Tag Archives: #familyandfaith

#SundaySnippet 4.5.2020 Today, Tomorrow, Always

I simply had to pull today’s snippet from one of my favorite books of 2019 – TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS – becauseI wanted to share with you an unbelievable 5 star review I received from Long and Short reviews on Friday. After I stopped crying I knew this week I should re-promo this  book again.

In this scene, Cathy starts to realize there’s more than just a sad spirit floating about in Mac Frayne. Much more…..

Before leaving, I pulled my cellphone from my purse and slipped it into my jacket pocket. Life with Nanny has taught me never to be more than an Instagran call away.

I led the way down the cast-iron circular staircase to the subbasement. I hadn’t been in the personal archives since taking over my keeper-of-the-keys duties—I was going to call it that forever, now—and I’d forgotten how deathly quiet it could be. And creepy. What amounted to two stories below ground level, the staircase was lit only by the electric sconces on the wall guiding us downward. The sound of our shoes bounced and echoed off the metal gratings under our feet.

“It’s wicked spooky down here,” I said when we came to the bottom. “No outside noise. No windows. No people. It’s like a perfect tomb. If I ever got stuck down here, the silence alone would scare me into an early grave.”

“If I was a suspense or a horror writer, this would be a great setting to kill someone and then stash the body,” Frayne said, looking around the space.

“With limited, keyed access and no foot traffic, it wouldn’t be discovered for a while. You could make as much noise or as much of a mess as you wanted and no one would know. The walls would absorb all the sounds of torture and screaming. We’re far enough underground the stench of decomp wouldn’t be noticeable. By the time the body was found, you’d be long gone. It’s kind of a perfect setup, actually.” He perused the area intensely, assessing the possibilities.

A shudder zipped up my spine. Who knew the mild-mannered and reserved writer had such a macabre side?

And why, for the love of God, did I find it so…arousing?

He turned to me, and then cupped the back of his neck with one palm, a half grin lining his mouth. “Sorry. I tend to think out loud without filtering. Side effect of being in a solitary profession. I don’t usually have an audience when thoughts are running around in here”—he tapped his temple—“so I tend to say them out loud.”

“I think you might have missed your calling in the horror-writing department. The scene you set was a little too realistic and probable for comfort. The next time we come down here, I’m hauling a baseball bat along in case you want to try out any of your ideas.”

A heart-stopping grin shot across his face like a bolt of lightning: rapid, blinding, and powerful.

“I’m harmless.” To underscore his point, he drew an X over his heart.

I didn’t know about that. Those dimples were about as harmless as a heart attack.

With a shake of my head and my own grin slipping across my lips, I slid the key into the locked door and opened it. A second door, this one passcode protected, stood a few feet in front of us.

“Double security. Impressive.”

“The museum’s insurance adjustor insisted on it. Some of the papers and items in here could be considered historically priceless.” I typed the seven- digit code I’d had to memorize when I was inducted into the historical society onto the keypad located on the wall abutting the door.

“You know, if I was writing my horror book, I’d make you the sole individual with access to the admittance code,” he said, his voice soft and hushed now around us. “I’d worm my way into your trust, then lure you down here to gain access to some treasure sealed behind the door.”

He was standing close behind me, so close I could feel his breath trail across the back of my neck. The shiver sliding down my spine this time wasn’t from the creep factor associated with the locale. No, this time it was pure excitement fraying my nerve endings. Excitement, want, and…need.

I turned back to face him. A day or two’s thatch of black and white stubble grazed his cheeks and jaw, and if I were to scratch my fingers across it, it would be prickly and incredibly alluring. His eyes had gone to half-mast as he regarded me from under thick lashes, and his lips were parted a fraction.

“Worm your way into my trust, how?”

His shrug appeared noncommittal. After a moment, he tugged his bottom lip under his top teeth and slanted me a gauging squint. “Well, since my purpose would be some shade of evil, malicious intent—”

“Good description for a horror story.”

He grinned. “I’d have to make sure you trusted me. Maybe I’d write a plot point where you took pity on me for some reason.” He stopped, his gaze shooting down to my mouth and then back up again. “Maybe even attempt a simple seduction to ensure my hold over you.”

The subbasement was kept at a comfortable, controlled seventy degrees year round. But you would never have known it by me. With each word from Frayne’s lips, my inner temperature climbed higher, like a nuclear coil overreacting and heating to dangerous levels.

“A-a simple…seduction?”

Good Lord. I was relegated to repeating things now because I couldn’t form a coherent thought. Not with the heat blazing like a firestorm in his eyes.

“Maybe not so…simple.” His voice lowered even more. “The need to be careful with you, with your feelings, would war within me. I’d have to decide what

I wanted more: the hidden treasure…” His gaze flicked to my mouth. “Or you.”

I swallowed.

“And after you decide? Then what?” I asked, trying to keep my voice even and not give him a clue what he was doing to my nervous system. “You’d chop me into tiny bits and leave me for the docents to find in six months’ time while you escaped scot-free?”

I’d meant it to be a playful rejoinder, following his horror theme, and a ridiculous attempt to lighten the mood. The joke was on me, though.

Frayne took a step closer, stretched out an arm and placed his palm flat against the wall, imprisoning me on one side. I lifted my chin to keep my gaze connected with his.

“No.” His voice was as soft as a curl of smoke. “No, I wouldn’t hurt you. Never. I couldn’t.” He shook his head. “I think I’d write it so I stole the treasure…and you along with it. I’d take you both with me.” With a tiny crook to his elbow, he leaned in closer and bent his head.

“Where…where would we go?” I asked. While waiting for his reply, I swallowed again—hard—the sound of my throat working loud and rough between us.

With his free hand, Frayne reached up and idly coiled a strand of my hair around his finger. Lovingly, he rubbed it between his thumb and his first two fingers, then lifted it to his mouth. When he dragged it across his lips, I swear on my oath as an officer of the court, I was in danger of losing my ability to stand.

“Someplace no one would ever find us.” His voice had gone whisper-soft. “Someplace…far away from”— he sighed—“everything and everyone.”

How wonderful that sounded. To go someplace far away from court cases and demanding clients. Loneliness and heartache. Responsibilities and sad memories.

“We’d spend the rest of our lives on a beach somewhere, lying in the warm sun. Drinking champagne, eating lobsters. Sleeping.” He let loose my hair. “Making love. No outside concerns. No thoughts about anything except what time the sun set. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?”

That ability to keep standing upright? Yeah, well, I lost it right then and there.

I fell backward against the security door, shoving it open with my body. I stumbled across the threshold and would have fallen flat on my butt if Frayne’s reflexes weren’t laser swift. His strong hands went around my upper arms and held fast. Even through the layers of my blouse and the warm wool jacket, heat blasted from his fingers, branding my flesh as if he held it, bare, in his hands.

When the door opened, the automatic light shot to the on position and the glare from the overhead fluorescents was blinding.

Frayne held me close in front of him, even after I was sure-footed, his fingers slowly kneading my upper arms as he continued to stare down at me. “Are you okay?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat for the third time—and then tried to take a step back and out of his hold.

His grip tightened. “Cathy? Are you all right?”

“You can let me go,” I said, my voice shaking. “I won’t fall. Promise.”

Intrigued? I hope so. If you are, you can get your copy across any of these platforms.

Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

Until next time, peeps ~Peg

Looking for me? Here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Today Tomorrow Always

#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

25 Days of Holiday Romance day # 25 – Christmas & Cannolis

is it a bad thing that I put my own Holiday books up on this list?

Naaaaah.

Today, I’ve got my second San Valentino Christmas book, CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS for you.

 

WINNER OF THE 2019 OKRWA INTERNATIONAL DIGITAL AWARDS for BEST CONTEMPORARY NOVEL!WINNER OF THE 2019 NERFA AWARD FOR CONTEMPORARY ROMANCE

Can a second chance at love heal a broken heart? 

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

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart? Readers who enjoy the following kinds of stories will love CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS: big families, Holiday romance, RomCom, surviving loss, moving on, foodies, bakers, Christmas

Amazon Purchase link

About the author: me!!

Reviews for C&C

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Filed under RomCom, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#sundaySnippet 12.15.19

So with the release of TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS on 12.4.19, I’m still in present book mode to share! Here’s a little sexy sumthin’ sumthin’ from the book.

 

With that, I lifted my chin back up and reclaimed his lips. If I thought about it, I could probably trace this uncharacteristic boldness straight back to Nanny’s influence. The woman was nothing if not audacious and daring in her romantic life, two things I’ve never been nor even considered before meeting this man.

In the time it takes for a finger snap to echo, Frayne skillfully seduced my lips apart and then, with a slow, steady, and determined exploration that left me panting and aching, proceeded to make me forget I was anything other than a woman. Lawyer, daughter, widow, be damned.

I was a woman who wanted…craved….hungered for the man my legs were wound around. And from the feel of the material straining below his waist against me, he was ravenous as well. I squeezed my thighs tighter.

He dropped his hands to my thighs—my naked thighs—the roughened pads of his fingers pressing into them. Behind his back, my toes flexed.

I slid my hands up and around his shoulders, cupping his neck all the while nipping and sipping at his delicious lips. The thought sailed through me that I could get used to a daily diet of the taste of this man.

Frayne slid his mouth across my jaw, trailing tiny, wet kisses down the column of my throat. When he took my ear lobe between his teeth and bit down, my butt vaulted up from the counter.
“Your skin is like velvet,” he whispered as he cuddled my ass in his hands. “I’ve never felt anything as soft in my life.”

“Good genes,” I managed to say, while he nuzzled the hollow behind my ear. How I was even able to form a sentence was mind-boggling.

His shoulders shook, and when I pulled back to see his face, my heart stuttered. The dark and sad shadows in his eyes were a memory, replaced now with a glow that turned the pale blue to a brilliant crystal. His mouth was plump and wet—Holy Mother!—and the corners were lifted, two deep and adorable dimples crevassing his cheeks. The thatch of hair had fallen across his brow, delicately shading one eye. I reached up and feathered it back with my fingers. My hand settled across his cheek and temple as I did, and once again Frayne nuzzled against it, as if seeking warmth and solace. The gesture was so tender, so damn endearing, I sighed before I could stop myself.

This man, this damaged, mercurial, heartbroken man, stirred a myriad of emotions within me I was powerless to fight against. His abhorrence of my profession provoked anger and outrage. The tenderhearted manner he exhibited toward my grandmother filled me with a sense of intense joy. The single-minded and focused way he went about his research awed and impressed me. And the attention he gave to everything but himself made me want to pull him into my arms, hold on tight, and do everything I could to care for him and show him how special he was.

Frayne touched my heart in ways no man ever had. The realization was both profound and terrifying.

If I’d learned anything in life, though, fear could either paralyze you or propel you into actions you never knew you were capable of.

The kiss he gave me now was gentle and soft, his eyes open and focused on me. A question flashed in them, and I answered it the only way I could.

The only way I wanted to.

I gave him a gentle shove. When he moved, I slid out of his hold and stood, barefoot, on my kitchen floor.

“Come on.” I grabbed his hand and tugged him out of the kitchen.

Intrigued? God, I hope so!!!! If you want to, you can get  your copy here:

Available at these fine online retailers in Ecopy or Print: Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

Please enjoy the lovely Book Trailer my friend Nancy Fraser made for the book: TTA

Add it to your Goodreads List: TTA

Add it to you BookBub List: TTA

Off to shop for gifts, now!!

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Today Tomorrow Always, WIld Rose Press AUthor

25 Days of Holiday Romance day #5 – A Kiss Under the Christmas Lights

So on day 5 I’ve got another of my holiday books, my first Christmas San Valentino book, A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS.

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not. Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Amazon Buy LInk

ABout the author: MOI!

also available in Audible: 

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#Bookrelease Day!!! TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS is here!

I can’t fully explain how excited I am to finally have this story in print! Cathy O’Dowd’s path to an HEA was tortuous for her – and me!!!! This book wrung me dry so many times! I’m thrilled to finally be able to share it with the romance reading world.

Blurb:

Lawyer Cathleen O’Dowd wants to break free from her boring image. Widowed young, she’s toed the good-girl line but now wants a little fun and laughter in her days…and nights. Living in a small town, though, she can’t do anything that would tarnish her professional reputation.

Mac Frayne’s tragic past has turned him into a sullen loner. In town to write a book on the city’s founder, his plan is to get it done, then head home to his solitary existence.

When circumstances force them to work together, their opposing personalities clash, but the sexual attraction between them is palpable.

Can a simple affair with an end date be just the thing to brighten up their lives?

Excerpt 

Frayne was alone at one of the computer workstations, sheets of paper and files scattered about the desk next to him.

I took a moment to observe him before announcing myself. Thick-lensed reading glasses perched on the very tip of his nose, a millimeter from falling from his face. For the life of me, I couldn’t understand why that was so endearing, but it was. His hair fell over the collar of his shirt, today covered with a jet-black pullover. A tiny moth hole crossed over his bicep. The notion he needed someone looking out for him, caring for him, making him take care of himself, bounded through me.

The story Maureen related spilled back to me, and my heart sighed. I knew the emotional devastation losing loved ones could wreak, and since I was now aware of what had happened to Frayne’s family, I understood the perpetual grief in his eyes.

Another striking thing about Frayne was that for all his awkwardness, some might even say shy demeanor, he was an extremely attractive man, and the very fact I noticed it was astounding. I hadn’t looked at nor thought about another man in all the years of my marriage, even while Danny had been away for years on end on active duty.

The only man I’d ever loved, ever considered being with, ever looked at, was Danny Mulvaney. Picturing Mac Frayne as someone I could see myself getting to know on a purely personal and physical level was behavior so far out of my emotional wheelhouse it startled me.

“I’m sorry I kept you waiting.” I tossed my coat and bag on a chair “I came as soon as the ceremony ended.”

Frayne peered at me over the tops of his glasses through eyes a little unfocused, a little startled, and a whole lot of befuddled cute.

He blinked, and then his gaze swept from my face down to what Maureen calls my marriage duds. When I officiate, I pair a plain white silk blouse with a black double-breasted jacket and either a black A-line skirt or trousers, depending on the season. On one lapel of my jacket, I always wear a 14-karat-gold, single rose pin, gifted to me by Colleen, to symbolize the love and affection of the couples I marry.

With a quick flick of his hand, Frayne swiped the glasses from his face, and tucked one of the bows into the vee of his sweater. His gaze made its way up to my face again, and he cocked his head in a move I was coming to recognize signaled he was going to ask a question. “You didn’t stay for the reception?”

“Like I told you yesterday, sometimes I do, but most times I simply sign the paperwork, take a few photos with the happy couple, and then let them have their party. If I stayed at every wedding, I’d never get anything done on the weekends.”

“I’ve been to my share of weddings”—he stood and tilted his head to one side—“but I’ve never had to sign papers at one, other than my own. Are there that many people you know getting married that your weekends are typically so full?”

A grin split my face at his words. “They are when I’m performing the ceremonies.”

It took him a second, then the cloud of cute confusion cleared in his eyes. “You’re a wedding officiant?”

“Technically, I’m a justice of the peace. But yes, I officiate at weddings. I came here from Inn Heaven after performing a ceremony.”

“Well, that certainly explains it.” His lips twitched at the corners, and for a brief moment, an image of pressing my own against them burned quick and bright in my head. “I saw them setting up the ballroom for some kind of event before I left this morning. Your sister was everywhere.”

“I know that’s the truth because I’ve seen it for myself. Maureen is exceptionally organized, a trait that runs rampant in our family.”

His gaze swept down my attire again, the small grin tugging on his mouth, broadening. “I spotted another redhead in commando mode, too. She resembled you and Maureen.” His grin grew. “I’ve never actually seen someone bark orders before.”

“The barker was Colleen, my middle sister. She’s a wedding planner and was in charge of today’s event. I officiate at a lot of her non-religious ceremonies.”

Available at these fine online retailers in Ecopy or Print: Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

Please enjoy the lovely Book Trailer my friend Nancy Fraser made for the book: TTA

Add it to your Goodreads List: TTA

Add it to you BookBub List: TTA

Now, I’m off to read TTA again!
Until next time ~Peg

 

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Life challenges, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, Today Tomorrow Always, Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

It’s #blackfriday and I’ve got a sale for ya! Funny how that worked out!

Sometime I get things right: this is one of those times. Today is the number one sale day of the year and I’ve actually got a book ON SALE!!!

If you’re looking to gift someone a holiday romance/RomCom, or even if you’re ready to take a break from all the shopping you did today and just relax with a good book, CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS is just #99cents at Amazon  B&N  and Apple books starting today.

I’m so proud of this little story of love, loss and finding happiness because it’s won a ton of awards this past year, including the 2019 NERFA Award, and it was recently announced that it was the winner of the International Digital Awards for 2019. And while I’m uber-proud that it’s done so well, I simply just love the story and want to share it with readers everywhere at this Holiday Season.

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.

Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.

Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

I’m so pleased to announce that CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS also won first prize in International Digital Awards 2019.

Here’s video clip of the winning entries:

Happy shopping and reading, everyone!
Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Cooking, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Preorders, book links, &promo ( Oh, my!)

Do you hear the tag line to the Wizard of Oz when you read the title of this blog ( Lions, and Tigers, and Bears! Oh, my!)

Heehee.

I digress….

I’ve already posted that TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS (A Match Made in Heaven, bk 2) will be released into the romance reading world on December 4. I finally have the 3 major purchase/preorder links available, so here ya go:

Lawyer Cathleen O’Dowd wants to break free from her boring image. Widowed young, she’s toed the good-girl line but now wants a little fun and laughter in her days…and nights. Living in a small town, though, she can’t do anything that would tarnish her professional reputation.

Mac Frayne’s tragic past has turned him into a sullen loner. In town to write a book on the city’s founder, his plan is to get it done, then head home to his solitary existence.

When circumstances force them to work together, their opposing personalities clash, but the sexual attraction between them is palpable.

Can a simple affair with an end date be just the thing to brighten up their lives?

Preoder/Purchase Links:
Amazon // B&N // AppleBooks(Itunes)

Available in Ebook and Print!

Can you tell I lovelovelove this cover!!! hee hee

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, WIld Rose Press AUthor

A #99cent #ebooksale, a kiss, and Christmas – what could be better?

So my first San Valentino Christmas book is on sale now for 99cents! A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS tells the story of Gia San Valentino and her quest for a life of her own.

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

With Christmas just a few weeks away, Gia San Valentino, the baby in her large, loud, and loving Italian family, yearns for a life and home of her own with a husband and bambini she can love and spoil. The single scene doesn’t interest her, and the men her well-meaning family introduce her to aren’t exactly the happily-ever-after kind.

Tim Santini believes he’s finally found the woman for him, but Gia will take some convincing she’s that girl. A misunderstanding has her thinking he’s something he’s not.

Can a kiss stolen under the Christmas lights persuade her to spend the rest of her life with him?

Available at Amazon // Nook // ibooks for just 99 cents!

Get a copy for the romance lover on your Holiday gift list this year!

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Filed under A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Just when I think it’s over…..

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

Cindy Crawford I am not.

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

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

So…

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

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

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

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

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

And then this happens.

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

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

Now if I could just brush my hair…..

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

CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS

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

 

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

Until next time ~ Peg

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