Read An Excerpt

by J.J. Murray

Genre: Multicultural, Contemporary Romance

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Pietro slammed open the door and yelled, “Andiamo!” He left the door open behind him, Curtis the mule blinking his blue-green eyes their way. 

“Um, that means—”

“I know what it means,” Katharina interrupted. “It means get the hell out.” She blinked up at Pietro. “I’ll come out when I’m good and ready, Fonzi. And as you can see, Fonzi, I am not good and ready, so you will just have to wait.”

Pietro waited, his arms crossed, cold air filling the room.

Katharina stayed in her chair, her arms crossed, feeling the cold air flowing into the room and sneaking up her leggings. “You mind shutting the door, Fonzi?” she asked.

“Is Alessandro.”

Katharina smiled. “Whatever, Fonzi.”

They locked eyes.

I am more warmly dressed, Pietro thought. She will crack first.

I am closer to the fire, Katharina thought. He will crack first. Minutes passed.

Bianca shivered. “Miss Minola?”

Katharina looked hard into Pietro’s eyes. He has the devil’s black eyes. He is evil. I will not back down.

Pietro returned Katharina’s stare. She has … beautiful eyes. I like how oval, how sexy— But she is evil! I will not back down.

“Miss Minola,” Bianca pleaded, “the draft is making the fire burn faster, and we’re almost out of dry wood, so maybe we should, um, go.”

Wimp! Katharina thought. She stood slowly. “I am now ready.”

Pietro pointed to the mule. “Go. You ride.”

“No.” Katharina breezed by Pietro to the porch and stopped. “Well, come on, Fonzi. Don’t keep me waiting.” She walked down one stair step and stopped. I knew it! That stank beast has my blue-green eyes! She blinked at Curtis, and Curtis blinked back. Kind of pretty, actually, but I am so pissed at the world this morning. Better let my diva reputation be my guide. She leaned as closely as she dared and looked Curtis in the eye. “This mule has got to go.”

Pietro nodded. “Yes. Go. You ride.”

Katharina backed up the stairs and stood by the rocker. “I am not getting on that thing again. Bianca!”

Bianca stumbled through the doorway holding her stomach. “Yes, Miss Minola?”

“Tell Fonzi here that I cannot ride this mule because of those eyes.”

Bianca felt a gorge rise in her throat for real and tore off the porch, falling over and vomiting behind the cabin.

“Never mind, Bianca,” Katharina said, turning her attention to Pietro. “Fonzi, let me explain something to you. This mule has my eyes. I’m sure no one told you”—though it is a lie—“that I do not work with anyone or anything that has my eyes.”

Pietro looked from Curtis’s right eye to Katharina’s eyes. “No. Mule has your eyes.”

Say what? “Fonzi, I am older than this mule.” I can’t believe I just said that. “What I meant to say is that this mule is younger than me.”

Pietro scratched his head. ”Che?

Katharina enunciated her words and spoke loudly. “I had these eyes first.”


“Oh, for the love of …” Katharina squared her shoulders. “No … mule! I … not … ride! Mule … must … go!”

Pietro smiled. “Yes. Mule go. You ride.”

Katharina’s feet were already killing her, her assistant was barfing all over Canada, and a massive moron who couldn’t understand English was trying to get her to ride a mule. Wait a minute. What do they put on horses? “Blinders! Mule must wear blinders!”

Pietro widened his eyes. “Mule can see.” He ran a finger in front of Curtis’s right eye, and Curtis’s eye lazily followed his finger. “See?”

Katharina gave up and walked off the porch. “Never mind, you moron. Where do I go?”

Pietro smiled. “Go. Yes. You ride.”

Katharina threw up her hands and stormed away in the direction of her retching assistant, who was stumbling ahead of her through the woods.