Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Happy Birthday, With This Kiss!


It's been two years in the making, but With This Kiss is finally available. Please check it out at:


Here's a blurb and excerpt to tempt you along!


‘So Bella, do you still like the way snowflakes feel when they touch your skin?’

Many Christmases ago, a stolen kiss beneath a snowy sky sealed their fate. Now, will love be enough?

Jonathan Santini heads a preeminent labor law practice in New York. He’s driven by passion – unrelenting in his pursuit of two things: A better life through labor law, and Isabella Alfano.

But the Santinis possess a somewhat checkered family history - one that puts Jonathan on the outside of Isabella’s branch of the Alfano clan.

Bella’s tangled emotions can’t stop what she feels for the bad-boy turned good. Taking over her grandma’s deli brings them together again, and the chemistry is electric.

But the obstacle of family honor isn’t the only thing in their way. A jealous colleague at Jonathan’s firm is bent on revenge - revenge that puts Isabella’s store into legal peril…


“Isabella Julianna Alfano,” Jonathan repeated in a murmur. “That’s not a name, that’s poetry. I’m delighted to meet you.”

The comment snared her wide-eyed attention. The blush deepened but she replied, “Thank you. It’s a pleasure. And, unfortunately, Grandma never fails to use the unabridged version of my name. I’m usually called Bella.”

Translation: Beauty. Jonathan grinned. “Indeed.”

Grandma Rach chuckled low; Bella averted her gaze, but rebounded quickly. When she looked back up at him there were questions in her eyes. Questions, and intrigue.

Aunt Bella!”

Bella’s attention slid to Jonathan’s left. He turned, following the direction of her gaze.

“Hey, Nick!” Isabella called, her voice a perfect blend of smoke and satin. “Come here and give me a hug. I haven’t had a chance to see you yet. Did you get a look at all the gifts under the tree?”

The youngster, maybe six or seven, all but rocketed into her open arms. A look of love bloomed from Bella’s smiling lips to the depths of her eyes.

Fleetingly Jonathan envied the boy for being on the receiving end of her tenderness and enthusiasm.

Bella crouched and flipped her hair to the side so she could give her nephew a quick peck on the cheek.

The back of her gown, like the front, scooped discreetly; once more the sight of her exposed skin turned into a siren call, prompting him again toward a light, soft caress. Again Jonathan’s fingers twitched, but for the second time he quelled the impulse.

Nick pulled urgently on Bella’s hand, yanking her free of their group, saying, “C’mon! You’ve gotta come to the window and look outside. It’s snowing like crazy!”

She looked back at Jonathan, apology in her eyes. He smiled and nodded in understanding.

When Bella drifted away from the table, a middle-aged woman took her spot. Carrying a goblet of red wine, she regarded Jonathan with unhidden speculation and more than a touch of hauteur when she asked, “You are?”

"Jonathan Santini.”

In an instant her attitude graduated from haughty to ice-cold. That left him confused; he’d never met her before.

“Santini. Would Carlos Santini be your father?”

Oh yes, he thought. Here we go. This woman knew his dad, the scrappy, opinionated, tough-minded businessman and former union boss.

Life experience had taught Jonathan to remain smooth and calm in the face of hostility. Further, he refused to ever hurt or offend Grandma Rach, so he regarded the woman politely. “That’s right, yes. You would be?”

“Isabella’s mother,” she answered with succinct cool. “My name is Emily Alfano.”

Rachel gave her daughter-in-law a quelling look. “Em, did you know that my Jonathan here is attending Columbia Law School? In his spare time, he’s been helping me out at the store. I wouldn’t make it without him. He’s a God-send.”

Jonathan took Rachel’s soft, gnarled hand in his and held it firm. “Labor of love, Grandma Rach.”

Emily, however, remained stoic and unswayed from a suspicious demeanor. “Interesting style of help you’ve recruited for the Deli, Mom. I hope you keep as close an eye on him as he does on you.”

Rachel’s mouth went taut, her lips pressed tight as she glared at Emily. Jonathan addressed his next comment solely to Rachel. “I’ll be back for a visit shortly.” But before he walked away he couldn’t resist looking once more at Isabella’s mother. “Mrs. Alfano, I’m glad to have met you. Enjoy the evening.”

Jonathan’s struggle to remain proper evaporated once he left. He clenched his jaw and strode toward the bar. Right about now something cold, and preferably spiked, was definitely in order.

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