Read Infinite Devotion Online

Authors: L.E. Waters

Tags: #Spanish Armada, #Renaissance Italy, #heaven, #reincarnation, #reincarnation fantasy, #fantasy series, #soul mate, #Redmond O'Hanlon, #Infinite Series, #spirituality, #Lucrezia Borgia, #past life, #Irish Robin Hood, #Historical Fantasy, #Highwayman, #time travel, #spirit guide

Infinite Devotion

INFINITE DEVOTION

The Second Book of the Infinite Series

 

L.E. Waters

 

 

Published by Rock Castle Publishing
Copyright © L.E. Waters, 2012
Cover by Digital Donna
e-book formatting by
Guido Henkel
This book is a work of fiction. Names, characters, places and incidents either are products of the author’s imagination or are used fictitiously. Any resemblance to actual events or locales or persons, living or dead, is entirely coincidental.
All rights reserved. Except as permitted under the U.S. Copyright Act of 1976, no part of this publication may be reproduced, distributed or transmitted in any form or by any means, or stored in a database or retrieval system, without the prior written permission of the publisher.

The heart can think of no devotion
Greater than being shore to ocean -
Holding the curve of one position,
Counting an endless repetition.
~Robert Frost

I dedicate this book to the shores of my life

Foreword

I researched the time periods portrayed in my books and pulled many of my ideas from historic events. When I involve historical people in my books, I try to portray them accurately but take fictional liberty with conversations, timelines, and mysteries‌—‌filling in the details absent from written record. The reader must remember that this is, first and foremost, historical fantasy fiction. I maintained a sense of magical realism throughout and hope the reader will take such leaps of imagination with me, assured that there is fundamental support underneath this novel but keeping an open mind to enjoy the story envisioned.

If there are any doubts as to the accuracy or plausibility of story lines, please visit my website,
www.infiniteseries.net
, where I dedicated a whole section to a bibliography and more detailed research behind this fictional piece just for those who might enjoy reading further about these cultures, events, and people.

In regards to the spiritual/religious aspect of this book, it is not meant to come across as non-fiction. This is how I perceived heaven to be in an artistic sense and hope there are readers out there who will consider it enough for the simple enjoyment of storytelling.

If at any time, you should find yourself confused with so many intricate character histories, I have provided a helpful chart that tracks each character’s traits and progression at the end of each life. It is there to use at any point to enhance the reader’s experience. I would love to take this moment to thank you for reading this novel, and if you could take a moment to review my book where you purchased it, I would be extremely appreciative. Reviews are essential to independent authors like me and even one or two comments can do wonders for my series’ exposure.

Fifth Life

The Pope’s Pawn

Chapter 1

Pulling aside the burgundy velvet curtains, I peer down among the thick crowd surging below. The heavy August air creeps in through the open window, providing no relief for us inside. The Vatican square is in all its glory below, despite the heat, and I watch for the procession to come around under our balcony of the Palazzo Santa Maria.

“Lucrezia! Lucrezia! Over here! Your father is coming down this way!”

I fly to Adriana’s side and stretch out over the railing to see his tall, massive form standing out among all others, with his hooked nose and full mouth beneath the heavy papal crown‌—‌his jeweled hand waving to his people.

“All of Italy has come to see your father elected!” Giulia squeals.

“There‌—‌the Borgia symbol!” Adriana points at the fountain.

A magnificent fountain, specially made for today, of a giant and powerful bull with one stream from its forehead that flows with red wine. Even though I’m sad to leave our happy place in Spain, I feel great things are going to come of our move to Rome.

The door to our chamber is thrown open, and my older brothers Cesare and Juan run to me.

“Lucrezia! You’re here!” Juan shouts as he reaches me first.

Cesare practically pulls him off, trying to give me his hug next. The music starts up behind us, and Adriana opens the balcony doors wide to let the charming melody in. Juan pushes Cesare aside, takes me in his arms, and we giggle as we practice our courtly dances around the expansive tapestry-covered room. Cesare grabs Guilia up and follows us around the room. It’s so nice to be together again, since I haven’t seen them in months. Juan turns to Cesare, tapping his shoulder to cut in, and even though Juan doesn’t want to yield, I let go and take Cesare’s hands.

As we dance off, I have a hard time figuring out which brother is more handsome. Both are tall and well built, but Juan has a finer and more delicate face‌—‌Juan the poet. Cesare has more powerful facial features, high cheekbones, and a large but perfectly straight nose‌—‌Cesare the warrior. Peering into Juan’s indigo eyes is like falling into a deep pool, and Cesare’s amber eyes are the fire that warms you after. With only one year between them and both on the verge of manhood, it’s hard to say whose look is more intriguing.

Out of breath, Juan decides to stop and falls down into a gold brocade chair near the fireplace. “Lucrezia and Giulia, how lovely you both are,” Juan says with a sweet smile between catching his breath.

Giulia and I look at each other and blush. Little did they know we’d been standing in front of our dressing mirrors all day primping and trying on all of our dresses for the momentous occasion. I’ve stayed with the beautiful and good-natured Guilia the last few months, but I have everything I love dearest to me now in one place: Adriana, who is like a mother to me; Guilia the sister I never had; my exciting brothers; and most important of all, my father.

Shortly after the private door that leads directly to St. Peter’s opens, my father’s procession spills into the room. My father, still wearing the papal crown and gown, holds his arms out to me and embraces me tightly. He also looks to Giulia and gives her an equally warm hug.

He reaches to give Adriana a kiss. “Cousin, so nice to see you’ve arrived well.”

She bows to him instead. “His Holiness, Alexander the Sixth, was very generous with our more than adequate quarters.”

He smiles proudly at hearing his newly appointed name being said out loud. When she comes up, he still gives her the kiss he intended.

“Come with me to dine tonight. I want Giulia and Lucrezia at my side.” He turns and looks us both up and down, hesitating a little longer on Guilia’s fine form. “I have two angels dining with me tonight.” He guides us both through the door into St. Peter’s.

I’m seated in the huge and lavishly decorated dining room. My attention is drawn to the glistening of all the silver and gold pieces strategically placed around the long table. Besides our family all on one side, there are cardinals and noblemen dining with us.

During our first course, Father turns to me. “Lucrezia, given our new circumstances from my election, I feel it would be in our best interest to cancel yet another of your betrothals.”

I’m relieved, hoping it will at least delay a few more months.

Cesare explains to me, “Now that we’re here, it’s more advantageous to choose someone who can be of more use to us in Rome.”

“Giovanni Sforza, Lord of Pesaro,” Father says more for Cesare to hear than me.

Cesare scoffs loudly. “Sforza? He’s a minor prince. I’m sure you can find a greater alliance now from your new position.”

“I think he’ll be much help to us with his ties to Milan.” Father pauses to chew and dabs his mouth with his napkin. “I may be pope, but we’ve still far to go.”

Cesare nods, considering this. “What is the dowry?”

“Thirty-one thousand ducats. I talked Sforza down from fifty thousand.” He smiles in delight and stuffs his mouth full. He rests one elbow on the table, and his silk sleeve slides down his arm, exposing a childhood scar running from his wrist to his elbow.

“Lucrezia, he will suit you well. Though he’s already a widower, I hear he’s quite handsome.”

“I care not what he looks like, Father. I could marry a chair if it’s most helpful for our family position.” They nod happily. “That and the agreement that I’ll have a year in Rome before I have to go live with him.”

Twelve is a very early age to marry, and Father promised that he’ll require me to stay in the Vatican one more year before the marriage is consummated.

“A Borgia through and through, always negotiating, just like I taught you.” He smiles with his slate-blue eyes squinting.

Pushing away from his empty plate, Father points at me and says, “Lucrezia, get your brothers to dance with you and Giulia. It’ll please me to see you all dance, but my Lucrezia dances on air.”

After many dances and a rich dessert, Father takes us back through our private door. As he closes the door behind him, he pats it. Thick gold rings clank against the hard wood. “I had this put in so I can come and visit my most precious girls anytime, day”—and then he looks at Guilia—“and night.”

Knowing my place, I give him another kiss and say, “Good-night.” Walking to my room, I hear Giulia scream in delight as they spin into her abode together and shut the door. I’ve grown accustomed to my father’s lusty behavior and know Giulia is much adored by him. It’s the reason he allows Giulia to come live with me, and I’m just as happy to have a good friend. I shut my door and try not to think on it any longer.

Chapter 2

“Lucrezia, you’ll not believe it.” Juan smiles and runs for the carriage I’m waiting in, basking in June sunshine. He’s opulently dressed in gold cloth with embroidered pearls and a large chain of balas rubies and pearls around his neck. Juan always liked to indulge in luxuries of status.

“What is the delay?” I sent a few of my attendants inside St. Peter’s to see what is holding up my entry into the church. My maids are busy fanning me with feathered fans to keep me from sweating.

“Procida, your last betrothed, came to Rome this morning upon hearing of your wedding to claim you as his bride. He made a huge stir inside the Vatican, saying that the King of Spain arranged the marriage, and he was promised.”

“How is Father handling the situation?” I ask as I reach out to touch his alluring chain of jewels.

“Do you like it? It’s worth one hundred fifty thousand ducats.” He smiles with one side of his mouth and one eyebrow raised.

I gasp jealously but continue, “And Father?”

“He and Cesare are meeting with him as we speak. They’re going to have to pay him a condotta so he’ll leave.”

“Can I go inside, then?”

“No, Father doesn’t want Procida to see you like this because he might rather turn down the condotta.” He laughs and points, as the attendants are coming back, waving me in. “Looks like Procida has given up on you after all.”

He puts his arm out to help me down as my maids help lift the hems of my silk gown and robe off the ground. I’m ushered into a side room and wait yet again. I ask for a mirror and check that the golden brocade gown is free from dirt and wrinkles. I point for the maids to fix the jeweled headpiece and make sure it’s straight.

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