What happens when two women, five hundred years apart, switch places?
As an archeologist, my life is spent uncovering mysteries from the past. Each year spent digging in the dirt fuels my dream to find something that will change my life.
And then it happens—that life changing event I never imagined could be true. Somehow I ended up five hundred years in the past. Lost Within a world I only read about in history books.
Every moment is spent unraveling this mystery and trying to go home. But there’s a snag. I just might fall for the man I’m supposed to marry. The question now is once I figure out how to get back home, will I want to?
I thought I had rid myself of it. I was certain my unexpected journeys through time were over. I was wrong, and now the unthinkable has happened. Again. This time though, I did not cause it.
I ended up five hundred years in the future. Lost Within a world I don’t recognize. My fate and return home lie in the hands of the woman whose life I now lead, and all I can do is wait.
Every moment is spent confused and longing for home. But there is a problem. Two men valiantly fight for my heart, and I might just fall for one or both of them before this is all over. The question now is once I have the chance to go home, will I want to?
Lost Within – A modern love story with a twist.
“Lucia,” Caterina calls. “Cosimo is here.”
A heavy sigh escapes my lips. Time to meet the man who will be my husband tomorrow. “Be right down, mother.”
Magdalena pinches my cheeks to give them color and fusses over my hair. “You look lovely.”
“How should I act? Will I be nice? Or cold? Or warm?”
She creases her brow. “Lucia is always polite. She will smile and let him take her hand. He will take you to the garden. You are allowed to go alone.”
“Because papa knows you do not love him. He knows Cosimo will not make advances, and if he did, you would not allow it. Your honor is safe.”
“Ah. Well that’s the good part at least.” I tilt my head. “Does Cosimo know Lucia doesn’t love him?”
She shrugs. “I have no idea.”
I nod, and then force a smile to my lips. “Here goes nothing.”
“What does that mean?”
“It’s just a saying.”
“You have a lot of those. Good luck.”
After taking a deep breath, I sweep the bottom of my dress up enough to allow a safe descent down the stairwell. As I near the front room, I see the back of a man’s head. He’s very tall with thick black hair. His clothes make me smile, like something out of a historical romance, which is exactly what my life has become. His blue velvet trousers fall only to his knee where they button. The remainder of his legs are covered in a similar colored material, and on his feet are shiny black shoes. His upper body is clothed in a type of jacket that matches the pants with a white collar that wraps around his neck. Around his waist is a thick belt. He looks exactly as I would expect of a sixteenth century gentleman.
When the parents’ eyes shift to me, Cosimo turns around, and my mouth falls open slightly. I don’t know what ugly means in Renaissance Italy, but this man is far from meeting that description. He is… well, he’s gorgeous. He watches me with piercing dark eyes as I study his face and finish stepping down the last few steps. He has strong features, but they come together nicely. Full lips, a classic Italian nose, lush hair. He reminds me of…
He bows slightly toward me. “Good day, Lucia. You look lovely as always.” His voice is deep and rich. It warms me like drinking a full bodied wine. His Italian is proper, elegant, sexy. I swallow slowly as I continue my approach.
He extends his hand so I take it and he places a soft kiss on it. I smile. “Thank you, Cosimo. I hope you are well.”
“I am always well in your presence.”
As he stands upright again my eyes follow his height. He has broad shoulders and amazing posture. I don’t know what to say next so I look to my pretend parents for guidance.
“Lucia dear,” the mother says. “Why not take Cosimo to see the roses blooming in the garden?”
“Yes. Would you like to walk to the garden with me?”
He puts his arm out for me to take and I do, recalling everything I’ve read about sixteenth century courtship. I should be demure, submissive, delicate – three things I am definitely not. We walk out to the garden and sit on a bench. Cosimo seems nervous, fidgeting and wringing his hands a bit. I decide it’s best at this point to let him lead the conversation.
After a moment of silence, he speaks. “Are you as excited as I for our union?”
Totes getting there. “Yes, of course. I am also nervous, but I will do my best.”
“You do not have to do or be anything more than you are.” He takes my hand in his swallowing hard. “I hope someday you will love me. I will work hard for your affection. I know I might not seem like the best choice, but I will be good to you.”
He’s so sweet. “Do you love me, Cosimo?”
“Oh, yes, my darling. I have loved you for a year now.”
“Since we started our walks alone in the garden. I feel like I have come to know you well in that time.”
“What are your hopes for our marriage?”
He smiles sweetly. “I hope to be a good husband to you. To bring a smile to your face when you see me. I hope we have children, strong, healthy children, and that we grow old in each other’s arms. I hope that you will know in your heart that you are so treasured and loved and wanted.” He lifts my hands and places a firm kiss on them. “I do so desire you, my darling, Lucia. I hope you will desire me as well.”
I smile, averting my eyes like I should. “Would you like to kiss me?”
His eyes open wide. “I would, but it is not proper.”
A smile tugs at his lips. “You have never offered before. Why now when our wedding is so near?”
I half shrug. “Just seemed like it might be nice.” I cup his cheek. “What difference would it make now? I will be your wife by this time tomorrow.”
“This is quite a shift. A happy shift.”
I lean a little closer and whisper, “Do you want to?”
“I have always wanted to.”
“Then you may.”
Our mouths move close until they touch. His lips press against mine, softly at first, but then firmer as his hands slide down my arms. He keeps his lips closed even when I slightly part mine. Slowly, he pulls back, kisses me once more, then sits upright. That was a pretty good kiss.
“I am honored, Lucia. Thank you. I look forward to many more kisses.”
“You are terribly sweet, Cosimo.” I smile. “Will we go away for a honeymoon?”
He tilts his head, narrowing his eyes. “You did not wish it. Have you changed your mind?”
“What would we do if we did not go away?”
“My hope is we would consummate our union in our marital bed tomorrow evening. From there, I was planning to allow you to decide.”
“And if we did go away, where would we go?”
“To my family estate in Siena. We would have it for a week to ourselves. I can arrange for it if you would like it so.”
Hmm, holed up in a Tuscan house with this pretty hot guy for a week? “I would like it so.”
A gorgeous smile spreads across his lips. “I am so pleased. I thought, perhaps, you did not find me attractive. I had hoped over time you would warm to me.”
I feel a little sad for him. If only he knew I am not the woman he thinks I am. What a shock it will be when Lucia comes back. “It is a big change when a woman marries. It has taken me some time to adjust to the idea of leaving my family and my relative independence. It was not a slight to you.”
“You will have your independence. I love that about you. You have your own mind and thoughts. You read and we can talk about things. You can pursue anything you wish. All I ask of you is your fidelity and the possibility of children.”
“Of course. Those are quite reasonable requests.” Crap. I can’t get pregnant here. As it is, things are a little wonky since thanks to all of this, I had to stop my birth control pills mid-cycle. “Would you consider allowing me to wait until my next birthday?”
“Oh.” His face falls a bit. “I have waited this long. What is a few more months?”
“You are so gracious. Thank you, Cosimo.”
He smiles, brushing his thumb across my cheek. “You are beautiful, Lucia. The most stunning woman in all of Florence. It is you that is gracious to accept my love and my name. I will care for you until my dying breath.”
I wonder if she knew he loved her like this. He’s not old at all. At twenty-nine, he’s only four years older than me, but to Lucia, he’s twelve years older. Of course in my time, a guy nearly thirty dating a girl still seventeen is illegal in most states, but you got to get things going in the sixteenth century. Short life expectancy and all that.
“I will do my best to be a good wife to you.”
“I have no doubt.”
He starts to stand, but I tug his arm. “Do you want to kiss me again?”
I nod. “Please.”
Our lips meet once more, and when I press against him, Cosimo sighs against my mouth and holds me tight. There is a whole lot of passion simmering underneath the surface of this proper gentleman, and I have a feeling it’s all boiling over tomorrow.
From contemporary romance author, Jennifer Domenico, comes a different kind of love story.
Writing as Jaelyn La Storia, the author spins stories that combine her love for the past with the reality of the present. Her debut new adult novel, Lost Within, is scheduled to release September 15, 2017. She is represented by Lady Amber’s PR for promotional opportunities.
Jaelyn La Storia. Because history is sexy.
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