Tag: Medici Protectorate

Revisiting #PNR Bleeding Heart

bleeding heart 600So, as promised, Monday posts in February are devoted to my romance work. Today, I’d like to take another look at Bleeding Heart, Book 1 of the Medici Protectorate series.

The idea for the series came to me from my beloved grandfather, John Naccarato. The 30th anniversary of his passing was yesterday, February 7, so I think remembering him and his legacy is a fitting thing to do right now.

When I was young, I used to sit on my grandfather’s lap and ask him to tell me stories. One that really stuck with me was of his father’s birth. My great-grandfather never met his dad. He was the illegitimate son of Italian nobility. I used to dream that someone from that family would come and take us to Italy, would recognize my family as one of their own and welcome us into their country and their lives.

I guess it was my own version of the Princess Diaries. Only my version was steeped in reality but never came to fruition.

Italian Americans

My Great-Grandmother, My Grandfather, and His Siblings

Several years later, that story of my grandfather’s heritage still lingered on my mind. I was considering different story ideas, and my kids—who I’d told the story to—told me I should I begin with that premise. It sounded like a great idea. And because my kids suggested it, I wanted them to be part of the process. They both hold black belts in TaeKwonDo, and at the time were training heavily with weapons. So the concept of unbreakable daggers was born. And because my kids loved fantasy, a magical element was thrown in.

I’m currently writing the third installment of the Medici Protectorate series. The storyworld and plots have been developed for years. (Book 2, Mind Control, is complete and with the publisher. Expected release date is May 20, 2016.) And to me, even though it’s no longer my grandfather’s heritage story, I find it to be the perfect blend between my ancestors and my children. I think my grandfather—and hopefully his father—would love it.

Here’s a brief excerpt:

It was supposed to be a soft kiss, barely a tender caress. Just enough to whet his appetite and tease hers. But when his mouth met hers, a dark desire awakened in him. He fisted his hand in her hair and pulled her to him, claiming her with a deep, passionate kiss.

So, there you have it. A never before released excerpt from Bleeding Heart. If you’d like more information, you can find it on the Bleeding Heart page. If you want to read the first chapter (plus a little more), it is available for free in the sidebar. And if you’d like to read the whole novel, you can find it at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and iBooks.

Oh, and a reminder. Type and Cross and Bleeding Heart are currently on sale, but the price will be going up after February 19. If you want them but haven’t purchased them yet, now’s your chance to get them for under a dollar a piece.

Anyway, I’d love to know what you think about Bleeding Heart, the premise, or about alchemy and powers. Let’s talk about it.

#CoverReveal—Bleeding Heart, #PNR #Romance #Novel

medici protectorateAt long last, several years in the making, the first book in the paranormal romance series that’s so near and dear to my heart is about to be published.

May 12, Lagan Press will release Book 1 of the Medici Protectorate Series, Bleeding Heart. The idea for the series began with my grandfather and the stories he told about our heritage. This is clearly a work of fiction, but because it came to be from stories of my Italian ancestry, it’s a project I’m really excited about.

Today, I’m pleased to share with you the first look at the cover.

Bleeding Heart takes place in my home state (parts even in my hometown of Vandergrift), and the cover prominently features what I think is the most beautiful skyline in the world—Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.

Here’s the back cover description:

In the heart of Pittsburgh awaits a secret nearly half a millennium in the making…

After her father’s brutal murder, Franki discovers she and her three sisters are the sole-surviving secret legacy of the Medici. The same people who brutally murdered her father now target her and her family for assassination. Unprepared to battle an unknown enemy, she finds her safety depends on the Medici Protectorate, the warriors who guarded her bloodline for centuries. The same warriors who failed to protect her father.

Gianni, Franki’s protector, blows his first meeting with her but knows he must garner the trust of not only Franki, but also her sisters. Without that, he fails, too, and that is unacceptable—not only to him but also to the Protectorate. His troubles only grow more difficult, for as he assumes his new role, he also undergoes inexplicable, explosive physical changes… transformations he can’t control. One of those is his uncontainable desire for Franki.

Their worlds collide in passion and violence, and Franki struggles to trust Gianni. When her life is on the line, he will have to conquer both her fears and his own personal demons to rescue her in time.

Here’s a brief glimpse inside:

He leaned toward her, and her breath caught. Finally, he was going to kiss her again, and put her out of her misery. Public be damned. She didn’t care if he had his way with her on the hood of her car.

They stood so close she felt his body heat through her clothes, his breath on her face. She looked up at him, and her lips parted.

And he reached behind her and opened her car door.

“Get in the car, Franki,” he said, and pushed on the top of her head.

I hope you enjoyed this sneak peak into the first installment of the Medici Protectorate Series. More is soon to follow, so stay tuned! (And if you can’t wait, go ahead and post comments below. I’ll be more than happy to talk with you about it.)

A Cross-Genre Conversation Between Characters

If you’re a regular visitor here, you know I’m a multi-genre author. (Actually, if you even glanced at the header, you know that. 😉 ) Sometimes it’s difficult marketing to different readers on the same platform, so I thought I’d do something a little different today. I’m going to introduce Royce and Vanessa (lead characters from Type and Cross, the first novel in my mainstream fiction series) to Gianni and Franki (lead characters from Bleeding Heart, the first novel in my romance series).

Maybe this will entice readers of one genre to try the other.

Maybe this will indicate similar themes in my writing, even as I work in two totally different worlds.

Maybe this will be a huge failure. (Oh well, live and learn, right?)

Without further ado, a merging of the Cathedral Lake residents and the Medici Protectorate.


Cathedral Lake 41_EmeraldEM-ViewRoyce and Vanessa packed the remains of their picnic back into the basket and folded the blanket. He took one last look at the lake, its dark water gently rippling and reflecting the clouds above on its surface. He looked over to the far shore, where families frolicked and lovers held hands. The terrain might be rockier on his side of the lake, but he’d never trade the privacy for the congestion of a flat beach.

He helped Vanessa climb the hill, and when they walked around one of the larger rocks, he almost stumbled over two people reclining at its base.

Reclining might be generous. The guy looked like he’d collapsed there. The woman fretted over him.

Royce dropped the basket and blanket to the ground and stooped down. “What happened?” He grabbed the man’s wrist, checking his pulse.

The woman batted his hand away. “Who are you? What do you want? What are you doing here?”

He recognized the signs of panic and desperation, drew on his expertise of years as an ER doctor to try to calm her even as he assessed the situation. “My name’s Royce. This is Vanessa. We were picnicking about a hundred yards that way.” He tilted his head back in the direction they’d come from. “We just came across you by accident.”

“He’s a doctor,” Vanessa said. “He can help.”

“No one sent you to find us?” the woman asked.

“No, no one sent us.” Royce reached for the man’s hand again. “I’m going to check his pulse. Can you tell me what happened?”

The woman didn’t move, but didn’t stop him that time. She shook her head, and tears formed in her eyes.

“Oh, honey,” Vanessa said. “It’s okay. It’ll be okay. Royce is the best.”

The woman squared her shoulders and wiped the tears away. “I know. Gianni will be fine. Everything is fine. You… you should go.”

“How long has—Gianni—been like this?” He was unconscious, but his pulse was strong and his coloring good. Royce couldn’t see any indication of what had caused his condition.

The woman bit her lip and stayed silent.

“What’s your name?” Vanessa asked.

She looked back and forth between the two of them and finally whispered. “Francesca. Franki.”

“Well, Franki,” Royce said. “I can’t help him if I don’t know what happened.” He took his phone out of his pocket.

“No!” Franki cried. “Not 9-1-1. No emergency people, no cops. Nobody.”

Royce looked them over carefully. The man wore boots, jeans, and a t-shirt, but they all looked like expensive brands… designer, and not knock-offs. The woman had on yoga pants, sneakers, and an old football jersey. Nothing about either of them said “Dangerous Criminal.” On the contrary, they looked like nice, normal folks. But something was wrong.

He swiped up on his phone screen to access the control center and touched the flashlight icon. Then he showed her the LED light glowing. “Not calling anyone. Just checking his pupils.” When he reached for Gianni’s eyelid, the man shook and jumped to his feet in front of Franki, knocking Royce back. He stood there, one arm out protecting her, the other searching for something behind him.

Royce had never seen anyone move so quickly, particularly someone so large. He scrambled to his feet and pulled Vanessa behind him. Nothing nice and normal about them, now. Everything about the guy screamed “Dangerous,” from his aggressive stance to his rapid, fighter-like movements.

“Gianni, right?” Royce asked. Vanessa’s nails dug into his arms even as he held them out in a we’re-not-your-enemies gesture.

Gianni pulled Franki further behind him. The muscles in his other arm flexed. He must have found what he was looking for. Royce didn’t want to know what that was. “Yeah. What’s it to you?”

“Yeah,” he said. “What’s it to you?”

“My name is Royce. I’m a doctor. My wife and I stumbled across you while we were walking to our car. I was trying to tend to you wounds, but I couldn’t find any. Want to tell me what happened? You might need to go to the ER.”

“I don’t need anything. I’m fine. Fast healer.”

Franki touched his arm and he bent down to let her whisper in his ear. He never took his eyes off Royce and Vanessa. When she finished talking to him, she stepped out from behind him. Gianni didn’t relax, but he shifted his gaze to her.

“I’m afraid we owe you an apology. You were just trying to help, and I think we scared you.”

Vanessa stepped out from behind Royce. When he went to shield her again, she batted him away. Holding out her hand to Gianni, she said, “I’m Vanessa. Nice to meet you.”

Gianni looked at her hand and glanced at Franki, then his whole body seemed to relax. He fiddled behind him for a second, then smiled, lighting up his features. Then he took her hand. “The pleasure is ours. I can just imagine what you must be thinking. My apologies. It’s just that Francesca is my responsibility, and—”

“Oh, give it a rest. I’m a person, not a job.” She shook Royce’s hand. “Thank you for trying to help us. I’m sorry I wasn’t more agreeable. But a girl can’t be too careful these days.”

“So, a doctor, huh?” Gianni asked and looked Royce over.

“ER,” he said.

“Chief of Emergency Medicine at Oakland Regional,” Vanessa said.

“Former Chief.” Royce shot her a pointed stare, which she didn’t seem to notice.

“Former? Are you retired?” Gianni asked.

“No, not retired.” He saw Gianni stiffen, recognized he’d better offer more information before things took an unnecessary, ugly turn. “We had a tragedy in the family recently. I’m taking a break, reassessing my future.”

Gianni continued to stare at him, while Franki said, “I’m sorry to hear that. I hope you find what you’re looking for. Family tragedies really make you think about the future…” Her voice trailed off, and Gianni put his arm around her. Tears welled in her eyes again.

“Are you okay?” Vanessa asked.

She nodded.

“Look,” Gianni said. “We got off on the wrong foot, and for that, I’m sorry. But in all honestly, I’m not sure it’s even safe for you to be seen with us right now.” He started to turn away.

Vanessa touched his arm. “Are you all right? Can we help?”

Royce didn’t know that he wanted to be involved with a weepy woman and a barbarian of a man who basically flat-out stated they were a danger to be around, but he admired Vanessa for asking. No one ever offered them assistance when they most needed it. Leave it to her to remember how lonely that felt and try to help.

Again he smiled at her, but this time the warmth didn’t reach his eyes. “That’s kind of you to ask. But we have help. We just need to get home.”

“I have a first aid kit in my car,” Royce said and scanned him head to toe. “You’re welcome to any bandages or—”

“Thanks, but I’m fine.” Gianni said. “Like I said, I’m a fast healer.”

“You’re sure you’re okay?” Vanessa asked.

“You’ve been very kind,” Franki said. “Thank you. We won’t forget it.” And they turned and walked away.

It didn’t escape Royce’s notice that Gianni’s shirt was untucked in the back, and there was some kind of bulge under it. He couldn’t help but feel like they dodged a bullet. Maybe literally. He didn’t stop looking after them until they made it to the tree line.

“Do you think they’ll be okay?” Vanessa asked.

He shook his head. “I don’t know. Nothing seemed to be wrong with him, once he gained consciousness. Wonder why he passed out.”

“I don’t mean that. I mean what he said about being seen with them was dangerous. Someone must be after them. Or her, at least. He said his job was to protect her.”

Royce shrugged. “I don’t know.”

“I think there’s more there than bodyguard-client. Maybe if—”

He looked at her. “Really? Matchmaking now for perfect strangers? Potentially dangerous strangers? Let it go, Ness.”

“I think they’re going to make it.”

Royce scooped up his phone, the picnic basket, and the blanket. “I think we’re going to make it.”

She smiled and kissed him. “As soon as we get home.” She winked and headed up the hill toward their car. “Race you!”

It surprised him that she scuttled so quickly up the rocky terrain, but then again, she was motivated. And so was he. So he scrambled up the hill after her, thoughts already on the evening activities her comment promised.


Type and Cross, Book One of the Cathedral Lake Series, is a  Foyle Press book and is available for purchase now.
For more information, visit the Type and Cross page on this site.

Bleeding Heart, Book One of the Medici Protectorate Series, is a Lagan Press book and will be available this spring.
For more information, visit the Bleeding Heart page on this site.

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