Albert Camus

Don't walk behind me; I may not lead. Don't walk in front of me; I may not follow. Just walk beside me and be my friend.

Friday, November 10, 2017

he’s determined to prove her wrong - A Love to Keep Me Warm by Gina Ardito

‘He wasn’t sure why Polina fought so hard to deny the possibility of fate, luck, and magic, although he understood her need to forge a path away from parental influence. In the last fourteen years, he’d never gone home.’


Release Date: November 10th 2017

After living in the carnival world, Polina Kominski is anxious to put down roots and build a life that includes a permanent home and, someday, a family. But first, she has to spend Christmas in Kraków, Poland to satisfy the final request of her late mother. Angry at having her strings pulled one last time, she’s resigned to follow the detailed instructions left to her, but refuses to believe the superstitions and allusions to magic Mom wants her to experience. And what’s with number eight on her mother’s itinerary, Kiss a Stranger?

To avoid facing his family’s sins, international banker, Rhys Linsey, will travel the lengths of the globe in his quest to regain the collection of ancient artifacts stolen from him years ago. When he runs into Polina on a Kraków street, he volunteers to help her experience the beauty of the holiday while sharing the history and folklore of this charming city. No matter how much she denies the existence of magic, he’s determined to prove her wrong.

Christmas in Kraków weaves a powerful spell, but Polina is running toward her future, while Rhys is stubbornly mired in the past. Can the magic of the holiday extend beyond December to bring Rhys and Polina full-circle to love?


After a long day spent touring the city, Rhys has confronted Polina about who she is:

“Where exactly did you grow up? Where are you from in the States?”

“Everywhere and nowhere. We moved around a lot.” Like every week.

Clearly, he didn’t believe her. If his expelled breath didn’t communicate impatience, the slow shake of his head did the trick. “Dammit, Polina, I wish you’d be honest with me.”

She thumped a fist on the table. “I am being honest with you. I’ve never really had a home. My family wasn’t the stick-around type.”

His eyes glinted like marbles, disbelief gleaming. “Where did you live?” he retorted. “In a tent?”

“Nope. A trailer.” Satisfaction rippled through her. Time to go in for the kill. “And not in a trailer park, either. I’m talking about a true mobile home.”

He didn’t even wince, just sat there, expression bland, waiting for her to say more. He wanted the truth, thought he could deal with whatever she told him. But he didn’t know the real dirt. Okay. Let’s see how fast he ran when she revealed all. Most people couldn’t wait to distance themselves from her when they heard a fraction of her past. Except for Eddie. Eddie, who’d only stuck around for the “fringe benefits” he assumed she’d be giving him. On a deep breath, she leaned forward to whisper, “Do you know what a ‘carny’ is?”
“A what?”
“A carny.”
“Can’t say I do.”
“It’s a person who works in a traveling carnival.”

“You traveled with a carnival?!” His voice rose several decibels, and she clamped her thighs together to keep from diving under the table.

“Yeah.” She grimaced and let the sarcasm fly. “Trust me. It’s not as glamorous as you think.”

He clasped his hands on the table. “What was it like?”

“Lonely and back-breaking,” she replied.
“Oh, come on. There must have been fun times, too.”

“Not many,” she murmured, then shook her head to clear the bitter memories. She needed a pleasant distraction. “What about you? What’s your family like?”

“Not worth talking about.” He shrugged. “I’ve lived a very dull life, compared to you. I’m the only son with four sisters. There were times I would’ve liked to join a carnival. Being with my family isn’t much different; it’s noisy, chaotic, and crowded.”

“It sounds wonderful,” she murmured, unable to stifle the wistful air in her tone.
Sure, her life had been noisy, chaotic, and crowded too. The difference was, for him, all those inconveniences came from family, people who knew him and loved him twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, fifty-two weeks a year. In her case, the noise, chaos, and crowds were due to strangers. In her personal life, no one took an interest in her, knew how she took her coffee, cared if she were sick or hurting. Not even her mother, who spent her offstage time drunk or high.

“Most of the time,” she continued, her mind going back to all those years with Jablonski Entertainments, “I handled ride maintenance and repair. Mom was in charge of dukkering. You’d call her a gypsy, telling fortunes and predicting futures with cards or a crystal ball. But we all pitched in wherever we were needed. If you’ve seen anyone working at a carnival, chances are, I’ve done that same job at least once in my life. I sold tickets, manned the rides, lifted steel.”
“Lifted steel?”
“Basically, it’s what it sounds like. Assembling the rides and outbuildings. I also dropped awnings, which is what we call closing up shop for the night. I played the gypsy role when Mom was too blotto to do her job.”

“Was your mother a real gypsy? A Rom, I mean.”

“No. She just sort of looked like what most people consider a gypsy to look like. Actually, she made herself look like what people consider gypsy-like. She dyed her hair black, which looked ‘mystical’ with her pale blue eyes. Almost otherworldly, I guess. And she wore heavy makeup. Uncle Leo—he owns the carnival we traveled with—he brought my mother to the States from Kraków a long time ago, when my grandparents died. She practically grew up around the carnival.”

“And you? When did you get involved?”

“I was born in the bunkhouse.”

“What about your father? Do you look like him? Was he part of the carnival too?”
“Dunno. I never met him. By the time my mother realized she was pregnant with me, she was six towns ahead with a different lover she’d left behind in each one. Even if she’d heard his name the night I was conceived, she would’ve been too incoherent to remember it. Mom went through men like most people go through toothpicks.”

And just like that, there they were. All her sins laid out flat on the table, a deck of playing cards stacked against her. She struggled to rise from the bench. Better to say goodbye, rather than watch someone else walk away from her in disgust. “I should go. Get some sleep.”

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About the author:
I kill houseplants. There. Now you know one of my greatest shames. I'm not boasting. I just figure that if you're reading this, you're looking for more than how wonderful life is as a writer. So here are a few more of my flaws:

I sing all the time. I sing in the car. In the shower. While I'm grocery shopping. And I headbop while I sing. When I'm not singing, I talk to myself. Just ignore me and move on. You get used to it after a while.

I don't eat my vegetables. Seriously. I'd rather have a cookie.
I'm extremely fair-skinned and could burn under a 60-watt light bulb.

I can't sleep without background noise. If it's too dark and too quiet, all I have are my thoughts. And even *I* don't want to be alone with my thoughts.

Don't ask me to Zumba, line dance, or march in the parade. I have absolutely no rhythm.

Regrets. I have more than a few.

My favorite activity is sleep. I don't clock a lot of hours, but I powernap like a Persian cat and rejuvenate within ten minutes.

I consider shopping and dining out excellent therapy for anything wrong in my life.

My feet are always cold. Always. My husband claims it's because I'm an alien sent to Earth to destroy him. (He might be right about that.)

Coming to my house for a visit? Unless you've given me plenty of advance notice, be prepared. My floor will not be vacuumed, there will be dishes in my sink, and I only make my bed when I change the sheets once a week (I'm climbing back into it ASAP. Why make it?) Housecleaning is not high on my priority list. Okay, to be totally honest, it's not on the list at all.

I can resist anything...except ice cream.

Since this is our first date, I figure I've revealed enough secrets for now. But if you've read this bio and think I might be the author for you, pick up one of my books. You won't be disappointed.

Author's Giveaway
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I feel exactly the same way about housework! Life's far too short to be worried about a bit of dust!

Rita Wray said...

I enjoyed the excerpt.

CindyWindy2003 said...

I'm excited this book is set in Poland and there's a hint of magic in it.