Exclusive Excerpt of From Sand and Ash
Clothes clung to limbs, black hair to burnished cheeks, and they tumbled, laughing, into the shack, the damp walls and the earthy darkness making the space feel more like a medieval dungeon used for torture than a respite from the storm.
Eva picked up the pole in one hand and tossed Angelo the net, and within moments they were quarreling once more as they fenced, saying things like “En guarde,” and “feel my wrath,” and “take that, fool!”
Eva made the mistake of lunging too deep and Angelo easily swiped her “sword” away.
“Surrender, Knave!” he said with a sneering twist of his lips. His black curls were clinging to his forehead and his blue eyes danced with Eva as she sashayed around him, pretending she was a skilled swordsman. She was laughing and relaxed, the old Eva, and his heart softened as he looked into her grinning face.
She sensed the shift in his attention and she feinted, as if to kneel, only to step forward and grab at his arm, pivoting as if to throw him over her shoulder in a move that was more ancient wrestling than fencing. He dropped his net and pulled her against him aggressively, her back to his chest, his forearm resting firmly beneath her breasts, one large hand wrapped around her rib cage.
He had meant for it to be part of the game. Clearly he hadn’t thought. His body hugged hers from his chest to his thighs, her hair brushed his face, her female scent tickled his nose, and his mouth was poised at the silky whorl of her ear, ready to demand her surrender.
They stood frozen for several long seconds, locked in the strange embrace, eyes closed, mouths slightly open, trying to breathe without movement, without sound, and growing lightheaded in the attempt. Eva’s hands had risen to Angelo’s arm when he pulled her to him, and she stood motionless against him, her hands gripping the hard length that held her hostage. She didn’t dare say his name, didn’t dare utter a sound. Surely it would break the spell. Then she felt his lips move ever-so-softly against the lobe of her ear, skim the uppermost edge of her jaw, then travel back again. Eva resisted the sweet shudder that slid down her spine, but Angelo felt the tremor and his lips left her skin. But he didn’t pull away or loosen his arm.
Eva slowly turned her head, feeling his breath mark a path across her cheek as she raised her face and lifted her chin. Then it was her breath tickling his cheek and warming his lips. Again they paused, muscles tensed, straining to feel everything, to miss nothing, and still not cross any lines. Their eyes stayed closed as they neared that line, stood toe to toe, and then stepped over it, into each other.
Synopsis and Purchase Link
As children, Eva Rosselli and Angelo Bianco were raised like family but divided by circumstance and religion. As the years go by, the two find themselves falling in love. But the church calls to Angelo and, despite his deep feelings for Eva, he chooses the priesthood.
Now, more than a decade later, Angelo is a Catholic priest and Eva is a woman with nowhere to turn. With the Gestapo closing in, Angelo hides Eva within the walls of a convent, where Eva discovers she is just one of many Jews being sheltered by the Catholic Church.
But Eva can’t quietly hide, waiting for deliverance, while Angelo risks everything to keep her safe. With the world at war and so many in need, Angelo and Eva face trial after trial, choice after agonizing choice, until fate and fortune finally collide, leaving them with the most difficult decision of all.