Tag Archives: Christmas Romance Story

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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A Christmas Wedding Story that could have been a nightmare!

With the publication of my first holiday-themed romance novel, A Kiss Under the Christmas lights, I thought I’d give you a little insight into my own Christmas-centered love story.

I was married the day after Christmas. Yup, December 26. Boxing Day in the UK; 1/2 price retail day in the US. Everyone I knew was surprised, and I think a little anxious, about a wedding at Christmas time because, really, sosososo many things could go wrong and spoil the day. Since I was getting married in New York, we could have had a terrible snow storm, ruining the day and the travel plans of my guests. Because so many people travel on the days leading up to and including Christmas day, you need to plan for twice the travel and drive time than you’d  usually give to getting somewhere, so the thought I’d be late – or anyone in my wedding party would – was great.

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Booking a Catholic church for a wedding the day after the Lord’s birthday was a nightmare. My regular church was already taken, and I “shopped around” for weeks until I found one that had an opening. It wasn’t my family church, but it was an old, neighborhood one, complete with ecclesiastical frescos and stained glass windows. So pretty. Oh, and its name was serendipitous because it was St. Margaret Mary Church. I’ll leave it to you to figure out why it was so fitting.

The holidays are typically met with joy, fun, and in many cases, depression. I had two invited guests tell me they weren’t coming because they usually felt blue this time of year and didn’t want to ruin my day with their grumpiness. Thanks for that. Oh, and btw – they didn’t send a gift.

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The holidays are also usually met with weight gain. Do you  know how difficult it was for me not to eat the wealth of delicious holiday food my family always served because I couldn’t afford to gain not–even an ounce–just so my dress would fit??? Torture, it was. Simply, torture.

In addition to the excesses of food offered, the holidays are also a reason to imbibe. And over imbibe, at that. I had more than one relative tell me that Uncle SoandSo or Aunt What’sIt was known to hit the bottle a little harder and faster during the holidays and that I shouldn’t (a.) invite them to the wedding, or (b). if I did invite them, cut them off at the pass ( and by pass, they meant the BAR!), or else I was going to have either a drunken fight, a drunken sound-off, or a drunken mess on my hands.

But….

The day arrived crisp, cloudless, and clear. Not a flurry in sight and the wind was minimal. My dress fit, the limos arrived on time- as did the guests and the wedding party despite the ridiculous, back-up everywhere, shopping traffic- and the ceremony started when it was supposed to.

Because it was the holiday season, I’d chosen the traditional green and red colors for my wedding theme. I know: not very original, but they are a tradition for  a reason! My bridesmaids wore Scarlett O’hara style, hooped green velvet and satin dresses, my flower girl the same dress in red. My groomsman had green bowties, my ring bearer donned red plastic glasses so he’d match my flower girl. I had red and white roses with baby’s breath for flowers and boutonnieres. All in all, it was a very festive looking party.

So when I came up with the idea for a Christmas inspired romance story, I knew I needed my hero and heroine to meet, fall in love, and then commit to one another during the holy season and find their happily-ever-after during such a joyous time. Exactly like I did.

Oh, and just so I fully disclose here: Uncle SOandSo did get drunk and pass out behind the poinsettia-ed dais.

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS 

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Blurb:

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.
Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.
Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Excerpt:

His back was to me and he was carrying a table, but after he put it down and turned around I got a good look at the front of him.

And Holy Mary, Mother of God, what a front he had.

Close cropped military style hair the color of wind blown wheat topped a head which stood – truly – head and shoulders above everyone else around. The guy had to be six-three at least. Sharp, etched cheekbones God cut with a knife, sat under deep and dark oval shaped eyes. His face was a composite of planes and angles, the carved cheeks meeting up with a chiseled-from-stone chin. Hardened concrete looked softer than this guy’s jawline. His nose was perfectly fixed in the center of his face, the slight aquiline bend at the tip bringing to mind Michelangelo’s David, the cupid’s bow under it well-defined and pronounced. He was clean shaven, and his mouth was full and thick and – God help me – looked utterly kissable.

I could tell even with the chunky vest covering his torso, he was closer to thin than stocky, but from the way his biceps pulled against his sleeves, he had some muscle to him.

And some pair of legs. They went on forever, from heaven to earth in a full, hard line.

I don’t know how long I stood there just gawking with my mouth open like an empty cannoli shell waiting to be filled, but I’m being truthful when I say I couldn’t move. My feet were frozen to the ground, my knees had locked, and my hips weren’t taking me anywhere soon.

This was one beautiful man.

The old masters would have used him as a springboard for their work, and I could actually picture him in a Botticelli fresco, garbed in Roman robes, lounging while naked, buxom-breasted chubby women fed him grapes and sweetmeats.

In the time it took for a hummingbird to flap its wings once, I pictured myself as one of those women.

I’m giving away one free e-copy (KINDLE) of A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights to anyone who comments below by telling me: what month did you get married in?

Bio:

View More: http://stephanieritaphoto.pass.us/peggyjheadshots

I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them.

When I’m not writing feverishly into the night, you can usually find me here:

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor