Hello, reader friends! We get to hang out with one of Clare Revell’s fictional friends from La Fiamma Sacra (book 5 of the multi-author A Tuscan Legacy series) plus we have an excerpt for your reading enjoyment!
meet Ric Rossi
Ric Rossi is tall, has dark wavy hair and eyes that can go from fire to ice in a second. He carries his scars as part of him. Oh, just don’t call him Riccardo. He doesn’t like it. Or the fact he looks like his father. In which case he thinks the scars are an improvement.
He cares deeply about most things and once he gets an idea stuck in his head, it’s there for good.
Ric is a firefighter, based in Reading, England.
He left Italy 8 years ago and didn’t look back. He’s very fond of his brother and two sisters, cousins and Nonna. (he thinks it a shame Nonna doesn’t have a phone or he’d be texting her as well.) Ric is the hero of La Fiamma Sacra.
La Fiamma Sacra excerpt
The jet plane roared down the runway, wheels humming. Within seconds Riccardo Rossi was airborne. Despite the fact he was leaving the heat of Tuscany behind, and heading back to the cool English spring weather that May usually afforded, he didn’t mind. English summers were barely warm on a good day, just as well since he got enough heat in his day job. Fighting fires in thick kit, with 70lbs of equipment on your back, were not for the faint of heart.
And he loved the fact they were firefighters and not firemen. He worked with several women, in fact half his watch were women, and they were every bit as good at the job as the men.
He closed his eyes, settling back into the seat. Italy had been…interesting. His brother Rafaele had teased him about his job, as always. He’d discovered another cousin he didn’t know he had—a pretty one at that—and then there was the strange painting Nonna had received. Or ordered. Or something.
He sucked in a deep breath and accepted the cup of juice the flight attendant handed him. Tuscany wasn’t the same without Papà there. That in its own way was a good thing. The relationship between him and his father had been strained at best, and Ric had left Villa Rossi and moved to the UK as soon as he’d turned twenty-one just to get away from him. He’d only gone back for the funeral because his brother asked him to attend. Honestly, that was the last place he wanted to be. To say goodbye to a man he’d spent his whole lifetime hating, a man that he’d—
He stretched out his legs as far as they’d go—which wasn’t anywhere near far enough for his six-foot-two frame. This time he’d returned, again because he was asked to, for Nonna’s birthday. Twice in three months. More than enough to last a lifetime.
The ice in his cup rattled as he set the cold orange down. His stomach churned with guilt. The burden he carried as always lying heavy upon him. He missed his brother and sisters. Of course he did. With them so scattered—him in the UK, Rafaele in Tuscany, Sienna in Australia and Alessa in Rome—being together all at the same time was almost impossible.
Video phone calls between him and his siblings just weren’t the same. Not that you could have all of them in the same window. He chuckled to himself, remembering dumping a jug of ice water over Rafaele’s head. One sure-fire way to put out the flames of love, at least temporarily.
It had been fun but not enough to make him stay.
His sense of duty, not to mention his faith and burden of guilt wouldn’t allow it. And he couldn’t deny the relief that he was flying home. Tuscany ceased to be home a long time ago.
He checked his watch. The direct two hour flight from Roma to London City Airport should be landing in just fifty minutes. Landing at Heathrow would have meant a flight time of six hours, plus a five hour lay-over.
Hopefully his downstairs neighbour Bracken had remembered to feed Schiaccianoci, his tabby cat. Named after the Italian for nutcracker, Noci for short, had a micro-chipped cat flap so he could come and go at will; all he needed was feeding twice a day. He’d been a stray that Ric adopted from Battersea cats and dogs home shortly before Christmas, hence the name. The cat and he were now best buddies.
Of course, Noci might not like the fact he’d gone away again. Last time he’d sulked for days.
Ric opened his eyes and glanced out of the window. He preferred a window seat, but this time he’d been stuck on the aisle—he wasn’t paying and as a result hadn’t chosen the seat. The plus side to that was the stewardess would reach him first.
The bloke sitting next to him shifted and gasped.
“Are you all—” Ric broke off. The man was grasping his chest, his colour grey and lips blue.
No. Ric reached up for the call button to alert the air crew and stood. He had to get the gentleman to the floor and begin CPR immediately. As a firefighter he was trauma trained and knew what to do in most situations. Before he had chance to do anything, the man collapsed. Struggling with the man’s seatbelt, Ric finally managed to unclasp it as a stewardess reached his side.
“He’s having a cardiac arrest,” Ric explained. He, along with the stewardess, managed to lay the man on the floor. Ric quickly checked for a pulse, and groaned when he didn’t find one. He began CPR. As he worked he prayed the man would respond and stay alive long enough to get to where the medics could take over. “Need to get this plane on the ground ASAP. And have an ambulance on standby.”
A second flight attendant nodded and ran briskly towards the cockpit.
A minute or so later, the tannoy beeped. “Ladies and gentlemen, this is Captain Foster speaking. Due to an on board medical emergency we are diverting to Zurich. If there is a doctor on the plane, please make yourself known to the air crew immediately.”
No one came forward.
Okay, Lord. I guess this is down to You and me and the flight attendant. If it’s not too much to ask, please grant us clearance to land with an ambulance waiting on the runway for us.
Ric: I love lego. I got a lego fire engine for my birthday.
Beth: I love the quiet of my kids playing Legos!
Ric: I play in the music group and sing sometimes. It’s a family. And although I can’t make it every week because of work, there is just something about being in God’s house that makes every part of me sing.
Beth: Oh yes, I love my church family!
Ric: My cat. Even if he does live with Bracken almost as much as me.
Beth: Gotta love those furbabies!
Ric: We’re always texting, sometimes a hundred times. Which when I’m at work means I finally have a lot of catching up to do. The Guv doesn’t like phones on a shout. Fair enough.
Beth: Texting is so much better than talking on the phone!
Ric: I love my job. No seriously, I love my job. Call me crazy enjoying running into a burning building all day long, but it’s pretty satisfying.
Beth: Sounds intense! Thank you for serving others.
Describe yourself in five words.
Ric: Lean, mean, fire fighting machine. There you go. Five words… Oh, you mean five sensible words. Ummmmm. Stubborn. Loyal. You know, I hate thinking of myself like that. Can we stick to the first five words? (coined by Rafaele incidentally.)
Beth: Those words work for me! Sounds like La Fiamma Sacra needs to be on my tbr!
What’s Braken like?
Ric: Gorgeous. Makes great coffee – but then working in a coffee shop she’d have to be able to. Single mum to Deforest. She has red hair, she’s my fiamma sacra.
Beth: Well, you certainly warmed up to that topic!
If you could be any animal, which would you choose?
Ric: A dragon… no wait, they shoot fire and then I’d be put out by my weapon of choice – a fire hose. So it’d be a sparrow – because God counts them.
Beth: I can see where the dragon thing would present a conflict of interest for you. Thank you for dropping by to visit with us, Ric!
about the book
La Fiamma Sacra by Clare Revell
Ric Rossi left the family farm in Tuscany and never looked back. Working as a firefighter in Reading, England, he has everything a man could ask for—a secure job, a firm faith, and a neighbour who cares for his cat Noci when he goes away. The only thing missing is a woman he can share his life with.
Widowed when her son Deforest was a week old, Bracken Hughes isn’t prepared to open herself to the heartache a relationship can bring. Especially with her handsome neighbour who risks his life each time he leaves for work. No matter how good the man is with her son.
Ric finds Deforest to be an appealing child who captures his interest. And the mother has that certain something that pricks his heart. But the unhealed wound in Ric’s soul might just spoil any chance he has at love.
The Tuscan Legacy series
about the author
Clare is a British author. She lives in a small town just outside Reading, England with her husband, whom she married in 1992, their three children, and unfriendly mini-panther, aka Tilly the black cat. They have recently been joined by Hedwig and Sirius the guinea pigs. Clare is half English and half Welsh, which makes watching rugby interesting at times as it doesn’t matter who wins.
Writing from an early childhood and encouraged by her teachers, she graduated from rewriting fairy stories through fan fiction to using her own original characters and enjoys writing an eclectic mix of romance, crime fiction and children’s stories. When she’s not writing, she can be found reading, crocheting or doing the many piles of laundry the occupants of her house manage to make.
Her books are based in the UK, with a couple of exceptions, thus, although the spelling may be American in some of them, the books contain British language and terminology and the more recent ones are written in UK English.
The first draft of every novel is handwritten.
She has been a Christian for more than half her life. She goes to Carey Baptist where she is one of four registrars.
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