Stories That Sweep You Away
A very happy Sunday afternoon to all my followers. In honor of our upcoming holiday that honors our Veterans, I'm devoting the next two weeks' posting to special previews from Once A Soldier. I'm asking each of you to consider purchasing and downloading the book from Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other online retailers. All my royalties benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Please help me support the men and women who have sustained severe injuries while defending our freedoms.
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opened his eyes to pain so intense he had trouble focusing on his
surroundings. Guiliana and Jake stood by
his bedside, but Ay’ana was nowhere in sight.
No surprise there. He knew the
only way she’d hold his hand and cry over him was in his dreams.
his voice rasped deep in his throat, “when…”
try to talk, Marco, just rest. I’ll stay
with you. Jake has to go by the office,
but I’m not moving from your bedside.”
…se, go…‘mmm fine, dreammmmmmm...” Marco’s
eyes closed again. The next time he
opened them, an orderly dressed in scrubs with a stethoscope draped around his
neck, stood at the foot of the bed studying his chart. He observed the man in silence for a long
moment before he managed to force the words out of a mouth dehydrated from the
medications. “I know you, don’t I?”
not, Colonel. I just have one of those
faces.” The man turned and winked at him
as he walked out. As he did, Marco
noticed his footwear. Hand tooled boot
tops showed above the sterile shoe covers medical staffs wore around the
Wow, some dream, although I
can’t quite recall all the details . . . or maybe it’s the drugs . . . better
living through chemistry.
passed and with each one, Marco got a little stronger. He moved into a room two weeks after his
surgery and had to contend with official visits. He knew they were only doing their jobs, but
it didn’t add to his peace of mind. Admit
it Domenico, you’re scared. What happens
if the staff weenies don’t give me the time I need to prove I can cut it? He stared out the window at the bleak winter
day. The weather matched his mood.
Domenico?” Marco looked away from the
window to see a young man standing in the doorway.
ah, Larry Clarke isn’t it? I recall …”
got a great memory, sir, I wasn’t sure you’d remember me. When we met, I was still a Norwich
cadet and scared stupid over all the talk I’d heard about Ranger
training.” The young man looked
sheepish. “I made it through on my first
try, but I owed a lot of the success to the pep talk you gave me.”
positive feedback is always welcome, especially right now. Come in and grab a chair. Tell me what’s going on in your life.”
watched as Larry crossed the room with the uneven gait unique to someone who
wore a prosthesis and eased down into the bedside chair. He knew this wasn’t going to be a feel good
branched Engineer, did all the things required of new engineers, and completed
two deployments—one to Iraq and the other to Afghanistan. The
last one didn’t… Well, I’m doing fine
now and working with the Veteran’s Administration…” He broke off at the alarmed expression that
crossed Marco’s face before he got himself under control. “Oh, I’m not here on an official visit, I
only wanted to stop by and see you.”
may yet need your official visit, but until then, let’s talk about you. Tell me what happened.”
deployed in support of the ongoing operation in Afghanistan. Two of my squad members and I sustained
injuries during a firefight in Helmand
province. They transported us to Germany first and then here to Walter Reed. I spent the better part of six months in
recovery and therapy. I knew from the
severity of my wounds, I would never see a battlefield again. I didn’t want to do it but I accepted the
medical discharge.” Larry shook his head
and waited a minute before he continued.
“I was very disappointed, but even more scared. I didn’t know what my next step should
be. However, as soon as I was coherent,
physical therapists showed up at my bedside and so did personnel from the VA.” (Special preview will conclude next Sunday.)
I decided to conclude the preview from All the Days of Forever, the third book in the Domenico Family Case Files series with a bonus installment. I hope it will pique your interest.
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bowed her head at her husband’s gravesite.
“Brian, I miss you so much sometimes I can’t breathe.” Even
though he died ten months ago, I still have trouble believing he won’t walk
through the door at the end of the day.
Some days, I find myself dialing his office number. “I know you won’t like it, but I’m returning
to work for a while. Steven Brancusi
called me to ask if I would conduct a compliance audit for him. Don’t worry about the girls, I’ll find someone
I can trust to stay with them when I’m away from the house. You know I’d never shove them into a day care
facility. Marisa would feel abandoned
for sure.” She reached over and clamped
her left hand on the cold edge of the marble headstone in a white-knuckled
death grip. “Happy birthday, my darling,
I will always love you.”
* * * *
Curious? Download the complete story from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, MuseItUpPublishing or your other favorite online retailer.
It's a foggy day here in Florida, but the temps are in the low 80's so I have no complaints. Whatever the weather does here, I don't have to shovel it! Foggy days and lazy Sunday afternoons are made for curling up with a good book. Here's the last preview of All the Days of Forever. Enjoy!
* * * *
Celia frowned. His outspoken
advice didn’t qualify as a soothing bedside manner, but he’d been the family
doctor for too long to sugar coat his words.
“I’ve had those same thoughts, but I suffer a massive attack of guilt
two seconds later.” Celia sat down again
in the chair and twisted her hands together.
“I loved Brian almost from the time we met, and he was a good
husband. There are times I can’t believe
he’s really gone. I know, at least on an
intellectual level, my life must go on.
Unless I do something now, I’ll cripple any hopes the girls and I have
for a normal life, but I feel so disloyal to my husband. Guiliana read me the riot act about it the
last time we talked.” She shrugged
remembering her sister’s very pointed remarks.
“I know she means well but—”
doctor smiled. “Despite her hot-tempered
personality, your sister always did have a lot of sense. You might consider listening to her advice.”
huffed out a breath in resignation. “If
you’re sure I’m doing the right thing, I guess I’ll call Steven Brancusi and
tell him I’ll accept his offer to return as soon as I find a reliable caregiver
for the girls. Maybe I’ll get lucky and
find someone right away.” She gathered
up her purse and coat. “Thanks for the
time and your advice, Doctor Giannelli, I’ll stay in touch.”
me if I can be of further assistance, Celia.
The girls’ pediatrician always keeps me up to date on them so you’re my
* * * *
Want to know what happens? Download the book from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Muse It Up Publishing or other online retailers and find out. Happy reading!
Welcome, back. Today I'd like to introduce you to Cecelia's girls, Marissa and Mariana. They are little dolls and you can see why Cecelia hates to leave them to return to work!
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“I’d say it would be the best solution for both of you. Your only obstacle will be to find someone
the girls, or more to the point—Marisa,
feel comfortable with as a substitute.”
Doctor Giannelli watched Celia shift in her chair. “If you force her to deal with a mother who
lives a normal life, she’ll outgrow this deepening dependency on your constant
presence. When she sees you leave and
return on a regular basis, and I’d advise you to vary your schedule a bit if
you could, she’ll soon realize no matter what time you leave or how long you’re
gone, you’ll always return home.”
from the chair and prowled the small office.
She needed an educated opinion and she could think of no better source
than the Domenico family physician. She
knew from experience he’d tell her the truth—although
it might not be what she wanted to hear, it would be what she needed.
too young to understand, although if you let this situation continue, she’ll
learn from her sister’s example and you’ll really have problems. You’re doing them both a disservice by
continuing to hover over them.” The
doctor quit speaking for a minute and scrutinized her before he continued. “Are you using the girls as an excuse not to
move on with your life? You’re a young
woman, Celia, too young to retire from the company of others.” (To be continued...)
Available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, MuseItUpPublishing, and other online retailers.
A bright, sunny happy Sunday to you all. Last week, I gave you the story premise of "All the Days of Forever" and today I want to share the first preview, a selection from the Chapter One that I hope you'll enjoy.
* * * *
Cecelia Tonelli averted her eyes from the reflection in the
window, shying away from deeper contemplation of the haggard image and the dark
circles discoloring her light olive complexion.
your mind, Celia? I can’t find a thing
wrong with you.” Doctor Giannelli peered
over the tops of his half glasses at her.
“Something is bothering you; otherwise you wouldn’t be here asking me to
give you something to help you sleep—something
I’d rather not do. There isn’t any bad
news, although you could use an additional ten pounds.”
frowned at his last comment. She knew
the black suit she wore was now one size too small for her five foot four inch
figure. “My closet full of anxieties
bothers me—two in
particular. I’m not sure what worries me
more—making a decision about
what to do in the near future or Marisa.”
Celia paced back to the chair in front of his desk and sat down. “She’s always been such a self-possessed, independent
child. Now a year after Brian…she still
clings whenever I try to leave the house.
She’s convinced I’m leaving and never coming back. I’m at my wits end trying to reassure her.”
reaction isn’t unusual in the circumstances, but since you’re around the girls
all the time, her dependency sounds like it’s deepening. Where are they today?”
neighbor’s daughter, Judi, agreed to babysit.
I want to visit Brian when I leave here so she volunteered to spend the
day with the girls. Marisa was almost
hysterical when I told her I’d be gone most of the morning.
studied her with a question in his eyes.
“And the decision about what to do for the future?”
former employer called me earlier this week about returning to the firm. I’m of two minds about agreeing to it. I know it would be the best thing for me to
get out among adults again, but I’m worried.
Will my doing so create more of a problem for Marisa?” Celia looked over at the doctor who had known
her since birth. (To be continued)
Happy Easter and Passover to those of you who celebrate this holiday. Today, we'll begin the preview for the last book in "The Domenico Family Case Files" with Cecelia's story.
* * * *
Sometimes your forever love isn't yours to keep
Celia Tonelli and Brian Tonelli had a storybook marriage. When fate
weaves a new destiny for Celia, she needs to get out of the house—both for her
own sake and for her oldest daughter to grow accustomed to a normal routine. Thus,
she returns to her professional career as a compliance auditor. Her long time
friend and former employer, Steven Brancusi, has always loved her. Lucien
Surette, the enigmatic owner of Sabrelight Industries, covets her for his own. Both
men are handsome successful executives, but diametric opposites in personality
and looks. However, Celia doesn’t yet think of herself as a single woman, or
know how to date and be a mother at the same time. Only after a tragedy do Celia,
Steven, and Luc come to realize what all the days of forever hold for each of
* * * *
All the Days of Forever available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and other download retailers
I hope everyone has enjoyed a lovely Palm Sunday with their friends and family. I had a group of close friends over today for the Italian version of high tea. Lots of food, fun, and conversation. It was a wonderful day.
Here is the last installment of Marco's story. If you feel inclined to purchase the rest of the story, please remember my author's proceeds benefit the Wound Warrior Project. Help me support those wonderful men and women who have suffered serious injuries while protecting our freedoms.
* * * *
really did it to yourself this time, didn’t you? As I recall, the first time I met you, you
were flat on your back...although, honesty compels me to admit that I put you
there.” Ay’ana whispered to the
unconscious man as she recalled the incident.
She’d returned earlier than planned to the dorm room that she had shared
with Guiliana. When she opened the door,
she saw an unknown man rise from the bed and come toward her. Instinct had taken over and she went on the
defensive. Her knee caught him in the
groin at the same time she jabbed her fist into his solar plexus. She’d been mortified when he regained his
male dignity and introduced himself. He
always told her he’d understood her reaction and forgiven her, but his behavior
over the years didn’t seem to indicate that it was the case. Marco called her “The African Queen” and
appeared to tolerate her only because of her close relationship with his
sister. She retaliated by referring to
him by his rank with “Mercenary” tacked on, a title to which his reaction was
always the snarled response, “yeah, and a damn fine one.”
beeping of the monitors dragged Ay’ana's thoughts of the past back to the
present, but as close as she could tell, nothing on them indicated a
problem. Marco slept on oblivious to his
surroundings. Ay’ana sat down and
reached over to grasp his limp hand where it rested on the bed. Despite their ongoing animosity, she had deep
feelings for Marco—so deep she hadn’t dared admit them to herself—or anyone
else. After all, what would someone like
Marco, a well-educated, Italian Catholic devoted to his career and family, see
in a bi-racial Jewess who owned a catering company?
Marco lies in a medically induced coma while Ay'ana waits for the doctor to answer her questions about the future. Let's see what he has to say...
* * * *
“I don’t know at this point. As I said, we have to wait and see. The damage to the bones in the leg is a clean
break and we expect it should heal without complications, but the severe
bruising to the back combined with the broken hip could cause some temporary
paralysis. We’ll do everything we can
and he’ll start physical therapy as soon as possible, but at this point, that’s
all I know. Best case…I’d say he’ll be
out of action for at least a year—maybe longer.
He will require several hours of intensive therapy a day, either here or
at another facility near his residence.
Again, I’d advise you to get some rest, Ms. Levy. Your continued presence here tonight will
serve no useful purpose.”
gritted her teeth. “I’ll stay until the
family arrives. After they get here,
I’ll go home for a while. Please have
someone let me know when I can sit with him.”
course, ma’am, as you wish. I’ll have
the nurse come and get you when it’s time.”
The surgeon took one last look at her as he left the room. The image of her lovely coffee toned face
glissaded through his tired, sleep deprived mind and lifted his mood. I wouldn’t mind waking up to see her sitting
next to me . . . especially if I were in as bad a shape as Domenico is.
hours later, Ay’ana paced up and down the short distance along the side of
Marco’s bed. She sighed and looked down
at him. Even unconscious, Marco’s
intense virility filled the room. The
extent of his injuries overwhelmed her, submerging the usual animosity she always
experienced in his presence. (The preview concludes next week.)
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Can't wait to see what happens? Download the story now from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, or other online retailers.)
Good Sunday afternoon to you all from sunny Florida. Our preview of Marco's story continues as Ay'ana Levy, his sister's best friend, represents the family and waits for word on Marco's condition.
* * * *
Ay’ana alternated between sitting and
pacing as she waited for word. She
remembered the last time she’d seen Marco.
The occasion had been the baptism of the Leoni twins three years
ago. Pride and love had suffused his
rugged features and the brilliant green eyes that highlighted six feet two
inches of hard, masculinity. His face,
burned by the harsh desert sun to the color of dark, aged oak, glowed with
health and vitality. They’d managed with
difficulty to restrain their mutual antipathy during the christening
celebration for Michael and Angelina.
Since then, Guiliana mentioned him on occasion, and she knew he’d later
sustained a minor injury in a combat-related incident, but she hadn’t seen him
since the ceremony in Italy three years ago.
midnight, the sound of someone entering the room impinged on Ay’ana’s consciousness
and she looked up to see a surgeon still dressed in blood stained scrubs
standing before her.
Levy? I understand you’re the family
Doctor, I am. How is Colonel Domenico?”
came through the surgery okay and is now in the recovery room. Once we know he’s stable, he’ll be in the CCU
unit, and you’ll be able to see him, but only for a short time. We’re keeping him in a drug-induced coma for
a couple of days to manage the pain—he won’t know you’re there. You might consider going home to rest now and
but how serious are his injuries? No one
has told us anything.” Ay’ana had
difficulty asking the question. The
hammering of her heart against her lungs robbed her of breath and made it
difficult to speak.
doctor gave her a thoughtful look as if wondering how much he should say. “We’ve put him back together. He bruised his back—it suffered a hard hit in
the crash, well, we’ll just have to wait and see. In addition to a broken left leg and the
hairline crack in the right ankle, he has a high femoral neck fracture with
displacement. I did an internal fixation
using a compression screw, a plate with screws, and a Knowles pin. The screw placed above and at a slight angle
to the compression screw will resist shear force on the bone. He’ll need another surgery to remove the
hardware in a couple of years, but that’s too far down the road at this point
to present any concerns. I realize this
probably doesn’t mean—”
you saying he might be paralyzed?”
Aghast, Ay’ana stared at the surgeon. (To be continued...)
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Download the story now from Amazon and support the Wounded Warrior Project:
Happy daylight savings day...and yes, I'm discombobulated. I always am on the weekends we change time. My apologies for being late with this post. Here is the first installment of Marco's story. Please review it, and if you're so inclined to purchase--which I encourage--all my author's proceeds benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. Please join me in supporting our troops who stand on the ragged edge of freedom and those who would see us perish in darkness.
* * * *
The rotors thrummed, changed pitch, and
lifted the Blackhawk helicopter into the frigid night wind. The Middle Eastern tribesman who had crawled
aboard as the bird hovered settled into one of the webbed seats in the back of
the small cockpit and tried to get comfortable.
He braced his booted feet on the rucksack he’d thrown on the floor and
drew his knees up high enough to rest his arms on them. Lieutenant Colonel Marco Domenico yanked off
the rope agal holding the filthy ghutrah in place on his thick
hair, tugged on a black watch cap one of the soldiers handed to him, and
slipped on a headset. He then draped the
loosened cloth around his face hoping it would offer some warmth for the
exposed skin not covered by his heavy black beard.
keyed the mike in his headset. “Holy
Mother of God, it’s cold in here. Someone
needs to pay the heat bill.”
say that every time you get on one of my birds.
Must be getting forgetful in your old age.” The Nightstalker pilot grinned at him over
his shoulder, his face looking like a green space alien’s in his night vision goggles.(To be continued March 15)