Welcome to stop #68 of the Holiday Gifts of Love Blog Hop!
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Since my books are set in Italy, I thought I'd talk a little bit about how the Italians celebrate Christmas, which they call Buon Natale.
Christmas-related celebrations in Italy often start December 8th, with the Feast Day of the Immaculate Conception, but the traditional Christmas season starts December 24th and runs through January 6th, or Epiphany. During the week known as Novena (the week before Christmas), children dressed as shepherds travel from house to house playing pipes, singing, and reciting Christmas poems. Everyone fasts for the twenty-four hours prior to Christmas (Christmas Eve), which is broken by a celebratory dinner known as cenono. The meal is often features two of my favorites, panettone (a light cake) or pandoro, for dessert.
Santa Claus is known as Babbo Natale (Father Christmas); however, although Babbo Natale is becoming more well-known in Italy, he isn't the traditional gift-giver. That honor belongs to a kind, but ugly witch, named La Befana. In Italy, children don't receive their gifts until January 6th because that is when the three wise men gave the baby Jesus their gifts.
According to tradition, La Befana got lost trying to find the baby Jesus, so she slides down the chimney and leaves presents at every house that has children in case baby Jesus is there. If the children have been good, she fills their stockings and shoes with good things, but naughty children get coal!
Now that you've learned a little bit about Italy, are wondering about my series that's set there? Of course you are! :)
My current romantic suspense series is called Blood and Honor and is set in Italy among the Calabrian Mafia. The series chronicles the battles--both bloody and romantic--between two warring Mafia clans. Books 1 and 2 are available now. Here's a taste of Book 1:
A woman on the run. A damaged Mafia don. A rival bent on revenge...
Kate Andretti is married to the Mob--but doesn't know it. When her husband uproots them to Italy, Kate leaves everything she knows behind. Alone in a foreign land, she finds herself locked in a battle for her life against a husband and a family who will "silence" her if she will not do as they wish. When her husband tries to kill her, she accepts the protection offered by a wealthy businessman with Mafia ties. He's not a mobster, he claims. Or is he?
Enrico Lucchesi never wanted to be a Mafia don, and now he's caught in the middle of a blood feud with the Andretti family. His decision to help Kate brings the feud between the families to a boil. When Enrico is betrayed by someone in his own family, the two of them must sort out enemies from friends--and rely on each other or die alone. The only problem? Enrico cannot reveal his identity to Kate, or she'll bolt from his protection, and he'll be duty-bound to kill her to safeguard his family's secret.
Attacks from without and within push them both to the breaking point, and soon Enrico is forced to choose between protecting the only world he knows and saving the woman he loves.
Enrico’s hand dropped from Kate’s forehead to caress her cheek, his fingers skimming over the bruises Vince had left. Then his thumb traced over her swollen lip, his face darkening. “I could kill him for this.”
Kate felt a jolt. Did he mean that? He looked so grave. She didn’t want him to do something foolish; he’d already taken enough risks for her. “I’m okay. Just a little beat up. I’ll be fine in a few days.”
He crouched down beside her and took her hands in his, resting them in her lap. “I will protect you from now on. I swear it. You will never be unsafe again.”
Kate’s throat constricted painfully and tears threatened to spill down her cheeks again. Jesus, how did he know just what to say? This man who looked at her with such tender eyes couldn’t possibly be a mobster. Certainly her faulty Italian was to blame for what she thought she’d overheard.
Enrico leaned forward, one of his hands going to the back of her chair, the other releasing her hand and cupping her knee. He was now just inches from her, his eyes darkening with care, with… desire. Kate inhaled in surprise, her body suddenly on alert. He smelled sharply masculine, like citrus and pine trees mixed together, a hint of something that was all him underneath. He was too close, much too deliciously close. Her heart hammered out of control. She should stop this. She was still married, even if her husband had tried to kill her.
Enrico let go of her knee and placed his fingers under her chin, tilting her mouth to meet his. Kate stiffened, but after his lips touched hers, she relaxed and forced herself to stop thinking, forced herself only to feel, only to hear. The satiny brush of his lips across hers, the touch of his hands on her face, his fingers tracing her cheekbones. The groan low in his throat when she opened her mouth to his, when she let their tongues touch. He groaned again, the sound more urgent when she opened her mouth wider, her tongue swirling around his.
He pulled her up from the chair, his large hands sliding down to her ass, crushing her to him greedily. When she felt the bulge of his erection against her belly, a warm tingle ran through her, zinging down between her legs.
My God, he was an amazing kisser. And if she wasn’t mistaken, his body was going to be amazing too. He was all hard slabs of muscle and sinew, granite next to her softness. She ran her hands across his wide shoulders and down his back. Jesus. This was going to be out of this world—
He broke the kiss, both of them breathing fast. She looked up at him, confused. Why was he stopping?
“Are you certain you want this?” he asked. “A lot has happened—”
“I’m sure. Very sure.”
His lips curved into a slow smile. “Then we need some place more private, yes?”
Want to know what happens next? You can find out in Revenge (Blood and Honor #1).
Regularly $4.99, Revenge is on sale now for only $0.99, for a limited time at most retailers.
You can find Revenge at these retailers: Amazon US (Kindle), Amazon UK (Kindle), Amazon Canada (Kindle), Apple, All Romance eBooks, Barnes & Noble, Barnes & Noble UK, Diesel, Kobo, OmniLit, Smashwords, and Sony.
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1st Grand Prize: A Kindle Fire or Nook Tablet (international)
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