The Italian Holiday
Author: Nicole Sharp
Publication date: February 7th 2023
Genres: Adult, Comedy, Contemporary, Romance
Struggling writer Keats McCall is Italy bound by Valentine’s Day – but it’s certainly not for amore. She needs to escape her mindless barista job, the four walls of the rented room closing in on her, and the memories of last year’s disastrous break-up. Thank the Roman gods she can pack a bag and passport and run to her sister in Florence, Italy, in the hopes of getting her life back on track.
Keats expected to spend her days meandering through the rain-soaked cobblestone streets of Florence. What she didn’t expect was Lorenzo, who smells of espresso, Italian history and self-assurance, to propel her on an unimaginable journey.
From Florence to Venice, Keats basks in a luscious exploration of Italy and Lorenzo while she tries to figure out if the escapist mindset of an Italian Holiday can duct tape her life back together.
“God, that will be romantic, won’t it? Rome with someone you love…”
It was nice to hear that a man could still surprise his girlfriend in a romantic way, that there was still love out in the universe.
Lorenzo didn’t respond to my posturing about the surprise, but his study of me took on an intensity. I wanted to lean away from his intrusive stare, but forced myself to stand my ground and keep my smile steady. After all, I had spent the last hour studying him, and I interrupted first.
He moved then, thankfully breaking the strange moment as he rummaged around in the soft briefcase at his feet. “Ah…” He turned back and produced a small velvet box, took a deep breath and then proceeded to open the box slowly, reverently. His hand was shaking just showing me the ring.
“Oh…wow,” I whispered. “It really is going to be a romantic trip.”
He looked down at the ring and his shaking hand, frowning. “I was thinking about doing it on Valentine’s Day.” He cleared his throat. “I haven’t really been able to talk to anyone about this…” he excused as we both continued to silently study the ring. He nervously cleared his throat again, then quietly asked, “Does that seem…cheesy?”
“No,” I whispered, then reached out and gently touched the ring. I couldn’t imagine a world where someone flew to a foreign country to propose to me with a gold ring that glittered and blinked. But that was the insecurity brought on by the recent breakup. Of course, I couldn’t imagine that world because my ex-asswipe hadn’t even been able to bring himself to go to the store and get my antibiotic filled when I was really sick.
“It’s beautiful,” I verified. Though how could anyone question the breathtaking beauty of the large oval diamond encircled by a halo of smaller diamonds. It was truly stunning.
“It took me two weeks to choose one,” he admitted.
“What’s your girlfriend’s name?”
I smiled and pointed to the ring. “So, it would seem that you are just as excited and anxious as I am about this trip.”
He gave a soft laugh. “I am excited,” he turned the ring toward him so he could study it at a different angle, “and anxious…” he admitted, then cleared his throat once more. “I would argue, however, that some of us are better at handling our emotions than others.”
I finally met his eyes as I exclaimed, “I can’t help it! Excitement works me up…it flips and kicks in my gut. It makes me wear my emotions on my sleeve.”
“Well–” He might have been meaning to say more when a passing flight attendant’s gasp interrupted, “Oh, oh! Did she say yes?”
I blinked up at the flight attendant and then glanced over at Lorenzo; we frowned at each other.
A woman across the aisle leaned over and when she saw the ring, added her own gasp. “I’ve never been on a flight where someone proposed.”
“Oh, no…” I started.
Lorenzo shook his head and emphatically pointed. “No no, not her.”
“Gee, thanks,” I muttered over my shoulder at him.
“No, sorry. You seem…interesting,” he tried as he closed the ring box.
I leaned across the aisle and explained to both the passenger and the flight attendant, “He’s going to propose to his girlfriend in Rome. He was just showing me the ring.”
They were evenly disappointed.
“Such a shame, you make a cute couple,” the flight attendant said, then continued down the aisle.
I gave a snort of disbelief and muttered, “You know, going to Rome to propose on Valentine’s Day is just as exciting.”
As Lorenzo put the ring back in his bag, I touched his arm and reassured, “That is beautiful. Good job. All around.”
“I feel…” He stared over the seats stretched in front of us, trying to find what he was feeling. A shake of his head, he asked once more, “Do you think it’s trite to propose on Valentine’s Day?”
“Not at all. It’s going to be perfect.”
“I’ll hold you to that,” he affirmed.
about the author
Legend has it that Nicole Sharp was born to hippies during an ice storm in Stone Mountain, Georgia. While confirmation of said events cannot be agreed upon, one fact is for certain, it was a Tuesday.
By age twelve, Nicole was sure of two things: 1) She wanted to be a writer and 2) She wanted to travel. She begged her parents to allow her to voyage alone to exotic lands. They permitted her to go from California to Boise, Idaho to visit a great-grandmother.
After muddling through the college years, Nicole graduated with a Bachelors in History (think Greeks and Romans). Why didn’t she major in English if she wanted to be a writer? There were better stories in history class.
Nicole is Italian. According to Ancestry.com it’s a rather low percentage, but she feels that she is at least 51% Italian. When she returned to the homeland, she fell in love with the Italian cappuccino, so much so that she studied the language until she was fluent; thus she could order the magical elixir herself: Posso avere un cappuccino, per favore!
Nicole’s first concert was to see the bluegrass group The Seldom Scene when she was a fifteen-year-old, thanks to her parent’s bluegrass phase. However, she never admits it, and instead tells everyone that They Might Be Giants, whom she saw in college, was her real first concert.
Her first car was a yellow Chevy Celebrity and her favorite job was working as a docent in a museum in an old mining town in Colorado. She has written extensively about both.
Visit NicoleSharpWrites.com for more entertainment.