Category Archives: A Match Made in Heaven

#TeaserThursday

I’m waiting on copy edits for my third book in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN series, BAKED WITH LOVE, but while I wait, here’s a little something from Maureen O’Dowd’s perspective….

Lucas nodded. “He seems pretty stoked about working, something I’m surprised about. Glad, for sure, but surprised. I figured…” He shrugged.

“I know. I thought a fifteen-year-old boy would rather be any place than in a kitchen every day, but he actually asked to work most days during the week and on weekends for the weddings. We’ll see how long this enthusiasm lasts.” I grinned up at him while I towel-dried a mug.

“I don’t know, Mo. If it was me, I wouldn’t mind being stuck in a kitchen every day—”

“That’s because you’re always hungry.”

“—if it was with you.”

My hand stopped rubbing the porcelain.

Okay, what?

I’m usually fairly adept at not showing my feelings or have what’s running through my mind cross my face. Nanny has commented many times over the years I’m the person she least likes playing poker with because she can’t read me. The ability to hide my true feelings has gotten me through some testy times with my parents, a bad breakup with a verbally abusive boyfriend, and my twin’s illness then death. Plus, for as many times as we’d been together over the years, Lucas had never once guessed how I truly felt about him.

Right now, though, I was finding it next to impossible to school my features and body into its usual calm nonchalance. I can only imagine how I must have appeared to him, standing there with the towel thrust into the mug, my hand paralyzed—my body as well—as I stared up at him, silent.

“What’s wrong?” He uncrossed his arms and took a step toward me, his brows grooving toward the middle of his forehead. “Maureen?”

I blinked a few times when his hand snaked around my upper arm. A soothing, comforting warmth seeped through me from his touch. I wanted to move in closer, melt into his arms, and snuggle into all his heat. When I found myself shifting so I could, I took a step backward, mentally and physically. Lucas didn’t drop his hold but kept his hand on my arm, his other one following suit.

“Nothing. Sorry. I’m fine.” I shook my head a few times and planted what I hoped looked like a self-deprecating grin on my face.

“I lost you there for a second.” His gaze swept across my face, searching, silently questioning.

“Sorry. I’ve got a lot going on up here.” I pointed a finger at my head. “Thinking fifteen steps ahead about what needs to be done around this place.”

He waited a beat, those intelligent, intense eyes never wavering from my own. “Why don’t I believe that’s all it is?”

It was no wonder he was such a good lawman. With his gaze zeroed in on me, piercing and probing, and his voice low, deep, and commanding, almost seductively sly in its cadence, I imagined people who’d broken the law were no match for him when it came to his garnering confessions.

I pulled a Colleen-worthy eye roll. “Because you’re a cop and you’re naturally suspicious. It’s ground into your DNA. Like the green in your eyes.”

One eyebrow quirked high up on his forehead. “The green in my eyes?”

His mouth stayed perfectly straight, but I got the distinct impression he was laughing at me.

“It’s true. Your eyes are green, and you’re naturally nosy.”

His inspection grew more intense as he dipped his chin and glared at me. The heat in his stare shot straight down to my core and exploded. I’m pretty sure I shuddered.

Lucas’s fingers kneaded my arms. Every nerve ending in my body stood straight up, like I’d walked across a rug in the dead of winter and then touched something metal, sparking an electric shock. I licked lips that had suddenly gone desert-dry.

His gaze took a slow stroll down to my mouth and lingered. Enough so those butterflies finally made a break for freedom. Without any will to prevent it, my mouth fell open and I dragged in about a quart of air, my shoulders lifting, then dropping with the effort. I lost the grip on the mug and when it slipped out of my hand, Lucas let go of my arms as we both reached for it at the same time.

My reflexes are quick. Lucas’s are like lightning.

Both our hands went around the cup at the same time, but in moving for it, Lucas had to bend from his substantial height. When he did, our heads connected and a resounding thwack echoed around us.

Ow.” I let the mug go free into his hand and palmed the spot of contact on my forehead. “Your skull’s made of cement.”

Lucas placed the mug on the counter, then tugged my hand off my head.

I swatted him away. It was like slicing air because it had no effect on halting him from touching me.

“Let me see. Stop squirming.” He cupped my chin to hold me in place.

In all honesty, I’d gone statue-still again the moment his hand curled around my jaw. I knew Lucas’s fingers were strong, an effect of being a life-long shooter. Thick-skinned, coarse, and powerful, his grip was surprising gentle though, as he held my face in one hand and pressed against the throbbing notch on my forehead with the other.

“You’re gonna have a goose egg.”

“And whose fault is that?” I mumbled.

“Better get some ice on it, fast.”

This time when I glanced up at him, he was attempting—and failing—to hide a grin.

Through narrowed eyes, I said, “Thanks for the advice. Mind letting go of me so I can?”

Lucas glanced at the hand wrapped around my chin, frowned, then drew his attention back up to meet my eyes.

Calling them green hadn’t done them a bit of justice. There are so many variations of the simple color, and none of them applied to Lucas.

They weren’t the bright green of a shamrock or the metallic sheen of jade. Neither were they pale like sage nor brilliant like winking emeralds. The purest and most accurate way to describe them was they mimicked the color of fresh moss at midnight: deep and dark with shards of yellow in the mix reflected in moonlight. Long lashed with a tiny tilt at the corners and subtle lines fanning out to his temples, Lucas’s eyes had always been captivating to me. Right now, with his hand holding my chin, and his body so close I could detect the brand of soap he’d used in the shower, they were mesmerizing.

The air between us changed in a finger snap. Energized. Ignited.

Something in Lucas changed, as well. His shoulders were drawn up almost to his ears, and his breathing went a little deeper, a little louder as we stood there. The groove between his eyebrows folded inward even more than it usually did. When his tongue flicked out and crossed over his bottom lip like mine had a few moments ago, I bit down on the need to press my own mouth to his.

I may have moaned.

The swift inhale Lucas took convinced me he’d heard the sound and recognized it for the naked desire it was. The hand at my chin tensed and drew me in closer. So close, I could count every hair of the afternoon stubble shading his etched cheeks and strong jaw.

An insane urge to run my tongue along the length of that shadow hopscotched through me. I might have succumbed to the impulse if Robert’s voice hadn’t spilt into the room.

“Dad?”

We both blinked at the sound.

“What’s going on?”

“Maureen dropped a cup,” Lucas told him after a moment, his attention never wavering from me. His voice was thick and low. “We bumped heads when we went to get it. Grab some ice from the freezer, would ya, son?”

“There’s a cold pack in there,” I said, stepping back when Lucas finally freed his hold on me.

He stood, immobile and silent, in front of me while his son set about his task.

I’d give anything to know what he was thinking, but his expression had gone back to its usual relaxed one. His body, though, remained stiff and tense.

Robert handed me the cold pack and said, “Here.” When he glanced at my forehead, he added, “Ouch. Dad, you hurt her.”

“It’s nothing,” I said, wrapping the pack in the dishtowel I still held in one hand. I placed it against the throbbing ache I now felt on my head and winced. “Okay, ouch is right. But it was an accident, Bobby-Boy.”

I wanted to alleviate the troubled expression on his face, so I added, lifting my lips in what I hope was a comical smirk, “Your father’s got a head like a rock. No surprise, there.”

My quip hit its intended mark as both of the men in my kitchen grinned. Lucas’s shoulders finally relaxed, and the ghost of a sigh slid from him.

They left shortly thereafter with Lucas promising to have his son to work on time in the morning.

Intrigued? I’ll put up release dates and a cover when I have them. Until then, be well, peeps.

and look for me here: Follow me

 

 

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#TeaserThursday 8.27.2020 A recipe from BAKED WITH LOVE, Book 3 in A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN

So all this week I’ve been doing edits on book 3 in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN series, BAKED WITH LOVE. In the book there are several references to Maureen O’Dowd’s Insomnia cookies – the ones she bakes at 2 am when she can’t sleep. I figured it would be a good idea to share that recipe with cookie lovers to whet your romance reading appetite for the book which I’m hoping will be released this year.

Here’s a quick tease/reference to the cookies from the book, followed by the cookies themselves. And just incase you don’t think I really bake in real life, I’ve included a few photos from a batch of insomnia cookies I made on Tuesday when I was home cooking for my parents.

Enjoy!

When I pulled into the inn, I spotted a familiar car in one of the private spaces I kept for family. The sound of laughter rang out from my kitchen.

“How come I didn’t know we were having a party?” I said when I came into the room.

My sisters were sitting at my table, each with a cup in front of them, the tin of insomnia cookies opened and on the table between them. Robert was at the sink, washing dishes, as Sarah pulled something from the oven.

“Where have you been?” Cathy had one of Colleen’s swollen feet in her lap and was massaging it.

“I had an errand to run,” I said, sneaking a side-glance at Robert’s back. “Why are you two here?”

“I wanted to check to see if everything was set for Friday’s event,” Colleen said.

“You couldn’t just call? Or send Charity? Slade specifically said he doesn’t want you driving alone at this phase.”

“He’s not the boss of me.” She pouted then reached in to the jar and brought out two more cookies. “He’s treating me like I’m the first woman ever to have a baby. I’m pregnant, not infirm or useless. And I’ve got a business to run.”

“He’s worried about you, sis. This is your first baby. His too. He gets to be overprotective if he wants.”

“Says who? I’m the one carrying around a basketball the size of Montana in my body, not him.”

“It says so in the marriage rules,” I told her. “First-time fathers are allowed to be a little overbearing and overprotective of their pregnant spouses.”

The pout morphed to a tiny grin. “I must have missed that chapter.”

“Most likely wasn’t listed in your Cliff Notes edition.”

“Must be. Besides, Cathy drove. I merely thumbed a ride and rode shotgun when she said she was headed here.”

I drew my attention to my oldest sister, lifted my eyebrows, and tilted my head.

“Any reason in particular? Or where you just craving cookies?” I asked when she pulled a handful from the jar as Colleen had and put them on her plate.

“Don’t chide me. I’m stress-eating,” she mumbled around the cookie. “There are a million details running through my brain, and I’m petrified I’m gonna forget something. Between work, this wedding, and getting everything settled for the two weeks we’ll be gone, I’m going crazy. I don’t remember being so stressed and nervous the first time I got married,” she added after swallowing.

Maureen’s Insomnia Sugar Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into squares

1 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup white granulated sugar (for rolling)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350°F. Line baking sheets with parchment paper.

Sift dry ingredients, flour, baking soda, baking powder, and salt, into a medium-sized bowl and set aside.

Cream the butter and both sugars together in a large mixing bowl on medium speed until light in color and fluffy.

Add the egg and mix until well combined.
Add the vanilla extract and mix until well combined.
Add the dry ingredients 1 cup at a time and mix until the dough is well formed. Do not overmix.

Using a tablespoon-sized scoop, scoop cookie dough into individual pieces. Gently roll each into a ball with your hands, then roll each ball in white sugar to coat.

Put the balls on the baking sheet 2 inches apart. Cookies will spread once they heat, and you want them to have room to do so without touching one another.
Bake cookies for 7-10 minutes, but do not overbake. Remove just before the edges begin to turn golden.

Remove from the oven and allow to cool on a baking rack for at least 10 minutes.

Enjoy!

When I’m not baking you can find me here:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe  //Watch me

For a complete listing of my books, you can search here: Peggy Jaeger, Author

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

#TeaserThursday A little something from BAKED WITH LOVE

While BAKED WITH LOVE, my book 3 installment to the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN series is with my editor for a final round, here’s a little something about Maureen O’Dowd and her motivation for keeping silent on her love for Lucas I want to share. Secrets run deep in this family, and Maureen holds the biggest one close to the vest.

“Robert wants to come with us tomorrow. I mean, if you’re still willing to go shopping.” Lucas said when I came back. “When I told him about you helping me pick out a tux I realized he didn’t have any dress clothes with him. I want to get him something appropriate to wear to Cathy’s wedding. Okay with you? Can you spare him? I don’t want to leave you shorthanded.”

I grinned over at the boy in question. “I think the inn will survive without the both of us for a few hours, don’t you.”

One corner of his lips lifted. A tiny milk mustache lined his upper lip and he was so adorable I wanted to hug him. I loved this boy as much as if he were my own.

My heart pinged as I thought for the first time what it would be like if he were. Or if I had one of my own children to love and cherish. It was a dream I hadn’t allowed myself in several years.

Since Eileen’s diagnosis and subsequent death, I’d tossed out all thoughts of having my own family. The reason, to my mind, was a valid one. As twins we shared everything, the most important of which was our DNA. Eileen’s cancer had been rare, but as her genetic clone, such as it were, the fear the same cancer was somewhere looming about in me waiting to break free was always on my mind.

After Eileen’s diagnosis Cathy and Colleen had been tested to see if they carried the same rare genetic trait for the breast cancer she’d been afflicted with. Thankfully, they were both clear of it. I’d told them, when asked, I’d been tested too, which was a bold-faced lie, because I hadn’t.

The reason why not was easy: I was terrified of the results.

I knew in my head I should get tested to alleviate the worry not knowing caused. I even suspected that dread was the basis for all my sleepless nights. But the fear the test would confirm I was actually a carrier of the gene was so overpowering, every time I made an appointment to get tested, I canceled it.

By not knowing for certain whether or not I was afflicted I was able to convince myself all was well. By getting tested and possibly confirming the diagnosis, I was committing myself to a death sentence.

I’d argued with myself time after time if the disease were going to rear its head, it would have done so already, since everything else in our lives had coincided. We’d gotten our first tooth within days of one another; taken our first steps the same morning. We liked and disliked most of the same foods and each of us had an allergy to pineapple. My period had started three hours after Eileen’s. I’d been born four minutes after her, but my life had run along the same course as hers. Why wouldn’t the cancer do the same if it were, in fact, part of me? Eileen had been dead three years, and if the cancer were going to develop, conventional wisdom stated it would have by now.

And even knowing that, I still didn’t have the courage to be tested.

So many nights I’d stood in my kitchen, trying to bake away the anxiety. It was one of the main reasons I’d never told Lucas how I felt about him. It wasn’t fair to either of us for me to confess my love. I couldn’t start a romantic relationship with him, no matter how much I wanted to, for fear it would be ruined with a cancer potentiality.

The logical portion of my brain called me an idiot more times than I could remember, but I was leading with my heart here, and making most of my decisions based on emotions and not logic. I didn’t feel it was fair to Lucas or any man to face a lover’s illness and death. It was the same reason I’d opted out of ever having children. It wasn’t right to leave them without a mother.

So I’d kept my feelings to myself, content with having him in my life as a friend. Well, maybe content wasn’t the correct word. Satisfied didn’t seem appropriate, either, when I thought about it.

No cover or release date yet, but you know I’ll put them up as soon as I have them!

Here’s the mock-up cover I use when I’m writing to keep me in the mood:

 

As I’ve said before – my skillset is more words than graphics ( hee hee)

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

And don’t forget to visit me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe  //Watch me

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#teasertuesday 7.14.2020

I’m on track to get my first edits back today for the third book in my MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN series, BAKED WITH LOVE, so I figured this was a good time to put out a little something from that for today’s Teaser Tuesday.

Book 3 is Maureen’s Story, the inn keeper, baker, youngest sister, and the moral compass of the family.

Oh, my God, Maureen.” My sister Colleen’s voice rose a good two octaves from its normal sultry timbre. “Are those…penis pops?”

“Lower your voice,” I told her as I continued to pipe buttercream roses on the cupcakes I’d made for tomorrow’s wedding. “My entire inn doesn’t need to know I’ve got those”—I grinned—“hardening in my kitchen.”

“Why, in the name of all that’s holy are there”—she counted out loud—“seven chocolate candies in the shape of male genitalia on your counter?”

“Because your bride’s maid of honor special ordered them for the attendants. I tried to talk her out of it, but she paid me triple to make them and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Be happy there are only seven. She wanted one for each of the thirty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I pointed my chin toward the candy—“for the bridesmaids. She’s going to present them tonight after the rehearsal. Thinks they’ll be, quote, a scream, unquote.”

My wedding planner and getting-bigger-by-the-second pregnant sister plopped down onto one of my kitchen chairs and sighed. Heavily.

“Oh, good Lord. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll make sure the moms are nowhere in sight when she gives them out. I don’t relish having to listen to one more complaint about this wedding. I’ve had enough for the past week to last me until Princess here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”

I flicked her a glance and said, “Put your feet up, Coll. I can see how swollen they are from here.”

With more effort than was probably warranted – she is after all, related to our grandmother, who corners the market on theatricality – she hefted her feet onto an opposing kitchen chair then extended and flexed her toes a few times. This time her sigh was thick with fatigue, and if I wasn’t mistaken, pain.

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing those ridiculous heels when you’re almost nine months along,” I chided. “Standing in them all day can’t be good for the baby. Or your back.”

“Stop scolding me.” It was impossible not to miss the whine in her voice. “I refuse to take advice from someone who thinks flipflops are the greatest invention known to the shoe wearing population of the world. For the record, my back is fine and my feet don’t hurt.”

“No, they just look like flesh colored water balloons.”

“When did you turn so mean? You’re usually the supportive, quiet sister.”

In ordinary circumstances this was true. But with my ready-to-pop and three-inch heel wearing sister, I was more than willing to make an exception.

I piped the last rose on the final cupcake, laid my pastry bag down on the counter, and took a good look at her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of red hair out of place, the middle of my three sisters looked something she rarely did: tired. With her hands folded over her protruding belly, she’d dropped her chin to her chest and closed her eyes.

The snarky remark I was going to make about the benefits of wearing flats died before I gave it breath.

Since lunch service had finished a half hour ago and my serving staff was done with cleanup, Colleen and I were alone in my kitchen. I put the kettle on for tea and asked, “Did you have lunch?”

When she lifted her head her eyes took a moment to clear before they focused on me, lending credence to the fact she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.

“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity got one for me while I was with the florist.”

“Text her back and tell her to put it in the fridge. I’ll make you something to eat.”

While she contacted her assistant, I plated the luncheon salad I’d concocted for today’s menu, then put half a ham and cheese sandwich into my Panini maker.

“Eat this until the sandwich is done.” I handed her the salad and a bottled water.

“What is it?”

“Spinach, cranberries, walnuts, raisins and carrots with a light pomegranate dressing and shaved Parmesan.”

Colleen shoved a forkful in and groaned. “Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”

“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.

It was a voice I knew well, since its owner was a frequent inhabitant of my dreams. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken gravel, it could cajole a lover into seduction or cut off a criminal at the knees.

Fortunately, I’d never been the latter. But I’d fantasized about being the former for years.

“Truth,” Colleen said around a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”

Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded eyes from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

“A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I pulled Colleen’s sandwich from the press when the bell tinged. Lucas, always comfortable in my kitchen, moved to lean a hip against the counter and then halted mid stride.

I knew the cause of his sudden stop and bit down on the inside of my cheek while I handed Colleen her plate. She caught my eye, and my stifled grin, and realized the cause. Her lips lifted in a wicked grin.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Are those–? Wait. What, what are those? Are they…?”

“Are they what?” Colleen asked, innocence dripping from her voice, at the same time I asked, “Want one?”

Lucas spun around to find the two of us staring at him, expressions blanked, and waiting for him to continue.

He huffed out a breath and dragged a hand through his hair. “Never mind,” he said, with a nervous shake of his head and shoulders.

Colleen glanced up at me, winked, and then took a huge bite of her Panini. “Oh, good Lord, Mo.”

I smiled and told her, “You’re welcome,” before I said to Lucas, “What’s up?”

He cocked his head in a come-with-me move.

In the breezeway separating my private kitchen from the commercial one I used for the inn I own and cook in, Lucas stopped, bit down on a corner of his mouth, and twirled his hat in his hands. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was nervous, but nerves weren’t an emotion common to this man. His army training had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the most volatile of situations. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.

I repeated my question.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

“Cathy might have mentioned Robert’s coming to spend a few weeks with me. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a long honeymoon.”

I nodded. “I’d heard that, but not from Cathy.” To the question in his eyes I said, “Nanny told me the other day when I dropped off her scone delivery at the nursing home. She heard it from Tillie Carlisle who got it from Maeve Capshaw, whose granddaughter, Olivia, told her. Nanny said Olivia was the one who introduced Nora to her intended at a divorced-and-looking event she’d hosted.”

“Jesus.” Lucas shook his head again. “Small towns.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “A curse and a blessing, as Cathy is fond of saying.”

Intrigued? Hee hee, me too. Here’s a mockup of the cover. I don’t know what it’s really gonna be yet, but this is one I use while I’m writing.

And did you know that book 2, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS has some exciting news? Not only is it a finalist in the GRDWA contest in the Long Contemporary category,

But it’s also just been named a 2020 RECOMMENDED READ from AuthorShout

Exciting times, peeps.

Until next time ~ Peg

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#SundaySnippet 5.31.2020

This is from my upcoming release ( no date yet) for BAKED WITH LOVE, book 3 in my Match Made in Heaven Series. This one tells the love story of inn owner Maureen and the Chief of Police Lucas Alexander:

“Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”

“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.

It was a voice I knew well, since its owner was a frequent inhabitant of my dreams. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken gravel, it could cajole a lover into seduction or cut off a criminal at the knees.

Fortunately, I’d never been the later. But I’d fantasized about being the former for years.

“Truth,” Colleen said around a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”

Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded eyes from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

The book has just been contracted and is in the editing phase right now. I do hope to have it out in 2020. This is a mock up of the cover – not the ral thing!!

You can read books 1 and 2 here:

DEARLY BELOVED 

TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS

 

Enjoy your week.

Until next time ~ Peg

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#longandShortReviews #Weeklybloggingchallenge 4.8.2020

If you’ve ever read any of my blog posts, you know I can talk.

A lot.

About a great deal  of stuff and not only related to writing.

So today’s topic prompt: Topic(s) I could give an impromptu speech on just sings to me.

Let’s start with the anatomy of the eye and then move on to contact lens care and keeping ( of your eyes and the lenses).

I worked in my husband’s clinic as a Contact lens technician for 20 years. I retired when my first book was published, but I can still give a lecture I wrote for doctors and patients verbatim if asked to right now.

Next. Want to talk about organizing stuff? Marie Kondo ain’t got nuthin’ on me! Containers, culling, and cleaning  are all topics I can ramble on for hours about.

I get excited when I think of all the ways I can stack and store stuff!

Lastly, I was the nursing care coordinator and head of an Alzheimer’s in patient unit before I had my baby. Memory loss, the aging brain, and new techniques and studies for improving cognition and quality of elder life are topics near and dear to me and I could spew on for hours just about memory techniques.

So, that’s it just for starters!!! Let’s see what some of the other authors in this challenge can wax prolific about: L&SR

I lovelovelove Long and Short reviews so much and this is just a tiny example of why: this fabulous 5 star review the recently posted for my recent Match Made in Heaven book, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS! Read the review here: TTAReview

and if the review intrigues you, you can get your own copy here:

Available at these fine online retailers in Ecopy or Print: Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

and if you’re looking for me, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

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#sundaySnippet 3.15.2020

This week, a few lines from TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, in which Nanny Fee speaks the plain truth to Cathy.

After getting her settled back into her room, I bent and kissed her cheek telling her I’d call her later on.

With an impatient wave of her hand, she said, “Don’t be worrying about me, lass. It’s fine, I am. Get along to work now. I’m sure you’re as busy as your dear father always was.”

“More,” I said, leaning in for a hug. “But never too busy for you.”
A soft and bewitching grin bloomed on her face. It was easy to see the beauty she’d been in her youth when she smiled this way.

“There’s a darlin’ girl, you are.” She lifted up on her toes to kiss my cheek. “Oh, now, before I forget. Olivia Joyner stopped by the other day.”

“Olivia? What was she doing here?”

“Her grandmother was admitted after breaking a hip in a fall last week. She’s down the hall, and Olivia spotted me name outside the door and came in for a chat. She’s always been such a delightful girl.”

Olivia was the same age as me, and we’d gone from kindergarten through Heaven High together. I wondered if my grandmother referred to me as a girl when she spoke to others.

“Is her grandmother okay?”

Nanny waved a hand and grinned. “Right as rain, she is, but the doctor wanted her looked after until he’s certain she can get up and about by herself again. Olivia wanted to care for her at home, but it was too much with her business and her daughter finishin’ graduate school and movin’ out, and all.”

“I didn’t realize Freya was old enough to have finished college, let alone grad school.” I should have, because Olivia gave birth to her when we were seniors in high school. Time, as I’ve often thought, goes by ridiculously fast.

“Aye. She’s leaving the nest, but Olivia says she’s ready.”

The corners of Nanny’s eyes slitted a bit as she regarded me. Uh-oh. Whenever Nanny tossed you a slanty-eyed glare, it meant you were gonna have a come-to-Jesus lecture. She opened her purse and pulled something out of it. “Before she left, she asked me to give ya this when I saw ya again.”

“What is it?”

“Her business card.” She handed it to me. “Said to give her a jingle when ya got the chance.”

Olivia’s name was written in beautiful calligraphy, her occupation listed below it, and her business phone number in the bottom corner of the card.

I swallowed, my throat suddenly dry as day-old burnt toast. “Why does she want me to call?” I asked, even though I had a sneaking suspicion about the reason.

I hoped I was wrong, and she merely wanted a little legal advice.

“Well, lass, why do you think she wants to speak to ya? Wants to set you up, doesn’t she, being a matchmaker and all?”

Nope. It seems I wasn’t wrong at all.

Olivia Joyner was a fourth-generation matchmaker, and the fact she wanted me to call her about a possible set up was…uncomfortable to say the least. There were a few other words—like embarrassed and pitiful—I could add.

“It’s time, lass,” Nanny told me, her eyes softening as she stared up at me. “Time to move on. You’re still a young, beautiful, desirable woman. It’s time a man came into your life and brought some happiness along with him into it. Gave you babies to love. A fulfilling life. Olivia can help ya with that.”

I tucked the card into my coat pocket. “I have a full life, Nanny. Believe me.”

“Aye, lass, it’s busy you are with your career. But wouldn’t it be nice to come home to someone who loved ya? Who warmed your bed at night? You’re a healthy, vibrant woman. Ya’ve normal needs, you do, I’m sure.”

My earlobes burned with heat. There was no way I was having this conversation with my grandmother, a women old enough to have forgotten everything about needs, desires, and anything else sex related. Unfortunately, because this was Fiona, the four times married woman who’d been able to fit in love affairs with royalty between her marriages, there was no way she’d forgotten anything need or desire laden.

Intrigued? If so, thanks! And you can get your own copy at these fine online retailers in Ecopy or Print: Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

If you’re looking for me, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

Until next time, peeps  ~Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Today Tomorrow Always

A little ego boost from a Book of the Year Nomination~

SO every now and again I ask for what I want. It’s a strange concept for me since I’m usually the one who screams I’M INDEPENDENT AND CAN DO IT MYSELF!!!

Did you hear me screaming that??  Hee hee

But…I need help and I’m asking. My first Match Made in Heaven book DEARLY BELOVED is up for BOOK OF THE YEAR over at Long and Short reviews e-zine. While I know in my heart of hearts it really isn’t the best book of 2018-19, because it was voted a book of the month, it’s in the running with the other 12 books who were voted that as well, and this final vote decides the readers fav book of the year.

So…will ya vote for my book? Here’s the link to do so: L&SRBOY

Voting ends on 2.29.2020 so if you do vote, do so before you forget!!

I know: I’m shameless.

Thanks, peeps

Until next time ~ Peg

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On Book reviews – good ones, bad ones, and ones that make you go “WHAT??!”

I’m not gonna lie….I read my book reviews.

Many authors will tell you they never do because they don’t want to hear anything negative about the book, or that it makes them uncomfortable, or anxious or ( insert your own descriptor).

Not me.

I read every single, friggin, review I find, especially those from people I don’t know. You kind of expect the people you know to say something nice about your book. But it’s the ones I’ve never met, who don’t know me from Eve, who when they take time to write something about one of my books, I sit up and take notice. I’m not arrogant enough to think my words will inspire, entertain, and bring happiness into every single reader’s lives. It’s my hope, but not my reality, peeps, heehee.

What I always find intriguing though, is when one book has polarizing reviews – both ends of the spectrum from 5 stars to 1.

Let me e’splain….

This was a recent review from a very famous author I know through a publisher connection. We have never met, but I thoroughly enjoy reading her books and she is a one-click author for me. For TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS this is her review, up on Amazon:

Katie O’Sullivan

Reviewed in the United States on February 11, 2020

Format: Paperback

Peggy Jaeger has done it once more, proving why I keep returning to her stories again and again. The vivid portrait of small town life, the depth of the characters and the breadth of emotions… I love escaping to the worlds this author creates on the pages.

Ms. Jaeger writes in a first person point of view that drags the reader along on a sometimes chaotic ride with Cathy O’Dowd, a small-town lawyer and the eldest O’Dowd sister in the small town of Heaven, New Hampshire. She took over her father’s practice and responsibilities when her parents retired, one of which was sitting on the board of the local Historical Society. When a well-known author comes to town to research his new book, the pair are thrown together and sparks begin to fly.

Okay, none of that sounds terribly exciting, does it?

Small town lawyer. Author doing research. Historical Society.

It all reeks of dusty pages and yawns hidden behind polite hands. And yet…

This story crackles with emotion and tension, as the main characters are instantly drawn to each other but trying desperately to ignore the electric connection. The stubbornly broken characters kept me glued to my Kindle rooting for them to give into their feelings, to get over their sad pasts and find a happily ever after with each other. The scenes with Cathy’s grandmother, Nanny Fee, add comical humor and lightness to the overall story. Ms. Jaeger does a wonderful job of creating real characters we can relate to and root for, with the strong background themes of family and forgiveness running throughout.

I finished this book in a day, and loved escaping into the world Ms. Jaeger created. The first book in this series, Dearly Beloved introduced the town of Heaven and the sisters… And I know there’s one more O’Dowd sister whose story has yet to be published (I can’t wait!)

Amazing, right? And such an ego stroke I can’t tell you!
Now, here’s the same book and a review from Netgalley from someone I don’t know from Adam:
Maggie – 1 star
I have thoroughly enjoyed what I have read so far in Today, Tomorrow, Always. I love the small town atmosphere, the family surrounding Cathy, and the love and patience she has for her family, her sweet dog and her community. The buildup of Mac’s background and loss of his family add to an intriguing mystery. Why did you throw in a gay marriage? My decision is to not finish this book and not request any more of Peggy Jaegar’s books. I read Christmas and Cannolis last year and thoroughly enjoyed it. Thus, I requested this book. Please leave LBGTQ topics no matter how small under LBGTQ headings. It may be only a minor one-page item, but I am not interested in finding out. I will not be leaving a review on Twitter or Amazon as I do not believe in writing negative reviews.
The last sentence made me laugh. THAT’S exactly what she’s done, isn’t it??
Like it’s been said many times in the past : You can please some of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
Now, if this reviewer had said the story was boring, or the writing was sophomoric, or even that the characters were unrealistic, I would have taken her words to heart and chalked up the bad review to someone who just didn’t like the book. This is still America, people, and we are allowed to have opinions that differ.
But…. this isn’t really a review of the book, is it?
Think about it.
Reread her words.
This is about 1 scene, 250 words, 1 page of a book that she even claims she was enjoying up until these 250 words came into play. For whatever reason this was a trigger for her and she decided to condemn me for the rest of my book writing life.
This is just one of those aspects of being an author that makes me go… WHAT??!
If you’re looking for me I’m usually here ( or out reading my reviews!)Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me // Watch me
…And liked Katie mentioned above, Book 3 BAKED IN LOVE is with my editor, but you can read the opening scene here: PJBlog
Until next time, kids ~Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor, Writing

#SundaySnippet 2.16.2020

So, the other day I sent off the manuscript for the final book in my Match Made in Heaven series, BAKED WITH LOVE, to my editor at Wild Rose Press. Fingers crossed she likes it.

I get a great deal of inspiration for writing my characters from my PInterest Boards. I have a few for Baked with Love you can troll thru:

Maureen’s Aprons //  Nanny Fee // Maureen and Lucas

Below is the opening scene I’ve written for the book. Here’s hoping it stays as is when it gets edited, because I lovelovelove this scene so much! Hope you do, too.

Chapter 1

Oh, my God, Maureen.” My sister Colleen’s voice rose a good two octaves from its normal sultry timbre. “Are those…penis pops?”

“Lower your voice,” I told her as I continued to pipe buttercream roses on the cupcakes I’d made for tomorrow’s wedding. “My entire inn doesn’t need to know I’ve got those”—I grinned—“hardening in my kitchen.”

“Why, in the name of all that’s holy are there”—she counted out loud—“seven chocolate candies in the shape of male genitalia on your counter?”

“Because your bride’s maid of honor special ordered them for the attendants. I tried to talk her out of it, but she paid me triple to make them and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Be happy there are only seven. She wanted one for each of the thirty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I pointed my chin toward the candy—“for the bridesmaids. She’s going to present them tonight after the rehearsal. Thinks they’ll be, quote, a scream, unquote.”

My wedding planner and getting-bigger-by-the-second pregnant sister plopped down onto one of my kitchen chairs and sighed. Heavily.

“Oh, good Lord. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll make sure the moms are nowhere in sight when she gives them out. I don’t relish having to listen to one more complaint about this wedding. I’ve had enough for the past week to last me until Princess here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”

I flicked her a glance and said, “Put your feet up, Coll. I can see how swollen they are from here.”

With more effort than was probably warranted – she is after all, related to our grandmother, who corners the market on theatricality – she hefted her feet onto an opposing kitchen chair then extended and flexed her toes a few times. This time her sigh was thick with fatigue, and if I wasn’t mistaken, pain.

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing those ridiculous heels when you’re almost nine months along,” I chided. “Standing in them all day can’t be good for the baby. Or your back.”

“Stop scolding me.” It was impossible not to miss the whine in her voice. “I refuse to take advice from someone who thinks flipflops are the greatest invention known to the shoe wearing population of the world. For the record, my back is fine and my feet don’t hurt.”

“No, they just look like flesh colored water balloons.”

“When did you turn so mean? You’re usually the supportive, quiet sister.”

In ordinary circumstances this was true. But with my ready-to-pop and three-inch heel wearing sister, I was more than willing to make an exception.

I piped the last rose on the final cupcake, laid my pastry bag down on the counter, and took a good look at her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of red hair out of place, the middle of my three sisters looked something she rarely did: tired. With her hands folded over her protruding belly, she’d dropped her chin to her chest and closed her eyes.

The snarky remark I was going to make about the benefits of wearing flats died before I gave it breath.

Since lunch service had finished a half hour ago and my serving staff was done with cleanup, Colleen and I were alone in my kitchen. I put the kettle on for tea and asked, “Did you have lunch?”

When she lifted her head her eyes took a moment to clear before they focused on me, lending credence to the fact she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.

“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity got one for me while I was with the florist.”

“Text her back and tell her to put it in the fridge. I’ll make you something to eat.”

While she contacted her assistant, I plated the luncheon salad I’d concocted for today’s menu, then put half a ham and cheese sandwich into my Panini maker.

“Eat this until the sandwich is done.” I handed her the salad and a bottled water.

“What is it?”

“Spinach, cranberries, walnuts, raisins and carrots with a light pomegranate dressing and shaved Parmesan.”

Colleen shoved a forkful in and groaned. “Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”

“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.

It was a voice I knew well, since its owner was a frequent inhabitant of my dreams. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken gravel, it could cajole a lover into seduction or cut off a criminal at the knees.

Fortunately, I’d never been the latter. But I’d fantasized about being the former for years.

“Truth,” Colleen said around a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”

Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded eyes from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

“A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I pulled Colleen’s sandwich from the press when the bell tinged. Lucas, always comfortable in my kitchen, moved to lean a hip against the counter and then halted mid stride.

I knew the cause of his sudden stop and bit down on the inside of my cheek while I handed Colleen her plate. She caught my eye, and my stifled grin, and realized the cause. Her lips lifted in a wicked grin.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Are those–? Wait. What, what are those? Are they…?”

“Are they what?” Colleen asked, innocence dripping from her voice, at the same time I asked, “Want one?”

Lucas spun around to find the two of us staring at him, expressions blanked, and waiting for him to continue.

He huffed out a breath and dragged a hand through his hair. “Never mind,” he said, with a nervous shake of his head and shoulders.

Colleen glanced up at me, winked, and then took a huge bite of her Panini. “Oh, good Lord, Mo.”

I smiled and told her, “You’re welcome,” before I said to Lucas, “What’s up?”

He cocked his head in a come-with-me move.

In the breezeway separating my private kitchen from the commercial one I used for the inn I own and cook in, Lucas stopped, bit down on a corner of his mouth, and twirled his hat in his hands. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was nervous, but nerves weren’t an emotion common to this man. His army training had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the most volatile of situations. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.

I repeated my question.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

“Cathy might have mentioned Robert’s coming to spend a few weeks with me. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a long honeymoon.”

I nodded. “I’d heard that, but not from Cathy.” To the question in his eyes I said, “Nanny told me the other day when I dropped off her scone delivery at the nursing home. She heard it from Tillie Carlisle who got it from Maeve Capshaw, whose granddaughter, Olivia, told her. Nanny said Olivia was the one who introduced Nora to her intended at a divorced-and-looking event she’d hosted.”

“Jesus.” Lucas shook his head again. “Small towns.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “A curse and a blessing, as Cathy is fond of saying.”

“Yeah, well, your sister is one of the smartest people I know. Anyway. Nora doesn’t want to leave Robert home alone. He’s too old for a babysitter, but at fifteen, still too young to be left to his own defenses. He just started driver’s ed and doesn’t have a valid license yet, so it was easier to take him while she’s gone.”

“So he’s gonna stay with you and your dad until they get back?”

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you sound happy? Whenever Robert’s visited for school breaks before you’ve always been thrilled since you don’t get to see him as much since they moved.”

He huffed out another breath and leaned a shoulder against the wall. My pregnant sister wasn’t the only one who was tired.

“I’m not not happy he’s coming to stay. It’s more, things with dad now aren’t good and I’m afraid he’s gonna make the kid’s life miserable with all his complaining and griping. Last time Robert came for a weekend all dad did was harp on him. Get a haircut, stand up straight, stop mumbling. Poor kid couldn’t wait to get back to his mother, and that’s saying something, because she’s almost as bad. I don’t want him to spend all his time with his grandfather while he’s here, getting criticized for merely breathing.”

“I’m assuming this is where the favor you need from me comes in?”

He nodded. “The kid needs something to occupy him while he’s here. I’ve gotta work and I can’t take any time. I don’t want him sitting home all day fighting with dad or locked in his room playing video games. I want him to get out of the house. Get a job. You hire high school kids to bus tables and help serve. I’m hoping you’ll take Robert on as summer crew. Then, I’ll know where he is during the day, he’ll earn a little money of his own, and I won’t have to worry about coming home to World War III every night. Plus…”

“Plus?”

“Well, if he’s with you I won’t…worry about him. I know he’ll be in good hands. You’ll feed him and watch out for him like he was one of your own. Like you do everyone else.”

To say I was thrilled by the offhanded compliment was an understatement. Even if I wasn’t on the lookout for extra help, I would have hired Lucas’s son.

“Sure. I can always use another body, especially in the summer when I’ve got a full house every weekend from Colleen’s wedding parties.”

Lucas’s shoulders dropped a couple of degrees from where they’d stationed themselves at his ears and he let out a breath filled with relief. “Thanks, Maureen. Really.”

I waved my hand at him. “Don’t worry about it. When does he get here?”

“Sunday morning. Nora’s dropping him off before she leaves for the airport.”

I nodded. “Get him all unpacked and settled and then you can bring him by Monday. I’ll go over everything with him then, okay?”

“More than okay. Again, I can’t thank you enough. You’re truly a lifesaver.” He took my hand and squeezed it. Lucas had done this hundreds of times over the years and like every other time he had, the wiring in my heart went a little haywire.

And like every other time, I swallowed the temptation to tug on his hand and pull him close enough so I could kiss him.

“Any time okay?” He let my hand go and I had to physically refrain myself from pulling it back.

“After breakfast service would be good, so around ten-ish?”

He nodded. Whatever he was going to say was cut off by the beeper at his waistband blaring.

“Sorry.” A quick glance at it and he shoved his hat back on his head. “Duty calls.” He grinned. “See you Monday.”

I waited until he walked out the Inn’s front doors before going back to the kitchen. In all honesty I needed a moment alone to center myself. Seeing Lucas, no matter when or where, always made my insides flutter, my toes tingle, and my heart beat faster.

From the time I’d turned nine Lucas Alexander had been the only man I’d ever loved. At eighteen, nine years older than me, he’d been my brother-in-law’s best friend from the cradle and a part of our family since I was a baby. But the first time I’d ever spied him in his army uniform I’d lost my heart forever. Cliché though it is, Lucas in a uniform had slayed me, even as a little girl. Twenty-plus years later I still felt the same way whenever I saw him in his police attire.

And in his regular clothes, too.

Colleen was still in her chair, feet up, the plates in front of her now empty, and her chin kissing her chest again. I had to smile. This was the sister who defined the term perpetual motion. To see her actually napping during daylight hours was akin to seeing a leprechaun’s pot’o gold. This pregnancy, her first at the age of thirty-seven, was weighing heavily on her and zapping the energy she was blessed with. I didn’t have the heart to rouse her.

With as little noise as I could, I went about tidying the kitchen. The sharp ping of her cell phone signaling an incoming text ten minutes later called her slumber to an end.

She startled, blinked a few times, then tugged her phone from her pocket. No one I knew could type faster than my sister. A series of rapid-fire finger taps and then the whoosh of her text being sent filled the room.

“Did I fall asleep?” she asked, while she stretched her arms high above her head.

“Just for a few minutes. I’m betting this was the first time you’ve sat all day.”

With another of those soul-weary sighs, she hefted her feet from the chair and stood. Another full body stretch, then she said, “No rest for the wicked. Or wedding planners the day before a big wedding.”

“Where are you off to now?”
“The church, the spa to check tomorrow’s appointments, the printers to pick up the programs for the ceremony. Then back to the office for a conference call.” She ticked each stop off on her fingers. “I can check off the rehearsal and reception right now. Everything set?”

“All taken care of. When you all get back from the rehearsal, I’ll start service. Some of the non-bridal party guests have already begun arriving. I had Janie put all the goodiebags in their rooms this morning. The bridal suite is all set for tomorrow. I have the champagne in the cooler and I’ll put it in the room during the reception.” I swiped a hand toward the cupcakes I’d been decorating when she arrived. “In lieu of the cake your bride didn’t want, I’ve got the cupcakes she did all ready to go.”

Colleen sighed and kissed my cheek. “I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“You’d survive but you wouldn’t get the family discount or the personal service-with-a-smile you’re used to.”

Her laugh warmed my heart.

“Before you go,” I moved to my industrial refrigerator, pulled out a bundle of aluminum foils and put them in a shopping bag. “Here. Leftovers from yesterday for you and Slade. Now you don’t have to cook tonight.”

Colleen took the bag and then tugged me into her arms for a full body hug, not an easy accomplishment with her belly bump in the way.

“I simply adore you,” she said, with another cheek kiss. “My husband does, as well. You take care of us better than anyone.”

“I aim to please.”

“Speaking of, what did Lucas want?”

I glared at her. “How did you take ‘I am to please’ and equate it with Lucas?”

“He’s just another person in your realm who adores you and who you take care of.”

I shook my head. “Okay, first? He adores my cooking, not me. And second? My realm? Really, Coll? You make me sound like some imperial and benevolent ruler.”

“Benevolent for sure. I won’t go so far as to call you a ruler because then I’d be your subject and I’m older than you, so, no way.”

Her laugh drew one from me.

“And as far as Lucas adoring your cooking and not you, they’re one and the same, sis. Now, why was he here?” She held up the shopping bag. “To mooch one of these go-bags for him and his dad?”

She wasn’t wrong in asking if I’d given him his own to take. More times than not, Lucas would stop by on his way home after a long day for a quick cup of coffee and a chat. He never left empty handed if Sarah—my assistant—or me had anything to say about it.

I explained about Robert Alexander and the favor Lucas had asked me.

“Win win for you,” she said. “You get extra help, which I know you can always use, plus you get another person to take under your smother-love maternal wing and care for.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know exactly what I mean, Maureen Angela Bernadette.” She flapped her free hand in the air like she was waving a wand. “You may be the baby in our family, but you act more like a mother hen any day of the week. You cook for us, look out for us, heck, you even research solutions to problems like you did when Cathy’s dog got sick, or when I was suffering through that awful early stage morning sickness. Adding Lucas’s son, a teenaged boy who’s probably got all the angst and raging emotions inherent in the breed under your wing, and I bet my secret stash of Peppermint Patties the kid’s never gonna look at his own mother the same way again.” She kissed my cheek one more time and said, “I’ve gotta go, so toodles. I’ll see you later when I come back to escort the bridal party to the church. Thanks for lunch.” She lifted the bag. “And dinner.”

To her retreating back I said, “Just FYI, it’s not such a secret stash. We all know where you keep your candy.”

Her response was to toss me a backhanded wave as she went through the doors of the Inn.

With my hands fisted on my hips I shook my head.

So what if I tend to spoil the people I love? Make sure they got enough to eat? Always have a bed ready they can crash in, or a willing ear they can confide in? They deserve it. It’s my humble opinion if more people showed how much they cared about one another, instead of simply tossing out an offhanded I love you every now and again, people, in general, would be much happier.

If that’s smothering, so be it.

Back in my kitchen I washed Colleen’s dishes, then reheated my cup of untouched tea. While I drank it, I planned the next few days in my head and went over the staffing I’d need for the busy weeks ahead of me. When I added Robert Alexander’s name to my mentally tally, it was his father’s ruggedly handsome face that popped into my mind’s eye.

The exhaustion I saw floating in his eyes was worrying. Having his aged and ailing father living with him was taking a toll on Lucas’s mental wellbeing. Hogan Alexander cornered the market on the term curmudgeon. He’d been crabby and ill-tempered ever since I could remember. My grandmother claimed it was because his wife up and left him after sixteen years of marriage, saddling him with a teenaged son Hogan didn’t know how to relate to. The fact Lucas grew to such a wonderful man and upstanding citizen was one of the wonders of the modern world. Cursed with a father who doled out complaints instead of compliments and a mother who left to find her self at the age of forty, Lucas could so easily have gone to the dark side. Instead, he’d enlisted in the army with his best friend, served three tours, then come home to roost.

When his own marriage had gone south, Lucas didn’t turn bitter as his father had, but made every effort he could to be a good father to his son.

A quick glance at the wall clock and I stopped my wool-gathering. I had to get the private dining room ready for Colleen’s bride’s rehearsal dinner. Before though, I needed to wrap the chocolate pops and get them to the Maid of Honor. Remembering the look of confused horror on Lucas’s face when he spied them brought a smile to my own.

But then, just thinking of him always did.

Yeah, I know it’s a long one, but every word I truly loved writing!!!

I’ll let you know about publishing details if and when I have them!

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women