Thoughts on the wild, the weird, and the romantic from author Joy Nash

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Joy Nash is a USA Today Bestselling Author and RITA Award Finalist applauded by Booklist for her "tart wit, superbly crafted characters, and sexy, magic-steeped plots."

» Saturday, May 16, 2009

Excerpt #3 - A Little Light Magic

Days 'till Memorial Day: 9 - wow, can you believe it???

Days 'till A Little Light Magic: 10

Days 'till the Summer Solstice: 36

Today I'm out chaperoning for a good cause - my son's middle school American Cancer Society Relay for Life walkathon. This is my 4th year chaperoning this event for a very good cause - starting when my daughter participated in this emotional and inspiring event for the first time in 2006. That was six months after we lost my mother to pancreatic cancer, and lighting a candle luminary in her memory was very comforting. Let's hope the rain holds off for this year's event...

So while I'm keeping track of the kids who are walking to beat cancer...I hear those of you who are in the Dorchester Love Spell Book Club have already received A Little Light Magic!

For the rest of you - another sneak peek :-)

In the first two excerpts (posted May 4 & 5), you met contractor Nick Santangelo, and his quirky new client, Tori Morgan.

In today and tomorrow's excerpts, from Chapter 2, readers get a first glimpse of Nick's big fat Italian family - featuring the three women who drive Nick crazy: his teenage daughter, Leigh, his menopausal mom, Rita, and his incorrigible grandmother, Nonna Maria.

A Little Light Magic
from Chapter Two

The Santangelo women were arguing again.

Nick paused just inside his front door. The unrelenting rise and fall of feminine voices, more than anything else, told him he was home. He paused at the foyer table, dropping his wallet and emptying the change from his pocket into a jar he kept there for that purpose. He sometimes thought that if the women in his family ever stopped bickering, his house would collapse.

He didn’t pay any particular attention until he realized they were talking about him.

“Come on, Mimi …” Leigh said to her grandmother.

Nick could hear the exasperation in his mother’s reply. Rita enunciated each word slowly and clearly. “Leigh, forget it. Your father will never allow it. You know how he feels about Jason.”

“He’ll let me go if you say it’s okay!”

Nonna’s voice intruded, thin and pointed as a needle. “Where is Nicky? This chicken, it’s shriveled like a prune.”

Leigh’s voice came again, wheedling. “But I have to go! I promised Jason I’d be there.”

Jason again. Christ. Nick wished to God he’d never heard that kid’s name. He started for the kitchen with angry strides, his blood pressure rising with each step.

Rita’s voice rose. “Leigh, give it up already. Your father will never agree—”

He reached the doorway. “What won’t I agree to?”

The conversation came to an abrupt halt as three pairs of eyes, belonging to three generations of Santangelo women, turned toward him.

Nick’s right temple started to throb.

“What won’t I agree to?” he repeated a little louder when no answer was forthcoming.

“Nothing,” Leigh muttered. She grabbed a serving spoon and fork off the counter and turned to toss the salad.

“Nicky. At last.” Nonna laid a hand on his arm. “Grazie a Dio. I was about to call the cops.”

“I’m not that late, Nonna.” He planted a kiss on his grandmother’s withered cheek and allowed her to tug him to the head of the table. There was no way he was getting away with a quick sandwich now. He’d start World War III if he tried to get back to the office before Nonna’s chicken was reduced to bones and gristle. And with Leigh’s newest drama, whatever it was … Damn. He’d be lucky to get back to the office by nine.

Nonna forked chicken onto a serving plate while Rita pulled garlic bread from the oven. Nick, frowning, watched Leigh fling lettuce and tomatoes onto salad plates. If the waistband of his daughter’s shorts were rolled down any farther, he’d be seeing parts of her he hadn’t come face-to-face with since her diaper days. The thought made him slightly ill. Goddamn it all to hell. She hadn’t dressed like that before Jason.

Leigh turned to place the salad on the table. Moodily, Nick watched her. A father didn’t like to notice such things, but he could hardly deny the fact that Leigh had inherited her mother’s bustline. Cindy’s breasts had fried Nick’s brain in high school, and he had no doubt that Leigh’s assets were destroying a similar number of brain cells in Jason MacAllister’s thick skull. If all this was God’s idea of a sick joke, Nick wasn’t laughing.

He stared down at his salad. Christ. He wasn’t old enough for this. Damn it, he was only thirty-five. Other men his age were still changing diapers and coaching Little League. But Nick had been a horny, seventeen-year-old idiot when he’d gotten Cindy pregnant. Which was not a comforting thought, given Leigh’s horny, seventeen-year-old idiot boyfriend. Your father will never agree... Nick didn’t know what Leigh’s latest plea involved, but he was dead certain he wasn’t going to like it.

Nonna presented Nick with a plate. “This chicken shoulda been eat a half hour ago. Don’t blame me if it’s ruined.”

“I’m sure it’s delicious, Nonna,” Nick said, forking meat onto his plate. “You couldn’t cook a bad meal if you tried.”

A smile cracked Nonna’s face. “You’re a good boy, Nicky.” She sank into her chair and bowed her head while he muttered grace.

“Amen.” He took a piece of garlic bread and offered the basket to his mother.

Rita shook her head. “I’m on the Flat Belly diet. You know that, Nicky.”

He eyed her enormous salad, sprinkled with sunflower seeds and topped with a naked chicken breast. “Don’t you think you’ve lost enough weight, Ma? How much is it, now?”

“Thirty pounds. I’ve got another five to go.”

Nonna snorted. “Stop with the diet already. You don’t eat enough to keep a bird alive. A woman needs a little padding on her bones. You want my advice? Get rid of them hormone pills. They’re making you pazza.” She shook her head, but her tight gray curls didn’t shake with it. “And all that exercise! Santa Madonna. No woman should lift weights.”

“I think Mimi looks great,” Leigh offered.

She was right, Nick realized. Rita did look great, but the weight she’d lost was only part of it. She’d also gotten contact lenses, dyed her hair, and acquired a bright, clingy wardrobe. He eyed her fingernails, done in red, with fake tips. Or maybe they were real. Who the hell knew? The effect of all the changes was unnerving. Aside from a few laugh lines, Nick’s mother looked much the same as she had fifteen years ago.

Nick didn’t like it. It made him feel like he’d gone back in time himself, to the year he’d turned twenty. The year Cindy had left him, the year his father had dropped dead. It was a year he didn’t like to think about.

“And what was wrong with how your grandmother looked before?” Nonna demanded of Leigh. “She was fine. She don’t need to starve. She’s gonna get sick.”

“I’m okay,” Rita said through clenched teeth.

Nick knew better than to enter the estrogen-fueled debate. He kept his head down and ate. He was half-finished with his meal when Rita set her napkin down next to her barely touched plate. She rose, her chair scraping the tile.

“I’ve got to go,” she said.

“Go?” Nick asked. “Go where?”


He eyed her. “On a Thursday night?”

“I’m on the committee for the Fourth of July crab bake.”

Leigh nearly choked on her Diet Coke. “What? No way. You swore you were blowing that off this year. You said—”

“Never mind what I said. Fiona Hennessey begged for my help.”

“You’ve hated Fiona Hennessey since middle school,” Nick pointed out.

“Yes, well, that’s the very reason I couldn’t say no when she begged.”

Nonna was clearly displeased. “If Rita’s going out, who’s gonna drive me home? I can’t sit around here all night. I need to watch that new Survivor show.”

“Leigh can take you home,” Rita told her.

“No, I’ll do it,” Nick said, dropping his napkin on the table. “I’m headed back to the office anyway.”

Nonna waved a disapproving hand. “Office, office. Always that office. It’s like you’re married to that job. You work too much, Nicky. When you gonna get a new wife? I want to see a great-grandson before I die.”

Last day for a chance at this week's prizes...FIVE great summer reads courtesy of the nice folks at Dorchester Publishing. Comment on any post from Monday May 11 through Saturday May 16 to enter the contest. Five winners chosen at random and posted TOMORROW Sunday May 17.
  • A TASTE OF MAGIC by Tracy Madison
  • GOTCHA! by Christie Craig
  • SIREN'S SECRET by Trish Albright
  • DEEP MAGIC by Joy Nash

See ya tomorrow!

Joy Nash

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Blogger Unknown said...

Wonderful little read. My family is French-Irish and chaos usually reigned when I was growing up. There were so many aunts, uncles and cousins around. We love our families, but you can go nuts trying to cope with them at times. Unfortunately, We don't live close to our families, but our children and their families are making life interesting enough.

12:28 AM  
Blogger Eva S said...

Thanks for the excerpt, I love books with big families and I'd love to read more...

6:49 AM  
Blogger Martha Eskuchen said...

Good excerpt! Big families can be fun. Have a great day chaperoning the Relay for Life! Great cause!

9:49 AM  
Blogger traveler said...

Thanks for the lovely excerpt. I enjoy novels which focus on the big families and the interactions. So fascinating and lively. We don't have a large family which is the norm nowadays.

10:51 AM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Hi Joy, great excerpt, I think I would really enjoy this book. I was from a large family but a lot of them are gone now, but I do enjoy reading about large families.

I think its a wonderful thing you are doing with the American Cancer Society Relay for Life walkathon. We need a cure for Cancer, so many is dieing from this dreadful disease.

11:27 AM  
Blogger darbyscloset said...

Great that you are out working for a good cause today!! You Go Girl!
Love the excerpt too! I'm jealous of those who already received their copies!!!
Can't wait to get my own copy!
darbyscloset at yahoo dot com

12:20 PM  
Blogger Estella said...

I think I would really enjoy reading this book!

3:29 PM  
Blogger Librarystitcher said...

I can't wait till I have "A Little Light Magic" in my hands. I'll find my favorite bench in the park, sit and read. Hopefully we'll have beautiful sunny days or else I'll be curled in the recliner. Either way, I will be reading your latest.

9:50 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

Great excerpt!

10:52 PM  
Blogger Sue A. said...

I enjoyed the excerpt. Thanks for sharing this!

11:36 PM  
Blogger Unknown said...

I hope you had a rain free day. We had 22 days straight with some rain. Set a new record.
Enjoyed the excerpt. Sounds like a really good read.....

11:39 PM  
Blogger Kytaira said...

All of the excerpts have sounded great. I just love quirky characters!

12:15 AM  
Blogger Caffey said...

Beautiful to do any thing you can for those causes. My daughter and I have volunteered to work the mall desk each year they have the ovarian cancer awareness (I lost my mom to that). The awareness goes a long way Joy.

More beautiful reading there! Thanks for the peek!

12:30 AM  

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