It’s (just after) Monday, and here’s more from the Ferranti Fam-lee.

Behind every great daughteris a truly amazing dadand his name is Nico Ferranti

 

 

Hi, guys!

I’m late with this week’s post due to travelling yesterday. A trip that was supposed to take about five hours took nearly nine thanks to an acid spill on the motorway (freeway) which ate up the tarmac. We were stuck in a ten mile tail back in one of the hottest days of the year. Not fun.

Here’s this week’s slice of life with the Ferranti Fam-lee!

BRONTE & NICO EATING A ROAST CHICKEN, WITH ALL THE TRIMMINGS, DINNER WITH THE KIDS AT THE DOWER HOUSE.

*Luca, his little face a picture of complete misery, is pushing a piece of broccoli around his plate with a fork*

Dressed in below the knee jean shorts and an Incredible Hulk T-shirt, he says in a tone of utter disgust, “I hate this stuff.”

Sophia dressed in matching shorts and a Frozen T-shirt swings her bare legs beneath her chair, nods. “Me, too.” She spears a piece of chicken breast, nibbles delicately.

“I’m not eating it.” Luca’s mouth goes tight as he moves his full plate away.

*Bronte studies her youngest son’s stony face. He doesn’t look flushed. He doesn’t look pale. It’s not like him to make a fuss. He’s gone through a sudden growth spurt and is at least a head taller than his twin sister, so maybe he’s tired. He tends to leave food he doesn’t want, which is fine with her. But she frowns when Sophia, in a show of sisterly solidarity, pushes her full plate away, too. Little monkey*

Tonio, who by the amount of food he scoffs at meal times possesses hollow legs, cranes his neck to check out their plates. “Not want the chicken?”

Luca makes a horrible face, shoves his plate across the table to his brother. “Nope. It’s gross.”

*Bronte’s brows fly into her hairline. Excuse me? Since when has her freshly prepared, carefully balanced meals ever been regarded as gross? But before she can open her mouth, Nico steps into the breach*

“Do you have a headache? Are you sick?” he asks Luca.

Luca shakes his head. Big dark eyes meet his papa’s. “I don’t like these little trees. They taste gross, like soil. Why do I wanna eat soil?”

Nico sends Bronte big eyes to tell her he’ll deal with the sudden revolt in his family. He turns to his son. “We have carrots. You like carrots.”

Luca makes another horrible face. “I don’t like cooked carrots. I like raw carrots.”

“I like raw carrots, too,” Sophia says. She turns to Luca. “Maybe you’d like raw trees?”

“Yuk.”

“I do not mind the little trees,” Tonio says, spearing broccoli from Luca’s plate to his own, and then helping himself to chicken breast in gravy. “Mama makes the best food. Much better than school food. The priests used to say that we who have full plates and full bellies are blessed by Jesus. Around the world there are thousands of little childrens going to bed every day with empty bellies because of war… and stuff.”

Sophia’s green eyes went wide. “Little childrens go to bed with no dinner?”

Si.” Tonio broke a table rule by pointing his knife at his sister. “And without breakfast, and even lunch. Sometimes the little childrens have no food for days. Babies, too, have no milk.”

Now Luca’s bottom lip’s trembling, and his big dark eyes swim. “But… You’ve eaten all my dinner. Now I’m gonna go to bed with no dinner, just like the poor little childrens and babies who have no milk.”

Sophia’s bottom lip joins her brother’s in a show of sibling sympathy. “Me, too, just like the poor childrens.”

*Nico’s eyes go huge as he looks at a wife who’s biting down hard on her bottom lip. Dio mio. Just listen to them, a person might think that Nico Ferranti starves his childrens, er children. Tonio’s English is amazing, but sometimes he has trouble*

Nico claps his hands. “We have plenty of food for everyone in this house. There is lots of chicken for anyone who wants it.”

Luca’s big eyes find his papa’s. “But… but… what about the little children who have no food? Can’t we give them our food if we have too much?”

*By this time, Bronte’s hand is covering her mouth to hide her smile. Her baby boy has a good heart, big heart. A heart that is easily bruised*

“Yes,” Sophia cries. “Emily’s daddy says my papa’s a filthy rich typhoon. Papa will send lots of food to the hungry childrens, especially lots of roast chicken and gravy.” She turns big emerald eyes to a Nico who’s still trying to recover from the shock of being called a ‘filthy rich typhoon’. “Won’t you, papa?”

Nico sends his daughter a nod. “Si. Ferranti Enterprises supports many charities, including Save The Children.”

*All three of his kids gaze at him in awe and wonder. Actually, he and his team donate much needed blankets and clothes to the United Nations refugee camps currently based in Jordan and Turkey*

“What does Save The Children do?” Sophia asks.

Nico clears his throat, the last thing he wants is to worry his kids, but it seems they are ready to hear about those less fortunate than themselves. “Well, they make sure children have clean water to drink and that they have a safe place to sleep, and they make sure they have clothes and food.”

Luca’s eyes go huge. “They have no water? No bed to sleep in?”

“Sometimes,” Bronte jumps in. “There is a natural disaster, like a flood or an earthquake, and houses are damaged or crops destroyed, so help is sent from many people all over the world.”

Without asking to leave the table, Sophia slides out of her chair. She moves to kneel on her papa’s lap and goes nose to nose with Nico. “When I’m a big girl and I can read and write good and get all my sums right, can I work for Save The Childrens?”

Nico can hardly swallow the lump of pride in his throat. Dio mio, how lucky is he to have such children? He cups Sophia’s little face, kisses her forehead, her nose. Then shifts to look her in the eye. “Cara mia, if you work hard you can do whatever you want to do in the whole wide world. Do you know why?”

Sophia’s high ponytail of shiny silver bounces as she shakes her head. “Why?”

“Because you are Italian.”

 

Finito

 

Gotta love the kids.

Until next week, enjoy the summer and hold your childrens tight and give them a big hug from me.

Christine X

 

 

 

It’s Monday, which means another slice of Ludlow life…

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READ HOW BRONTE & NICO MET AND THEIR ROCKY ROAD TO HAPPINESS, FREE, HERE!

 

Bronte, Sophia, and Auntie Rosie descend on The Dower House weighed down bags from their shopping trip to find Nico and Alexander snoozing on the couch.

*Bronte dumps her bags on the kitchen table, and grins. Their men are sprawled on their back on the couch. A strong arm holds their daughters close. Rosie gives Bronte big eyes and mouths an, Aww! She tip-toes over to gently lift her daughter, and immediately Alexander’s eyes snap open. His smile is wide, and wicked*

“Hey,” he whispers. “Have a good time?”

“Yep,” Rosie whispers. “Put a nice big dent in the credit card. Don’t kill me.”

“Nah. Whatever you need, babe.”

Rosie bends down to plant a soft kiss on his mouth, shifts to nuzzle her daughter’s sooty curls. “She been good?”

“Not a peep,” he says, and presses gentle lips to Mila’s dark head.

*Nico watches Bronte through sleepy eyes, sends her a panty-melting smile*

“Have fun, cara mia?” he whispers.

“We did,” she whispers back, glances around the spotless kitchen room, nods approvingly. “Where are the boys?”

Nico blinks. “Um. Upstairs.”

*Sophia, dressed in navy below the knee cropped cotton leggings and a navy and white striped sleeveless smock dress, eyes her papa. In her white blonde hair a huge navy bow clings on for dear life*

Nico reaches out his hand to his eldest daughter who skips over to wind her arm around his neck and press a kiss his cheek. “Hi, papa,” Sophia says in a soft voice.

Dark grey eyes study her face. “Were you a good girl for mama and Rosie?”

She nods, leans into his shoulder, while her fingertip gently strokes baby Eve’s flushed cheek. “Uh huh. I had a milkshake and chicken kebabs and strawberry ice-cream,” she says in a stage whisper. “Aaaaaand new shoes.”

“Like mother like daughter,” Bronte says in a soft voice. “Want me to take the baby?”

Nico shakes his head. “Nah, she’s fine where she is.”

“Right then, I’d better go see what the boys are up to, they’re awfully quiet. Usually, they’re all over me to see what goodies I have for them.”

Nico shoots up, careful not to wake the baby, and thrusts her into Bronte’s arms. “I’ll go,” he says, hoping to God the boys have sorted the big mess in the bathroom.

“Actually,” Bronte murmurs, her brow creasing as she thoughtfully studies his face, the wide smile, the big eyes. “I need you to bring in the rest of the shopping.”

Nico blinks. “Nessen problema.”  He jogs out the door.

Bronte turns narrow eyes on her brother who is grinning like a fool. “Okay. Spill. What happened?”

Alexander hands Mila to her mama for a cuddle. “I’m saying nothing that might incriminate me,” he says.

Bronte turns to Sophia. “Go upstairs and tell your brothers to come down, now.”

*Happy to do her mama’s bidding, and wondering herself what’s been going on, Sophia skips out the room and runs up the stairs. She checks Tonio’s bedroom, then Luca’s, and comes up empty. Nada. Then cocks her head when she hears muttering from the family bathroom. She enters and stops dead. Her emerald eyes go wide and her mouth goes into a huge O shape*

 

“Omigod,” she says, and waves her hands in air filled with baby powder. Her twin is busy with a brush and pan to collect baby powder, and only making a bad situation worse. Powder was floating everywhere. Sodding wet bath towels litter the soaking floor.

“You’re not allowed to say God. That’s bad language,” a flushed Luca says, frowning ferociously at her. His normally glossy black curls are a hazy dark grey.

“But… but… this is a big mess. Mama’s gonna go nuts.”

“Not if you don’t tell her,” Tonio says in a tone that means business.

Sophia’s chin jerks both at the tone and the look on his face. “What happened?”

“Eve pooped. It was totally gross. We had to bath her,” Luca says, and elbows Tonio in the ribs.

Sophia’s smooth brow creases. “But… but…”

“Two plastic bags full of dirty diaper and wet wipes,” Tonio says, rubbing his rib.

“Eew,” Sophia says.

“Yep,” Luca says. “I had to stand outside the door in case I was sick. And papa had to stuff wet wipes sprayed with after shave up his nose.”

Tonio chokes with laughter and baby powder. He shakes a dry towel and more powder flies into the air. “Funniest thing, evah.”

*Sophia grins, but then takes a deep breath, eyes her brothers’ pitiful attempts to clean up. They were making it worse. The bath was filled with plastic toys, and an empty baby shampoo bottle*

“Sounds gross. Okay. We don’t want mama upset. Who’s gonna clean up this big mess?”

Tonio scratches his scalp, sends her a wide smile. “Maybe we can all muck in? If I use damp towels to mop up the powder from the counter top, maybe you and Luca can use dry towels from the cupboard to dry and polish the granite?”

*The kids set to work.*

“What did you buy me?” Tonio asks Sophia.

She sends him an angelic smile. “A surprise.”

Luca dances on the spot. “Do I have a surprise, too?”

“Of course,” Sophia says, rolls her eyes to heaven as if he’s the world’s stupidest brother. Then her gaze drops to the mess on the floor. “I don’t know how we’re gonna hide all these wet towels.”

“How hard can it be to use the washing machine?” Tonio asks as he shoves bath toys into a net bag to drip dry.

Sophia gives him big eyes. “We are not allowed to touch electrical equipment, she reminded him. “We’ll get into BIG trouble.”

“I can’t read too good yet,” a worried Luca says, white teeth chewing on his bottom lip.

“I can read,” Tonio says to a wary looking Sophia. “Grab the plastic laundry basket and we’ll take the towels to the laundry room. No one will know.”

“I dunno,” Sophia says, for once in her life listening to the little voice in her head saying this is not a good idea.

Tonio pats her on the head, something he knows full well bugs her. “Nessum problema,” he says, sounding just like papa. “How hard can it be?”

*Sophia jogs to the hall cupboard to grab clean towels, folds them just the way her mama likes. She stands back and studies the bathroom. A fine film of baby powder is again settling on the counter top. Can’t be helped. With a huff of breath she follows her brothers down the back stairs to the laundry room. Tonio opens the tall cupboard to study a variety of soap powders and liquids, all standing to attention like soldiers. He lifts the plastic bottle of liquid on the nearest shelf. The bottle that says, ‘One Squirt Is All You Need’. He piles the towels into the washer, closes the washer door and then opens the detergent drawer*

“According to the instructions this is where the soap goes,” he mutters, and frowns as he studies the manual.

*The manual also says to use the measuring cap. He hunts around and finds a spare plastic ball, measures out the liquid – adding a little extra just in case – pours it into the dispenser and closes the drawer. He turned the dial to Cotton/Whites. Easy. Then he presses ON. And just like magic water roars into the dispenser. All three Ferranti’s crouch down to watch water fill through the glass door. Tonio’s smiles, wide and relieved*

“What did I say? Nessum problema. When it’s finished, we put them in the dryer. Job done.”

Sophia gives him a huge smile. “Wow. I can’t wait to learn to read good.”

“I don’t like reading,” Luca mutters as he follows his brother and sister out the utility room door and down the hall. They head in the direction of voices.

*Meanwhile, back in the family room*

“You changed her diaper? Seriously?” Bronte laughs as she pats Nico’s jaw. “Aww, my brave soldier. How did you manage? How bad was it?”

Nico winces at the memory. “Never seen anything like it, and I don’t want to see anything like it again. Tonio called it a runny tummy.”

Rosie can’t help but laugh as she strokes the black silky hair of her baby rooted to her breast, and greedily chugging down milk. “Well, what goes in has gotta come out.”

“He stuck wet wipes sprayed with after shave up his nose,” Tonio says as he strolls into the room with his siblings hot on his heels. He plonks himself on the couch, grins at Bronte. “The best thing I’ve seen, evah.”

Bronte’s smile is wide as she turns to a Nico whose ears are pink tipped. “Aww,” she says again. “I’ll put sleeping beauty down for her nap and then you guys can tell me all about it.” She strolls out the door.

Nico eyes the boys. “Did you clean up?”

They both nod, give him big eyes. “Si,” they say.

“Clean what up?” Rosie asks, placing Mila on her shoulder and rubbing her baby’s back. She’s immediately rewarded with a deep burp.

“They bathed Eve,” Sophia says. “Made a big mess in the bathroom. But we tidied it all up.”

Nico rubs his hands, his smile wide as he says to Alexander, “Wanna Peroni?”

“Sure.”

*Everything is all right and tight in Nico Ferranti’s world. His wife is happy. His children are happy. His brother-in-law is his best friend. His eyes linger for a moment on a Rosie feeding her baby and chatting to the boys, and he recalls he needs to find time to have a little chat with Rosie about Ms. Big Ears, aka Sophia. But that could wait. Life is good*

*Bronte’s high-pitched scream from the direction of the laundry room has everyone leap to their feet and race out the door*

Nico’s eyes bug out his head to find his wife shooting daggers at him as she stands ankle deep in white foam. “Madre de Dio,” he mutters.

Bronte shoots him a finger, her whole body trembling. “You’ll need more than God to help you, Nico Ferranti. How the hell could you use dish liquid in my washing machine? Are you crazy?”

Nico blinks until the light bulb flashes in his brain. Taking his time, he turns very slowly to stare at the three children lined up behind him, their eyes too big for their faces. “Porca miseria! (dammit) What happened?”

Tonio made a face, shrugged skinny shoulders. “Mi dispiace, papa.”

“Sorry?” Bronte yells, shifts, loses her balance and slides to land hard on her ass as even more foam floods through the utility room door and into the hallway. She slaps Nico’s helping hand away, wipes hair from her eyes and ends up with a lump of foam on top of her head. She tosses foam into his face. “I’ll give you sorry.”

*Tonio, trying hard not to laugh, steps into the mess to help her up and she lifts a handful of foam and tosses it over his head. And of course the twins got in on the act, too*

Rosie and Alexander and baby Mila are standing out of harms way, watching the Ferranti’s turn from humans into foamy blobs. “I just adore those crazy kids. Get your phone and take pics. Honestly, Bronte cannot leave this lot alone for five minutes.”

Alexander drops a kiss on the top of his baby’s head. “They are certifiably nuts.”

“Do you think we’ll be like them one day?”

Alexander snaps pics and then takes a video on his phone. “Nah, we’re normal. We’re not Italian.”

 

Finito

And so endeth another day in the life of the Ferranti fam-lee.

Am working hard on three projects.

#amwriting

Love and hugs,

Christine X

Time for another slice of Ludlow Life

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CLICK HERE TO RECEIVE A FREE READ OF HOW THE WHOLE STORY BEGAN!

Apologies for being a little bit late with this post, it should have gone live last Friday, but I got caught up writing a story……

You guys are amazing. I’ve had readers here and on my Facebook asking for the ‘sneak peeks’ to be made into a book. *CC’s eyes grow big* Omigod. What the hell are all y’all like? I write these totally out of my head without editing etc. To turn them into a book will take lots of work and the scenes will change, too. So I’m not promising anything, but let’s see how we go. Thing is, that on Facebook and my blog I can’t write ‘real’ lurve scenes. I need to close the bedroom door. Anyhow, here’s the next slice of Ludlow life. (You guys kill me, seriously, you do. And I say that with love.)

 

BRONTE AND NICO IN THE FAMILY ROOM OF THE DOWER HOUSE.

 

 

*Dinner time. Family time. The gang’s all here, except for…  Nico strides through the door in his dark business suit looking for all the world like an ad for GQ. Immaculate. Sexy. Hot*

 

“Sorry I am late,” he says, and dumps his laptop bag on the couch, shrugs off his suit jacket, his silk tie, rolls up the sleeves of his pristine dress shirt. He walks to the sink to wash and dry his hands. Then he moves to the high-chair to kiss his baby girl, and a Sophia who yelps when he gently rubs his five-o’clock shadow on her soft cheek. Next he scrubs his knuckles on the top of a grinning Luca and Tonio’s dark curls. Last, but not least, he grabs Bronte in a big hug, pops a kiss on the tip of her nose. And misses the way her emerald eyes narrow as she takes a sniff of his neck, then a deep inhale. She sits back and studies him very hard as he takes his seat at the table.

*Bronte serves the food, her mouth a tight hard line. Nico chats to the kids*

“Had a good day?” he asks Tonio who is settling well into his new school.

Tonio nods as he digs into pasta with meatballs. He swallows. “Si. I have been picked for the football team. I’m playing on Saturday. Can you come?”

“Of course.” Nico lifts a wine bottle, pours himself a glass of Chianti from his own vineyards. “I wouldn’t miss it.”

“Can I come, too?” Luca pipes up.

Si,” his papa says and sends him a wink.

“I don’t wanna watch stupid football,” Sophia says as she nibbles on her pasta. “I’ll stay home with mama.”

Nico shrugs. “Nessun problema.” He turns to a silent Bronte, and frowns when he sees her set face, and cool green eyes. “That okay with you?”

“Fine,” she mutters.

*He blinks because he hasn’t been married to this woman for nearly seven years without understanding that when it comes to his wife ‘fine’ is a tricky word, especially in that particular tone. A tone that means, ‘I’m so far from fine I’m gonna poke your eye out with a white hot needle and fry your puny brain.’ OR ‘You’re so deep in excrement and don’t even know it.’ Nico receives the message loud and clear that it appears he’s in trouble. He racks his brain, discounting forgetting their wedding anniversary or her birthday (as if), and came up with… nada*

“You okay?” he asks, sends her a cautious smile, and receives a stony face in return.

She smiles, but it doesn’t reach her eyes as she looks around the table at their four offspring.

“Fine,” she says in a tone that brings a cold sweat out on Nico’s brow.

*Okay. She’s said ‘fine’ twice. This is bad. He’s forgotten something vital. Even the kids have gone quiet, picking up the you-are-a-dead-man vibe. Tonio gives Nico big what-the-hell-have-you-done eyes. Nico sends him an I-dunno shrug in response. The rest of the meal passes off without a knife being thrown or the world as Nico knows it coming to an end.  Two hours later the kids are bathed, brushed and in bed. Except for Tonio. He’s reading Nico a chapter from Moby Dick*

“Does the whale get him in the end?” Tonio asks Nico.

“Wait and see.”

“I bet it does,” Tonio says as he closes the book hands it to his papa. He cosies beneath the comforter, and Nico gives him a big hug and wishes him night-night.

*Still mulling over Bronte’s strange mood, Nico showers, changes into his favorite tatty jeans, soft long sleeved thermal, and in bare feet pads into the family kitchen to look for her, and have a clearing of the air. Whatever he’s done, he’ll fix it. Bronte’s sitting at the table with her laptop open. The hand holding a pencil tap, tap, taps the table in a rhythm that tells him she is not a happy bunny*

“Wine?” he asks her as he makes his way to the vast stainless steel American fridge.

“Not for me,” she says. The tone, icy, has his brows rise as he takes his own sweet time to study her face. Hmm. Someone has a stick up her ass. He pours himself another Chianti, all the while pondering on what it was he’s done that he doesn’t know he’s done. And comes up empty, except for the distinct flutter of irritation uncoiling in his gut.

“Are the clipped responses and cranky face your version of Chinese water torture?” he asks, not bothering to hide his annoyance.

Her response is to toss down the pencil, sit back in her chair and fold her arms, while her eyes bore holes into his. “When were you going to tell me Elena Rocas is back?”

*Elena Rocas was Jacob Del Garda’s ex-personal assistant. And Bronte is not a fan. Neither is he. Nico blinks once, stares into space for at least ten seconds. He shakes his head*

“I have no idea what you are talking about. I haven’t seen that woman since she was thrown out of my office.”

*Bronte rises, stalks to stand up close in his personal space. Her chin jerks in a way that makes his body hum, in a good way. She’s seriously pissed off with him, for something he most definitely has not done, and for some weird reason, it turns him on. Little devil*

“Then how come I can smell her on you? Only one person I know wears JOY and that’s Elena Rocas. AND her lipstick color is on the collar of your white shirt. Careless of her,” Bronte snarls.

*Nico again racks his brain. The only woman he’s had direct contact with today is a famous actress who’s a VIP guest at Ludlow Hall. She’s booked a three day break to use the Spa facilities. She’s beautiful, and not a day under seventy years of age. AND it appears his beloved wife is jealous. A frown creases his brow. Doesn’t Bronte know he’d never look at another woman? Haven’t they been down this road before? He rubs the sudden ache in his flat belly. Didn’t the love of his life trust him?*

To be continued………

Hehehe, do you really think I’d do that to you?

Would I?
Yes, I would.

But I won’t……

 

 

PART TWO

NEXT EVENING  at The Dower House

 

*Our favorite loved-up couple are not speaking to each other, much to the amusement of their children. Nico is home early from work. He’s showered, shaved and changed into his comfy jeans and another long sleeved thermal. His feet are bare*

“What did I do?” he asks Bronte as she clears the table. The kids are sitting in their chairs and watching them like big-eyed hawks, in a way that makes him send them an irritated frown. Isn’t it time they were in bed? Bronte lifts baby Eve from her high chair.

“Why should I have to explain why I’m upset with you?” she asks in a snippy voice. “The fact you appear not to understand WHY just proves to me you’re not even sorry for what you did.” She walks out with the baby.

*The kids eyes are glued to his face. Does anyone have THE first clue what is going on with her? No? Neither does Nico. Poor sod. He gives her a couple of hours to cool down. He sips a glass of Chianti and tries to work out what has just happened. Two things are clear: 1. Bronte is still mad with him. 2. He has no idea why she won’t let him explain himself about the lipstick on his collar. By the time he’d got to bed last night, she had her back to him and appeared sound asleep. Maybe he’d made a mistake not to wake her and clear the whole thing up? Sighing, he checks the locks on the doors, the windows, turns off the lights and heads for their bedroom*

“The perfume and lipstick on my collar belong to Evelyn Rice, the actress, she’s staying at The Hall for a few nights,” he says as he locks the bedroom door. Bronte is sitting on the top of the bed in jeans and T-shirt. Her arms are folded and she wears a face like a smacked ass.

“Well, why the hell didn’t you tell me last night? Why let me fume all bloody day for no reason?” she demands, her cheeks pink with what looks like embarrassment. Good, he can live with embarrassment.

“Because you deserve to suffer,” he says with steel running through his tone. She sends him big sorry green eyes.

“I’m not the same woman you fell in love with,” she says in a low voice filled to the brim with regret. “I’ve changed. These days I can’t do sex on demand. Hell, I can’t even find time to slap on make-up or style my hair… Now we’ve got the kids I can’t even sleep naked anymore and I WANT to sleep naked… I’m no longer ME. I’m a wife, a mother, a business woman, with no time for me.” She buries her face in her hands while Nico frowns as he watches her. “Oh, God. I’m such a selfish cow.”

*Nico moves to sit on the edge of their bed, sips his wine as he mulls over her words. It’s pretty clear all work and no play makes Bronte a grumpy girl. It’s also clear his wife needs a break. In one way she’s right. She does work too hard. In another way she’s dead wrong because she’s so beautiful she doesn’t need cosmetics. Plus, she’s a wonderful wife and mother, who apparently loves to sleep naked. Why did he not know this? He places his wine on the bedside table. He stands and studies the way she’s lying on her side, curled up in a ball like a little girl. At this moment she forcibly reminds him of Sophia. He bites back a grin at her little yip of surprise as he grabs her ankles and yanks her down the bed*

“What are you doing?” she gasps, and slaps at hands that are working fast unbuttoning her jeans to drag them off her ankles along with her panties. Her T-shirt comes next, and then her bra. Her hands clutch her girls. Her eyes go big as she watches him strip. “Are you crazy?”

Si. Crazy for you.” He slides into bed, pulls her against his hard length. “You are right. I like sleeping with you naked. Tomorrow we will burn all your sleepwear.” When her jaw drops, he roars with laughter. Then he kisses her soft mouth.

*One thing leads to another… (use your imaginations)….. Later, much later…*

“You don’t trust me,” he begins, determined to clear the air.

*Bronte’s sprawled on top of him, and Nico’s statement has her rest her weight on her elbows on his chest and stare down into his wonderful face. She realises he’s serious.*

“Of course I trust you. It’s the women I don’t trust. And I don’t care if she is seventy and wears JOY perfume and hot red lipstick, age is no barrier to lust.” She laughs as he rolls her beneath him.

“I am very pretty, no?” he says outrageously.

“Trust me, it’s not your face she’s interested in, pretty boy.” Her emerald eyes go wide. “It’s your big Italian salami.”

His laugh peals through the room as he shakes his head. “My salami only salutes for you.”

Her snort of derision has the flat of his hand spank her bare ass cheek. “Ow, are you trying to tell me that when an attractive woman gives you eye – and yes, pal, I’ve seen them myself – it doesn’t give you a tingle?”

“No,” he says without a moment’s hesitation.

“Seriously?” she studies his face. “Not even a little twitch?”

“No.”

“Wow.”

Si. Only you. From the moment I saw you, you captured my heart… and my big Italian salami.” His mouth on hers stops her gurgle of laughter. He shifts to stare down into her face. Dio, he adores this woman. “From now on we sleep naked every night.”

“Is that so?”

Si, so,” he growls low in his throat.

“Even in winter?”

“Especially in winter.”

*She rubs her body against his, and sure enough his salami salutes*

“I love you so much, Nico,” she whispers.

Ti amo, cara mia.”

Finito

Until next time, my darlings, be good.

If you can’t be good, be careful.

If you can’t be careful, I’ll buy you a pram. (As my old gramma used to say.)

Christine X

Time for another slice of Ludlow Life

 

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The Ferranti’s at home in The Dower House

 

 

*Sophia, in her pj’s, is sitting at the kitchen table drinking her bedtime milk. Swinging her bare feet, she eyes her papa who is nursing baby Eve through a milk induced coma*

“How come,” Sophia begins. “We have a dog-house, but we don’t have a dog? And how come you’re in the dog-house?”

*Nico sends her the side-eye*

“The dog-house is a turn of phrase. It means the person in the dog-house is in hot water.”

*Sophia gives him butter-wouldn’t-melt big eyes*

“Is mama still mad because Luca got sick?”

*Nico understands very well his little girl has played him today, plus his wife is not happy with him. Bronte never sulks or holds a grudge. However, she still hasn’t had her ‘little chat’ with him. The mere thought of it makes his belly jump, which is crazy. He’s the man of this house. Nico Ferranti rules this particular roost. Doesn’t he?*

“Luca is feeling much better,” Nico says. “Mama is reading him a story.”

“I want a Bacon Freeze,” Sophia says in a shrill tone which makes Nico’s eyes go slitty.

“No.”

*Sophia sucks her milk in the glass through a straw, reaches the bottom and keeps slurping, making a noise that would certainly bring down the wrath of her mama if she heard it. Yep, his baby girl is playing him. Nico decides to try logic*

“You know how busy mama is. She is looking after the baby, cooking and looking after you and Luca and Tonio. Plus, she looks after me and runs the house. And she runs Sweet Sensations. Mama needs lots of help. As her family it is our job to care for her and help her. At this time a puppy would add an extra burden.”

*When Sophia’s little brow creases as she thinks through his argument, Nico reckons he’s on a winner. Until…*

“Then you need to help mama more. Luca and me are little children. Tonio isn’t old enough to help her. I want a Bacon Freeze. You need to step up to the plot and do your bit.”

*Nico’s jaw doesn’t drop, but it’s a close thing. Where the hell had all this come from? If he wasn’t mistaken some of those words came directly from Rosie Ludlow’s mouth*

“Plate,” Nico mutters. “Step up to the plate.”

“Yes. Auntie Rosie’s always saying that us women juggle five things in life, while the men in this family focus on one. How hard is it for you to give me a puppy?”

*Seems his baby girl hasn’t outgrown her habit of listening in to adult conversations. At the moment Sophia sounded exactly like Rosie. Nico stood*

“Time for bed,” he says, leads the way to the staircase.

*Sophia’s bare feet stomps on the wooden stairs, but Nico refuses to rise to the bait. On one hand he has to admire his daughter. If she wants something badly enough, she never, ever, gives up. Cristo, if he could bottle her focus and strong will, and have his management team drink it, Ferranti Enterprises will be unstoppable. The downside is her ability to manoeuvre situations, and people, to her will. She is five years old, for God’s sake. What the hell is she going to be like when she’s twenty? The idea didn’t bear thinking about. She tags along behind him as he places the baby in her crib. He leads the way to Sophia’s bedroom, and stands by as she climbs into her princess bed complete with canopy. She snuggles beneath the comforter, her eyes bright on his. Nico knows the time has come for him to take control of the puppy situation. He sits on the edge of her bed, leans over to tuck a strand of silver hair behind her tiny ear*

“Mama and me have said time and again, no puppy, and no kitten. If you continue to ask then you cannot be a flower girl at Marc and Elena’s wedding.”

*Sophia’s emerald eyes swim with shock and hurt. It breaks his heart to see her distress, but Nico needs to take a hard-line with his child. He shakes his head*

“I mean it. No means no. I do not want the daughter I love upsetting her mama, and causing mischief by using my cell phone without my permission. If you do it again, no flower girl.”

*He’s happy to see the penny drop as heat scorches her cheeks. Sophia’s behaviour needs careful watching and careful handling*

“Sorry, papa,” she whispers.

“You need to start thinking about consequences. When an idea enters your head consider if what happens next will be worth it.” He kisses her hot cheek, stands to look down at her. “Ti amo, cara. Go to sleep.”

*He shuts Sophia’s bedroom door. The house is quiet. Nico pads on his bare feet to his bedroom, to find his wife sitting up against white pillows, fingers rattling over the keys on her laptop. He closes their bedroom door, locks it. The sound of the lock has Bronte peer at him over the top of her reading glasses. Dio, he loves the sexy librarian look. Arousal burns low in his belly. After all this time together, it doesn’t take her long to recognize the obvious signs of his desire. Instead of closing down her laptop, she continues to type*

“I won’t be long,” she says, not looking at him. “I’m sending out an invoice, which if it isn’t paid in five days, I’m talking to my lawyers.”

*He heads for the shower, stripping off his T-shirt, unbuttoning his jeans*

“How much are you owed?”

“Five grand, which includes late payment penalties.”

*That was a lot of loss for a small business to carry*

“Do you need capital?”

“No,” she says in a sharp tone. “We’re solvent. But if this becomes a trend and more clients don’t pay on time then things may get tricky.”

“Did you take a deposit?”

“Yep. But it took two attempts before the funds cleared. Should have known this one would be trouble. Live and learn.”

*Nico enters the shower, flicks on the taps, and lifts his face to pounding water. He soaps up and lets his mind drift. Bronte didn’t like his interference in her day to day running of the business. But he was wondering if perhaps she had too much on her plate. Perhaps his daughter was right. Maybe it was time for him to cut back on his hours and be a more hands on husband and papa. He turns off the tap, steps out the shower and wraps a white towel around his waist, uses another to dry his hair. He enters their bedroom to find she’s switched off the laptop, and waiting for him. His belly trembles as she sits there, arms folded, with a look in her eyes that tells him she means business. He’s in trouble*

“Sophia’s behaviour needs channelling,” Bronte says.

*Nico drops the towels, slides into their big bed to lie on his side and gaze at the woman he loves beyond life*

Si,” he says, shooting her a smile. “I have been thinking the same thing myself.”

*Bronte jabs his pecs with a pointy finger*

“What possessed you to feed Luca soda and ice-cream? You know he can’t cope with a sugar high.”

*He takes her hand, kisses each finger. When her breath hitches, his mouth curves against her knuckles*

“We got carried away with the excitement of the game. Mi dispiace, cara. It will not happen again.”

*She slides down to lie on her side to face him, her emerald eyes serious. Seems he’s still not quite forgiven*

“What were you thinking not to include Sophia in your party? Can you imagine how hurt she must have felt seeing Tonio and Luca enjoying themselves with popcorn and treats, and having their papa’s undivided attention, while she was ignored? She lashed out against all of you. If you think about it, can you blame her?” Bronte asks in a soft voice.

*The truth of her logic hit Nico hard. The jolt, a mix of shame and guilt, has his brow crease. Dio mio, she is right. While he’d been bonding with the boys, he hadn’t thought of his daughter. Not once. He sits up in bed, runs a hand through damp hair. Perhaps he’d been too hard on a little girl who only wants something to love. Did that mean he isn’t giving her what she needs from him? His eyes found his wife’s and held*

“What can I do to make amends?” he asks, trusting her guidance.

*Bronte slides her hand over his shoulder to cup his neck and pull him close. The soft benediction of her mouth on his helps to heal a heavy heart*

“Spend more one on one time with her, and include her with the boys. And do not dare agree to a kitten or a puppy. Sophia Ferranti is not above emotional blackmail.”

*Nico grins. How the hell did he get so lucky to have such a woman in his life? A woman wise and loving to him and his children? He kisses her, loving the smell of her skin, the taste of her lips. And it doesn’t take long for the warmth of affection to turn hot. He rolls her to her back to cage her beneath him. Emerald eyes brimming with amusement and desire stare into his*

“Do you think you deserve to make love to me after your behaviour today?” she asks.

*He gives her big, big eyes as something hard and heavy, him, settles between her thighs*

Si, I am but an imperfect man. A man who loves and adores you. A man who needs his woman,” he growls.

*Bronte laughs and wraps long legs around his hips, tilting her pelvis to encourage him*

“I know this,” she says, her voice a low purr. She steals his line, “Because you are Italian.”

 

Finito

Next installment coming next week, and we see more from the force of nature that is Sophia Ferranti, and the rest of the family, in SEAN coming soon

Big hugs,

Christine X

 

LUDLOW HALL SNEAK PEEK – Football, and a Fairy…..

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To buy this outfit for a Fairy you love, CLICK HERE

Hello, my darlings,

Time for another sneak peek at life in the Ferranti household (readers want more Nico and Bronte and the kids. I live only to serve.)

***

THE DOWER HOUSE, in the grounds of LUDLOW HALL:

 

Nico, Tonio and Luca are kicking back in jeans and T-shirts in the family kitchen-living space, watching their favourite soccer star playing in the Serie A in Italy. All the guys have their bare feet on the coffee table. Good job Bronte’s not home.

*Aaaaaaaaand he’s SCORED. As the crowd in the San Siro roar, Tonio is doing a bum boogie, while Nico and Luca are screaming their joy*

“Did you see the speed of the ball, papa? Olivier shot it into the right hand corner, and the goalie went left. Result!” Tonio sings.

*Nico, sucks a beer, nods*

Si, Olivier is on FIRE.”

*The boys grab a handful of popcorn from the huge bowl on the plate glass coffee table and suck on their sodas. Nico knows full well Bronte frowns on sugar laden drinks for the kids. To hell with it, today’s a special day. Plus, she’s not here. What she doesn’t know won’t kill her*

“Please may I have ice cream?” Luca asks, turning big dark eyes on his papa. Eyes that say he hasn’t had a treat for weeks. Nico scrubs knuckles on top of Luca’s inky curls, grins.

Si, mio figlio.” He turns to Tonio. “Get three bowls. We’ll all have some.”

*Tonio shoots to the freezer, pulls out a two pint tub of dark chocolate chip, proceeds to dump spoonfuls into bowls. While he’s at it he adds a dollop of black chocolate syrup from his mama’s baking stash. The guys dig in while cheering on Olivier Conti who’s shot has just shook the goalpost*

“This is THE best day,” Tonio says.

Nico grins, gives him a high five. “Si.”

*Sophia the fairy, dressed in a skirt of pink and white netting, complete with wand and white ballet pumps on her feet, enters the family room. She stops dead. The volume of the huge flat screen TV is so loud her brothers and papa need to shout to be heard. The place smells of popcorn, beer, soda and chocolate ice-cream. Her brows rise as she takes in a scene of utter carnage. Popcorn flows over the glass table, the floor, AND her mama’s pride and joy, the new velvet couch the color of pale lilac. Luca’s mouth is ringed with chocolate ice cream, plus he’s slopped chocolate sauce on his favourite Spiderman T-shirt. AND there are empty bottles of Coke and beer on the table. Her pink lips pucker in feminine disgust. They haven’t used the coasters to protect the table either. Mama will not be pleased. Then her emerald eyes narrow when she clocks the abandoned ice-cream melting in the carton, and dripping spoon on the worktop near the sink. She takes a breath and marches to stand right in front of her papa*

“Papa!”

*Nico shifts to the right to wince at his team’s near miss. Sophia mirrors his move to go nose to nose with him. He places his hands on her waist and shifts her to the left. Tonio yells FOUL and something about the referee needing glasses. Sophia climbs onto her papa’s lap to face him, and bonks him on the head with her wand*

Nico finally pays attention. “Sophia, cara mia, what is it? We are watching the game.”

“Can I have a kitten?” Sophia asks, ignoring Tonio and Luca’s wide you-cannot-be-serious eyes.

“No,” Nico says without missing a beat.

*Sophia clamps her little hands on Nico’s cheeks and squeezes until his mouth resembles a goldfish and they’re eye-to-eye*

“Can I have a Bacon Freeze?”

Nico blinks. “You want bacon?”

*Sophia heaves a sigh that tells him he’s the stupidest papa in the whole wide world*

“No,” she says. “It’s a dog. A Bacon Freeze.”

*Tonio turns to look at her, frowns for a minute, and then nods*

“She means a Bichon Frise. Her best friend Emily has a new puppy.”

“No,” Nico says without missing another beat.

*If he’d been paying attention to the way the devil enters his baby girl’s vivid green eyes, he might have received a clue. But since he was roaring encouragement to Olivier in rapid Italian, Nico misses the warning signs of impending doom. His daughter climbs off his lap, snatches his cell phone from the table, and marches out of the family room*

“Mama,” Sophia says into the phone as she stomps up the stairs to her bedroom to turn four of her least favourite dolls into trolls with her magic wand. “When are you coming home?”

“Finished early, so I’m on my way,” Bronte says, using her hands-free kit in her car. “What’s up, buttercup?”

“Papa won’t let me have a kitten, or a Bacon Freeze.”

“Honey, we’ve talked about this. No pets at the moment. I have the baby and you guys and papa to look after. Pets, especially puppies and kittens need a lot of attention. Poor Emily isn’t as lucky as you. She doesn’t have brothers or sisters. Her mama bought her a pet so Emily won’t get lonely.”

*Sophia’s wand isn’t sprinkling fairy dust upon her dolls. They keep staring at her with lifeless, unblinking, eyes. And no one had shared the popcorn, or the soda, or the ice-cream with her either, had they? Nope. The boys in this house were greedy, disgusting pigs*

“Papa and Tonio and Luca have made a mess in the family room,” Sophia says tossing her father and brothers under the train without a blink.

“It’s football season. Olivier’s playing,” her mama says. Then a silence, which went on, and on. “Exactly how much of a mess are we talking about?”

“A BIG mess. Popcorn on the coffee table, the floor and the new couch. Luca’s spilled Coke and chocolate ice-cream…”

“Papa gave Luca chocolate ice-cream? Coke?” Bronte yells.

“Yep, and I haven’t had any popcorn, Coke, or ice-cream,” Sophia says, piling more fuel on the fire. She feels a lot better when her mama snarls in her ear.

“I’ll be home in two minutes, and then you and me will visit Emily and her puppy. How about that?”

Sophia does a happy dance. “Yay! Thank you, mama.”

*Sophia skips down the stairs and into the family room to find her papa and her brothers slumped on the couch, and the perfect picture of male misery. The opposition have scored three goals in ten minutes. The game’s in the final seconds of extra time, and things are not looking good for Roma. The sound of a car coming to a halt in the gravel drive, a door closing, and high heels click, click, clicking on sandstone slabs brings Nico’s head up like a wolf scenting imminent danger. He leaps to his bare feet. Tonio and Luca slap bare feet to the floor. Sophia slides her papa’s phone on the coffee table. Bronte stalks into the family room. Stops dead. Hands on her hips, she surveys the scene through slitty eyes*

She jabs a finger at her husband and sons. “You lot have exactly one hour to clean this mess while Sophia and I visit Emily and her puppy. And when we get back, Nico Ferranti, you’d better prepare yourself for little chat.”

*A beaming Sophia does a little spin in her fairy dress, waves her wand, and dances behind her mama out the door*

“I don’t feel well,” a green looking Luca says.

*Thinking of the new couch, Nico grabs him as his son spews what was chocolate ice-cream, Coke and popcorn all over what had this morning been a spotless floor. Bronte’s gonna kill him. Thirty minutes later, Luca was in bed hugging a plastic bucket, just in case. Tonio and Nico work as a team to clean the family room to his wife’s incredibly high standards*

“How can the best day turn into the worst day?” Tonio wants to know as he piles bowls into the dishwasher.

*Nico’s frantically rubbing stain remover on the couch, and praying to God it works*

“This is life,” he says, and sends Tonio a lightning grin. “We are Italian, we understand this.”

 

Finito

Ahh, all of the above brings back many happy(!) memories of H babysitting while I did grocery shopping when the girls were small. The tales I could tell…

Am busy with SEAN’s story, and my super-seeeeeekrit project.

Until next week……

Hugs,

Christine X

 

Cover Reveal for SEAN and exclusive excerpt. Ludlow Hall book 10.

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Book TEN?

Seriously?

Here’s SEAN in all his glory. I adore this cover, but to be honest I wanted a man-chest. And when I realized I couldn’t have a man-chest due to branding issues my bottom lip hit the floor. Yes, I pouted. It wasn’t pretty.  I WANTED A MAN-CHEST.

However, the wonderful Gabrielle Prendergast of Cover You Dreams and I put our heads together and she came up with the exact character of (a guy with a decided twinkle in his eye) SEAN.

Gabrielle’s also working with me on a super-secret project linked to SEAN coming later this year, and all I’m prepared to say is she’s knocked the covers and the CC MACKENZIE brand right out of the ballpark. Can you tell I can’t keep a secret?

As soon as SEAN is ready for pre-order I’ll post the links, but to keep all y’all going here’s a sneak peek from the book, enjoy!

 

***

There’s only one thing in life that Sean Gallagher hates, and that’s a woman who cheats.

There’s only one problem in Katherine Mary Kennedy’s life and that’s how to pay her mother’s medical bills.

Let yourself be swept away by a romance so hot it will singe your fingers…

Supermodel Sean Gallagher is catch-your-breath gorgeous and ruined by his troubled past in Ireland and his part in the death of his younger brother. All grown up and relocated to New York, he’s become one of the most photographed faces on the planet. No one knows the dark childhood secrets that have given Sean a backbone of steel and a heart untouched by love.

No one until Katherine Mary Kennedy, that is…

From the moment the former girl-next-door steps onto the stage at Ludlow Hall to star as international burlesque star, Pousse-Café, Sean is sure he’s living in some sort of parallel universe.

Katherine peels away Sean’s prejudice about burlesque. She opens the door to a different world filled with pleasure and desire, and Sean is captivated. But when he realizes Katherine is the reason for his brother’s death, how far is he willing to go to punish her? And what happens when he has to step back into the real world and face some hard truths?

Sean & Katherine’s is a story of forbidden passion, revenge, love lost and love found and changes both of their lives forever…

Excerpt

“Nice dress,” Birdie said.

Katherine grinned at the way the words were spoken, in a gravelly New Yawk accent, and did a twirl of the dress, an ocean of shot silk the color of her eyes, azure blue.

“Do I look like a respectable member of the wedding party?” Katherine asked her dresser, and right hand woman.

Birdie chewed gum the way it should be chewed.

Her beady eyes, black like a bird’s, gleamed in a face that had lived over seventy years.

“Yup. Respectable’s boring, but the dress is… nice.”

“You’re just used to sequins and feathers, and satin and lace. Nothing wrong with nice,” Katherine muttered as Birdie’s arthritic fingers slid down the zip.

Birdie shot her a bland look beneath thin brows penciled in black. “Your cousin doesn’t want you to upstage the bride.”

Katherine shook her head, stepped out of the maid of honor’s dress, watched Birdie bag it and hang it on the hook on the back of the door. She stood in nothing except a nude thong and matching boned strapless bra and black silk hold ups. She lifted a boned corset of sheer silk the color of ink, wiggled firm but small breasts into position to lift and separate, and turned her back to let Birdie do her magic with the laces. “Elena doesn’t think like that, she’s too…”

“Nice,” Birdie said as she tugged and pulled at the corset to make Katherine’s small waist even smaller.

Katherine frowned as she snapped her stockings to her garter belt. “She’s a lovely person, and madly in love with Marc. They look good together. Can you adjust the bodice of the dress? I seem to have lost weight since my last fitting.”

“Wiggle your ass. That’s it. Honey, of course I can fix your nice dress. This is me you’re talkin’ to. Not a problem.”

“You’re an angel.”

Birdie dipped her head to eyeball Katherine over red framed reading glasses.

“I’ve been called many things in my life, Katherine. An angel ain’t one of them.”

“You’re all bark and no bite.”

Birdie sniffed. “Honey, you just keep telling yourself that if it makes you happy. Anyway, makes a change to see you in a dress since you make a living out of wearing very little. Park your skinny ass in the chair and let me do something with feathers and your hair.”

Katherine did as she was told.

She didn’t have a skinny ass.

Thanks to a rigid diet and a rigorous exercise regime, her ass was tight and toned.

In fact, every ass of every single one of her famous Golddigger burlesque troupe were tight and toned and fabulous.

Birdie whirled a cotton protector over her outfit to ready her for make-up.

“Good job I have a thick skin,” Katherine muttered.

“A thick skin’s a must in our business,” Birdie said as she set about working on one of the most beautiful faces in the world. “You’re looking gaunt, and a little bit hollow eyed. How’s your mama doin?”

“Still in remission, thank the Lord.”

“You’re a good girl. If your grandma could see you now, she’d be as proud of you as I am.”

Katherine couldn’t help but smile as Birdie worked her magic with eyeliner.

“She was a pistol, wasn’t she?”

“Yup. In her day she was the queen of burlesque.”

Katherine’s hand lifted to grip Birdie’s narrow wrist, their eyes held.

“I couldn’t have done this without you,” Katherine whispered.

Birdie’s eyes glittered with emotions neither ever put into words.

“You go get yourself out there with the girls and give Marc’s bachelor night the send off he deserves.”

Katherine stood, checked her hair, her make-up, in the mirror.

Birdie handed her black satin gloves, watched her as she tugged them over her elbows. She clipped the diamanté choker around Katherine’s long neck, clipped a matching bracelet on each wrist, and kept an eye on her girl as she slid narrow feet into mile high heels to showcase the best pair of legs in the business. Mr. Louboutin’s shoes did the job all right, they oozed pure sex.

“Get out there and give ’em hell,” Birdie ordered.

Since Birdie used the same words every single night, Katherine sent her a wicked grin.

“Yes, ma’am.”

As she strutted in all her finery down the corridor towards the back of the grand ballroom of Ludlow Hall, Katherine, a.k.a. Pousse-Café, the leader of The Golddiggers, couldn’t help but grin as four of her girls did their thing on the stage. Their timing was spot on, and their voices as they sang We Got The Look brought the house down. A Golddigger did more than just tease and tantalize. A Golddigger was a trained dancer, and she could sing, too. Plus, a Golddigger had to look good on and off stage. And that included a Golddigger’s behaviour in her private life. No salacious headlines in the celebrity press. A Golddigger had standards, high standards. Standards that had made The Golddiggers a household name right around the globe.

And now Katherine was about to entertain a home crowd.

Yep, the good girl gone bad was back.

And the small market town of Old Ludlow was buzzing over it, whispering untruths, dishing dirt and innuendo through the mom’s and tot’s groups, the nail bar and hairdresser.

But Pousse-café could care less.

The girls on stage were taking their bows as the good-natured crowd went wild.

Marc and his pals didn’t have grabby hands, thank God.

As her intro music began, Ms. Pousse-café lifted her chin, jerked her shoulders back, and strutted her stuff on stage.

Let the show begin.

 

***

I cannot tell you guys how much fun I’m having with this story, and what’s coming next. I’m working with a brand new support team, and we’re all so excited to bring you guys SEAN and Katherine’s stormy tale.

Next up, Wednesday’s Ludlow Hall Hump Day Sneak Peek of Ludlow Life…. and it’s a doozy.

Hugs,

Christine X

 

 

 

Another slice of Ludlow Life with The Ferranti’s

 

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IT’S WEDNESDAY AND ANOTHER SLICE OF LUDLOW LIFE

(THIS ONE IS BY SPECIAL READER REQUEST)

 

Nico picking up the twins from Montessori School

 

*While he straps Sophia into her car seat, he spots skinned knees*

“What happened?” Nico asks as he drives away, eyeing Sophia in the rear view mirror.

*She shrugs*

“Nothing. I tripped.”

“Evan Brown pushed her,” Luca pipes up.

“Perche?” Nico asks.

“Sophia kissed him. He didn’t like it,” Luca says.

*Nico gives his daughter the stink eye*

“Haven’t we talked about kissing boys? Haven’t we talked about germs?”

“I LIKE kissing,” Sophia says with a jerk of her chin.

“And I said, No Kissing Boys,” Nico growls.

“Evan’s my boyfriend.”

“No boyfriends,” Nico thunders.

“I want a boyfriend. Evan’s my boyfriend,” Sophia says, her voice rising.

*Luca’s eyes go big*

“I will speak with Evan’s papa…” Nico says through gritted teeth.

“NO!” Sophia shrieks.

“Si!”  Nico roars like a bull. “His son pushed you. You are hurt…”

“Sophia started it,” Luca says, more than happy to throw his sister under the bus.

*Nico eyes his son*

“Why did you not protect your sister?”

*Luca gives him a face that clearly says, ‘Are you kidding me?’*

“Evan is my friend. He told Sophia to stop, but she didn’t, so he pushed her.”

“A man protects his famiglia…” Nico begins in a tone that means business.

“I’m not a man. I’m five,” Luca says with a ruthless logic.

*Good point. Nico turns his attention to his daughter*

“Kissing boys will make you sick. Your teeth will fall out,” Nico says.

*Sophia narrows her eyes*

“You kiss mama all the time,” the daughter from hell says.

“We are married. We are adults.”

“Evan’s papa told him if he keeps kissing Sophia his willy will fall off, ” Luca says.

*Nico thanks God Evan’s papa is on the same page*

Si,” He growls. “And it won’t grow back.”

“I’ll just get another boyfriend,” Sophia the invincible says.

“You will not!” Nico roars. “That’s it. You are moving schools. Girls only. No boys.”

“Nooooooooo, papa!”

“Si!”

*As the car comes to halt at The Dower House, a smiling Bronte opens the door. Baby Eve is perched on her hip heroically sucking a soother. The baby’s eyes pop as a weeping Sophia races past them, and clatters up the stairs. Luca drops his schoolbag at Bronte’s feet and buries his head in her belly for a hug. Nico, with a face like a thundercloud, approaches his wife. He takes the baby, plants a kiss on a hot cheek*

“That child will be the death of me,” he says.

*Bronte takes a wild guess*  “She flushed your cell phone down the toilet?”

“No. She’s kissing boys.”

“Ah, don’t worry about it,” Bronte says.

*Nico looks at her as if she’s lost her mind, so Bronte smacks a kiss on his mouth to shut him up*

“She’s testing her boundaries. What did you say to make her cry?”

“Girls only school.”

*Bronte shakes her head*

“Bad idea. If she’s restricted from boys until she’s eighteen, she’ll be like a heat seeking missile of mass-male-destruction. Think totally insane, and out of control.”

“She is already out of control,” Nico growls.

“She’ll grow out of it. Don’t look so miserable, daddy, this too shall pass.”

*Nico grabs her in a lip-lock that lasts, and lasts, and… He shifts to rest his forehead on hers*

Si. I can do this. I am Italian.”

 

 

Finito

 

Isn’t this fun?

Stay tuned for the cover reveal of SEAN book ten of the Ludlow Hall Romances, with lots more to come.  AND a top seekrit project I’m dying to tell you about coming later in the year.

 

Hugs,

Christine X

GRAB A SLICE OF LUDLOW LIFE

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CLICK HERE FOR A FREE READ

Hi guys,

In a few days I’m posting the cover reveal and excerpt of Ludlow Hall book ten (can you believe it?) of the next instalment of the series, SEAN. More information coming soon.

To keep you going, I’m gifting all y’all with a weekly exclusive peek into life at Ludlow Hall:

***

Nico and Josh all relaxed and kicking back in Nico’s office in Ludlow Hall…

“Jan wants to christen the new kitchen. It’s a nice night, why don’t you and Bronte bring the kids over. I’ll fire up the BBQ?”

Si, let me check with Bronte.”

*Nico picks up phone, dials The Dower House. Phone rings*

“Ferrantee fam-lee… Sophia speaking.”

*Nico smiles*

Ciao, Sophia.”

“Hi, daddy.”

*Nico takes a breath, opens mouth to speak.*

“Bye, daddy.”

*Sophia puts down phone. Nico rolls his eyes at Josh. Dials again.*

“Ferrantee res… res… res…”

“Residence,” Nico says.

“Hi, daddy.”

“Sophia, bella. Put mama on the phone.”

“Can’t.”

“Why not?”

“’cause she’s sick to the back teeth with the whole lot of us. And she wasn’t put on this earth to be a slave.”

*Nico sends a grinning Josh big eyes.*

“Go get mama.”

“‘kay.”

*Nico waits. And waits. He sucks his top lip between his teeth.*

“Hey, papa.”

“Tonio, put Bronte on the phone.”

*Silence.*

“Um. I don’t think that’s a good idea.”

*Nico frowns.*

Perche?”

“Well…”

“Tonio?”

*Tonio heaves a deep sigh.*

“This morning Bronte had a short nap on the couch in the family room.”

Si, the bambino kept us up last night.”

“Well, Sophia got hold of the kitchen sheers, and…”

Si?”

“And cut off Bronte’s ponytail, and mama’s locked herself in her bathroom. She won’t come out.”

Dio mio. Where is Luca?”

“He’s sitting on the naughty step clutching mama’s hair. He won’t stop crying.”

*Nico feels like crying himself.*

“I am on way.”

*Nico tells Josh what’s happened. Josh grins.*

“Just another day in the life of the Ferranti family, eh?” Josh says.

Si. I could not make this stuff up, could I?”

*Finale*

Aaaaand in other news, I’m working on four projects. Two super-seeeeeekrit. But SEAN is coming soon. BREAK THE RULES (book three of the Ludlow Hall spin off – The Rules) is in production. And I’m writing the story of Ethan Monroe and Louise O’Brien (Coco’s story, Ludlow book 4) with more Monroe brothers coming in 2017 with their own Ludlow Hall Romance.

Two vampyres stories are in production with ADAM in final edits, and CONSTANTINE due for release this year, too. Which will make five books published in The Vampyre Legal Chronicles, with the last two released in 2017.

I might be quiet, but I’m busy!!

Stay tuned for an exclusive SEAN cover reveal (it’s gorgeous).

Much love,

Christine x

 

IN MEMORIAM

 

BANNER FOR TWITTER

 

When an author hears from a rabid fan who’s bought everything, even vampyre stories when she doesn’t believe in such things, it is always a huge thrill. One such reader contacted me after my mom died asking for Daisy’s story. “Where the hell is it, Christine? I’m worried about that poor fatherless child.”

Those were the first words she wrote to me. And so began an almost daily Facebook chat. This woman loved and adored hot alpha males (the hotter the better). But she more than loved and adored strong women, like Bronte Ferranti.  In fact, she told me she wanted to BE Bronte, which just made me shake my head.

What I didn’t know until months later, when she let it slip, was that she was battling cancer and having regular chemo. Apparently, the nurses kept asking her why she was laughing, and she told them she was reading Bronte’s story and Rosie’s. She just adored Rosie. Rosie helped her get through the nausea.

So I got to know her really well, and she totally understood why I was having such a hard time writing Daisy’s story due to the circumstances surrounding my mom’s death. She told me to take my time.

When we enter the world we’ve created authors sometimes have a hard time dealing with feelings a story creates. A bit like hearing a song from the past that takes us right to a special moment that meant a huge amount to us.

Then I stopped receiving posts from her. I missed her messages and after a week contacted her niece because I was worried and had a bad feeling. Her last message to me was on a Sunday and she passed away very suddenly on the following Monday. To say I was devastated doesn’t begin to describe the sense of loss.

She was naughty. She was fun. She was brave. Her name was Susan Benson and A Daddy For Daisy is dedicated to her memory.

Christine x

Soccer star, secrets, lies, glitter and lust… It’s the HER RULES release day…

HER RULES 3D

HER RULES

A queen of hot contemporary romance is back with plenty of laughs, tears, thrills and spills! USA Today Bestselling author, CC MACKENZIE returns with a brand new, burn-up-the-sheets story to set your eReader aflame. No cliffhanger. Ooooh-la-la, we’re off to gay Paris!

“I miss you. The Old You. The new one sucks.”  Olivier.

Greetings, my darlings,

Today I am beyond thrilled to announce the release of book two of The Rules series –  HER RULES! Although the stories are linked, each book stands alone.

Readers are loving the leading characters we met in HIS RULES – Anastacia Morgan, the fiercely independent and whip-smart head of Ferranti Communications, and Olivier Conti, the drop dead gorgeous Italian soccer star determined to march her down the aisle. Shame the woman he loves is kicking and screaming all the way…

Set in the stunning city of Paris, Anastacia and Olivier have arrived to film the next stage of their Ferranti Boutique hotel campaign. The bad times are behind them and they’re looking to embrace a glittering future together. Until a blast from her past, Jake Thornton, arrives.

Jake wants Anastacia back. She wants him long GONE. And Olivier wants Jake… dead.

However, help is at hand. Anastacia has not arrived in the city of love alone. Her two best friends, Danni and T.C., are in Paris, too. And both are having their own man trouble.

Meet Pascal Wolfe, the charismatic, gorgeous and wealthy designer who has more than just shoes and handbags in mind for Danni. She might be attracted, but Danni’s not ready to trust the well-named Monsieur Wolfe.

And meet Sean Kennedy, the tough ex-mercenary turned personal protection expert, who rubs T.C. up the wrong way. On the face of it the pair have nothing in common, and when they meet, they have even less. Except what they do have is a wise-cracking nothing held back chemistry.

With an ex-boyfriend creating mayhem for Anastacia and a stalker causing big trouble for Danni, the stage is set for an explosive summer…

BUY NOW

AMAZON  iBOOKS  KOBO  BARNES & NOBLE

In the next post, the cover reveal for A DADDY FOR DAISY!

Do I hear a yay?

With much love and lots of hugs,

CHRISTINE X