Here, for the first time, is the cover to my upcoming Holiday release CHRISTMAS AND CANOLLIS, a San Valentino Christmas Love Story. Don’tcha love the cover!!! Hee hee. Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin to whet your holiday reading appetite:
“You seeing anybody these days? Like, dating?”
Trixie was the oldest of all my brother’s wives and the one who routinely asked after my love life. Or lack of it.
“No free time,” I said. “The bakery takes up all my hours. When I’m not working, I’m planning, paying bills, ordering supplies. Throw in a few much-needed hours of sleep each night, and months can change before I realize it.”
Trixie shook her head, her over-Aqua-netted hair staying perfectly in place while she moved. “You’re too young, Reg, to be sitting alone at night in that apartment. You’re gonna shrivel and rot before your time. A girl’s gotta”—she lowered her voice and moved a little closer to me—“get some sometime, you know?” Her raised eyebrows underscored her meaning as her intent glare lit on me. “Don’t use it, you’re gonna lose it.”
“Lose what?” my mother asked in her usual thunderous voice at just the moment the entire table’s conversations screamed to a halt.
“Nothin’ Ma. Trixie and me were just talking about the bakery.” I hoped against hope she’d let it go, but it wasn’t my mother I needed to worry about. It was Trixie.
She leaned forward and cocked her head so she could see my mother across my chest, the few glasses of pre-dinner vino showing their effects. “I was just saying to Reggie that she should be going out, dating. Trying to find a guy worthy of her. Not one like her loser ex.”
Remember when I said there were times I’d wished I’d been a foundling? Yeah. This was a prime example of one of those times.
“She’s still young and beautiful,” Trixie continued. “She’s got needs like any young and healthy woman does.”
Forget about being a foundling. Maybe it would have been better if I’d never been born.
“Hush with that kinda talk, Beatrice Guilia,” my mother said, sharply. She made the sign of the cross over her chest. “We don’t talk about things like needs and such at the dinner table. There’s kids present. Madonna mia.”
Once Trixie starts on a subject, though, it’s hard to stop her. Not even ’Carlo pulling at her arm can sway her when she wants to make a point. “All I’m sayin’ is Reggie shouldn’t let the tragedy of her past prevent her from finding lasting happiness. She deserves to be happy. In every way,” she added, nodding. “Penny, you get me, right?”
I shot my gaze to my other sister-in-law across the table and sent her a silent, wide-eyed plea to keep her mouth shut.
Penny wasn’t tuned into my telepathic appeal, though. I assumed the vino had something to do with her inability to read my mind and eye signals.
“It’s true, Reg. You got no life outside-a work,” she said. “You need to get out. Meet people. Find a boyfriend. I know a couple-a single guys at work. I could set you up with one of them.”
“Nobody’s setting Regina up with nobody.” My father’s booming voice shot through the dining room. “She wants t’ meet a guy, I’ll introduce her to one. Last time, she went looking on her own, and we all know what happened.”
He looked pointedly at me, and I said a silent prayer for the dining room floor to open up and swallow me. The only guys my father was every going to introduce me to were the ones he associated with. None of whom had modern notions of a wife as a life partner, but more the old-fashioned and archaic ones of thinking of a bride as an unpaid domestic, a carrier of the next generation of sons, and a cook. In essence, a woman who was perpetually pregnant, barefoot in the kitchen, and subservient.
Yeah, I know. This is the twenty-first century, and we live in one of the most progressive cities on the planet. But we’re talking about a lifetime of shared social mores and cultural dictates that were infused into my family since birth. Maybe even before they were born.
Change was not gonna happen.
Coming 12.12.18 from The Wild Rose Press. Pre-order links coming soon!