October 11, 2018

THE I DO DELI by Josie Castel #Excerpt

Kid Cafarelli is in love, and in her traditional Italian Catholic family that’s a big problem. By day she works behind the counter of her family’s New York delicatessen with her three older sisters, Teresa, Rose and Grace. By night she sneaks away to a forbidden French cooking class, led by the mouth-watering Jewish chef Marc Ratzenberger. Watching over the Cafarelli clan is her widowed father Carmine, who hates everything French except for the Statue of Liberty, which he insists was made with Italian steel. He also insists his girls marry in birth order, leaving Kid stuck behind Teresa the mouth, Rose the nerd, and Grace the prude. And Carmine guards his girls like a meatball guards spaghetti. But from New York to Italy Kid is determined to do whatever it takes to get her man and find her sisters true love. Will her search for three suitable husbands, and surviving Carmine, prove to be too much for the matchmaking rookie? Or can she make the impossible happen?

Grace may have been prissy, but she wasn’t stupid.
Kid was at the cash register, as usual. Every time she would ring up a sale and shove the cash drawer in she could feel her ring jostle a little against her chest and she would get happy all over again.
Rose was helping Uncle Aldo knead the dough for their popular Focaccia al Rosmarino when they ran out of fresh rosemary and she went down to the basement to get some out of one of the refrigerators. As she passed by Ben, she batted her eyelashes and smiled, and he wink, just a little, but it was enough for Grace to catch.
Now she knew something was going on and she was going to find out what. She got up and announced that she would help Rose get the rosemary. Ben wondered how many people it took to get a bunch of rosemary, but maybe it was a girl thing, like going to the ladies room together at restaurants.
Rose had just reached the refrigerator door and Grace was on her. “What’s going on? Why did Ben wink at you?”
Rose played incredulous, grabbing a bunch of rosemary. “Ben didn’t wink at me, why would he wink at me?”
“I know a wink when I see one, Rose and something is going on between you two. Every time you get near him he peacocks.”
“He peacocks?! What does that mean?”
“You know exactly what it means. He gets all puffed up and starts showing off for you. Like a male peacock showing his feathers, trying to impress a female peacock.”
“Technically, the males are called peacocks and the females are called peahens.” Rose was consistent.
“I don’t care what they’re called Rose! Why is he winking at you?!”
Upstairs Uncle Aldo was beginning to wonder what was taking Rose so long getting the rosemary. His hands were covered in dough and Ben was up to his feathers in zucchini skins, so he yelled at Teresa in the front of the shop to go down to the basement.
Kid could see Teresa was busy bagging baguettes for the Knights of Columbus quarterly fundraiser dinner, so she told her she would get Rose if Teresa could handle the register too.
As Kid got to the bottom of the basement stairs she could hear Rose and Grace arguing--something about winking peacocks.

Josie Castel is a humor columnist/editor at a city newspaper. Sweet & Sour. She lives in beautiful Buenaventura ~by the sea~ California, only she's stuck inland by an orchard filled with spiders. Helping her kill the spiders are her husband Bert and 20-pound cat Walter. His goal is 23. When she isn't killing spiders or feeding Walter she enjoys road trips, photography and old barn sales. THE I DO DELI is her first published novel. 

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