Tag Archives: #amwriting #amblogging #amcooking

#SundaySnippet 2.16.2020

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

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

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

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

Chapter 1

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“What is it?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I repeated my question.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Yeah.”

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

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

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

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

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

“Plus?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And in his regular clothes, too.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Her laugh warmed my heart.

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

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

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

“I aim to please.”

“Speaking of, what did Lucas want?”

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

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

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

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

Her laugh drew one from me.

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

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

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

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

“What do you mean?”

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

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

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

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

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

If that’s smothering, so be it.

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

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

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

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

But then, just thinking of him always did.

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

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

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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

#1stKissfriday 5.3.19 Can’t Stand The Heat

There’s nothing I like more than an opposites attracts trope, and in Can’t Stand the Heat ( book 3 in the Will Cook for Love Series), I had a doozy of a bi-polar couple! And by that I mean they were at two opposite poles of the personality spectrum. Stacy, cool and calm, nothing fazes her and everyone loves her, and Nikko, angry, gruff, prone to outbursts and the air could make him mad! But there’s a reason for his arrogance and Stacy is just the gal to figure out what it is. This snippet is a little longer than usual but because of the dynamics of their budding relationship, I wanted to present it in its entirety.

He wasn’t looking at her now with his usual aggravated glare, or even the doubtful one he’d given her just moments before. Nor was his expression simple curiosity at her expertise.

No, what was in his eyes was something she’d never expected to see from this man: need.

A stab of unexpected hunger, so piercing and swift, sliced right through her midsection and dropped lower, tickling the area between her thighs.

And the hunger had nothing to do with the fact she hadn’t eaten anything in hours.

Nikko took a step forward, then another, until he stopped directly in front of her.

Stacy had to tip her head back to maintain eye contact with him. Hypnotized by the intensity in his eyes, she couldn’t look away from it; didn’t want to.

“Yes,” he said, his breath drifting over her, making her insides flutter like a flimsy curtain battling a sudden breeze. “I remember that. I remember you massaging my leg for some time.” He moved in closer, their torsos just a hair’s width from her breasts scraping along his chest.

“I remember the feel of your hands on my leg. Kneading. Rubbing. Your fingers, gliding along my muscles, up and down. Helping me. Easing my pain.”

“I—I…” She backed up a step and hit the dresser, her spine flattening against it. She braced her hands behind her, the tips of her fingers landing across one drawer. “I’m glad I did. Help, I mean.”

Was that her voice? It sounded as if she’d just run a marathon. Uphill.
 In thin air.

Nikko’s hands rose, slowly, purposefully, and came to rest on the top of the dresser, bracketing her between them, effectively imprisoning her. With every breath she took now, her torso grazed his.
His knees bumped hers as his head lowered, his eyes never moving from her own.
“Easing my pain,” he repeated softly, as if she’d hadn’t spoken, “and making me…want.” His lips floated a breath above hers, then touched hers once, just a brief buss; a sample; a promise. “Want…you.”

In the next breath he fulfilled that promise by resting his mouth fully against hers. Soft yet powerful, seductive and masterful, his lips glided over hers. Pressed. Savored.

Asked.

Stacy answered by relaxing against him, moving into the kiss without thought, without reservation, without worry.

He kissed like a man who knew what he was doing. He demanded nothing of her than to simply let him pleasure her mouth, and yet she poured everything inside her, offered every bit of herself into kissing him back without the slightest bit of hesitation or concern.

He shifted, changed the angle of his head, and lifted his hands from the dresser to cup her cheeks between them. Tipping her head back, her body arched as he deepened the kiss, greedily parting her lips with his tongue then forging between them, overwhelming her, claiming her.

Under the thin robe her nipples came to two hard points as his tongue tugged and wound with hers. He tasted like…nothing she could put a name to. Full-bodied, like the thirty-five-year-old port her father favored after dinner; sweet and refreshing like Grandma’s orange sorbet, her favorite dessert; savory and woodsy like air in a forest after a quick, unexpected downpour.

A fleeting thought that maybe, just maybe, Nikko didn’t dislike her as much as she’d believed flew through her mind.

Her hands developed a will of their own as they danced up his broad, rock-hard chest, and wound around his thick neck to grip his hair. Fisting it, she hung onto the ends as if her life depended on it. As if she’d crash back to earth if she let go.

His fingers drifted along the column of her throat, across her shoulders, down her back, to settle, through her robe, on her butt. Molding his hands to her rounded flesh, he pulled her in closer, folding her into him and letting her know just how much what he was feeling wasn’t dislike.

Not even close.

Except for her thong, she was naked under the silk robe and as his hands glided over the material, whispered over her body, the luxurious feel of the fabric rubbing against her bare skin shot erotic flares all along her spine, straight down to her toes.

While his tongue mated with hers, his hands slipped under the hem of the short garment to cup the bare skin he found there.

As she’d massaged the muscles and sinew over his leg the night before, he returned the favor, squeezing and kneading her butt in his warm, firm grasp. For a heartbeat, Stacy tensed, her gluteal muscles instinctively tightening. The touch of a man’s hands so intimately pressed against her flesh wasn’t something she was used to.

In the next instant, spurred on by the gentle, thorough pressure of his fingers, she relaxed and pushed in even closer, nothing separating their bodies but their clothes.

Nikko slipped one finger under the strip of her thong, tugged it to the side, and with another traced a line down along the cleft between her cheeks. Her knees buckled when he thrust a knee between her thighs, forcing them to open for him, pressing intimately against her. She could feel the soft denim of his jeans through the tiny wisp of the thong’s lace panel and when he began rubbing his knee across her mound, her insides turned to melting gold.

Good Lord.

Every nerve fiber in the lower half of her body stood straight up at attention. Stacy widened her stance as much as she could. It was then she realized she was standing on the very tips of her toes. Nikko bore most of her weight as she leaned against him.

He shifted again, reached down, and dragged his finger along the heat pouring from her core, now separated and open to his touch.

A guttural moan, deep and filled with longing, escaped in the air as his lips left hers to trail down and nuzzle the sweet spot behind her ear. He tugged the lobe between his lips and bit down, while his wicked and persistent finger dared to dip into the long, wet length of her.

And she was wet.

Drenched, in fact.

His strong, steady finger glided from one end of her to the other, slipping across her flesh and through every defense she had.

A quick thought that nothing had ever felt so good, so god-blessed good as Nikko’s hands on her skin, came to her.

She clutched the ends of his hair tighter, her breaths shallow and fast as his fingers dragged along her, their rhythm timed to perfection with the movement of his tongue in her mouth.

The air around her exploded with the echo of a deep, reverberating groan.

Just as she realized she’d been the one to make the sound, the room was shattered by a blare of static from her walkie-talkie.

“Stacy? Stacy? You copy?”

Nikko jerked his head back, surprise and anger mixing on his face as he heaved his gaze from her face to the device resting on the bed, and then back to her.

A well of boiling heat suffused his half-closed eyes as he gazed down at her. His lips were swollen and kiss-slick-wet, and when his tongue flicked out and ran across his top lip and then the bottom, as if savoring the taste of her, Stacy’s breath caught.

He still had her pinioned against the dresser, one hand caressing the nape of her neck, the other burrowed between her legs.

“Stacy? You there?”
Reality washed over her like a tidal wave.
“I—I have to get that.” She pushed against his chest, tried to slide from his hold.
The man was as solid as a fortress. He stood, stone-still and immobile.

Intrigued? You can order your copy here, along with  the other WIll Cook For Love books,

COOKING WITH KANDY and A SHOT AT LOVE

     

and one thing before you go: I just found out ( yesterday!) that CAN’T STAND THE HEAT is a finalist in the Desert Rose RWA GOLDEN QUILLS Contest for 2019!

So exciting! ~Peg

 

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Author, Characters, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Family Saga, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, love, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#1stKissFriday 4.19.19

This meme is so appropriate for today’s #1stkissfriday edition because it’s from COOKING WITH KANDY and it’s about… a kiss!!! Hee hee

COOKING WITH KANDY is my  first book in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series and introduces series “matriarch”  and cheflebrity Kandy Laine. When a private eye/bodyguard is hired to find out who’s stalking our favorite chef, sparks fly and love ensues, mixed in with a little eating, cooking, and romance. And guess what? The ebook is on sale now for just 99Cents for a limited time, so if you haven’t read it, now’s your chance!!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

“You’re gonna wash the floor? Now?” He glanced down at his watch.

It was almost midnight.

“I never leave off cleaning my kitchen after a big prep,” she said, filling the bucket with hot water from the sink.

“Here, let me do it,” he said, taking over. “You’ve been going since four thirty this morning. It’s time for bed, Kandy. Go get ready. You’ve had a full, exhausting a day.”

She wouldn’t give him the mop. “I’m doing this, Josh. It won’t take more than five, ten minutes, tops.”

“Your work ethic astounds me. I can’t decide if you’re just plain stubborn or obstinate, but you’ll be no good tomorrow if you’re overtired and have a house full of company to entertain. And you still have stuff to do in the morning.”

She didn’t budge.

“Kandy, it’s midnight. You need sleep. Rest. Now let me have the mop.” He put out his hand. She glared at it for a few beats and then ignored it, turning back to the sink to lift the bucket.

“No. You go to bed. I’m finishing this.”

“Look, I’m not playing around.”

“Of course you’re not. You’re just naturally bossy and domineering. Well, here’s a news flash, Joshua Keane,” she said, dropping the bucket back into the sink, water sloshing out the sides. “I’m a grown-up. I do want I want, when I want. And I want to wash my floor. Now. You go to bed.”

He couldn’t believe she was arguing with him over something so stupid. For that matter, he couldn’t believe he was contending with her. But something in her tone rattled him and, even though he knew it was childish, he refused to back down.

Arms crossed, legs braced in a stance of defiance, he said, “You know, I weigh double what you do. I can just take that mop out of your hands. It wouldn’t be hard at all.”

She turned back to him, the blue in her light eyes deepening. “Go ahead and try,” she challenged, one hand on her hip in a stance of rebellion, the other gripping the mop handle.

They were standing toe to toe, each unwilling to bend.

Josh’s hand snaked out to grab the mop and Kandy effortlessly slapped it away. Without missing a beat, his other hand wound around her back, yanking her full force against his chest, the mop between them.

Kandy’s cry of surprise spit from her as she stared, wide-eyed, up into his face.

They were so close he could see the pulse beating at her temple as he stared down at her.

“Don’t challenge me if you’re not prepared to meet the consequences,” he said, his voice low and blunt.

She stared up at him, a sneer just beginning to form on her lips. “You don’t scare me.”

In the span of a heartbeat his head came down to hers, while she craned her neck toward him.

When their lips met the argument died.

Damn it.

He knew she’d feel like this, taste like this.
Heaven. Pure and total heaven.
Josh snaked his hands down her back, delighting in every curve and crevice he touched, to settle on her sweet ass. He swallowed her gasp against his mouth and gripped her butt, grinding her against his immediate, rock-hard erection.

When he felt her, soft, warm, and plastered against his body, he echoed her groan with one of his own.

He’d dreamed it would feel like this with her. Hot and spicy, delectable and scrumptious, just like her cooking. Her mouth was made for kissing, full and lush, swollen with need and desire.

Josh wanted nothing more than to eat her whole.

Clenching her even tighter, his lips left the mouthwatering taste of hers to wander across her cheeks, down to her chin. His tongue tasted the hollow behind her ear, his lips gliding across the silky skin of her neck.

Like a man starved for a lifetime, he devoured her.
Kandy arched backward, giving him free access to all those regions, while clutching fistfuls of his hair in her strong hands.
His tongue laved at the exposed skin of her collarbone, trailed back up to the corner of her ear, and when he captured the small lobe in his mouth and sucked, felt Kandy shudder with such erotic violence against him, he almost dropped to his knees.

“Josh.”

He pulled back and stared down at her flushed and glowing face. Her eyes were closed, her lips parted, waiting for him to kiss her again.

She was, without doubt, the most beautiful, most desirable woman he’d ever seen.

She felt so good, so right, against him. As if they’d been created and carved for each other.

And he wanted her like he’d wanted nothing else in his life.
But he knew he couldn’t have her.
A cold fist of reality punched through his desire-drenched body. She needed him to protect her, not seduce her. The notion that she wanted him as much as he did her didn’t change that fact.

“Kandy. Open your eyes.”

When she did he almost lost the small amount of sanity he still possessed and took her right there, braced against the sink.

Her beautiful blue irises were transparent crystals filled with heat and longing. Josh swore he could see to her very core; he could have melted into them without thought. Her gaze raked down his face to his lips, and she pulled a hand from his hair and traced a delicate line in the dimple under his bottom lip, just above his jawline.

Josh’s abdominal muscles contracted. He grabbed her hand, placed a chaste kiss on the open palm, and watched her expression change from captivated to confused.

Intrigued? Remember, it’s on sale right now for just 99cents! You can order your own copy here: Amazon

and if you want to know a little more about what I write, you can connect with me here:

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

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And I can’t forget the OKRWA 2018 Award video

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I bet you didn’t know…..

Great teaser title, right?! Hee Hee

So here’s what you didn’t know about me: Before I wrote romantic fiction, I wrote more…morbid…stuff. I had a slew of short stories published in the suspense genre. You can see them listed if you scroll down to the FICTION part of my Publications page.

Any hoo. Let’s move to the present.

I recently re-energized a short story I’d written almost 2o years ago and submitted it to Long and Short Reviews. They have a short story submissions page, so I entered the re-tooled story to their contest a few weeks. And guess what? I won!!!

THE HOUSE ON CRIMSON STREET is a creepy ( to me, anyway) story of an elderly lady who rents out rooms. And since I like cooking so much, there’s an underlying cooking theme threaded throughout the story. It’s fairly short, so if you want to take a few minutes and read it, here’s the link: THOCS

And, because this is L&SR and they never do anything NOT well, they also made a cover for the story:
Can I tell you how in love I am with this depiction of the house?? It’s beyond perfect.

So, if you want to get a glimpse into the less romantic, more unsavory part of my brain, this is a good place to start.

Just sayin’ ~Peg

And when I’m not writing scary stuff, you can find me writing romance here :

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

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

 

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The Wearing O’the Green. #HappyStPatricksDay #kissmeImIrish

It’s no secret I’m almost 100% Irish extraction. I didn’t need to spit in the Ancestry.com cup to know that. I did anyway and the results came back 98% Irish with 2% some obscure Middle European.

I’m disregarding that 2% because, really, why bother?

So, like I said, it’s no secret I’m of Irish extraction. When I was a kid people would tell my mother I had the map of Ireland stamped on my face. By that they meant my pale skin, dark hair, light eyes and plethora of facial freckles denoted I was a member of the Old Sod. I still have that pale skin and light eyes. The hair went gray at 16 so it’s been many shades since I was a kid, settling on some kind of ashy blonde mix right now. And for years I tried to bleach the hated freckles away with Porcelana fade cream. ( I have since stopped doing that, having embraced my freckles and heritage a while back).

I love my Irish roots. Truly. While I may not crave corned beef and cabbage ( ick) and I don’t drink beer ( hate the taste), I am a stalwart Daughter of Erin. I even marched in the NY City St. Patrick’s Day parade for years while I was in college. This is a of shot me at the parade holding my school banner when I was a senior.

The picture is grainy because I had to copy it from my yearbook, but I’m the second one in from the left with the glasses, short curly hair ( I was still dying it black back then), and total glee on my face despite the fact it was 34 degrees that day and raining non-stop.

There’s a saying that everyone is Irish on St. Paddy’s day. If you’re lucky enough to really have some Irish in your DNA, then yay! Welcome to the club. If not, then take advantage of this great day and become an honorary member. If you want to know the history behind the celebration of St. Patrick, do a Google search and find out why he was made a Saint and the reason Irishman are so keen on celebrating him.

For me, I’m gonna go make a couple of loaves of Irish soda bread and put on something with a bit’o green in it.

Happy St. Patricks Day ~ Peg

Looking for me? When I’m not celebrating the special days of Irish Saints, I’m usually here:

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

Here’s the link to my TELL ME ABOUT YOUR DAMN BOOK podcast interview, just in case you missed it: TMAYDB

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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#SundaySnippet 11.4.18

For today’s entry we’re going old school. I currently have a pre-holiday sale running from Kensington/Lyrical at Amazon and Kobo for my entire WILL COOK FOR LOVE SERIES.

So why not give you a little snippet from the book that started it all, COOKING WITH KANDY?

Blurb:Sugar and spice and everything sexy make the perfect recipe for romance in this brand-new series by Peggy Jaeger. Look for exclusive recipes in each book!

Kandy Laine built her wildly popular food empire the old-fashioned way—starting with the basic ingredients of her grandmother’s recipes and flavoring it all with her particular brand of sweet spice. From her cookbooks to her hit TV show, Kandy is a kitchen queen—and suddenly someone is determined to poison her cup. With odd accidents and threatening messages piling up, strong-willed Kandy can’t protest when her team hires someone to keep her safe—but she can’t deny that the man for the job looks delicious. . .

Josh Keane is a private investigator, not a bodyguard. But with one eyeful of Kandy’s ebony curls and dimpled smile, he’s signing on to uncover who’s cooking up trouble for the gorgeous chef. As the attraction between them starts to simmer, it’s not easy to keep his mind on the job, but when the strange distractions turn to true danger, he’ll stop at nothing to keep Kandy safe—and show her that a future together is on the menu. . .

Snippet:

Kandy’s feet pummeled the treadmill as she increased the pace through the mountain-climbing program.

She needed this run to clear her head. Last night’s events had left her shaken and confused.

Shaken? Ha! Scared witless was more like it.

The phone message had been disturbing and frightening, sure, but the feel of Josh Keane’s arms around her, warming her and giving comfort, had been overwhelming. The titanium-steel hardness of his chest when she’d buried her face into it had not only reassured, but aroused her.

Completely.

She couldn’t remember ever being so turned on just by being held. The feel of him, the actual sensation of his rock-hard body against hers as he held her, gently, was more powerful than any seductive touch could have been.

Josh kept pace with her on the adjoining treadmill. She had her iPod plugged in and ran to the beat of the music. Josh ran music-free, his rhythm steady as he tore through his own preprogrammed routine. Kandy glanced over to check his status to see he’d also selected a mountain run. His stride was much wider than hers, though, his pace almost double.

The ceiling-mounted television in front of them was on and cued to the early morning news. She tried to keep her gaze fixed on the screen, or in front of her, or anywhere that wasn’t on him. Watching those powerful, muscle-laden calves and thighs go through their pace was almost too much to handle. Not to mention the way his T-shirt fit snugly across his ripped-to-godlike-perfection chest and those broad, corded arms, showing and defining all the toned muscle groups beneath it.

No, it was too much to watch.

He wouldn’t be around forever to distract her like this. He’d find out what was going on and then be off to his next job, which was for the best. She had too much to do, too much that needed her undivided attention, to be sidetracked by this gorgeous man following her and watching her every move.

Kandy had no time to worry about things she couldn’t control, like this supposed harasser. She’d tried ignoring the incidents away, tried to convince Stacy it was nothing. Now she had to contend with an outsider going through her friends’ and family’s personal business.

Josh claimed he wouldn’t disturb her life in any way, but he already had just with his presence. In one day he’d insinuated himself into her home, her life. Even her head.

And she just wasn’t sure how she felt about it.

You can purchase the entire series, on sale now, here:

Amazon // Kobo // Nook  // Apple // Google

When I’m not running a book sale, you can find me here :Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe // Monkey me //Watch me

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Sunday Snippet 9.23.18

From the upcoming CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

After grace, my father turned his attention away from the conversation my brothers were having about the Jets, and toward me.

“What’s going on with you and that Irish guy?” he asked without any preamble.

Luckily, I hadn’t taken a sip from the water glass I’d lifted to my mouth, otherwise I knew I would have choked on the liquid.

“Nothing.”

Regina Maria.”

“Really, Pop. Nothing. I made a cake for him. That’s it.”
 I could hear the angels in Heaven tsk-tsking me.

I’d been in church less than two hours ago, and now I was committing a sin by lying to my father. I could see a visit to the confessional before the end of the day was in order.

“Guys you make cakes for don’t usually spend the night in your apartment, little girl.”

My brother knows a guy named Tony Cartieri. Everyone who knows him agrees that if Tony didn’t have bad luck, he’d have no luck.

Right at the moment Pop made that statement, I knew exactly how old Tony felt, because the conversation had slowed and ebbed, Pop’s words spreading around the table loud and clear. The kids were set up in the living room, so I don’t think they got wind of it. But everyone else did.

Ten pair 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 her plate 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.

Available December 2018 from THE WILD ROSE PRESS

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When I’m not writing, I…

A well rounded person is one who loves to learn, find new fun things to do, and questions everything!

I kinda think I’m a well rounded person.

It’s no secret that I love to write. When I’m putting together a new story, I’m never happier. But, just like man can’t live by bread alone, she can’t do just one thing in life either.

When I’m not writing I’m usually either cooking, painting, or restoring some old piece of furniture.

I lovelovelove to cook. Anyone who knows me or who has read my blog knows this. And I’m an equal opportunity cook, which includes baking. Some people are really good bakers, while their cooking skills leave a lot of be desired. For the others, the opposite is true. They can put together a six course meal, complete with meat and fish courses, but ask them to bake cupcakes and they start to sweat and foam at the mouth. I love to do both!

My passion for painting started in my 40’s when I watched a PBS piece about Donna Dewberry. Donna was just like me – a woman of a certain age, who wanted to learn something new, so she invented a new art form and way of painting. She made it look so easy on her documentary, that I purchased a starter kit and was hooked from the first piece I ever made! Any one who has ever attended one of my book signings know how much I like to paint, evidenced by the hand painted bags I give them with the purchase of a book! This is the Donna Dewberry, One Stoke Method at its finest!

Refurbishing and rehabbing old furniture and steamer trucks has been a passion of mine fore several years. This is one of the most recent trunks that I finished.

Great as gifts, great as storage.

I’ll be brutally honest and tell you I can’t do any sports to save my life. Sometimes, I can’t even walk properly! But in a world where doing creative stuff is a great way to keep motivated, energized, and mentally sharp, I’m a  pro!
Let’s see what some of the other authors in this hop do when they aren’t writing. MFRWauthors Blog Challenge

And, as always, when I’m not writing, painting, cooking or rehabbing, you can find me here:

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When I’m not writing I’m….


So today’s prompt is “creative outlets I enjoy.” You already know I lovelovelove to cook. But did you know I also like to paint and restore old steamer trunks?

I’ve done 5 trunks over the past 3 years using a decoupage method. When they are complete, I give them away as gifts to people around me who ask. My daughter has 2, my BFF has one, and I’ve got the other 2. This one is sitting in my office behind the couch I use to take naps in when the words aren’t flowing as fast as I want them to.

I also like to paint – crafty paint. I  hand paint canvas bags  and give them away at my book signings to readers. Since I write a romance series about cooking, the bags are all food themed:

 

Now, it’s always been my DREAM to have a hard-back book contract. Because I’m one of those people who believe in  putting actions behind dreams to propel them into reality, I also handpaint wooden “books” and then insert my own POD ( print of demand) paperbacks into them, also for readers at book signings as a gift from me;

The readers I’ve given them to have been thrilled because the “book” is a nice way to keep the actual book fresh and new-looking.

So…crafting and painting is my superpower, er…creative outlet. What’s yours?

Let’s see what other creative outlets the writers in this hop have: MFRWauthors

And, of course, when I’m not writing, painting, cooking, or restoring stuff, you can always find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

 

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Clothing…required. #MFRWauthor Blog challenge Week 27

This week the MFRWauthor blog prompt is THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE WHILE DRESSED.

Hmmm….so many possibilities, esp. for a romance writer, (heehee).

But if I’m going to be truthful, the most fun I have while dressed is when I’m cooking.

It’s no secret I lovelovelove to cook – and eat! I even wrote a romance series about a chef and her family – all of whom cook. Many of my treasured recipes where incorporated into those stories and I have to admit, people who’ve read them have commented many times they got hungry while reading them.

Okay…for a romance writer that pun leaves a whole bunch of stuff open to the imagination, but…I digress.

I am never happier than when I am surrounded by me dearest friends and family around my huge dining room table and they are all eating a meal I’ve put together.

 

I’m usually the first person to volunteer to bring a dish to an event, and I’m always grilling people ( another shameless pun!)  on how they made something that’s a new flavor profile to me so I can replicate it, reconfigure it, and then serve it when I’ve got it perfect.

I’m not a snotty cook, either. I don’t care if something is made from scratch, half from scratch with boxed stuff added as filler, or a meal put together from those old childhood friends Hormel, Chef Boyardee Green Giant, or Heinz. I’m an equal opportunity taster and cook. Of course, I always try to redo any dish I try where I’m told that it was half scratch or store bought, just to see if I can make it without using any commercial boxed products. I think my success rate is somewhere in the 90th percentile!

Creating the perfect tastes to entertain the dearest and most loved people in my life is my idea of true, complete, happiness.

And let’s be honest here: you should never prepare food without clothes on! Think of all the sensitive places you could burn or sear or – God forbid – slice while you are cooking!!! There’s a reason cooking aprons are a necessity in my kitchen. They not only protect my clothing from grease spatters, but they are an added layer in ensuring none of that hot grease crosses to my skin! Think about that for a second…..

So…I love to cook with my clothes on. Let’s see what some of the other authors and bloggers in the challenge like to do while dressed. And I’m really hoping next week’s prompt isn’t THE MOST FUN YOU CAN HAVE NAKED! Hee hee MFRWAuthor 52 Week Blog Challenge.

And when I’m not cooking, you can find me here doing….other things than cooking!! Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// Book Me

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