Dante’s Gift by Aubrey Wynne
Kathleen James has put her practical side away for once and looks forward to the perfect romantic evening: an intimate dinner with the man of her dreams—and an engagement ring. She is not prepared to hear that he wants to bring his grandmother back from Italy to live with him.
Dominic Lawrence has planned this marriage proposal for six months. Nothing can go wrong—until his Nonna calls. Now he must interrupt the tenderest night of Katie’s life with the news that another woman will be under their roof.
When Antonia’s sister dies, she finds herself longing to be back in the states. A wartime bride from the ‘40s, she knows how precious love can be. Can her own story of an American soldier and a very special collie once again bring two hearts together at Christmas?
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Excerpt Present day romance:
The scent of turkey met her at Dom’s front door. For a moment, apprehension swept through her at the thought of helping in the kitchen. Then a handsome man stood before her, and she couldn’t wipe the foolish smile off her face. Instead of saying something stupid, she held out the wine.
“In a holiday bag, no less,” Dom said, eyebrows raised. He stepped back to let her in, grabbed her hand, and spun her around to face him. “You look stunning.”
“I just thought that the burlap would give it extra protection if I dropped it, and they only seemed to have holiday wine bags in stock and—”
One finger covered her mouth. As his head slowly lowered, she could feel his breath on her face; heat raced through her core. By the time their lips touched, her legs had turned to jello; she clung to him for support.
Gently pushing her toward the wall, he pressed his length against her and whispered, “I need to make you mine, legally, before I lose all control. You have no idea the affect you have on me, do you?”
“I think that is the most romantic thing anyone has ever said to me,” she said breathless. “Kiss me like that again… please?”
“I’d be happy to oblige if you tell me that isn’t my grandmother standing in the doorway watching us.”
Katie looked over to see Antonia, a wide grin on her face, and quickly pushed on the hard chest that pinned her to the wall. She ran a hand through her hair as the blood rushed to her face.
“Oh Nico, such good Italian blood in you. And not even any mistletoe out yet.” Antonia wiped her hands on her apron and waved to the young couple. “Come now, we have work to do before we play.”
The two followed her in like reprimanded children who showed no remorse, holding hands and snickering. This is silly but it feels so good. Katie accepted the apron and as she pulled the straps behind her, strong hands covered hers.
“Let me,” he whispered in her ear. “I’m good at tying knots.”
Excerpt WWII romance:
The pilot with wheat-colored hair put his elbows on the counter and leaned toward her. “I could buy thirty loaves of bread at home for that much lettuce.”
“But you are not home, soldier. You are here, in Benevento, and a sticky bun is 100 lire.” She meant to be rude but his soft brown gaze made her heart race as if she’d just chased Dante across the field. His smile went to his eyes, adding crinkles to the corners, and made her own lips turn up. “The cost of supplies is very expensive these days, as you know.”
“So I’ve heard. Give me five,” he said with a wink. “Maybe I can sweet talk the captain into putting me back into a plane.”
“Save your money, Ken. Your ears obviously ain’t got any better in the last ten minutes,” he answered, rubber-necking over the counter. “Get a load of that landing gear.”
Dante growled again but this time showed sharp, white teeth. “I don’t think he likes you much, Bob.”
“Well I don’t care for him, neither. Give me two of those, and we’ll get out of your hair.”
The men paid for the rolls and walked outside. She headed into the kitchen when that quiet, deep voice stopped her. “I’d like to apologize for my friend. He’s not a bad Joe once you get to know him.”
“I don’t think I care to,” she said without turning around.
“It looks like I may be making regular trips through your town. Do you work here often?” His tone dripped like honey from a ladle and poured over her; she felt her body turn toward him even as her brain told her “no.”
“My family owns it. I am here every day.”
“So your father is Guido?” He had resumed his place at the counter, balanced on his elbows again, inviting her back without a word.
She found herself leaning on the counter from the other side. “How do you know my father?”
“The sign says Guido’s Café.”
She laughed. “Yes, it does. So you are no private eye, eh?”
He whistled then. “You’d make Betty Grable green with envy when you smile. It makes those blue eyes sparkle like a fresh-cut diamond. You should do that more often.”
Her eyes lowered, embarrassed at the compliment and the image of the American pinup girl in a bathing suit. “You should go catch up with your friends.”
“My name is Ken Lawrence,” he said and held out his hand.
“Antonia Capriotti,” she replied and took his hand. A tingle shot down her center and curled her toes. “It is nice to meet you.”
Winner of the Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, and Heart of Excellence, Rone finalist for audio, and Reviewers Top Pick by Books and Benches
“The ultimate Hallmark Channel romance, this is an excellent read for a bad day or a lazy afternoon.” – InD’Tale Magazine
“Truly romantic… a book that you will not be able to put down.” – Books Are Love
“Dante’s Gift is a wonderfully poignant holiday romantic tale that intertwines two love stories…” – Jersey Girl Book Review
Author Aubrey Wynne
Bestselling and award-winning author Aubrey Wynne resides in the Midwest with her husband, dogs, horses, mule and barn cats. She is an elementary teacher by trade, champion of children and animals by conscience, and author by night. Obsessions include history, travel, trail riding and all things Christmas.
Her short stories, Merry Christmas, Henry and Pete’s Mighty Purty Privies have won Readers Choice Awards. Dante’s Gift and Paper Love received the 2016 Golden Quill, Aspen Gold, Heart of Excellence and the Gayle Wilson Award of Excellence.
In addition to her Chicago Christmas novellas, Aubrey will release two more Regency romances in 2018. The Wicked Earls’ Club will release again in 2019. Wynne’s medieval
fantasy series launched in 2017 with Rolf’s Quest, winner of the NTRWA Great Expectations and Maggie finalist.
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