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Donna Del Oro

I'm a retired high school teacher, whose first passion has always been reading and writing books. I've been a storyteller ever since I could print. After raising two children and a husband, I now have the time to devote to my first love, storytelling. My hobbies include traveling, painting, singing and golf. Half Latina, my first two books reflect my mixed, bicultural, bilingual heritage. In my third book, Born To Sing, my heroine is also latina, a Tejana or Texicana (a born-and-raised Texan of Mexican descent). My first book, Operation Familia, won an award in the Latino Books into Movies contest, sponsored by the Latino Book Festival, 2010. In the novel, Born To Sing, I'm branching out and starting a  new series about singers and their careers and love lives.

Email : dlwierz@earthlink.net

Website : http://www.donnadeloro.com

Born to Sing

Written By: Donna Del Oro
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Two gifted, good-looking opera singers, from different cultures and opposite sides of the track in Texas, discover...

"Anytime you two lovebirds are," Brad muttered. "Professor?"

Prof Nits held up a finger in the midst of his earnest conference with David, his leading baritone. I'd dated David a couple of times and luckily for me, there wasn't any physical chemistry between us. We were good friends and I wanted to keep it that way. I didn't need any complications in my life, certainly didn't need a Casanova like D.J. McKay screwing things up for me. I had to stay focused to get through this difficult senior year. Beyond June, the world of professional opera awaited. So I hoped, anyway.

"Eva Villalobos, why are you ignoring me? I think we should kiss at the end of this number. Are you with me or not?" D.J. growled gently, a sly twinkle in his deep blue eyes.

Until the professor hushed up the class, I had no choice but to respond to this skirt-chasing, wannabe leading man.

"Fine, fine, whatever. Just don't overdo it, okay? No tongue, for Pete's sake."

He leaned over me, his face inches from mine. "Huh, kissing you'll be like kissing cold marble. What they say about you is true, you're an icy, prissy prude with a bug up her ass--"

I gasped, flattening myself against the side of the piano to escape him. Brad snorted a short laugh and started tinkling the keys, honky-tonk style. He broke into a burlesque version of "Some Enchanted Evening".

D.J. was turning this rehearsal into a personal grudge-match. Fortunately, no one else but Brad seemed to notice.

"Vain and vulgar, too," I retorted coldly, lifting my chin, "A gabacho."

He stuck his face into mine and lowered his voice. His eyes were angry slits. I wanted to punch him in the face.

"Don't talk Mexican with me. I know what gabacho means. We've had Mexicans working for us for years. I hear your daddy raises dirt and your brother raises the tooting kind of grass."

D.J. was imitating a guy taking a marijuana drag. Now incensed--no one impugned my family's dignity without a fight although most of what he'd said was true-- I squinted up at this offensive upstart, laying on the country drawl as thickly as peanut butter. He was making fun of me but I'd never bow under the hurt that lanced through me just then. So my parents were hippie farmers, barely ekeing out a living raising hay, a few stud horses and Mexican donkeys on their sixty-five acres. So what? So I subsisted on a scholarship and two part-time jobs and wore three year-old, torn jeans and tee shirts most of the time. So what? So I was a Latina hick-from-the-sticks, so what?

I lifted my right leg and began swinging my foot threateningly.

"You back off and apologize, D.J., or so help me, I'll turn you into a falsetto. I was raised with a mean older brother so don't think I can't aim a good kick."

He widened his eyes in mock terror but did withdraw a foot or two. His expression changed in a flash, from smug to contrite. I think he'd seen how much he hurt me.

"C'mon, Eva, it was just a joke. Let me buy you lunch, Evita…as an apology."

Well, that surprised me. Insulting me was his way of coming on to me? If he used that ploy with all his girls, how'd he get such a reputation as a lady-killer?

"Save your breath, Mr. McKay. I wouldn't take food from you if I was skin-and-bones starving," I drawled dulcetly.

Not too soon, Professor Woronicz called the class to order. A minute later, D.J. and I were Christine and Raoul, pledging undying love and devotion. In full character, we gazed into each other's eyes, holding each other lightly, his hands on my upper arms, mine barely grazing his chest, alternating singing our lyrics.

We ended together, blending the melody together with our very different voices in double harmony, singing: "Anywhere you go, let me go, too. Love me, that's all I ask of you."

I stayed in character a moment longer, entranced by Christine's and Raoul's love and heartfelt words of devotion. Christine believed it with her whole heart. She could trust Raoul and love him for all eternity. He was the man for her, the love of her life. Staring into his blue eyes, I knew Christine could have no other man. In his face, Christine saw her own joyous love reflected there. And so, in complete rapture, Christine and Raoul came together and kissed. The kiss lengthened and deepened. My arms encircled his neck, his tightened around my waist. I closed my eyes and surrendered to the sensual fog.

I stopped thinking as Christine and returned to myself, but the music still resonated deeply inside me. A lovely, stirring melody. This man tasted lovely, too. His mouth was smooth and warm and wet. We didn't French kiss but rather explored each other's mouth gently. His hard, lanky body fit mine like a perfectly contoured glove. We were both tall and slim, long legged. The way we fit together was like two puzzle pieces, interlocking hardness and softness, almost as if we were made to fit together. I felt I could stay this way forever…then I remembered who I was and what I was doing. I was kissing NOT RAOUL…BUT D.J. MCKAY. Everything I despised and resented in my little, biased worldview.

Ever so slowly, like emerging from a drugged sleep, I heard the prolonged silence, which was suddenly broken by resounding waves of laughter. I ended the kiss and pulled away, not before recognizing the stunned look on D.J.'s face. A flush burned through his tanned cheeks. My own head and neck were on fire.

"Well, that'll work," Prof Nits remarked matter-of-factly to the class as the laughter subsided, "We've found our Christine and Raoul. Though this interpretation, I must admit, is a bit--what did you call it, D.J.?--over the top."

More laughter. "Now, ladies and gentlemen, let's rehearse the 'Masquerade' number…Everyone on stage. Hank, come over and block this number for us. Frank, the music…"

D.J. and I were still holding each other by the arms. Absolutely stunned. Shocked, we jumped away but our eyes never left each other's faces. He looked stricken and surprised, like I'd slapped him without warning. My head felt like the top of my skull was going to blow off. My heart was beating a mile a minute. My ears were ringing.

Oh, shit, I thought. I'm in big, big trouble.

Two gifted, good-looking opera singers, from different cultures and opposite sides of the track in Texas, discover that falling in love is wonderful. But love may not be enough if it interferes with their dreams of success in the ruthlessly competitive world of opera. D.J. McKay's dream of singing in European opera houses clashes with his rich daddy's prejudices against such a "sissy" career; his obsession with beautiful Eva Villalobos doesn't sit well with his socialite mother, either. Meanwhile, Eva strives to help her poor family financially by achieving success on the stage. So what happens when their passion for each other thwarts their dreams? How can their relationship survive three-thousand miles of separation? Will their ambition to succeed kill the only true love they have ever known?
Price: $5.99
Scheming and Dreaming in Los Angeles

Written By: Donna Del Oro
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

Tess MacIntosh is 29, a professional R&B singer in a nightclub in Los Angeles, owned by her fifty-something fi...

“But you asked me to go on this cruise anyway? Knowing how Porter felt—how jealous he was?”

“Stupid, huh? I needed a singer and I wanted you. So sue me.” The silence that fell between them fairly crackled with what was left unspoken.

Then the unspoken spilled over. “I love you, Aaron, and I need you in my life if I’m going to…well, go ahead with this marriage. Y’know, tolerate it.”

His arms around her slackened and he leaned back, away from her. As though physical contact with her was too painful. “You love me, huh?  You don’t, Tess, not really. You’re so hung up on money, you can’t see straight. You think it’s going to give you everything you didn’t have as a child. You don’t know what you want or how you feel about anything.”

Her insides ached with anguish, the hollow feeling gnawing at her. Aaron was right. She thought money was going to make up for her deprived childhood. But what about emotional deprivation? How could she live without love? Real love?

“I don’t know… Maybe I need money more than anything else. I don’t know…”

“Now, that’s honesty, Tess. Your offer—us? Friends with benefits thing?” He snorted softly into her hair. “God, I can’t believe I’m saying this but here goes.  I’m turning you down. You see, Tess, the great thing about a fantasy is the possibility it might some day come true. You’ve been my fantasy girl for a long, long time. I’m so tempted, you have no idea.” He almost growled those last words. “No, where you’re concerned, sweetheart, it’s all or nothing. All or nothing. Take it or leave it.”

Tess closed her eyes and felt the tears seep out of the corners and trickle down her cheeks. Leave it to Aaron to  always dream the impossible. Always uncompromising. He’d have sex with a girl who meant nothing to him but her, Tess, practically begging him?  Un-freakin’-compromising.

She sniffed back the tears. “All or nothing? Take it or leave it? You call me hard? You’re the hardhearted one.”

“No, baby-doll. It’s all my soft heart can take. I won’t have you stomping on it. Not again. The last time, it took me years to recover.”  He kissed her cheek, then wiped her tears away with his thumb.

“Me, stomping on your heart? You left me and went away to school. I moved on. I had to show you that I could make something of myself, too. I had to prove myself, that I wasn’t like my parents. That I wasn’t some cokehead’s pathetic slut of a daughter. I know your family saw me that way. That’s why Mac broke us up. He knew how your family felt and he didn’t want to lose you or them. He worshipped all of you.”

“No, baby, you’ve got it all wrong. They felt—Mac, too—we were too young. You wouldn’t write to me in college and when I came back, you had a boyfriend and-and this show business crowd of friends. My parents, Mac—we were all proud of you and what you’d accomplished. All on your own, too, which is amazing. But you kept me at arm’s length.”

Her tears flowed and her throat burned raw, but she couldn’t help it. Aaron’s validation of her filled her bank of emotions. What he said was basically true. She’d kept him at bay with a parade of boyfriends. Why? To pay him back for leaving her? Both he and Mac left her alone. She shuddered as his fingers wiped and caressed her cheeks.

“For a long time, I hated you. You and Mac. I loved you both so much and you both left me.“

“We had to, Tess. We had to leave to grow up. C’mon, baby. We’re exhausted, in a damned strange mood,” he said, a catch in his voice, “let’s call it a night.”

Tess MacIntosh is 29, a professional R&B singer in a nightclub in Los Angeles, owned by her fifty-something fiance, Porter Hunt. She's as cynical and as hardnosed as Porter, due to her own difficult childhood, and is marrying Porter for his money and connections. Porter, in turn, is one of those middle-aged men whose wealth and power in his little world make him feel invincible and entitled to any beautiful woman he wants. Tess's good friend and once teenage crush, Aaron Peterson, a musician and composer with dreams of seeing one of his musical plays on Broadway, needs her to join him for a cruise gig. He's loved Tess since he was nineteen and she was sixteen. He sees this cruise gig as his last chance to win her over before she takes a path in life that he's convinced will lead to misery. So which path will Tess choose? Millions of dollars if she marries Porter? Or Aaron's love and Broadway dreams?
Price: $4.99
Sonya's Midlife Crisis

Written By: Donna Del Oro
Published By: Devine Destinies
Heat Level:

When Sonya’s husband tells her he wants a divorce so that he can marry his pregnant girlfriend, she goes a l...

Now I began to wonder. Earl’s girlfriend was pregnant, although it appeared he’d used birth control. So what happened? Did he intend for her to get pregnant or was he duped by a clever woman who was bent on trapping him?

“Bet the skanky bitch put holes in his condoms,” Tina snarled, mirroring my thoughts. She scooped them up, using a shoehorn and the shoebox lid, like so many dog turds, then tossed them in the same box with the underwear I was collecting. “One of Eddie’s brothers—Carlos—got snagged that way. He’s resented her ever since although he loves the little guy to death. Funny the way that sometimes turns out. He says he’s going to divorce her as soon as little Chuckie turns eighteen.”

I frowned. That was one marriage made in hell. Little Chuckie was only six. Tina’s brother-in-law’s problem made me wonder, though. Was that how Earl had felt when I didn’t get pregnant? Did he resent me for miscarrying? Feel cheated somehow? Did he feel trapped into raising my sister’s daughter? If he did, he never showed it, for he and I both treated Evita as our own. And he knew when we were dating that I came with a child.

I’d have to ask Scott about that soon. Maybe not having our own children was at the heart of our disintegrated marriage. Maybe Earl had stopped using those condoms long ago in order to have his own biological babies…

Two hours later—how time flies when you’re busy packing up a relationship—Tina and I dragged, pushed, carried—kicked when necessary—all fourteen boxes filled with Earl’s drawers and closet including his coin collection, girlie mags and sports paraphernalia. Packing up those items truly made it final. Tina was staring at the closet when I returned for the last box.

“Now what?” I asked, wiping the sweat off my neck. Our eyes locked for a moment, then hers slipped downward. Something was bothering her, but whatever it was didn’t last long, for a moment later, she was backing out my Explorer. She had a plan. Rent an open U-Haul trailer and take all the boxes over to Connie’s house. That way, Tina could drive it over to Connie’s, let them unload the boxes, and it would save Earl’s sister an unpleasant trip. I agreed to that, and by early evening our task was done.

Later, we shared a Margarita, made golden by Tina’s special recipe and the bottle of Grand Marnier she’d bought on her way back from Connie’s. She toasted our health and better times. I toasted to insight and wisdom, two qualities I was severely lacking.

Then she kept me busy by helping her make pork and chicken tamales. We’d take them to my church, Saints Peter and Paul, and serve them to the homeless on Sunday evening.

Between the corn husks, corn meal and bowls of spicy filling, our fingers flew. We drank and laughed about our childhood, growing up in a middle-class latino barrio in Abilene and spending hot summers on our uncle’s ranch in east Texas. I occasionally missed Texas, especially family, and flew home mostly during Christmas or Easter vacations. But I’d lived in California since I’d come to live with a spinster aunt in San Jose and go to college. Both places were home to me.

It felt so good to laugh again. When Tina climbed into the guest-room bed around midnight, she eyed me in her tipsy, teasing fashion.

“This pillow smells of men’s cologne. Eddie wears the same cologne, so I know. Who’s been staying with you, Sonya? Is there something you’re not telling me?”

I furrowed my brows. Eddie was Tina’s defense attorney-husband, successful and rich. They adored each other, even after fifteen years of marriage. Then it dawned on me, a memory clawing to the surface of my muddy, inebriated brain.

“Oh, that’s Scott. He was here one night. His birthday. The day I flipped out. He was worried about me.”

“I’ll say. I found the knives in the clothes dryer, where he said he put them. He’s got quite a crush, wouldn’t you say?”

“No, I wouldn’t.” I started to close the mini blinds, trying hard to focus on the plastic wand that turned them. My fingers fumbled, then finally grasped it. “He’s a good friend, that’s all. My best friend.”

“Are you sure that’s all?”

Annoyed that Tina would even broach the subject, I flicked the light off on the wall. Nevertheless, the good feelings of that evening lingered. The tamale-making, the Texas memories. Even the Margaritas.

When Sonya’s husband tells her he wants a divorce so that he can marry his pregnant girlfriend, she goes a little berserk! So, how does the worst day of her life turn out to be the best thing that ever happens to her? Forty-two-year-old Sonya learns it’s never too late to wake up and grow up!

Price: $5.99