A stormy encounter…
Samantha DeMartino’s Christmas wedding is two weeks away when her fiancé calls the whole thing off. Word on the street: his cold feet are being heated by an old flame. With her well-ordered world in complete disarray, Sam’s friends convince her to go on her honeymoon—alone. A week at a charming Vermont inn away from the city and her demanding corporate career could be just what she needs to figure out her next steps.
Between his twenty-four seven work schedule on his family’s dairy farm and teaching tourists to ski, Jed Armstrong’s too busy to think about how lonely he is…until Sam sings her way into his life during a Christmas blizzard. Now he has to figure out a way to convince her to stay.
Can a vivacious city woman find forever with a reclusive farmer?
Will her secret keep her from trying?
What Inspired You to Write Your Book?
A publisher's call for a story set in Vermont sparked my idea for a fish out of water story about a vivacious city woman set in her ways and set in her corporate career whose life hits a crisis when her fiance calls off their Christmas wedding.
She decides to go on her honeymoon — alone — to a remote Vermont inn — beginning an adventure of a lifetime. There she meets a ruggedly handsome farmer who is her opposite in every way. Samantha begins to rethink all of her life choices.
How Did You Come up With Your Characters?
I wrote a talkative city woman for my heroine, Samantha. At the beginning she thinks she has her life all figured out. Her opposite attracts hero, Jed is a soft spoken, ruggedly handsome farmer/ski instructor.
Once I put them together the sparks flew around like crazy and the blustery Vermont winter weather warmed up right away!
Honeymoon for One
How did I, Samantha DeMartino, end up driving a rental car in a snowstorm on my way to a tiny town in Vermont on a honeymoon for one?
I’ll tell you, but I’m warning you now, keep your comments to yourself until the end. It’s not pretty.
That Friday started out like any other day, and by any other day I mean every other day. You can set your watch by my schedule. No, actually you could run NASA by my schedule; it’s that freakin’ predictable.
Five a.m. alarm, set so I can snooze till five fifteen, workout, shower, protein shake. Select another just this side of staid outfit from a closet full of ‘yes I am a curvy woman and yes you must take me seriously’ wardrobe choices.
Since I spend the entire day stuck in my tiny office, in theory I could wear daisy dukes and a cut off tee but parental decree dictates otherwise. Ten hours a day, every day, I’m poring over the federal, state and city tax code, and rulings along with writing the occasional memorandum of law. I don’t meet with clients. I’m a junior lawyer in a tax firm. Even my desktop finds me so boring it yawns and shuts down on a regular basis.
I leave the charming shoebox I call my apartment to walk one and half miles to the office, Uber if it’s raining because—my hair. It’s long, thick, and wavy and no amount of clever angle cuts or fancy YouTube tutorials can prevent it from blowing up into cartoon hair at the slightest hint of precipitation.
Eight a.m. I greet Dad, sometimes Mom at the door of their adjoining lower Park Avenue offices. We’re always the first ones there. Naomi and Jeremy, who share our receptionist and assistant duties, show up closer to ten a.m.
Then I sink into regs, opinions, and precedent, like it’s my job, because it is. I don’t pick up my head till my yogurt and apple lunch at exactly twelve noon, unless it’s to answer a query one of my parents pose about a client.
My mom, Lina LoRusso DeMartino is an accountant and my dad, Sam Sr. is a lawyer. Dad and I are DeMartino, LLP. In the adjoining office space is LoRusso Accountants. The accountants are my mom and my fiancé Ben Talese.
I mean ex-fiancé. You’ll excuse me because habits are tough to break, especially, I’m realizing, for me. For almost three years, I’ve been calling Ben my fiancé. I’m such a creature of habit you can tell what day it is by the color of my shoes. Friday’s are red, which is, I hope, self-explanatory.
But back to that Friday.
It wasn’t just any Friday. Yet like every Friday since even before we got engaged, Ben and I planned to have dinner together. At six o’clock if it was a working dinner with take out in our shared conference room or six-thirty if we went out to our usual place, Park Avenue Burger, home of what I called the boring-burger, where the salads were unfashionably tiny and the desserts predictably inedible.
However, it wasn’t just any Friday for a number of reasons.
First, it was two weeks before our wedding. Second, it was two weeks before Christmas. Third, I had some news to give Ben and fourth, it turns out Ben had some news to give me.
Ben suggested, no, he insisted we go to Park Avenue Burger and in retrospect it made sense. We were such a sensible couple. If he was going to break up with me two weeks before our wedding, he was going to do it in a public place where the legendary DeMartino temper, seldom seen but feared all the more because of its elusive quality, could not be unleashed.
Or so he thought.
“Oh, Sam, you didn’t…”
There’s shock and awe in Tracey’s voice, and I don’t mind saying that if I have to tell my girlfriends the sad and sorry tale of being dumped two weeks before my wedding, I’m glad there’re some moments I can look back on with a smile. Make that a smirk.
“I did. I guess those tone up workouts really jacked my arms because I lifted that table like it was an empty pizza box.”
“And then what happened?” That’s Beth, she’s a New York City schoolteacher, idealistic and tough as nails.
“He brushed himself off, but I’m guessing he took a hefty burger and fries scent home with him to the lovely Krystal. Along with my ring.”
“You gave the ring back?” Tracey and Beth both shriek at the same time.
Other diners in the Turtle Bay tavern we chose as our impromptu girls’ night out spot barely look in our direction but Tracey and Beth are apparently appalled.
Tracey is an event planner and always has the Emily Post etiquette angle on everything. Beth has been my righteous protector ever since our middle school’s mean girl squad made fun of the embarrassing, too early, beginnings of my centerfold figure.
“Seriously? Why would I want it?”
“Because it’s almost two carats?” They’re both flabbergasted.
“No. I spent all of last night wondering how it all went south and I decided I was as much at fault as he is. He can keep the ring, give it to Krystal, I don’t care. I don’t need the reminder of a lesson learned.”
“You’re not the one who cheated…”
“No, no I don’t mean it like that. And he didn’t cheat right away. When Krystal came back to New York, he says they were just meeting up, you know two college friends, blah, blah, blah.”
“Two college friends who were inseparable all through college.” Tracey sips the last drop of her margarita before pursing her lips in disapproval.
“Yeah, and after eight years apart, he still had feelings for her.” My voice droops against my will into a half whine.
“He should’ve told you right away.” That’s Beth.
I nod and search for an upbeat tone in the depths of my wine glass. I raise my head and flip
my work appropriate ponytail back over my shoulder.
“He should have. He shouldn’t’ve waited and it kills me because I know why he did. My mom planned to give him a stake in the accounting firm when we married. He waited because he had to calculate whether marrying me and getting equity in the firm was worth giving up Krystal. And yeah, he’s going to take her, not me. Not even half interest in Mom’s firm could tempt him to stay.”
“It still sounds like you’re defending him.”
Tracey motions to the server for another round and my wine glass is quickly refilled with a buttery, winter Chardonnay.
“Sure you don’t want something stronger?” That’s Beth, who chugs another mouthful of her beer every time I say Ben or Krystal’s name.
“No,” I say, decisive.
Old habits again. I can’t remember the last time I had anything more alcoholically caloric than white wine. I owe my curves to pasta and cheese. Although, I usually limit myself to one glass, two at the most and only on a Friday or girls’ night out. Because it isn’t every day a woman gets dumped two weeks before her wedding.
“I’m not defending him. I cared for him and he hurt me. Still, the shock of this got me thinking. What if we both had a lucky escape from each other? We were in a rut, and if he hadn’t met Krystal again, if we married, would we have been happy? Was he marrying me for a piece of the accounting firm? Was I marrying him because he was there, reasonably attractive and I’m thirty years old? I’m thirty freakin’ years old and I haven’t had a date since college.”
In law school it was study, study, study, then celebrate with post-exam boozy brunches. Then I segued right into my dad’s firm.
“You know what’s really horrible?” I continue in a groaning ramble. “Ben isn’t my soul mate. Not even close. And I went along with all of it.”
I take another restorative sip of wine.
“I kept my head down and worked and accepted all the things I thought I should want. What if the guy I was meant to meet, what if my soul mate walked past me on the street one day? Pick any day, any street, and any year, and you know what? It doesn’t matter because I wouldn’t’ve seen him. I would never have seen him because I’m always so busy, with my head down, sticking to my damn schedule.”
Slightly embarrassed by my drunken outburst, I look down at my Saturday shoes, basic black stilettos I switch out for boots when the weather is inclement.
“Okay. I get what you’re saying. But it’s damned gutless of him to wait until now.”
Tracey is so agitated on my behalf she’s almost levitating, her southern voice pitching higher in its indignation, and if that wasn’t a dead giveaway she said ‘damned’ and you know she never curses.
“Don’t I know it. I have a gorgeous dress I’ll never wear that cost me a month’s salary. Then there’s the honeymoon week in some adorably remote spot in Vermont to cancel. And I’m exhausted from pushing to finish all my year-end work. Not to mention, I haven’t even told my parents yet. There’s the wedding luncheon at the Boathouse. We have relatives coming in from New Jersey.”
I say the last sentence on a wail before I slump back in my seat. Without speaking, Tracey motions us to stand and we weave our way over to the bar. Our paninis are finished and all we want to do now is snark on Ben and drink.
“First things first,” Tracey says.
That’s Tracey’s event planner voice. She drums her fingertips on the surface of the glossy mahogany bar.
“Ben paid for the honeymoon, didn’t he?”
“He did.” I nod.
“So one problem solved. You’re going on that honeymoon.”
“I’m hardly in the…”
Beth raises her hand in front of me, teacher style, and I shut up.
Tracey continues. “You said yourself you’ve cleared your desk through the new year; you said you’re exhausted. If I know you, you have a closet “full of cute ski clothes you were ready to take on this trip.”
“Not a trip. It was our…” I stumble over the word because this wasn’t just a trip and I’m not part of an ‘our’ anymore. And damn I want to scream because I do have a closet full of useless, cute ski clothes I’ll never wear now because I don’t even know how to ski.
“Finally, you said you and Ben were in a rut. Well, Sam, I hate to say it like this but Ben is out of his rut and you’re still stuck. Forget about your schedule, forget about work, forget about the reason for this trip, and just go.”
At my nod, the bartender refills each of our particular poisons. When I’m still silent and sipping my wine, Tracey pipes up again.
“Damn, girl, Ben paid for it and you will go if I have to kidnap you to get you there.”
That gets a choked chuckle from me.
“Ha, Tracey, you pipsqueak, you couldn’t kidnap a fly much less me. I am so toned right now I could bench press you.”
Still, she’s right. I could use the break. I could use being around people I don’t know, who don’t know me, or the mess of my life right now. I could use a little R and R in a remote spot. Ben is out of his rut all right and rutting his one true love.
I press my trembling lips together because I cried all last night and I’m not gonna let myself start again. I jerk my chin up and down. “I’m going to go.”
(Excerpt From: Charlotte O'Shay- Forever in a Moment)
Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into big family and then married into another big family.
Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.
But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.
Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.
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