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Christmas Family Style

Made in Savannah

Cozy Mystery Series Book Fifteen

Hope Callaghan


Copyright © 2020

All rights reserved.

***** *****

This book is a work of fiction. Although places mentioned may be real, the characters, names and incidents, and all other details are products of the author’s imagination and are fictitious. Any resemblance to actual organizations, events or persons, living or dead is purely coincidental.

No part of this publication may be copied, reproduced in any format, by any means, electronic or otherwise, without prior consent from the copyright owner and publisher of this book.


Visit my website for new releases and special offers:  hopecallaghan.com


Thank you to these wonderful ladies who help make my books shine - Peggy H., Cindi G., Jean P., Wanda D. and Renate P. for taking the time to preview Christmas Family Style, for the extra sets of eyes and for catching all of my mistakes.

Thank you to Alix, my Savannah expert, for sharing her knowledge of this special place.

A special THANKS to my Street Team:

Alice, Alta, Amary, Amy, Becky, Brenda, Carolyn, Cassie, Charlene, Christine, Debbie, Denota, Devan, Diann, Grace, Helen, Jo-Ann, Jean M., Judith, Meg, Megan, Linda, Polina, Rebecca, Rita, Theresa, Valerie, Virginia and Vicki.


Cast of Characters

Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4

Chapter 5

Chapter 6

Chapter 7

Chapter 8

Chapter 9

Chapter 10

Chapter 11

Chapter 12

Chapter 13

Chapter 14

Chapter 15

Chapter 16

Chapter 17

Chapter 18

Chapter 19

Chapter 20

Chapter 21

Chapter 22

Chapter 23

Chapter 24

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Cast of Characters

Carlita Garlucci. The widow of a mafia “made” man, Carlita promised her husband on his deathbed to get their sons out of the “family” business, so she moves from New York to the historic city of Savannah, Georgia. But escaping the “family” isn’t as easy as she hoped it would be, and trouble follows Carlita to her new home.

Mercedes Garlucci. Carlita’s daughter and the first to move to Savannah with her mother. An aspiring writer, Mercedes has a knack for finding mysteries and adventure and dragging her mother along for the ride.

Vincent Garlucci, Jr. Carlita’s oldest son and a younger version of his father, Vinnie is deeply entrenched in the “family” business and not at all interested in leaving New Jersey for the Deep South.

Tony Garlucci. Carlita’s middle son and the second to follow his mother to Savannah. Tony is protective of both his mother and his sister, which is a good thing since the female Garluccis are always in some sort of predicament.

Paulie Garlucci. Carlita’s youngest son. Mayor of the small town of Clifton Falls, New York, Paulie never joined the “family” business and is content to live his life with his wife and young children away from a life of crime. His wife, Gina, rules the family household with an iron fist.

Chapter 1

“I don’t know about the star.” Carlita rubbed the bottom of her chin, staring up at her daughter, who was attempting to adjust the blinking star on top of the Christmas tree. “It’s kinda crooked.”

“And it’s kinda old,” Mercedes tapped the tip. “Half the lights don’t even work. We should toss this thing in the trash and buy a new one.”

“We can’t. Your father bought that for me on our first Christmas after we got married.” Carlita’s expression softened as she remembered their tiny efficiency apartment in Queens.

The kitchen was so small, Carlita could wash dishes, boil water and grab milk from the fridge by simply turning around. Money was tight back then, and they lived on a shoestring budget. Most days, the only thing inside their old freezer was the metal ice cube trays that stuck to your skin and took a sledgehammer to lift the release.

Tears filled her eyes as she thought about her deceased husband, Vinnie. The holidays were always the hardest. Thanksgiving hadn’t been as bad, but with Christmas fast-approaching, Carlita was struggling.

Part of the reason could be because the family would all be together. Paulie, his wife, Gina, and their three young ones would be arriving soon.

Vinnie, Carlita’s eldest, and his wife and new baby had arrived the previous day and were downtown doing some last-minute Christmas shopping while Shelby, Tony’s wife, took care of Vinnie’s infant son.

The sadness passed as she thought about Pirate Pete’s special surprise for later that day. Despite Carlita’s best attempts, he’d refused to share a single hint about what was planned.

“I think we should give the star a place of special honor on top of the fireplace mantle and break down and buy a new one,” Mercedes said.

“We’ll see.” Carlita tossed a small amount of tinsel near the top of the tree, well out of reach of Grayvie, the family cat, who was fascinated by the silvery stuff. “For now, it stays.”

Mercedes hopped off the ladder and joined her mother to admire the twinkling lights and savor the aroma of the freshly cut pine tree Carlita’s son, Tony, had shown up with the previous night. “This is the perfect tree.”

“Tony did a good job picking it out.” Carlita tucked the small ladder back inside the hall closet and wandered to the balcony.

There was a chill in the air, and although she didn’t care to see any of the “white stuff,” she didn’t mind the cooler weather.

A car coasted past the alley, and the echo of Christmas music drifted up. “…in a one horse open sleigh.”

Mercedes slipped outside and joined her mother. “Brrr.” She rubbed the sides of her arms. “It’s feeling more like the holidays.”

“At least it’s not the holidays in Queens,” Carlita joked.

There was a flurry of movement across the alley as her neighbor, Elvira Cobb’s door flew open. Elvira emerged before turning back and

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