Nike Chillemi – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 2

Shannon here: Romantic suspense author, Nike Chillemi shares her real life romance. Comment on any post dated Aug 8th or 10th for a chance to win an e-book download of her book, Burning Hearts. Deadline: Aug 17th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Nike:

This fall brings with it my twenty-fifth wedding anniversary to my best friend, my confidant, my lover, the one who always has my back, my husband Joseph.


I’ve known my husband for twenty-seven years. I met him through friends when I moved to New York City to pursue my dreams of landing a rewarding career. Then a girl friend of mind convinced me to come out to the baseball diamond at a city park to watch a few local fellows play ball one Saturday. My husband-to-be was pitching. As a teen, he’d had dreams of a major league baseball career, but an injury to his arm prevented him from ever finding out if he had the right stuff. So, I sat there that Saturday watching the game and began to focus on the pitcher. I asked my girlfriend who that cute guy was and she told me his name. She also said he was as nice inside as he appeared to be outside.


It just so happened that one of the team members lived in the same small apartment house I lived in and he had a refrigerator full of cans of soda. So, he invited the entire group to his house. In New York City, in the summer, it’s not so unusual in residential neighborhoods for folks to gather on the front stoop of a building and hang out. And that’s what we did as we drank soda. Naturally, as we sipped our sodas, Joseph and I gravitated to each other. I wasn’t particularly looking for a relationship and neither was he. As he was a health nut, the next step was a long walk the next weekend up scenic Coney Island Avenue with its benches and bike path. After walking about two miles, we stopped for sodas and talked. It was our second meeting, not really a date, and neither of us was looking to start anything serious, but we both realized something strange and mysterious was happening.


Joseph was paying college tuition and holding a job and I was aghast as New York City rent took a huge chunk of my paycheck. So, we were both strapped. Joseph suggested a picnic as our first date and we went to Central Park. It was lovely and magical. I’ve always been a foodie, loving to make a meal from scratch. So, I invited Joseph to my tiny studio apartment for dinner and he accepted.


Needless to say, I set the table with as much style as I could on my meager budget. I fixed my hair, wore my best at home outfit, and sprayed on my favorite perfume. I prepared roast chicken with fall vegetables. I had a pretty enamel baking-pan I liked a great deal and used often. It originally came set into a stainless steel frame with handles. I hardly ever used the frame, but this night I did as it gave the pan a classier look.


Joseph rang the buzzer downstairs and I let him up and into my apartment. Dinner was ready to come out of the oven so he sat at my table. I pulled the pan out by it’s classy handles and don’t know to this day exactly what happened. There was a popping sound and the pan dislodged from its frame with the classy handles. The chicken flew up in the air, hit the linoleum floor, and slid all the way to Joseph’s feet where it stopped. He started to grin, but immediately stopped when he got a good look at my face. I was crestfallen.


I picked the errant chicken up and he insisted I simply wash it off and he’d eat it. Well, that wouldn’t do, but he was adamant. Not only that, he insisted on cleaning up the floor. After marrying him, I discovered cleaning was one of the ways he released tension. I’ve purchased several vacuums for him since then as gifts and he’s loved them.


I did wash the chicken, but absolutely would not put it on the table until it had gone back into the oven to make sure all microscopic critters were killed dead! Needless to say we ate a rather dry chicken. I thought, if the way to a man’s heart is through his stomach, I’d just struck out. Well, was I amazed when he phoned me for a follow up date…and the rest is history.


We dated for two years and then married. Neither of us was Christian. Joseph was Roman Catholic and I didn’t have a clue. Two years into our marriage, after a series of tragic disasters happened in Joseph’s family, I got saved watching Gloria Copeland one Sunday morning. She came off as a strong yet feminine woman and I knew she had something that saw her though the tough times and I wanted it. Joseph still feels in his heart that he is Catholic, though he has been coming to church with me since the day I was saved. And I have no doubt he is the man God picked for me.


About Nike. Nike Chillemi has been called a crime fictionista due to her passion for crime fiction. She is a member of American Christian Fiction Writers (ACFW) and the Edgy Christian Fiction Lovers (Ning). She was an Inspy Awards 2010 judge in the Suspense/Thriller/Mystery category and a judge in the 2011 Carol Awards in the suspense, mystery, and romantic suspense categories. She is the founding board member of the Grace Awards, a reader’s choice awards for excellence in Christian fiction. She writes monthly book reviews for The Christian Pulse online magazine. BURNING HEARTS is the first book in the crime wave that is sweeping the south shore of Long Island in The Sanctuary Point series, published by Desert Breeze. Check out Nike’s blog:


About the book: Erica Brogna’s parents doted on her and taught her to think for herself. So many young men she grew up with fell in the war, shaking her childhood faith. In rides a handsome stranger, at the hour of her desperate need when her best friend and mentor is trapped in a burning house. This stranger rushes into the inferno and carries Erica’s friend’s lifeless body out.

Lorne Kincade can’t out run his past on his Harley Davidson, though he tried. He’s been a knock-about biker since the end of WWII. His uncle bequeathed him a ramshackle cottage in Sanctuary Point, on the Great South Bay of Long Island, NY and now he has hope for the future, wants to repair the miniscule place, and settle down. The problem is someone’s setting him up for a murder rap, a young woman with hair the color of mink is starting to get under his skin, and that’s the last thing he needs.


Come back August 10th for Nike’s romantic destination.

6 Responses to “Nike Chillemi – Real Life Romance – Part 1 of 2”

  • d says:

    Thanks for hosting Shannon. I loved the story and getting to know a little ‘behind’ the scenes in Nike’s life. I think if anyone reads this they will love her ‘voice’, even in this post and should be drawn to read Burning Hearts. It’s a fabulous read. Nike draws you right into the time period and setting. And unforgettable characters. Really.
    I know Nike through our zone loop and she’s a doll. (Hmmm, I think that sounds sort of 1940s, don’t you think?) Always a lot of fun but with a real heart for the Lord as well. I’m glad to know her.

  • oops. lost the rest of my name up there. Yes, it’s Debra and I really do love NIke’s debut book.

  • Shannon, Thx for having me. It’s been fun. Loads of fun.

    Debra, Thx for such kind words about BURNING HEARTS. 🙂

  • Jamie Chavez says:

    Loved this story and I gotta say any man who likes to run a vacuum cleaner is a keeper in my book! 🙂

  • Aw, Nike, he’s sounds like a real romantic-book hero! I can’t wait to meet both of you one day (soon, I hope!). My anniversary is coming up soon, too, (26th – got married when I was 3!). I could tell some stories…we should swap ’em & use them in our novels! My daughter loves hearing stories from when we were dating. Does your daughter?

    (p.s. don’t put me in for a free download – I want someone who hasn’t read it yet to get fabulous pleasure of reading BURNING HEARTS)

    Love ya’, Nike!

  • Jamie, He’s a keeper all right. Not only does he run a vacuum, but he’s lots of fun, especially at the beach. Read the second article in this series and find out.

    Tammy, I got married a year after you, and was also a child bride. Age 2 going on 3. LOL

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