Nightingale
181 pages
English

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181 pages
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Description

Count Maximilian discovers Klara in a Nightingale Cage, an orphanage for the abandoned children of musicians. He educates her, fosters her remarkable vocal talent and initiates her into the art of love, creating the perfect mistress. The Count controls every aspect of Klara's life, until fate, in the form of handsome Akos Almassy, takes a hand. The tall, dark Magyar violinist can make beautiful music and healing potions, too, but can he rescue Klara from the Count and live?

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Publié par
Date de parution 15 juin 2013
Nombre de lectures 0
EAN13 9781773626895
Langue English

Informations légales : prix de location à la page 0,0032€. Cette information est donnée uniquement à titre indicatif conformément à la législation en vigueur.

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1
 
Nightingale, Her Lovers and Mozart
By Juliet Waldron
 
Digital ISBNs
EPUB 978-1-77362-689-5
Kindle 978-1-77145-092-8
WEB 978-1-77362-690-1
 
Amazon Print 978-1-77362-691-8
 
 

 
2 nd Ed. Copyright 2018 by JulietWaldron
Cover art by Michelle Lee
 
 
All rights reserved. Without limiting the rights under copyright reserved above, nopart of this publication may be reproduced, stored in or introducedinto a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form, or by anymeans (electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording, orotherwise) without the prior written permission of both thecopyright owner and the above publisher of this book
All characters in this book have no existence outsidethe imagination of the author, and have no relation whatever toanyone bearing the same name or names. These characters are noteven distantly inspired by any individual known or unknown to theauthor, and all incidents are pure invention.
 
Chapter One
 
 
Klara ached all over, but perhaps the bitter draught of willow bark and hotwater which she had just swallowed would subdue it. Thearistocratic audience, which contained two princes of the Blood Royal, was one she did not darerefuse.
In the winter twilight, servants had beenlighting ranks of candles set upon the chandeliers. The task completed, those tinkling balls of crystal and light were hoisted towardsthe ceiling. A glow fell over the white wigs and court clothes ofthe guests, who were seated in a half-circle around four stringplayers and a gilded harpsichord.
The January afternoon was cold, and her maid,Liese had scolded. In the end, Klara resigned herself to wear asilver wig. Very often, in Max’s absence, she did not. This, ofcourse, quickly set her apart from the other ladies, but KlaraSilber’s hair was her glory. Thick, lively, and the color ofpolished mahogany, it made a spectacular crown about herheart-shaped face. To atone for the absence of the required wig,her hairdresser would create a frenzy of curls. One auburn lock wasoften left loose to trail with lazy abandon over one shoulder.Today, however, she was simply too cold. Today she would gratefullyaccept the warmth that came with the wig.
The host of this English Tea, an elderlyBaron, took Klara’s hand into his white kid glove, ready to leadher to the harpsichord.
“You appear a little fatigued, FrauleinSilber. Please don’t feel you must tax yourself too much on myaccount, especially when there is so much sickness about thiswinter. Perhaps just sing the poignant little piece ofKapellmeister Handel, the song of Queen Sheba, which the ladieslove so much.”
The Baron, unlike so many others of highrank, was always considerate.
“I do feel somewhat tired, sir.” Meeting hisfaded, benevolent gaze, Klara glossed her discomfort. “However, Iwould never wish to disappoint you, or your distinguishedguests.”
“I think there is little danger of that,Fraulein.” He regarded her with a fatherly smile. “We wouldn’t wantyou to be ill when your patron returns from his labors in Silesia.I’m sure that after the fighting and the long labors of hisabsence, Count Oettingen will often require the healing solace ofyour voice.”
The Baron was simply making conversation, but Klara shivered.
Just the mention of Max!
Snow and continuing turmoil on the Prussianborder had detained her patron, The Most Noble Maximilian vonOettingen. Klara had been gratefully thanking every saint in thecalendar that he had not yet returned.
As she approached the fortepiano on theBaron’s arm, a tall, muscular man in the black and scarlet liveryof the Hungarian Prince Vehnsky stood and made a graceful bow. If Klara had only seen him and hadnot listened to his skillful harpsichord work for the last halfhour, she would have believed him to be a member of the Prince’sguard.
“ You have givenin to convention today, but it seems there is another musicianpresent who doesn’t care much for fashion.” The Baron alluded tothe fact that the accompanist’s shiny black hair was worn in asimple queue. Klara, who thought him handsome as well as talented,had wondered about this. If he were an ordinary servant, to be outof uniform would have been considered impertinent. Perhaps todispel that notion, or as a kind of compromise, the man’s queue washeavily braided with a scarlet ribbon which exactly matched hislivery.
“Allow me to introduce you.” The Barongestured. “Fraulein Singerin Silber, this is Herr Akos Almassy, Concertmasterfor His Serene Highness, Prince Vehnsky .”
The Baron’s usual harpsichord player was downwith the prevailing winter ailment, a fierce cold which ended,sometimes, fatally, in the chest. Prince Vehnsky had graciously provided his host with areplacement for their musical afternoon.
The topaz gaze that met hers wasdisconcertingly direct. Like locking eyes with a cat. The eyes ofAkos Almassy were at once sensual, candid, and bright. She realizedthat she had seen him, had even heard him play before, althoughthey had not been introduced. It had been the previous winter, at acharity concert.
There would have been no reason to introducea reigning prima donna to a mere orchestra musician. Klara had beenin the audience, her hand held by Max. She remembered Herr Almassygoing to the instrument with none of the scraping bustle of aservant, but like a young aristocrat gracefully accepting a tasksomewhat beneath him.
“I am honored, Fraulein Silber.” His voicebroke her reverie, so she extended a jeweled hand. Baritone, Klaranoted, thinking that his voice matched him well. The German wasaccented by his Hungarian mother tongue.
“I sincerely hope that my accompaniment willbe acceptable. And please let me add, Fraulein, that the memory ofthe Eurydice you sang last Christmas will only die when I do.”
At his side, the Baron gravely nodded hismassive head. He, too, had much admired Klara in the role.
“ Thank you, Herr Almassy.” Klarasmiled at the compliment, one offered by a musician who was fullycompetent to have an opinion. Singing Eurydice had been both a joyand a universally acknowledged triumph. What the nuns had taughtwas sinful pride—wicked, but apparently inextinguishable-insistedshe should take pleasure in her achievements. She could feel aflush rising, coloring her cheeks and tinting her bosom. All thehumility drummed in during childhood was often at war with thevainglorious world in which she now dwelt.
Herr Almassy’s eyes followed the progress of the blush withinterest. They were extravagantly lashed and there was a hint ofthe exotic, a tilted fold at the corner. The color was interesting , a hazel that tended, not to green, but to amber, like one of hervoice teacher’s exotic cats.
And how his eyes were looking, as if he couldpierce straight through her chaste exterior to the white-hotessence!
She found Herr Almassys ' aquiline nose and high cheekbones compelling,and began to imagine him as some long ago Attila carrying fire andsword across the European plains. His black braid, thick as horse tail, slipped over onestrong shoulder as he bowed to kiss her hand.
His lips grazed her knuckles, and Klara wasstruck by a series of inexplicable sensations. First there was astartling flash of déjà vu, as if this raw moment had already had athousand repetitions. Hard on the heels of that there was anothersensation, one even stranger, perhaps because it had been so longsince she’d felt it in relation to another human being— a rush ofjoy!
His lips were soft and warm. They lingered.To actually kiss the hand and not the air above it was somewhatdaring, but the feeling that they were already intimate was sopowerful that she experienced, not displeasure, but a thrill. Shecaught the scent of him, healthy, manly, and something else aswell, of musk and green, something from a wild, dark forest.
The salute to her hand completed, he liftedhis head. In the instant his eyes pierced hers, the world of up anddown was no more.
She was falling, head over heels, a longdizzying descent through clouds. Falling…
“Herr Concertmaster.” Klara lowered herauburn lashes, able to acknowledge little more than the bare factof his existence. There was something she ought to be saying, abrief conversation to organize this impromptu collaboration betweenthem, but the flood of unexpected sensation struck her dumb.
Maria Klara Silber was twenty-four . She was beautiful and famous. Before Akos touched her, she had known bythe deep breath he drew as he reached for her hand that he was notonly a fellow musician who greatly admired her talent, but a manexperiencing the body summons of a beautiful woman. This happened often , although shedidn’t think she’d ever get used to it. Fame and fortune had comeso suddenly, carrying her along like a flood. This year, all ofmusical Vienna resounded with her Christmas triumph, the role ofAlceste. Nevertheless, passionate as worship of a Diva could be,she sensed there was more here than that. This was immense,tidal.
Suddenly nervous, Klara locked her fingers together.There was a drop of moisture in the palm where his hand hadsupported hers. She turned to the harpsichord, to the music setthere, resolutely facing the work they must do.
Performance would cure these queer, vaporishfeelings!
Klara straightened herself, placed her hand upon the top of the instrument,all gilded and painted with cherubs, and drew several deep breaths.Akos, fol

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