Anyone for another slice of Ludlow life?

 

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READ HOW IT ALL BEGAN FREE HERE!

Happy Monday, my lovelies,

Time for another slice of life with the Ferranti fam-lee!

*Nico and the boyss are chilling at The Dower House babysitting baby Eve, while Bronte and Sophia and Auntie Rosie are having a ‘girly’ day*

“So.” Nico rubs his hands and gives Tonio wide eyes. “Soccer or rugby, what’s your poison?”

“Soccer,” Tonio yells and dashes to the closet, pulls out a couple of throws, races back and smoothes them over the new couch covered in a totally impractical velvet the color of pale lilac. And Bronte’s pride and joy.

Nico shoots him two finger pistols. “Good thinking, Batman. Now remember, no soda for Luca and no chocolate ice-cream. Mama left us snacks in the fridge. We’re responsible for the baby so we cannot have the TV too loud or we won’t hear the monitor when she wakes.”

“You should be Batman, papa. I’m Robin,” Tonio says with a logic his papa can get right behind.

Nico grins. “Si, and we will use paper plates and paper cups. Less mess. Sorted.”

*In short order, they organize their favorite space. Tonio lifts the remote, clicks the sports channel. They settle down, making sure their bare feet are not on the table. Nico never again wants to go through what happened last time when Bronte blow torched his ear. Luca pads into the room in bare feet wearing below the knee navy shorts and a white T-shirt proclaiming the words ‘I’m Italian, which means My Family Is Temperamental. Half Temper. Half Mental’. His right fist holds his blankie (a sure sign he’s tired), while his left hand tugs his ear (another sign he’s tired). Nico pats the couch, but instead of sitting next to his papa, Luca stops in front of him, eyeball to eyeball*

“Eve’s pooped in her diaper.”

*Five simple words that brings an icy fist to his papa’s heart, and a clutch of dread to his papa’s belly*

Nico blinks, remembers with a shudder the heavy diaper his daughter had filled not twenty minutes ago. “But, mama changed her just before she left. How can this happen?”

“She had a vaccination shot yesterday, sometimes they give her a runny tummy,” Tonio says helpfully.

*Dio mio, a runny tummy? The mere thought breaks Nico out in a cold sweat. He is a good father, he knows he is. But he’s never really managed to get over the gut churning ordeal of a dirty diaper. A wet diaper, no problemo. His sons are well aware of this, and both are watching him with wide eyes. He stands. He can do this. He is Italian. The boys are hot on his heels as he takes the stairs two at time and enters the nursery. The heady scent of bad news hits him hard. This, boys and girls, is not going to be pretty*

“Okay,” he says. His voice brings his baby girl’s head up, black glossy curls bouncing as she sits and then stands holding onto the bars of her cot. A stain, the color of mustard, oozes from the top of her leg onto her pink sleep suit. Dio mio. What he needs, Nico realizes, is a plan. He strides to the changing table, plucks a couple of wet wipes from the plastic container, rolls them into the size of a pencil, folds them in half and stuffs one in each nostril, much to the choking hilarity of his sons. He sends them slitty eyes. “Grab bottle of aftershave from my bathroom,” he orders a Luca who is swiping tears from his cheeks. Luca races off to do his bidding. Then he turns to a Tonio who is laughing so hard he’s clutching his belly. “We need a clean sleep suit and new diaper, plastic bags for the dirty diaper and plenty of wet wipes. Go, Robin, go.”

*Luca returns to hand his papa a bottle. Nico squirts aftershave on each nostril and inhales the scent through the wet wipes. He can do this. He lifts his excited baby girl from her cot and lies her on her back on the plastic changing mat, and carefully, very carefully begins to unsnap the poppers. The scene of utter carnage has a tiny whimper escape from his throat*

“Whoa,” Tonio says, shock a living, breathing, thing in his voice.

Si,” Nico squeaks, then clears his throat.

“Luca, you wait outside. Robin, I need at least five wet wipes, hold out the plastic bag and let’s do this thing.”

*Baby Eve’s dark brown eyes are riveted to her papa’s face. He takes his time to release first one chubby leg from her suit before going for the next*

“She’s a wriggler,” Tonio warns. “You need to hold her ankles high, and clean the top of her legs before you undo the diaper.”

*Good advice. Maybe Tonio would like the job? Nico’s tempted, but he refuses not to man-up in front of his son. He can do this. By the time he’s got Eve naked and clean with the contents of two full boxes of wet wipes, perspiration is beading his top lip.*

“She needs a bath,” Tonio says, tying the handles of two plastic bags.

The words bring Nico’s head up with a jerk. “Bath?”

Tonio gives him a funny look. “You bath the twins all the time.”

Si, but they are old enough not to drown. Eve is like an eel. She never sits still.”

Tonio rolls his eyes to heaven. “Luca and me will help. Nessun problema.”

*By the time Nico and the boys are finish bathing Eve, the bathroom looks like something out of a warzone with baby powder the weapon of choice for mass destruction. Sopping wet T-shirts cling to their skin. But they’re all happy and most importantly the baby’s cheeks are pink, her curls damp. Wrapped in a thick towel of white cotton, she tucks her face in her papa’s neck. Pleased with how they all work together as a team, Nico tells the boys to change into dry clothes, and takes his baby to her changing mat for a clean diaper, and makes short work of dressing her in a clean sleep suit*

“Hellooooooo, anybody home?” Alexander Ludlow yells from the bottom of the stairs. The boys whoop and holler and race down the stairs to welcome their favorite uncle.

*Nico strolls into the family room cuddling his daughter to find Alexander with baby Mila over his shoulder. He’s sitting on the couch with the boys watching soccer*

“Hear you had a pooh-bomb to deal with,” Alexander says with a wicked gleam in his eye.

Nico sits on the short end of the L shaped couch with a now unconscious Eve boneless in his arms. He drops a kiss on her hot cheek. “Si. She is teething and had a vaccination shot yesterday. It wasn’t pretty. I see you have your hands full.”

Alexander gently rubs his seven week old baby daughter’s back. “My princess is the best thing that ever happened to me. No one can tell you how you’ll feel when a man becomes a daddy, know what I mean?”

Si,” Nico agrees, feeling all lovely and warm inside. “Being a papa is the best thing in the world.”

Tonio’s snort of derision has both men eye him. “You say that now. But in a few years they’ll be like Sophia and Auntie Rosie, or worse. And then there will be… dan-daran-dan… boyfriends.”

*With something like horror on their pale faces, Nico Ferranti and Alexander Ludlow clutch their babies close to their manly chests*

Nessun problema,” Nico growls. “I am Italian. I have contacts in the Cosa Nostra. Our girls will be protected.”

Alexander turns to his best pal. “Never thought I’d live to see the day I’d say this, but can I have the Mafia’s number?”

 

Finito.

The things a man will do for family, eh?

I’ve had readers ask me to put the scenes in a book, and I’ve decided to use some of the sneak peeks in SEAN’s story, coming soon.

Until next week, be good.

Hugs,

Christine X

 

 

Another slice of Ludlow life with Nico and the kids

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READ IT FREE HERE

Happy Monday, my lovelies,

After all the excitement of the weekend, here’s something to make you smile.

Another scene from the busy lives of the Ferranti family.

NICO AND THE KIDS IN THE CAR ON THE WAY TO THE DOWER HOUSE

*Nico and Tonio are in front, while Luca, Sophia and her best pal, Emily, are sitting in the back*
Easing the car around a tight bend, Nico shoots Tonio the side-eye, and grins. “You played well. I am proud of you.”
Tonio makes a face, gives a jerky shrug of a skinny shoulder. He spits on his palm and proceeds to clean grass stain, mud and blood from his skinned knee. “Si, but we lost by one goal.”
Si, but the team never gave up. You fought to the bitter end,” Nico says. He glances at Tonio’s sulky mouth, bites down hard on his bottom lip. He can’t bear the boy’s bitter disappointment. But such is life. “Why don’t we do a pit-stop for burgers?”
“Yay!” chorus Tonio and Luca.
“Mama doesn’t like us having burgers,” pipes up Sophia. She turns to look at a wide-eyed Emily. “Unless she makes them herself. And Luca is not allowed soda, he throws up everywhere. It’s totally gross.”
*Nico makes a face. How did he forget Ms. Big Ears with her big mouth was sitting in the back seat. Busted. Bronte’s gonna give him hell, but he can’t back out now and disappoint the boys*
“Mama won’t mind this one time,” he says.
“My mummy says fast food is full of complete crap. It gives you heart desees and cancer, and alls climbers,” Emily says.
*Nico racks his brain to work out what ‘alls climbers’ might be*
“Alzheimers,” Tonio says helpfully.
“Auntie Rosie says a Big Mac is the work of the devil,” Sophia says as she watches the world go by out the window.
*Since there was no good answer to that, the guys in the front keep schtum. Nico wonders why the hell he didn’t keep his mouth shut about burgers. All is peace and quiet, until….*
“My daddy,” Emily begins. “Says that mummies have a special zipper in their tummy and that’s how a baby is born.”
*Nico and Tonio go utterly still and stare unblinking at the road ahead with wide eyes*
“He lied,” Sophia says with the grim authority of a person who knows exactly what she’s talking about.
*Dio mio, is all Nico can think as his mind goes blank and a cold sweat breaks out on his top lip*
“The baby comes out a mama’s vajayjay,” Sophia says with a relentlessness that has Nico’s sweat turning to ice. “With my own eyes I saw pictures in a book in Auntie Rosie’s bedroom after Mila was born. They were totally gross. Lots of blood and poop. It was disgusting. I’m never ever in my whole life ever having a baby.”
*In the rear view mirror Nico sees Luca turn a pale shade of green. He swings the car into a handy rest stop and leaps out the door. He’s just in time to grab his son before Luca’s breakfast is tossed into the hedge. Without being asked Tonio climbs out of the front seat and into the back. Luca is better travelling in front, less likely to get carsick*
“Feeling better?” Nico asks, wiping his son’s white face with a hand wipe.
Luca nods. “I’m okay. It was just…” he shudders.
Si, capisco.” Nico understands exactly how the poor child feels.
*He pats Luca on the back and shoots a dark look to his daughter. A daughter who is sitting there like the Queen of all she surveys, as if butter wouldn’t melt. Meanwhile little Emily, a red headed fairy with wild corkscrew curls and a constellation of freckles anointing her pretty face, is all flushed cheeks and big blue eyes staring up at Tonio as if he’s a rock star. Dio mio. Nico wonders why he hasn’t gone straight home? He clicks the seat belt around Luca, hands him a plastic bag, just in case, and jogs around the bonnet to get into the drivers seat. As he pulls into the road he decides he needs a very stiff drink*
“Are you gonna get married one day, Tonio?” Emily whispers, hope a living, breathing, thing in her voice.
Before Tonio can respond, his sister does it for him. “Nah, he’s gonna be a world famous footballer, and date supermodels and film stars. My Auntie Rosie says if he’s anything like my papa he’s gonna break hundreds of hearts with his love muscle.”
*Cue a deadly silence. And Nico Ferranti swears to Sweet Baby Jesus and Bhudda and all God’s in the known Universe he is going to strangle Rosemary Margaret Ludlow with his own two hands*
Meanwhile Luca frowns, turns to his papa. “What’s a love muscle?”
“It’s a penis,” Sophia says, still clueless about the bombshell she’s dropped into her papa’s world as she stares out the window.
“My mummy says little girls are not supposed to talk about private parts. It’s naughty,” Emily says.
“Your mummy is quite right,” Nico growls from the front seat, desperately trying to catch his daughter’s eye in the rear view mirror. To no avail.
Sophia is still watching the world go by. “My Auntie Rosie says that talking the truth about sex to children is very important. I even know how a baby is put in a mummy’s tummy. In the book a picture shows……”
“SOPHIA FERRANTI,” Nico roars, his blood pressure threatening to give him a stroke, or a heart attack, or both. “One more word you will not be Elena’s flower girl.”
*Sophia’s head spins on her shoulders, her eyes, at last, meet her papa’s. The message is received and understood*
“But…” she begins, catches his eye again and closes her mouth.
*Silence*
Emily flutters her lashes at Tonio like a camel in a sandstorm. “Do you have a girlfriend?” she asks in a stage whisper.
Tonio sends her a grin that has poor Emily catch her breath. “Si. I am Italian.”
*Nico decides when he get’s home to his wife and baby girl, he’s gonna skip the wine and go straight for the hard stuff, Cognac*

Finito

This exact conversation actually happened between two six year olds in the back of my car when I’d picked them up from school – my son, Scott, takes Sophie’s role, and his best pal, Tom, is Emily. A few days earlier Scottie had found a copy of A Child Is Born and flicked through the pictures, stopped on one and said the immortal words, “This is totally gross.”….. Two days later his teacher asked me if I’d been giving him a talk about the birds and the bees. I said, ‘No. But that’d he’d found the book’ Then I asked, “What has he been saying? Are parents upset?” She shook her head. “Nope. He did a better job of it than I could.” Then she told me about a daddy who’d told his little girl about the baby zipper (his wife had had a c-section). We both agreed the zipper idea had not been a wise choice. Gotta love kids and their clueless daddy’s!

Until next week, my lovelies, be good. I’m desperately trying to catch-up on SEAN’s story, after the roller-coaster of the Referendum.

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.

LUDLOWSEANFINITO

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

HAPPY PROCREATION DAY AKA – VALENTINES DAY

By awesome reader, the lovely, Jane Aschtgen Bowen via Facebook

By awesome reader, the lovely, Jane Aschtgen Bowen via Facebook

Happy Valentines Day!

The links to a free copy of Big Trouble In China are HERE!

My thinking behind the title of this post is that the word procreation was a better choice, more polite, than shagging. I could have gone for beget, breed, conceive, create, make, multiply, reproduce, sire, spawn. But since this is me you’re dealing with I went for shag.

According to certain people in the know in the scientific community and certain organised religions, the urge to shag is a primal one, meaning to shag is the reason we were put on earth, which would explain a lot.

Have you ever seen mismatched couples? I see them all the time. As a romance writer, I’m nosy an avid observer of the human condition.

So while I was watching H measure out four ounces of wholemeal pasta per person (we’re on the 5.2 diet) for our pasta and veggie bake he’s making for dinner, I got to thinking about the primal urge.

‘Perhaps,’ I said, ‘This is why a woman can end up with a well padded accountant from Pensacola who’s afflicted with folliculitis (I’ll wait while you Google it, it is not pretty.)’

H just gave me the look. And for authenticity I thought you might like to know that H has a deep, gravelly voice that has been likened to Sean Connery, there’s a lot of rolling of ‘r’s in our house.

‘The reason a woman might end up with a guy like that,’ he said. ‘Might be an overconsumption of warm Pinot Grigio at the office party, which might have resulted in a little surprise.’

Hmm. He has a point, didn’t think of that.

Undeterred, I ploughed on. ‘Okay, but the thing is that today women are not supposed to have hang-ups about shagging. We’re supposed to be able to express ourselves with gay abandon, liberated sexually, living in the new age where men no longer rule with their love muscles. But I don’t think that’s what’s happening at all. It never ceases to amaze me what women tolerate these days.’

He dumped the pasta in frantically boiling water, stirred, turned on the extractor fan before sliding a tray of chopped red onion, courgettes, peppers into the oven.

‘It never ceases to amaze me what I tolerate these days,’ he muttered. I ignored it because he mutters all the time.

While he opened a carton of passata, emptied it into a glass jug, added dried oregano, black pepper and crushed garlic and stirred, my mind was mulling over how couples who’ve been together a looooooong time do it.

‘The reason most couples have been together for years is because they’re fairly honest with each other,’ I said.

His brows rose. ‘This, from the woman who demands honesty in all things.’

‘The odd little porky pie (lie) isn’t a big deal. Look at how men always say, You look lovely, to their wives when their girlfriends are secretly wondering, What on earth were you thinking wearing that? It’s what makes a relationship last. But it’s vital to get the big things out in the open like, No I do not want your mother staying over every weekend. And look at us, we never let things drift! If we have an issue we discuss it.’

Silence.

‘Look at us,’ I said again. ‘Two weeks after we met, you asked me to marry you. And you were a confirmed bachelor.’ I’ve always secretly felt a bit smug about that.

‘In those days getting married was the only way to get regular sex from an attractive woman,’ came the shocking response that burst my romantic bubble.

Stunned, I just looked at him, the love of my life, and my temper started to simmer right along with the pasta.

‘Are you telling me.’ You might like to know that my tone matched Siberia. ‘You simply married me for my body?’

By this point he drained the pasta, dumped it back in the pot, took out the roasted veggies and stirred. Then he poured everything into a heated oven dish, poured over the passata, added baby tomatoes and grated cheese. Put the dish onto a tray and placed everything in the oven for twenty minutes.

He looked at me, caught the expression and blinked.

‘Among other things,’ he said. ‘Mostly, it was your quick brain and how you made me laugh. You still make me laugh. But, yes, marrying you for your body ticked a big plus in my box. My life is much more fun with you in it. And although it would be a hell of a lot more peaceful, I can’t imagine life without you, so you can lose the face.’

And then there was a romantic interlude. Use your imaginations!

So there you go, my theory is correct, we cannot help ourselves but procreate.

Go forth and shag with abandon on Valentines Day!

And, since I feel nothing but love for you guys here’s a link to a fabulous idea by horror author Samantha Warren, a blind date to match readers with authors of their favourite genres, there are plenty of mystery, psychological/legal thriller, romance – sweet and steamy, paranormal, sci-fi and even a non fiction author too. So pop over and leave your name on the link below and you’ll be matched up with an author. The author will email either a Smashwords code or email a gift of a book to your eReader of choice. Sound good??? The link is HERE

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But I want to know what you guys are up to for Valentines day, will it be romantic with its logical conclusion or do you treat it like any other day?

You know I adore hearing from you!

Christine x

BE AFRAID, BE VERY AFRAID

 

You may not have noticed, but Halloween will soon be upon us and that got me thinking about things that go bump in the night.

What makes a really good ghost story? What is it about the way a writer tells a story that freezes our blood? How do they do it?

For me, it’s all about sleight of hand. You know what I mean, it’s when a writer has taken your hand leading you down one path while in the other hand he holds a bloody dagger – metaphorically speaking. Quite often the story is about shocking the reader too. And today I’m going to plug an amazing anthology which does just that and more! But first…..

I want to tell you about a true event – the time where I absolutely traumatized a three-year-old girl.

When my son was nine and it was Halloween he’d been invited to hang out and eat at a friend’s house and he was due home around six-thirty in the evening. I’d been shopping in the supermarket and spotted a really cool Morticia Addams long black wig with a white streak at the front. So I used a white concealer stick on my face, painted black liner around my eyes with red lids and hooker red lipstick on my mouth and put on the wig. Even if I say so myself, it looked hot.  I wore black slacks and a black polo neck sweater – cashmere (this is me we’re talking about). I also found a huge cross with red stones attached to a long beaded necklace. Everything was ready, the box of candy and other teeth rotting goodies just at the front door.

The doorbell rang and I opened the door with a deep, ‘Welcome, young man. Please enter.’

My son howled with laughter – it takes a lot to scare my son – and thought I looked pretty cool. By this time my daughters were home and we’d given out a few treats to the ghosts and ghouls who’d come to the door. And as I’d given one or two a bit of a shock I was feeling pretty damn good.

Anyway, I was just about to relax when the doorbell went. By this time I’d bumped up the make-up to look even more scary so I opened the door and screeched like a banshee from hell at an unsuspecting mother and her two young children.

I’ll never forget it.

Her three-year-old daughter almost passed out on the spot and ran screaming for her life up the drive and into the arms of her father. Her mother and older sister were stood before me clutching their hearts.

‘What on earth do you think you are doing? You terrified my baby,’ the poor woman said.

‘It’s…er…Halloween,’ I sort of mumbled trying to smile but if anything their eyes went even bigger. The screams of the three year old could be heard for miles and neighbors popped their heads out of the door wondering what the hell was going on.

There are times when I’m incredibly stupid and this was one of them. I started running up the drive to try and calm the child but she went absolutely crazy and her father yelled for me to ‘Get the hell out of here.’  I felt awful absolutely certain I’d given her PTSD. So anyway the mother and daughter were given tons of tooth rotting goodies and I waved them farewell.

I closed the door to find my son and daughter lying on the carpet, drumming their heels on the floor and crying with laughter. Once they managed to speak they said it was the best thing they’d ever seen in their lives and I was the coolest mother in the world. There you go.  Terrorize an infant and your kids think your amazing. I’ve gone wrong somewhere. Seriously.

Back to the subject at hand – TALES FROM THE MIST – an Anthology of short stories guaranteed to chill your blood, tingle your spine, make you sleep with one eye open and have a sweaty hand clutching the dagger under your pillow – just in case. There are some award winning literary big hitters among this motley crew along with new writers who have a fabulous future ahead of them if these stories are anything to go by.

I read some of them aloud – and I think they’ll work really well if you get a group of friends together with a bottle of wine, light a few candles and tell them a story. It would really help if it’s ‘A dark and stormy night’ too. I’ll leave it to you lot to sort out your own sound effects.

Here’s what some reviewers have said:

Author Aiden James, who penned the Foreword, suggests reading with the lights on.

Joe McKinney, Bram Stoker Award-winning author of Flesh Eaters and Mutated: “”Tales From The Mist is one of those rare anthologies that gets it right from the first story to the last. It’s a magnificent feast of horror from some of the most assured voices working today. From cold-blooded tales of revenge to Faustian bargains to terrifying journeys into the dark corners of our world, these stories will make the shivers climb your back.”

“Wow, what can I say? Witches, vampire rats, ghosts, a haunted house, shape-shifters and many, many more. It takes a lot to creep me out, but these authors managed it. I’m not going to add to the other reviewers except to say. Wow!”

“While horror isn’t my normal reading material, I found I couldn’t put this book down. It’s the perfect way to start out the All Hallows Eve season and is filled with paranormal stories to fit any mood. From ghosts to rats to tales retold, and things that go bump in the dark of the night, if you’re looking for a scary read – or just a really engrossing book – check out Tales From The Mist.”

So there you go. Don’t say I’m not good to you. Grab Tales From The Mist and organise your own spooky party then come back and tell us all about it it.

What’s your favourite horror movie?

What book terrified you for weeks or months? Mine was Salem’s Lot.

Amazon US: http://www.amazon.com/Tales-From-The-Mist-ebook/dp/B009KRKTIW/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1349273129&sr=8-1&keywords=Tales+From+The+Mist 

AM IN MAURITIUS

Okay, perhaps not literally.

Today, I’m a guest on the beautiful blog of writer Zee Monodee who lives in the stunning island of Mauritius. HERE

The island is one of the most beautiful places on earth. The perfect spot for a romantic interlude – just say’in.

Now I’ve actually been to the island four times a few years ago when we lived in East Africa.

Please stop by and say hi and you might learn something about me you don’t know.

Zee asked for photos of the event and I promised her I’d post them here once Hugo’s scanned them – they were taken a few years ago.

Do you have a place you’ve visited that’s caught your breath?

Share it with us – we demand to know! And if you’ve a romantic tale to share too, even better.

Christine

FIND US HERE http://zeemonodee.blogspot.co.uk/