Tag Archives: Family

A little present from me to you…

In just a few weeks my next Lyrical Shine book A SHOT AT LOVE, bk 2 in the Will Cook For Love Series, will be released. To whet your appetites ( like that pun??!)  I’m going to start posting little snippets and excerpts of the book every few days. Today is day one.

First, here’s the back cover blurb:

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!  
 
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .

With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

Now….meet Gemma Laine, for the first time, through Ky’s eyes:

That’s her.” The officer pointed to a police vehicle in the middle of the barricaded street a moment later. “Name’s Gemma Laine.”

A woman stood next to the vehicle, a cell phone at her ear, her back to him. Tall, maybe as tall as he was, and slender, her back tapered down to a minuscule waist, her legs clad in tight, faded jeans. When she turned Ky almost stopped midstride, the questions he intended to grill her with jumping out of his head. His breath caught as he simply stared at the loveliest woman he’d ever seen.

Hair the color of midnight, straight as a board, fell to just below her shoulders, blowing back from her face in the gentle afternoon breeze. Blunt, chopped bangs fringed a pair of large, bright blue eyes. Plump, coral-colored lips moved as she spoke into the phone and for a brief, hot second, Ky wondered if they’d taste as delicious as they looked.

Her gaze stayed on him as she spoke.

“I’ve gotta go,” she said into the phone. “Yeah. I’ll call when I’m done. Love you, too.”

“Miss Laine?”

She tucked the phone into her back pocket.

“I’m Special Agent Pappandreos. I need to speak with you about what you saw.”

“Special Agent?” Those delicate brows furrowed under her bangs. “Like, FBI?”

Jesus, where does a woman get a voice like that? Whiskey laced with honey and rolled into one smooth pitch.

“Yes. I understand you witnessed the shooting? You photographed it?”

She nodded. “I was working when it all started. I took a series of shots while it was happening.”

His gaze flicked to the camera she held in one hand.

“I need to see those pictures.”

His first impression of her height had been correct. She was maybe three or four inches shorter than his six-foot-one frame. As she moved closer, the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight at attention. She smelled as good as she looked and his nostrils flared from the scent of sweet cherries blended with some hot exotic spice.

“It all went down so fast,” she said. “But I got some good shots.” Handing him the camera, she added, “Press this button to advance.”

PreOrder Links:

Amazon //Apple //Google // Kobo // Nook

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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

Please #Vote for my book!

Hey all! My holiday novella A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is up for the July non-erotic book of the month over at Long and Short Reviews. I’d really appreciate some voting help! Here’s the link:

http://www.longandshortreviews.com/book-reviews/july-non-erotic-book-of-the-month-poll-3/

YOu can vote until August 2nd. Thanks so much!!!

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Sometimes, I get it right…..

You never know if what you are writing is going to be received well. It’s like a comic performing in front of an audience for the first time. He knows he’s funny. He likes his jokes, his routine, but he’s just not sure the audience is going to “get it.”

That’s typically the way I feel when I write. Is anyone going to “get it?” Are they going to understand what I mean? The intention behind the innuendo? My weird sense of humor?

Well, today I know someone got it – and a big someone at that. I received my first professional review for a story that is as near and dear to me as my own family – A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.  I’ve included a link to the review here because I sososososo want to brag about, er… share it! The review is from LONG AND SHORT REVIEWS and I’ve been hoping they would review something of mine since my first book was released. It took two years and 7 books, but they finally did and I just have to pull a Sally Field and say “she liked it! She really liked it!!!”

Here’s the link to the review LASR

Here’s a little about the book:

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

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:

After an hour of helping people move supplies from cars, I passed by mama who was carrying a humongous plastic swaddled baby Jesus statue for the crèche when she called out, “The new guy is here.”

“Where?” I put down the ladder I’d been carting and looked in the general direction of where she’d pointed her chin since her arms were full of the Lord.

I found him in an instant. It wasn’t difficult to do because he was the only guy in the parking lot I didn’t recognize who was under sixty. Plus, he was dressed head to toe in basic clergy black. Black long sleeved shirt under a black vest over black trousers and standard issue shiny black boring priest shoes.

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 oval eyes which looked deep and dark from where I stood. 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 deep and pronounced. Clean shaven, 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 if I could guess 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 looking like a cannoli 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 with naked, buxom-breasted plump women surrounding him, feeding 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.

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

When I’m not basking in the fabulousness of this review, you can find me here:

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Life is a lesson unto itself

 

I will admit this freely: I hate a preachy book. You know the kind. The book that just bleeds with not-so-hidden messages for the reader. The book that condescends to the reader, the author making sure you know he/she is so much more educated than you on the topic.

It even happens in romance books. I read a book years ago by an author who I won’t name ( and never read again!) whose secondary character was basically a doormat and let every person in the book walk all over her because she thought that’s how she deserved to be treated since she was a bastard. All through the story, her internal dialogue droned on and on about how she was unworthy of ever finding love because of this. In the end, she winds up alone and caring for the heroine’s two children. The life lesson I took away from all that drivel, and the one I really think the author intended: bastard children don’t deserve happiness.

Yeah…that’s why I’ve never read anything by this author again.

When I set out to write a book I don’t automatically think about the life lessons that should be incorporated into the story. For me, I think the story itself and how the characters move in and out of their lives, should decide this. Looking back on my books I can objectively say these have been the basic life lessons I’ve written about:

  1. Trust is earned. Every day. (First Impressions)
  2. Everyone deserves a second chance at love. (There’s No Place Like Home, The Voices of Angels)
  3. You can’t be all things to all people and you are stronger when you let people help you  (Cooking with Kandy)
  4. First Impressions aren’t always the correct ones (A Kiss Under the Christmas tree)
  5. Forgiveness is a gift (3 Wishes)
  6. Family is more than just the people you are related to (Skater’s Waltz)

I don’t preach in my books. That’s not my job. My job is to entertain the reader. If the reader gains any insight into her own life, or sees parallels within it from the storyline, then that’s a good thing. What isn’t a good thing is if I’ve insulted the reader by presenting a situation or a problem that may be comparable to something in their own life, and then telling them this is how the situation should be solved. No. Not gonna happen.

Life lessons are important. No one is denying that. I just don’t want to get slapped in the face with it when I read. And, I also don’t want to be the one slapping!

I’m sure the other authors in this blog hop are just chock full of life lessons, so why don’t you hop on over to their sites and see who they handle writing these lessons in to their own books.

 

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Musing on #Siblings

A few days ago, according to my oracle source, Facebook, it was National Siblings day, a day I have never celebrated and will never have the opportunity to.

I am an only child. My parents divorced when I was a little kid, each remarried quickly thereafter, and still I have no siblings, either step, or real. An only child between 4 “parents” and 8 grandparents shouldn’t necessarily be something any child would complain about. After all, you’re it. The only birthday that gets celebrated is yours; you get all the Christmas gifts; you never have to share toys, clothes, food, friends, a room. You never wear hand me downs, and all the school pictures displayed in the house on the walls are of you.

But….

Being an only child also comes with a lot of negative emotions. I never really felt connected to anyone in my family because there was no one around my age to contend or commune with. I was raised with grownups. Parents, grandparents, aunts and very old great-aunts and uncles. I was always the youngest human being in the room. Always. And I was raised in a time where children lived that proverbial seen but not heard edict so common during the era. If I had a problem, I had two choices: take it to a grown up or solve it myself. Since many of the problems I had encountered bullying in school and dealing with my alcoholic relatives, I really couldn’t take it to the adults in my family. Back then, you were taught not to confide in anyone but family, so taking a family problem to a teacher was like committing an act of homicide in my family! There were no safe havens for troubled kids with questions, and the Priests and Nuns in my church were mean with a capital MEAN!!

Being an only child wasn’t a picnic as a kid and as I get older, it only gets worse because as I age, so do my parents. I have four people who I am responsible for as they age, get infirm, and need to have decisions made for them. Decisions I have no one else to bounce off. A sibling would be a lifeline during hard decision-making times. AM I making the right choice? What do you think they would want? What’s easiest for them? All questions you can ask a sibling when dealing with your parents.  I have no one to ask those questions. NO one to help me make the correct decisions. No one to tell me what I’ve done is right, or wrong, or horrible.

Please, I don’t want to sound like I’m complaining and feeling burdened by this. I’m not. I’m simply stating that if I had a sibling, making these decisions would be easier.

So. A little advice to those of you who are and have siblings.

  1. Cherish them. You may fight like wild animals and hate one another at times, but there is truly no one you are closer to than a sibling.
  2. Support them. There have been so many times in my life I needed someone I could go to in order to talk things through to decide if I was doing the right thing. Having a sibling trust your opinion and offer support is a gift from God.
  3. Have fun with them. My husband’s brothers and sisters are all in their 50’s and they still laugh, giggle, and enjoy one another’s company whenever they are together. Their shared history, the similar references they use, the memories, all make them happy to be around one another. Spend time with your siblings.
  4. Love their children. When you – God forbid- die, you’ll want people around your children supporting them, loving them, helping them to remember you. I don’t have that. There’s no one my daughter can turn to when I go who knew me when. Who can tell her what it was like when I was a kid, or what I was like.  Luckily, she has that with my husband and his family.

I didn’t write this to be morose, or give you a woe-is-me view of my life. I simply want people to understand that being an only child isn’t a bed of rosebuds and that having a sibling connection is one of the greatest gifts anyone can have.

If I was going to get a little Psych 101 here, I would tell you that the reason I write so much about large, loving families is because I always dreamed about being in one…yeah…pretty psych 101 profile, indeed.

Find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triberr

My new series is about sisters – the 7 Laine Sisters in the Will Cook For Love books. Book 1, COOKING WITH KANDY is available here: kindle // Apple // Google //  Kobo //Nook

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A #sale, a #ValentinesDay gift, and a good #romance

3wishessale

My lovely Publisher, The WILD ROSE PRESS is having a Valentine’s day sale and all the Candy Heart eBooks are now 40% off. My addition to the crew, 3 WISHES, is one of these! If you read A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights and enjoyed it ( I hope, I hope!) you’ll love 3 WISHES because it introduces you to the large, loving, and crazy San Valentino family.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet you candy day appetite from 3 WISHES.

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Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy Links: The Wild Rose Press  // Amazon

And when I’m not out promoting sales, you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

sancookie

Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

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The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

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The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

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In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

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When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

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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.

nativity_tree2011

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:

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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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RELEASE DAY!!

I think it’s a little serendipitous that today is the last day of NaNoWriMo and the day my newest book gets released into the world from my publisher.

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A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is here! I’ve been waiting for sosososo long to share Gia and Tim’s story. I’ve read it so many times over the past few months, waiting, just waiting until it could be released as a holiday novel that I’ve got pages of it memorized!! The San Valentino family is one I’d like to call my own for so many reasons. They laugh loudly, live broadly, and love unconditionally. Who wouldn’t want to be a member of such a clan??!!

SO if you like romance/love stories centering around family and you need a little comedic break during these busy holidays, you’ll love this story.

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin to whet your book reading appetites. Since I never had a sister to share with and learn from, I created sisters who mean the world to one another, Chloe and Gia:

Excerpt:

Sometimes living in such a close-knit family was a little suffocating and lot of claustrophobic.

How to be a good Italian, lesson 3: family comes first, last, forever, and you do everything together. Always.

“Gia,” Chloe said, breaking into my thoughts, “come and help me with your goddaughter. She needs to be changed.”

She rose, as did I, and grabbed the diaper bag sitting in the living room with one hand, her other hand holding her two-month-old. “Lorenzo, be a good boy for Nonna and Papa,” she told her two-year-old son with a kiss to his head.

Up in Gianni and Paolo’s old bedroom, which now served as an all-things-bambino warehouse, Chloe held the baby up to me and said, “Here. You do the honors.” Once she handed her over, she plopped down into the rocking chair Mama had rocked all six of us in and let out a sigh that tugged at my heart.

I laid Arianna down on the changing table Nonna had brought over from Italy with her seventy-five years ago and tickled her little belly. Her toothless grin stared up at me. She was already a heartbreaker and owned my own heart and soul completely.

“Okay, baby sister.” Chloe folded her hands across her stomach. “Spill. What’s up?”

“What do you mean?” I popped open the crotch of the onesie, pushed it up to Arianna’s tiny waist, and bent down to kiss her soft, swollen, little baby belly.

“Your face went the color of Mama’s tomatoes when they started discussing the new priest. What gives?”

Chloe is nine years older than I am and one of the smartest women I know. At times she’s been more of a mother to me than our own, like during the horrible two years Mama went through chemo treatments for breast cancer when I was eleven. Chloe was the one who helped me buy my first bra, taught me about my period, and listened to me when I had questions about boys, sex, and what constituted appropriate dating behavior for girls who came from families like ours: overprotected.

BUY LINKS: Amazon// Wild Rose Press//  B&N

 

 

 

 

 

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

One Week Countdown!

I’m all aglow because in just 7 days ( the time it took God to make the world!!!) I get to introduce you all to Gia San Valentino and Tim Santini. My new Holiday/Christmas novel A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS releases on  11.30.16 and I am sosososososos thrilled the time is near.

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Gia could, truthfully, be one of my best friends if she were, you know, real! I loved writing about her and how she deals with her crazy family. As you all know,  family is a big topic for me when I’m penning a story, and a loud, loving, full of life family is one I just love to write about.

Families are a complex network to deal with, navigate through, and survive! Truth, no? The San Valentino family lives hard, loves even harder, and they are a loyal bunch who put the welfare of one another ahead of everything – and everyone – else. Gia, the “oops” baby in the clan, the last of 6 – five planned and, well, you figure it out(!) is the last kid left at home. At the age of 24,she longs for a home of her own, filled with bambini she can spoil and love, and a man who will love her unconditionally.

Into her life walks a man who just might fill the bill. Tall, dark, ridiculously good looking. And best of all: Italian/American and Catholic! But…. he’s forbidden to her, in every conceivable way.

Or, is he? You’ll have to read the story to find out, but I’ll tell you this: love can find you anywhere – even under a set of  glowing and festive Christmas lights.

Preorders are available here: Amazon  //The Wild Rose Press  // B&N //Kobo

Here’s a little sumthin’ to whet your romance reading appetites:

          At twenty-four I still lived under my parents’ roof, had no full-time paying job other than helping my father with his business books and those of a few of his business associates, and my love life was nonexistent.

     It wasn’t that I didn’t get asked out or date. I did. Often. Plus, I was perpetually being set-up by the aunts and uncles. I’d had a steady boyfriend all through high school, but we went our separate ways when we each left for college. My choices had been limited in recent years to guys I met in college–who were all looking to score, not forge a life-time commitment—and then in accounting school who were, for lack of a better word, boring and absorbed either in numbers theory, finding jobs after graduation, or in just getting into my pants. The men my extended family routinely set me up with were mostly thick-necked, uneducated, wise-guy wannabes who wanted a conventional Italian bride they could keep barefoot, pregnant, and cooking.

     So. Not. Me.

     I needed to make some decisions about my life and make them soon. First, pass the exams and get licensed. Then, look for a real job so I could afford to live on my own. This one might be the hardest to accomplish since my parents were old-school thinkers who believed girls should stay home until they were married. They couldn’t understand why I didn’t want to go from their house to a husband’s house, and never experience what it would be like living on my own.

     Lastly, I wanted to find the one special guy I could commit to. A guy who’d be family oriented like me, want kids, the minivan, a house in the ‘burbs, the whole family-comes-first-and-always mentality I’d been breastfed on.

     I wasn’t too picky. Obviously, I didn’t want him to look like a troll, but nice looking wouldn’t hurt since I’d be spending eternity staring across the kitchen table at his face. A good-paying job would be nice in a career where I didn’t need to worry he’d make one wrong move and wind up as fish food in the Meadowlands marshes.

     Don’t laugh: have I mentioned my Uncle Sonny?

See? I love families and all the crazy that goes with them!

When I’m not basking in this glow of new release-dom, you can 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