Making videos is a labor of love…choosing the photos, the music, editing, cutting, transitions, effects. This one is filled with visuals that I believe bring the story to life in a different way. Giving you a sense of place but it’s the emotion that tells the story…
Words or video. You gotta feel it.
Writers write to tell a story. At Christmas, that story can make you laugh, sigh, or wish you had that hunky Santa coming down your chimney.
My holiday novella takes on a different tone. It’s a sweet romance filled with the spirit of Christmas in a time when soldiers paused to remember the night of the birth of the Christ Child in a time when they wondered if they’d be home for the next Christmas…
Captain Mack O’Casey is one such soldier. You’ll meet him in my video and in this excerpt. He first met Sister Angelina dressed in men’s clothes when she was on a mission to steal food from the Nazis. This is the first time he sees her in a nun’s habit:
He never spoke about it, how sometimes he didnâ€™t want to keep going. Keep killing. And then they stumbled into this place, giving him the chance to renew his spirit, get back the faith in God heâ€™d lost. He felt whole again, believing there was still good left in the world. That knocked the hell out of him. Heâ€™d even whistled a tune this morning he heard in the canteen back in the States about carousels and wishing wells.
Damn, it wasnâ€™t right for a man to feel these things in the middle of a war. It tore at his gut. Men were getting killed or wounded, groveling through mud and booby traps for every foot closer to victory. And him thinking about home and apple blossoms and the smell of spaghetti sauce simmering on the stove. Rich tomatoes and oregano sifting up to his nose until he couldnâ€™t stand it any longer. His younger brothers fighting over who got the first taste from the smooth wooden spoon.
Mack ached to go home, to sit by the fire and warm his cold feet and have a beer, but that wouldnâ€™t happen until this war was won. Hell, since coming here, he felt like he could win it single-handed. Thanks to Sister Angelina. He felt a bond between them that could only happen in wartime. He wanted to tell how he felt, but when he awoke this morning, Sister Benedetto told him sheâ€™d gone to the chapel to pray. He couldnâ€™t leave without seeing her again.
The rustle of heavy skirts alerted him to her presence as a gentle waft of roses tickled his nose. Yellow roses. He sucked in the clean, fresh smell deep into his lungs, praying it would kill the smell of death heâ€™d lived with for so long. A wild anticipation made him sweat and set off feelings he had no business admitting to in a place of worship.
He uttered a prayer of contrition. He needed forgiveness for what he was thinking. His mind and body scarred and wracked with pain, all that changed when he first saw Sister Angelina that night. Daring, beautiful. An angel with invisible wings. Her presence filled him. Mack felt a stirring in his groin. He prayed heâ€™d be strong enough to resist temptation.
â€œI assure you, Captain,â€ he heard her say behind him. His chest expanded, his lips curved at hearing her voice. â€œThere are no Nazis here.â€
â€œHave you checked the rat holes?â€ he said, turning around. A wild, blinding light hit him in the eyes. My God, who was this saintly creature? He didnâ€™t expect her to, well, look like a nun.
She wore the black habit of her order with the long veil trailing down to her knees, wide white collar, full black sleeves, and skirt down to the floor. A stern white band hugged her forehead, bringing out the beauty of her dark upswept eyes. A rigid tightness locked every bone in his body. The sight of her holy state hit him hard, as if someone had dumped him into a cold river.
He must look like a fool standing here, staring at her.
â€œThey wouldnâ€™t dare enter the house of our Lord without His permission,â€ she responded in a serious tone. If she noticed his surprise, she gave no indication. â€œThat includes the four-legged ones.â€
He grinned. A nun with a sense of humor. He liked that.
Rain pounded on the roof giving him a moment to collect his thoughts. Deal with the insanity that had overtaken him. And, in spite of himself, smile. â€œYouâ€™re right, Sister. No man can compete with the will of God. You taught me that.â€
His words made her take a step backward, grab onto the pew. She understood and nodded, though slowly. His heart broke when he saw an amber light in her eyes flicker wildly. Then, as if by sheer determination, the light dimmed.
â€œYouâ€™re a strong man, Captain,â€ she said, â€œeven if you profess to be a pagan.â€
Her words surprised him. Was that what she thought of him? Had he grown so hard that no humanity was left in him?
â€œYouâ€™re the one who is strong, Sister Angelina. This pagan is made of flesh and bone,â€ he said, keeping his voice calm. â€œI donâ€™t have your courage.â€
He swore her hands trembled before she hid them in the deep pockets of her habit. But it was her face that held his attention. Clean and untouched, her cheeks flamed. She bowed her head, her long eyelashes fluttering. â€œI have little choice. I must obey His will.â€
â€œIs that the only reason you hid the sergeant and me in the orphanage?â€ He had to know the answer. Then he could hide his feelings away in the shadows of war and not feel the pain of wanting her.
â€œNo,â€ she said softly. â€œMy vows prohibit me from saying more.â€ She stared at him, daring him to cross the line they both knew couldnâ€™t be crossed.
Telling him what he wanted to know, but that nothing could come of it.
A Soldierâ€™s Italian Christmas (Oâ€™Casey Brothers in Arms1) is the story of a soldier and a nun who discover forbidden love in war torn Italy during the winter of 1943.
If your Christmas reading is on the spicier side (as in erotic), check out A Naughty Christmas Carolabout a modern day Scrooge named Nick Radnor. A New York Wall Street hottie who has it all…except the woman he loves.
Can three sexy female ghosts save his soul on this naughty Christmas Eve?