The Perfect Gift
(Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories: Book Two)
Print Length: 122 pages
Publisher: Dreamspinner Press (December 13, 2017)
Publication Date: December 13, 2017
Back in America after finding A Home for the Holidays and each other in Capri, new couple Bobby McGrath and Paolo Mascobello are ready to tie the knot during the winter holidays. Their families, friends, and pastor offer more advice than sages on speed. So, young lawyer Bobby and fashion designer Paolo are caught in the matrimonial holiday circus. Will a shocking turn of events somehow lead to the perfect wedding for the December grooms?
The following Christmas, Bobby and Paolo aren’t feeling the holiday spirit. They have a nice apartment, designer clothes, entertaining and supportive friends and family, but little time for each other. While out shopping in their quaint local holiday village, Bobby and Paolo encounter Gregory, an adorable seven-year-old who changes their lives forever, offering them a true holiday miracle… if they’re willing to accept it.
“Hi, Mom. What are you doing?”
“Sitting home alone like a dog.”
That’s Mom’s logic. If their house isn’t full of people eating and carrying on, she’s alone.
“In his den, watching the game on TV as usual.”
I’m Bobby McGrath. Since this is my story, I should tell you more about myself. I have frizzy red hair, green eyes, and a swimmer’s body, thanks to the pool at my gym. The swimmer’s body is thanks to the pool. The red hair and green eyes are courtesy of my dad’s side of the family,
which my mom calls the Bad Seed. And I passed the bar. I don’t mean I’m a recovering alcoholic. I aced my bar exam, and I’ve been a junior lawyer for nearly a year now.
“Bobby, are you listening to me or thinking about one of your cases?”
“I’m listening, Mom.” I sat on the window seat in my Victorian apartment’s turret and gazed out at the carolers appropriately dressed in Victorian garb as they sang in front of the department store across the street. That’s the department store where my father is manager and plays Santa every December. “How did Dad’s physical go with Dr. Sherman?”
“He said Dad’s overweight. Like we didn’t know. For that we shelled out a thirty-dollar co-pay.”
“Did you mention how Dad’s been forgetting a few things lately?”
“I told him how your father forgot to take out the garbage, sweep out the garage, and chase the squirrels out of our summerhouse in the backyard.”
I couldn’t help thinking Dad’s memory lapses were intentional.
“Dr. Sherman asked Dad some questions, like Dad’s birthdate and our anniversary.”
“Your father never remembers things like that, so I answered for him.”
“Mom, you shouldn’t have—”
“Your father’s fine, except for an enlarged prostrate.”
“Don’t correct your mother, especially now.”
“You know I don’t like to burden you with my problems.”
“All right. I should get on my laptop to do some research for a—”
“I’m worried about your sister.”
“Both of them.”
I took a sip of Lemon Zinger tea and braced myself for a long story.
“They work so hard at their jobs and taking care of the kids, they never see their husbands.”
My sisters’ know-it-all spouses? “Is that a bad thing?”
“Watch your mouth, mister. I’m your mother. In my day we never disrespected our parents, no matter how wrong they were about everything. And we never took drugs.”
“I don’t take drugs, Mom; neither does Paolo.”
“But plenty of young people today are drug addicts, Bobby. They say they’re nervous. If young people are nervous, they should do what I do, and take a Prozac.”
As Mom rambled on about the sad state of our youth, I glanced over at the antique cherry coffee table to a framed picture of Paolo and me smiling in front of the Mascobello villa in Capri, Italy. That’s where I met Paolo, when I visited my extended family. Don’t freak out. Paolo is a very distant cousin. He has dreamy sapphire eyes, wavy chestnut hair, more muscles than a daytime television star, and a little-boy pout that makes me want to take care of him for the rest of his life. Which I do. Since Paolo was quite the playboy in Capri, I had my doubts about our relationship. But we’ve been living in boyfriend bliss here in Philadelphia, the City of Brotherly Love, for a year now.
An Interview With Bobby Mcgrath & Paolo Mascobello, leading characters In Joe Cosentino’s The Perfect Gift (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 2)
Published by DREAMSPINNER PRESS
Hi, Bobby and Paolo. Thank you for visiting with us.
Bobby: It’s great to be out of Joe Cosentino’s thoughts for a while.
Paolo: And to get out of the book and stretch out.
Since the readers can’t see you, tell them what each of you looks like.
Paolo: Bobby is twenty-five, tall, with a stunning swimmer’s build, captivating emerald eyes, and long auburn hair. I love to run my fingers through it.
Bobby: Paolo has soft, wavy chestnut-colored hair, sparkling sapphire eyes, a Roman nose, and incredibly hot muscles. He also speaks with a sexy Italian accent.
Tell us a bit about your first holiday short story, A Home for the Holidays.
Bobby: Joe Cosentino wrote a holiday short novella loosely based on his trip to the magical and gorgeous island of Capri: A Home for the Holidays. That’s when I came into Joe’s head as a young, Italian American law student traveling to Capri during the winter holidays to meet my quaint Italian relatives, while falling in love with my handsome, muscular, sexy Italian distant cousin, Paolo.
Paolo: That’s me.
Bobby: Since Joe comes from a long line of funny Italian Americans, he included a good deal of humor in the story as well with Paolo’s eccentric family.
Paolo: All of it true.
Bobby: Readers and reviewers called it the perfect holiday gift, feeling as if they had taken a trip along with me to Capri for the romance of a lifetime. Readers, and also listeners to the audiobook performed by the talented Joel Leslie, felt as if they could see, hear, taste, and touch the captivating characters and romantic locations in my story. They especially liked Paolo’s sexy voice. So do I!
And your story continues now in The Perfect Gift.
Paolo: Since A Home for the Holidays leaves open our future relationship; Joel, readers, reviewers, and Dreamspinner Press staff asked Joe why he had not written a sequel featuring Bobby and me. When Joe could not come up with a reason, he talked to us some more in his head and then wrote The Perfect Gift. It is a year after the end of A Home for the Holidays. Bobby and I are living in Philadelphia as a junior lawyer and fashion designer. We jump through many comical and heart-wrenching hoops and finally get married in a happy holiday ending.
Bobby: Then a year later at Christmas time, as a now married couple we tour many of the quaint and wonderful holiday sites in the area featuring elaborately decorated trees and wreathes, Dickensian villages, Victorian carolers and bell ringers, vendors selling hot mulled cider and roasted chestnuts, and bay-windowed shops. We also exchange beautiful gifts, and enjoy spending Christmas with my eccentric family. However, something is missing in our lives. There’s an emptiness and a longing neither of us can explain. While playing department store Santa, my father suffers a heart attack. A man in a Santa suit, who I assume is my father’s replacement, brings Paolo and me to the hospital room of a sick little boy. Like the child we celebrate at Christmas, could this boy be the holiday gift leading to happily ever after for Paolo and me? You’ll have to read our story to find out.
Paolo: It is very romantic.
Bobby: We also have a great deal of fun with my unconventional family making preparations for Christmas day.
Paolo: But at the core of the story are Bobby and me, so much in love, desperate to find out what is missing in our lives and experience a true holiday miracle.
Bobby: Don’t worry. A bit of holiday magic enters the picture, and our story has the perfect happily ever after ending.
Tell us how Joe created you and the other main characters.
Bobby: Joe tells me I have his sensibility and sense of humor. Also, as a junior lawyer who has just passed my bar exam, like Joe, I am passionate about LGBT equality.
Paolo: Joe says Bobby is like Harold in Joe’s An Infatuation and Jonathan in Joe’s A Shooting Star. I’ve met them in Joe’s head, and I agree. But my heart belongs only to Bobby.
Bobby: Paolo is loosely based on Joe’s cousin’s cousin who lives in Italy. Like Mario in An Infatuation and David in A Shooting Star, Paolo is strong and charismatic, masking an inner pain. Mario and David are hot, but they can’t hold a candle to my Paolo.
Paolo: Let’s keep it that way. Remember my Italian jealous temperament.
Bobby: Always. Paolo is also a gifted junior fashion designer who is very much in love with me. I’m proud to be his husband.
Paolo: As you Americans say, right back at you.
Bobby: My parents are loosely based on Joe’s parents. They are hysterically funny, and love their son dearly. Geoffrey, the sick boy who approaches us is adorable, sweet, and so in need of love. He is a combination of many neglected children Joe met through a friend who is a social worker.
What about The Perfect Gift makes it different from other MM holiday novellas?
Bobby: Our love for each other, the wonderful winter holiday locations, humor, mystery, gay wedding, and happily ever after ending make the story a terrific read.
Paolo: Also, I think everyone can relate to feeling that something is missing at Christmas and hoping for the perfect holiday gift.
You two are distant cousins. Might that ruffle some feathers?
Bobby: As my mom say in the story, it is not unusual for distant cousins to couple in Italy.
Paolo: Actually, this was the case with Joe’s great uncle and great aunt who were married for sixty years until their death. I know Bobby and I will last that long.
Will there be a fourth story/third novella for you two husbands?
Bobby: I sure hope so.
Paolo: I want more time with Bobby!
What other books has Joe written?
Bobby: I’m a bit jealous since they’re really good and I’m not in them. Joe’s Nicky and Noah comedy mystery series features Drama Queen (Divine Magazine’s Readers’ Choice Award for Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary novel of 2015), Drama Muscle (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention), Drama Cruise, Drama Luau, and Drama Detective. In each novel, dead bodies drop like hammy actors at a curtain call as college theatre professors and lovers Nicky and Noah use their theatre skills, including impersonating others, in hysterically funny antics to figure out whodunit and why.
Paolo: Joe’s Jana Lane mystery series from The Wild Rose Press includes Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, and Rag Doll. Set in the 1980’s, ex-child star and current comeback actress Jana Lane solves mysteries on her movie, television, and stage sets with the help of her gay best friend and gay agent while fundraising for her AIDS foundation.
Bobby: Finally, Joe’s Cozzi Cove beach series from NineStar Press is set in a gay resort on the New Jersey shore owned by ex-football player, handsome Cal Cozzi. Each novel provides an entryway into Cal’s life and the lives of the various residents staying in Cal’s bungalows each summer. They include Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back (Rainbow Award Honorable Mention/TBR Pile Favorite Book of the Month), Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, and Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings. I love the mystical element in each book.
As a college professor/department head, where does Joe find the time to write so many books?
Bobby: He writes at night after his spouse has gone to sleep and the house is quiet. Being a bit tired helps release his inhibitions and creativity.
Paolo: It is a secret, but we and the other characters tell him everything to write.
Bobby: Like Paolo and me in our story, I hope everyone reading this gets just what you need this holiday season.
Paolo: Enjoy our special holiday gift to you. Please know that it comes wrapped in a huge ribbon of love.
Bobby: And Joe loves hearing from readers. You can contact him at: http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com.
What reviewers are saying about A Home for the Holidays:
“I adore the character of Bobby…the heartwarming family moments…the love the author has for Capri and the people there flows off the page in every word he has written…..When you finish reading this story, you will want to book your own flight to Italy and boat to Capri.” – Scattered Thoughts and Rogue Words
“Joe Cosentino’s holiday novella, A Home for the Holidays, delivers in every way that a romantic, feel-good story should. Every book I read by this author continuously pulls me in and wraps me up like a warm blanket.” – Kathy Mac Reviews
“The one thing you can’t escape when reading Cosentino’s books is his humour; it’s what draws me back time and again to this author. Sometimes the humour is subtle, sometimes it’s unashamedly overt – every time it is hilarious.” – Boy Meets Boy Reviews
I’m going to go on record saying that Joe Cosentino pretty much has me at hello. His writing style is incredibly smooth with beautiful details that never feel like too much or too little. Even in this very short story, I felt like I was right there in Capri with Bobby. Both the scenery and Bobby’s emotions are painted with lush, vivid detail…exceptional writing and beautifully gift-wrapped love story.” – AM Leibowitz
Also in the Series
A Home for the Holidays
(Bobby and Paolo’s Holiday Stories Book 1)
Bobby McGrath’s Christmas trip to the beautiful Italian island of Capri to meet his eccentric extended family offers stunning views—none more stunning than his third cousin, Paolo Mascobello, a real stocking stuffer. As the two young men embark on a relationship, Bobby, a driven law student, learns to relax and bask under the old Italian moon, and Paolo realizes there’s more to life than a frolic on the beach. For the two to find everlasting amore, Paulo must overcome his fear of commitment and learn to follow his dreams, and Bobby must get his wish for happily ever after.
About the Author
Bestselling author Joe Cosentino wrote In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star, the Bobby and Paolo Holiday stories: A Home for the Holidays and The Perfect Gift, The Naked Prince and Other Tales from Fairyland (Dreamspinner Press); the Nicky and Noah mysteries: Drama Queen, Drama Muscle, Drama Cruise, (Lethe Press), Drama Luau, Drama Detective; the Cozzi Cove series: Cozzi Cove: Bouncing Back, Cozzi Cove: Moving Forward, Cozzi Cove: Stepping Out, Cozzi Cove: New Beginnings (NineStar Press); and the Jana Lane mysteries: Paper Doll, Porcelain Doll, Satin Doll, China Doll, Rag Doll (The Wild Rose Press). He has appeared in principal acting roles in film, television, and theatre, opposite stars such as Bruce Willis, Rosie O’Donnell, Nathan Lane, Holland Taylor, Charles Keating, and Jason Robards. Joe is currently Head of the Department/Professor at a college in upstate New York, and is happily married. He was voted 1st Place Favorite LGBT Mystery, Humorous, and Contemporary Author of 2015, and 2nd Place Favorite LGBT Romance Author of 2015 by the readers of Divine Magazine. He has also won many Rainbow Award Honorable Mentions including for In My Heart/An Infatuation & A Shooting Star. http://www.JoeCosentino.weebly.com
Post a comment about your favorite holiday gift. The one that reaches the star on BFD Book Blog’s tree will be shared with the author to win a gift audiobook of A Home for the Holidays (Bobby and Paolo Holiday Stories, Book 1) by Joe Cosentino, performed by Joel Leslie, published by Dreamspinner Press.