Chaos in Milan by Edale Lane – Blog Tour, Exclusive Content, Excerpt, Giveaway


Night Flyer, 3

When chaos strikes at the heart of Milan, it is up to Florentina’s alter-ego the Night Flyer to stop it. As Florentina and Madelena’s love deepens, so does the well of danger surrounding them. The race is on to discover the mysterious Shadow Guild and uncover who is behind the deadly rampage, but Florentina’s mission is threatened by a gang of assassins. Can the Night Flyer prevail, or will Maddie’s love be ripped from her arms?


Chaos in Milan is the third book in Edale Lane’s Night Flyer Trilogy, a tale of power, passion, and payback in Renaissance Italy. If you like action and suspense, rich historical background, three-dimensional characters, and a sweet romance, then you’ll want to complete the Night Flyer saga. Order your copy of Chaos in Milan today!


Release Date: Tuesday, December 22 2020

Publisher: Past and Prologue Press

Cover Artist: Enggar Adirasa

Length: 83,986

Genres: Historical fiction, Historical fantasy, Historical lesbian romance, action/adventure, Super-hero

Pairings: FF, a minor character's MM

LGBTQ+ Identities: gay, lesbian

Tropes: badass hero, bodyguard, class differences, families/raising kids, forbidden love, soul mates, love can heal/redemption (of an important secondary character, but not sure if that goes on the list), passing as straight, true love, rescue, secret identity

Keywords/Categories: action adventure, fantasy, historical, fantasy historical, historical Renaissance, inspirational, lesfic, mystery, fantasy-super hero and villains, ff romance, lesbian romance, lesbian, historical, gay, new release, giveaway, Italy, Milan

Warnings: fighting and battle violence

Goodreads


Buy Link

Amazon ǀ Amazon Paperback



Exclusive Excerpt

Milan, Italy, March 20, 1503


Chaos flooded the streets of Milan on Good Friday. Thousands had turned out for the procession of the cross through the wide avenues leading up to the Duomo for the three o’clock Holy Friday Mass, the Via Crucis. What was traditionally a solemn, reverent occasion was being twisted into terrifying mayhem as several men dressed in black barreled through the faithful with smoke bombs, yelling and disrupting the parade, inflicting injuries in the process. The bishop’s miter fell to one side as he toppled to the other, his brass incense ball clanging to the cobblestones and rolling away. People panicked, trying to flee in all directions at once. One of the miscreants struck the acolytes who carried the huge cross behind the unfortunate bishop; they splayed to the pavement, pinned beneath the weight of the life-sized wooden icon.


Men, women and children, coughing and covering their eyes, could not see to escape, leaving the most vulnerable—the oldest and the youngest—in danger of being trampled. City watchmen and constables rushed into the tumult only to be pushed and squeezed as they tried to wiggle through like worms trapped in a jar.


Overhead soared another figure in black, this one gliding in on huge silk wings. From her bird’s-eye view, the Night Flyer squinted through the billows of murky smoke and angled toward one of the assailants. Zeroing in like a hawk on a mouse, she descended, pulling in her wings just before crashing into the rogue feet first. The collision knocked the vandal to the ground, and the Night Flyer wasted no time clapping irons around the man’s wrists. She yanked off his mask, displaying a masculine bearded face.


“It isn’t me!” she shouted in a gender ambiguous voice tinged with a Venetian accent. “Look—he is not me!”


The man groaned and tugged against his restraints. A few in the crowd nearest them ventured a wide-eyed stare and appreciative nod.


“Papa, Mama, look!” called a child who pointed with enthusiasm. “It’s the Night Flyer! He’ll save us.” But the stream of terrified parishioners simply flowed around them as if they were stones in the river.


Hearing more screams and spotting another billow of smoke ahead, the Night Flyer lit out in that direction, speed-weaving between pedestrians akin to a Calcio player. She spotted someone dressed in a costume similar to her own, even wearing a backpack; she was certain it contained no ingenious contraption that would allow him to fly. Anger began to sear through her veins at the deception these enemies employed as they once again planned to use her persona as their scapegoat. But there was no time for ire; the people were in danger.


She was only a few yards behind him, pushing herself to catch up, when the antagonist shoved an elderly man. In the victim’s flailing attempt to stay on his feet, he thrust out his arms, knocking a baby from its mother’s grasp. The Night Flyer spied a new wave of panicked persons running in their direction, away from the villain in black trailing smoke, and she made a command decision.


She skidded to a halt, scooped up the baby with one hand and the old man with the other just before a stampede of feet bolted over the spot where they had lain a second earlier.


“Thank you, God bless you!” gushed the mother as the Night Flyer dropped the squalling babe into her waiting arms.


“I’m all right,” snapped the grizzled senior as he pulled himself free of her grip. “No harm… hey, aren’t you the one-”


“No!” The Night Flyer cut him off definitively. “I’m not one of them, and they are not me.”


She lifted her eyes to scan the avenue and sighed, realizing that the foe was long gone.


“Hey, there’s one of the pillagers!” She detected a deep voice from behind. Glancing over her shoulder, she spotted a watchman and shook her head. The Night Flyer was the most wanted “criminal” in Milan with a substantial reward for “his” capture. It was time to run.



A few minutes later, the Night Flyer surveyed the scene below from the red clay tiled roof of a buff colored three-story brick building. Most of the crowd had flowed from the thoroughfare down side streets and alleys, but dozens loitered about, no doubt stunned and confused. In sight was the procession’s destination, the famous Duomo Cathedral, a symbol of piety and prestige for the third largest city in Europe (although Venice shared that status). She watched as one citizen helped another to her feet; the dazed acolytes assisted the bruised and battered bishop while watchmen and constables continued to search for the other trouble-makers. She recognized one of the peace officers—Salvador Sfondrati, a friend of the Torelli family. He took the attacker she had shackled into custody. She knew the rogue would tell them nothing, just fabricate a tale about an anti-papist prank to disrupt the Catholic Holy Day. But she was certain he had been hired by the same underworld organization, known only as the Shadow Guild, who had employed assassins to try to kill her precious Madelena.


Florentina de Bossi, daughter of an inventor who had assisted Master Leonardo da Vinci, tinker for Torelli Silk and Wool, tutor to Madelena’s children, also masqueraded as the feared and loved vigilante, the Night Flyer. She had first donned the mask to carry out an Italian vendetta against Don Benetto Viscardi, the arms merchant who had killed her father in a careless act of pettiness. However, after ruining his entire business and destroying his mansion, fortune, and reputation, Florentina stopped short of ultimate revenge and allowed him to leave Milan with his life. She had never planned on continuing in the Night Flyer role, but then she happened upon an assassin on Maddie’s balcony. How did she end up patrolling the city, helping those in distress and dissuading criminal activity, anyway?


As the smoke began to clear, the architectural grandeur of the wealthy metropolis sprawled before her like a vision: shops, restaurants, lavish residences, ornate theaters, guild halls, the Piazza Duomo with its lively fountain, and the majestic cathedral itself. She thought of the art and learning promoted throughout Milan by prosperous patrons such as the Torelli family—her new family—and her heartbeat slowed to a contented rhythm. Relieved that no one had been killed or seriously injured, Florentina’s thoughts turned to home and the people she loved.


****


While you may want to read the first two books in the series, it is not necessary for you enjoy the action and romance of book three. So if you like the way Chaos in Milan begins, order it today – or better yet, select the box set! Enchanting Milan awaits…



Non-Exclusive

Madelena found herself winded by the time they departed an old dirt road to traipse through knee high grass to the dilapidated wood-plank structure with an obvious hole in its roof. She was indeed thankful for the sensible shoes. Once inside, she set down the bag containing their lunch and wineskins, and settled herself onto a wooden barrel to catch her breath. The scent of rotting hay permeated the space which offered an abundance of natural light through the open double doors, cracks between siding planks, and the gap overhead. Cobwebs draped the corners, and dry balls of petrified horse manure littered the earthen floor.


Her initial excitement was rekindled as she beheld Fiore change into the black silk tunic and tight leather trousers that never failed to kindle her passion. She brimmed with anticipation while Florentina laced the soft-soled footwear over the bottoms of her leggings. With no need of a mask and cowl, Maddie enjoyed a full view of her face and long brunette braid.


Eyes glowing, Maddie purred, “Seeing you in that attire takes my breath away and inspires me to… well,” she added blushing. “I promised to let you work.”


Florentina flashed her a grin. “Happy to please you, my dear.” Then she proceeded to race toward a reinforced portion of the rear wall and up it, running one, two, three vertical steps up the planks followed by a backflip, landing on her feet in the powdery dust. Maddie’s eyes flew wide as she had not imagined such a feat was even possible.


She witnessed Fiore scale ropes up the sides of walls, swing from one to another, hang upside-down with her ankle wrapped in a cord, and run, hop, leap, and climb over every inch of her lair. Observing the tall, lean frame of her children’s tutor pass from one athletic exploit to the next with the dexterity and strength of an Olympian set her heart racing with desire, but also terrified her. Maddie knew that she would do these same exercises at great heights and risk to her person. A fall here may hurt a little, but a fall from a three-story building… don’t think about it!


After a bit, a sweaty Florentina, breathing heavy from her exertion, walked over for a sip to drink. “Mi Tesoro!” Maddie exclaimed. “I knew you could do things, but you are truly magnificent. How did you ever-”


“Practice,” Fiore answered as she wiped her face with a cloth. “Much practice and determination.”


Next, Florentina withdrew her multi-fire crossbow from her shoulder bag. “You invented that,” Maddie said as a half statement, half question.


Fiore nodded. “It was Master Leonardo’s idea, in a way,” she replied with a shrug. Florentina then fired off eight shots in rapid succession at eight separate targets situated around the barn. Some were painted circles, others sets of clothing stuffed with straw, and a few burlap sacks filled with sand that hung from cords. Fiore retrieved her bolts and reloaded the weapon.


“You hit every one!” Maddie gushed in amazement.


“Yes, but I’ve practiced with these marks for months,” the skilled vigilante replied as though unimpressed with herself. “Moving targets or hitting them while I’m running is more difficult.” Florentina pushed the burlap sacks so that they each started to sway in different directions and at varying speeds, then raced across the barn, pivoted, and began to fire. She first shot at the moving targets, then fired at the dummies as she ran traversed the dirt floor. “See,” she said, motioning as she skidded to a halt in front of Madelena. “I hit that one in the knee—I was aiming for its shoulder. And that bag?” she motioned. “I was supposed to strike the green circle, not just anywhere on it.”


“But still,” Maddie replied in amazement. “You hit every target, even if not in the spot you intended. That is quite astonishing.”


Florentina smiled, bent down, and placed her lips to Maddie’s. “Grazie,” she said. “Now, I want to show you something new,” she announced, a twinkle in her bright, tawny eyes. Madelena stood and followed Fiore over to where she had set her bag; the barrel was getting uncomfortable, anyway.


Fiore withdrew a polished wooden case, set it on a rickety work table, one of the few excuses for furniture in the barn, and opened it with care. “I found these when I went into the Oriental shop to acquire more opium.”


Maddie frowned. “I didn’t know you use that drug.”


“Oh, I don’t,” Fiore assured her. “Only for medicinal purposes and to subdue city watchmen without causing them any actual harm.”


“I’ve been in that shop,” Madelena commented. “They have some unusual merchandise and a few very popular items. I purchased one of those painted silk fans that are in fashion.”


Florentina nodded. “They have nice things.” Then, from the plush black velvet interior of the box, she retrieved a silver five-pointed star about three inches long. The edges appeared sharp and Fiore held it judiciously in her gloved hand.


“What is it?” Maddie asked.


“The shop owner didn’t know,” Florentina answered with a sly grin. “But I had read about these in an obscure book on Oriental weapons. It’s a Chinese throwing star. There are five in the set.”


“A throwing star,” Maddie echoed as she moved in for a closer look.


“The Spaniard threw a knife at me in the Pantheon,” Fiore recalled. “Throwing-knives are deadlier, can do more damage than these, but it is a skill that is difficult to master. With the star, I have five small blades rather than one longer one with which to hit my target. They are good to distract or throw a foe off balance. Strikes to the eye or weapon hand are debilitating and may take an enemy out of the fight. Because the tines are short and cannot penetrate deep into flesh, only a strike to the big artery in the neck or severing the windpipe in the throat can kill. I think these will prove quite useful, but I’ve only been practicing with them for a few weeks.”


With admiration and anticipation oozing through her voice, Maddie sang, “Show me.”


Florentina removed all five stars from the box and positioned herself in the middle of the barn. “Stand behind me,” she instructed as she lifted one from her left hand. “I’ve had no teacher to instruct me, so I had to guess as to how to throw them. I have developed three techniques, hoping to perfect at least one.”


Maddie withdrew, studying her partner’s every move. Florentina gripped the object horizontally in a curled hand with her thumb on top and her forefinger beneath it. Rotating her upper body from the waist, she drew her right arm back then spun, releasing the small weapon with the motion a child may use to toss a pie pan. The star whirled through the air at an astonishing speed until it lodged into the shoulder of one of the dummies. Florentina frowned. “A nuisance hit.”


“But you hit it!” Madelena exclaimed. Florentina continued to practice the move, thrusting at different targets and from varying angles, collecting the projectiles once all five had been expended.


“Semi-successful,” Fiore admitted. “Another way I have tried is a basic overhand throw.” She demonstrated by taking a star in her right hand, holding it vertically, and throwing it as one might a ball, rock, or piece of fruit. Her first attempt landed low on the target, so she adjusted the second by releasing it sooner, gaining better results. After dozens of pitches, Fiore returned to Maddie’s side. “The third method I’ve been trying is trickier, but has far greater potential. I’ll be at this a while if you want to curl up and take a nap.”


“What? And miss witnessing an act no Milanese woman has ever seen?” Maddie exclaimed. “But if you will point them in that direction,” she indicated, “I’ll sit back down over here for a while.” On impulse, she leaned in and kissed Fiore’s lips before retreating to her stool.


She has so much focus and intensity, Maddie contemplated. She is like a force of nature.



Night Flyer Trilogy

Merchants of Milan, Secrets of Milan, Chaos in Milan




Giveaway

Edale is giving away a $20 Amazon gift card with this tour

Direct Link



The author

Edale Lane is the author of an award winning 2019 debut novel, Heart of Sherwood. She is the alter-ego of author Melodie Romeo, (Tribute in Blood, Terror in Time, and others) who founded Past and Prologue Press. Both identities are qualified to write historical fiction by virtue of an MA in History and 24 years spent as a teacher, along with skill and dedication in regard to research. She is a successful author who also currently drives a tractor-trailer across the United States. A native of Vicksburg, MS, Edale (or Melodie as the case may be) is also a musician who loves animals, gardening, and nature.


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