Florian Donati has an almost childlike innocence in the body of a god. Unaware of his charms, he enjoys his life, working in his family’s drycleaning business in Prohibition-era Chicago. He loves his job, loves singing Italian opera, and loves the people in his life, including his friend Loria and the notorious gangster Alphonse Capone. Still, he dreams of having adventures and finding love.
Nick Giannakopoulos is a young Greek immigrant who’s come to America to live with his uncle’s family, working with his cousin in the family pharmacy. There are many things he’d love to do, including going to a party in a speakeasy that he and his cousin Milo have been invited to. But it’s on Christmas Eve, so family obligations preclude their going -- until Fate intervenes, and Nick and Florian end up at the same speakeasy in Romeoville and find themselves sitting at the same table.
Is instant attraction a basis for a long-term relationship? Or is this just a passing Christmas fancy?
Previously published by Silver Publishing.
A moment later, a vision appeared before Nick's eyes. He had never seen anyone so lovely in his life before, male or female. He watched dumbly as the dark-haired beauty with the hypnotic blue eyes smiled at him, taking the chair next to Nick. Nick felt weak just watching him do it.
"You are sure we are no trouble?" the man -- Florian, Nick remembered -- asked in the most melodious voice, possessed of a slight accent. Nick couldn't quite place it. He wasn't even sure how he could hear it so clearly with the crowd noise in the background the way it was. It was as if he were attuned to it somehow. He found that he didn't even really care how as he returned the man's smile.
"Sure, is no trouble," he replied. He held out his hand to the angel... that is, man. "My name is Nick. Nick Giannakopoulos."
Florian took the soft hand within his own. "I am Florian Donati."
"I'm Frank." Frank introduced himself, although no one had asked. And no one responded. "Hey, Flor, I see the fella I'm supposed to meet. I gotta go finish some business. See you around!" Using his finger and thumb as an imaginary gun, he aimed it at Florian and pretended to shoot, then leapt up from his seat like his pants were ablaze, disappearing quickly.
"Your friend, he is in a hurry?" Nick asked, as Frank melted into the crowd around them. He leaned closer to Florian to make himself heard.
Florian nodded. "We've been very busy today," he said proudly. "Frank let me help him work. We made many deliveries."
Nick refrained from asking what sort of deliveries. It wasn't his business, and he didn't wish to be rude, or overly curious. His eyes flitting over the handsome man, he couldn't help but admire the suit that Florian wore. He reached out one hand, running his fingers over the soft silk. "That feels very nice."
Florian glowed at his praise. "It does, doesn't it? It is... how do you say?" He struggled to find the right word, one he'd heard used by some of the men that came into the dry cleaner. "Tight... that's it. It's very tight, don't you think?" He took Nick's hand, pressed it against the double-breasted lapels.
Nick stopped breathing for a moment, before taking his hand back, reaching for his drink. "It is, very tight," Nick agreed in a husky voice just before he took a good swallow of the sweet liquid.
"What is that you drink? It looks very good," Florian commented.
"I'm not sure of the name. Joe get it for me," Nick admitted. He held the glass toward Florian, offering it. "Here, take a drink, see if you like it." He found himself making a conscious effort to prevent his arm from trembling too much.
Florian took the glass with a nod, his fingers brushing against Nick's in the process. Nick's heart stopped for just an instant at the contact. He was amazed at how much of a reaction such a slight touch had wrought in him. He was suddenly grateful for the table that kept it hidden from view.