The Renaissance Club
By Rachel Dacus
Fiery Seas Publishing
January 23, 2018
Time Travel Romance
May Gold, college adjunct, often dreams about the subject of her master’s thesis – Gianlorenzo Bernini. In her fantasies she’s in his arms, the wildly adored partner of the man who invented the Baroque.
But in reality, May has just landed in Rome with her teaching colleagues and older boyfriend who is paying her way. She yearns to unleash her passion and creative spirit, and when the floor under the gilded dome of St Peter’s basilica rocks under her feet, she gets her chance. Walking through the veil that appears, she finds herself in the year 1624, staring straight into Bernini’s eyes. Their immediate and powerful attraction grows throughout May’s tour of Italy. And as she continues to meet her ethereal partner, even for brief snatches of time, her creativity and confidence blossom. All the doorways to happiness seem blocked for May-all except the shimmering doorway to Bernini’s world.
May has to choose: stay in her safe but stagnant existence, or take a risk. Will May’s adventure in time ruin her life or lead to a magical new one?
ISBN: 978-1-946143-41-9 ~ eBook ~ $6.99
ISBN: 978-1-946143-42-6 ~ Paperback ~ $16.99
~ Praise for The Renaissance Club ~
Enchanting, rich and romantic…a poetic journey through the folds of time. In THE RENAISSANCE CLUB, passion, art, and history come together in this captivating tale of one woman’s quest to discover her true self and the life she’s meant to lead. Rachel Dacus deftly crafts a unique and spellbinding twist to the time-traveling adventure that’s perfect for fans of Susanna Kearsley and Diana Gabaldon. — Kerry Lonsdale, Wall Street Journal Bestselling Author
The Renaissance Club is a beautifully written story about a woman torn between two worlds—the present and the distant past. This time-travel adventure kept me guessing until the end about which world May would choose, and if that choice would be the right one. Highly recommended for lovers of time travel fiction or anyone looking for a compelling story about a woman trying to find happiness. — Annabelle Costa, Author of The Time Traveler’s Boyfriend.
The Renaissance Club shimmers with beauty, poetry, and art. Author Rachel Dacus sweeps her readers away to Italy with her, lifting the senses with the sights, sounds, and tastes of that stunning country; imparting her deep knowledge of Renaissance and Baroque art while immersing the reader in a gorgeously romantic story. This book is time travel at its best! — Georgina Young-Ellis, author of The Time Mistress Series
THE RENAISSANCE CLUB by Rachel Dacus – EXCERPT from Chapter 16
George called them folds in time. She didn’t feel them any differently than normal quakes, but they made her unsteady. She touched the counter. Her mind raced somewhere else. Could he possibly appear here? She felt the doorway appearing at her sides and overhead.
A glimmer all around. Just step through.
May found herself in a room furnished with rough-hewn wood benches and tables, with wooden shelves along the walls holding raffia-wrapped bottles of what could be wine. The shop’s floor was packed dirt. Dust coated the surfaces and a pervasive sour smell clung to the air, fermentation mixed with what could be dead rat. The only ornament was a convex, gilt-framed mirror on one wall. Several small sconces burned with candles, giving inadequate light.
Bernini came out of the shadows looking different than last time. He had circles under his eyes, and his skin was paler. He wore a flowing white shirt and a black jacket, as he often did, but the slashes in the sleeves were frayed, and the jacket was dusty, as if it had been through travels. Perhaps his habit of working until he dropped was to blame—a spell of intense work, with his nervous energy driving him. No matter how weathered he looked, she was thrilled to see him. Each time, he was more handsome than before.
He took her hand and kissed it, his lips warm and dry and his lavender scent strong. The kiss was a sensation like rose petals brushing her skin. His physical reality, with all the subtle changes, pulled on her senses, and hooked into her heart.
“I waited for you for weeks,” he said, “but you did not return.”
“Weeks? But it’s only been two days.”
Still holding her hand, he drew her into his arms and repeated the kiss they had shared at the Villa Borghese, now their second.
“Why are you here?” Her breath was short. She hadn’t expected the doorway to open, not here.
“I’ve come to Assisi to offer my prayers and penitence to Saint Francis,” he said and crossed himself. “See how my prayers are rewarded! They sent you back to me.”
When he smiled, his face lit up. The pallor and fatigue melted away and the vibrant Bernini was with her again. He took her hand and led her to a small table. He dusted the bench for her and she sat, smoothing her skirt to her legs so as to preserve the silk. Its dusty blue sheen wouldn’t have shown a little dust, but it didn’t need any snags, and this wood was rough.
Besides the two of them, the only other patron in the shop was an older man with long hair, wearing a grungy smock, seated at a table in the back. He hunched over his glass, as if pouring his sadness into it.
“Where are we?” she asked.
“This is the tavern of my friend Ruffino.”
“Why are you penitent?” she asked.
“My great patron Cardinal Scipione Borghese has died. We are penitent of course at any death, knowing its nearness can take hold at any time.”
She saw that he was sad. She remembered that this was one of his life’s big losses, and he confirmed it. “I have lost my great patron and my friend.”
She felt sorry for him, but although this event would change his life, it would be a helpful change.
He leaned forward. “Let me show you something. It will please you.”
He took out his paper, unfolded it, and laid it on the table. It held several sketches, views of her elephant bearing the obelisk he had added. In these new sketches, the little elephant that carried an obelisk was smiling. His trunk was upraised playfully.
“I have made him more charming for you.”
“I love it!” She couldn’t resist putting her hand on Bernini’s, where it held the corner of the paper.
They stared at each other as he said, “Eternity is an elephant and also a butterfly.”
About the Author:
Rachel Dacus is the daughter of a bipolar rocket engineer who blew up a number of missiles during the race-to-space 1950’s. He was also an accomplished painter. Rachel studied at UC Berkeley and has remained in the San Francisco area. Her most recent book, Gods of Water and Air, combines poetry, prose, and a short play on the afterlife of dogs. Other poetry books are Earth Lessons and Femme au Chapeau.
Her interest in Italy was ignited by a course and tour on the Italian Renaissance. She’s been hooked on Italy ever since. Her essay “Venice and the Passion to Nurture” was anthologized in Italy, A Love Story: Women Write About the Italian Experience. When not writing, she raises funds for nonprofit causes and takes walks with her Silky Terrier. She blogs at Rocket Kid Writing.