Death, Love and Ghosts

Anthony Raggio, 34 year old descendant of the Family Raggio, wants nothing more than to participate shallowly in his life, letting it unfold around him. Fate has other plans for him, as he discovers the ghosts of the past, secrets buried, and an urgent need to solve a medical problem before his Godchild dies. Stem cell research is buried in laboratories, and children are dying all around the world without recourse to medical intervention. The past is coming to greet Tony and demand that he do something, or live with the consequences.Stephanie was so weirdly normal. That was her trick. She could look calm and collected at all times. They all knew it, and gave in to her with only small mutterings of “Bossy. Always thinks that she knows what is best.”

Excerpt

She was still scouting the room, no doubt to order someone around, when the oldest person in sight headed over as though on a mission. Tony was directly targeted in her line of sight. Aunt Olivia, their only surviving great-aunt, was the direct connection to their grandfather, her late older brother Antonio. Her grandnieces and nephews usually dismissed her as too flamboyant, and probably crazy. They rolled their eyes freely, and avoided any intimate conversation whenever possible. She was that odd and intense. An even worse sin than being of elder-age, she dyed her hair a color most resembling smoked paprika. When she was younger, it had been a ruby-red, but in the last few years it had mutated into a rusty-orange. Behind her back, the Raggio siblings called her Auntie Orange, never to her face.

Tony slapped on his game-face, his smile an easier effect than a sparkle in his eye. It had been a rough day, and no matter what, he just wanted it to be over, to sink into oblivion, to fade to a place where his thoughts could disappear. Groaning to himself, he watched Auntie Orange move with care, tottering somewhat pointedly, in his direction. This was going to be bad no doubt about it. He had never achieved being a really good fake, and she seemed to peer through people when she looked closely at them, her eyes studying a face like a map for clues. His mind was elsewhere, rehashing the past twenty-four hours, but the old bat was headed his way.