Category Archives: Strong Women

#SundaySnippet 11.3.19

It’s not difficult to figure out what the Sunday Snippet is this week, is it? Since IT’S A TRUST THING released on Friday, it makes sense I offer a little sumthin’ sumthin’ to whet your appetite and hopefully get you to read the book. Hee hee.

There’s nothing I like more than when a strong woman  – or man – shows his/her vulnerability. In this scene, it’s Nell who does. This is the beginning of her learning to trust in a man she knows practically nothing about except he makes her feel like no other man ever has.

Can she trust him? We’ll find out, won’t we? Hee hee

This is nice,” I said again, eyeing the treetops and the panorama of the horizon. “Do you love sitting out here?”

“I do. Sometimes, when I’ve got nothing that needs my imminent attention, I’ll sit out here on an afternoon and read a book, or bring my laptop out and catch up on what’s going on in the world.” He glanced over at me. “Probably sounds pretty boring to you.”

“Not in the least. I love quiet days, truthfully, because they happen so rarely.”

“What’s your idea of a perfect day, then? One where you could do anything you wanted?”

I didn’t even need to think.

“I love to walk across the Brooklyn Bridge and spend an afternoon strolling along the waterfront.”

He cocked his head.
“Have you ever done that? Walked from Manhattan to Brooklyn?”
“I haven’t, no.”
“It’s so much fun, especially on a sunny weekend day. Families with kids in strollers; old folks walking arm in arm. Musicians set up along the walkway and play for donations. I love to people watch. Plus it’s a great way to get in a few miles of exercise without thinking of it as a workout.”

“We’ll have to do it sometime, together. Sounds like a fun day.”

“It is.” A little ball of pleasure bounced through me that he wanted to do it with me.

When I bit into the red velvet cupcake I’d put on a dish, I couldn’t help the moan that broke through my lips. I closed my eyes and let the sweet flavors dance over my taste buds, Forget pumpkin spice. I could eat red velvet cupcakes every single day,” I said, “and still come back for more. They’re so sinful.”

“Hmm. They are good.”

When I opened my eyes, Charlie was sampling his own. His lips, those full and utterly kissable lips, were open and pressed against the cake. A dab of cream cheese frosting dotted the corner of his mouth as he took a bite, then swallowed. Without even a thought to stop myself from what I was about to do, I reached over and swiped my index finger across his mouth.

Charlie went stock-still. He was so still I wasn’t sure he was breathing. The dimmed outdoor lighting reflected twinkling shards of moisture in his eyes as he stared at me. Silent anticipation drifted from him in waves.

Or maybe it was from me.

With a tiny bit of pressure, I swiped the frosting from his mouth, then slid my finger between my lips to suck it off.

How was it possible it tasted better coming from his lips than it had from my own?

The air suddenly changed around us as Charlie let out a deep breath. I was right in thinking he’d been holding his breath, because the volume of air he expelled was vast.

With deliberate and careful movements, he placed the rest of his uneaten dessert on the snack table between us, tossed his legs over the edge of the chaise, and rested his elbows on this thighs, his fingers folded together. With his chin dropped to his chest, he took in another breath, as if bracing himself for something. When he lifted his gaze to mine I had a pretty good idea what it was.

With the sun almost set and the lights from the city shining around us, his beautiful blue eyes had turned to pale ash. They were so enflamed with heat I wouldn’t have been surprised to see smoke billow from their corners.

The look of desire is something I’m familiar with. Too many times I’ve seen one of my hunky employees glance at one of Ella’s girls with blatant sexual hunger filling their faces.

I’ve seen it boldly displayed on some of the men I’ve dated who’d thought being with a fringe celebrity was a boost to their narcissistic fantasies, to puff up their already swollen egos. Their desire was more for the situation than for me.

The need in Charlie’s eyes wasn’t like any of those other examples. No, his was pure and raw and all about…me.

A moment ago the tea had protected me against the cool evening air.

But I didn’t need it now. The warmth from Charlie’s gaze was enough to counteract any external chill. And despite the cauldron of heat coming my way, the hairs on my skin stood straight up at attention.

This man, this lovely, charming man whom I still really knew nothing about except his name and a few minor tidbits of his life, wanted me.

Me.

No hidden agenda; no nefarious reasons; no thoughts to use me to his own gain.

Just…me.

How I knew this to be true was baffling. But I was as sure of it as I was that the moon would rise and then give way to the sun. What I was going to do about it was the question.

I don’t remember tossing my legs over the edge of the lounge chair or placing my dish on the table between us, but I did.

Charlie sat up straight, his face an open mask of curiosity with a dose of caution mixed in.

I took a step—literal and emotional—toward him, moving into the open space between his thighs. For a hot second I was afraid it was the wine making me bold.

In the next breath I realized that for the lie it was. Alcohol had nothing to do with what I was about to do.

“Nell?” His hands lifted to settle on my hips.

I licked my lips. “Can I ask you something?”

“Anything.”
I nodded.

“Can I lie down, here, next to you?”

If he thought the question odd, he kept his opinion hidden as he continued to peer up at me.

“I have this overwhelming need for you to hold me right now,” I told him with more honesty than I’d ever given another man. “Is that okay with you?”

Intrigued? I hope you are! You can get your copy here: Amazon 

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Dot Com Girls Romance, It's a trust thing, Strong Women

A little surprise and whole lot of joy!

I’ve entered a lot of romance/writing contests in the past 4 years. The main objective has never been to win an award ( although that’s nice!) but to get my work in front of industry people and romance readers who may like it enough to either review it, recommend it, or – hopefully – want to read more of what I’ve written. Like I’ve said, the goal hasn’t been winning.

But….

Imagine my absolute joy when I found out the other day – just through happenstance – that I’d WON ( yes, won!) The 2019 Book Buyers Best Award for published authors!

That’s MY name listed there, first. Gobsmacked is a word that has never felt more appropriate than when I heard about this.

The reason I say I heard through happenstance was because I had no idea I’d won and the winners were announced last week. I knew I was a finalist in 2 categories but since I didn’t receive any notification of a win, I never bothered checking the website to see what the results of the contest were, assuming that I’d be notified of something major.

And what’s that old saw about assuming anything, hmmm?

I was just checking my email on Tuesday evening and saw a note from one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs Maria Imbalzano.

She put up a notice that said “congratulations to Peggy Jaeger for winning the BBB Award.”

WHAT??!!

I immediately went to the website and sure enough, the above graphic was listed.

Yup, gobsmacked describes it nicely!

A while back I did a 2-post series  about Imposter Syndrome. Those feelings most – if not all – authors feel about their work are valid in the times we live in. But….winning such a prestigious award as the BOOK BUYERS BEST (BBB) is something that definitely helps in removing those feelings of inadequacy and fear.

Thank you so much to the readers and judges of the Orange Country Chapter of RWA    and congratulations to all the writers who entered, finaled, and put themselves “out there” to be judged.  It’s not an easy thing to do, that’s for sure.

And now, because it’s true that you’re only as good as your last book…off I go to finish my current  WIP!

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, love, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Book trailer for It’s A Trust Thing….

I’ve made so many great friends and met so many wonderful writers and people since I started my writing journey. Nancy Fraser is one of them. Not only is she an award winning writer, she’s also a damn fine graphic producer and artist. She made my book trailer to Dirty Damsels and did such a  great job I asked her to do one for my 11.1.19 release of It’s a Trust Thing. I think it captures the essence of the book perfectly. Have a gander:

Isn’t it great!!!??

Remember, It’s a Trust Thing is up for pre-order right now and will be available ONLY in Kindle and KU. And if you haven’t read DIRTY DAMSELS yet, let me whet your appetite with Nancy’s trailer for that book, too! Hee hee

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Dot Com Girls Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#SundaySnippet 10/6/19

Since I’ve got a book on sale this week, I thought today’s snippet should be from that. Makes sense, no? Hee hee

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from FIRST IMPRESSIONS, one of the MacQuire Women books. It takes place in New England in the fall and follows Clarissa and Pat on their rocky road to a happily ever after.

This is the blurb:

Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.
Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

“Have you ever been friends with a girl before?”

“Have a beer and shoot some pool friends? Or the kind with benefits?”

When she laughed out loud, he tried to think what was so funny.

“Have you ever just been friends with a girl without sex mixed into the equation?”

“Not since I was sixteen,” he admitted and felt his neck heat.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Why?”

She cocked her head. “It’s no secret I’m attracted to you. I think the way I just responded to you proves it. But I don’t jump into bed with a man just because I’m attracted to him.”

“So, what’s being friends got to do with anything?”

Clarissa sighed and leaned a hip against the doorjamb. “I’ve been hearing about your reputation with women since I moved here, and I’m not looking to be the flavor of the week, Pat.”

He stared at her for a second as hurt washed through him. “You don’t sugar coat things do you?”

She reached out and gripped his forearm. Her hand felt so good against his skin, he instinctively laid his own over it. He swore he saw a flash of lightning spark from underneath his fingers.

“I don’t mean to insult you, but I’m trying to build a professional reputation in this town and I don’t want to do anything to give gossip mongers any fuel.”

“And dating me would?”

“Dating anyone would. This is a small town and everyone knows one another. But like I said, you have this rep where women are concerned.”

“I’m not going to apologize for liking women, Clarissa. I’m a guy.”

“That, you are.” Her lips split into a huge smile.

Intrigued? You can read the rest of the story at any of these venues for just #99cent right now. The sale ends of 10.18, though, so act fast!!! Amazon /// Nook /// Ibooks

Until Next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press

If a picture is worth 1,000 words, does that mean a book cover is too?

Since I decided to self-pub IT’S A TRUST THING and I knew I had no real money to invest in a professional graphic book designer, I decided to try my hand at making my own book cover. Since I already do so much graphic stuff for book ads and for this blog, I thought it might be fun.

And it was.

It was also harrowing, mind boggling, and at times, infuriating. What makes a good, eye catching book cover to me, may not necessarily mean it does to you. Plus, since it’s a romance there are things that have to be incorporated into the cover so people who are glancing through Amazon new releases see it for what it is and not say, a murder mystery.

Here are a few of the covers I made before I decided on the one I finally put up: Oh, and the original title of the book was HELPFUL HUNKS, the name of Nell’s business. Since I didn’t talk too much about her business in the book, I figured it would be misleading to call it that.

So I liked this one until a friend of mine pointed out the lousy job ( my word, not hers!) I did of cutting and pasting the couple on the Brooklyn Bridge. I wanted the bridge on the cover because an important plot point concerns it, but with the lousy job I did of C/P I realized it looked sloppy.

I wanted this cover because it matched DIRTY DAMSELS, and kept the branding of the series intact. See:

But again, the sloppy cut and paste was glaring in this one.

I loved this cover when the title was Helpful hunks, but it didn’t fit in with the branding again, so I opted to use it in ads for the book instead. But I still love this cover!

This is the one I finally decided on because the background was black and I didn’t have to do any sloppy cutting and pasting to get the couple front and center.

It goes along with the theme of Dirty Damsels in the fonts and with the couple embracing. It’s not as sexy as the DD cover, but that’s okay with me.

Now, I just need to know if the cover “SPEAKS” to romance book buyers!

Preorder is up here: It’s a Trust Thing

The book is also available in Kindle Unlimited for those subscribers as well.

Happy reading, folks!! Hope you like my cover and the story.

Until next time ~ Peg

Looking for me? I’m here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

 

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Filed under Dot Com Girls Romance, It's a trust thing, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Flying by the seat of my pants and saying a prayer ( or two or twenty!)

A little ominous for a blog title, no? Hee hee

The reference is to the upcoming release of my first Indie book on 11.1.19, It’s a Trust Thing.

Flying  by the seat of my pants refers to the fact that I learned everything about getting the book up on Amazon by myself. I asked a few Indie friends some questions ( hat’s off to Clair Brett!) for clarity, but for the most part I watched all the KDP tutorials and then just played around a bunch on the program to get the manuscript uploadable to Amazon.

From where I’m sitting, when I look at the “preview” screen of the book, it looks good. Release day will tell the true tale, though. I’ve ordered it to deliver to my kindle on release day – and yes, I really did. What better way to see how every other kindle reader will view the pages than to be a, well, kindle reader!? So I’ll be able to see if there any any issues with the download, how it looks, is formatted, etc. Because it’s self-published, I can go into the program again and fix any bugs. That’s one good thing about indie publishing – you have complete control over the manuscript.

Until that date comes, though, I am sitting here, a nervous Nelly to the max – which is kinda funny since my heroine’s name is Nell. Hee Hee.

In the interim, I’m writing the next two books I owe to WRP and trying not to stress too much. I gotta tell you, though, it’s wicked hard not to.

Tomorrow I’m going to show you all the sample covers I made for the book before I settled on this one:

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, It's a trust thing, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

Start your holiday reading early this year with books from…me!

A little self aggrandizing, I know ( Hee hee)

But the premise is clear – there are so many great Holiday themed books out there to choose from, if you start reading now, you’ll make it through the holidays, probably with some books to spare!

Here are my 3 most current Holiday themed romances:

HOPE’S DREAM ( Deerbourne Inn #2)

*** this title is available in E-copy only and is 98 pages long.
What if everything you’ve ever dreamed about was given to you but you had to sacrifice your heart to obtain it?

Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.
Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.
The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?

Readers who like the following stories will like HOPE’S DREAM: Sweet romance, Small town romance, Independent woman, family, moving on, grief and loss, New England, Deerbourne Inn series, Contemporary romance
HOPE’S DREAM is the second book in the DEERBOURNE INN SERIES from WIld Rose Press

Buy Links: Amazon // Nook // iTunes// Kobo

A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

Can a kiss under the Christmas lights lead to a forever love?

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.
Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.
Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Buy Links: Amazon //  Barnes and Noble // KOBO // Google Play

CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS

Can a second chance at love heal a broken heart? 

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.
Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself–and his company’s reputation–in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.
Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Readers who enjoy the following kinds of stories will love CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS: big families, Holiday romance, RomCom, surviving loss, moving on, foodies, bakers, Christmas

Buy Links: Amazon//  B&N // Google Play // Kobo // itunes

I’ve got a few Holiday romances on my kindle right now, so I’m gonna go get reading! Enjoy, kids.

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, audiobooks, Author, Contemporary Romance, Deerbourne Inn, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Hope's Dream, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

On Surgery, a lousy Post-op period, and feeling my age…

Last month I finally had the shoulder I injured 2 years ago repaired, surgically.

Long story short: I fell in a department store while looking for a dress for a wedding. Pain lead me to my PCP who thought I’d simply bruised my arm. Xrays showed nothing so he sent me to Physical Therapy for 6 weeks. It helped…some. Pain continued and I was told a biceps bruise can take up to a year to heal. Didn’t think an MRI was warranted when I asked.

Okay.

A year came and went. Still in pain. Went to an orthopod. More xrays showed nothing wrong. He diagnosed a “frozen shoulder.” Never heard of that before, I gotta tell ya. Treatment was pain meds and exercise. Didn’t get better. In fact, got a worse. Sent me for a cortisone injection. Worked for 3 days. Pain increased. FINALLY, after 20 months of this crap, sent me for an MRI. Diagnosis? Torn Rotator Cuff, biceps tendon and muscle.

Ya think they’d have listened to me from the beginning when I asked for the MRI.

Treatment? Surgery was my only option because the more experimental ones aren’t done at my hospital.

Went for my surgical preop. The doc who did it ( not my PCP) diagnosed a heart murmur. I said I didn’t have a heart murmur. She insisted I did and wouldn’t clear me for surgery unless I had an echocardiogram.

I went for the echocardiogram

$5,000 later, no murmur.

Ya think they’d have listened to me when I said I didn’t have a murmur.

SO, surgery. Went well, according to my orthopod. Yeah…from his perspective it did. Textbook case of a repair.

From my perspective? Not so much. First, I’m allergic to narcotics so the typical stuff they give for the excruciating post-op pain of this surgery, I can’t take. And believe me, Motrin does NOTHING to alleviate bone pain. Once the nerve block wore off I was in agony and I don’t use that word lightly. Coupled with the fact you aren’t/can’t lie down after this surgery, but need to remain propped up, like in a recliner, on your back, and my agony was increased fifty fold because I don’t and can’t sleep on my back. The torture device of the rotator sling that needs to be worn 24/7 for 4 weeks doesn’t help with sleeping, either.

I’d asked my orthopod about my postop time frame. With any other surgery I’ve had over the years, I’m up and at’em and raring to go after about a week of down time.

His response? Well, because of your age now, you’re gonna take much longer to heal. You’re not 25 anymore but knocking at 60’s door. I almost knocked on his door when he said that.

So, I’m old, I take longer to heal, I can’t take anything for the ridiculous pain, I can’t sleep, and since this is my dominant hand I’ve lost all independence with normal things, like getting dressed and performing personal care issues. If you think I’m being dramatic, YOU try putting pants on with one hand and cleaning yourself after going to the toilet with a hand you’ve never used for that purpose before, then tell me I’m still being dramatic!

I can’t do simple things like brush my hair, put on makeup, feed myself without all my food continually dropping back to the plate.

I can’t drive.

The hair in my armpits is long enough to braid because I can’t lift the arms to shave them.

I haven’t slept more than 1.5 hours a night since the surgery. When you only sleep 3 hours a night to begin with, having half of those hours taken away from you will make you cranky, to say the least.

Getting out of the chair is tantamount to giving birth: I grunt, wheeze, sweat, and push myself to a standing position, then need to catch my breath from all the effort.

It’s not pretty, kids. Not at all.

I’m on week 4 of this post-op period now. Still in the torture sling; still trying to sleep ( and failing) in the recliner. Still cranky, still in pain ( although not as much), and still unable to shave my armpits.

Welcome to my life ~ Peg

 

 

 

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#SundaySnippet 9.15.19

Romance readers love series. So do writers of the genre.

Last week I gave you a sneak peek at book 2 in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN SERIES, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, which should be out in the book reading world sometime this year. Today, I want to give you a little insight into book 3, which I’m currently writing.

The title? BAKED WITH LOVE, and if you’ve read book 1, you know the sister who bakes is sister Number 4, Maureen. Maureen owns and operates Inn Heaven, the award winning B&B in her hometown, in addition to being a fabulous baker. This is the first scene I’ve written in the story. It’s unedited, but you can feel the relationship that’s blooming immediately.

Enjoy.

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. Originally she wanted one for each of the fifty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I chinned the pops—“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 herself 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 junior here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”

I flicked a glance at her 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 the sigh that blew from her lips 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 eight 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. And just 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 heavily pregnant 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 turned to face her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of 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 for the two of us and asked, “Did you have lunch?”

Colleen lifted head. Her eyes took a moment to clear and focus on me, lending credence to my thought she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.

“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity texted me while I was with the florist that she’d gotten me one.”

“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 and then put half of 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.

I knew that voice well, since it was a frequent inhabitant in my dreams most nights. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken smoke, it was a voice that could cajole a lover into seduction and cut off a criminal at the knees.

Unfortunately, I’d never been either.

“Truth,” Colleen said through 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 gaze 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.

I nodded. “A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I turned and 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. I bit down on the inside of my lip while I handed Colleen her sandwich 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 turned 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. “Nothing,” 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 tilted his head to the right in a come-with-me move I’d seen him make innumerable times over the years.

In the breezeway that separated 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 that lived in this man. His training as an army sniper had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the hottest of circumstances. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.

I repeated the question I’d asked in my kitchen.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

“Cathy might have mentioned that Robert’s coming to spend the summer with me and dad. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a month 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. “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 for the summer. 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 but doesn’t have a valid license yet, so it was easier to take him for the summer while she’s gone.”

“So he’s gonna live with you and your dad until school starts up again?”

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you sound happy about that? I mean, 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 looked exhausted.

“It’s not that I’m not happy he’s coming to stay with us. 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 all day. 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 just as bad. But, that’s why I don’t want him to spend all his time with his grandfather.”

“And 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 schools kids to bus tables and help serve at the weekend events here at the Inn. I’m hoping you’ll take Robert on as summer crew. That way I’ll know where he is every 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 all day, I won’t…worry about him. I know he’ll be in good hands. That you’ll feed him, take care of him like he was one of your own. Like you do everyone else.”

To say I was thrilled by the offhand compliment was an understatement. I didn’t even need to think about his request because 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 with Colleen’s weddings.”

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.

Intrigued? Me, too. Can’t wait to see how it ends. ( hee hee)

You can catch up on the O’Dowd’s now with book 1, DEARLY BELOVED. As soon as book 2 goes up for preorder, I’ll let ya know.

 

Get your copy at these fine vendors:

Amazon // Kobo  // Barnes and Nobel  //Apple // Google Play//

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Just when I think it’s over…..

I don’t usually post full face pictures of myself on this page for a number of reasons, but the biggest one being I hate full face pictures of myself!!!

Cindy Crawford I am not.

I’m not even Helen Mirren and she’s in the same age group as me.

But when I received this award over the weekend, I also received a letter from FCRW that asked the winners to take a picture with the award and their winning book to post on the FCRW Facebook and Twitter pages. Since it was going to be so publicly displayed anyway, I figured, why not blog about it, too,  and post the picture.

So…

I am still rehabbing from my surgery, so you can see a tiny speck of the immobilizer covering my right hand as I hold the beautiful award. Yes, I’m in my nightgown, there’s nothing on my face except Retin A, I’m wearing my daytime glasses and my hair isn’t combed because I can’t do that yet ( due to dominant arm surgery!) But it would have taken too much time, effort, and energy – none of which I have, to look camera ready.

But..all that aside, this award truly touched my heart.

The past two months have been filled with self doubt, feelings of inadequacy, and  frustration over my writing career. After being dropped by two publishers and receiving some horrible reviews for my books, in addition to still not seeing my sales and readers increase, I’ve been struggling with the concept that writing for publication is something I’m not cut out for. There’s so much more involved than just writing stories of my heart. The time and cash spent on marketing, the query letters, the waiting to hear back, the time delays between book publications – it’s all starting to take a toll on my psyche.

The endless questions: have I peaked out? Is this all worth the time and expense? What am I killing myself for?

Dramatic? Yeah, maybe, but hey: this is me we’re talking about. Drama in my confirmation name.

And then this happens.

I think sometimes the universe, and/or God knows just what to do to make me realize my decisions and my life are worthwhile.

So…no more moping, overthinking, doubting, bitching or complaining.

Now if I could just brush my hair…..

Oh, and because the marketing aspect NEVER ends, here’s the book that won the award, available in ecopy, print and audio.

CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

Amazon ///B&N // AppleBooks //GooglePlay// Kobo // AmazonUK

 

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him. Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself and his company’s reputation in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family. Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Author, author promotion, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Life challenges, love, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor