Friday, April 19, 2013

It's Book Fair Day!

Remembering You - a novel

           Robynne Rand

When Genna comes home to Rhode Island over the 4th of July holiday, she finds that her family is falling apart and she has only twenty-one days to put them back together.

Her vacation is far from relaxing. Two men are vying for her attention, her aunt is clearly showing signs of old age, and her grandmother is pushing Genna to accept an inheritance she does not want.

When tragedy strikes, Genna steps in to keep her uncle’s diner open and she questions what’s more important – returning to her job to break the glass ceiling or her family.

The clock runs out and Genna finds she is needed at her job, needed by her family, and she is needed by lovers old and new. Now Genna must search her soul to find out what she needs.


Genna took a deep breath of the salty, humid air, pulled her ponytail tighter, and turned the handle. The door tinkled as she walked into her uncle’s little diner, a mainstay in the neighborhood for more than thirty years. The knot in her stomach tightened a little. Would this long awaited trip be all that she imagined? Finally home for three weeks, all that she wanted to do was relax, and enjoy the time she spent with her family.

She walked to the low counter and sat on one of the stools in front of the cash register. She looked around at the white washed walls, noticing not one thing had changed since her childhood. The same picture of Pope John Paul II still hung over the door to the kitchen. The flag of Italy under glass, displayed over the map of Salerno where the ancestors originated. Did anyone even bother to look at the decrepit bulletin board anymore? Still by the front door with so many cards stuck to it, the thing was an eyesore and should have been taken down. The little café curtains that hung along the wall of windows were the only thing to mark a discernable difference. Blue checkered now, instead of red.

As her eyes flitted from booth to booth looking for people she might know, she spied a lone man in the corner. Holy shit! It couldn’t be! But, it was. Her breath caught in her throat. Even in her wildest fantasies about seeing him again, she never imagined running into Tony just five minutes off the road. But there he was, larger than life, sitting in her Uncle Sally’s diner.

He noticed her at the exact same moment. Half rising from his seat, he stared back as if she were a ghost. Genna met his shocked expression before turning away, giving him, what her historical romance novels called ‘the cut direct’. She hoped he got the hint, because she couldn’t talk to him now, if ever.

“Rosa Linda Fortuna Genovase, is it really you?” A large voice boomed through the pass-through window next to the coffee maker. A moment later her uncle burst through the swinging door, arms extended for a hug.

“Uncle Sally!” Genna jumped from her seat and rushed into his arms.

Salvatore “Sally” Genovase, her father’s brother, pulled her close then pushed her away from his huge body, grasping her hands in his.

“Your Aunt Fortuna is gonna’ have you on a spit you know. You shoulda’ called.” He hugged her again, and her back cracked in two places.

“I know, Unc, I know, but it was kind of a spur of the moment thing. I had some time coming to me, so I decided to come home. Surprise!” She held his hand as she sank back down onto the stool.

He sat on the next stool in line and asked in a low voice, “You okay? You don’t owe nobody nothing, do ya’?” He glanced over his shoulder around the small café.

Genna laughed. “No, I don’t owe anyone, anything.” Ingrained throughout her childhood was the Genovase family creed:  Mind Your Business – Mind Your Family –Mind Your Money.

“You sure?” he asked.

“I’m sure, now stop.” She squeezed his hand. “I just wanted to come home, that’s all. I missed you. Once a week phone calls just weren’t cutting it anymore. Now, what’s going on here?” She looked at the white dry-erase board hanging over the coffee machine and smiled. “Same old Tuesday specials I see. When are you going to change this menu?”

A waitress she remembered from her last visit stepped up to them. Genna asked for a glass of water.

“Ha, just like a woman, not even here for two minutes and already giving me grief. Your Aunt Fortuna trained you well.” Salvatore chuckled, patting her face with his calloused hand.

“I’m not giving you grief. I’m just not crazy about stuffed eggplant.” Genna giggled and gratefully sipped from the glass the waitress, Heidi, put down. She grabbed a napkin to wipe up the condensation before it dripped all over her shirt.

“Hello, Genna.”

Tony! She didn’t want to turn around, didn’t want to see him up close, and certainly didn’t want to talk to him. Especially now. What she wanted was to melt under the floor, or better yet, have him melt under the floor so she could walk all over him the way he had done to her.

“Hello, Tony,” she mumbled over her shoulder. She was only being half-impolite. At least she said hello.

“How’s it goin’? Back in town?” He stood waiting to pay his tab.

“Yeah,” she said. Although she hated to tell him anything, family etiquette demanded it.

“Well, maybe we can catch up later.”

Not in this lifetime. Heidi cashed him out and Genna heard his footfalls receding. She turned her attention back to her uncle who wore a pensive expression, watching Tony walk out the door.

“I don’t know why you’ve come home, Bella, but I hope it wasn’t to reunite with that culo.”

Genna shot her uncle a puzzled look. “I didn’t come here to see Tony. I came here to see you and Aunt Fortuna.” Changing the subject, she asked, “Where is she by the way?” Her aunt had always been a fixture at the restaurant, from nine to two, every day.

“She had to baby-sit the boys. Your cousin’s got a doctor’s appointment.” Salvatore made the sign of the cross.

"What’s the matter with Angie?”

Salvatore leaned forward and whispered, “Girly problems.”

Knowing Uncle Sally that could mean a thousand different things, nine-hundred and ninety-nine of them not being serious. “I’ll ask Auntie when I see her. Where’s Robby? Down at the shop?”

“I would imagine.” Salvatore glanced up at the big clock over the pass-through. “It’s only eleven, you gonna’ go by there now, or you want some breakfast first?” He rose from his stool without waiting for her answer and moved behind the long counter.

“No, I couldn’t eat. I’ll just go down to the garage. I figure he’ll be mad because I didn’t stop to see him first, but…” Genna finished her water and stood.

“But you love your uncle more, right?” Salvatore poured two large to-go cups of coffee, added sugar, milk, and ice, and put them in a bag. He filled another bag with doughnuts and muffins. He placed both in front of Genna. “Here. Give him these. Maybe he won’t be so mad, eh?”

Genna hugged her uncle, kissed him on both cheeks, and picked up the bags.

“I’m assuming you’ll be home for dinner,” Salvatore said as she walked toward the door.

“As if I wouldn’t.” She turned to face him, her hand on the door handle. “You think I’d want Aunt Fortuna hunting me down? What time?”

“Six, I’d imagine. Soon as she finds out you’re home she’s gonna’ be cooking like its Christmas. Remember to bring your appetite. Ciao, Bella.” He waved her off with a kiss on his fingertips.

REMEMBERING YOU is available only for the Kindle at this time.


Francine Howarth: UK said...

Thank you for taking part, Robynne.

Oh my! Old love interest and new challenge ahead: dual trouble in the making, methinks. Whilst reading this intriguing excerpt I was thinking how amusing it is to read contemporary offerings in comparison to historical novels, and in this case enlightening in a "Holy Shit!" kind of way. ;)


Pauline Barclay said...

I love the book cover and the excerpt is very tantaliszing. Me thinks I will need to look more closely. Have a fab time at the Fair!

Gilli Allan said...

Sounds to me as if Genna is going to be torn. An age old dilemma. Family or personal ambition?

Kiru Taye said...

Lovely excerpt and book, Robynne. Thanks for sharing.

Ella M Kaye said...

Very atmospheric excerpt. Nice to find you through the hop! I'll give you a follow.

Debbie Christiana said...

Hi Robynne. Nice excerpt - I'm from an large Italian family and love the way it was written. My father's name was Salvatore :) Most of my characters are Italian as well.

Best of luck

Robynne Rand said...

Thank you all, very much, for stopping by. It's nice to see new faces.

I'm glad you all liked this excerpt.