Tag Archives: Independent women

#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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Filed under Family Saga

#99cent #EBook sale going on right now! #WIllCookForLoveSeries

For a limited time, Kensington/Lyrical has placed the entire WILL COOK FOR LOVE series on sale for just 99cents per ebook. This is a great opportunity to grab the series before it goes back to the original prices.

My WILL COOK FOR LOVE series was my first #Foodie romance series, featuring cheflebrity KANDY LAINE and her sisters and cousins.

Here are easy links to each book:

#1 COOKING WITH KANDY

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

#2 A SHOT AT LOVE 

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 . . .

# 3 CAN’T STAND THE HEAT 

With three successful TV series under her belt, including her cousin Kandy’s, executive producer Stacy Peters is ready to helm her own show. But to make that happen, she has to do her network boss one favor first—spend two months on a ranch in Montana wrangling the notoriously difficult director of Beef Battles. Apparently, he eats producers for breakfast. Yet all Stacy can think when she meets the lean, rugged man is how hungry he makes her . . .

Dominic Stamp—Nikko to his very few friends—has had enough interference from TV newbies. And when Stacy climbs out of the car in Montana, he’s not convinced she’s even old enough to drive, much less produce his show. But he can’t deny that the long-legged blonde with the stubborn will and the dazzling smile whets his appetite. And as Stacy proves her talent with the crew and the budget alike, Nikko vows to prove to her that love is on the menu for both of them . . .

Get the entire series…you won’t be disappointed!

LOVE SO HOT, IT SIZZLES!

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Filed under Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author

Why I write about strong women….

Most people who either know me professionally or who have seen my tagline anywhere, know that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. That’s my writing style in a nutshell.

But…why strong women? I mean, as opposed to just regular, hardworking women? Or weak women? Or down-on-their luck women? I could go on, but really…you get the idea.

The reason is easy: strong women speak to me.

I’ve read too many books – romance and general fiction – where the woman was a doormat who let everyone in her realm wipe their feet all over her, said “thank you” when they did, and then went on to live a hum-drum life. Not me.

I’ve read too many books about weak women who cry if you look at them crooked, can’t get a bead on their emotional immaturity, and play the victim for attention. Never me.

I’ve read too many books about women who go through life complaining, bitching, and moaning in a whoa-is-me voice who never take responsibility for themselves, their problems, or their lives. Nope. Not me.

I’ve read too many books where the women were entitled, self centered, narcissistic biatches who felt the world should drop at their feet simply because they are: beautiful, rich, talented, etc. So not me!!

You get the idea. I’ve read a lot of books about women who simply didn’t speak to me.

Strong women do.

A strong women will fight for what she wants. She won’t let people or the world in general beat her down. She knows what she wants and she goes after it.

A strong woman can’t be stopped when she’s on a trek – be it of discovery or for a purpose – try though people might. She moves forward, through the muck, through the dark, to find the light of desires and wishes.

A strong woman doesn’t rely on a man to take care of her, pay her bills, or fix her problems. She does that all on her own. That’s not to say she doesn’t want a man in her life. It’s simply that she doesn’t NEED one. Get the difference? Yeah, I figured you would! heehee.

So. Strong women. Love them. Be them. Raise them.

And in the words of Destiny’s Child, (who were speaking of Independent women, but you can simply substitute STRONG for Independent):

I buy my own diamonds and I buy my own rings
Try to control me, boy, you get dismissed
Pay my own fun, oh, and I pay my own bills
Always fifty fifty in relationships
The shoes on my feet, I’ve bought it
The clothes I’m wearing, I’ve bought it
The rock I’m rockin’, I’ve bought it
‘Cause I depend on me if I want it
The watch I’m wearin’, I’ve bought it
The house I live in, I’ve bought it
The car I’m driving, I’ve bought it
I depend on me
‘Nuff said.
#BeAStrongWoman.

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Filed under Strong Women