BAKED WITH LOVE tells the story of a Innkeeper, Maureen O’Dowd and Police Chief Lucas Alexander. Friends forever, these two are reluctant to share their feelings for one another. One has a secret, the other is unsure of the reaction to a love declaration.
Innkeeper Maureen O’Dowd lives to cook and bake, spoils her family and friends, and is an expert at keeping secrets, especially about the man who’s held her heart for years.
Police Chief Lucas Alexander is dealing with an aging father and a moody teenage son, and he’s in love with a woman who only wants to be friends.
How can these two fiercely private people reveal their feelings for one another without destroying the friendship they already have? And if they’re successful, will another secret, if revealed, drive a wedge between Maureen and Lucas that can never be repaired?
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?
When I wrote my WILL COOK FOR LOVE series, there was one character who popped into two of the books that I absolutely loved, Private Eye Rick Bannerman. Cocky, self-deprecating, of course handsome, and with a very dark past, I wanted to give him an HEA of his own and a woman who could stand toe to toe with him in every circumstance. A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, was born from that premise. It was my first ROMANTIC SUSPENSE and the next book in the series, AIDEN, is coming out soon, so I figured today would be a good day to give Rick and Abby Laine some blog time.
Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.
When had her life turned into this stressful jumble?
Abby grabbed the bottle of extra-strength pain reliever she kept in her kitchen junk drawer, shook out three tablets, and swallowed them with a small glass of tap water.
“Head that bad?” Rick asked from behind her.
“I let it go too long.” She rolled her neck, massaged a muscle where it connected with her shoulder. “I should have gotten in front of it right when it started in court. But I don’t like to take anything when I’m working. The pills make me fuzzyheaded.“
Rick reached around her and grabbed the bottle from the counter. “These are plain over-the-counter tablets. I’d think you’d have something stronger, something prescribed, for when the pain gets this bad. I can see the headache all over your face and shoulders. You’re wearing the pain like you’d wear makeup.”
“You can’t know what a boost to my fragile ego having you here is, Bannerman.”
“Your ego is fine,” he said, moving a step closer.
Her kitchen was huge by Manhattan standards. She could have four people stand in it and still have room to cook around them. Not so when Rick was with her. Sure, he was tall, but so were her brothers-in-law. They never made her feel like her personal space was so congested when they were visiting, though.
“Turn around,” he said.
“You heard me. Turn around, Abigail.”
The low, deep rumble of his chuckle sent the tiny hairs on her neck up to attention.
“When I have to be,” he said. “Believe me, for once you’ll be glad you listened.”
“Doubtful,” she murmured. Reluctantly, she presented him with her back.
“Take a breath,” he told her. “A deep one. And hold it for a few seconds.”
“Now let it out, slowly. Count to five in your head while you do.”
“What is this, Bannerman? Some Vulcan mind- trick cure for a headache? Because if it is, it’s not—oh! Oh…my.” The last word scattered out in one long exhale.
“Told you you’d be glad you listened.”
The pressure of his thumbs on either side of her shoulders, a hair below the collar of her blouse as they kneaded, pressed, and drew little circles around her constricted muscles, shot a wave of intense pleasure straight down the length of her spine.
Abby closed her eyes and sighed. “Oh, good Lord. Whatever you’re doing, don’t stop.”
“Your neck is so tight, I’m surprised your spine doesn’t snap when you walk in those stilts you love so much. It’s a wonder you can move at all with any kind of flexibility.”
“Practice.” She all but purred like her cat when his thumbs sank into her flesh. “And motivation. That feels…amazeballs.”
She swore she could hear his grin. He replaced his thumbs with the pads of his first and second fingers, pressed in deep, released, and then did it again.
“Amazeballs, Abigail? How old are you?”
“Oh! I’ll be any age you want me to be, but don’t stop…please.”
His chuckle turned to a laugh. “I can’t tell you how much I like hearing you beg. Take another deep breath.”
Obediently, since she now knew the benefits of being so, she did. “Oh. My. God.”
He’d wound his long, strong fingers up under her hairline. While he flexed them, massaging every bit of her skull, a thousand jolts of electricity bounded down her back. Her legs turned liquid. She needed to sit down before she fell flat to the floor.
“Stop wiggling. Try to hold still,” he said, dangerously close to her ear. The warmth of his breath as it whispered over her neck delightfully singed her skin. “There’s one pressure point I haven’t gotten to yet.”
“I can’t feel my feet.” Good Lord. Did that moan come from her?
“Good. Then this is working. Give me another minute.”
“You can have all night, Bannerman. As long as you want. Just don’t stop.”
For the briefest of moments, so brief she might have imagined it, he stopped kneading, a swift inhale ringing around her. Then, in a heartbeat, he started his ministrations again. For the first time Abby noticed their bodies were touching, the middle of her back pressed along his torso.
While his fingers skimmed up to her temples, she tilted backward, bumping her head against his chest. He was as solid as a block of concrete.
Rick inhaled a jagged breath when the rest of her body pressed into him.
He had the pads of three fingers against her temples now, the concentric circles he pressed and released over them drawing out little mewing noises from the back of her throat. When his pinkies joined their brothers, all four fingers of each hand now splayed along her skin, feathered into her hairline, Abby rolled her neck back and opened her eyes a fraction. Upside down, she saw the edge of Rick’s jaw, watched— fascinated—as his throat bobbed up and down while he continued attending to her.
“I’m almost done. Hold on for another sec.”
She let her eyes drift closed again. Rick moved his hands so they cupped the back of her neck, then, slowly, he brought her head away from his chest to an upright position, leaving his palms flattened across her shoulder blades.
“Take a breath and lift your shoulders,” he commanded.
Abby did, then rolled her head front to back.
“How’s the headache now?”
She opened her eyes and blinked. “Gone.” She whirled around to face him. “Completely gone.”
He nodded and flexed his fingers as if working out his own kinks. “Good. I’m glad it worked.”
“Where did you learn how to do that?” She slid a hand along one side of her neck, tilted her head, then moved it in the opposite direction. “I don’t think my shoulders have been this loose since, well, fourth grade.”
“You spend a lot of time hunched over.” He opened her fridge and pulled out two bottled waters. “Computer. Legal briefs. It’s no wonder your shoulders are tight and you’re susceptible to migraines.”
“How did you know I had migraines?” She took a swig of the water. “I mean, as opposed to regular bad headaches?”
“You wear the pain on your face. It’s obvious to anyone who knows what to look for.”
“And you do?”
He nodded. “Drink the whole bottle and then you need to eat. You haven’t had anything all day. It’s a wonder you aren’t dropping.”
He bent and peeked into the refrigerator. Sipping her water, she took the opportunity to stare at his butt.
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life. Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment. Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
Intrigued? I hope so.
I’m off to do Sunday chores. Hope your day is as happy as mine.
In honor of April, I give you an April showers mug that my dear friend Jill gave me several years ago. One of my book covers has a couple embracing in the rain under a red umbrella. She found this mug and thought of me.
Love is the last thing Carly Lennox is looking for when she sets out on her new book tour. The independent, widowed author is content with a life spent writing and in raising her daughter. When newscaster Mike Woodard suggests they work on a television magazine profile based on her book, Carly’s thrilled, but guarded. His obvious desire to turn their relationship into something other than just a working one is more than she bargained for.
Mike Woodard is ambitious, and not only in his chosen profession. He wants Carly, maybe more than he’s ever wanted anything or anyone else. As he tells her, he’s a patient man. But the more they’re together, Mike realizes it isn’t simply desire beating within him. Carly Lennox is the missing piece in his life. Getting her to accept it-and him-may just be the toughest assignment he’s ever taken on.
Happy Monday, peeps ~ Peg
And remember, if you’re looking for me, I’m always here:
Spring has arrived and N. N. Light’s got spring fever.
It could be all the flowers in bloom or it could be the birds singing in the trees. Hurry and hop like a bunny over to N. N. Light’s Book Heaven and enter to win some amazing prizes including a few new releases, autographed print books by bestselling and award-winning authors, audiobook codes plus e-books galore and a couple of Amazon gift card. In fact, I’m one of the authors participating and you could win BAKED WITH LOVE . The list is long and personally, I’d love to win myself but alas, I can’t. So, I’ll just live vicariously through the lucky winners. If there’s a particular book or prize you’d like to win, be sure to say which prize you want when you enter via Rafflecopter. Enter below and good luck!
SO today’s backlist book isn’t very old or backlisty- it’s from November 2018, but it’s a good little story and I wanted to garner some press for it.
HOPE’S DREAM is part of the Deerbourne Inn Novellas from the Wild Rose Press. It’s a story of lost dreams and career disillusionment set in a tiny Vermont town during the winter ski season. The h/h, Hope and Tyler, are two people that in the real world would never have met and fallen in love. Thank goodness for fiction! heehee.
Hope Kildaire gave up her dream of becoming a nurse practitioner when a car accident killed her father and left her mother an invalid. Working two jobs and caring for her mother leaves the twenty-seven-year-old with no time for fun or relationships. When a law firm representing her paternal grandparents sends her several letters, Hope ignores them. She despises the family who disowned her father and wants nothing to do with them.
Lawyer Tyler Coleman’s job is simply to obtain Hope’s signature on a legal document. Getting it is harder than planned, though, when an unexpected attraction blossoms between them. If Ty is honest with Hope about why he’s in Willow Springs, he’ll fulfill his assignment but may risk hurting her.
The opportunity to have everything she’s ever desired is at Hope’s fingertips. Will her dream come true at the expense of Tyler’s love?
As he started back toward the inn, his hands secured in his pockets against the night chill and his neck burrowed under his scarf, he realized he needed to tell her who he was before this went any further. He should have done it tonight, as he’d originally planned. Why he hadn’t was as clear to him as the night sky above: he was frightened once she knew the truth she’d want nothing to do with him.
Could he blame her? While he hadn’t outright lied, he hadn’t told her the truth, either. Which was worse? An intentional fabrication or a lie of omission? Both felt equally wrong right now.
Disappointment had clouded her face when he’d broken their kiss. She felt something for him. That look proved it. He could only hope once she knew who he really was and why he was in her home town, she’d be able to forgive his subterfuge.
So while the San Valentino family isn’t exactly a series per se, I do seem to write a family installation every Christmas or so. The first holiday book was A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and stars the Francesca and Joey side of the family.
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?
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
SO my exciting/good news this week has already been promoted, but it’s so fabulous it required another telling, here, today!!
I’m excited to announce that my titles DEARLY BELOVED andTODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS are part of a new venture The Wild Rose Press, Inc. has announced today. In a licensing a distributorship withRomance Fate, a company that turns romance novels into interactive games, select TWRP titles are being transformed for this gaming platform, DEARLY BELOVED and TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS among them.
These games are interactive and the player becomes the heroine in the story. The game is best played on a phone or tablet and is not meant for computers but you can see their site and read more about what they do here: ROMANCE FATEIt will be about six months before my title is there but I will let everyone know when it is livelivelive!!!.
The demographic for these games is women between the ages of 18 to 40. There a lot of readers who enjoy being more immersed in the stories they love.
So wish me luck and I’ll keep you posted!!
Now, tell me your good thing this week!!!! I want to bask in your good stuff, too.