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#SundaySnippet 10.3.2020 ANGEL KISSES and HOLIDAY WISHES

So excited that one of my sweet holiday romance stories in included in the brand new CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS holiday Romance anthology. 10 Award winning and Best Selling authors have collaborated to bring you 10 wonderful Holiday stories all taking place in the little New England town of Dickens. Today’s snippet is from my story ANGEL KISSES AND HOLIDAY WISHES.

Can a first love be rekindled when the past is filled with heartache?

After a personal tragedy, Sage Hamilton left the town she’d grown up in and boy she’d given her heart to. With a vow never to return, Sage forged on with her life in order to forget the sadness of her past.

Keith Mills loved Sage from the first moment he spotted her ambling down the hallway of their middle school. And she’d felt the same about him. Or so he’d thought until she’d walked away from everything they’d meant to one another with a tearful and rushed goodbye.

But now, eighteen years later, she’s back and, as the town’s new doctor, it looks like she’s staying. Can Keith put the hurt of Sage’s dismissal to bed for good? And will she want to rekindle the love that had burnt so bright all those years ago?

 

SNIPPET….

Brianna had rearranged Sage’s afternoon schedule in order to deal with Corrine Mills’ emergency. One of the best parts of coming back home had been reconnecting with Corinne. Since the passing of her own grandmother and mother, Sage had missed the wisdom and counseling of the women who’d helped mold her into the person she was today. Corrine Mills, with her ready shoulder to lean on and ears meant for listening, had been the perfect person for Sage to reconnect with.

Of course, hearing all Corrine’s accolades about the man Sage had once loved was a bit…unsettling. But she’d put on a happy face and let the old woman brag to her heart’s content.

Keith Mills.

He’d filled so many firsts in Sage’s life, reminding her of the ornament tree in Matilda’s shop. First kiss, first boyfriend, first love…and lover.

He’d also been the first man her heart had broken over.

Oh, well. All that’s in the past. He probably hasn’t even thought about me since I left town.

When she signed off on her last chart, the beeper attached to her lab coat vibrated.

~Keith Mills is here.

Dragging in a calming breath, Sage mentally prepared herself to see the man she’d left standing in angry and emotional tatters eighteen years ago.

She heard him before she ever laid eyes on him.

“Where’s my grandmother’s doctor?” he bellowed from the nurse’s station. “Get him up here right now.”

“I already paged Dr. Hamilton,” Deb said, her voice staying calm and controlled.

Sage stopped as she turned the hallway corner and spotted Keith.

He was impossible to miss.

From his impressive and imposing six-foot-three height he towered above the diminutive nurse as he stood, arms akimbo, glaring down his nose at her.

An annoyed scowl twisted his mouth, but the memory of how seductive and alluring those full lips could be when pulled into a wicked grin burned bright in her mind.

“Where’s Doc Martin? He’s been my grandmother’s physician for decades. Who is this Hamilton person?”

“Keith.”

No amount of preparation could have prevented the full effect of Keith Mills’ gaze from shooting through Sage when he turned to her.

As a teenager he’d been all gangly arms and monkey hands, bony shoulders and narrow hips. His face had yet to fill out, but even back then his features hinted at a classic, movie star handsomeness to come.

As a man now, he’d outgrown the teen gauntness and his body had settled into perfect male proportions. Those bony shoulders spanned a yard and dropped into arms bulging underneath a fitted shirt. That hint of good looks had blossomed into a face sculpted by the gods of gorgeous. Cheekbones cut from glass sat over a square and powerful jaw. All in all, he’d grown into one magnificent man.

Damn him.

Whatever he’d been about to say died before he gave it a voice. In the span of a heartbeat his expression went from annoyed to confused, his eyes widening, then the corners pulling into a squint, his lips lifting from their frown to form a wide O of surprise.

“Sage?” Incredulity graced his voice – a man’s voice. Rich and deep; hard and commanding. A shiver of intense and unexpected longing zipped down her spine at the timbre.

She swallowed and beat back the panicked nerves tumbling through her system. “It’s been a long time.” She walked toward the nurse’s station, her gaze steadier than her trembling hands.

Indecision blasted through her the nearer she came. Be professional and shake his hand, or hug him like a long lost friend?

“What are you doing here?”

The irritation behind his question decided her response. She clasped her quivering hands in front of her and said, “You wanted to speak to me about your grandmother. Why don’t we go down to the cafeteria to talk? Corrine’s still in surgery and it’s going to be a bit before you can see her.”

Slipping her hands into her lab coat pockets, she tilted her head, indicating for him to follow as she began walking toward the elevator bank.

Wait.”

She stopped, mid stride, and turned back around.

“I don’t understand.” He shook his head, his eyebrows lifting to his hairline. “You’re my grandmother’s physician? You’re…Dr. Hamilton?”

Intrigued? You can preorder your copy for only 99cents here: CC2D

And because the Holiday season is meant for baking and making cookies, the authors in the anthology have also put together a companion cookie recipe book that’s FREE for you – JUST WAIT UNTIL 10.8.2020 to get it!!!!!! Download your copy herenafter 10.8.2020 :CC2dCookieCompanion

Happy Holiday reading and baking, peeps.

And follow the CHRISTMAS COME TO DICKENS authors on our Facebook page for updates,  previews, and spotlights of the authors and stories:

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Maureen’s Insomnia Sugar Cookies

Makes 24 cookies

Ingredients:

2 3/4 cups all-purpose white flour

1 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp salt

1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature and cut into squares

1 cup + 2 tbsp white granulated sugar

2 tbsp light brown sugar

1 large egg

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

1/4 cup white granulated sugar (for rolling)

Directions:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Enjoy!

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

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

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#SundaySnippet 11.25.18

I’m blessed. Truly. In just 2 weeks I’ve got another book release ( and my final for 2018!). CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS  basically wrote itself. I typically have a detailed plot outline before I ever write a word in a story. With this book, the characters propelled me forward with just the bare bones of a plan. Regina and Connor’s story spilled out of me in under 2 weeks because they wanted their love story told.

Here’s a little of Regina’s backstory…

When I was a teenager, I used to think the reason I sat dateless on most Friday and Saturday nights when all my friends were out with hot guys was because I was physically repugnant. When I looked in the mirror I couldn’t figure out back then what was so off putting about me. I was curvy, sure, but my brothers assured me guys liked curves on a woman. I wore my waist- length hair parted in the middle and straight down my back after spending hours working on it with a flattening iron. My face was a solid testament to my ancestry with jet-black eyebrows arched above coal-colored eyes. My cheekbones, though, were high, and my mouth, my cousin Gia assured me, was sultry and sexy.

It wasn’t until I was a senior in high school that I came to realize the reason boys weren’t knocking each other over on their way to dating me was due to my father’s ridiculous reputation. No one wanted to be the guy who dated Sonny San Valentino’s only daughter. The odds of something happening to the guy should he cause me any emotional harm were thought to be great, and most boys my age valued their lives and potential futures.

And I know how dramatic that sounds. My father, despite what people believe, is not a violent man or a criminal in any sense of the word. Sure, he knows some wiseguys with reputations, most of whom he’d grown up with, and does business with a few who have been up the river once or twice…or more, for various and sundry charges, but he’s not the gangster he’s believed to be.

Reputations, though, are like rumors. They spread fast and furious despite any semblance of fact.

One nugget of truth to the entire situation that I did discover though, was that my father had been known to talk at the Marconi club where he was a frequent mahjong player, that no boy was good enough to date his little bellissima figlia, the name he always called me by. He didn’t want me dating and when the time came for me to marry, he would pick out the husband for me. My brother GianCarlo heard this from a friend of his and he repeated it to his wife Trixie, who then told it to me like any good Italian cognata would.

Needless to say when I found out, Pop’s little bellissima figlia erupted like Mount Vesuvius. I went out and grabbed the first guy I saw, got pregnant within a month, and married a few weeks later by the priest who’d baptized, communed, and confirmed me.

And, obeying my mother’s wishes, wore a virginal white gown that had belonged to her mother.

The one and only timed I’ve ever rebelled in my life, and the ramifications of that single action still haunt me to this day.

Intrigued? Here’s where you can preorder the book, which releases on 12.12.18 just in time for Christmas. ***These are the links for e-copy. Print copies will be released soon.

Amazon // Wild Rose Press // Nook

And don’t forget the other titles I have out this Holiday Season for the romance-reader on your list – or just for yourself!

Hope’s Dream ( Deerbourne Inn Novella)

DEARLY BELOVED ( A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN, BOOK 1)

All my titles are available here: Book Links and here

 

 

 

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The Thrilling #Life of a #RomanceWriter…

Yesterday I did a blog piece concerning two cookie recipes from my new holiday release A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. Then, because I inspired myself ( heehee), after I posted that blog I went and made some Christmas cookies to bring to a holiday party.

baking

Here’s where my life got thrilling.

While I was mixing cookie dough, my Kitchenaide mixer broke. Like, completely! While it was spinning dough, two of the metal pins that keep the parts together rotated themselves from the force of the spinning, fell out and off the mixer, subsequently putting the kibosh on further dough making. Although I was royally pi**ed, I needed to get the dough done so I went in search of my hand mixer. Only I forgot I got rid of it when I got — you guessed it– the Kitchenaide. I had to stop everything I was doing, turn the oven off, wrap the cookies that were cooling so they wouldn’t harden, put the dough I’d made already into the fridge, and get washed up because I now had to leave the house ( something I hadn’t planned on doing today) so I could get to Bed Bath and Beyond ( or as we call it in my house, Mecca)  and get a new friggin’ hand mixer. I wasn’t going to purchase a new Kitchenaide since I figured tool man hubby would have had a conniption at spending another 300 bucks when he could probably ( hopefully) fix it, and a hand mixer was only, like, 15 dollars.

So…

An hour later, back from the unplanned shopping trip, mixer in hand ( literally!) I started up again only to stop right after  I put the dough in the oven because….and this is the really thrilling part – only not the way you’re thinking – my oven was on fire.

I’m not kidding.

There was a fire in the bottom of my oven. As soon as I saw the flames I realized what I had been forgetting I needed to do these past two busy weeks: clean the oven. Luckily, I was able to snuff it without (a) the smoke detector going off and giving me a heart attack, (b) the fire department being called, and (c) sacrificing any yet to be made cookies.

So…

I now had to clean the oven. It’s a self cleaner so there went another 3 hours of my cookie baking time.

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Around 4-ish I finally got everything done that needed to be done, baked that needed to be baked, and I sat down and made a cup of tea. Only, once the water was ready I realized I had no tea bags. #FML

From now on when I get the urge to bake I’m running to our local bakery and buying stuff. It’s easier, cheaper, and doesn’t involve using the fire extinguisher.

baking3

When I’m not having a nervous breakdown over baking, you can usually find me here:

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

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Of #ChristmasCookies and #recipes…

So yesterday I told you about the San Valentino family’s predilection for baking like there was no tomorrow during the Christmas season. Cookies, tarts, sweet breads, cakes and pastries can be found everyday cooling on baking racks, eaten almost before they are sufficiently cooled down. I thought you might like a recipe or two from Francesca and Nonna Constanza’s files, so here you go…and you’re welcome. But don’t say I didn’t warn you: once you make these and the word gets out – you’re gonna be chained to the kitchen making batch after batch after….to appease the sweet teeth of your friends and family.

PIZZELLES –

sancookie

first, you need to have a Pizzelle Iron, so make sure you do otherwise you won’t be making anything but batter!

Ingredients for the batter:

2 cups sifted all purpose flour

1 cup sifted granulated sugar

3/4 cup melted and cooled unsalted butter

2 Tablespoon Pure Vanilla extract OR ANISE extract ( Nonna uses Anise only!)

2 teaspoons baking powder

4 slightly beaten eggs

Method: Heat your pizzelle iron according to the manufacturer’s instructions.

Mix all the ingredients together in large bowl by hand using a wooden spoon until you have a pasty batter.

Drop 1 tablespoon of batter into each pizzelle design and close the lid. Bake about 30 seconds or until the cookie is an even, golden brown. Carefully remove from the mold and cool on a wire rack. This recipe makes about 42 cookies, give or take depending on how many you eat before they cool completely!!!

Nonna’s Favorite Biscotti with Royal Icing

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Make sure you have a cup of strong coffee or tea on hand when you eat these. You’ll know why once the cookies are baked!

Ingredients:

2 cups all purpose flour, sifted

1 teaspoon baking powder

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 stick of real, unsalted butter, softened ( not melted!)

1 cup granulated sugar

2 Tablespoons lemon zest ( Nonna prefers to zest the lemon right before she adds it to the batter so the flavor is fresh and pungent.)

2 eggs

1 teaspoon pure lemon extract

4 oz white baking chocolate – shredded or chopped

1/3 toasted and sliced almonds

Method:

Preheat over to 350 degrees

Sift: flour, baking powder and salt together in a large bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter, sugar and zest in another bowl until well incorporated. Then, add the eggs one at a time with the mixer set to low speed. Add in the extract and then the flour mixture. Fold in the almonds and the white chocolate.

Roll out onto a floured surface and dived the dough into 2 equal portions. Shape each into a foot by 1 inch roll/log then place on a floured, greased baking sheet

Bake for 30-35 minutes or until each roll is equally golden brown. Cook for 15 minutes then cut into slices, like bread, using a well sharpened or serrated knife. Once they are sliced, put them back in the oven for another 4-6 minutes until the are darker golden brown and crisp ( like toast.) Once they are completely cooled, drizzle with royal icing. ( recipe to follow)

ROYAL ICING

Ingredients:

1/2 teaspoon salt

4cups sifted confectioner’s sugar

3/4 cup cold water

1/4 cup meringue powder

Add all the dry ingredients together  into a mixing bowl and mix with a whisk until incorporated

Add the water a little at a time,  continually mixing on a very low setting until the water is fully incorporated. Then, swtich to a higher speed and beat until the icing looks fluffy ( like marshmallows). You can either dip the biscotti into the icing, or if you want to drizzle it like Nonna does, over the tops, you need to thin it up a little by adding tiny drops of water until you can put a fork in it, pull the fork up, and have the icing drizzle down.

If you want to read all about the San Valentino and Gia’s Christmas story, here’s where you can get a copy of A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS:

akissucl_850-1

Amazon // Wild Rose Press//  B&N

 

and when I’m not baking and eating cookies you can find me here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me//

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Of #Christmas, #Cookies and #The7Fishes

So, my Christmas book A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS is about a large, loud and loving Italian/American family. They love hard, eat even harder, and at Christmastime the women in the family – led by Nonna Constanza – bake, bake, and bake some more. Christmas sugar cookies topped with nonpareils,  cinnamon rolls made with the special ingredient Francesca San Valentino shares with no one but those she gave birth to, yards of sweet breads, and the aroma of rising yeast fill the spacious kitchen almost to bursting, all made fresh daily.

sancookie

Warm Christmas cookies on cooling racks fill every line of counter space. Pizzelles made with sweet almond extract; chocolate chip layer cookies filled with cream; colorful and tangy seven layer cookies topped with melted chocolate. And Nonna’s favorite – biscotti topped with royal icing.

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The reason their kitchen resembles a cookie factory assembly line is easy to explain: everything gets eaten every day. There is no such word as leftovers or extra in this household because the family consumes it all. Many times Gia, the youngest San Valentino at 24, wonders why they all don’t weigh five hundred pounds considering the amount of food they eat. The answer is simple, really. Francesca cooks old school, and by that I mean: she makes everything fresh. No processed meats or jarred sauces; pure butter and olive oil, fresh eggs and real milk ( not skim or even 2%!) and cream; real sugar never a substitute. The vegetables come from their massive backyard garden in the summer and the fresh greengrocer in the winter. The meat is purchased from a local butcher, not a commercial superfood store.

In all, eating this clean and fresh promotes health and wellbeing.

The tradition of Christmas cookie baking culminates on Christmas Eve when the family all gather for the Feast of the 7 Fishes.

san3La Festa Dei Sette Pesci, also known as The Vigil ( La Vigilia), is a celebration of eating  fish and other seafood, and yes, there will be a minimum of 7 courses all with one special seafood hightlighted per course. Francesca’s Shrimp Alfredo( gamberetti Alfredo)usually starts the feast. Hundreds of  freshjumbo shrimp purchased from the local fishmonger ( and yes, they still do exist!!) The fish are cleaned, peeled, cleaned again and then boiled in just a hint of salted water until their beautiful pink color emerges. Francesca’s Alfredo sauce is made – of course – from scratch, slowly whisked to creamy perfection. The pasta – usually farfalle ( bow ties) has been hand made and cut using the pasta machine Nonna brought with her to America 75 years ago. When the pasta is cooked al dente, the shrimp and sauce are combined and everyone sits to enjoy this truly delectable dish.

The rest of ethe evening is spent singing carols by the fireplace, playing cards, remembering Christmas’ and family members of the past, and eating another fish/seafood inspired dish every hour.

By Midnight, stuffed, sated, and happy, the family will travel en Famiglia to Midnight Mass at the church of St. Rita de Armada , the family parish.

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The littlest San Valentinos will fall asleep in their parent’s laps long before the last blessing is given to be carried home and tucked into bed, awaiting the arrival of Babbo Natale and his bag of gifts.

san6

In all, The San Valentino family is the type of clan you would love to be a part of. You’d never go hungry, you’d never be at a loss to laugh, and you’d always be loved totally, unconditionally, and loyally. Buon Natale!

san7

When I’m not eating cookies and devouring fish you can usually find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// 

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