Category Archives: love

Another #book, another #GoddessFishTour – for me!!!

So, the newest addition to the San Valentino Holiday Romances that I lovelovelove writing, CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS, releases this Wednesday, 12.12.18. If you’ve been following my blog here, ( and of course you have! hee hee) You know that Nook is currently featuring the book as a NOOKFIRSTLOOK, allowing Nook readers to get the book a full 2 weeks in advance of actual publication. So if you’ve been lucky enough to read it first, yay! Hope you liked it. And btw – it’s still available as a first look until tomorrow – so if you haven’t gotten it now, here’s your chance.

As with most of my new releases these days, I’ve entrusted the wonderful owners and operators of GODDESS FISH BLOG TOURS to help me promote my book to the blog reading masses. Below is a list of all the virtual stops I’ll be making on this tour, and just because it’s fun, I’ve included a rafflecopter at each spot for a chance at a grand prize!!! So be sure to stop in daily, read the posts, link up for a chance to win and – of course!- but the book!!!

Merry Christmas and Happy Blogging!
Peg

December 10: Christine Young

December 11: Read Your Writes Book Reviews

December 12: Fabulous and Brunette

December 13: Romance Novel Giveaways

December 14: Danita Minnis

December 17: Andi’s Book Reviews – review

December 18: Notes From a Romantic’s Heart – review

December 19: Lauries Thoughts and Reviews

December 20: Harlie’s Books – review

December 21: Edgar’s Books

December 31: Books,Dreams,Life

January 1: T’s Stuff

January 2: Bookaholic

January 3: Sharing Links and Wisdom

January 4: Book Magic – Under a spell with every page – review

January 7: Locks, Hooks and Books – review only

January 8: Buried Under Romance

January 9: Two Ends of the Pen

January 10: It’s Raining Books

January 11: wendi zwaduk – romance to make your heart race

January 11: Long and Short Reviews

Blurb:

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.

Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Excerpt:

It had been a long, long time since a guy’s hands had been on me in anything resembling a carnal way. My ex had decamped to parts unknown five years ago after signing the divorce papers and I’d been so busy rebuilding my life that adding any kind of relationship to it wasn’t even a notion. Besides, with my hovering parents, one of whom worked for me while the other popped in daily to check up on their only daughter, I had enough on my plate fending off the men they wanted to introduce me to. Guys who, for the most part, had shady lifestyles, carried concealed, and owed my father innumerable favors. And by favors I mean the kind that usually get signed for in blood and paid back the same way.

Welcome to mia familia.

Buy Links: Amazon // Wild Rose Press //Nook

ibooks //

 

 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Foodie, Goddess Fish Tours and Promotion, love, Romance, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 12.2.18 An Oldie but a goodie ( and an award winner, too!)

 

I’ve got an oldie but a goodie here today, peeps. My first book for Kensignton/Lyrical Shine and my first book in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, COOKING WITH KANDY. I chose this book for today because it’s currently on sale – the ecopy – for 99 cents and I thought to myself, “self, what a great way to promo the book so people can learn about it and buy it for the romance readers on their holiday lists.” 

Shameless self promotion, thy name is Peggy.

Also, after this post was already in production, I found out that COOKING WITH KANDY won first place in the Contemporary Novel category in the OKRWA  IDA contest! So YAY for me! Here’s the link to the winners; OKRWA IDA My name and the book are listed first – and yes, that makes me very conceited to mention it, but happy too!

Here are Josh and Kandy…..

Josh returned to the filled room and scanned it for Kandy.

“She’s in the ladies’ room with Gemma,” Cort said, coming up and handing him a drink. “Here. Give her this. She’ll need it. And by the way, good move with Chandler. I never liked him.”

“Seems to be the general consensus.” He took the proffered glass.

He made his way to the other side of the room, ignoring the stares and whispers of the crowd, found the lounge, and knocked. “Kandy? It’s Josh. Can I come in?”

It was Gemma who answered. “Yes.”

The sisters were seated in twin floral Queen Anne chairs, Gemma reclining back into hers, arms crossed over her chest. Kandy was opposite, head wrung in her hands.

“Cort thought you could use this,” he said, handing her the champagne flute.

He’d expected tears, but was surprised to see Kandy’s beautiful face pinch in a scowl, her eyes flaring with sweltering anger and venom when she looked up at him.

“Thanks.” Kandy took the drink and downed half of it in one gulp.

When she wiped her lips with the back of her hand, the corners of Gemma’s mouth lifted and she asked Josh, “What did you do to the turd?”

“Explained he needed to leave, put him in the elevator, and made sure he went down in it.”

“Made him how?” Kandy asked.

“Little persuasion trick I know. His wrist’s gonna be sore tomorrow. Maybe for the next few days.”

“You physically removed him?” Gemma asked.
 Josh almost laughed at the excitement in her voice. He shrugged.

“Yeah. He was going to follow Kandy if I didn’t.”

“Please tell me you have unmarried, available brothers at home,” Gemma said.

It hurt to keep the smile from his face, but he did. “Three, in fact.”

“Are they all like you? No, scratch that.” She sighed, the sound wistful. “I doubt there’s anyone like you.”

“If you mean are they all workaholics and career-driven, then no. They’re not like me. But they are available.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.” She glanced at her sister and said, “Well, looks like my work here is done. She’s all yours now.”

She stood and kissed the top of Kandy’s head. “Evan Chandler is an egotistical, phony prick. Remember that.”

“How could I forget it?” Kandy grabbed her sister’s hand and kissed the back of it. “Thanks.”

When Gemma left, Josh took her empty chair. “You okay?”

She took a deep breath before saying, “Mad, but okay. I underestimated him.”

“How so?”

“I didn’t think he’d have the guts to crash my party. I thought he was too much of a wimp to risk it after our last encounter. Guess I was wrong.” She stood and crossed to the vanity. Peering at her reflection, she ran a lazy hand through her hair, fluffing the curls. She caught his gaze, watching her, in the mirror. “Aren’t you going to ask me about it?”

He’d considered it. But the weary look in her eyes told him he was better off asking Stacy or Gemma.

“No. If you want to talk, I’ll listen. Otherwise, you’ve got a pretty fancy shindig going on out there.” He cocked his thumb in the direction of the ballroom. “Maybe you want to get back and enjoy it. Bask in the adulation,” he said with a good-natured grin.

She turned to him and her eyes softened. When her lips moved upward into a small, lazy smile, the dimples dancing, his legs went a little soft and he was thankful he was seated.

“Yeah,” she said, moving to him. When he stood, she linked her arm in his. “Thanks. You’re right. Let’s go have a party.”

He returned her smile, glad he could help.

“You’re not so bad, Keane. This bodyguard thing might be fun after all.”

It was a moment before he trusted himself to speak.

“I aim to please.”

Buy Links: Kobo// Apple // Amazon // B&N // Google play  // Books a Million // Walmart

And remember – all the Will Cook For Love books are on sale right now – just in time for the holidays! Put a little romance under your tree this year….

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#SundaySnippet 11.25.18

I’m blessed. Truly. In just 2 weeks I’ve got another book release ( and my final for 2018!). CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS  basically wrote itself. I typically have a detailed plot outline before I ever write a word in a story. With this book, the characters propelled me forward with just the bare bones of a plan. Regina and Connor’s story spilled out of me in under 2 weeks because they wanted their love story told.

Here’s a little of Regina’s backstory…

When I was a teenager, I used to think the reason I sat dateless on most Friday and Saturday nights when all my friends were out with hot guys was because I was physically repugnant. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t figure out back then what was so off putting about me. I was curvy, sure, but my brothers assured me guys liked curves on a woman. I wore my waist- length hair parted in the middle and straight down my back after spending hours working on it with a flattening iron. My face was a solid testament to my ancestry with jet-black eyebrows arched above coal-colored eyes. My cheekbones, though, were high, and my mouth, my cousin Gia assured me, was sultry and sexy.

It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I came to realize the reason boys weren’t knocking each other over on their way to dating me was due to my father’s ridiculous reputation. No one wanted to be the guy who dated Sonny San Valentino’s only daughter. The odds of something happening to the guy should he cause me any emotional harm were thought to be great, and most boys my age valued their lives and potential futures.

And I know how dramatic that sounds. My father, despite what people believe, is not a violent man or a criminal in any sense of the word. Sure, he knows some wiseguys with reputations, most of whom he’d grown up with, and does business with a few who have been up the river once or twice…or more, for various and sundry charges, but he’s not the gangster he’s believed to be.

Reputations, though, are like rumors. They spread fast and furious despite any semblance of fact.

One nugget of truth to the entire situation that I did discover though, was that my father had been known to talk at the Marconi club where he was a frequent mahjong player, that no boy was good enough to date his little bellissima figlia, the name he always called me by. He didn’t want me dating and when the time came for me to marry, he would pick out the husband for me. My brother GianCarlo heard this from a friend of his and he repeated it to his wife Trixie, who then told it to me like any good Italian cognata would.

Needless to say when I found out, Pop’s little bellissima figlia erupted like Mount Vesuvius. I went out and grabbed the first guy I saw, got pregnant within a month, and married a few weeks later by the priest who’d baptized, communed, and confirmed me.

And, obeying my mother’s wishes, wore a virginal white gown that had belonged to her mother.

The one and only timed I’ve ever rebelled in my life, and the ramifications of that single action still haunt me to this day.

Intrigued? Here’s where you can preorder the book, which releases on 12.12.18 just in time for Christmas. ***These are the links for e-copy. Print copies will be released soon.

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Nook

And don’t forget the other titles I have out this Holiday Season for the romance-reader on your list – or just for yourself!

Hope’s Dream ( Deerbourne Inn Novella)

DEARLY BELOVED ( A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, BOOK 1)

All my titles are available here: Book Links and here

 

 

 

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Deerbourne Inn, Food lover, Foodie, Hope's Dream, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

I’m on #TOUR (heehee)

Enchanted Book Promotions is hosting me for the next 2 weeks on a whirlwind tour, featuring DEARLY BELOVED.

Here are the tour stops for each day:

November 14th: Starter Day Party @ I Heart Reading

November 16th: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Rantings

November 17th: Promo Post @ Indy Book Fairy

November 18th: Book Excerpt @ T’s Stuff

November 20th: Book Review @ Crazy KALM

November 21st: Book Excerpt @ Bookish Madness

November 22nd: Author Interview @ Bedazzled Reading

November 24th: Book Excerpt @ Books, Dreams, Life

November 26th: Promo Post @  Stormy Night Reviewing

November 27th: Book Review @ Editor Charlene’s Blog

November 27th: Guest Post @ I Heart Reading

November 28th: Author Interview @ Majanka’s Blog

Stop by on any day. There’s a rafflecopter for Amazon gift cards. Plus, you’ll get to read more about the book (and me!)

See you in cyberspace. Hee Hee

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Filed under Dearly Beloved, love, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Welcome to #Walmart

In this never ending quagmire of publishing, I discovered today that my ebooks are all available at WALMART.Com

So, if you shop Walmart on line and are looking for some bargains on my books, here you go. These titles are currently available.

Skater’s Waltz 

There’s No Place like Home

First Impressions 

The VOices of Angels

Passion’s Palette

A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights

3 Wishes

Cooking with Kandy

A Shot at love

CAn’t Stand the Heat

SO, in addition to Amazon, WRP, Nook, Kobo, Apple and Google +, I’m really just everywhere these days! hahaha

FInd me here, too:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

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Filed under Author, Author Branding, author promotion, Candy Hearts, Family Saga, First Impressions, Food lover, Foodie, Friends, Hope's Dream, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, Strong Women, The Laine Women, The Voices of Angels, The Wild Rose Press, There's No Place Like Home, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

#MFRWauthorBlogChallenge Week 41 ….How do I end it?

Have you ever gotten to the last page of a book and thought….and? What happens next?

Even though the story has been resolved, the lovers have reunited and declared their love, the detective has gotten his man, the world has been saved from the dreaded bio-virus, sometimes it just feels that there should be…a little bit more, before the book is done. A little sumthin’ sumthin’ else before I put the book back on the shelf ( or in the case nowadays, close the Kindle app.)

These are the times where a really good epilogue comes in and saves the day…and the book.

The definition of an epilogue is a section or speech at the end of a book or play that serves as a comment on, or a conclusion, to what has happened.

The way I define an epilogue is by saying it’s what comes after the end. In a mystery, the detective solves the case and in the epilogue the author tells you what happened after that. In a science fiction/dystopian tome, the epilogue will show you how the protagonists are rebuilding and renormalizing their world again. In a romance, the couple confess their love and their desire to be together always. The epilogue will tell you how they are doing, maybe a year after,or even give you a glimpse at their wedding or the brith of their baby.

An epilogue in a series book can actually set you up for the next book. In a romance the epilogue might show you what the secondary character is now doing, and you just know she’s gonna start out on her own journey for an HEA.

I love a good epilogue. I know they fell from writing grace for a while, especially in romantic fiction, because the ultimate goal, the end game, was the declaration of a promised lifetime together, and assumption the couple was going to have an HEA.

But…

I like a little glimpse into the what comes next. I want to know the plans for the wedding, or did Great Aunt Who-sis bless the happy couple, or did Cousin What-sis agree to be the Maid of Honor. I want deets, peeps. Deets!

Sometimes the promised HEA-end just feels…unsatisfying to me.

So, enter the epilogue. To me, it’s the final wrap-up, the place where every potential question is answered, the real end of the story.


Then, and only then, can I really feel my characters got their final say and their true HEA

So, before this blog needs its own epilogue, I’ll end it here and suggest you check out the other author blogs in the challenge to see how they feel about the inclusion of an epilogue. MFRWAuthorBlogChallenge

And when I’m not writing epilogues, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me

 

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#TheGreatAmericanRead “What we do for Love” Episode #4, #PBS

You can guess by the title of this current episode, that we’re talking about books where love features heavily. And it’s not just romantic love either. There’s love of family, love of country. There’s even love of self.

The books listed fall into different categories of love, starting with love that’s not exactly of the normal definition.

  1. Destructive love. In these books, we see what the protagonist thinks of as love, can be something else entirely. From obsession to unrequited to leaving the love of your life,  these loves fall on the darker side of the emotion. Americanah, Looking for Alaska and the Great Gatsby are part of this category.  Is there anyone on the planet who doesn’t think Jay Gatsby is just a little left of stable, mentally? He is so obsessed with Daisy he remakes himself into something he isn’t just so he will fit into the man-mold he thinks she wants. Ultimately and too late, he realizes how destructive that love is. Unrequited love is the major theme in Look For Alaska, John Green’s Debut YA Novel. The story concerns Miles and a classmate of his, the out-of-his-league Alaska. Americanah is told from a Nigerian immigrant’s perspective and deals with coming to a new country and leaving a first love behind.
3. My favorite category, of course, is romantic love and the two books listed, Pride and Prejudice and Gone With The Wind are my two favorite books of all time, as anyone who is a frequent reader of my blog knows! Pride and Prejudice set the tone and example for what a romantic novel should be almost 3oo years ago. Jane Austen quite literally redefined the blueprint of the romance book. And, like Little Women, the protagonist is a second sister. Independent, outspoken, opinionated Elizabeth Bennet is Fitzwilliam Darcy’s foil on every level. Or is she? That’s the crux of their story. This may be the first enemies to lovers trope written and it is still at the top of the heap.
Mitchell’s GWTW tells the tale of another independent and opinionated woman, Scarlett O’Hara, but where most people who have seen the movie think Rhett Butler was the love of her life, they’d be wrong. Which is why, in my mind, the book is always better than the movie. Hands down. Scarlett’s one real, enduring love is her home, Tara. Keeping it is the motivator in almost all of her actions and thoughts, something the book details way better than the movie ever could.
4. The last “Love” category explored was the Enduring love story, or the love that lasts eternally. Some of the choices here were a bit odd to me, but when delved into, do deserve to be here. They include Call of the Wild, The Notebook and (another fav of mine) Anne of Green Gables.
Call Of the Wild tells -at its  basic level – the story of a man and his dog – and how that love they have for each other endures even when one of them dies. While I am not a Nicholas Sparks fan, the Notebook does a good job of showing how, when you love someone, you will go through all the trials and fires of life with them and still love them even when they don’t remember who you are.
Anne Shirley is another of those protagonists who just settles into you heart from the first page. By her shear love of life, living, and people, she turns a sour, dour spinster who doesn’t even want Anne, into a woman who is devoted to Anne entirely. This book covers all aspects of love, from family to friendship, to romantic love, and enduring love. It’s a great book!!
 
This documentary series has been so wonderful to watch and learn from, I sincerely hope you catch it when it’s aired or watch it on demand or on-line later. Since it’s so much easier for me to speak than write – go figure!- I’ll be giving a facebook Live talk this afternoon on my FB author page at 2pm EST of you want to join in and discuss some of these books. Here’s my link: Peggy Jaeger, Author Hope you can join me.

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#preorder available for DEARLY BELOVED, bk 1 in A Match Made in Heaven

I’m over the moon because preorders are now available for DEARLY BELOVED, book 1 in a MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN.

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

Here are the links: – these are for ebooks only right now. As soon as I have the print order form I’ll post it!

Amazon // The WIld Rose Press // Barnes and Nobel

And because I’m such a nerd when it comes to things that are my book related, here are my Pinterest Board links for the O’Dowds so you can get a feel for how I picture the characters and the town of Heaven, NH

Maureen’s Aprons

Izzy’s Shower

Nanny Fee

O’dowd family and town

Sunday Snippets 

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Alpha Male, Author, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Family Saga, love, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

The Great American Read

Piggybacking off of Saturday’s post, I love books.

But you know that… hee hee.

This year on PBS  a documentary about books is playing that is near and dear to my heart. It started last May with a two part episode of the 100 favorite books in America as voted upon by hundreds of thousands of people. The show is hosted by the wonderful, smart, and wickedly witty Meredith Vieira .

The premise is easy. From these 100 books listed, PBS watchers will vote on the #1 favorite book to read.

I have several favorites in the list, including, but not limited to,  these:

 

 

 

 

 

          

 

Then there a few books that I question. I won’t list all of those but I will tell you my least favorite book of all time, THE CATCHER IN THE RYE, is also on this list. Don’t judge me. I just think this book was a waste of my sophomore year in English in high school. And why in the name of all that’s holy is 50 Shades of Gray on the list???

Okay, enough ranting about the ones I don’t like.

You should view the list and see if your favs ( and not favs) made the list. Then, I recommend you watch the show and on your favorite!!! I’ve even been toying with the idea to start reading the 100 books ( even the ones I hated!) in 2019. Many of the books I’ve never read before and I think – at this advanced age (heehee) – I should broaden my reading horizons.

Just a thought for now, but I’m giving it thoughtful consideration.

 

Seriously, though…if you like to read, this is a great show to watch. Each episode digs deep into the category of books they are doing. For instance, there’s a show about debut books from first time authors like Margaret Mitchell’s Gone With The WindDid you know that was her first and only book ever published?

There’s a show all about the romance genre ( a personal fav for me!) titled WHAT WE DO FOR LOVE. It includes books like  Jane Eyre   and Pride and Prejudice.  

There’s an episode  even about the human condition that highlights books such as thePilgrim’s Progress and Siddhartha.

One of my favorite episodes is the one on friendship. It features The Adventures of Tom Sawyer,  A Separate Peace and  Charlotte’s Web,

Again, this is a great series to watch if you love books, love to read, or are just trying find out a little more about the authors and why they wrote the books they did.

So, if you’re looking for a change from all the negative stuff on commercial television nowadays, this is a really nice way to spend a few hours. You won’t only be entertained, but you’ll learn something along the way as well. Make it a family watch and gather up the kids, grab some popcorn, watch and DISCUSS the books with one another!

Reading and the Great America Read. They’re good things.

When I’m not watching TV or reading you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

 

 

 

 

 

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Sunday Snippet 9.23.18

From the upcoming CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

After grace, my father turned his attention away from the conversation my brothers were having about the Jets, and toward me.

“What’s going on with you and that Irish guy?” he asked without any preamble.

Luckily, I hadn’t taken a sip from the water glass I’d lifted to my mouth, otherwise I knew I would have choked on the liquid.

“Nothing.”

Regina Maria.”

“Really, Pop. Nothing. I made a cake for him. That’s it.”
 I could hear the angels in Heaven tsk-tsking me.

I’d been in church less than two hours ago, and now I was committing a sin by lying to my father. I could see a visit to the confessional before the end of the day was in order.

“Guys you make cakes for don’t usually spend the night in your apartment, little girl.”

My brother knows a guy named Tony Cartieri. Everyone who knows him agrees that if Tony didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck.

Right at the moment Pop made that statement, I knew exactly how old Tony felt, because the conversation had slowed and ebbed, Pop’s words spreading around the table loud and clear. The kids were set up in the living room, so I don’t think they got wind of it. But everyone else did.

Ten pair of eyes glared at me from all corners of the table. Some were wide-eyed; some were narrowed. All of them were filled with varying levels of emotions ranging from shocked (Ma) to suspicious (my brothers) to pleased (my sisters-in-law).

“Regina.” Ma threw her napkin on her plate and slammed her cutlery next to her plate. “What is your father talking about? What man spent the night at your apartment?”

“It’s not like it sounds, Ma. It was late and we were talking, and then we both just fell asleep—”

Holy Madonna.” She made the sign of the cross and closed her eyes, hands clasped together as her lips moved silently in prayer.

“Where?” ’Carlo asked.

“Where what?”

“Where did the two of you fall asleep? In your bed?”

Another finger cross from Ma. This time she kissed her fingertips afterward and threw a prayer up to the Lord.

“I don’t think you get to ask me that question, ’Carlo. I’m thirty-two years old, and you’re my brother, not my father.”

“What I am is suspicious,” he spat back. “How come we didn’t know you were seeing a guy? Why you keeping him a secret?”

“First of all, what I do in the privacy of my own home”—now Ma was rocking back and forth as she prayed—“or don’t do, is none of your business. Second, I’m not seeing anyone, so the fact that it’s a secret is null and void. Stop with the third degree, GianCarlo. Use it on your own kids, ’cause like I said, you’re not my father.”

“But I am,” Pop said, his tone hard and filled with anger, “so answer it. Where did Irish sleep last night?”

“Irish?” Petey exclaimed. “What the Hell kinda name is that?”

“Language, Pietro,” Ma said, awaking from her spiritual coma to chastise her son.

There are so many things I simply adore about my family. The unshakeable connection and love we all have; the fact that we live close to one another; our shared faith and sense of tradition. But the one thing I do hate is the antiquated morality system they adhere to. Girls don’t have sex with men before marriage, plain and simple. Of course since the one and only time I’d done just that, I’d wound up pregnant and forced to get married, my parents’ concerns made sense.

To them.

I was almost fifteen years older, much wiser, and a full-fledged adult now, but I was still treated like an ignorant bambina who had to be protected from wolves and scoundrels. If my father had his way, I’d be married right now to one of his goombahs, eight months pregnant with probably our seventh child, and in the kitchen making gravy.

So many times over the years, I’d wanted to smack him on the back of the head much the way he smacks us, and say, “Wake up! It’s twenty-first-century America, not eighteenth-century Sicily.” Wanting to do something and actually doing it, though, are very different beasts.

So.

I don’t get mad often, especially with my family, but I was tired, overworked, emotionally drained, and royally pissed off right now, so the anger bled through my usual calm.

I rose from my chair and threw my napkin down on the table like my mother had.

“You know what? I’m done. I’m done with you all treating me like a child. I’m not one of your underlings, Pop, who needs to be kept on a short lease and told what to do every minute of the day because you don’t have enough trust to let them act on their own. And”—I glared at my brothers— “I’m not five years old and unable to defend myself against bullies and bad guys. You don’t have to hold my hand so I can cross the street and not get hit by a car.” I grabbed my plate and walked to the kitchen. “I’m done with you all thinking I can’t make a wise and appropriate decision with my life,” I added over my shoulder. I placed the dish in the sink and called out, “I’m done with the checking up on me, the second- guessing me, and the way you all think you have a right to manage my life.”

I yanked my coat off the hall tree and yelled, “I’m a thirty-two-year-old grown-ass woman who owns and manages her own business and her own life. I don’t need protectors, handlers, or any of you telling me what to do, who to see, or how to conduct myself. I’ve been on my own a long time, and I think I’ve done a great job with myself, even if you all don’t.” I shrugged into my coat and wound my scarf around my neck. “If I want a man to spend the night or not, it’s none of your damn business. Deal with it.”

I may have screeched that last part.

I slammed the door behind me and sprinted down the stairs of the brownstone, my ungloved hand waving in the air for a passing cab.

As an exit line, I think it was a pretty good one.

Available December 2018 from THE WILD ROSE PRESS

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