Category Archives: Christmas Eve
1943 Italy and Art Stolen by the Nazis: Excerpt from “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas” for #Christmas Day
Merry Christmas!! Art is a big part of my life — so it’s no wonder I wrote about stolen art. Here’s a favorite post from A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.
Sister Angelina discovers what the Nazis are up to in my story and risks her life to save the art treasures. Here she is in the Monastery of Monte D’Oro Rose.
A Soldier’s Italian Christmas deals with art stolen by the Nazis.
Sister Angelina and Capt. Mack O’Casey are spying on the brutal Nazi major in this scene through a peephole from their hiding place:
The library was filled with drunken Nazis.
Angelina focused on the outrageous behavior of the German officer with the pretty brunette on his lap. Ines. “Oh, my Lord…” she whispered, and then blessed herself. Major von Arx sat at the long table where the monks prayed, running his fingers up and down the girl’s shiny, smooth stockings. Silk. Ines let out a breathy sigh when he parted her thighs and his hand dove under her skirt.
Embarrassed, the young nun looked away from the spy hole.
Oh, the shame. What would the captain think if he saw her watching them?
“What is it, Sister?”
“Nothing but the devil at play,” she said, her cheeks flaming.
“Your words intrigue me.” The captain put his eye to the peephole and smirked. “Are you certain he doesn’t know we’re watching him?”
“Yes, but we must be careful he doesn’t see us. The peephole was hidden by priceless Renaissance paintings,” she said, wishing she’d never brought him here. “Until the Nazi major stole them.”
“Yes. The German officer ordered his guards to remove the paintings and ready them for transport. For the Fuehrer, he said. Two days ago, I hid in the tower and watched his men leave through the narrow passage and head down the mountain with mules packed with wooden crates.”
“Men died trying to climb these mountains, Sister,” said the captain, not trying to hide the raw edge to his voice. “Good men. Brave men. The mud, the stench of death all around us, but we kept going. For what? So this Nazi bastard could steal from the Church?”
His eyes glowed a vibrant blue more intense than a cloudless sky. Angelina felt deep into her bones here was a man of faith who could be trusted. A man who stirred her soul with the desire to feel his strong arms around her. Sweet yearnings to feel skin against skin that tore her apart. Especially at night when her small cell was dark and her cotton chemise stuck to her body drenched in sweat, feelings she didn’t understand tormenting her. The captain brought those feelings to the surface.
He was dangerous to her.
Dear God, why must you lead me into temptation?
“We must return to the orphanage so you can rest before it’s time for you to leave,” she said. It saddened her to send him on his way, but she must. “I will lead you through the secret passage down the mountain. From there you can take the road north to Rome. I will see to it Marcello brings you the abbot’s finest wine to take with you on your journey.”
“Do you think God would approve?” he said with a grin.
“Yes, though He doesn’t always approve of what I’ve done.”
“Are you telling me the sweet angel before me is not what she seems?”
Angelina blinked. Had he guessed her secret?
A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Video Excerpt from Chapter One of a forbidden romance during WW2 in war torn Italy
“A Soldier’s Italian Christmas”
O’Casey Brothers in Arms 1
Two days before Christmas, Captain Mack O’Casey gets separated from his unit during battle. He makes a wrong turn and finds himself in a small bombed-out village called Monte D’Oro Rose. It appears to be deserted. It isn’t. A beautiful young woman is watching his every move…
Who is she? You’ll find out in this Video Excerpt from Chapter One of A Soldier’s Italian Christmas
Excerpt from Chapter One of “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas:”
“American?” Her voice changed. “Oh, thank God,” she said in English.
Mack turned around slowly and saw a young woman holding a gun on him. She bent down and turned up the wick on the lantern sitting on the ground and light flooded the small courtyard. He didn’t breathe until he was certain she wouldn’t shoot him. Dark, beautiful eyes flecked with amber sucked the fatigue right out of him.
Here is my special video excerpt with lots of photos and my voiceover. It’s 11 minutes long–I cover the first few pages of Chapter One…it was quite a challenge.
I hope you enjoy it.
Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas!
O’Casey Brothers in Arms 1
He is a U.S Army captain, a battle-weary soldier who has lost his faith.
She is a nun, her life dedicated to God.
Together they are going to commit an act the civilized world will not tolerate.
They are about to fall in love.
Christmas morning and Santa’s one tired dude…
Or is he?
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!!
Made your New Year’s Eve plans yet?
Why not check out COME FLY WITH ME and find out what happens on New Year’s Eve when a bad boy billionaire hooks up with a lonely girl at 30,000 feet in the air…
It’s Christmas Eve!!
Everyone is busy — and God knows I’ve been mad crazy since the Grinch ate my computer — but I wanted to share with you a really cool blog post I was lucky to land a spot on where 12 Authors on Joan Reeves SlingWords blog talk about that special present.
I talk about my time in Italy on a cold Christmas Eve when I took a busload of soldiers to Midnight Mass and the magic of that night…
Make a cup of hot cocoa, put your feet up and check out Joan’s blog for some heartwarming holiday cheer!!
I’ll never forget the homeless woman I met outside a church in Versailles. It was a cold, winter day with a sharp wind whistling in my ear. I was about to go inside to get warm when I noticed her. She was wearing tattered, black half-gloves over her reddened hands, a torn scarf tied over her matted dark hair. A soiled white linen bandage wrapped around her leg.
She reminded me of the chiffonier, the homeless of another era who gathered under bridges and built fires to keep warm. It broke my heart to see they still existed.
I was on holiday in the lovely little town of the Sun King having arrived from Paris the day before by train. I was wearing a new silk scarf I’d bought in the flea market. I loved that scarf with its pretty floral print of bright red roses splashed over the heavy, rich silk. It made me feel like I was wrapped up in warm sunshine when I fastened it around my neck.
Then I looked at the homeless woman shivering, her eyes heavy from little sleep. Her frail shoulders hunched together to warm herself.
She needed it more.
With a wistful sigh, I unwrapped it and insisted she take it. She couldn’t believe I was giving it to her. She ran her fingers over the silk in a slow manner almost as if she was afraid to touch it. Then she became bolder and rubbed the luxurious material over her cold, wrinkled cheeks. Her eyes lit up with such a glow, my heart melted
She threw her arms around me and hugged me. Tears in her eyes, but a smile on her lips.
Then she disappeared into the crowd.
I went inside the church and said a prayer for her, imagining her sitting by the fire under a bridge. Wearing her new scarf. Touching the silk and humming to herself. I pulled up the collar on my coat and smiled.
I wasn’t cold anymore.
I never forgot that woman and thought of her often as I wrote about homeless vets in my holiday romance, “The Christmas Piano Tree.”
The hero is a wounded warrior suffering from PTSD when he shows up at the gate to the entrance to the Mary Huber School for Girls where my heroine, Kristen Delaney, works…she’s been feeding homeless vets with leftover food as a way of keeping her husband’s memory alive (he was killed in Afghanistan)–this is a very difficult Christmas Eve for her and her little girl Rachel…until this soldier shows up!!
Here’s a short scene where we first meet him. Kristen gets a funny feeling when she sees a tall man walking toward her…
“She pulled her steering wheel hard to the right to avoid colliding with the tall man bundled up in a black field jacket and khaki pants, a duffel bag strapped on his back, his broad shoulders dusted with falling snow.
“She stuck her head out of the window to give him a piece of her mind and then stopped.
“Something about him made her stare at him. He had that swagger she knew so well. Military. Seeing him touched a nerve. Another homeless vet. Kristen shook her head, understanding. He was the third one this week looking for a hot meal.
“Not surprising on Christmas Eve.”
“The Christmas Piano Tree” is the story of a pretty young war widow who re-discovers the magic of the holiday season with the help of a homeless vet and an old piano.
Available on Kindle and KindleUnlimited
Did you see your honey drooling?
Now what if he drizzles maple syrup all over your…
Kristen feeds homeless vets as a way to honor her husband killed in Afghanistan in “The Christmas Piano Tree” — find out more here on Joan Reeves Sling Words blog today, December 17th and 12 Authors & Christmas Past
I couldn’t resist inviting Santa in to have a cup of cocoa…it’s so cold and windy and rainy…and the poor darling lost his Santa jacket somewhere over the Rocky Mountains.
Enjoy, ladies, it doesn’t get any better than this!
PS — my hunky Santa reminds me of my handsome soldier who play Santa for the girls at the Mary Huber School in “The Christmas Piano Tree” when Kristen, my heroine, recruits him for the job on Christmas Eve:
Silky white flour.
Combed into his dark beard like fluffy snow.
Kristen couldn’t help but notice that he was so handsome. Square jaw. Straight nose. Clear hazel green eyes that never left her. Watching her when she brushed flour into his beard, her fingers gliding over his cheeks, his neck.
Whoever thought her Santa would be a homeless vet?
Find out who this mysterious Santa is in The Christmas Piano Tree available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited