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Children learn from your example

Mother’s day was Sunday and I usually don’t post anything on facebook or social media except for a generic ( but heartfelt!) HAPPY MOTHER’S Day greeting to all the moms out there. This Sunday was a bit different, though. I didn’t post anything – as usual- but my daughter did. What she wrote floored me, and I’ll admit freely – had me bawling my eyes out. I copied it from her facebook post here – not because I want to brag on her or myself, but because it reminded me that no matter what you may think as a parent, your kids ARE watching what you do and LISTENING to what you say, how you say it, and to who you say it to and about.

Here’s the post:

My mom has given me many gifts, but none so powerful as the example she’s set by following her calling as an author.

About five years ago, she left a comfortable job to pursue romance writing. For some, it would’ve sounded like a whim or a pipe dream — but she had stories to tell and she wanted to share them with the world.

She sent out hundreds of queries to agents and publishing houses. The inevitable rejections came, but she never lost focus on her own North Star. She was, of course, incredibly privileged to be able to follow this dream with my dad’s support — but that doesn’t dilute the work she put in. Finally, she got an acceptance letter, and then another one. Five years later, she’s authored a whopping 11 published books and has another 5 on the way.

In charting her own course, she sent messages to me whose power continues to crystallize: that it’s never too late to pursue a dream; that external validation comes and goes, but internal motivation is what will carry you through; that magic happens when you combine a little luck with a lot of hard work; and that the joy of the journey is, itself, the destination.

We are so proud of you, Peggy Jaeger. Thank you for the example you’ve set.

And because I’m in marketing: if your mom likes romance and you need a last-minute gift, grab one of her e-books today!

https://www.amazon.com/Peggy-Jaeger/e/B00T8E5LN0

https://happyeverafter.usatoday.com/…/peggy-jaeger-intervi…/

When I was a kid there was an expression: “Little pitchers have big ears.” It was meant as a reminder to people to be careful what they said around children if they didn’t want something repeated that shouldn’t be. I’d like to add my own version of that expression here: Your kids may never tell you this, but what you say and do IS making an impression on them. They’re seeing and they’re listening and they’re learning.
So, I ask you: Are you teaching them the right things? Are you sending them the right impression? Are you setting the right example for them?
Food for thought today.
And can I just tell you how much I lovelovelove my daughter!
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Imposter syndrome….

Last month at my NHRWA meeting, one of my uber-talented and wonderful writing chaptermates spoke a phrase I had never heard before:  Imposter Syndrome. She gave me a very good definition of the word, but when I got home I decided to delve a little more into the meaning. Here’s the best explanation I found of it:

“Imposter syndrome can be defined as a collection of feelings of inadequacy that persist despite evident success. ‘Imposters‘ suffer from chronic self-doubt and a sense of intellectual fraudulence that override any feelings of success or external proof of their competence.” ~My 2008 Harvard Business Review

Hmmm.

That kinda sounds like very writer I know.

I’m plagued with doubts about my writing Every Single Day of my life. Does that mean I have I.S.? 

I worry that my next book will be trash, my editor will have me completely rewrite it, the public will hate it – and me – and I’ll have to go out and get a job cleaning floors at night in office buildings to make ends meet ( not that there’s anything wrong with that!!)  Does that mean I have I.S.?

When I read a less than flattering review of one of my books ( and by less than flattering I mean a 1 on Goodreads and Amazon!!) I think : this is it. I’m done for. Word of mouth is a powerful marketing tool. No one will read this book now. Does that mean I have I.S.?

The moment I read something back I’ve written and think, “this sucks wind so bad, it’s a hurricane of a mess!” I start to sweat, my heart rate goes tachycardic, and I get a sick, vomit-worthy sensation swell up in my throat. Does this mean I have I.S.?

 

No. Emphatically no. I KNOW I am a decent writer. I may never win any major writing awards, or have a million seller, but that’s okay. I’ve said this before but it needs to be repeated here: Even if I’d never had any book of mine published, I still would have kept writing because I love doing it so much. I didn’t need accolades, royalties ( not that they are necessarily a bad thing!)  or good reviews to validate that I AM A WRITER.

This, I think, is the difference between thinking you might have I.S. and actually having it. My sense of self worth, my idea of success, my feelings of value, are not tied up in whether or not the book reading world knows my name, buys my books, or clamors to retweet anything I’ve put on Social Media. What it adds up to is that – in my very humble opinion – I have a strong, well defined, and productive EGO. And I’m not talking about the posturing, self important, look-at-me-and-no-one-else part of an Ego. I mean, simply, I know my worth, am okay with it, and can hold my head up high.

Okay, peeps, here’s my writing PSA for the day: STOP THINKING YOU ARE AN IMPOSTER AT THIS WHOLE WRITING THING. You write, ergo ( and don’t I just love being able to use that word!!) YOU ARE A WRITER!!!

‘Nuff said.

Looking for me? Here I am:

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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A new day…a busy week…a hectic life

My life has been a bit…on the constant go…of late. A new book release, a new audio book release, edits for my Christmas release, an author appearance, and two virtual book tours. All in the past 2 weeks. Plus, all the social media promotion involved in each and every one of those things so I can get the word out my work and, you know….make a living! HeeHee. Add in the book reviews I need to get done for Netgalley and then the 3 personal friend reviews I’ve been asked to do for soon-to-be-released books AND the judging I need to get done for a romance writing contest I’m involved in, and…Yikes!!

When I set out to write full time three years ago after the publication of my first book, I thought I’d spend my days happily inventing new characters and situations that would bring them together, pull them apart, and then reconnect them for their HEA. And I have done that, don’t get me wrong. I’ve loved every millisecond of being able to devote myself to writing.

But….

It’s all the OTHER stuff that goes along with wanting to be a published author that’s starting to make my life a little harried. Strained. Busy. Swamped. You get the idea.

 

The social media stuff alone is mind boggling at times. I never thought I’d hear myself say this, but I’m actually grateful for my menopause insomnia because I’m typically awake and out of bed by 3:30 every morning. From the moment after I get myself situated with a cup of tea, I’m at my desk, posting my SM stuff for the day through the scheduling app HOOTSUITE. There’s even a group of other insomniac writers like me on Twitter  with the Hashtag (#) 5amwritersclub. It’s so nice to know I’m not alone when the rest of the nation is still slumbering!

If I was a million-seller author by now, I’d have a publicist and a media consultant do all this for me. Can you imagine how much writing work I could done in those 3 hours in the middle of the night every day? I can tell you how much: my first book was written between the hours of 1 am and 3 am for 3 solid months when I first hit menopause and was afflicted with this sleeping disturbance. Now that I’m a seasoned writer and edit as I go, I could turn out another book every 45 days just by writing during the hours I am usually doing the media stuff! Mind boggling!

There’s an old saying that, if you want to get something done in a hurry, give it to a busy person. While that may be true more times than not, it also makes the busy person feel overwhelmed, stressed, and – in my case – sleep deprived.

And I just realized how this sounds like I’m a whining 3 year old. I’m not ( well, maybe just a titch!) Before the advent of social media ruling the world, I really wonder how authors did it. How did they get the word out effectively about their work? How did they get new readers? Who helped them?

All questions that will, for now, remain unanswered, as I need to go and schedule today’s posts.

And if you’re looking for me, here’s where I am ( see? I told you I was busy!! Heehee)

Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

 

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#LASR #SaturdaySeven

For today’s Saturday Seven list, I’m talking about 7 bad-ass chicks in fiction that really speak to me as warrior women and game changers. I really could do this in at least 3 parts because there are so many, but these are my top 7.

Eve Dallas, the In Death Series by JD Robb.

A futuristic cop with the NYSPD, Eve Dallas is the survivor of a dark, tortured, and abused childhood. Raped, starved, and beaten until she finally kills her tormenter- her father – she grows into a woman who, although she doesn’t have superhero powers, is none the less the most powerful woman you will ever meet. Her sense of right and wrong is defined, clearcut, and as sharp as a razor. As her backstory unfolds in the first half dozen books of the series, Robb allows you to see that despite coming from the depths of humanity, you yourself don’t need to turn to the dark side. You have a choice: light or dark. Eve chose the light and for that she is an amazeballs woman and warrior.

Elinor Dashwood, from Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen.

 The oldest of the Dashwood sisters, Elinor is the “sense” part of the title. Composed, articulate, quick-witted and minded, although she tends to hide those characteristics behind the female conventionalism of the day, Elinor is the moral center of her family.  Even her mother looks to her to make decisions for the betterment of them all. She keeps her emotions hidden behind a cool and calm facade, but never for a moment think she doesn’t feel deeply. Elinor, to me, embodies the quiet warrior.

Stephanie Plum from the series of the same name by Janet Evanovich.

Who better exemplifies the woman of today in all her glorious angst, doubts, and confusion about life, sex, a woman’s role in society  than the gloriously klutzy and at times clueless bail bondsman Stephanie Hunter? From the moment you meet her – divorced, unemployed, and crushing on 2 men at once, you are drawn into her likeability, her openness, and her humor. Complete with a gun-toting grannie, a best friend who used to be a “ho”, and a cousin who is rumored to have performed illegal sexual acts with a duck, and you understand completely why Steph is the way she is. And to me, that’s perfect.

Bella Swan from the Twilight Saga by Stephanie Meyer.

You may think this is an unusual choice for a grown-ass, approaching Medicare age woman to admire, but you would be wrong. Bella embodies what every girl possessed with a romantic heart embodies ( including me): the desire to be loved like no one else has ever loved you before, and to know you would rather die than be without the one you love. She will do anything to protect the ones she loves and has no regrets about her choices. To love and be loved is what motivates all she does.

Scarlett O’Hara from Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell. The penultimate spoiled southern brat, Scarlett is either loved and revered by readers or hated and despised. There is no gray with Scarlett. She is single-minded, determined, and forceful. She can pout and simper to get her way or fight back and rail. Plus she has the best resting bitch face of anyone in literature. Bar none.

Janie Crawford from Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston.

Janie is an independent woman in a time in this country when black women weren’t seen as equal to their white counterparts. Janie keeps on going, no matter what her life throws her way her, and is able to hang on to her dignity and sense of self no matter what. She challenges the conventions and forces those around her to do the same.

 

 

 

Gemma Laine from A Shot At Love by …me.

I feel a little wrong including one of my own heroines here, but Gemma Laine embodies every trait I feel is necessary in a kick-ass woman in fiction. Coming from humble beginnings and deeply hurt by her parent’s divorce, Gemma knew from a young age she needed to fight for herself and her sisters against a society that looked down on them. She is proficient in martial arts and not afraid to defend herself or anyone else with her physical prowess if necessary. She doesn’t suffer fools, and she is loyal to a fault. When she loves there is no middle area about it: it’s all or nothing. She would die to protect someone she loved and she always, always has the back of those loved ones. She may not be the most pleasant woman you ever meet, but you will always know where you stand with her and if she considers you a friend, you are one for life no matter what.

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#Writinggroups: My happy place!

When I started my journey to publication in 2014 I realized pretty quickly I didn’t have a support group around me. Oh, I had – and still have – plenty of friends who thought it was great that I was going to try and get a book published. They cheered me on, boosted me up a bit. But I had no one – no single person – I could talk one-on-one to about the process of writing. I had plenty of people who wanted to read what I wrote but no one close to me who would be able to give me a professional, capable, knowing critique. And I certainly didn’t have anyone in my realm who knew about the business end of writing, publishing, and what needed to be done to get the word out their about your work.

Since I’m a plotter by nature, and that means I really really really think things through, thoroughly, before I implement them, the one way I could see to solve this dilemma for myself was to find a writing group. None existed in my town for romance writers, but I found one with a plethora of writing tastes so I decided to visit one of their meetings.

Best thing I ever did because it taught me exactly what I DIDN’T want in the way of a writing group. I won’t go into detail because it’s a little emotionally and ego-deflatingly painful to even remember that night, but I learned a great lesson: Like needs Like. If I was going to write romance, I needed to be around other writers who had the same passion and desire to read and write the genre as I had. This little group I’d just visited looked down their snotty and pious noses at me for even considering to write something as plebian ( one member’s word choice) and morally corrupt  (another’s!)  as romance.

See why I never went back?

Next step, find a group of romance writers. Easy peasy. I googled RWA, found out about the local chapter in my state, emailed the membership person listed and was invited straightaway to the next meeting. Which I went to. And I’ve never looked back.

These writers were my sistahs. My tribe! At that very first meeting, I learned sosososo much about the publishing industry  I had never known before that my head was spinning by the time the meeting was over.

And they were NICE! SO nice. And welcoming. And knowledgeable. And wicked smart, snarky, and funny.

Like I said: MY SISTAHS.

Four years on and I still think of them that way. We celebrate each other’s publishing victories and share chocolate and wine when rejections come in. We talk about life, and love, and kids, and romance, and sex. But most of all we talk about writing. How we write, what we write, what we want to write. How to make what we’ve written better, what to leave in a manuscript and what to send to the shredder.

Every single time I leave one of my meetings I am energized to go home and write for hours on end – and I usually do. While I’m driving home plot lines and story arcs fill my head or character traits I need to incorporate into my current heroine sprout up. Once, I plotted an entire novel during the 90-minute drive home from a meeting. The fact that I didn’t crash and die because I was so preoccupied just verifies in my mind the fact that I have Guardian Angels watching out for me.

If you’re like me and you need knowledgeable people to discuss with, bounce ideas off of, or pick the industry minds of, then joining a writing group geared to what you write is – in my mind – the best way to do all those things. One of my favorite days of each month is the day scheduled for my local RWA meeting.

This is an actual picture of me when I’m gearing up for a meeting!!!

When I’m not at a romance writing group meeting, you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Author, Contemporary Romance, Literary characters, NHRWA, Romance, Romance Books, RWA

If it’s #Tuesday…it’s #Menopause time.

Tuesday sure does roll around fast every week! I’ve got a new topic for the next few weeks on my Moments From Menopause blog today. Stop by and leave me some support and love. Chocolate would be good, too. Just saying…..

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#BookPromo and #CharacterInterview with Donna Simmonetta

You all know I love love love when a Wild Rose sistah comes to visit, and I especially love when that sistah beings one of her characters! Today, we’re visiting with author Donna Simonetta and Heather Braden, whom we first met in A Sweeter Spot, book one in the Rivers Bend trilogy, and get to know better in the new release, Love is Lovelier. She’s mixed up one of her signature cocktails for the interview, so let us pour you a Mai Tai, and hear what she has to say.

Heather, you’re from the tiny town of Rivers Bend, Virginia. Tell us what it is that draws you to live there.

(Smiles in a way that lights up the room) Well, it’s my hometown. I was born and raised there. But there are lots of things that keep me living there. The scenery is beautiful…rolling fields, the winding river wending its way through the town, the blue ridge mountains in the distance. It’s truly lovely. The best thing about the town though, has to be the people! For some reason, Rivers Bend seems to attract quirky, fun people. They might be in your business a little too much, but it’s done out of love, and frankly, it’s kind of nice living in a place where you know everyone has your back.

So you never considered living anywhere else?

After high school, I did move to Portland, Oregon to help my brother Jeff with his daughter after her mom died. And it was fun living there, but it never really felt like home, y’know?

You strike me as the kind of person who would have fun wherever you are living.

(Throws back her head and laughs) That’s probably true. Mick Evans would certainly say it about me.

Since you brought up Mick Evans, I have to ask…in A Sweeter Spot, you did not seem at all pleased to learn he was moving to Rivers Bend to be your boss at the Retreat. How are things going between you?

(Blushes to the roots of her sun-kissed brown hair) We’ve had our ups and downs. (Pauses, and takes a long sip of her fruity cocktail) You see, Mick and I have a bit of a history together. And those pesky feelings for each other don’t seem to want to stay in the past where they belong.

(Waits several beats, but Heather doesn’t seem inclined to continue) Okaaay…how about this question. You are known in Rivers Bend for creating signature cocktails for different events.

(Leans forward eagerly and nods, brushing her choppy bangs back off her face) I even have a tiki bar in my little apartment over my sister’s café, the Nosh Pit. I love to try to find the perfect creation to celebrate different events. For my mother’s annual Kentucky Derby party at her horse farm, I made frozen Mint Juleps this year, and they were quite a hit with everyone.

If you were going to have a drink that represents Mick, what would it be, and why?

(Screws up her mouth and narrows her eyes as she considers) An aged Scotch. Neat. Like Mick, it’s classic, elegant, smooth, but a single sip and I’m knocked off my feet!

That certainly doesn’t sound like your feelings are in the past. How does Mick feel?

(Shrugs) You’d have to ask him.

But Mick isn’t here with us today, so I’m asking you…are you two an item again?

We are drawn together––it’s the old cliché about opposites attracting. But, there are a lot of reasons…valid reasons, good reasons…for the two of us to remain just friends. So, that’s what we’re trying to do.

How’s that working for you?

(Grins and winks) You’ll have to read Love is Lovelier to find out!

Heather and Mick have a long history together, and Heather wants to leave it in the past where it belongs. Yet, here Mick is, very much in her present, thanks to her brother Jeff, who hired Mick to be her boss at the Retreat at Rivers Bend.

It wouldn’t be so bad, except Heather and Mick are still attracted to each other like metal to a magnet. Oh, and her brother is considering offering Mick a partnership in the Retreat, which by rights should be hers. And even if they act on their attraction, Heather is a small-town, country girl, and proud of it, whereas Mick can’t get far enough from his West Virginia coal-mining roots.

Will they be able to get a second chance at their first love and find their happy ending together in Rivers Bend?

Excerpt:

“Stick close. I’ll get you out of here.”

He used his broad shoulders as a wedge to propel himself through the crowd; Heather scurried to keep up with him so she could take advantage of the gap he created, not wanting to be so close that she could feel the warmth of his body through his elegant suit, but because she needed somehow to beat this crush of people to the Retreat to make sure that everything was in place for the post-christening party she’d planned for Bethanne – only perfection would do for her BFF.

She watched Mick’s back as she stuck close to him; he looked so strong and fit – it was hard to imagine him the way he was ten years ago, when he’d suffered his NFL career-ending injury, but the same business acumen that kept him with the Portland Pintos organization back then was the reason Jeff and Cisco hired him at the Retreat.

He’d be good for business – she’d just have to keep chanting those words in her head like a mantra, or else she’d do one of two things she’d regret – kill Mick, or kiss him, and she’d gone the kissing route with him before. It did not end well. And tempting as the killing option was at the moment, it probably wouldn’t end any better.

Buy Links:

Amazon // B&N  // The Wild Rose Press // Amazon UK

A little about Donna :

My career has been a winding road. I worked in the business world for years, got my MLS and worked in a school library, and am now living my dream as an author. I love to read and write contemporary and fantasy romance. I live in Maryland, with my husband, who is my real-life romance hero. We both enjoy traveling to visit our far-flung family and friends, and spending time on the beach with an umbrella drink and a good book.

 

 

YOU can connect with Donna here:

Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Amazon // Book Bub

My review of LOVE IS LOVELIER can be found here: Goodreads

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#KeepingTheFaith

I had lunch with one of my lovely, talented, and supportive writer friends over the weekend and, of course, the subject of staying motivated to keep on writing during this tumultuous time in publishing was the dominant flow of the conversation. With only one book due out this year for me, when I’ve averaged 3 every year since 2015, I’m struggling with staying focused on writing and not worrying so much about being published.

Let me tell ya, it’s friggin’ hard!

When I look back on that first year I was published I remember being so awestruck about actually seeing my books in print. I didn’t worry so much about marketing and sales, I simply basked in the delight that a real-life publisher wanted to put out into the book reading world words I’d written, a story I’d penned. And then wanted to do it again!

Reality seeped in by book # 3 and I realized I needed to actually SELL copies of the book. Just having it published wasn’t enough ( altho it was for me!!) The publisher needed to get a return on their investment in me.

Well, dang!

Almost 3 years on from that first publication and my 10th book will go live live live on April 3. And then…nothing. I don’t have a publishing contract after that – and it’s not for lack of trying, believe you me! I’ve submitted several books and book proposals but none of them have been accepted.

And I think I need to insert the word YET here for my own sanity. If I don’t I think I’m gonna sink down into the depths of writing despair and depression.

I’m not kidding.

I’m one of those lucky writers who doesn’t need to write to put food on the table and keep a roof over my head – don’t hate me! But even so, it would be nice to actually have a publishing contract ANYWHERE that would enable me to keep my work in front of the romance reading population. Even though I don’t need to sell to live, it would be kinda nice to have a new work to actually…well, sell!

I have several dates on my February calendar circled. Dates where I have been assured I will hear back from the editors I’ve submitted to, either with a positive response or a rejection.

I’m really hoping-praying-believing that one of those responses is a YES!

Of course, I’ll let you know either way.

Le sigh. 

In the meantime, I do have a book out now for Valentines Day titled 3 Wishes.

It’s a stand-alone and on sale for 99cents, plus it’s part of a Candy Heart Anthology from Wild Rose Press under the title Be My Hero.

And then on April 3, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT, book 3 in Will Cook For Love hits the shelves. Its available for pre-order now, though. ( Shameful plug!)

 

When I’m not being morose – or trying not to be anyway, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

 

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#BookPromo: At First Blush

Today I’m happy to welcome and help promote my dear writing friend, Marianne Rice and her new release, At First Blush

Book Blurb:

Alexis Le Blanc enjoys her simple life in Crystal Cove, Maine. After taking a chance on romance and getting rejected, she has given up on love. Now she devotes all her time to running her family’s winery, Coastal Vines. She wants to keep it small and traditional, but her parents have other ideas—hence why they hire some big-shot marketing executive from Napa Valley to rev up business.

When Benito Martelli shows up in her family’s tasting room, she’s more than stunned to discover he’s the man who wined and dined her the night before. Alexis is beyond peeved at his deception in trying to get into her good graces for the sake of making money on her winery. At first, she wants nothing to do with him or his big business ideas, but she’s pleasantly surprised when they come to a compromise, and even more surprised when she gives in to the sparks between them.

Unfortunately, things don’t go quite as planned and Alexis is faced with complications she never could have predicted. Promises and secrets unravel, and she must decide if love and wine are as well paired as she hoped.

 Buy Links:

Amazon // iBooks// Kobo // B&N

 

BIO:

Marianne Rice writes contemporary romantic fiction set in small New England towns. She loves high heels, reading romance, scarfing down dark chocolate, gulping wine, and Chris Hemsworth. Oh, and her husband and three children. You can follow her all over social media, and keep up to tabs with her latest releases on her website: www.mariannerice.com

You can connect with Marianne here:

Facebook // Amazon // Instagram // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest // Book Bub // Book + Main //

 

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Another oldie but a goodie!

Two years ago I was part of a Valentine’s Day book/novella collection from the Wild Rose Press called THE CANDY HEARTS SERIES. My contribution, 3 WISHES, introduced the book reading world to the San Valentino Family – a family based VERY loosely on my Italian step-family while I was growing up. A second book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS was released in 2016 for the Christmas holidays, featuring more of the same family, their lives, their loves, their crazy existence!.

Since Valentine’s day is quickly rolling around, I thought I’d re-introduced you to Chloe and Matt, my two lovers in 3 WISHES.

3 WISHES

Valentine’s Day is chocolatier Chloe San Valentino’s favorite day of the year. Not only is it the busiest day in her candy shop, Caramelle de Chloe, but it’s also her birthday. Chloe’s got a birthday wish list for the perfect man she pulls out every year: he’d fall in love with her in a heartbeat, he’d be someone who cares about people, and he’d have one blue eye and one green eye, just like her. So far, Chloe’s fantasy man hasn’t materialized, despite the matchmaking efforts of her big, close-knit Italian family. But this year for her big 3-0 birthday, she just might get her three wishes.

Excerpt:

At about five minutes of ten I was almost ready to turn the Closed sign on the door when it opened. I heard Janie’s breath hitch and turned from where I was sweeping up. Staying open late is always a risk, with the thought thieves will invade at the end of the day.

If the guy standing at the door glancing around the shop was a thief, then Dio mio, I wanted to be robbed.

About six foot, his hair was the color of a deer’s pelt, with autumnal golds and browns shot together in a glorious patchwork that grazed the collar of his jacket and curled a little at the ends. He wore a faded brown bomber jacket over a shirt I couldn’t see, but he had shoulders almost as wide as my doorway. A pair of well-worn jeans covered his mile long legs, and the fabric on the stress points at his knees was practically white.

“We’re about to close,” I heard myself say. “Can I help you?”

It was at that moment he looked over at me.

His face could have been sculpted by Da Vinci or Michelangelo. A broad, smooth, forehead housed naturally arched eyebrows I knew some of my gay guy friends would have paid a fortune to have on their own faces. His cheeks were carved from marble, high, smooth and deep. And his mouth, mother-of-God, his mouth. Full, thick beautiful lips sat perfectly over a chin with a dent you could shove a button into and have it stay put.

“Sorry,” he said, those fabulous lips pulling up a little shyly at the corners. “I got stuck at work and couldn’t get here until now. I’ll be quick. Promise.”

So here’s the thing: the guy was gorgeous. But even if he’d looked like a frog with raw antipasto smothering his face, I would have dropped to my knees when he opened his mouth. Warm honey, a shot of raw whiskey, and a little hot puff of smoke wafted from his mouth like a fine and rare brandy being decanted.

Buy links: 

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Barnes and Nobel

 

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