Tag Archives: #Holidaybookrelease

#TeaserThursday 9.3.2020

So since I had my cover reveal for MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA the other day, I figured today’s tease should be from that book so I can whet your Holiday book-reading appetite. 

Hee hee

Madonna San Valentino, as the oldest child and the only girl of the six kids, is the most responsible and least annoying one of the bunch. Her brothers are, for lack of a better phrase, all pains in the ass, each and every one, and are so wrapped up in their own worlds, they don’t have time for things going on right under their noses, as evidence by this little snippet.

To set the scene, Madonna has just arrived at her parent’s house for the weekly family dinner. All her sisters-in-law are in the kitchen helping Mama get ready for dinner, while her brothers are all lounging around in the den.

Most Italian’s have big family dinners on Sundays after attending morning mass. Since our store was open from nine until three on Sundays, my mother had designated Friday evenings for family gathering time.

In the beginning when she’d first issued the edict, my brothers, in their typical pain-in-the-ass way, had voiced their objections loudly and obnoxiously. Thankfully, their wives had all adopted the most effective communication techniques to get through to them, learned from my grandmother. Guilt, and a well placed head slap.

The guilt was easy. A few ‘we don’t know how long we’re gonna be blessed at having your parents around. They’re not young anymore-s,’ from my sisters-in-law, aimed with a head tick and pretty soon my brothers stopped grumbling and found their way to Mama’s table once a week.

When the grandkids started coming along, the table grew tighter to sit around and my brothers thought this was their get outta dinner free card.

Nope.

Daddy bought a bigger dining room table at his wife’s request and then used the old one for the growing horde of kids.

You don’t get between an Italian mama and her family.

The house I’d grown up in was warm and inviting when I came through the front door, three boxes filled with a half dozen éclairs each, in my arms. The mouthwatering aroma of mama’s pork loin wafted around me and drew me straight to the kitchen, my nose leading the way.

As usual on family dinner night, the kitchen was a cloud of estrogen. My four sisters-in-law, two heavily pregnant, were all at various spots doing whatever task Mama had given them to get dinner ready and on the table by the time my father walked through the door.

Maria Louisa, my brother Costa’s wife, sat at the kitchen table nursing her ten-month-old son, Donatello. While one hand cradled the baby at her breast, the other sliced fresh, homemade bread.

Lisa and Haley, the twin’s wives – and my ready-to-pop pregnant sisters-in-law– were each chored with salad making. Lisa cut vegetables while Haley mixed the from-scratch salad dressing my mother insisted on serving from her own grandmother’s handed-down recipe. None’a dat bottled crap on my table was Mama’s motto.

Margaret Rose, my brother Giacomo’s wife stood at the stove, stirring the tomato gravy for the pasta. Her twins, year old Rocco and Carlo were nowhere to be seen. I assumed they were in the living room with their father and the rest of my brothers and nephews.

“Why are there never any men in here doing dinner prep?” I asked, giving Mama’s cheek a kiss.

“Idioti.” She clucked her tongue as I went around the room bussing the girls. “I don’t want them in my kitchen. They make more work for me because they can’t follow simple directions. The girls know what to do without being told fifty times.”

I put the boxes of éclairs on top of the refrigerator next to the cookies and cheesecake. Dessert was a course never missed in this household.

“What can I do?”

“Go open the vino that’s on the table. Let it breathe for a bit.”

As far as chores went this one was easy. I think she gave it to me because she knew I’d been on my feet since five. Her views on working women vs. stay at home moms, which my sisters-in-law all were, was pretty funny. While managing and running a deli wasn’t easy, it was way less exhausting than chasing after toddlers all day long, or being at the beck and call of nursing babies every hour or two. Plus, keeping the house clean, the meals made, and everyone safe. And let’s not forget having to deal with my brothers. The girls should be getting combat pay for that alone.

From the dining room already set for dinner with nonna’s wedding china, the noise level coming from the adjoining room clued me in to where my brothers were. I snuck a peek into the den and sure enough, all five of them were sprawled around the room on various chairs and couches, bottles of beer in their hands and the television playing some dvr’d basketball game.

My brothers were all blessed with mama’s fair genetic makeup. Varying shades of brilliant blue eyes, light brown-to-blond hair, and olive complexions encompassed them all. When I’d been a kid I always wondered if I was adopted because I didn’t look anything like them. As I got older and studied science in school it made more sense to me why I took after my father.

My brothers varied in age from twenty-nine year old Costa, the closest in age to me, down to the twenty-eight year old twins Vincenzo and Vito, Giacomo at twenty-six, and then the baby of the family and the only boy not married, twenty-one-year-old Rafael.

I was twelve years old when Raffie came into the world and it’s safe to say I was more his mother than his sister at times. A deep depression gripped my mother after she delivered him and she spent most of the first year of his life in bed. Thankfully, nonna came to stay with us and ran the house so daddy could work, while I helped in whatever way I could. Most of the time it meant taking care of the baby when I got home from the deli and making sure the other boys didn’t kill themselves, or him, with their horseplay and rambunctiousness.

One look in the den and I felt like history was repeating itself because Giacomo’s twins were face down on the carpet, lying on top of one another, their limbs all twined together, grunting baby noises coming from deep down in their little bodies. Rocco, or maybe Carlo, was on top, unintentionally smothering his brother whose face he was sitting on, smashed flat into the carpet and making breathing impossible.

My brothers, engrossed in the game playing on television, were clueless to the potential disaster right in front of them.

I’d learned long ago yelling at them served no purpose. They were all masters at the art of ignoring me.

I made my way to the babies and, silently, lifted Rocco – or maybe Carlo – off his brother with one hand, the other flipping Carlo – or maybe Rocco – so he was supine. His little face was pale, his lips ringed with blue, but he took a huge breath, startled once, and then let out a bloodcurdling screech sounding remarkably like the wail his father had made back in his own baby days.

All five pair of male eyes turned to me at the sound. Not one of them moved from their comfy positions.

“Hey, Donna,” Giacomo said. “Everything okay?”

“Marvy,” I mumbled, hoisting a boy onto each hip, one of them silent, the other screaming like he was spewing out a lung or being dismembered. “I’m bringing the boys to their mother,” I said, wincing from the earsplitting shrieking. I wouldn’t be surprised if my left ear went deaf before the night ended.

Giacomo toasted me with his beer and said, “Thanks, sis,” his attention already focused back on the game.

In the kitchen I handed the screaming baby over to his mother and told her how I’d found her sons. It wasn’t my job any longer to discipline or try to guide my brothers. They had wives for that now. And from the look of abject fury on Margaret Rose’s face I knew Giacomo would be getting his comeuppance later on when they were home.

I didn’t feel an iota of pity for him.

With the fratricidal wannabe glued to my hip, I went back to the dining room and finally opened the wine bottle single handedly.

Intrigued? If so, you can preorder your ecopy here : mmm

The print copy will available in October.

Don’t forget to add it to your GOODREADS Want to read List

Until next time, peeps. Happy reading! ~ peg

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#Coverreveal for Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella A Holiday 2020 #RomCom

I’m so excited to show you the cover of my 10.14.2020 release of my newest Holiday RomCom, MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA.

It’s the prefect depiction of my heroine and hero, Madonna and Tony.

The ebook is up for preorder now, here: MMM and the print copy will be available soon.

I’m doing an exclusive Kindle offer for the book.

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

 

Looking for me? I’m here: FOLLOW ME

Cover design for Mistletoe, Mobsters, & Mozzarella is by: Just. Write. Creations  J.M. Walker

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It’s my turn over on the #RomanceGems….

 

It may be August, but I’ve got my sights set on a colder month….come find out what it’s all about, today, on the Romance Gems blog

And you can find me, here:   Follow me……

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#tuesdayTeaser 8.4.2020 – WIP

In order to be a real tease(r) I figured I give you a taste of the Christmas book I’m releasing independently this year. It’s in final edits and I don’t have a cover yet, but I finally decided on a title after putting up a poll on my facebook page : MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA. Just from that you can surmise it’s a RomCom!

Here’s the burb, then the little tease from between the pages:

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

Advice for surviving in a big Italian family: Family comes first, last, and always. No excuses.

I sent up a prayer to St. John the Silent in the hope it would keep my father from divulging what Tony had informed us about Chico. I should have saved myself the trouble because with no thought to the promise he’d given the good detective, my father vomited everything up to my uncles.

Christ on the cross, what a mess,” Joey said, rubbing his fingers over his eyebrows.

“I heard’a this piece’a work, Archetti,” Sonny said after sipping his espresso. “Low-level drug scum. Got shanked. Good riddance.”

I was cut short from adding something when my mother blasted into the room.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Grace Liliana Chicollini San Valentino is a force of nature. There’s really no other way to describe her.

At five foot eight, she towers above all her siblings, leading some in the family to ponder if nonna had done the nasty with the milkman when nonno was off fighting the Fascists. She’d been born and blessed with the northern Italian DNA of fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin, unlike my father’s Sicilian genes, which were dark, dark, and darker. I’d always considered it a crime against nature my brothers all took after my mother while I got the lion’s share of Daddy’s genetic makeup.

At sixty, my mother appeared ten years younger in any light. Nary a line warped her skin, due to the religious rubbing of extra virgin olive oil she applied to her face and neck nightly. When I’d been a little girl and plagued with night terrors, the familiar smell of my mother’s skin while she hugged me, soothed away the fears. It’s probably the reason to this day pizza or pasta dripping in oil still calms my soul.

What it does to my ass is another story entirely.

My mother has miraculously kept the figure she’d been gifted with when she sailed through her teen years, even after birthing six kids. Breasts like a screen siren’s, a tiny waist, and hips built for pregnancy, my mother’s silhouette is a classic hourglass and she still dresses in ways that accentuate her assets. The movie star bombshells of Hollywood’s heyday have nothing on my mama for natural sexiness.

As a teen, being her daughter hadn’t been easy. My brother’s friends all fell in pubescent lust with mama. Standing next to her I paled in the female comparison department and looked more like another of her sons than her darling daughter.

But she had a heart of gold and when she loved you it was for life. That military expression I’ve got your six could have been devised for mama because no matter what stupid things my brothers had done, any trouble they’d gotten into, and even through my turbulent and emotional teen years, she’d always had our backs.

“Louie. Louie,” she shouted as she blew like a sirocco into the room. “I just heard from Frankie about a dead guy at the store. Mi amore! Your heart. Are you okay? You ain’t hurt are ya?”

She flung her fur coat off and it landed on the floor in a heap behind her. Wrapping her arms around my father, who’d stood the moment her worried voice boomed through the back door, she cried, “Are you okay?” She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, to his chest, her gaze raking along with her movements, making sure all his parts were intact and he wasn’t spouting arterial blood.

My father, ever calm and controlled, took her hands with his and brought them both to his lips. After he kissed each one he continued to hold them as he told her, “I’m fine, Gracie. I’m okay. It was Donna who found Chico, not me. And he was already dead.”

My mother whipped her head in my direction. With her forehead a mass of furrows and her eyes pinched at the corners, she pulled a hand from my father’s grip and grabbed my arm. “You okay, bambina?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded. Then, without any warning, an unusual need to fall into her arms and cry overcame me. When a sob escaped me full-force, she pulled out of my father’s hold, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth, grabbed me, and hauled me against her chest, my nose crushing into her well-supported cleavage.

Her arms were like steel traps and she kept me glued to her body while she rubbed my back and cooed in Italian. A quick whiff of her knock-off L’air du temps combined with a hint of garlic and I closed my eyes as the tears fell.

I’m not gonna lie: as a thirty-four year old, grown-ass woman, nothing made me feel better when I was off-kilter than when my mama held me in her arms. I’m not one iota ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.

As I cleaved to her she asked my father, “You’re sure you’re okay?” He told her he was, then, “Why don’t you take Donna into the kitchen, mi amore? Get her something hot to drink. It’s been a long morning for her.”

My mother nodded then slipped an arm up and around my shoulders. “Come on, bambina. Let the boys talk.”

I allowed her to propel me into the kitchen she’d had remodeled the year before.

“Sit.” She pointed to one of the breakfast bar chairs.

I grabbed a paper napkin from the holder on the marble topped counter, did as she commanded and sat, then swiped at my wet eyes.

This is mama’s domain. Daddy may run a successful deli and is an amazing cook in his own right, but Mama rules the kitchen in our house. When nonna was alive she could be very stingy with any kind of praise, but she always complimented my mother on her cooking skills, honed—of course—at nonna’s knee.

Moving with the finesse of one who knows where every single item is to be found in her world, Mama filled the teakettle then put it on the ceramic-topped stove to boil. She didn’t even look when she reached into one of the cupboards and pulled down two porcelain cups with one hand, the other disappearing into one of the pottery containers on the counter that held the teabags.

I sat, silent, watching her move with efficiency from one task to the other, and marveled as I’d done my entire life at what a dichotomy she was. While she had the body of a pampered goddess and could cook like one of the world’s finest Italian chefs, she wasn’t – what my Uncle Sonny often remarked – the sharpest tool in the drawer. I’d always thought this was mean, but in reality, it was God’s truth. My mother wasn’t a member of Mensa – not even close—and on any given day she was known to pop out with things that made most of us cringe or she’d ask a question a bit too intrusive for the person being asked. She had a habit of saying exactly what came to the front of her mind at any given moment with no regard to filtering it. This was one of the reasons my father never let her work in the deli. She couldn’t be trusted around the customers to self-censor. But, despite this one flaw, he adored her, as did I.

She reached into the cabinet under the sink and grabbed the bottle of brandy she kept there for emergencies. When my nonna had been alive, the bottle had gotten a great deal of use, especially after one of her visits. Mama poured way more than a shot-glass full into my teacup after adding the boiling water. She let it steep for less than a minute then handed it to me.

“Drink this. And then tell me everything ‘cause I know your daddy won’t. He’ll gloss over details thinking he’s protecting me.” She waved a hand in the air with a dismissive flick.

Intrigued? More to come when I have a cover, but I’m thinking an October release. I’ll let ya know.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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