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A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Video Excerpt from Chapter 1 of a forbidden romance during WW 2 in war torn Italy

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas”   ***FREE today Saturday October 14, 2017*** 
O’Casey Brothers in Arms 1

December 1943
Italy

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.

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Excerpt from Chapter One from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Jina

==========

O’Casey Brothers in Arms 1

December 1943 Italy

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.

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is a holiday novella sweet romance available on Amazon Kindle

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas”   ***FREE today Saturday October 14, 2017*** 

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A Soldier’s Italian Christmas — TY to everyone!! FREE Oct 13 and Oct 14 — Fri and Sat

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

Sooo thankful to everyone who nominated my Kindle Scout book The Magic Christmas Train . . . it wasn’t chosen and I wanted to do something to say “Thank you,” so for Friday and Saturday, Oct 13 & 14, my WW II Christmas novella “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas” will be FREE!

It takes place around the same time — Dec 1943 when the Allies were pushing north in Italy . . . when an American captain makes a wrong turn and ends up in a bombed out village . . . and meets a beautiful nun.

It’s got forbidden sweet romance, stolen art, Nazis, and a whole lotta snow.
Thank you again for your support!

Art stolen by the Nazis figures predominately in my romance novella “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

Sister Angelina discovers what the Nazis are up to and risks her life to save the art treasures. Here she is in the Monastery of Monte D’Oro Rose.

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

Sister Angelina and Capt. Mack O’Casey are spying on the brutal Nazi major in this scene through a peephole from their hiding place:

Excerpt:

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.”

“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?

===============

What is Angelina’s secret? Find out in A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

Coming up on Saturday: an extended video excerpt from Chapter One of A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.” 

1943 Italy and Art Stolen by the Nazis: Excerpt from “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas” for #Christmas Day

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: Excerpt from Chapter One from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

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.

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

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:

Excerpt:

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.”

“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?

===============

What is Angelina’s secret? Find out in A Soldier’s Italian Christmas, available on Amazon Kindle and Amazon UnLimited.

Video excerpt from Chapter One of A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.” I used beautiful photos from www.Dreamstime.com to put it together with my voiceover and music by Kevin MacLeod www.incompetech.com

Cover Design by Ramona Lockwood
www.coversbyramona.blogspot.com
http://www.romancenovelcovers.com/

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

December 1943
Italy

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!

Jina

==========

O’Casey Brothers in Arms 1

December 1943 Italy

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.

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas is a holiday novella sweet romance available on Amazon Kindle

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas on My Sexy Saturday #70

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list of wonderful authors you can’t miss!

This week on My Sexy Saturday # 70, in A Soldier’s ASoldiersItalianChristmas_256_384Italian Christmas  we go back to a time of war when Italy was a hotbed of Nazis trying to keep the American Army from reaching Rome…

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.

December 1943
Italy

The ravages of combat have taken a toll on Captain Mack O’Casey, who has lost his faith after seeing the horrors of war as the Nazis fight hard to keep the Allies from reaching Rome. His beliefs are challenged even more when he loses his way and ends up in a mystical place called Monte D’Oro Rose during the cold winter of 1943…and falls in love with the beautiful Sister Angelina.

The young nun has a secret of her own, one she will die trying to protect: the lost Cross of Saint Cecelia. She must find the religious relic first before the brutal Nazi major who will stop at nothing to get it. Even murder. Sister Angelina risks her life to save the cross for the Church, but will she also risk her heart? Falling in love with the handsome American soldier is against the rules, but she can’t deny the stolen moments with him have made her question her vows.

It is Christmas Eve when these two lonely people come together on this holiest of holidays and how faith helps them overcome their greatest fears. A time when the whole world holds its breath as brave men and women fight for freedom.

And a soldier and a nun dare to fall in love…

A Soldier’s Italian Christmas from Jina Bacarr on Vimeo.

=============

Here are my 7 Paragraphs. Mack has taken refuge with the beautiful Sister Angelina–she was ready to shoot him in the dark until she realized he was an American GI. She’s asked him to stay for a hot meal…

—————

“Then I insist you both stay.” Sister Angelina put down her weapon, a heavy old Smith and Wesson nickel revolver that Mack guessed belonged to Father Tom.

He watched her prepare the eggs and scrape together weak coffee. He didn’t realize how much he missed a home-cooked meal until now. Or was it because he enjoyed watching her that made it special? He put that thought out of his mind quick. He had no right to feel that way about her and he’d better get used to it. Mack poked around to take his mind off the pretty girl. He noticed potatoes and bread in the coffers.

He said, “I see you do a good business borrowing from the Nazis.”

She smiled. “God helps those who help themselves.”

She had grit all right. Most Italians were starving, resorting to eating horsemeat and peelings they found in the trash. Not here. No wonder Sister Angelina didn’t want visitors. She’d be shot if she were found stealing food. The thought set his teeth on edge.

“Suppose you and I do some exploring first, Sister, then we’ll eat,” Mack said, surprising her. “I want to see what we’re up against with this Nazi major you mentioned. How many men he has in the command post.”

“I understand, Captain,” she said, grinning. “You have what I believe you Americans call a date.

============

What happens when the horrible Nazi major finds out Sister Angelina is stealing food? And that she’s guarding a priceless artifact from the Church? And when the young nun realizes she’s falling in love with the handsome Captain?

Find out in A Soldier’s Italian Christmas — available on Kindle and Kindle Unlimited 

Winner of the I Heart Indie Contest in Novella category!! iheartindiew (2)

Happy Holidays!

~Jina

==============

Don’t forget to visit the blogs of some great authors on My Sexy Saturday #70!

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World War II Art stolen by Nazis: will Capt. O’Casey rescue the beautiful Sister Angelina from the Nazis in time?

In case you’ve missed it, I’ve been posting about the wonderful new film starring George Clooney, Monuments Men, and the story of art stolen by the Nazis during WW2. I’ve posted some excerpts from my WW2 story A Soldier’s Italian Christmas: One Two Three Four Five.

******Spoiler

In Excerpt No. 6, Sister Angelina has the Cross of St. Cecilia hidden in her pocket as the Nazi major threatens her…will her handsome American captain save her in time?

The video is what I call a “living photo” of the hero and heroine. No sound, just their photos arranged in an interesting manner.

==================

His eyes burned fire, the rage inside him so intense all Mack could think about was sending the major to hell so fast he’d slide all the way down the black hole on his burning ass.

“Drop it, Major, or you’re dead.”

World War II Art stolen by Nazis: will Capt. O’Casey rescue the beautiful Sister Angelina from the Nazis?

The Nazi stiffened, as if he couldn’t believe anyone would dare invade his sanctuary. “I didn’t expect the Fifth Army so soon,” he said, tightening his hold on Angelina’s arm so hard she cried out in pain. Mack wanted to jump him and make him pay for that, but he held back. A fool’s move. The man was inhuman and would strike like a cobra to save his own skin.

“We’re here, Major.” Mack didn’t breathe as the two men sized each other up. “Get used to it.”

“I beg to differ. These hills are filled with my men, nests of machine guns pointed directly at your so-called invasion.”

“Don’t count on it. We outnumber you two to one.”

“You’re a convincing liar, Captain, but I don’t believe you.” He held Angelina tighter. “You came here alone.”

“Which puts us on even ground.”

He raised a brow. “I’m not falling for your tricks, Captain.”

“It’s no trick. Your two guards are in no position to come to your aid.”

The major ground his teeth and dragged back the girl’s head, the barrel of his Luger under her chin. “That presents quite a dilemma, Captain. You kill me, but not before I shoot the beautiful nun. It’s like bluffing at poker. You don’t always win.”

“Why, you bastard—” Mack snapped.

“I see I’ve struck a nerve. This isn’t the first time you two have met.” The major smirked. “Did she share with you the secret of Monte d’Oro Rose in the dark? Then let you steal a kiss?” He pushed harder. “Did she promise you more if you helped her find where the priest hid the treasure?”

“Don’t listen to him, Captain,” Angelina cried out.

Mack didn’t take the bait. He looked at Angelina’s face, her eyes meeting his. She looked down. A signal. If he squinted hard enough, he could see the bulge in her  pocket. The cross was safe.

“Let her go, Major,” he warned, “or I’ll blow your brains out.”

“Not a pleasant thought, Captain. May I suggest we settle this like officers and gentlemen.” He paused. “Unless you’re not a gentleman.”

“I come from Brooklyn, Major. We settle things there with our fists. Put down your gun and we’ll see who’s the better man.”

“What fools you Americans are. You think you can defeat the German Army with your brashness and crude tactics. Our troops are better trained, our generals more organized, and we know the terrain.”

“But we have something you don’t, Major, and it’s a helluva lot more powerful than your storm troopers and tanks.”

He looked smug. “I doubt it.”

“We’re fighting this war because we believe in Mom and apple pie. And yeah, one more thing.”

“What is that?”

“Freedom. To think what we like, go where we want, and pray to our God, no matter what we call Him,” Mack said. “You Nazis have taken that freedom away from the people in every country you invade and they’ll fight like hell to get it back. Your goosestepping soldiers in their hobnail boots don’t stand a chance. In the end, you’ll lose.”

He tightened his grip on Angelina. “It’s you who will lose, Captain.” He shoved the pistol against her skull. “Don’t try anything or she dies.”

==========

Will Mack save his beautiful Angelina? Find out in A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

Here’s the trailer:

Also, here’s an extended video excerpt from Chapter One of A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

Thank you for coming with me on my journey back to 1943 to Italy, lost art treasures, and forbidden love.

Best,

Jina

World War II Art Stolen by the Nazis…Excerpt 3

Art feeds the soul. Makes it sing, makes it cry…makes it whole.
© Amoklv | Dreamstime.com

© Amoklv | Dreamstime.com

So it’s no wonder the U.S. Army went to such great lengths to recover the precious art stolen by the Nazis as seen in the wonderful new film “Monuments Men” starring George Clooney (opens today, Feb 7th).
In my post, you can read an excerpt from my romance novella where stolen art and a priceless relic bring together an American soldier and a beautiful nun…and they fall in love. It’s Italy, December 1943…I hope you enjoy the excerpt from “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

Excerpt No. 3:

Captain Mack O’ Casey and Sister Angelina have just heard the faithful caretaker at the monastery, Marcello, has been taken by the Nazis and is being tortured. Sister Angelina believes the Nazi major is punishing him because she’s been stealing food from the monastery for the orphans. She rushes to save him. Mack goes after her, but first he hears a strange tale about a precious relic the major will do anything to get his hands on…

=============

“Marcello is human, Angelina, not a saint.” The captain worked his jaw. “I’ve seen younger men break down when the pain becomes intolerable, their tortured bodies no match for the strongest will.”

“There’s only one way to save him,” she said, sharing his concern. “I will go to the major and confess I’ve been stealing food for the children. Beg him for forgiveness.”

“You can’t. I forbid it.”

You forbid it?” Angelina didn’t back down under his surprise order. “Only God can stop me, Captain.”

He reached out to grab her, but a sudden blast of cold wind blew in through the open door, slamming the hard wood against his back and knocking him off balance. Before he could grab her, Angelina raced outside into the coming darkness, her long black veil flying about her like a wild tempest. She didn’t look back.

Mack banged his fist into the wooden door. Damn female. Running off like a spoiled child. Was he supposed to wait here until she returned? What if she didn’t? What if that Nazi had the gall to touch her?

Like hell he’d stay here.

Mack grabbed his helmet and his rifle, fixed the bayonet, and then jammed into the kitchen, waving his weapon in the air. He speared the potato in the sergeant’s hand and tossed it over his head. Sister Benedetto and Sergeant Duffy jumped to their feet, alarmed.

“What is it, Captain?” asked the sergeant, grabbing his rifle. “Nazis?”

“Major von Arx beat Marcello with chains. Sister Angelina went to stop him from killing him,” he rushed the words. His throat tightened, his heart thundering loud in his chest. “If that Nazi major harms her, I’ll—”

Sister Benedetto looked like she was going to faint. Mack left his thought unfinished out of respect for the older nun. She grabbed the rosary beads hanging at her side and made the sign of the cross, mumbling in Italian.

“Are we going after her, Captain?” asked the sergeant, snapping to attention.

“You’re damn right we are,” Mack said.

“I feared this would happen,” Sister Benedetto said, recovering her composure.

“What do you mean?” he asked.

“The major is obsessed with finding the treasure of Monte d’Oro Rose ever since he discovered the private writings of a thirteenth century abate, abbot, among the handwritten manuscripts in the monastery. Beautiful books with illustrations bordered with silver and gold dating back to medieval times. He was convinced Father Tom knew where the treasure was buried and wouldn’t tell him.” The nun clenched her teeth in a rare show of anger. “He wasn’t satisfied with torturing the priest, he ransacked his quarters and confiscated paintings, prayer books, artifacts, everything.”

“How do you know this, Sister?”

“Marcello told me.”

“What was in those writings?” Mack wanted to know.

“A strange tale about a sacred cross that protects its wearer from harm in battle. A gift to the Church from a noble crusader grateful to have been spared during the siege of Constantinople. On his deathbed, he gave it to his wife to take to the Vatican in Rome, but she never completed her journey. She sought refuge in the monastery during a storm but she later died. According to the legend, she gave the cross to the abbot for safekeeping, but he wanted the artifact for himself and poisoned her. He hid the relic in a secret place on the hill, but he was later exiled for his black deeds. No one has ever been to find the exact spot where he hid the cross.”

“Does Sister Angelina know about its protective powers?” he asked. Such a thing couldn’t be true, but the young girl’s faith was so strong, she might do something reckless, believing the cross would save her.

“No. Father Tom didn’t share that with anyone but Marcello.” She closed her eyes and prayed. “Thank God the cross of Saint Cecilia lies buried in the bowels of the monastery where the Nazi major can never lay his hands on it.”

==============

Where is the Cross of St. Cecilia? Does Sister Angelina have it?

Check back for Excerpt No. 4 of “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

History of the Monastery of Monte D’Oro Rose and Stolen Art by the Nazis Excerpt 2

I was so enchanted when I saw George Clooney on the news at the premiere of “Monuments Men” escorting a lovely lady and her daughter to the film. I believe it was a date for charity and he was as charming and gracious as ever. And handsome, too.

His good looks remind me of Captain Mack O’Casey, the hero in my romance novella, “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.” My story is also about art stolen by the Nazis from the Monastery at Monte D’Oro Rose and forbidden love…a beautiful nun and an American soldier fall in love during the cold Italian winter of 1943.

 Monastery

© Wessel Cirkel | Dreamstime.com

Excerpt No. 2: Under the cover of night, Sister Angelina leads Mack to the monastery to spy on the Nazis in “A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.” She tells him about a priceless relic the Nazis would love to get their hands on…

================

Whoever thought Italy would be colder than hell?

Mack smacked his hands together to keep warm. Weeks of rain had turned the harsh terrain into deep muddy trails. That didn’t stop Sister Angelina. She fought her way up the sharp rocks as easily as a kid on a Sunday hike. Like she knew these hills as well as the Lord’s Prayer.

“Stay close behind me, Captain,” she whispered, her breath warm on his face. “The Nazis will see us if we use the road leading to the moon gate. For us, it could be deadly.”

“Moon gate?” he asked, curious.

“The monks used a rare white stone found only in the caves in the hills to make the cross mounted above the gate.” She carried a lantern, its golden glow turning her skin a warm honey. “Even in the blackest night, the cross shines with a silver-white glow like the moon to lead weary travelers to the monastery where they can rest for the night.”

“I’d like to thank the monks for leading me here.” Mack’s lips curved. “Otherwise I never would have met you.”

He swore she blushed, but she didn’t miss a beat. “That would be difficult, Captain,” she teased him. “The monastery was built in 1197.” When they reached the top of the hill, she turned down the wick on the lantern. They stood near a stone wall with a high tower with dark slits instead of windows. “According to the legend, in the thirteenth century, a pious noblewoman on her way to Rome to see the Pope stopped here for the night and then mysteriously disappeared. It was rumored she carried a priceless religious relic, a cross containing the piece of a robe belonging to a saint.” She smiled. “The Cross of St. Cecilia.”

© Konradbak | Dreamstime.com

Beautiful Noblewoman © Konradbak | Dreamstime.com

“Was she as beautiful as you?” he asked. There was something different about this nun that puzzled him. If he thought she’d take the bait, he was mistaken.

“Are all Americans so handsome?” she quipped.

“No, they’re better looking,” Mack joked. “And they smell better, too.” His stubble beard was dark and bristly and he had no doubt the strong stench from sleeping in a trench with a platoon of soldiers clung to his clothes.

“God does not judge us by what we wear,” she said in a clear voice as if it were a prayer of contrition. Was she speaking about herself? “But by our deeds.”

Mack edged closer to her, drinking in her scent. She smelled like roses with a hint of holy water. “How will we get inside the monastery?”

“I have my ways, Captain,” she said, giggling. She wasn’t even shivering as she motioned for him to follow her. Darkness made them as invisible as ghosts. “Mind you, you’ll have to crawl on your belly like a caterpillar.”

“I’m no stranger to getting into tight places, Sister. Lead on.”

She smiled at him and he felt his heart tighten. She was everything a nun had no right to be. Wisps of wavy brown hair peeking out of her snug beret, her laughter a welcome relief from the agony he’d suffered these past months. She couldn’t have been more than nineteen. In his mind, he imagined her before she took her vows. Her silky tresses falling down to her waist, making him have sinful thoughts. He wanted to bury his face in her hair, smell her, touch her.

Kiss her.

He pulled up his collar and kept moving. Damn, what was he thinking? He must be losing his mind for having such thoughts. The months of shelling, violence, and dead comrades had taken a gut-wrenching toll on his mind as well as his body. He was on a mission and only an angel as pure as the sister could have drawn him away from it. From now on, he would avert his eyes when she spoke, forget he was lonely and sick of this damn war. The pain and suffering. Still, he was always there for his men. Like he was for his brothers.

Funny, how life kicked him in the pants when he didn’t expect it. Finding himself in this holy place was the last thing he expected when he signed up for this war. He and his brothers were as American as apple pie, but they had strong ties to their mother’s homeland. A kind soul and elegant lady, Pia O’Casey named each of her boys after a favorite saint. Mack had been christened with the name from St. Maximus, his brother Lex from St. Alexander. Trace’s namesake was St. Trason, and his little brother Cort owed his name to St. Constantius.

His mom was so proud of her boys’ service. Mack prayed every night his brothers lived to see another sky filled with stars. Like the three white stars embroidered on the flag she hung in the window. When Cort left for basic training, there would be four.

Mack clenched his teeth when he felt a familiar ache ping his heart. If only his father were here to reach around his mother’s waist and hold her tight when she put up that fourth star.

He pushed aside thoughts of home with his mom’s hand-rolled ravioli and his father’s fiddle. It sat idle on the mantel. The old man had died rescuing two kids in a burning house. He was a firefighter and a hero and the O’Casey brothers vowed to follow in his footsteps. Pearl Harbor changed all that on a Sunday morning. A lot of lives changed that day and Mack found it hard to adjust. He’d always been the lone card sticking out of the deck. Watching over the family, working two jobs, trying to get his education and finally getting a probationary post with the New York Fire Department.

He put that on hold until the war was over.

==========

Come back tomorrow for the next excerpt and find out more about the Cross of St. Cecilia and why the Nazis want it…A Soldier’s Italian Christmas

1943 Italy and Art Stolen by the Nazis: Excerpt 1

Like the new film “Monuments Men” starring George Clooney, art stolen by the Nazis figures predominately in my romance novella “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.

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

© Induka11 | Dreamstime.com

It’s exciting to see this part of history come alive. I’ll be posting excerpts from A Soldier’s Italian Christmasthat deal with art stolen by the Nazis in my story.

Sister Angelina and Capt. Mack O’Casey are spying on the brutal Nazi major in this scene through a peephole from their hiding place:

Excerpt # 1:

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.”

“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?

===============

What is Angelina’s secret? Find out in A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.”

More excerpts coming up…

Also, here’s an extended video excerpt from Chapter One of A Soldier’s Italian Christmas.” I used beautiful photos from www.Dreamstime.com to put it together with my voiceover and music by Kevin MacLeod www.incompetech.com

Cover Design by Ramona Lockwood
www.coversbyramona.blogspot.com
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