Tag Archives: Kensington/Lyrical Publishers

The new and weird world of (K)indle (U)nlimited

This is not going to be an explanation of KU, sorry. I’m still as stupid and in the dark about the whole process, myself, and I really think I need an instruction workshop to have it make any sense to me.

No, this posting is part of that never ending branding and marketing portion of my life. You see, two of my books have recently been put into KU – not by me! I’m traditionally published and had no say in the matter when the publishers decided to go this route.

The two books are

COOKING WITH KANDY, book 1 in my WIll Cook for Love series from Kensington/Lyrical 

and DIRTY DAMSELS, DotComGirls, bk1 from Limitless Publishing

So, if you are a KU subscriber, do a little romance author a favor and read a few pages ( or download the entire book! – even better! hee hee)

Until next time ~ Peg

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#RWA2019 #RWA19 Last days…

Friday was a whirlwind, let me tell you.

It started with a great workshop on writing Romantic Comedy – which is near and dear to me, as you all know, and how much we can learn about writing it from watching classic RomCom movies. Excellent stuff, peeps.

Than, it was on to the KENSINGTON book signing. I had copies of my Golden Quill Winner, CAN’T STAND THE HEAT and A SHOT AT LOVE.

The worker elves at Kensington made these gorgeous frames for us to display

and you can see where I placed mine in the picture above of the table. The room, let me tell you, was jampacked with readers when the doors opened at 11. I had to turn my hearing aid DOWN because the level of excitement was shooting through me at warp speed! I gave away all my books – signed! Such a great turnout. And it was nice to connect with fellow Lyrical writers Susan Mann , Kate Pearce, and Mary Ann Marlowe.

The rest of the day was spent at workshops, including a fabulous marketing class taught by the wonderful and uber smart and talented, Kilby Blades.

The evening ending with annual RITA AWARDS where romance authors are recognized for their writing. This night, history was made as the first and second black women EVER were awarded Ritas. It was a long time coming and these uber talented women richly deserved the honors.

I’m going to do one last post tomorrow, a wrap-up of sorts, of this year’s RWA experience for me, so you won’t want to miss that.

Until next time ~Peg

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#ConferencePacking…the bane of my existence

So today’s the day I start to try on clothes I haven’t worn in a while ( okay, a year!), figure out how many “travel sized” personal care items I need to buy, do laundry to ensure I have enough underwear to last a week, and find shoes that go with more than one outfit so I don’t have to pack my entire shoe closet.

Stress, they name is Margaret-Mary.

Cause of stress? I need to pack for RWA.

I am, usually, a fabulous packer. I just came back from a week in London with one suitcase and a backpack, and my packing skills are enviable. When you fly international, you’re only allowed so much poundage per stored luggage. I came in under, more than 20 pounds lighter than what they allow.

Score! If the plane had crashed due to overpacking and overweight, it wouldn’t have been because of anything I’d contributed to.

You’d think since RWA is in NYC this year, I wouldn’t have to worry. No planes, no airport parking, just a drive to MetroNorth, hop on a commuter train and then hail a cab from Grand Central Station to the Marriott Marquis.

Easy peasy.

Yeah., not so much.

Backstory: I have 2 torn rotator cuffs and a bunch of ancillary damage to both shoulders. Due to scheduling issues I’m not having my first surgery to repair one shoulder until the end of august. What that means is that I’m severely limited in how much I can pull/lift/push with my arms. I’ll be attending RWA solo, as always, and getting my suitcase filled with a week’s worth of stuff and then carrying it to NYC is going to be a pain in the…shoulder.

So that’s one point.

Point 2 is since I haven’t been able to exercise much due to the pain and immobility issues of the shoulders, I’m a little….chubbier….than usual, and I haven’t bought any new clothes, so I need to be able to fit into the stuff from last year. And fit into stuff where I won’t look like  a stuffed sausage!!! Can you lose 4o pounds in a weekend?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.

Le sigh….

Oh well. Let me go try stuff on and see what — it anything — fits and doesn’t make me look like a tent.

And don’t forget to come see me in NYC. I’m doing 2 book signings this year:

And

Come see me and get a free book!!!

Until next time ~ Peg

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#1stKissFriday 4.19.19

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

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

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

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

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

It was almost midnight.

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

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

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

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

She didn’t budge.

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

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

“Look, I’m not playing around.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

When their lips met the argument died.

Damn it.

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

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

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

Josh wanted nothing more than to eat her whole.

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

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

“Josh.”

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

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

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

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

“Kandy. Open your eyes.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And I can’t forget the OKRWA 2018 Award video

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Food lover, Foodie, Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author, Romance, Romance Books, romantic suspense, Strong Women, The Laine Women

#99cent #EBook sale going on right now! #WIllCookForLoveSeries

For a limited time, Kensington/Lyrical has placed the entire WILL COOK FOR LOVE series on sale for just 99cents per ebook. This is a great opportunity to grab the series before it goes back to the original prices.

My WILL COOK FOR LOVE series was my first #Foodie romance series, featuring cheflebrity KANDY LAINE and her sisters and cousins.

Here are easy links to each book:

#1 COOKING WITH KANDY

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. . .

#2 A SHOT AT LOVE 

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 . . .

# 3 CAN’T STAND THE HEAT 

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 the entire series…you won’t be disappointed!

LOVE SO HOT, IT SIZZLES!

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Filed under Kensington Publishers, Lyrical Author

How cool is this?

OKRWA International Digital  Awards Winner’s trailer 

Check out whose book is the first to be shown on this impressive list!!! hee hee

and if you’re looking for me anyplace else, look here:

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

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

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

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So, this happened……

Over the weekend I spotted this on my twitter feed:


To say I was gobsmacked is an understatement!!! The entire list of winners is here but can I just tell you how amazing it feels to have won my devision in such a prestigious contest??!! There really aren’t words strong enough to let you know how I needed to hear and see something like this lately.

You see, I’ve been a bit down in the doldrums for a bit. I have no books scheduled to be released in 2019 ( after the 4 I had in 2018). And while I have two books up for consideration with my Wild Rose Press editor, and I’ve sent out a query to another publisher about a different work, by the time I hear if they are approved or not, and then all the publishing stuff that needs to be done to them gets started, I don’t foresee a book release this calendar year, and that has left me feeling just a bit more than depressed of late.

Hearing I won my division in this contest has gone a long way to pulling me out of that depression.

You all may have heard about what I’ve been calling #COPYGATE this week, or as romancelandia has titled it #COPYPASTECRIS about the insane plagiarism scandal befalling the romance publishing world right now. I won’t go into details because I don’t want to give this horrible human being one more ounce of attention, but if you follow Nora Roberts’s or Courtney Milan’s blogs, you’ve been hearing about it for the past week. At a time when I – and all the legitimate writers I know – are struggling to make a buck, having something this egregious happens wants to make you hang up your writing togs and say “F**k it!”

And I did, for about 24 hours.

Then, the reason I started writing romance to begin with came back to me. I never intended to get anything I’d written published, either traditionally or independently. I simply wrote because I loved doing so. I wrote for me – and still do. Not for sales, not for publishing houses, not for the book reading world. The fact that those entities have deemed me worthy and read my stuff is like  whipped cream and a bottle of maraschinos on top of your favorite cupcake. But the real reason I still do what I do is because I love it and can’t stop doing it. I’ve said before that if I’d never gotten published I would have been okay with that – and it’s still true.

So, I am now back to my normal ( Am I normal?) self and am writing away. Do I have the dates my editor is supposed to get back to me on my proposals listed on my calendar? You betcha. Am I obsessing about the outcome? Nah. I’m just writing away and making myself smile.

While I’m smiling and writing you can find me here:

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

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

and the link to my recent interview on NewHampshirePublicRadio

And, BTW, if you want to read the book that won the OKRWA IDA Contemporary novel division for 2018, you can grab your copy here:

Amazon // i-tunes // Google Play // Kobo // B&N  //

Books-A-Million // Walmart 

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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#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 12.9.18 An oldie, goodie, and 0n-sale!

So today’s snippet is another oldie ( like, 2017!) but a goodie that’s currently on sale.

A SHOT AT LOVE was the second book in the Will Cook For Love trilogy from Lyrical/Shine and features photographer Gemma Laine and FBI agent Kyros Papandreos. Both are alphas, have fiery tempers – altho Kyros can keep his in check better – and both can’t deny the attraction they feel for one another. I loved this book because Gemma was my first kick-ass heroine!!

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 . . .

“Miss Laine?”

She tucked the phone into her back pocket.

“I’m Special Agent Pappandreos. I need to speak with you about what you saw.”

“Special Agent?” Those delicate brows furrowed under her bangs. “Like, FBI?”

Jesus, where does a woman get a voice like that? Whiskey laced with honey and rolled into one smooth pitch.

“Yes. I understand you witnessed the shooting? You photographed it?”

She nodded. “I was working when it all started. I took a series of shots while it was happening.”

His gaze flicked to the camera she held in one hand.
“I need to see those pictures.”

His first impression of her height had been correct. She was maybe three or four inches shorter than his six-foot-one frame. As she moved closer, the hairs on the back of his neck stood straight at attention. She smelled as good as she looked and his nostrils flared from the scent of sweet cherries blended with some hot exotic spice.

“It all went down so fast,” she said. “But I got some good shots.” Handing him the camera, she added, “Press this button to advance.”

The first few pictures showed his witness ambling along the sidewalk, hands in his pockets. There was a smug, satisfied smile on his face as he was flanked by the two agents assigned to protect him. Ky pressed the button a few times. Another series of pictures showed the impact of the bullets as they pierced one of his agents, the next detailing the second man as a single shot impaled the center of his forehead. Shock, horror and stark fear replaced the smile on his witness’s face as he bent forward and appeared to run from the bullets. The next few photos showed him struck and then felled by several shots, all clustered in his chest. Ky depressed the advance button again. The photographer had moved to view a black van with no windows on the sides nor any identifiable markings on the body. He wanted to curse when he saw it, thinking the van would be a dead end, when he flipped the advance button again to see she’d zoomed in on the license plate.

Elated, he glanced up and found her eyes trained on him.
“I need you to come with me.” He grabbed her arm.

“Where?” She stretched across him and tried to take back her camera.

Ky held it up and away from her reach.
“My office. I need a written statement from you about what you saw. It’s better to do it now, right away, so you don’t forget any details, anything of importance.”

“I never forget details,” she said, reaching across him again. “Can I please have my camera? I don’t like anyone carrying it but me.”

“This piece of equipment is the only link to finding out who killed my men. It’s not leaving my hands.”

She stopped and tried to pull her arm out of his grip. Ky tightened his grasp.

“Look, Agent PappaJohn—”

“Pappandreos,” he corrected. It was a common mistake, one he’d heard a number of times in his career, but hearing her say it, wrapping the syllables around those pouty lips with that husky voice, for some reason charmed him.

“Whatever.” She swiped her free hand in the air. “I want my camera.”

“You’ll get it back, I assure you.” He started walking, giving her no choice but to follow.

Before she could protest again, he stopped.

“Jon?” His partner turned from the interview he was conducting with a restaurant waiter. “Can you have someone escort Miss Laine back to the office? She needs to have her statement written up.”

“Sure, Papps.”

“Wait a second,” Gemma said, wrenching her arm from his grip. The smooth, natural warmth in her voice had turned to frosted ice. “I’ll be happy to give you a statement, but I want my camera. Now.”

“I won’t break it, Miss Laine, if that’s what you’re worried about.”

“Then stop holding it like it’s a cheap piece of tin! Give it back to me. I’ll hold it.”

“This is digital, right?” Jon Winters stepped between them and asked.

“Yes, and it’s very expensive,” Gemma said, still trying to take it from Ky’s hand.

“We really only need the SD card then, Papps, not the camera.”

“True.” Ky examined the device, found the button to expel the memory card and depressed it. He took the card and slipped it into his pocket. “Here.” He handed the camera back to her.

“Wait a minute.” She clutched it to her chest as if she were protecting a child from a threat. “You can’t keep the card. All my work is on it.”

“We won’t erase anything you need,” Ky told her. “Or let anything happen to it.”

“This is ridiculous.” Gemma blew at her bangs. “How do I know you won’t keep it as some kind of evidence? I haven’t uploaded the pictures I took today. I need those shots.”

“I told you you’d get the card back,” Ky said, his patience wavering. “Now we’re wasting time. Jon?” Dismissing them, he walked away and over to the scene of the shooting.

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