Lyrical Bliss in Tuscany

The Bel Homme Quartet

Book Three

A placard with Nico and Gina

Love is mysterious and cunning.
It finds you and lures you in.
There are spirits in the air who are the Keepers of Your Heart …
and their timing is impeccable.
When it’s your moment, their voices will summon you.
Quietly.
But those whispers will demand your surrender …

 

Nico Biviano, from Pisa, Italy, is the Italian member of Bel Homme. He’s a “primo baritono” who’s sung in all the major opera houses around the world. His voice is highly-trained and pitch-perfect. Opera critics love him, and opera audiences can’t get enough of him.  

So why does he step out of his comfort zone and join Teddy’s venture? He’s bored. He wants to perform in a totally different genre that attracts a more diverse group of fans. Mainly, though, he wants to meet as many new women as possible, and he knows that singers in the pop world have excellent opportunities there.

Until recently, Nico was a carefree swinger known as “The Unattainable Sexy One.”

But six weeks ago at the wedding of the British member, Jamie, and his bride, Jessie, in Wiltshire, England, Nico met Jessie’s best friend: American singer-songwriter Gina Madonni. Now he’s “The Confused One.” Falling in love is not in his plans.

Gina was raised in a series of foster homes after her mother died, and she never knew her father. She’s filled the void with an endless stream of meaningless men and dreams of making the Big Time. So falling in love is not her immediate goal, either, but nothing and no one could have prepared her for the Italian tempest named Nico. Meeting him has thrown her into a rare emotional state of aroused turmoil. This is a man who could actually breach the stone wall that surrounds her heart.

Bel Homme is flying into Chicago for a sold-out concert. In this scene, Nico is sitting on their private plane, still trying to get his emotions under control when Gina once again shatters that goal . . . 

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Reviews

“A charming tale for romance lovers who enjoy a lyrical game of cat and mouse.”

—Kirkus ReviewsLyrical Bliss in Tuscany

“Driven by vibrant and sensuous language, the prose brings the Italian setting to life.”
★★★★

—Self-Publishing ReviewLyrical Bliss in Tuscany

Lyrical Bliss in Tuscany by Cindy Irish is a fantastic page-turner. The characters were beautifully developed, well refined, and flawed.”
★★★★★

—Readers’ FavoriteLyrical Bliss in Tuscany

Read an Excerpt

Nico Biviano—the Italian member of the multi-platinum classical crossover group, Bel Homme—sat in his seat and stared out the window of their private plane as it headed to Chicago.

Gina Madonni was following him. She was after him. The American woman wouldn’t stay out of his head.

Maybe he needed an exorcist.

No, it was too late. She’d cast her magnetic spell, and he didn’t want to be free of her possession. Even after six weeks, he was as curious and intrigued as ever about the redhead he’d met last month, which was a first for him because he loved all women, and it wasn’t his style to focus on one.

There’d certainly been plenty to choose from since he’d joined Bel Homme a year and a half ago. That name was French for “Beautiful Man.” At first, he’d thought it was a silly, pompous name, and it used to embarrass them, but not anymore. Their female fans definitely liked it—liked everything about them.

Bel Homme was number one in the world, and he was proud to be a part of it all.

The four of them had just begun their second international tour. Currently, they were performing in the United States, and they’d had sold-out concerts across the entire east coast. Now it was on to the Windy City, not too far from where Gina lived, and his heart speeded up at the thought. He shut his eyes and could still see her face. It was burned into his brain and had been for over a month.

Nico whispered the words. “Gina Madonni, you are stalking me.” He leaned his head on the window and rocked with the gentle sway of the plane. “Oh, tesoro … don’t stop.”

A phone softly rang.

Automatically, he checked the one attached to his belt, although he knew it wasn’t his ringtone. There was another muffled sound, and that’s when he noticed the phone half stuck in the edge of the seat cushion next to him. It took him a second to figure out it must be Jessie’s, and he opened his mouth to call to her, but stopped. Povera piccola. He could see the top of her blonde head nestled against Jamie. The endearing little lady was sleeping. When it started to ring a third time, he put down his bottled water and grabbed it, then clicked it on. “Pronto,” he said. “Hello,” he added in English.

Gina’s words poured out when she heard the deep voice. “Jamie? What’s wrong? Is Jessie all right?” She realized then what that voice had said. Pronto. Italian. Oh, no. “Um, hello. Who’s this?” As if she didn’t know.

Nico snapped to attention. “Gina?” Grazie a Dio, it was her.

“Hello Nico,” she tossed out, hoping casual was the way it landed. “Yes, it’s me. I mean, this is Gina, returning Jessie’s call. Is she there?” Sobering at new thoughts, she asked, “Why are you answering?”

Nico closed his eyes and listened to her voice as it flowed over him—creamy, rich, and smooth—and he relaxed into his seat. “Ciao, carina. Jessie was sitting next to me here on the plane a few minutes ago, and she must have dropped her phone. I answered because she’s now in front of me, snuggled on her new husband’s shoulder.” He so loved pregnant women. “If the charming mother-to-be isn’t going to the bathroom, she’s sleeping, it seems.”

Gina tensed at his breezy remark, old feelings of guilt and regret keeping her silent. When it came to pregnancy and babies, she always left the room.

Tesoro, are you still there?” Nico asked.

Gina changed the subject. “Where are you right now?”

He looked out at white clouds floating by. “We’re above Illinois somewhere, heading to Chicago. We have a show there on Monday. Are you going to make the trip down to see it?”

“Probably, if I can get a ticket,” she lied, knowing she wouldn’t. Knowing a hundred tickets wouldn’t get her to see him again because he made her feel too vulnerable—but she wanted to. Oh, she wanted to. She sighed. Stop it. Quit sighing over the man. His voice in her ear dragged reality with it and bogged her down with insecurity—and she’d missed what he’d said. “Pardon me?” she asked, trying to catch up.

“I’ll get you one, then,” he repeated. “It will be nice to see you.”

She measured his words, unsure if they were sincere. “Why?”

“Che?” Nico asked in Italian.

“What?” she asked to clarify.

, that’s what I said. So, what did you ask me?”

“Why?” Gina repeated.

He held the phone out and stared at it. He was very good with English, but her question stumped him, and now he was really confused, having lost track of their words. Usually adept with the language, he was learning she scrambled his brains, and he didn’t like that weakness, however harmless it was. “Yes,” he said impatiently. Was it him or was it her? Could she be drinking this early in the day? “I mean, why wouldn’t I? I’ll be happy to get you a ticket.”

Gina’s mind went blank. This was the dumbest conversation she’d ever had with someone. “Are you drinking?”

Nico didn’t know what surprised him more: that she’d mimicked his thought, or that she could honestly believe he was drinking before noon. “Of course not,” he clipped out. Pinching the bridge of his nose, he chuckled at this ludicrous exchange. “Merda, you’re hard work,” he mumbled.

“What’s so funny?” she asked.

“Us,” he explained. “We are funny. The way we are misunderstanding each other.”

Resting her chin on her hand, Gina had to agree. She was acting ridiculous. “I just feel off center around you, I guess.”

“You don’t strike me as the kind of woman who loses control.”

“You’ve got that right,” she muttered, remembering the many men who’d told her she’d never thaw.

“Perdonami, bellicapelli?”

Gina sighed again but figured she’d give herself this one. As far as she was concerned, he could speak in Italian forever, whether or not she grasped his words at all. His lilting accent warranted a million sighs. “I love when you talk like that,” she confided. “I bet I’d like it even if you said something that wasn’t nice.”

He smiled, his voice going deeper by itself. “You like dirty talk, ?”

“Depends,” she said with a quick grin. “Say something dirty.” 

“Voglio leccarti la spalla.

“What’s that mean?” she asked.

“I want to lick your shoulder.” That was the truth. He’d been wanting to all morning.

Gina swiped her damp forehead. Damn, he was good. “That was pretty dirty,” she said, her smile feeling as quaky as her middle now. “Actually, it was just pretty.”

“I do,” he stated.

She straightened. “You do?”

“Sì.” 

In that case, she panicked. “Oy vey, tell Jessie I called, and I’ll talk to her soon.” She went to hang up—

“Wait!” Nico yelped out, his eyes darting across the aisle when Mike fidgeted in his sleep.

Gina lifted her hair off her clammy neck. “What?”

“Say something naughty to me in English,” he coaxed her, not wanting to let her go and needing to know what she’d do. “Ti scongiuro, Gina,” he added silkily. “Pretty please.”

It came out before Gina could stop it. “I want to lick you back.”

Nico swallowed. Well, he wasn’t semi-hard anymore. No, he was balls-to-the-wall hard and throbbing, and he wanted more. If his voice was gruff with longing, it was real. “Where, amore?”

“All over.” Gina blanched. Oh God! Did she really just say that to him? She was a raving lunatic! She was no match for this guy. “I’ve got to run. The other line is ringing.” What other line? She cut their connection.

Nico grinned full-out as he flicked off Jessie’s phone. He’d certainly flustered sweet Gina. That was almost as good as being with her, and he wanted her here so he could go on feeling this sizzle they created between them. He moaned softly and rubbed his eyes. “Oddio.” His desire for this woman was so staggering, just hearing her voice had his body quavering. Never in his life had someone left him feeling this weak.

He pitched the phone and the baseball cap on the empty seat, then shimmied and readjusted himself. Picking up his bottled water, he took a fortifying drink. What was happening to him?

He had no clue how to handle this. He only knew he wanted to be off this plane and inside her.

Resigned, he went back to looking out the window—not only lonelier now, but sinking deeper into uncharted pain.

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