EXCERPT #1: This excerpt from my novel describes my heroine’s arrival at the Pitti Palace with her tour group. The photo is of me in the Boboli Gardens. A corner of the palace can be seen in the background.

At least this time we’re dropped off in front of our destination, the Pitti Palace, but I don’t like the Palatine Gallery here as much as I liked the Uffizi. The lighting is poor, and reflections make the jumble of paintings hard to see.  Rhonda, however, is enthusiastic about art for the first time on this trip; she drools over Raphael’s Madonnas.

For whatever reason—I can’t deny the painter had talent—I think they seem insipid, and her wholehearted admiration gets on my nerves.

I’m glad when Paolo directs us to the Boboli Gardens behind the palace, but it’s another sunny day, and much hotter. The exertion of climbing the terraced hillside quickly becomes too much for me, and the group leaves me in the middle of the gardens … seated on the patio of the coffeehouse … where I order a lemon ice, lift long hair off my throbbing neck, and hope for a breeze that doesn’t come.

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