Hey, everyone! I’ve been writing my days away and recently submitted three new books to my publisher. (I’m currently writing another 2 right now and editing 2 more.) Which is why I haven’t been able to post in a while.
As y’all know, yesterday was Valentine’s Day and I hope you have a wonderful day. Whether you celebrated with friends, family, or a special someone, I hope you felt the love. My Valentine’s Day was spent in book world as I had a new release. I’ll be back to posting normally in the near future (trying to come up with a new game plan of what to post here), but in the meantime, I’m excited to be able to share my latest release with you, Cherry’s Marshmallow Float! This sweet little book might just be the cherry on top of your day. To order your copy, click here.
Excerpt from Cherry’s Marshmallow Float:
8:35 p.m. July 1, 1971, Pattens, Idaho
Dinner passes with Nanna making most of the small talk from their side of the conversation while Cherry looks on, trying not to drop tomato sauce onto her pale blue top while she toys with her food. Why didn’t I wear something darker?
With post dinner coffee behind them, Cherry helps Nanna from the table while Gianna claps.
“I have the best idea! Cherry, you must be exhausted from pushing Nanna what, four blocks, right?” Before she can open her mouth, Gianna continues, “Right! Bernardo, my love, my king, my husband, be a doll and follow me.” She hurries out of the room and takes Nanna’s wheelchair with her.
With wide eyes, Cherry lowers Nanna into her seat and scurries after them. “I need to be a part of this conversation!”
By the time they stop, they’ve rounded the house out front to where a long low car with tall fins in the rear sets.
“Bernardo will drive Nanna home… but… oh, dear. The chair doesn’t fit…but pushing the chair home empty will be less work than having her in it, right? Right.”
Gianna snaps with both hands and raises them into the air. “Even better, Phillip will—”
“Phillip will what?”
Turning, she finds him helping Nanna navigate the front steps. Rats! Hurrying to them, she takes her arm.
“You’ll walk Cherry home while Bernardo gives Mrs. Rainiers a ride.”
Bernardo’s thick brows dip above his Roman nose.
“Nanna. If you don’t—” She tilts her head, catching Nanna wink at Gianna. There’s another conversation happening here I’m not a part of.
“Is that a Chevy?”
“It is,” Bernardo beams. “First thing I saved for when I moved to America. A real American car.”
“See ya’, kid.” Nanna reaches to take his arm and let him help her into the front seat.
Rubbing her neck, her stomach churns. What if she forgets where she is, or who he is, halfway home? Or—
“Hey.” She jolts, Phillip’s fingertips brushing her elbow. “She’s safe. I promise.”
She swallows her worries, hearing something click behind her. When she spins toward the sound, Gianna is nowhere to be found, and Phillip rubs his forehead, a sheepish smile on his lips.
“We’ve been locked out.”
“What?” Her eyes go wide.
He laughs and grabs the wheelchair. “I’m sorry. She can be…stubborn when she has…ideas. Come on.”
“What about your bike?”
“Don’t worry about it. Gianna will bring it to the diner tomorrow.” He saunters off and she trails him.
The two stroll in silence for a few minutes while she kicks a stone along the concrete in front of her.
“I—” They begin at the same time.
Chuckling, he motions for her to go first.
“Why—” She clears her throat when her voice shrinks. “Why did your cousin keep mentioning what I’ll need to know to survive in an Italian family?”
His cheeks shade scarlet. “She—I—Dio aiutami.” He rakes his fingers through his hair. “I am sorry.” He pauses and gestures as if to grasp his thoughts from the air. “Meglio ora,” he mutters beneath his breath. He can’t meet her eyes.
Her gut tightens, and she hugs her waist. Please don’t fire me…
“I made the mistake of telling my cousin—before I fired Mary mind you I—you see I—I mean to say…I have a…” He scowls. “Oh, what is the English term for this?”
“You have to…fire me?”
His jaw drops. “No! No.” He wags his head until it’s a wonder he doesn’t stumble. “No—not what I mean to say at all. I—” He rubs the back of his neck. “I am failing the instruction your grandfather gave me. What is the term for liking someone who does not know you do?”
“A…crush?” Her heart hammers against her ribs while the corners of his mouth flick upward.
“Ah…yes. I have a crush on you.” When he meets her eye, his face clouds, his smile falling away. “But this doesn’t matter.”
“Why not?” She snaps her mouth shut. A cricket chirps in the distance, and the halo of the street light above them cuts them off from the world.
He studies her as if she’d sprouted another head. “When I promised you safety in my company, it is not a promise I made lightly. I included from myself in it. The men of this town have attempted to force their hand. I will not be one of them.”
“But…” Her thoughts tangle as her attention catches on his lips. The warm night air makes her dizzy.
“No. I will not—”
She rises onto her toes to throw her arms around his neck, pressing her lips to his.
A sound of surprise echoes from the back of his throat, the taste of coffee still on his lips as his arms circle her waist. Tilting his head, he deepens the kiss and her eyes flutter shut. An eternity passes in a moment, and he pulls away, untangling himself from her arms to hold her at a distance. His face is blank.
Swallowing, her head spins, her lip stinging where he’d bitten it.
Turning on his heel, he pushes the wheelchair without another word, and she follows in his wake.
What did I do?
Grab your copy of Cherry’s Marshmallow Float today.