Gladly Beyond by Nichole Van An ancient curse, fractured at the birth of three brothers. Two strangers helplessly drawn to each other. A love story two hundred years in the making. Claire Raythorn arrives in Florence, Italy, shattered, alone, and anxious to rebuild her life—preferably one without men. But she soon finds herself hunted and haunted— literally—when a mysterious stalker dressed like Mr. Darcy from BBC central casting appears in her photos. And only her photos. Who is this man? And what does his ghostly presence mean? Dante D’Angelo simply wants to safeguard his brothers, despite the family curse that hounds his vision. But then Claire Raythorn walks into his life, untouched somehow by his curse. Soon, everything Dante thought he knew about himself starts to unravel, dragging Claire down with him. Set against the lush backdrop of Florence, Italy—both past and present—Claire and Dante fight for a future together. But, first, they must uncover their shared past . . . The thing I like about Van's writing is that she builds up the love between hero and heroine in plausible increments. I think that's why I always end up reading her novels in one sitting until the early morning hours; I know that in the NEXT scene the characters are going to finally realize their love. But then you get to the next scene and you simply want more and more. And I mean that in the best possible way. I’ve always thought Italian cities are like guys I knew in college: Rome—the hot frat boy I was dying to go out with (and I did, and it was awesome). But, turns out, everyone dated Rome. Naples—Rome’s frat house roommate. The guy on no sleep and his tenth can of Red Bull. No one messed with him cause he knew people who knew people . . . catch my drift . . . Venice—the dreamily gorgeous philosophy major. Brilliantly eccentric but exotic enough that no one quite knew what to make of him. Milan—the second-year MBA student who was big on power-ties and power-lunches. Basically, the organized guy who held everyone else together. And then there was Florence. Firenze, to those who knew him. Quiet and unassuming. When we first met, I wondered what all the fuss was about. But Firenze . . . he was a subtle seducer. If I asked, he could talk for hours about art and history. But, generally, Firenze simply listened. Peaceful. Steady. Ready to shoulder my sorrows. Firenze is the guy I never got out of my system. I hit the ground floor and took two steps toward the large wooden front door. How would the next few weeks play out? Like being a contestant on Survivor? The Great Race? A male voice stopped me. “Just the person I was waiting for.” I closed my eyes. Nope. Things were shaping up to be The Bachelorette. Honestly. Pasting on my polite grin, which truthfully was more of a grimace by this point, I turned around. “Mr. D’Angelo.” “Dante, please.” He stepped out of the shadows at the base of the stairs. A window in the stairwell illuminated half of him. Even that half was huge. Whereas I looked down on Pierce and was eye-level with the Colonel, I had to look up, up at Dante. At five ten myself, it takes a lot to make me feel short. But he somehow managed it. He had to be at least six four and linebacker-wide. Did he play football in high school? His dark, wavy hair had been smoothly slicked back when he arrived earlier. But I had watched it creep forward as the morning went along until a section of it came loose, swinging down to kiss his jaw. My fingers itched to brush it back. Dante was the type of man I had always had a sweet tooth for. Until I learned, oh-so-painfully, how bad for my health they could be.
Nichole Van has hit paydirt yet again with this latest Brothers Maledetti book! Chiara's story has swoonworthy romance that is 100% clean, as well as laugh out loud humor and superb storytelling to make up this amazing, unputdownable book! Although you don't have to have read the previous books in the series to enjoy this one, I'd highly recommend reading them to get further backstory on the D'Angelo family and their talents. Nichole Van is one of the few authors on my "instant-buy" list and this latest installment is another reminder why. Five stars just don't seem enough.“Jack, we’re all concerned about you,” I said the words carefully, keeping my tone flat and not screechy like I felt. “We’ve been concentrating on trying to find answers for your ghost-like state, but I think the constant focus is hurting more than it’s helping. It’s like picking at a scab over and over, never allowing it to heal. Maybe it’s time to take a step back from our research.” Jack paused, giving me his best Regency-era, Lord Knight stare. I had a love/hate relationship with that stare—I hated that I kinda loved it. It was snooty with an edge of dry sardonic humor, and it challenged every womanly impulse in my body to kiss it off his face. Not that I would do that, of course, even if it were possible. But the urge was there. “Would you prefer me to continue my exploration of modern names?” he asked. I bit my lip, unsure how to reply. It was a decent threat. Jack had gone through this whole phase where he mocked contemporary celebrity names. Example: Brittany Spears. It had been days of, ‘Pardon Siri, but who are the Spears of Brittany?’ and ‘Are Brittany Spears similar to Celtic weaponry from northern France?’ “I have yet to understand why Ryan cares so much about goslings,” Jack continued. “Does he have a fetish for young poultry?” See?! Honestly.
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