Brought together by accident, bound by fate—and magic.
Love works its charm over Bruno DiCesare and Melina Weaver during his transformation from beast to man. But love likewise blinds them to the secrets each holds. Bruno thinks his secret will devastate Melina. Melina’s afraid Bruno will hate her for what she’s become. Neither guess the greatest danger lurks outside their door—and could force them to choose between love and life itself.
The ancient grandfather clock chimed the hour, the only way Melina Weaver tracked time these days.
Eight o’clock. No wonder her stomach grumbled. When had she last eaten? It took her a moment to remember whether it was day or night. Beneath the city of Venice, inside the quarters Bruno had made his home, no light penetrated. Why hadn’t Leonardo da Vinci, übergenius that he was, factored in the human need for sunlight? Despite being cavernous, the chambers were closing in on Melina, like being swallowed by a giant python. She took a deep breath, but the stale air only reminded her how much she craved fresh, sweet openness.
A masculine groan broke her self-pity. She hurried past the curtain to the bed where Bruno lay. The oil lamps in the outer room were dim but enough to show his furrowed brow, a sign of distress too common lately.
She stroked his forehead. “Shh.”
Covers clenched in his fist, he thrashed. He clasped her hand, his skin smooth rather than scaled like before. It amazed her to witness the process, how the human being inside slowly surfaced, as if a sculptor worked at a masterpiece, chipping away the layers of scales, smoothing away the roughness, leaving a magnificent man. So beautiful, Melina found herself constantly staring. At first, she yearned to map the mechanics of recovery into some logical reasoning. Later, she stared because his handsomeness captivated her.
Did he know how striking he looked? How magnetic women would find him? Would every female hang on him like Elda did? A pang of jealousy surprised her. The vision of Elda sharpened. Irritable, Melina envisioned herself growing larger, an angry Alice in Eldieland. No way did she intend to stay there. She harnessed her will, condensed it into a roiling ball, and mentally thrust it at the sorceress.