Sunday, September 18, 2011

An Excert from Shut Up and Kiss Me

Hughey has penned a humorous, poignant tale complete with mouth-watering descriptions of food and hilarious secondary characters, especially the stealth moms! Simply delicious!
Booklist ~~ Shelley Mosley

This month I’m posting an excerpt from Shut Up and Kiss Me. As someone who finds humor in most things, I try to portray those feelings through my characters. While I realize not everyone laughs at the same things, I hope this excerpt makes you smile.

Leave a comment and you might just be the lucky winner of a copy of Shut Up and Kiss Me. I’ll do a random pick and will contact the winner for details.
I’ve included two scenes from chapter one. Ellana, my heroine, has just received a frantic call from her mother telling her she needs to move back to New York from New Jersey because the man of her dreams is getting married to someone else.

So here’s the thing about our two mothers; Nicky’s and mine. Mom tells me I fell in love with Nicky the first time we cooed together, side by side on the blanket when our tiny fingers latched onto each other and wouldn’t let go. This is when the push to see us married began.

And speaking of my mother, she’s a petite Italian woman, four feet-ten inches to be exact, jet-black hair dyed every three weeks to hide the gray, a powerhouse of energy and the mother of two. Born during mom’s ”change-of-life” years, she tells me she couldn’t have been happier about the surprise. I suppose she tells me this so I won’t feel unwanted. Anyway, I know my mother wants only the best for me, and so does Aunt Nan, but their hounding about getting Nicky and me hitched makes me look desperate, and therein lies the reason I try to keep my feelings low key. Although, it appears I may not have succeeded.

The traffic slowed down to a crawl and old Stella pinged. I prayed I’d reach my final destination before she gave up. A red Chevy convertible with the top down pulled up next to me. Two young high school aged boys sat in the back seat drumming their hands on the doors to the beat of the music blasting from their radio. The driver looked over and blew kisses in the air to me. The thing is, I don’t look my age. It’s probably the dark brown corkscrew curls dangling on my forehead and inherited from my least favorite aunt, mom’s sister, Frannie. I suppose it’ll be a good thing when I’m older, but at the moment, it wasn’t the effect I wanted.

I groaned and ignored him, focusing on my thoughts until a chorus of horns from idiot drivers distracted me with their impatience. Stuck in the center lane, I edged my way in between two cars and prayed the angry drivers would let me through. They ultimately did, but not without flashing me the bird. I don’t know what it is about New York and New Jersey drivers, but that gesture has become as symbolic as raising the flag.

I exited the highway without knowing where it would lead. No big surprise there. I totally lacked in navigational skills too. For years, Dad’s been threatening to have a tracking device inserted under my skin, just like they do for dogs.

The street’s peacefulness gave me time to reflect. On the one hand, I felt relieved knowing I’d left a roommate who’d partied all the time, and quit a job I hated, but not without wondering if I’d regret it. On the other hand, I had to wonder whether I was crazy to think I could dissuade Nicky from marrying the red head. I mean, this was happening too fast.
Hadn’t I already paid a high price for my independence? The constant digs flying through the phone, and the acceleration of interference to see Nicky and me married. Would moving back home send mom a signal I was willing to give up my independence? Not going to happen, and that’s when I made a promise not to give in to the control of the Cupid Mongers. Yeah right. Good luck with that.

My mind drifted to Nicky and me as kids, and the Cupid Mongers’ brainwashing techniques. I did have to admit thinking about us back then did give me a warm fuzzy and made me smile.
The memory of Mom using Bobbi pins to attach the top of a sheer white curtain to my head as a bridal veil, made me laugh out loud. Those two goofy mothers had decided right from the beginning they weren’t going to risk the event not happening. I could almost smell the tiny bouquet of wild flowers Mom would shove in my hand every afternoon. Then, as Nicky and I walked down the path towards Aunt Nan, who posed as the priest, Mom would hum the wedding march until we were pronounced husband and wife.

At the time, Nicky and I enjoyed “the game” but that was only because we weren’t aware of the mothers’ devious ways yet. Nicky just groans about it now, and me, well, I guess I’m still holding on to the dream. The thought of being Mrs. Nicholas Soranno has always given me comfort, but it’s never going to happen unless I’m able to change my status as his surrogate sister. But why do I want more from him? He treats me like a sister. So why do I love him so much?

It’s the way he whispers those sweet nothings in my ear when he hugs me that sets my insides ablaze and makes me think the mothers are right about him not knowing his own mind. The guy needs a little help finding his way, and I’m just the woman to do it.
I mounted the stairs to my parents’ apartment on 12th Street, a short distance from the James Beard House. It felt good being back in New York, but moving back in with my parents had crazy all over it.

The stairs in this pre-war building creaked with every step I took. The familiar smell of old wood was like walking into an antique shop; it filled my nostrils and hovered overhead like a cloud ready to burst. I rushed, taking the steps two at a time to the third floor where my parents’ lived and the equally familiar smells of oil, garlic, and basil wafted up my nose causing my stomach to growl—a reminder I hadn’t eaten lunch.

As I reached out to ring the buzzer I heard Aunt Nan’s loud voice moving toward the door. Curious about their conversation, I rushed to hide behind the wall that jutted out by Mrs. Weinstein’s apartment, the space I’d used many times in the past to hide from mom.
“Do you think Ellana bought it, Josie?” Aunt Nan asked.
“She’s coming home, isn’t she?”


Elisabeth Rose said...

Scheming Mamas. What fun!

Carolyn Brown said...

Love, love interfering mommas. And congratulations on that starred review from Booklist on this one!

Shirley Marks said...

The starred review was totally earned. I LOVED this book!

Carolyn Hughey said...

Thank you, ladies.

Beate Boeker said...

This book sounds tempting in every way, Carolyn!