(My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1)
Published by Entangled Teen on September 11th, 2012
On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.
Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.
Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?
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He looks up from the page, and we lock eyes. His drawing hand stills, and his teeth sink into his lower lip as his eyes roam over me. Even from this distance, several feet away, I can see they’re darker. The same dark-chocolate shade they were in the meadow, when his eyes trailed over me like this before. And just like then, I feel beautiful.
When Lorenzo brought his art supplies up from the carriage with him and suggested I pose, my jaw nearly dropped to the floor. So did Cipriano’s. I was imagining Rose and Jack from Titanic, and while obviously he hadn’t seen the movie, I think Cipriano was pretty much picturing the same thing. So when Lorenzo and I both didn’t want to go down for dinner, Cipriano made our driver come up to “guard my virtue.” But honestly, he should’ve trusted his friend more. I’m posed leaning across the bed, one arm bent to support my weight, my head slightly tilted.
And I’m fully clothed.
But then again, the way Lorenzo’s looking at me over his sketchpad, and the way my insides are turning to complete mush as my skin forms a third-degree burn, maybe we did need that virtue protection, after all.
We break eye contact, and I grin at our driver. Lorenzo looks at the sketch, takes a step back, and then rubs his neck. He swallows, and his Adam’s apple bobs with force. He folds his arms across his chest and says, “It is complete.”
As soon as the words leave his mouth, he looks as if he wants to take them back. But I jump up, wiggle my joints, and haul butt to his side before he can change his mind. Giggling at his look of terror, I jump over the ransacked picnic basket and skitter to a stop in front of the picture.
My hand flutters to my mouth.
I take a step closer, admiring his technique, the use of contrast and his hatch marks, and as I stare in amazement at the girl in Lorenzo’s ink portrait, I learn two things.
The first is that if beauty truly is in the eye of the beholder, I want the world to see me the way he does. Every flaw, every imperfection that I hate about myself has been made beautiful through his eyes and with his hand. The sketch manages to both look like me and like a gorgeous stranger at the same time, but I know it’s not his creative interpretation. It’s how he honestly sees me. It’s as obvious as his signature in the corner, in the way he composed it, the way he used the strokes, the areas he highlighted.
I trace the page with my fingers, not wanting to touch the ink but needing to feel closer to the work he’s created.
Lorenzo coughs and shuffles his feet.
“Lorenzo, you need to be an artist.”
He stops all his nervous gestures and searches my eyes. He grins. “You are pleased with it, then?”
A slow smile creeps up my face, and I nod. “Very much so.”
Then the pit of my stomach completely drops out. My pulse races, and my spine locks in fear as I finally admit to myself the other thing I’ve learned from staring at Lorenzo’s artwork.
I’m starting to fall for him.