In this excerpt from my new release, No More Secrets, Angelica meets Sergio Delfino, her future husband.
Mama approached and hugged me. “You have a good head on your shoulders and would do very well if…well, if you had been born male, there would be no question about your choosing to remain single for a while. You could stay here or emigrate on your own. But that’s not an option for you—not in this town, and, I suspect, not in too many other towns.” She sighed. “As long as your father and I are alive, you’ll be fine. But once we’re gone, you can’t remain in this house alone. You’d have to move in with Gina or Rosetta. Marry Sergio and live the life of a signora in Cosenza.”
Mama understood me very well. Moving to a city would be a step up. I would also be exposed to more culture, socializing, and shopping. I smiled and squeezed Mama’s hand. While I approached each encounter with an open mind, I could never settle for loud, overbearing men. Kindness and consideration were my top priorities. Love didn’t really matter.
I kissed Mama goodbye and headed out toward the square. While the town’s winter population was well under one thousand people, it expanded in size during the spring and summer months. As I walked toward the piazza, I encountered several unfamiliar male faces. Each time, my heart would flutter in anticipation. I was excited about meeting Sergio and hoped for a connection.
As I approached the piazza, I heard the loud, booming voice of Giovanni Barone, Maria’s husband. “Angelica. Angelica. Over here.”
I liked Maria but didn’t look forward to dealing with her leering husband. I plastered a smile on my face and approached the couple. A thin man of medium height stood next to them. He blushed as I approached. Before anyone could speak, Giovanni blurted out, “Angelica, this is Sergio Delfino. He’s the best shoemaker in Cosenza, and he has a big apartment right in the center of the city.”
I ignored his comment and extended my hand to Sergio. “I’m very pleased to meet you. I hope you’ll enjoy the festival.”
Sergio returned my smile and handed me a white rose. “I hope you like roses. I removed all the thorns.”
Maria and Giovanni exchanged amused looks. I was pleasantly surprised at the gesture and gave Sergio a closer look. This man would be gentle and not give me any grief. And he could design and create custom shoes for me. A minor detail for most, but with size 40, triple A feet, it was a major consideration for me. I took his hand and led him away from my gaping relatives. I had already decided to marry him. There was no need to be coy and pretend otherwise.