Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Anna DeStefano GuestBlog: Bella Valentine's Party!

2 Contests!!! Details in Anna's GuestBlog!
Of all the people I've been lucky to meet and introduce to you since Romance: B(u)y the Book began almost 2 years ago, Anna DeStefano is one of my favorite. She's smart, gorgeous, unfailingly kind, and never hesitates to give a hand to both colleagues and readers. And when she last visited, she posted -- as she wrote them -- steamy excerpts from "The Perfect Daughter," her Harlequin Superromance debuting today!

We're playing at Anna's blog today, too. Plus, you can visit me at RidingWithTheTopDown to talk First Kisses and sweet prizes. Please, Bellas, enjoy the day, and welcome our RBtheBlog sweetheart, Anna DeStefano, with a warm Valentine's Day buongiorno...

You bet your sweet...heart, it's a Valentine's Party!!!
Those of us who love books about love better do the day right, or who's gonna make sure Cupid doesn't sit home on those chubby buns and take the day off?

I can't tell you how excited I was when Michelle asked me to GuestBlog on the day of love. You Bellas have one of the funnest hotspots on the Net, and Valentine's one of my favorite days of the year. Heck yeah, I'd love to hang for a while!

And do I have a Valentine's prize for one lucky Bella!!!

Leave a comment and this great XOXO heart tote and matching wallet could be yours. Carrying something pretty like this is bound to keep Cupid at your side all year long, my friends.

It's our duty, Bellas, to do this day right. We're partying over on my blog, too, if you want to stop by for more fun and great prizes. Love is in the air, and we're honor-bound to revel in it.

What's your poison? What says love to you on this fine day?

Weepy movies--which one's your favorite?

A favorite book--is it steamy or sugar sweet?

A special dinner--tell us what your guy's cooking up for YOU tonight.

Maybe just hanging at home, when you're usually on the run during the week--and making sure one thing leads to another, so hanging with your lover gets even more fun once the lights go out ;o)

All fine ideas--but I'm sure you have more. What's your dream Valentine's Day dream come true???

No significant other this year to heart-to-heart with? No worries!!!

Bellas are strong, independent women who rock the world with or without love candy by their side.
We take ourselves to the best dinner in town if we want to go, or to the movie we're dying to see, or on that hike up the mountain we need to prove to ourselves we can conquer.

If you're sans-amour this year, here are a few friendly faces to cheer you up that mountain and down again.

Having a book releasing on Valentines Day is great Karma, IMO. I excerpted The Perfect Daughter when I visited with you ladies last summer. Now, I'm happy to say the story rocks, the cover rocks, and it's the end of one series and hopefully the beginning of yet another that Superromance will launch in the fall.

Did I mention I'd be giving away a complete, signed, set of the "Daughter" series to one lucky Bella, too? One lucky commenter will get to read Maggie River's story from the very beginning--three books in all, including my 2004, The Unknown Daughter, which won Romantic Times' award for Best Superromance that year.

Talk about a woman who deserves her HEA. It gives me goose bumps thinking about how far Maggie's come. It was amazing to write the end of her journey. Strong, sensitive women get to me every time, especially when they're willing to stand up to the strong, sexy guys in their lives and fight for what they want!

Come out, come out and share your go-to Valentine's must-have with us in the comments. Who knows where that will take us next. You ladies always surprise me. Looking forward to chatting love all day!!!
Encore! Grazie, Marianne Mancusi, for visiting with us yesterday! We're looking forward to "Moongazer," and to your joining us again. :)
Encore due! Congratulazione, ev! You won the Dorchester Gift Bag! melissa, you won Marianne Mancusi's gift pack! Send me your snail mail addies at mbuonfiglio@RBtheBook.com.


Jennifer Y. said...

Hi Anna and Happy Valentine's Day! I love your books!

Being single, I usually find myself curled up with a book on Valentine's Day and this year is no exception.

Jennifer Y. said...

Oh, and thanks for the eye candy!

Maureen said...

Valentine's Day is special if everyone makes an effort to be appreciative of each other in our house. I'm not interested in expensive gifts. Thoughtful gestures mean so much more.

Stacy~ said...

I love Valentine's Day, the romance of it all. My ultimate V-Day dream would be to have my sweetie tell me he's taking me on an all-expense paid 2-week vacation to a warm tropical island where I will be waited on hand and foot, and have more romance than I can handle LOL. This is a dream, right? The reality is much more like Jennifer's. No sweetie, but I will add chocolate.

Happy V-Day everyone. I'm off to work.....

Oh, yes, love the hotties ;)

Stacy~ said...

Oh, and major congrats Ev on your prize!

Anonymous said...

Welcome Anna!

For Valentine's Day I'll be baking cookies with the kiddies during the day, making a nice dinner, and sneaking in some me time with a Hot Romance. Hot in order to get me in the mood to give my husband his gift later, of course.

A perfect day would have me shipping the kids off to Gramma's and being pampered before going out to dinner with the dh. I'm thinking a massage at the least.

I'll settle for the kids not all freaking out about not liking what's for dinner, as they do every other night of the year.

Anonymous said...

Stacy, today is the day of dreams. I love your getaway idea--for some reason, the Itlain Alps come to mind when I look for my ulitmate getaway. I promised my husband we'll go one day soon. Today, I'm making a pledge to make that happen before next V-Day!!!

Maureen. It's the small things that matter most, isn't it. Someone recognizing the special things you do when you don't expect anyone to notice. Appreciating the fact that you're in their life, and your love makes a difference to them!

Jennifer, take all the eye candy you want--the store's always open here with the Divas ;o) It's rainy and blustery today. Curling up with a good book and a cup of hot chocolate (with marshmellows) sounds perfect.

Pilates calls, ladies. Check back with you soon!!


Kati said...

Mmmm, Taye Diggs. He's just perfect for today!

Welcome back, Anna! We've missed you and I'm so glad you're here!

Well, I'm on the record as hating Valentine's Day, it seems designed to make those of us who are without that special someone, feel more single. That being said, I'll take a piece from Stacy's fantasy. I'd love to be someplace wonderful with the man of my dreams! Taye will do. He easy on the eyes, and he has the voice of an angel!

Can't wait to read the latest in the "Daughter" series. Especially since we were here to read the yummy bits early on!

MK, who is iced in this morning and is under a comforter with the laptop on her lap to stay warm!

Anna Destefano said...

MK, isn't Taye the hot, hot hotest in that photo? I couldn't pass him up.

And I totally understand the need to push back at the way the world externalized VD, as if we can't feel validated without all the fancy trimmings. That's why I loved the idea of chatting with the Bella's today. Love is a state of the heart, an you ladies have it!!! Can't think of any place I'd rather be...okay, the tropics with Taye wouldn't be so bad, I have to admit, lol!!!

Those you who are bundled up at home today, let me know if a few new excerpts would help keep you warm ;o) I'm already sharing scenes of The Perfect Daughter over on annadestefano.blogspot.com, so scroll back through the last few day's posts when you get a chance. But for the Bella's, how about a sneak peak of my April All-American Father. My ex-Football-Star hero is most drool-worthy!!! And the heroine is a spitfire who's going to give him a run for his money.

Hot chocolate and Taye dreams for everyone up North today!!!

tetewa said...

Well since I'm single I'll probably spend my day curled up in my pj's and watch one of my two favorite movies. The Notebook or A Star is Born. (or probably both)

Kati said...

how about a sneak peak of my April All-American Father.

Yes please!!

J.K. Coi said...

Hi Anna, I love your books, and can't wait to read The Perfect Daughter.

When I think of Valentine's Day, I mostly think of my childhood. My parents always gave us a little something, a chocolate or a new pink sweater. It was always sweet and memorable.

As an adult, I haven't put a lot of stock in big sappy gifts. Just the fact that my husband will take me out to dinner, and we'll spend a nice evening together is gift enough and makes me happy.

Anna Destefano said...

Teresa, oh my gosh, The Notebook makes me a puddle of tears every time. "If you're a bird, I'm a bird..." Then the birds fly off together at the end... Waaaaaaa!!!!!

MK... I think I can make that happen ;O)

Oh, and Canadacole, your dinner time sounds about like ours. My suggestion--order pizza in tonight, so all that energy can be put to better use, once your dh and you have a few kid-free minutes alone ;o)

Yeah, yeah.... I missed pilates... A little at-home crisis got in the way. Ah, the life of a pampered romance novelist ;o)

I'm off to do the elliptical for a bit and maybe some circuit weights. Then I'll dig up some yummy stuff from All-American Father!

I've written three books since last summer...now where did I put that manuscript ;o)


krissyinva said...

My Valentines come true would be a nice vacation, maybe Italy or Austrailia. There are so many places I want to go!! Today we will just be doing small things at home. Usually we end up watching a sappy movie at night and cuddling on th couch sampling chocolates.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Buongiorno, and Happy Luv Day, Bellas and Anna! You guys have me so jazzed already, and I
especially like canadacole's idea about reading a hot romance to celebrate the day!

mk wrote: how about a sneak peek of my April All-American Father.

Yes please!!

Pretty please with Taye Diggs on top, Anna?

Julie in Ohio said...

WELCOME BACK, ANNA!!! I'm so happy you have graced us with your presence today. It is a cold and blustery day here. They're actually calling it Blizzard '07. Thank you for coming to warm things up and these pics are helping. ;o)

I can't wait to get my hands on Maggie's story. I'm so happy that she's getting her HEA. :o)

I'm making dh a steak dinner tonight with all the trimmings. Other than that, I'm going to play it lazy. I'm thinking a hot cup of cocoa and a good re-read is on the agenda until I get plowed out. :o)

CrystalGB said...

Hi Anna! Since it is cold and snowy, my dream valentines day dream come true would be for my husband to tell me we were going on a tropical vacation. I am so tired of being cold.
Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Julie in Ohio said...


Unknown said...

Hey Anna,

My husband did something really nice this year. He gave me tulips and chocolate this morning and told me he was taking me to lunch today and that he arranged for me to go visit my mom this weekend on the SC coast (no kids). My mom and I will get to shop and go see a sappy chick-flick without any interruptions! This is a rare treat so I am excited!
I'll take my copy of The Perfect Daughter with me. Just received it from eHarlequin.com and I've read two chapters so far. Can't wait to finish it.

Anna Destefano said...

All the V-Day plans are amazing, Bellas!!! And it's great to see so many of my blogbuddies hopping over from my side of blogspot ;o)

Glad some of you are starting to get your reserved copies of The Perfect Daughter. There are lots of excerpts are over on my blog.

For the Bellas, a special sneak peak of All-American Father... A bit of backstory is needed first. Bailey Greenwood's an ex-valedictorian, a most-likely-to-succeed academic star who stayed home instead of going off to college and a career, to take care of her grandmother and her family business. Derrick Cavenaugh is the football all-star quaterback (turned All-Pro College superstar, but washed out of going pro because of a back injury) who ruled their high school three years ahead of her, and never knew she existed. Now he's a single-father who's moved his kids back to her San Francisco suburb, and his acting-out pre-teen daughter is causing the kind of trouble that draws our hero and heroine back together. Neither one of them has the future their potential said they should have made--but together, they just might be able to have it all (how's that for a romance hook ;o)

Anyway, the story's sassy and lighter than anything I've ever written--a really fun change of pace. But the relationship and emotions run just as deep as all my books--and Bailey and Derrick burn up the pages once they finally let themselves get their hands on each other.

Here's some of the scene where they first meet--after Derrick's daughter has been caught shoplifting expired condoms at the convenience store Baiely's moonlighting at... We'll have to fast-forward to a love scene next ;o)


"You know." Bailey slipped into Scrooge's chair. "If your guy can't spring for the rubbers, you might want to consider trading up."

The girl--Leslie, Bailey had heard her say to the cop when she'd recited her dad's cell number--looked shocked, a split second before she rebounded with a sneer.

"Like there's just one guy."

"Well if you're going to tag-team it," Bailey smart-assed back. "I'd suggest you shop-lift at the Wal-Mart. Prehistoric condoms are a bad deal, even when they're free."

The kid's forehead scrunched in confusion, morphing her toughness into the kind of adorable she shouldn't be in such a hurry to outgrow. Bailey plucked the discarded Trojans from the desk and tossed them over. The girl snatched the box one-handed.

Nice reflexes.

Hopefully, her mind was just as quick.

"Condoms have expiration dates for a reason," Bailey explained. "They tend to break after they've been sitting for too long."

More scrunching, then an image of what "breaking" meant must have flashed through the girl's mind. Cheeks reddening, she glanced down at the pre-Y2K date on the box, then slapped the condoms to the desk.

"Oh..." Looking younger by the second, she clenched her hands in her lap. "I--"

"Leslie Marie Cavenaugh!" a masculine voice boomed from the doorway.

The kid's face drained of color, turning mutinous at the same time. Crossing her arms, she sunk further into the acid green chair.

Bailey barely noticed.

Daddy was six-four and then some, with the kind of broad shoulders and trim waist that did dangerous things to a woman's fantasies. His pricey suit screamed money and privilege, but the hands he'd buried in his trouser pockets looked as tough as ever, and his nose had been broken more than once.

Bailey had seen the first break from the sidelines. He'd thrown the winning touchdown pass at Western's '95 State Championship game, and the opposing defensive end had taken exception.

Just looking at him brought the past she never bothered to remember flooding back.

"Derrick Cavenaugh."

It took a few seconds to realize she'd said his name out loud. Several seconds more to register that he didn't recognized her in return.

And why on earth should he?

Western High's Most Likely to Succeed ever blinked down at her, a washed-up valedictorian, without a flicker of recognition for the woman who'd worshiped him from afar, when she hadn't been much older than his daughter.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...


God help me. I cannot wait for this book now! I'm not sure I'm all that happy about that, Miss Anna...

traveler said...

When my husband brings me a cup of tea in the morning then I consider that above and beyond the call of duty. Since he leaves very early for work and I am home, I will be preparing a feast of a meal for him and then present him with a special present, an Italian singer/artist CD whom he loves and a card that I picked up which is unique and looks like a place we visited in Italy.

ellie said...

I don't need to be showered with gifts, just to be loved and appreciated all year long. We never had a honeymoon, so what I would love would be a trip, but a wonderful, Mediterranean cruise to Italy or a holiday throughout Italy. The romance, history and the setting is what I would cherish.

Anna Destefano said...

Traveler, my husband and I are often ships that pass in the night, we both travel so much.

The sweetest thing he does for me when we're both home, is getting up and going to the gym early, so he can be home in time to get my son ready, fed and off to school on mornings when I've been up all night writing. Those are the real Valentine's Days--because he knows what I need most and makes sure I have it.

I do everything I can to be his go-to Valentine all year long, too. Sigh... now if he'd just remember to replace the toilet paper when it's down to the last sliver on the roll!!!

Michelle, lol!!! Good news--you only have to wait another month or two for All-American Father. It'll be avaialbe on eharlequin.com on March 1st, and out in stores in early April... And of course I'll share a few more scenes before we're done today.

Everyone... Check out Michelle's first kiss story on the drivingwithtopdown blog!!!

Then come back over here and tell us, husbands and significant others aside, who your dream kisser would be. If you could have any lips locked with yours...which ones would you want?

Any of the guys pictured in today's blog would do for me... I'm greedy... maybe all of them ;O)

Once we're good and in a kissing mood, we'll check back in with Derrick and Bailey and see if cupid's warmed them up a bit more!

kerri1973 said...

I just have to brag about my hunky. He's just wonderful and we celebrated our Valentine's a little early (last weekend). He took me to sexy/sinful New Orleans for a romantic getaway weekend. While there, he proposed to me! Yes, that's right...I'm off the market. When a man proposes to you by writing "will you marry me?" in chocolate...how can you refuse? :-) This Valentines, I'll spend with my new fiance and my daughter (the other love of my life). Valentine's to me...is family. May love find each of you today and every day. xoxoxo

pearl said...

Valentine's Day on a small scale should be practiced every single day. To show love with kindess, and thoughtfulness each day is so important. today is lovely and should be remembered since we look forward to it but it is forgotten too quickly. I will try practice what I preach in a small way. A few weeks ago my husband mentioned that there was a wonderful movie playing which appealed to both of us and we went on the spir of the moment. That was a great evening which I will remember for a long time. I will surpise him tonight with a small gift which he will be most glad to receive.

Melissa McClone said...

Happy Valentine's Day to all the Bellas!

Thanks for the sneak peek, Anna!

Meljprincess said...

I just got a copy of "The Perfect Daughter"! Could this day get any better!? My cat and TPD says love to me. *grin*
A Valentine dream come true would be a day spent with J. Depp or Dave Navarro. :-)

Happy Valentine's Day, everybody!

joelle said...

Spending a quiet evening together ranks favorably since work is his priority and mid-week outings are rare. Weekend will be lovely with a special meal and time to enjoy this precious time talking and relaxing. But I do have a surrpise in store for him tonight which I hope will be special.

Kati said...

I cannot wait for this book now! I'm not sure I'm all that happy about that, Miss Anna...

**MK wiping away a tear for Michelle, who'll probably get to read it long before the rest of us**;oP

Anna, it looks wonderful. I love professional athlete stories!

Cherie said...

Hi Anna! Happy Valentine's Day! For me, Valentine's Day is about being with family, since they are the loves of my life. As for plans, hubby will take me, our 4 month old baby girl and 3 year old son. Wish us luck! :-) Later at home, we will exchange gifts

Cherie Japp

robynl said...

Happy Valentine's Day everyone. Love the prizes up for grabs.
Anna, your books rock!!!
Our VDay is 'out of this world' this year. Dh and I book got new dentures on Monday and I haven't eaten since; they take a lot to get used to. I gave dh his favorite chocolate covered cherries and didn't even have one. He bought me flowers last week because I had not felt well and that made me so happy because it was unexpected.

Lis said...

I'm like Jennifer Y above, I'll be spending tonight with a couple books and a dvd from my dad :o)

Love the excerpts!

Playground Monitor said...

I'm late checking in... had a hair appointment this morning and then ran errands while I was already out in 21 degree weather. Brrrr.

Ev, I am totally jealous of your win! Maybe I'll be lucky today.

I met Anna 2 years ago at my RWA chapter's romance readers' luncheon and she's a total doll. Beautiful and funny and just a terrific person. I hope she'll be at this year's lunch too (had to miss last year cuz #2 son was graduating from college that day).

The DH and I are grilling steaks at home tonight. It'll just be a low-key evening at home in front of the TV with the gas logs warming things up.

I went through a box of tissues reading "The Notebook" and another box watching the movie. None of Sparks's other books have affected me that strongly.

Dream kisser? Oh gosh, what about Matthew McConnaughey? Or Hugh Jackman? Or Daniel Craig the new James Bond?


Carol M said...

I always love reading your excerpts and your books, Anna!

It's snowing a lot here in PA so we are just staying in. It's a great day for hot chocolate and reading a good book.

I'll make a nice dinner for us tonight.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

Anna Destefano said...

Hugh Jackman!!! Yum... Wolf-like facial hair and all. What an amazing actor, singer, storyteller... And those eyes... yummy. Colin Farrell has great pucker power, too. Brooding brunettes are my weakness, it seems...

Okay, a kiss from All-American Father... Just for the Bella's. No one's seen this yet but my editors... Derrick's just realized how much Bailey's sacrificed to stay home and help her grandmother all these years, and she's his best shot now at reaching through his daughter's rebellion... But more importantly, Bailey's fighting spririt is calling to him, when he feels like he's failed at everything important in his life... He can't stay away... He has to know what kissing someone that amazing would feel like... sigh ;o)

I'm actually giving you a bit of two different scenes, and there's so much good stuff before and after, but I thought the Bellas would appereciate this part the most ;o)


"...I didn't mean to interrupt." Derrick braced his elbows on the table. "But--"

"But it was just too tempting to pass up, right?" Bailey felt a bout of bitchy coming on, and she gave it free reign. Why did Derrick Cavenaugh, of all people, have to be there to witness her rock bottom? "For an ex-jock still having trouble adjusting to the real world, it must be exhilarating to get a play-by-play of how badly someone else is messing up for a change."

He pressed a finger to her lips, and all she could do was stare at the way his chest filled out his expensive dress shirt. Absorb the incredible sensations radiating from his touch.

"But," he continued. "I'm glad I did. I've already knew how hard you were working to keep this place going. But until now, I didn't really get what that meant. I'd give anything for someone to look at me the way your grandmother looks at you."

His finger slipped away as his eyes dropped to Bailey's lips.
She had absolutely no idea what he was talking about. Still couldn't imagine why he was there, barging into her home, her life--again. All she knew was that she wanted, needed, his touch back.


Derrick's head lowered toward Bailey, even though he was certain it was a bad idea. Even though he should already be out the door.

He'd never wanted anything more than the kiss he'd been denying himself for days. Each time he'd seen her, he'd found a reason to touch her. And each time had left him wanting more.

Now, he couldn't stand not knowing what someone so genuinely unselfish tasted like.

He'd been considered a champion most of his life. A winner since playing rec ball in elementary school. To many, a hero. But none of the accolades could compete with the admiration Beverly Greenwood so clearly felt for her granddaughter.

"Derrick?" Bailey's perfect, pink lips trembled as he sunk his hands into the curls she hadn't smoothed into a ponytail that morning.

"Let me," he begged, drowning in her shocked eyes, begging with his own. "Bailey, please. Let me..."

He'd stopped by on the way to work to apologize for yesterday's verbal clumsiness, and to make sure it hadn't changed Bailey's mind about helping his daughter. At least that's what he'd told himself, when he'd decided he could afford to be late getting to the office, when he already had to take off early to pick Leslie up that afternoon.

Truth was, this was what he'd come for.

He needed to be one hundred percent focused on Reynolds-Allied today, and on Leslie and Savannah when he got home. But as Bailey's lips met his, seeking instead of waiting, needing instead of merely accepting him, trembling still, as they parted for his tongue and took him into her body, there was no way in hell he could stop.

He cupped the back of her head, angling her mouth for a deeper possession. This is what he'd come for. What he'd wanted from almost the moment he'd set eyes on the woman.

Bailey moaned and leaned even closer.

Her strong fingers pressed into his arms, tracing every clenched muscle as they traveled upward, until her arms wrapped around his neck. One of his own hands went travelling in the opposite direction, down the curve of her spine until it reached the softer flesh beyond and scooped her into his lap.

Lord, he was a butt man, and Bailey Greenwood's bottom--

"Derrick?" she murmured again.

He managed a grunt as he cupped her closer, settling her legs on either side of his hips before diving back in for more of her kiss.

"What... What are we doing?" Her voice was still dazed, but he could tell he was losing her. The practical, always-thinking Bailey was re-emerging from the hot, needy woman plastered against him. "It's...it's the crack of dawn. What--"

"Can you tell me a better way to greet the day." He forced himself to let go. Pecked a more chaste kiss on her nose before she scooted back to her own chair. "If you're grandmother's offering a place at the table every morning..."

"Don't be ridiculous." Bailey ran a hand down her clothes in that self-conscious way he was starting to hate. "I'm--"

"Amazing." Smart and funny. Willing to help anyone. A natural leader. Gorgeous from her wrinkled, cotton shirt down to her bare feet.

"Yeah, I'm a real phenomenon." Defeat rang in every word. "What are you doing here, Derrick?"

"Crowding you." He stood and walked several feet away, creating the space they both needed.

"Stalking, you mean."

"I can't seem to help myself anymore..."

Wolfy said...

Love the excerpts. Since I do not have a SO, tonight I will be closing down the computer and taking a good book and curling up on the bed and reading a book. I might have something other than coffee to drink, but probably not.

Kati said...

Big. Swoonie. Sigh.

Anna, can you please have Derrick gift-wrapped and sent to my house?

Jennifer Y. said...

My cake turned out pretty good btw! Strawberry cake with Strawberry icing...very lovely.

Jennifer Y. said...

Great excerpts!!!

alissa said...

Valentine's Day is great when you have a special someone. I have a wonderful husband whose devotion has always been evident. I cherish his exceptional work ethic and wish that we could spend more time together. It will be a quiet dinner together with good food, a cute gift for him and a tear jerker movie, Cinema Paradiso.

Maria, Lover of All Things Romance said...

Today I will settle in with Bridget Jones and half my body weight in Cadbury's chocolate

Cheryl said...

Hi Anna! I'm a single mom with two kids and the best parents. So that's who I'm concentrating on this Valentine's Day. My parents are the absolute best ever and give such wonderful moral support. And lots of helpful advice in raising my kids without being pushy or judgmental. Hope everyone has a wondeful Valentine's Day!

Unknown said...

Hi Anna! I'll be reading tonight and watching The Princess Bride!

principessa said...

Tonight we are going out to dinner at a romantic restaurant. I am so fortunate to be with a very special man whose kindess knows no bounds and whose thoughtful hand made cards are always a treat to receive. I appreciate him for his unique qualities and for looking after me so well.

flip said...

I want to be with my family on Valentine day. My baby girl was so loaded down with treats for her Valentine party today. I gave her a silly, thin stuffed puppy to add to her collection. She just turned eight but she loves to play mommy with her dolls and stuffed toys. She makes me laugh, because she is dead on on her attitude. Her babies get fevers and cry.

My favorite Valentie memory was in kindergarten. My mom made heart shaped strawberry jam sandwiches. It was so special.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Anna, can you please have Derrick gift-wrapped and sent to my house?

She could, MaryKate, but the wrapping paper would be all torn, and the bow would be cleverly retied because he'd have made his way to you via my place.

Can I tell you Bellas that I'm not sure my dream kiss would be with Fabio Cannavaro?

Oh! Oh! I forgot to tell you what Dave got me for Luv Day! A Fabio Cannavaro picture book in Italian from when he first went to play for Real Madrid last fall. He bought it on eBay after I mentioned I'd seen it. I can't wait to scan some of the photos for youz...

Anonymous said...

Wow, thanks for the awesome eye candy!! Happy Valentine's Day everyone! This year my dear hubby and I are staying home with pizza and a romantic movie. It is snowing, snowing and cold here in WV. We feel everyday together is Valentine's Day. ;)

catslady said...

Oh I've enjoyed all the excerpts over at your blog.

My daughter lent me the Notebook so I'm hoping to talk my husband into that instead of the history channel lol. We're all snowed in here so it's a good time for a good movie.

Happy Valentine's Day.

Kati said...

Michelle - No way, Bella! You'll wear him out!

Dave's such a keeper, but you know how lucky you are! What a guy!

Anonymous said...

I got a dozen roses this morning and a gift certificate to a bookstore. That said it all. Of course, I live with a wonderful guy that doesn't need a holiday to give me things. I am sooooo lucky

Kathleen said...

Flowers are always a winner for me :)

Stacy~ said...

Wonderful excerpts Anna - you know how to hook us in and keep us wanting more...like posting pix of Taye and getting us single girls all hot and bothered. That fact that he's married in RL makes him even more attractive - isn't that weird? I guess I don't like my hotties to be players, but rather one-woman men. Too bad it can't be me LOL.

Michelle, I hope you've been keeping up the maintenance on your scanner cuz we want Canna, lots of Canna, and we want him NOW! You dh is a gem ;)

To combat VD blues, I treated myself. Today I picked up a sexy red blouse at Kohl's (in the junior girls section LOL), got some sexy, hot books, indulged in a few chocolate covered treats, and savored a lovely french vanilla coffee. I highly recommend it.

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Hey, Bellas! How bout Anna coming here and getting us all to have fun and be open about what we love, what we have, and what we want. And who we want.

Your being open -- and not judgemental -- is the real gift today, a Luv Day gift to all of us. You're sure sick of hearing it, I know, but I feel really lucky to hang here with you all.

Oh, and at dinner tonight, my damn kids ate my tiramisu. But I'm all espresso'd up, so I think I'll go re-read some hot romance. Or peruse my new Canna photo book. See? God takes away one Italian sweet, and offers another even sweeter...

Rach said...

Hey Bellas, I don't have time to read all the comments, but it looks as if ya'll must have had a fabulous time! :o)

I just wanted to check in really fast and wish you all a happy Valentine's day. Or, since it's almost 10:00 here, I hope you all had a wonderful Valentine's day!

Anna Destefano said...

Michelle--Canna I have that book when you're through with it!!! I might be able to arrange a trade for Derrick ;o)

Just got back from a restraunt downtown my husband and I have been going to since we were in college. Relaxing, amaizng food and service. Not a once-a-year place for us. We're there at least every other month. Feels like home. Like what we do for ourselves when we need a night, just the two of us. A great tradition.

Everyone's been so wonderful sharing their Valentine's dreams and plans with the group. So I say, one more tast of All-American Father for the Bellas!!! Enjoy The Perfect Daughter on the shelves now, and AAF will be available before you know it. You'll have to wait until then for all the good stuff, but here's one more taste to tease another Valentine's sigh or two from you before bedtime ;o)

Thanks for making me feel so welcome, ladies. You're the best!!


"Derrick." Bailey avoided Derrick's mouth when he would have kissed her again. "I could want you more than I've ever wanted anything in my life. But not if this is just about you needing to feel something good tonight. I'm too desperate for that myself right now. Desperate enough to make a really bad decision, if we're not careful."

He took her wrists in his hands, circling their fragile strength with fingers he realized were shaking.

Hearing how much he could mean to her was more powerful than the need pulsing through him.

"I was certain I couldn't ever want anything the way I wanted to play pro ball," he said. "Now, I'd give everything good I've ever had, to see my girls happy. And have you be a part of that, any way you want to be."

The sparkle dimmed in her eyes, as Bailey lowered her hands. "Of course your girls deserve to be happy, and I'll do anything I can for Leslie."

She tried to slip off the counter.

He held tight.

"That's not what I meant." Way to fumble in the end zone, DC. "I'm not looking for an ace baby sitter, or someone to keep Leslie and Savannah's minds off their messed up parents. You deserve to be happy, too, Bailey. I want the chance to give you everything you've always dreamed of. I want a part of that to be me."

"I..." She was shaking her head. "I'm not even sure... It's been a long time since I've even thought about what I want. And now, the last few days... I don't know..."

"Then don't think. Just, let yourself trust me. I'm not looking for an easy way out of dealing with my problems. As great as you are with Leslie, that's not what I want. Not tonight. I want whatever this is I'm feeling every time we're together. And I want to stop looking over my shoulder when you're not here, wondering when I'll see you again. If you're ever coming back to me."

He stole whatever she tried to say next, kissing her softly, feeding off her sweetness.

"Don't be afraid of me, Bailey. Stop trying to find reasons to push me away." He kissed her fingers, then let her go. "I won't pressure you into anything you're not sure about. I don't want this to be one more thing I mess up, because I don't know how to stop pushing when it comes to having things my way. But, I can't stop thinking about you, I can't stop needing..."

"Something to feel like winning again?" she finished for him.

It was on the tip of his tongue to demand to know everything she thought she'd lost, so he could find a way to get it all back for her. But then she was filling his arms again, leaning into him, searching for his mouth with her own, needing and wanting and craving as fiercely as he did.

He kissed a path down her neck, biting into soft flesh as he lifted her trembling body off the counter and into his arms. Her legs wrapped around his waist as he walked from the kitchen to the den. When he laid her on the couch, she squeaked in surprise, then sighed as his body pressed her into the cushions.

He needed... He wanted...to cherish and devour her, all at the same time.

Rein it in, DC.

Keep it cool.

But when he caressed softly, she arched her hips. His hands whispered beneath her shirt again, and hers pulled him even tighter against her.

"Derrick, I need--"

"I know, honey." The power of it rolled off her, egging on the demands his own body was making. "Touch me. Show me. Anything."

The delicate clasp of her bra come apart in his hands. The buttons of his dress shirt met the same fate, except she tore at the fabric, several of buttons clattering to the hardwood floor beneath the couch. Her softness burned his fingers. Her nails bit into his flesh. Their mouths eat at one another, their teeth nipping, their tongues tasting. They shared a groan as their hands stalled, the backs of their fingers touching, their breath churning.

"The girls..." he managed to whisper, his eyes feasting on the sight of her nipples peaking against the T-shirt he wanted to rip away from her body and keep forever.

"I know." Her touch hovered were mere inches from paradise.

He took her hands in his again, and grimaced at the effort it took to push back until they were sitting side-by-side.

"We..." He cleared the roughness from his voice. "Savannah or Leslie could--"

"Wander out here any minute." Bailey laid her head against his shoulder, as if she'd been doing just that forever. "We can't do this."

"We sure as hell can." He tipped her chin up. "Just not like this. Not tonight..."

Michelle Buonfiglio said...

Grazie mille, Anna, for making the next weeks of our lives living hells while we wait to find out exactly when and where they "sure as hell can."

But, truly, thanks for sharing today with us, your fun, your excerpts, and, especially, the easy way you get us talking. You are most welcome any time, so visit soon, ok?

rachd! I think I speak for all the Bellas when I say, "hey! good to hear from you! "

Enjoy the rest of your Luv Day, Bellas, and thanks again for hanging with us today!

Buonanotte, and ciao for now!

ThatBrunette said...

Because he loves me, my husband didn't cook for me. He's a physicist and knows why things cook, not how.

Our neighbor watched our son so DH and I could have a little alone-time lunch. It was so nice to have a meal and not have to worry about little fingers fishing ice cubes out of my drink.

Angie-la said...

You know, I am not much of a Valentine's Day person. The DH and I exchange cards and a small token, but it is not a major holiday for us. However, he is the type of person to surprise me with something special on random days during the year..which makes it that much more special.

Jennifer Y. said...

My dad brought me a card and some chocolate today...how sweet of him! My dad hates shopping for anything that doesn't have an electrical cord or anything not classified as a tool so this was a big deal. I really appreciated it.

I still feel kind of lonely though...kind of wish I had a Valentine. It's those insecurities popping up.

Sue A. said...

Other than spending this special day with all my favorite authors (on cyberspace), I'll be watching LOST.

Happy Valentine's Day everyone!

And a special thank you to all you authors who keep the romance in our hearts alive all year long with your gift of story telling!

Jeanette J said...

I would just like to be taken out for dinner

Anonymous said...

I hate to say it, but today was just another day. I'm just starting to wind down from my day job and have to get to work editing. I'll watch American Idol and Lost and perhaps end the day with a little leisure reading.

I guess the perfect Valentines Day would to just have a special somebody to spend it with.

Anonymous said...
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ev said...

well, i missed all of today. everywhere. which sucks. maybe tomorrow will be better, but i am not counting on it. hopefully, i will be able to stop in and bitch. i need to vent. LOL

Michelle- Nora Roberts is going to tell us about the best HANDMAN she ever hired?????? I needed that.

ev said...

oh, and i didn't even get to enjoy the fact that I won that awesome prize from yesterday. snarl, growl, bitch, chew.

Jennifer Y. said...

Hugs ev! And congrats!

Jennifer Y. said...

I guess the perfect Valentines Day would to just have a special somebody to spend it with.

I agree!

Jennifer Y. said...

Okay...just posting now because I noticed it would be comment number 69...*tee hee*

Sorry...it's late and I am tired...LOL

Hope everyone had a wonderful day!

Anna Destefano said...

Thanks again for the great day, Bellas!!! And to all of our amazinb Bellas who don't dig the Valentine's thing, no sorry's allowed.

V-Day can too easily become about external validation, I think. "Look at what I have," too much of the celebrating and the commercials and the bragging can seem. But like so many of our commenters yesterday have said, it's the internal stuff that makes the holiday last all year long.

Michelle's a lucky woman, and so am I. Through our blogs, we've gotten to know the hearts of some amazing friends. We've gotten to know ourselves better, I dare say.

Community would be a great thing to celebrate for Valentine's day. How much we mean to the people we care most about, no hearts and flowers and candy. Good day, bad day, or just a day when it's too cold to get out of bed. Who do we go to for that little spark of something that'll get us going and keep us moving until it's time to curl up again with one of the books and authors we love?

My answer--the wonderful friends I've made along this journey. Thanks for being part of that amazing group, Bellas. And thanks for letting me be your Valentine for a day, Michelle ;o)