Category Archives: sunday snippet

#SundaySnippet CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS #romcom #holidayromcom #holidayromance

So today, another snippet from one of the books available in my 2022 Holiday Book Store on this website.

CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS is the third San Valentino book I wrote, and I know you’re not supposed to say this, but it’s my fave in the series for so many reasons!!!

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?

Ten pairs of eyes glared at me from all corners of the table. Some were wide-eyed; some were narrowed. All of them were filled with varying levels of emotions ranging from shocked ( Ma) to suspicious (my brothers) to pleased (my sisters-in-law).

“Regina.” Ma threw her napkin on the table and slammed her cutlery next to her plate. “What is your father talking about? What man spent the night at your apartment?”

“It’s not like it sounds, Ma. It was late and we were talking, and then we both just fell asleep—”


Holy Madonna.” She made the sign of the cross and closed her eyes, hands clasped together as her lips moved silently in prayer.


“Where?” ’Carlo asked.


“Where what?”


“Where did the two of you fall asleep? In your bed?”


Another finger cross from Ma. This time she kissed her fingertips afterward and threw a prayer up to the Lord.

“I don’t think you get to ask me that question, ’Carlo. I’m thirty-two years old, and you’re my brother, not my father.”

“What I am is suspicious,” he spat back. “How come we didn’t know you were seeing a guy? Why you keeping him a secret?”

“First of all, what I do in the privacy of my own home”—now Ma was rocking back and forth as she prayed—“or don’t do, is none of your business. Second, I’m not seeing anyone, so the fact that it’s a secret is null and void. Stop with the third degree, GianCarlo. Use it on your own kids, ’cause like I said, you’re not my father.”

“But I am,” Pop said, his tone hard and filled with anger, “so answer it. Where did Irish sleep last night?”

“Irish?” Petey exclaimed. “What the hell kinda name is that?”

“Language, Pietro,” Ma said, awaking from her spiritual coma to chastise her son.

There are so many things I simply adore about my family. The unshakeable connection and love we all have; the fact that we live close to one another; our shared faith and sense of tradition. But the one thing I do hate is the antiquated morality system they adhere to. Girls don’t have sex with men before marriage, plain and simple. Of course, since the one and only time I’d done just that, I’d wound up pregnant and forced to get married, my parents’ concerns made sense.

To them.

I was almost fifteen years older, much wiser, and a full-fledged adult now, but I was still treated like an ignorant bambina who had to be protected from wolves and scoundrels. If my father had his way, I’d be married right now to one of his goombahs, eight months pregnant with probably our seventh child, and in the kitchen making gravy.

So many times over the years, I’d wanted to smack him on the back of the head much the way he smacks us, and say, “Wake up! It’s twenty-first-century America, not eighteenth-century Sicily.” Wanting to do something and actually doing it, though, are very different beasts.

So.

I don’t get mad often, especially with my family, but I was tired, overworked, emotionally drained, and royally pissed off right now, so the anger bled through my usual calm.

I rose from my chair and threw my napkin down on the table like my mother had.

“You know what? I’m done. I’m done with you all treating me like a child. I’m not one of your underlings, Pop, who needs to be kept on a short lease and told what to do every minute of the day because you don’t have enough trust to let them act on their own. And”—I glared at my brothers— “I’m not five years old and unable to defend myself against bullies and bad guys. You don’t have to hold my hand so I can cross the street and not get hit by a car.” I grabbed my plate and walked to the kitchen. “I’m done with you all thinking I can’t make a wise and appropriate decision with my life,” I added over my shoulder. I placed the dish in the sink and called out, “I’m done with the checking up on me, the second-guessing me, and the way you all think you have a right to manage my life.”

I yanked my coat off the hall tree and yelled, “I’m a thirty-two-year-old grown-ass woman who owns and manages her own business and her own life. I don’t need protectors, handlers, or any of you telling me what to do, who to see, or how to conduct myself. I’ve been on my own a long time, and I think I’ve done a great job with myself, even if you all don’t.” I shrugged into my coat and wound my scarf around my neck. “If I want a man to spend the night or not, it’s none of your damn business. Deal with it.”

I may have screeched that last part.

I slammed the door behind me and sprinted down the stairs of the brownstone, my ungloved hand waving in the air for a passing cab.

As an exit line, I think it was a pretty good one.

So…what do you think? hahah. If you want to read the whole book, it’s available in my online store here, with all the other San Valentino Christmas romcoms: https://docs.google.com/forms/d/17Ve1YnqXBl034ujM-Ygq7Af2-03AApZwABtGygzMBIE/edit

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#Sundaysnippet A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS #holidayromance #holidaytbrlist

To celebrate the opening of my 2022 Holiday website book store, every Sunday I’m going to post snippets of the books available to purchase in the store.

Today is an oldie but a goodie. From my first SAN VALENTINO holiday book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS

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?

            He came toward me and I could see every ripple of muscle, every action and reaction of his gait, every blink of his eyes, as it happened. Detailed, distinct, delicious.

            The bright sun shone low due to the hour, but it haloed around his form, bathing him in light.

            He looked like an angel.

            A dressed-all-in-black angel, but an angel, nonetheless.

            “Need some help?” he asked when he was within a foot of me.

            I still hadn’t moved, my fingers cemented around the ladder rungs. I couldn’t feel them anymore. Merda, I couldn’t feel anything I was so numb from just looking at him.

            But I could hear. My blood, as it river-rafted crazily through my temples; my heart drumming like a heavy metal band in my chest.

            And his voice. Mio Dio, his voice.

            When I was six I had a terrible chest cold. Wheezing, choking on phlegm, unable to cough anything up. The doctor told mama to keep me warm and hydrated and the cold would ride itself out in time. Nonna Constanza, ancient even when I was a kid, scoffed and prescribed her own old-world remedy. She sat me in her lap, cooing to me with her singsong voice and held a tiny shot glass up to my lips coaxing, “Tu bevi, Gia bambina. Tu Bevi.”

            Drink, Gia baby. Drink.

            She tilted the glass back into my mouth and I did. I drank every drop.

            I don’t remember much after. Daddy told me later I slipped into a mini-coma for about sixty-two hours, bombed out of my head from the anisette nonna had dosed me with.

            But this is what I do remember. The amber-colored liquor slipped down the inside of my mouth to the back of my throat and onward into my belly, tasting of melted marshmallows and warming each place it touched like a million little hits of heat popping everywhere inside me. When it reached my tummy it settled and dug in, filling my senses with the sweet flavor of mama’s Sunday morning caramel rolls and sugar.

            That’s what his voice sounded like: warm and sweet, thick, delicious, and soothing.

            My entire body relaxed when I heard it. My paralysis flew and my frozen-in-place digits melted.

            He’d held my stare the entire time, never wavering, never becoming distracted by something else. He looked straight at me; just me. Like a missile dead-eye-aimed for a target.

            “Here,” he said, moving in closer, so close I could make out the actual color of his eyes now. I’d thought they were dark and from far away and they were. But seeing them now, face-to-face, I spotted little flecks of yellow and slivery shards of gold mixed into the center and surrounded by a ring of deep, rich, mink.

            If his voice was warm and soothing, his eyes were hot enough to singe, and mama mia, I wanted to be burned.

Honestly – I love this book and this family sosos much!

To order the book directly from my bookstore, click this link: WEBSITE BOOKSTORE

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#SundaySnippet Return to Dickens! SASHA’S SECRET SANTA #holidayromance #cominghome

I’m getting very excited! SASHA’S SECRET SANTA ( A Dickens Holiday Romance: Dorrit’s Diner) releases into the book reading world in a little over one week! Here’s the last snippet to whet your book-reading appetite!!! Enjoy.

The diner was, blissfully, empty for the moment after a mad breakfast rush so Sasha slid across the booth from her sister and let out a sigh.

“Busy morning?” Abra asked peering over the edge of her mug.

“Aren’t they all?”

“For you, maybe. I’m just sitting around the house all day hoping not to explode.”

Sasha’s gaze drifted to Abra’s belly. If it were possible it was larger than the week before. “You sure there’s only one baby cooking in there?”

“Unless he or she is hiding right behind the other, yeah. One baby on ultrasound. I swear it’s gonna come out knowing how to walk.” She glanced around. “Where’s mom?”

“Took the day off to go shopping with dad. I almost couldn’t believe it when she told me yesterday she was actually going to be away from the diner during daylight hours for an entire day.”

“Dollar bet she’s back here before three, unable to take a full day off.”

“I’m taking that bet.”

Abra put her cup down and cleared her throat.

“Here it comes,” Sasha said.

“What?”

“The reason you’re here, in the middle of the morning, when I know for a fact your deadline is tomorrow and you haven’t finished the book yet.” When her sister lifted her brows, Sasha said, “Colton was in yesterday for lunch.”

“That man.” Abra’s eye rolls were legendary within the family and Sasha was always impressed they didn’t give her sister a major headache when she executed them. “When I met him he never spoke more than three words if one would suffice. With the advent of this pregnancy he’s become Chatty Charlie.”

“Okay, so out with it. What’s up?”

Another eye roll. “I should have asked this before but my life is such a crazy reality show right now and yours isn’t exactly calm, either.”

“Truth.”

“But, well, Colt and I realized last night that with the baby due any second now, we need to get some things done beforehand. So, on my list today is asking you something I should have asked a few months ago, but…well.”

“I wasn’t in exactly the best head space a few months ago.”

Abra’s reluctant nod agreed. “But now you are and I need to know, will you be the peanut’s godmother?”

Tears formed and a smile she couldn’t contain broke free over Sasha’s face. “You know the answer without me uttering a word. Of course I will. I’m honored to.”

Nodding, Abra said, “There’s more. Colt’s the one who brought this up and it makes sense. He and his first wife discussed it when she was alive concerning their boys and now with this one due,” she ran a hand over her stomach, “we need to get it settled, legally.”

“Abs, what are you asking me?”

“We want to make you guardian of the baby should anything happen to us.”

Oh, my heavens. Really?”

“You’re the most logical and best choice for so many reasons my head spins thinking about them. So, yes, really, we want you.”

She stretched a hand across the table and Sasha met it, halfway. “Nothing’s going to happen to Colt or I, God willing,” she knocked on the table with her free hand, “but if it does, we’d feel better knowing you’d be the one to look after our child.”

Pleased and honored were good words but they didn’t come close to what Sasha truly felt. Her throat now choked with emotion, she could only squeeze her sister’s hand and nod.

Abra smiled. “Good. That’s two things off my list for today.” Her theatrical sigh pulled a grin from Sasha. “Only ten thousand more to do.”

“Let’s start with getting you and baby some lunch. Be right back.”

Intrigued? I hope so! Heehee

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#SundaySnippet The New York Socialites – BALANCE #romcom #NYCromance

the third book in The New York Socialites Series, BALANCE, is my little gift to you today.

She’s a wealthy socialite who survived an abusive marriage.
He’s a hardworking guy raising his son and caring for his widowed father.
They come from different worlds, but it’s said…opposites attract.
Can they find the balance between their two lifestyles to make their love work?
Or will their differences tear them apart?

Life and love are a balancing act.

ENJOY….

Joe enveloped me in a full-body hug, told me he enjoyed meeting and chatting with me, then made me promise I wouldn’t be “a stranger.” I assured him I wouldn’t.

Once we were outside the building, Derek said, “He liked you.”

Cockily, I replied, “Of course he did. What’s not to like?”

He grinned, said, “Not a damn thing,” then swooped me into his arms and pulled me against him. “I wanted to do this in the kitchen but…David.” He shook his head.

I had a pretty good idea what he meant, but asked anyway, “Do what?” while I leaned into his hard body and wrapped my hands around his waist.

With the half grin that made me lose the will to stand upright, he nuzzled the side of my nose with his own. “This.”

Soft and sweet, a simple swipe of his mouth against mine, the kiss was as chaste as could be.

Why I went numb from my knees downward was inexplicable, then. My grip around his waist tightened as I fell into his body for support to keep upright.

A deep moan welled up from him, a soul-tugging sigh with it,  and he deepened the kiss as he dipped me backward over his arm.

I held on for dear life.

Okay, that, and because he felt so damn good. I’d have been a fool not to enjoy all the hard, lean muscle pressing against me now, wouldn’t I?

Mr. and Mrs. Doubletree of the Manhattan Doubletrees didn’t raise a fool.

“I’ve wanted to do this,” he whispered against my cheek, “ever since that day at the women’s center.”

I shifted until his lips were against my temple. “Why?”

“You mean aside from the way my heart rate kicks up whenever I look at you?”

Pleasure rippled through me.

“When you told me about being recently divorced you looked so…lost and fragile.”

A caustic laugh barked from me. “Two words no one has ever used to describe me are lost and fragile.”

He pulled back and cupped my cheeks. Kindness filled his eyes and I got lost in them. “I think you do a good job of hiding it, but you’ve been hurt. Deeply hurt.”

I rolled a shoulder. “No divorce is ever really amicable.”

Especially when your testimony puts your ex behind bars.

“Some hurt is expected,” I added.

He nodded. “All I wanted to do was pull you into my arms and kiss all the bad stuff away.”

For some reason I didn’t want him to know how his words touched me. My experience with my ex-husband had made me hyper-cautious and unwilling to share any weakness for fear it would be exploited. So, I fell back on past behavior and gave him an old, snarky Phil response to mask the emotions running rampant through me.

“I think that’s your medical brain talking. You see someone you think is hurting and you want to heal them, kiss it and make it all better.”

His grin grew slowly from one cheek to the other and I swear on Grannie Charlotte’s forty-inch string pearls I never wanted to look away.

“Well, the kissing part is true,” he said, bussing the tip of my nose. “But the reason behind it has nothing to do with the medical part of my brain. It has nothing to do with any part of my…brain.”

Proof of that was pressing against my abdomen.

Universal Link: BALANCE

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#sundaysnippet from THE NEW YORK SOCIALITES series WOKE #romcom

Today’s snippet comes from book 2 in the New York Socialites Series, WOKE. This modern take on Sleeping Beauty was so much fun for me to write.

Waking up each day is a gift….

On her 21st birthday, someone slipped a potent drug combination into socialite Aurora Brightwell’s champagne putting her in a coma for the next ten years. It’s been a long road back, and it’s time to reclaim the life she lost and find out exactly what happened on that fateful night.

Financier Kincade Enright has his own reason for helping Aurora discover who poisoned her, but for the time being he’s keeping that – and his true identity – to himself. What he can’t keep hidden though, are his growing feelings for the one-time paparazzi darling and party-girl.

When this prince of finance joins forces with the former sleeping beauty, nothing can stop them from finding the answers they seek…or prevent the powerful emotions developing between them as they search for the truth.

SNIPPET:

“Mr. Enright,” I said when he stood and held my chair. “Thank you.”

He sat after I did, earning an approving, eyebrow-raised perusal from my mother.

“You’re welcome, and it’s Cade,” he said, his head tipping close to mine.

The subtle scent of man and soap drifted over me and I had to restrain myself from leaning in closer for a more thorough whiff. A warm, masculine scent is always so much more appealing than aftershave or cologne.

While I put my napkin in my lap, he kept his head inclined and said softly, “You’re probably wondering how I wound up at your table.”

I lifted my water glass and before taking a sip said, “It had crossed my mind since I know for a fact you were at table twenty. Since I don’t see Dominic Dupont I’m guessing you switched with him.”

His gentle exhale sounded…amused. I snuck a side eye his way and saw I was correct. The corners of his mouth were pulled in and up and for the first time I noticed a tiny dimple wink back at me.

“Dominic’s father is one of my clients,” Enright said, “and when I told him I wanted to sit at your table he agreed to switch.”

“How did you know this was my table?”

“I asked Ms. Spring.”

I peeked over his shoulder to see Dabney chatting with the person on her right. Turning my attention back to the man, I asked, “Why?”

“Why did I ask her, or why did I want to sit at your table?”

“The latter.”

That little crevasse deepened, a twin forming on the opposite side of his mouth when his grin turned to a full-fledged, captivating smile.

Oh, my.

“To paraphrase you, it’s amazing how with millions of people in this city, it can be deceptively small. Twice in one day tells me we were meant to meet, so.”

Enjoy~ Peg

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#sundaysnippet from THE NEW YORK SOCIALITES series #NYCromance #romcom

Today’s little something extra comes from IT’S A TRUST THING, book 1 in the NEW YORK SOCIALITES SERIES.

Nell Newbery has trust issues. It’s hard to trust when you’re the daughter of a fallen financial scion who bilked people out of billions. Nell’s done everything in her power to keep away from men who see her as their ticket to fortune and fame. All she wants to do is run her ultra-successful business, HELPFUL HUNKS, in peace.

But it wouldn’t hurt to find a guy who doesn’t know a thing about her father’s felonious past; one she can give her heart to and trust it won’t come back to her battered, bruised, and broken.

Is Charlie Churchill that guy? On the surface he seems perfect, all polished manners and quiet mirth. Nell’s convinced he knows nothing about her, other than she likes superhero movies and views junk food as a food group.

Can she trust him to be what he appears to be? Or is he just pretending?

For Nell, trust is everything in life…and in love.

ANd since it’s pumpkin spice time here in the US….enjoy….

“Let’s take dessert outside and sit. It’s not full-on dark yet,” he suggested while filling a tray with dessert plates, cups, and utensils.

A girl could get used to being waited on like this. Charlie was a much better host than I’d ever been, and that was the simple truth.

A few minutes later we were each in one of the lounge chaises I’d spotted earlier. Twilight was darkening the sky and the horizon danced with stripes of bright orange and red. The avenues outlining Central Park were lit and bright, the streetlights sparkling around the trees. 

“If you’re cold I’ve got throw blankets in the storage cabinet,” Charlie said as he handed me a teacup.

“This’ll keep me warm.” I took a sip and sighed. “I love a cup of tea in the evening.”

“Even though you drink coffee? Most people choose one or the other.”

“I seem to remember you with a coffee mug in your hand in the diner, Professor, so…” I waved my free hand.

He laughed and settled back, his long legs spread out before him on the chaise, crossed at the ankles.

I’d slipped off my flats and tucked my feet under my legs.

“It’s nice out here,” I said, glancing at the city beyond the railing. “We’re high enough up the traffic sounds aren’t annoying; it’s private, without nosy neighbors right on top of you; and you’re buffered from the wind. If I open a window at my place, the wind shear off the Hudson River can be like a cyclone on some days.”

Charlie sipped his tea as his gaze followed mine, and nodded. “The difference between a park view and a water one. I love looking out over the tree line, especially in spring and fall.”

“Two opposite seasons. Kinda like foliage birth and death.”

He turned his attention to me. “I never thought of it that way, but you’re right. I enjoy watching the trees come into bloom, and I like watching them turn color.”

“I like that, too. Fall is my favorite time of year. The air is crisp, with a tiny bite to it; you can start wearing sweaters and boots. Plus,” I grinned at him, “pumpkin spice.”

A theatrical grown blew from him. “Oh, good Lord, are you one of those who loves pumpkin spice flavored everything? Coffee? Donuts? Tea? I even saw a pumpkin spice-flavored marshmallow cereal in the market last fall. People were buying it by the case. That was a bit much.” He shook his head, a ghost of a grin on his lips.

“Never underestimate the influential power familiar branding has on advertising to the consumer,” I said.

Charlie’s chuckle floated in the air next to me.

“That should be the topic of your next lecture.”

“What? Pumpkin spice?” I asked, cocking my head at him with what I hoped was a serious expression on my face.

Laughter danced in his eyes. “The class would most likely all be able to relate to that topic, but, no. Has Dean Dietrichson asked you to speak again?”

“I got an email yesterday asking me if I could sub again this Wednesday. Seems Dr. Chang’s mom still isn’t doing well. I haven’t replied to him yet.”

As I sipped my tea he silently regarded me. “What?”

“Would you like a little unsolicited advice?”

“If I said no would you give it anyway?”

“No. I’d respect your request,” he answered.

And right there was the reason he was different from every other man I’d ever known.

“You think I should do it, don’t you?”

“Yes,” he said without hesitation. “I’ve told you how much chatter there was about your lecture from those who sat in on it. How enlightening the class viewed your insights. Several times I heard what a wonderfully natural speaker you are. That’s a gift, Nell, that ability to connect to a group of strangers and have them not only be comfortable with, and open to, what you’re teaching, but engaged as well. A true gift.”

I can’t explain why his words meant so much to me, but they did. Validation as a savvy business owner is something I’ve strived for. I’ve struggled to be respected and successful on my own, through my own deeds and actions, and not simply because someone’s DNA coursed through my system. I’d had two bank managers deny my start-up business loan because they worried my father’s behavior had been passed down to me.

How ridiculous is that? The sins of the father aside, how truly ridiculous?

I took another sip of my tea and considered Charlie’s words.

“I have to admit, it was…fun, speaking to them. Not nearly as stressful as I’d imagined it would be.”

He nodded.

“And it was kinda cool that they all”—I flipped my free hand in the air again—“valued the points I was trying to make.”

“I’d say you made those points, not tried.”

I bit down on the corner of my mouth and stared back out at the quickly darkening horizon. “I’ll email him back when I get home,” I said. “But I need to come up with a better topic than the benefits of pumpkin spice branding.”

His rich, deep laughter sent a rivulet of pleasure down my spine.

And catch up on all the NY Socialites before Book 4 – INFLUENCE – drops in 2023

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#sundaySnippet #kindlevella #crimedrama

For this week’s selection, I decided to show you something new – my Kindle Vella work. This little ditty is from THE JANE AUSTEN MURDERS, rated a fan favorite for over 32 weeks! Check it out and if you like it, subscribe to Kindle Vella on your phone. It’s free and the first 3 chapters of any story are always free to read.

Enjoy….

Lizzy followed her partner into a vacant row and took a seat on the aisle.

            From her vantage point, Darcy’s voice was quite clear as he spoke at the front of the room from behind a podium. Her vision of the professor was restricted, though, due to the height and distance she and Frank were. She could see his hair was dark, his skin light. He wore a nondescript pullover, a sports jacket over that. Trousers, not jeans, covered his legs. He could be tall, she thought. He certainly wasn’t short, with most of his upper body showing above the pulpit.

            “Guy’s got good pipes,” Frank said, “for a teacher. Makes it hard to fall asleep listening to someone like that.”

            Lizzy understood what he meant. The voice was steeped in a calm, controlled timbre that commanded authority. Darcy wasn’t American, and Lizzy was surprised at that. English, born and bred, if she wasn’t mistaking the accent. A small flicker sparked in her stomach as she listened to him deliver his lecture, never once referring to any notes or cards.

            He spoke of love. Tortured, unrequited love, and how it could kill a young woman’s very being through its harsh, unrewarded, and unknown existence. To never know what it feels like to have another’s love returned to you in the same vein, at the same measure. A love so strong-willed it could overtake and outstrip a heart and mind of its very desire to live.

            A love, so pure, so complete, and so wanting, that it caused nothing but heartache for the one who felt it.

            Lizzy blinked a few times. Darcy’s lyrical voice conjured up a daydream where she’d actually seen the picture he was describing.

            A young woman, innocent and heartbroken, felled by unrequited love.

            She spied her own face atop that imagined female form.

            “Jesus!”

            “What?” Frank whispered, turning to her. “What’s wrong?”

            A brisk, full shaking of her head almost cleared the fog. “Sorry. I didn’t realize I spoke out loud.”

            “You okay? You look a little pasty.”

            “Yeah. I think I just need to eat something. I’ll be fine.”

            When his eyes narrowed and he continued to stare at her, Lizzy knew he could see more than she liked. She sat forward and heard the bell ring at the same time.

            “Good,” she said, rising, hoping he didn’t hear the relief in her sigh. “Let’s go.” She was two rows in front of him by the time he moved to join her.           

            The students, all female, were gathering up their things and exiting via the bottom amphitheater door. Lizzy watched several make their way to the front of the room to surround their instructor.  She slowed, knowing it would be a few moments before the throng thinned. The further she got down the steps, the clearer Darcy’s face became.

            She was correct when she took him for tall rather than short. At least six-one, he was a full head above most of the girls swarming around him. On closer inspection, the dark curly hair was flecked with silver at the temples. Unlike Bingley’s, Darcy’s hair was not in need of a trim. Full, perfectly arched brows sat over eyes whose color she had yet to ascertain. His cheeks were etched into two hollows that ended in a square, brick-hard, jaw.

            Lizzy stood on the bottom step, hands in her pockets as she and Frank waited for the professor to be free.

            “Guy’s got a fan club,” Frank whispered.

            “I see that,” she answered, her gaze staying on Darcy, one delicate eyebrow bending upwards in conjunction with the opposite corner of her mouth.

            It was at that moment Darcy looked up and their eyes met over the head of one of his students.

            Blue.

            His eyes were blue. Solid, deep, and intermingled with shards of silvery gray. 

            Darcy’s perusal never left her face as the student before him asked a question.

            Lizzy realized that neither she nor the professor had blinked once since his gaze found hers. The sting of moisture drying within them, blurry the vision, finally made her lids do their job.

            She watched Darcy when her sight cleared and focused again. He shook his head once, blinked a few times, and then turned back towards his student, intent on what was being said to him.

            “Crowd’s thinning,” Frank said, moving by her towards the podium. “Let’s go.”

            Lizzy found her feet a moment later, after first taking a deep breath and rolling her shoulders.

You can see all my Kindle Vella Stories, here: and a word of warning – these stories are not my typical romance, HEA books. They are all murder mysteries/crime drama/suspense stories.

The Jane Austen Murders

Death Between the Pages

VIndication

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#SundaySnippet – When #fakedating is acceptable…

So tomorrow my book CHANCE ( LAST MAN STANDING #12) releases into the book reading world and I figured I’d give you one more chance ( see what I did there! LOL) to determine if you’d like to read the entire book.

Today’s snippet goes to the heart of the #fakedating premise of the book between Freddie and Chance.

Enjoy…

When he laid it all out she had to admit, the idea was pretty out there.

“I know it’s a last-minute request and I totally understand if you don’t want to say yes. But I really want you to say yes.”

“I don’t know,” she said, biting down on a corner of her lip. “It’s kind of…deceitful, isn’t it?”

“In a way. But for the best of reasons. If they think I’m dating someone they’ll be happy for me and I’ll have the added benefit of them getting off their hook-me-up endeavors for a while. And believe me, I could use a break from that. There’s nothing worse than a grown man being set up by a bunch of elderly women with good intentions.”

“No, I don’t imagine there is.” She laughed.

“It’s only for one night,” he added. “Just to get through this party. There’s nothing else planned until my Aunt Theresa’s birthday in July and by then I’ll have figured something out to get them off my backs permanently.”

“That’s only three months away, you know.”

“Yeah, but I’m looking at it as three months reprieve where I won’t be harassed with dating matchups.”

“Have you ever simply thought to tell them your views on marriage? Marriage for you, in particular?”

“The cousins—their kids—yes. But they’re all married, too. I’ve never said outright to the aunts that I don’t want to get married. I’m afraid a few of them would have heart attacks or start invoking my mother’s name as a way to ward off whatever bedevilment they think has possessed me. Their definition of a happy life is a happy wife and kids for every man they know. It’s their…generation’s, I guess, way of thinking.”

Freddie nodded. “My mother’s a little younger than your aunts, I think, but she feels the same way.”

She sat back and stared at him for a moment.

“Say I say yes—”

“Please do.”

She rolled her eyes. “Say I agree to go with you as your, what? Fake girlfriend?”

He nodded.

“What are you gonna tell them about me? About how we met?”

“The truth is always the best way to avoid issues,” he said. “You own and manage the coffee bar in my office building. We met and hit if off, decided to date.”

“What happens if they ask if I’ve ever been married? If I have any kids?”

“Tell them whatever you’re comfortable with. You don’t need to lie—”

“Good, since we’ll already be lying about our relationship.”

He frowned. “I guess I don’t consider it lying as much as I think of it as a way to keep the aunts out of my hair for a bit.”

She nodded. “What would you expect me to do?”

He shrugged. “Whatever girlfriends do when they meet their boyfriend’s relatives.” He raked his hands down his face, then readjusted his glasses. “And I can’t believe I’m describing myself that way at my age.”

“You’ve got a few years left in you,” she said with a grin.

Intrigued? I hope so!!! Peg

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#SundaySnippet – CHANCE a #LMS coming soon

I haven’t done one of these in a while, but since CHANCE is releasing on 9.12, I thought I should… lol

CHANCE ( LAST MAN STANDING)

Chance Miller, divorce lawyer extraordinaire, knows the whole happily ever after dream is an urban myth. He deals with miserable and wedded warring couples every day and swears staying single keeps him sane and happy. His friends and family consider him the last single man standing and fear he’ll never find someone and settle down. But Chance relishes his carefree status and unencumbered lifestyle and has no plans to change anything.

If only his relatives would stop trying to set him up with their version of the perfect woman.

Fredrika Poole already experienced her one great love, and the widow can’t read any future romance in her tea leaves. She’s content to bake, run her business, and care for her daughter.

When Chance meets Freddie and discovers her marriage thoughts run on the same road his do, he realizes she’s the answer to his prayer for keeping the relatives at bay. But the pixie barista has a way of making Chance question everything he’s always thought about love, marriage, and wedded bliss.

Will his last man standing status go unchallenged? Or will Freddie be the one woman he wants…but can never have?

Enjoy….

Even though she wasn’t nervous, the sensation of Chance’s fingers resting on her back offered a strange sense of calm and comfort.

The moment they entered the ballroom the sound level, which she’d felt knocking against her chest from the intensity, slipped to a decided hush as all eyes turned toward them.

A tiny knife strike of fear slipped in and pierced her quiet mien.

Chance’s fingers pressed against her back. “Breathe,” he murmured. “The way to handle them is to never let them see you sweat.”

She grinned at his word choice.  Jimmy had said the same thing to her the first time she’d met his friends at the firehouse. Her usual state of calm bolted back.

A striking woman in a blue floor length dress and who had six inches and about forty years on her, crossed the length of the room, a man in a tuxedo clutching her hand and tagging along with her.

“Well, as usual you’re late,” the woman said, a huge, pleased smile on her face as she offered her cheek to Chance for a kiss.

He did so, saying, “You look lovely, Aunt Betty. Uncle Louis.” He nodded at the man at her side.

His aunt’s gaze shot to Freddie. If she had to put a word to the expression dancing across the older woman’s face it would be expectant.

“Allow me to introduce Fredrika Poole,” Chance said. A millisecond later he added, “My girlfriend.”

Hearing him say it aloud shouldn’t have sent a delighted shiver up her spine, but it did. Before she could contemplate on why, the woman in front of them let out a screech of delight.

“Well, isn’t this the best surprise!” She let go of her husband’s hand and pulled both of Freddie’s into hers, cocooning them.

“Happy Anniversary,” Freddie said with a smile.

“Thank you. Over fifty years with this man and every one has been better than the last.” The man at her side grinned then kissed her cheek. “But enough about us,” she said turning her full attention back to her. “Tell me, how did you two meet? Was it at work? How long have you been dating? What do you do? Are you a lawyer, too?”

Freddie blinked a few times, unsure of which question to answer first and afraid more were going to be thrown her way before she could give a reply to even one.

“Down, girl,” Chance said as he slid her hands from his aunt’s grip. “You have all night to grill her. We just got here and I’d like to make the rounds, say hello to everyone and introduce her around. Okay?”

His aunt tossed him a peeved pout, then shook her head and grinned.  “Always have to be in control,” she said, clucking her tongue. To Freddie she said, “You probably already know that about him, though, don’t you dear? The original Mr. In Charge, that’s our Chancey-boy.”

Freddie hid the grin she wanted to let loose from the look on Chance’s face. Part embarrassed, part annoyed, and one hundred percent adorably miffed male grimaced next to her.

“Go on, then,” Betty said. “Go show your girl off. But don’t forget your favorite aunt. I want to hear all the deets, as my grandkids say, later on. I’m not letting you leave this party without knowing everything about you,” she said to Freddie.

“Yes ma’am,” Freddie replied.

“Terrified yet?” Chance whispered as he took her arm and propelled her toward a group of people close to their own age.

She tried not to think about how natural his hand felt against her skin as she said, “It takes a whole lot more than an aunt who shows her love by being nosy to scare me, Chancey-boy,” she said, trying to keep the grin from her face.

When he squeezed her arm and said, “I’ll pay you back for calling me that by introducing you to Aunt Theresa next. The FBI and CIA have her on speed dial because of her interrogation techniques.”

“Bring it.”

“Don’t say I didn’t warn you. Hey, everyone. This is Freddie.”

The impossibly boorish introduction made her gape at him and then laugh out loud. She needn’t have worried about it, though, because he was immediately chastised by every female in the group.

Names were thrown at her from every direction, accompanied by warm and enthusiastic handshakes and smiles. Freddie glanced over at her date to see him engrossed in serious conversation with one of the most beautiful women she’d ever set eyes on. Long, shiny, deep auburn colored hair flowed freely about a perfectly heart-shaped face framed by robins-egg blue eyes and an upturned, pixie nose and jaw.

Without being told, she knew this was Chance’s sister, Sable. The curve of their jaws and the cut of their cheeks hinted at it, but when Sable pursed her perfect lips in a pout of confusion, she saw Chance’s face stare back at her.

The younger woman glanced over at her, her delicate eyebrows lifting at something her brother was saying.

Questions flew at her left and right. Chance hadn’t been kidding when he’d told her she’d be the topic of interest tonight simply because she’d come with him.

“You’re certainly an improvement over the last girl he brought around,” Moira – she thought that was the name – said. “You actually make eye contact and smile,” she added.

“And you look like you have a brain,” said another. Kitty, maybe?

“Thanks,” she said, adding a crooked smile. “I think.”

“How long have the two of you been going out?” This one she couldn’t put a name to.

“Not long,” she replied, purposefully being vague.

“Where’d ya meet?” Moira again.

“I own the coffee station in the building Chance works in. We met by accident when he was on the receiving end of a thrown coffee cup.”

Eyebrows lifted and mouths pulled into delighted grins as she explained his client’s ex and her tirade.

“I would have paid cash money to see that,” the one whose name she couldn’t remember said.

“All of us would have. So,” Kitty said, “you came to his rescue and what? He asked you out?”

“Something like that.” She smiled when she saw him leave his sister and stride back toward their group.

“Okay, kids, that’s enough,” Chance said as he slipped a hand around her arm. “I want a drink and something to eat and I’m sure Freddie does, too.  You can continue the grilling later.”

“We weren’t grilling her, Chancy-boy.” This from Kitty.

As he turned, Moira sniggered. “Should I have the waiters serve coffee now, or wait until later?”

Chance stumbled a bit while moving her away from the group, but didn’t respond to his cousin.

Gently, he tugged her toward the buffet table. “You told them?”

“They asked how we met. I wasn’t going to lie.”

His theatrical sigh pulled a grin from her.

“You can bet by the end of the night everyone in this room will know the story. My family is like a bad game of telephone.”

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#SundaySnippet #PNR #Ghosts THE HAUNTING OF WILTON JUNE

I know reviews for this story are all over the spectrum, but I just love the chemistry between Will and Jerica in THE HAUNTING OF WILTON JUNE.

“Have you ever been in a house that’s supposed to be haunted?”

Her eyes widened to the size of soda bottle tops and her cheeks paled, highlighting the raven color of her hair and brows. The fine tremor he’d noted in her hands before intensified.

“Hau-haunted?”

Even her voice changed, the timbre elevating almost to a Betty-Boop-screech.

“Yeah. If you haven’t, let me tell you the energy you feel in a house with a spirit is like no other you’ve ever felt. It’s like a cold wind invading your bones. One minute your body temperature is normal, the next all the hair on your body is standing at attention and your skin feels as if a thousand ants are crawling all over it. It’s an eerie sensation for sure and one you don’t soon forget.”

“You believe in,” she swallowed, “ghosts?”

“One hundred percent. I’ve seen proof they exist.”

She stared at him a few beats and he’d give anything to know what was behind her piercing gaze.
“And you’re not… you weren’t… scared?”

“Down to my toes,” he admitted, grinning. “But it was amazing, too.”

“How?”

“How was it amazing?”

She nodded.

“Well, for one thing, it made me a believer. Most people aren’t and when you mention you know ghosts or spirits exist, they look at you like you need to be seen by the nearest shrink and then committed. My brother-in-law is a psychic phenomena junkie. In fact, he’s the reason I believe. Do you?”

“Do I what?”

He grinned across the table at her. “Believe in ghosts and goblins and things that go bump in the night?”
 

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