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#SundaySnippet 3.1.19

I loved writing this wrap-up book for the Will Cook For Love Series sososososoos much! It’s the first book of mine that has a physically scarred heroine and an angsty teenager as a major secondary character. Nikko Stamp is either a love him or not hero for people. I, of course, love him, because even though he’s a bear of man to work for, there’s a real reason he’s the way he is ( you need to read the book to see why! heehee). Plus, he absolutely adores his daughter and would do anything for her. I love a hot dad!!!

This little scene introduces Stacy to Nikko. As you’ll read, Nikko’s new Executive Producer isn’t anything like he thought she’d be.

This couldn’t be the new executive producer.

She looked like an intern, barely out of college, not the seasoned television producer Teddy Davis had emailed him about.

The one he’d emailed back saying he neither wanted nor needed.

Hair the color of champagne fell just below her shoulders in a soft cascade of waves and ripples. Even in the heat and humidity engulfing them, it looked fresh. Her face was a perfect heart, a tiny dip in the center of the hairline bifurcating her brow into two perfectly aligned sections, her flawless chin falling into a delicate point. She had one hand out to shake his, the other shading her eyes from the strong and harsh afternoon sun, but underneath her fingers he was able to make out a pair of sloe-shaped eyes in a deep, forest green.

Taller than average but small boned, her legs took up most of her lissome body. With her lips held together in a tight line, she reached him.

“I’m Stacy Peters, Mr. Stamp.”

He stopped and planted his feet, his gaze shifting to her outstretched hand and then back up to her face without taking it. Her eyes narrowed into a determined glare and it looked as if she wasn’t going to back down until he shook it. With reluctance, he did.

Like the rest of her, her fingers were narrow and thin as they coiled around his.

A blast of heat instantly warmed and calmed his entire body like a few shots of his favorite Irish whiskey did after a rough and painful day. The subtle aroma of vanilla floated to him, filling his senses with the sweet fragrance. The persistent, throbbing ache in his left leg the liquor helped chase away was momentarily forgotten with his hand rooted in hers.

As soon as she pressed her fingers firmly against his palm once, she pulled her hand back.

For a split second, Nikko missed the touch. In the next, he found his anger again. “Look, Miss Peters—”

“Stacy is fine.”

He ignored her. “I told Davis I didn’t need an executive producer. I don’t need anyone telling me how to run this show, what’s going to make it a hit, how to rip the best from the concept. The show will be fine without someone questioning every decision I make and counting every dollar I spend.”

Stacy nodded and folded her hands together in front of her, her gaze staying locked on his as he spoke.

“Those last two he sent me were worthless and more trouble than I could stand.”

“Yes. I know there were…problems with the previous EPs—”

“Problems?” His scornful bark of a laugh was loud and harsh as he cut her off. “Two of the most annoying, incompetent people I’ve ever had the misfortune of meeting. One was worse than the other. They had no knowledge of how to run a television production. Knew nothing about costs, location shots, or even how to set up food service for the crew. Between the two of them together, I don’t think they had a full brain.”

Surprised was too tame a word to describe his reaction when she laughed out loud. The sound hit him square in the chest like a bullet ripping through his rib cage.

Christ, was she laughing at him?

His eyes narrowed and he took a step closer, forcing her head to lift so she could meet his gaze. If he’d thought to intimidate her with his height, he knew he’d failed when she stood her ground, her gaze never wavering from his, her shoulders staying square.

A tiny bit of respect warred with the irritation churning inside him.

“They never even made it out here, one of them quitting an hour after she arrived at the studio. I don’t need incompetents like that around me or this production.”

“I agree.”

Her words didn’t stop him. “Davis promised me creative control when I signed on to this show. That included managing the budget and costs as I saw fit. He gave me his word no one would bother me about piddling things like the price of airfare, how many damn cups we use for coffee or how much it would cost to film at night.”

He took another half step closer, so close now his body almost came in contact with hers.

“What he didn’t promise me was annoying paper pushers who don’t know a thing about running a television show, so you can get right back in that car and have Dixon take you back to the airport, because you’re not needed or wanted here.”

From the side of his vision Nikko saw a small crowd had formed around them. Set technicians, a few of the ranch hands Dixon employed, even the food-service people. He knew he should get a leash on his temper, but the annoyance of being saddled with yet another producer—and one who didn’t even look old enough to vote—had him unable to curtail his fury. Added in was the throbbing mess his leg had turned into from sitting in Dixon’s truck for so many hours.

She’d been nodding at everything he’d said and hadn’t interrupted him once. When he finally stopped, she came to life.

“I can assure you, Mr. Stamp,” she said, her gaze slicing through him with its intensity, “I have no intention of taking any control away from you. This show is yours. Your name is on it, not mine. It’s your baby. And unlike my two predecessors, I do know what I’m doing.” She took a breath, snaked a side-glance at the gathering group of people, and added, “This isn’t my first rodeo.”

The crew laughed.

Before Nikko could form a response, she shot her gaze to the senior rancher. She moved toward him, saying, “Mr. Dixon? I’m Stacy Peters, from EBS. Thank you so much for allowing us to film our competition here, for putting us all up, and putting up with us all.”

Nikko watched a free and easy smile grow on her face, one with twin dimples winking at the corners of her mouth, as she slipped her hand into the rancher’s.

“Well, aren’t you just the prettiest thing I’ve seen around here all day,” Amos Dixon said, shaking her hand and wrapping the other one around it to cocoon it between his. “And it’s my pleasure, young lady. My pleasure.”

Stacy giggled at the rancher, her nose crinkling. Nikko’s stomach muscles contracted at the adorable expression on her face.

“I was familiarizing myself with your ranch on the flight and I have to tell you how impressed I am with your business, and how I’m a little in awe of the scope of everything I’ve seen so far. I can’t imagine living here, seeing all this beauty everyday. It’s breathtaking.”

Dixon’s barrel chest puffed out at the praise.

“I’d be delighted to take you on a tour around the ranch anytime, darlin’—you just say the word.”

“I’d love that.”

“Well, you must be tired from the long trip,” Dixon said, keeping her hand tucked in his. “And I imagine you’re getting hungry too. Little thing like you needs a good, hot meal in her and I’ve got the best cook in the state.”

She laughed and said, “I can always eat, Mr. Dixon—”

“Call me Amos, darlin’. Everyone does.”

She nodded. “And a hot meal sounds great right now, but I’ve got some things I need to see to first before I take you up on your offer.”

Turning her attention back to Nikko, she was all professional polish once again, the smile gone, a blank, unreadable look on her face when she said, “Why don’t I drop off all my stuff, and then I can meet with you privately, Mr. Stamp? I know filming starts the day after tomorrow and there’s probably a million things that need to get done before that. I’ve been brought up to speed on everything, but I’d like to hear from you what you need, when you need it, how I can help you get it, and how I can make

everything easier for you. Would fifteen minutes be good?”

Dumbfounded, Nikko just nodded.

“Great.” She turned to Dixon’s son. “Beau, can you show me to my

room?”

Nikko watched father and son jockey for her attention as Dixon senior said, “Boy, you get the little lady’s bags. I’ll show her up. Shall we?” He held a cocked elbow for her to take, while his son pulled luggage from the trunk of the car.

As the trio walked up the drive and then the porch steps, Nikko’s gaze lasered on the slim back and long legs of his new executive producer as she smiled and listened to the senior rancher wax on and on about his “family’s spread.”

What the fuck had just happened?

Nikko turned to see a battery of eyes staring at him.

“Don’t you have things to do?” he bellowed. “This isn’t vacation camp.” Like lemmings, they all turned as a unit and scurried away.
Nikko rubbed his throbbing thigh, the unceasing pain careening through him. He needed to sit down, put his leg up, and relax for a while.

Maybe more than a while.

Intrigued? If you want to read more, you can get your copy here:

Amazon //B&N // Apple // Kobo // Google Play //Walmart // Books-a-million

And if you’re looking for me, 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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Filed under Alpha Male, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, female friends, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Life challenges, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#1stLineFriday Can’t Stand the Heat 3.1.19

“I can’t believe I let Teddy Davis talk me into this,” Stacy Peters mumbled as she rifled through her underwear drawer.

In Peggy Jaeger’s delectable series, delicious food is just an appetizer for life’s main course: the kind of love that feeds your soul. 
 
With three successful TV series under her belt, including her cousin Kandy’s, executive producer Stacy Peters is ready to helm her own show. But to make that happen, she has to do her network boss one favor first—spend two months on a ranch in Montana wrangling the notoriously difficult director of Beef Battles. Apparently, he eats producers for breakfast. Yet all Stacy can think when she meets the lean, rugged man is how hungry he makes her . . .

Dominic Stamp—Nikko to his very few friends—has had enough interference from TV newbies. And when Stacy climbs out of the car in Montana, he’s not convinced she’s even old enough to drive, much less produce his show. But he can’t deny that the long-legged blonde with the stubborn will and the dazzling smile whets his appetite. And as Stacy proves her talent with the crew and the budget alike, Nikko vows to prove to her that love is on the menu for both of them . . .

Get your copy here:

Amazon //B&N // Apple // Kobo // Google Play //Walmart // Books-a-million

And you can connect with me, 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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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Cooking

#1stLineFriday A Shot at Love 2.22.19

Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos scanned the midtown Manhattan street in front of him and swore. “I want to see the cops who were first on scene right now,” he demanded of the uniformed NYPD officer next to him.

Nothing’s impossible when love is on the menu. In Peggy Jaeger’s luscious series, the only thing more tempting than a delicious meal is a truly delectable romance . . .
Look for exclusive recipes in each book!  
 
Photographer Gemma Laine is looking for arresting faces on the streets of Manhattan when her camera captures something shocking—a triple murder. In that moment, she becomes a target for the mob—and a top priority for a very determined, breathtakingly handsome, FBI special agent. With deadlines to meet and photo shoots on her calendar, Gemma chafes at the idea of protection, but every moment she spends under his watchful eye is a temptation to lose herself in his muscular arms . . .
 
With two of his men and one crucial witness dead, Special Agent Kyros Pappandreos can’t afford to be distracted. But Gemma is dazzling—and her connection to Kandy Laine’s high-profile cooking empire makes her an especially easy mark for some very bad people. Keeping her safe is much more pleasure than business, but as the heat between them starts to sizzle, Ky is set to investigate whether they have a shot at love . . .

Available here: Amazon // Apple // Google // Kobo // Nook 

Goodreads Reviews for A SHOT AT LOVE

Want to read a preview? Click 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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Filed under Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, love, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#SundaySnippet 2.17.19

Cooking with Kandy was my first book for Kensington/Lyrical Shine. Introducing the world to the life and family of cheflebrity Kandy Laine was fun. The fact this book spawned a few more in the series was an added bonus! Kandy is reluctant to have a bodyguard, and doesn’t feel any of the weird things occurring lately warrant one. Her family disagrees. 

The heat between Kandy and Josh is palpable from the first time they meet. In this little snippet, Kandy is finally beginning to see what an asset Josh could be to have around – and in more ways than one.

He made his way to the other side of the room, ignoring the stares and whispers of the crowd, found the lounge, and knocked. “Kandy? It’s Josh. Can I come in?”

It was Gemma who answered. “Yes.”
The sisters were seated in twin floral Queen Anne chairs, Gemma reclining back into hers, arms crossed over her chest. Kandy was opposite, head wrung in her hands.

“Cort thought you could use this,” he said, handing her the champagne flute.

He’d expected tears, but was surprised to see Kandy’s beautiful face pinch in a scowl, her eyes flaring with sweltering anger and venom when she looked up at him.

“Thanks.” Kandy took the drink and downed half of it in one gulp.

When she wiped her lips with the back of her hand, the corners of Gemma’s mouth lifted and she asked Josh, “What did you do to the turd?”

“Explained he needed to leave, put him in the elevator, and made sure he went down in it.”

“Made him how?” Kandy asked.

“Little persuasion trick I know. His wrist’s gonna be sore tomorrow. Maybe for the next few days.”

“You physically removed him?” Gemma asked.
Josh almost laughed at the excitement in her voice.

He shrugged.

“Yeah. He was going to follow Kandy if I didn’t.”

“Please tell me you have unmarried, available brothers at home,” Gemma said.

It hurt to keep the smile from his face, but he did. “Three, in fact.”

“Are they all like you? No, scratch that.” She sighed, the sound wistful.

“I doubt there’s anyone like you.”

“If you mean are they all workaholics and career-driven, then no. They’re not like me. But they are available.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.” She glanced at her sister and said, “Well, looks like my work here is done. She’s all yours now.” She stood and kissed the top of Kandy’s head. “Evan Chandler is an egotistical, phony prick. Remember that.”

“How could I forget it?” Kandy grabbed her sister’s hand and kissed the back of it. “Thanks.”

When Gemma left, Josh took her empty chair. “You okay?”

She took a deep breath before saying, “Mad, but okay. I underestimated him.”

“How so?”

“I didn’t think he’d have the guts to crash my party. I thought he was too much of a wimp to risk it after our last encounter. Guess I was wrong.” She stood and crossed to the vanity. Peering at her reflection, she ran a lazy hand through her hair, fluffing the curls. She caught his gaze, watching her, in the mirror. “Aren’t you going to ask me about it?”

He’d considered it. But the weary look in her eyes told him he was better off asking Stacy or Gemma.

“No. If you want to talk, I’ll listen. Otherwise, you’ve got a pretty fancy shindig going on out there.” He cocked his thumb in the direction of the ballroom. “Maybe you want to get back and enjoy it. Bask in the adulation,” he said with a good-natured grin.

She turned to him and her eyes softened. When her lips moved upward into a small, lazy smile, the dimples dancing, his legs went a little soft and he was thankful he was seated.

“Yeah,” she said, moving to him. When he stood, she linked her arm in his. “Thanks. You’re right. Let’s go have a party.”

He returned her smile, glad he could help.
“You’re not so bad, Keane. This bodyguard thing might be fun after all.” It was a moment before he trusted himself to speak. “I aim to please.”

Intrigued? You can find COOKING WITH KANDY at these on-line retailers:

Buy links: Amazon //Apple // Google // Kobo // Nook//

Walmart // Books-a-Million

Reviews for COOKING WITH KANDY

Read a preview of Cooking With Kandy

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…

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

#SundaySnippet 12.2.18 An Oldie but a goodie ( and an award winner, too!)

 

I’ve got an oldie but a goodie here today, peeps. My first book for Kensignton/Lyrical Shine and my first book in the WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, COOKING WITH KANDY. I chose this book for today because it’s currently on sale – the ecopy – for 99 cents and I thought to myself, “self, what a great way to promo the book so people can learn about it and buy it for the romance readers on their holiday lists.” 

Shameless self promotion, thy name is Peggy.

Also, after this post was already in production, I found out that COOKING WITH KANDY won first place in the Contemporary Novel category in the OKRWA  IDA contest! So YAY for me! Here’s the link to the winners; OKRWA IDA My name and the book are listed first – and yes, that makes me very conceited to mention it, but happy too!

Here are Josh and Kandy…..

Josh returned to the filled room and scanned it for Kandy.

“She’s in the ladies’ room with Gemma,” Cort said, coming up and handing him a drink. “Here. Give her this. She’ll need it. And by the way, good move with Chandler. I never liked him.”

“Seems to be the general consensus.” He took the proffered glass.

He made his way to the other side of the room, ignoring the stares and whispers of the crowd, found the lounge, and knocked. “Kandy? It’s Josh. Can I come in?”

It was Gemma who answered. “Yes.”

The sisters were seated in twin floral Queen Anne chairs, Gemma reclining back into hers, arms crossed over her chest. Kandy was opposite, head wrung in her hands.

“Cort thought you could use this,” he said, handing her the champagne flute.

He’d expected tears, but was surprised to see Kandy’s beautiful face pinch in a scowl, her eyes flaring with sweltering anger and venom when she looked up at him.

“Thanks.” Kandy took the drink and downed half of it in one gulp.

When she wiped her lips with the back of her hand, the corners of Gemma’s mouth lifted and she asked Josh, “What did you do to the turd?”

“Explained he needed to leave, put him in the elevator, and made sure he went down in it.”

“Made him how?” Kandy asked.

“Little persuasion trick I know. His wrist’s gonna be sore tomorrow. Maybe for the next few days.”

“You physically removed him?” Gemma asked.
 Josh almost laughed at the excitement in her voice. He shrugged.

“Yeah. He was going to follow Kandy if I didn’t.”

“Please tell me you have unmarried, available brothers at home,” Gemma said.

It hurt to keep the smile from his face, but he did. “Three, in fact.”

“Are they all like you? No, scratch that.” She sighed, the sound wistful. “I doubt there’s anyone like you.”

“If you mean are they all workaholics and career-driven, then no. They’re not like me. But they are available.”

“I’ll keep it in mind.” She glanced at her sister and said, “Well, looks like my work here is done. She’s all yours now.”

She stood and kissed the top of Kandy’s head. “Evan Chandler is an egotistical, phony prick. Remember that.”

“How could I forget it?” Kandy grabbed her sister’s hand and kissed the back of it. “Thanks.”

When Gemma left, Josh took her empty chair. “You okay?”

She took a deep breath before saying, “Mad, but okay. I underestimated him.”

“How so?”

“I didn’t think he’d have the guts to crash my party. I thought he was too much of a wimp to risk it after our last encounter. Guess I was wrong.” She stood and crossed to the vanity. Peering at her reflection, she ran a lazy hand through her hair, fluffing the curls. She caught his gaze, watching her, in the mirror. “Aren’t you going to ask me about it?”

He’d considered it. But the weary look in her eyes told him he was better off asking Stacy or Gemma.

“No. If you want to talk, I’ll listen. Otherwise, you’ve got a pretty fancy shindig going on out there.” He cocked his thumb in the direction of the ballroom. “Maybe you want to get back and enjoy it. Bask in the adulation,” he said with a good-natured grin.

She turned to him and her eyes softened. When her lips moved upward into a small, lazy smile, the dimples dancing, his legs went a little soft and he was thankful he was seated.

“Yeah,” she said, moving to him. When he stood, she linked her arm in his. “Thanks. You’re right. Let’s go have a party.”

He returned her smile, glad he could help.

“You’re not so bad, Keane. This bodyguard thing might be fun after all.”

It was a moment before he trusted himself to speak.

“I aim to please.”

Buy Links: Kobo// Apple // Amazon // B&N // Google play  // Books a Million // Walmart

And remember – all the Will Cook For Love books are on sale right now – just in time for the holidays! Put a little romance under your tree this year….

 

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

#NookFirstLook : Christmas and Cannolis #HolidayRomCom

There are times in my life when I seriously wonder if there are angels looking out for me from above, guiding my life, and making things happen. Last night was one of those times.

Quick story: I was trolling through the internet and figured I’d check my facebook page. I see this:

Image may contain: 2 people, text

Barnes & Noble Press

3 hrs

Read a Joyously Sweet New Release Available Early!

With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. And she’s got no time for love between managing her business and dealing with her crazy Italian family. But when a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help, Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him. Connor Gilhooly needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser. With the reputation of his company on the line, he didn’t plan on falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with her wise-guy father and a disapproving family. Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?

Shop today’s #NOOKFirstLook – Peggy Jaeger, Author‘s “CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS” – available 2 weeks early exclusively on NOOK® and the free NOOK® app! http://spr.ly/6183EDmdP

I had to look at the post twice because I thought I was hallucinating.

Seriously!

When I realized it was real, I screamed. Really loud and really long. Thank God no one was home!!

I don’t know how this came about, but those angels I mentioned must have been busy working their magic.

So -here comes the shameless plug ( you knew it was coming!) If you have a NOOK e-reader, why not get this book 2 whole weeks before it’s released into the romance book reading world??? Do a sistah a solid, okay? You’ll be happy you did. Trust me. I know these things. Hee hee.

And if you don’t have a Nook, you can preorder the book now and get it delivered on the release date of 12.12.18 from these sites:

Amazon// The Wild Rose Press // Apple 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Romance, Romance Books, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

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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Would you call this…odd? #MFRWauthor Week 37

So it’s no secret I like to read. And cook. I also like to read cookbooks. Hee hee. See what I did there?

I have over 130 cookbooks in my house, some dating back to the early 1900’s – old church-sponsored cookbooks with recipes like Lard Pie and Potato Treacle. Weird, no? Some are from famous celebrities – Trisha Yearwood’s and Rachel Ray’s are my fav – and some from the likes of Betty Crocker, Southern Comfort Magazine, and Weight Watchers.

I’ve read all of them – really. I have my own recipe books with written copies of the recipes I’ve read about impressed into them. I’m always up for a new cookbook gift. (Hint Hint)

I’ve got cookbooks devoted solely to chicken, meat, veggies, pasta, desserts, cookies, pies, hors d’ouveres, appetizers, munchies, smoothies, cupcakes and cakes. I have entertaining cookbooks with complete meal selections in courses from soup to nuts. I’ve got holiday cookbooks galore – of every holiday, not only Thanksgiving and Christmas, but Valentine’s Day, Easter, and even the Fourth of July.

I’ve got cookbooks with the titles “the best of American Cuisine” “The Number one recipes in England” “Fifty way to serve hotdogs”. Hubby loves that one!

I think my cookbook collecting is a little addictive, no?

Hi, my name is Peggy and I collect cookbooks.

Lets see what some of the other authors in this blog challenge collect. MFRWauthorBlogChallenge

When I’m not looking at recipes, you can find me here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me//Google+Me// Triber// BookMe

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