The Mortal One (The Mortal One Series)

The Mortal One (The Mortal One Series) by Shannon Bell Read Free Book Online

Book: The Mortal One (The Mortal One Series) by Shannon Bell Read Free Book Online
Authors: Shannon Bell
make me appear as if I wanted more than conversation from him.
    The bartending job was looking better and better because I could go back and get those cute strappy black heels that the mannequin was wearing back on Tornabuoni.
    I spent too damn much on the skirt not to wear it so I zipped the boots up the length of my calves before another moment’s hesitation.
    There wasn’t much time before I had to go meet Niccolò. I was only vaguely aware of where the street was but my map hadn’t let me down yet. It was in South Centro, though, so I would need time to cross the Ponte S. Trinita Bridge.
    By the time I crossed the front of Palazzo Pitti, the boots were killing me. The glances I was getting from some of the local men told me I looked good, though, so it kept me moving forward.
    A gelato shop at the base of the bridge was packed. I crossed the narrow street to the other side to avoid the line. The bridge itself had a small walking path where a few others walked, headphones crammed in their ears. Cars were parked in rush hour traffic on the bridge while their drivers honked their horns and waved their hands. A few scooters daringly maneuvered through the traffic and continued on their way.
    The piazza was to my left and the next road was supposed to be Vellutini. Instead, I stared at a small stone church, dilapidated from centuries of abuse. The small placard embedded in the stone told me I was at Parione, not Vellutini. These road names were so frustrating.
    The night sky was getting darker and was already streaked with shades of red and pink. The lampposts were cascading shadows across the sidewalks. I stood under one to see a little better and held the little pop-up map in my hand so I could trace the roads and figure out the trattoria I was supposed to meet Niccolò at.
    My foot incessantly tapped the concrete where I stood. I turned the map every possible way but the name of the road was not listed on this damned map. I tried to look it up in my phone, but that was no help, either. Would he leave if I didn’t get there right away? I was hoping not. I glanced at my watch and noticed it was 8:10. Damn it! All the road names seemed to be different deviations of the same word. Bellatini. Bellalago. Vell… I should have asked him for a landmark or something before just eagerly agreeing to the place he told me.
    Couples bustled past me but none slowed down. They were probably tourists, too, so they wouldn’t know where it was any better than I did.
    A little gelato shop was at the corner from where I stood. It was one of the few I hadn’t been to yet and I was contemplating going over if I couldn’t find the road soon.
    “Ciao,” a voice whispered.
    I looked up. “Niccolò,” I whispered in shock that he really showed up. It wasn’t until this moment that I realized I was convinced I’d never see him again. “Hi.”
    “Lost, mia mortale ?” He asked with a grin. My mortal one .
    “I couldn’t find the street.” My frustration subsided as I folded my map and shoved it in my purse. I looked back up at him, fascinated by the sparkle in his eyes. “I’ll follow you.”
    “Sure. I was late as well. And please, it’s Nico.”
    I looked up to question, but he took me by the hand and led the way. I was surprised at the strength in his hand. It was like being able to squeeze a statue, as if it was made of a not so pliable clay. I was holding hands with a vampire in the middle of a crowded street and no one seemed to notice.
    I didn’t understand how this could happen. How could people not notice?
    “Nico?” I was hoping he could shed some light on this for me.
    “Not now,” he calmly replied. “Wait until we’re completely alone and then you can ask your questions.” He walked into the crowded restaurant with me at his side.
    Completely alone… right .
    I nodded while he held the door to the trattoria open.
    The trattoria was a very quaint family operation on a busy corner across from a fancy hotel. A

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