Title: Once Broken
Author: D.M. Hamblin
Genre: Women’s Fiction
Jackie Martin develops abandonment issues when her dad dies suddenly when she is ten years old. As a teenager, those abandonment issues translate into an attraction to illusive men, particularly, Tony Salvucci. After a seven year on and off relationship, Jackie becomes pregnant and is immediately abandoned by Tony. As a single mother, Jackie has two objectives: First to raise her daughter with her self-esteem unscathed by her father’s abandonment; Second, to see Tony suffer for his abandonment. Once Broken follows Jackie’s story over a span of forty years. Set in Metrowest Boston, Once Broken is an inspirational story about love, hate, forgiveness vs. revenge and living one's life moving forward, no matter how painful the past.
Radiant in her white wedding gown, as if this were the first time she was wed, Carmella Russo was not a traditional blushing bride. Camouflaged behind a lacy white veil, her blazing hazel eyes sparked against her apricot skin. Her heart replete with vengeful satisfaction, Carmella rejoiced. Soon I, not Jackie, will be Mrs. Tony Salvucci.
Vince Russo, slumped next to his daughter in the white stretch limousine, looked older than his sixty-two years. His wrinkled complexion reflected the toll paid for his heavy smoking, excessive drinking, and the degradation of tolerating the tantrums of the women he lived with. Vince decided it was a dismal day for a wedding. It’s pretty symbolic of this union—Tony and Carmella! Vince prayed the rain would wait until after they entered the church. Carmella would erupt should her wedding attire become the least bit soiled prior to her grand entrance.
The limousine turned into the semicircular driveway approaching St. Catherine’s Church. Emerald-green lawns and stately blue spruces scattered among the tall oaks enhanced the elegance of the large stone church, despite the gray shadows and blackened sky. As the car came to a stop, Vince glanced at the threatening clouds. Turning back, he took his daughter’s hand as she confidently stepped from the car.
Tony Salvucci leaned against the wall in the vestibule, tapping his foot. His best man, Luke Jackson, stood next to him. Tony’s height, wavy ebony hair, and steel-blue eyes remained striking, even with the ensemble Carmella had chosen for him—a brown tuxedo, white shirt with brown-trimmed ruffles, and a baby-blue cummerbund and bow tie. The white-rose boutonniere on Tony’s lapel provided the only sophistication. Carmella’s fashion sense had never left the 1970s, which did not flatter Luke either. The best man stood almost a foot shorter than Tony and had cobalt eyes, blonde curls, and scattered freckles.
Luke watched as Tony paced the floor and recalled an earlier conversation in which he had questioned Tony’s marriage motives. “I love her,” Tony had insisted. But Luke was not a foolish man. He knew conniving Carmella was not Tony’s type.
“Carmella takes good care of me,” Tony said in response to his friend’s concerns. “She’s got my back. And she’s so much easier to deal with than Jackie. I mean I know she’s intense—”
“Intense? She’s insane!”
“Ah, she has her moments but I know how to handle her.”
“An insane person is easier to deal with than a sane one?”
“I don’t expect you to understand, Luke, but marrying Carmella is the right thing for me.”
Luke didn’t understand; nevertheless, he agreed to stand up for his best friend although he feared that marrying Carmella would be the biggest mistake of Tony’s life.
Tony gazed at the church pews, reassuring himself that this marriage was the right thing. He was approaching forty years old and all of his friends were married or getting married. He needed to move forward as well. As an only child, he was accustomed to being waited on by his parents and Carmella had that same propensity. He barely considered a need before it was fulfilled. And being married to Carmella would erase the guilt from the past. Yes, it was the right thing to do.
Louie Salvucci entered the vestibule sporting the same tux as his son, except with a blue-carnation boutonniere. “I was out having a smoke and let me tell ya, there are some threatening clouds out there.”
“Dad, you gotta give those things up. They’ll kill ya.”
“Ah, I know. But Christ I love my cigarettes! Wish I could give them up like you did.” Putting his arm around his son’s shoulder, he asked in his raspy voice, “Sure you want to go through with this, son?”
“Of course I do, Dad!” Tony’s body stiffened. “Why does everyone keep asking me that?”
“Okay, relax. The processional is about to start and your mother’s waiting for me. I love you, son. I hope this’ll make you happy.” Louie hugged his son, following with two claps on his back.
Tony and Luke took their places at the altar. Luke tapped Tony’s arm and whispered, “Best of luck, man.” Both men knew it wasn’t meant in jest.
Carmella’s haughtiness had not granted her a multitude of friends, which was reflected in the selection of bridesmaids—not one could be counted as a friend. The bridal entourage consisted of three of Tony’s cousins; Carmella’s identical twin sister, Katrina, served as maid of honor.
As the wedding march blew out of the organ, the bridal party walked down the aisle, passing the one hundred twenty-five guests. Each bridesmaid, holding a white basket of daisies, wore a cap-sleeve, V-neck, baby-blue gown, with teeny puffs of baby-blue veil posing as a headpiece. Carrying a basket of daisies sprinkled with blue carnations, Katrina preceded her sister. Katrina was a striking maid of honor, even dressed in an unflattering beige gown in the same style as the bridesmaids’ dresses, with a teeny puff of beige veil perched precariously upon her cropped auburn hair. Like Carmella, her apricot complexion glowed and her hazel eyes sparkled.
Carmella followed, wearing a white scoop-neck satin gown with long lace sleeves dotted with sequins and pearls. A satin train trailed behind her. Over her right shoulder, her auburn hair hung in a wide banana curl. The lacy veil covering her sharp facial features was draped over the stark white veil crowning her head. Holding a bouquet of blue carnations and white roses, the striking bride walked down the aisle, enjoying the attention she knew she was attracting.
Anna Salvucci stood beside her husband looking exquisite in her royal-blue shantung suit. The blue sheen flattered her bobbed silver hair and her steel-blue eyes she had passed on to her son. As the bride glided by, Louie nudged his wife. “So, guess I’ll be paying the boys at the track. I never thought he’d go through with it.”
Anna offered a sad smile to her husband as she contemplated the mood of the day. Tony has finally chosen a bride. It should be a happy day; it is a happy day! But must his bride be Carmella? Anna would treat Carmella with the respect due a daughter-in-law, yet the love she felt for a daughter-in-law would forever belong to Jackie. This could have been a happier day, if only…
Louie’s characteristic nervous energy was a notch higher today, and his face appeared pallid against his salt-and-pepper hair. The fact that Carmella was becoming his daughter-in-law settled uncomfortably in his mind.
Vince Russo bent to kiss his daughter at the foot of the altar. Carmella and Tony joined hands and proceeded to the center of the altar. Katrina and Luke stood on either side of them. Father Bolton began the ceremony.
“Ladies and gentlemen, family and friends, we are gathered here today to celebrate the love between Carmella Marie Russo and Anthony James Salvucci, and to unite them in Holy Matrimony…”
“…Will you accept children freely from God?”
“I will,” Carmella said, determined that Tony would love their children.
Children. The word echoed in Tony’s mind. “I will.” His voice was a whisper.
“Do you, Carmella Marie Russo, take this man, Anthony James Salvucci, to be your lawfully wedded husband, to have and to hold from this day forward, in sickness and health, for richer or for poorer, until death do you part?”
Carmella’s flashing hazel eyes locked on Tony’s piercing blue eyes. “I do.”
Her vow was accentuated by a sudden clap of thunder that rocked the church. Violent gusts of wind howled. The storm unleashed its fury.
If money were no object, where would you go for a Spring Break vacation and why?
I would veg out on the Outer Banks of North Carolina. On May 4 2015 at 6:15 a.m., I sat on the third-story deck of a $1.5M beach house with a cup of hot coffee in hand and my feet crossed on top of the railing. I faced a brilliant sunrise coming over the horizon and basked into the sounds of crashing waves, one after the other. It was the most peaceful moment of gratitude. I loved everything about that vacation. It was financially affordable. For me, time and method of travel is the issue. A fourteen-hour car ride is the best method of travel from Massachusetts to the Outer Banks. Someday, I hope to live there.
What’s your favorite thing about Spring and why?
Nothing signifies renewal like Spring. Watching the earth come back to life excites. The warmth of the sun, getting stronger every day, soothes my skin. The smell of flowers wake my senses. The sense of renewal feeds my soul. There’s no better time of year.
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Since childhood, D.M. Hamblin always loved writing whether it was a paper for school or college, advocacy letters for herself or others, love letters, short stories or business communications. She was accepted to study communications at Boston University's School of Communications to major in public relations, in September 1980. However, life interrupted. She became a single mother the following year instead. While raising a delightful daughter, she went from a short stint on welfare to finish college, start a paralegal career, send her daughter through private schools, began and finished the first manuscript of Once Broken from 1995-1996, abandoned it as her paralegal career excelled, married the love of her life when her daughter was fourteen, blended two beautiful step daughters, built two businesses in the legal industry, fell madly in love with three amazing grandchildren, suffered Lyme disease for seven years, sold two businesses -and in 2015 was blessed to have found the time and resources to resume the dream of writing. After twenty years, she unearthed Once Broken, converted it from floppy disk, revised and edited several times, and launched her long awaited writing career with the self-publishing of her debut novel, Once Broken.
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