Ralphie Chickalini is on the verge of living happily ever after with the perfect woman. His fiance Francesca Maria Buccigrossi of Astoria Boulevard is a curvaceous, fun-loving brunette. His late father, whose recent death the family is still mourning, adored Francesca's homemade pesto sauce and declared her a "keeper," his brothers think she's a hoot, his sisters adore her, and his nephews and niece already call her "aunt." But as the wedding date approaches, Ralphie begins to question his love.
When Ralphie bumps into two psychic sisters at a New Year's Eve party, his life will be thrown in an unexpected direction. Daria and Tammy might not look alike, but they do have more than just a maternal bloodline in common. They both have a psychic gift. Tammy or "Madame Tamare" is a storefront psychic who predicted the marriage between Ralphie's brother Dominic's marriage and an unlikely bride. Now, Daria is channeling a spirit with a message for Ralphie: his father has returned to guide him to true love. But Daria has her own life to live, and she plans to move back to Arizona, messages from another world aside. Despite contrary inclinations, Daria and Ralphie will soon realize that their paths are destined to collide.
Word count: 88,000 words.
Psychic wanderer Daria Marshall tries to ignore the dead people who follow her around everywhere and she refuses to settle down anywhere for very long. When she visits her sister in New York City, she ends up in Astoria, where she encounters Ralph Chickalini, a lifelong Astorian and member of a large Italian family. Chickalini is mourning the loss of his father, but not the end of his recent ill-advised engagement. Their immediate attraction is tempered by his sadness and her fear of settling down, yet Daria yearns for family and stability and Ralph needs to strike out and become independent of his support system. The presence of the father's ghost adds a nice touch to the story without being too schmaltzy. The characters are fairly well drawn, and Markham (Bride Needs Groom) captures the smalltown/big city contrast of the Queens neighborhood perfectly, with local touches that really make the atmosphere come alive.