced a grimace instead. “Maybe it’s just the letdown after a great trip. You know, back at school, the same routine.” She didn’t look directly at Barbara. “Don’t worry. I’m fine.”
“Really?” Barbara asked again, gently squeezing her chin and turning her back around so that she could see Ali’s eyes.
“Really,” Ali repeated. Her eyes widened, and her head exaggeratedly bobbed up and down. “Stop worrying! Hey, what’s for dinner?” That’ll change the topic fast enough, thought Ali.
Barbara’s beautiful smile slowly crept back on her face. “One of your favorites,” she answered, “stuffed peppers. Now come downstairs and eat—don’t stay up here by yourself a minute longer. Papa and I have to leave soon to meet Doctor Spencer and his wife for dinner.”
Barbara rose and walked to the door, but hesitated for a moment, her hand resting on the doorjamb as if deliberating on whether to continue her stride. When she turned around, her eyes paused briefly on the journal and then met Ali’s gaze. “Ali, there is something I need to ask. Did anything unusual happen over there? With that boy?” Her mother’s head had that familiar angle to it—the suspicious angle.
Ali gulped and wondered what Leda told her.
“Mom, really, stop worrying,” Ali reassured her with a grin. “Nothing happened, and I’m okay. Just hungry and tired.”
“Good. I’d better see you eat more than a sparrow’s share of the food tonight.” Barbara grinned back. With a fluid movement, she turned and headed to the stairs.
Slowly, Ali got to her feet and grabbed the journal from her bed. As she walked to her closet, she thought of what her mother said about Caleb. Barbara was right—she was totally avoiding him. She had to make things right. Caleb had been good to her and deserved to know the truth. Inasmuch as Ali felt she had betrayed him, she realized that because she fell so easily for Claudio, her feelings for Caleb must not have been genuine to begin with.
She stuffed the journal under some sweaters high up on one of the shelves in her closet and turned to make her way downstairs. As she walked by her dresser, she glanced at her reflection from the ornately filigreed princess mirror above it.
“Well, Ali,” she mumbled to her reflection, “you talked your way out of a death sentence—you should be brave enough to break up with Caleb.”