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A new #DeerbourneInn addition courtesy of Samantha Gentry

 

Today, I’ve got a treat. A brand new DeerbourneInn novella has been released into the bookreading world, and I’ve got the author, Wild Rose Press sistah Samantha Gentry, here with me, talking about her addition to the series, REKINDLING AN OLD FLAME.

Samantha, take it away:

Thank you, Peg, for this opportunity to share my latest release with your readers.

 

I’m Samantha Gentry and I’d like to tell you about my new release from The Wild Rose Press. Rekindling An Old Flame is an adult romance novella, my offering for the Deerbourne Inn series. The Deerbourne Inn is a charming bed and breakfast in the town of Willow Springs, Vermont—population three thousand. It’s the focal point for the series. My novella tells a story of lost love, reunion, and an attempt to repair the mistakes of the past.

My story is set in the first week of October during the Willow Springs’ annual Fall Foliage Celebration, an arts and crafts event honoring the time of year when the trees covering the New England countryside turn brilliant shades of red, orange, and gold. Cameron Amory, world famous international best-selling author, lives in Willow Springs. Skylar Rogers is stranded in Willow Springs—a place she’s never been before, a place that wasn’t her destination—with car trouble. This chance encounter after fourteen years presents Cameron with the opportunity to try and undo his mistakes of the past and rekindle his relationship with his lost love from college.

Blurb:

When interior decorator Skylar Rogers’ car breaks down in the small town of Willow Springs, she’s unprepared for a reunion with the man who once stole her heart and ripped it to shreds. That doesn’t stop the erotic desires he ignites. She’ll only be in town a few days, though. What could it hurt to take a little tumble down memory lane?

World famous bestselling author Cameron Amory is shocked to discover his college lover in his hometown. He never stopped loving her and has always regretted leaving her behind. Now, he’ll do whatever it takes to win back her trust and her love. Has too much time gone by, or can he rekindle an old flame?

Excerpt:

He increased his embrace as he forced his erratic breathing under control. He smoothed her hair back from her damp face while placing tender kisses on her forehead and cheeks until he was finally able to formulate words. “Damn, it’s even better now than it was back then.” He raised his upper body, supporting his weight on his elbows. “I’ve missed you, Sky, missed you very much.” His words came out as a soft whisper. “I thought I’d never have another opportunity to include you as part of my life. We can’t let this slip away again.”

A wariness covered her face. “Slip away again?”

Her expression and tone told him more than he wanted to know, told him how inappropriate his words were, although unintentional, and clearly reminded him whose fault it had been. He was the one who had bolted. He had allowed his fear of making a commitment to overrule what he refused to openly acknowledge as his love for her. A love he now readily admitted had always been there. But how to convince her, how to overcome her voiced and unspoken but obvious concerns. He had to find some way of getting her to communicate more fully with him.

“Come home with me, Sky. Spend the night with me. In fact, check out of the Deerbourne Inn and stay with me.”

“As tempting as that is, I can’t do it. This has all been too much, Cam, too much too quickly. I need time to take it all in, to digest it. Time to figure out what’s really happening, something other than two people resurrecting a sexual relationship.”

“There’s a hell of a lot more going on here than that. Yes, the sex is great. It always was, and it’s even better now. But there’s more than that. You know it as well as I do.”

“I can’t go home with you, Cam. Certainly not tonight.”

It wasn’t what he wanted to hear, but it didn’t surprise him. He needed to back off, not push so hard. He had to come up with some way that it would work out, to present her with a viable solution, something she could consider in a logical light.

He needed to make her an offer she couldn’t refuse.

 

Rekindling An Old Flame is available in ebook at:

Amazon // B&N // Kobo 

A little about Samantha Gentry

I’ve lived most of my life in Los Angeles and earned my living for twenty years by working in television production. I was always interested in writing and dabbled at it, but not seriously. I combined my interest in writing with my avocation of photography and began doing magazine articles featuring my photographs. After selling several articles, I discovered I enjoyed the writing process as much as the photography.

My friends told me I should make use of my television contacts and write scripts. I enrolled in a screen writing class at UCLA. By the close of class I knew screen writing was not for me. The other thing I knew was that I wanted to write novels rather than magazine articles.

You can connect with Samantha here:

Website // Blog // Facebook // FBAuthor page //

***Thank you, Peg, for allowing me to share my latest release, Rekindling An Old Flame from the Deerbourne Inn series published by The Wild Rose Press, with your readers.

Peggy here: you are most welcome.

And don’t forget the other books in the Deerbourne Inn series, available now in ebook. (This list is in order of publication)

By Reservation Only   by Barbara Edwards

Hope’s Dream   by Peggy Jaeger

Freedom’s Path   By Linda Carroll Bradd

Lyrical Embrace  by Amber Daulton

Spirited Quest     by Julie Howard

Soul of the Storm By Jean M. Grant

Lion Dancing for Love   by Laura Boon

Forever In A Moment  by Charlotte O’Shay

Witches’ Cliff   by Peggy Chambers

Mystic Maples by Tena Stetler

Love Calls You Home by Donna Simonetta

Love Proof by Luanna Stewart

 

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#SundaySnippet 9.8.19

I don’t have a cover yet for my next A MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN book, just a title: TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This is oldest O’Dowd sister CATHLEEN’S story. Widowed, lonely, and bit of a workaholic, Cathy is despairing she will ever find another man to warm her bed at night and one she can love forever. She agrees to attend a speed dating night, organized by her high school friend, Olivia, a local matchmaker. This little scene is after the event:

The lights were still on inside the house when Olivia dropped me back home three hours later.

“I don’t want you to be discouraged, Cathy,” she said as I unbuckled my seatbelt. “This was just your first event.”

And if I had anything to say about it, it was my last.

“Tonight was a mish-mash of personality types and age groups. I’d invited you so you could get a feel for what’s involved in the process. I didn’t expect you to meet or connect with anyone. We need to get together privately so I can figure out the type of man you’re interested in. Then, I can set up something in the future more to your taste level.”

My taste level? Good Lord. If tonight was any indication, there were no men out there who even came close to an appetizer much less a main course.

“Liv, I don’t know if I’m ready for this. I’m busy with the practice, handling Nanny’s affairs.” I swiped my gloved hand in the air. “I’m not sure I have the energy to be involved at the moment.”

She smiled and nodded. “Going out to dinner or a movie with a nice guy doesn’t mean you have to sign a marriage contract, Cath. According to Fiona all you do is work.”

“Well, yeah. Because I’m busy.”

Duh.

“I get that. But you can take a break every now and again, you know. Just think about it,” she added when I opened my mouth again, ready to protest.

Resigned, I nodded.

“I’ll call you in a few days and we can grab some lunch, okay?”

“Sure,” I said.

The house was lit and warm when I walked through the front door. I’d thought Frayne had left the lights on so I wouldn’t come home to a dark, empty house. The moment I closed the door behind me I realized I was wrong, because the house wasn’t empty at all.

Mac Frayne was seated at my dining room table, a laptop opened in front of him.

“You’re still here.”

Why that blue-eyed and befuddled stare meeting me through those thick lenses was such a turn on is a mystery I don’t think I’ll ever solve, but the moment his dazed gaze zeroed in on me and then cleared, his eyes widening, then narrowing, my legs got a little wobbly and my pulse jumped.

He tugged the glasses off and tossed them onto the table, his gaze never wavering my face.

“And you’re back early,” he said, rising.

I draped my coat over my forearm, kicked off my shoes, and shrugged. “It wasn’t supposed to be a long, drawn-out evening.”

Frayne took a few steps toward me, the lines in his forehead grooving deeper. “How was it?”

“Horrible,” I said, before I could stop myself. I shook my head as I moved towards the hall closet. “That’s unfair,” I added, as I hung up my coat. “It wasn’t horrible, as much as something not for me.”

I turned and barreled into Frayne.

Jesus.” His hands shot out and braced my upper arms. “You don’t make a sound when you move.”

“A lifetime of apartment living,” he said. Once I was sure footed and guaranteed not to fall into him again, he lowered his hands.

If I’d had any nerve I would have asked him to put them back. Instead, I swallowed, turned, and walked toward the kitchen, as he asked, “Why wasn’t it something for you?”

I ignored the question. “I’m starving. Have you had anything to eat?”

I wasn’t surprised when he followed me.

“Not since lunch at the Inn. Maureen had soup and sandwiches today, which, like everything else she’s served since I’ve been here, were delicious.”

“Mo only knows how to do delicious.” I peeked inside my fridge. “And speaking of,” I pulled out a glass container. “This is fried chicken she gave me this morning. Want some?”

He leaned a hip against the counter and cocked his head.

“You don’t mind sharing?”

“We both have to eat.”

I put the mashed sweet potatoes she’d sent along in a microwave bowl, then set the timer.

“I hope you like your chicken cold because I’m in no mood to wait for the oven to heat.”

That darling little curl popped up in the corner of his mouth.

“Cold is fine.”

“Did you read any more of Josiah’s diaries?” I asked while I pulled plates from the cabinet.

When he didn’t answer I looked over at him. His quizzical head cock was in place again.

“What?”

“I’m curious why you won’t answer my question.”

I stared at the microwave, taking a moment to formulate my answer.

“The whole concept of dating is alien to me. I knew Danny since the second grade and we got married when we were eighteen. He was the only guy I ever went out with, and it wasn’t even what anyone would consider dating, since we’d been together forever. Having to start all over at this age is”—I lifted one shoulder—“mentally exhausting.”

“Why did you agree to go, then?”

“Because, as my grandmother succinctly put it, it’s time to move on.”

“And you thought hiring a matchmaker was the way to meet someone?”

“I didn’t seek Olivia out. I kind of got railroaded into it.”

I explained how the situation came about while I put the food on the kitchen table. Once seated, I continued.

“Before I knew it, I’d agreed to go to tonight’s”—I waved my hand in the air—“thing.”

“So, again, why wasn’t it for you? I don’t know a lot about speed dating, but from what I’ve read it’s popular among millennials. Along with right-swipe hookups.” The jagged shake of his head told me all I needed to know how he felt about the way people met these days.

“And that’s the problem.” I pointed my sweet potato-laden fork at him. “I’m in the wrong age bracket. Call me old fashioned but I prefer to meet someone and get to know them organically and over time, not try and stuff the story of my life into three minutes before an egg timer beeps. Even though I didn’t participate I was tense and stressed watching the others who were. It all seemed…desperate to me.”

I stopped, mortified I’d admitted it, because in truth, that’s what I’d been feeling watching the group tonight.

From the moment we’d arrived at the restaurant I could tell I’d made a big mistake. The women were all older than me, had hungry, hopeful gleams in their eyes and when they caught sight of me, a few of their stares turned hostile. I was all set to beat a hasty retreat when Olivia’s hand at the small of my back propelled me forward.

Part of the restaurant had been cordoned off, a half dozen tables for two set-up in a semi-circle. Six women, six men, I assumed.

What’s that saying about what happens when you assume something?

A quick glance back at the hostility bowling my way and I realized it wasn’t because of my outfit or my age, but the fact I had the wrong chromosomes.

With me included, there were eight women. I’m better at words than math, but even a five year old knew that left a smaller number of men.

With a gentle prod, Olivia shoved me towards the gaggle of women. For the first time in my life I understood any sympathized with how Daniel must felt walking into the lion’s den.

“Ladies,” I said, with head bob and a tremulous smile.

Silence came back at me. I could stare down the most antagonistic of witnesses in a courtroom without even a thought, but for some reason all my courage flew south as these women glared at me through overly made-up, amateurly applied smoky eyes.

I swallowed the golf ball of fear in my throat.

“How’s everyone doing tonight?” I asked.

Lame, I know, but I was truly out of my element.

“You’re new,” a voice said. “Haven’t seen you before.”

“Y-yes. I’m a…friend…of Olivia’s.” If they thought I posed no dating threat, I figured they wouldn’t disembowel me.

“You joining in tonight, then?”

“Just an observer,” I assured her.

“Hey, aren’t you Fintan O’Dowd’s oldest?” One of them asked. Well, accused would be more the appropriate word choice.

Another quirk of living in a small community, especially with a well-known parent: everyone knows who you are and who you’re related to whether you know them or not. Since I didn’t recognize the woman asking, I nodded.

“Thought you was married.” Yup, accused was the correct word.

“I was. I’m a widow. My husband died…was killed. In Afghanistan.”

Immediately, their collective animosity flew right out the restaurant’s front door. They approached me in a cluster, cooing, and clicking their tongues in sad support of my plight.

If I’d known that was all it took to get them to put their invisible pitchforks and blunderbusses away I’d have led with it.

And yes, I know that’s dramatic, but their facial expressions up until then were fifty shades of scary.

A few moments later Olivia clapped her hands and called us to order.

I stood with her off at the side while she read the rules and held a stopwatch. A small bell sat on the table in front of her. At the first ding, the room went into motion.

The seven women all took their seats while the five men inspected them like hunters evaluating prey, and then made their way to the tables of their choice. I felt bad for the two women who sat solo.

“Don’t worry about them,” Olivia said, when I voiced my concern. “Everyone will have a chance to meet. You want to sit down at one of the tables and give this a go?”

Having a root canal without anesthesia while simultaneously getting my fingernails removed had more appeal. I declined, nicely, and said I just wanted to watch.

Intrigued? I’ll be posting soon on the cover and the release date, so stay tuned.

And don’t forget, book 1 DEARLY BELOVED is available now: Amazon // Kobo  // Barnes and Nobel  //Apple // Google Play//

 

Until next time ~ Peg

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

#RomanceGemsblog My Turn

It’s my turn over on the romance gem’s blog. Come read all about my first baby. You just may smile when you do.

Romance Gems 

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#SundaySnippet 8.25.19

AS I continue with my no-using-my-right-arm imprisonment/status, I wanted to give you a little sumthin’ sumthin’ I’ve been writing, off and on, for about 2 months. Some days I get the urge to add to it, others not, even though it’s fully outlined and plotted.

I love my San Valentino family books and the newest one I’m penning concerns a branch of the San Val’s we haven’t seen yet. Luigi San Valentino is Sonny (CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS) and Joey’s ( A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS) cousin. He owns a deli and is married to Frankie’s sister, Gracie ( Both books, plus 3 Wishes Their oldest child is Madonna “Donna” and she works for her father in the deli. Madonna would really like to NOT work for her father, but, as the oldest, the responsibility has fallen to her, especially since her five younger brothers are all pains in the ass!

These scene is a long one and sets the tone of the book. It’s unedited so don’t send me any messages about misplaced modifiers, runon sentences, or tense issue. I already know about them because this is free-writing, not uberedited prose. Hee hee.

Chapter One

Life lessons for surviving in an Italian family, number 1: never let them see you sweat.

I knew something was wrong the moment I arrived at the deli. The first indication? The back door was unlocked, something my obsessive/compulsive father made sure never happened since he was the last one to leave the store every night. He did this religiously because I was the first one to arrive every morning at the crack-ass of creation, just like today, and had to plug in the security code on the wall box in order to gain entrance and get the deli ready for the day’s business.

My daily bread and roll delivery, courtesy of my cousin Regina’s bakery, sat outside the door in a large wooden crate. I grabbed  it, and hip checked the door wide open.

The second sign all was not as it should be was the lights were lit in the entrance hallway. Since I got to work when it was still dark out no matter if it was Daylight Savings time, or Standard, I routinely had to fumble to find the wall switch to illuminate the back end of the deli.

Not so this morning.

The final signal something was amiss was the smell.

I’ve been around raw meat my entire life since I grew up in my father’s kitchen and then worked at the deli he owned and operated in our neighborhood since I was eleven years old. The smell of animal blood was as recognizable to me as my mother’s knock-off L’ air du temp. Although, admittedly, mom’s perfume smelled way better. Most days, anyway.

The scent filling the air this morning was both familiar and different. Wrong, somehow.

“Hello?” I called out. “Is someone here?” An eerie sense of quiet surrounded me. I put the bread crate down on the tiled floor. Cautiously, I crept along the hallway leading to the front end of the deli, my hand sliding against the wall, my huge purse held in front of me like Wonder Woman’s golden shield of protection.

Being the oldest of six kids and the only girl to boot, I don’t scare easily. My brothers, are, each and every one of them, a pain in the ass to their cores and I’d grown up the victim of their arguably stupid shenanigans too many times to keep count. Cooked linguini placed in my bed to look like worms; a farting cushion stuck in my usual chair at the dinner table and just waiting for me to settle unknowingly on it; toothpaste spread on my sandwich instead of peanut butter. More times than I could remember one of them would hide in my closet and then jump out at me when I least suspected it. Anything and everything dumb and dumber they could think up to annoy me, they’d done. And still did to this day if they thought they could get away with it. Chronological maturity hadn’t made its way to their brains yet and they all still acted liked little boys when it came to infuriating me.

This spine tingling sense of unease ripping through me didn’t feel like this was one of their usual pranks, though.

But with my brothers, you never know.

“I swear to Christ, Rafeale,” I called out, naming the baby in my family and the one voted most likely to do something asinine, “if this is some dumbass attempt to scare me, I’m gonna make you suffer.”

I crept along the hallway, passed my father’s office and my own. Both doors were open, the rooms empty.

Now that I was closer to the front of the store, the smell was stronger, more pervasive and…ripe.

If you’ve ever left a piece of meat or pork out all day trying to defrost it, and forgotten about it until too late, you’ll recognize the odor.

“Vinny? Vito? Are you guys here?” I called out again, naming my twin brothers. Silence came back at me.

The overhead lights in the front of the store weren’t on so I couldn’t see much inside the deli-proper. A tiny bit of illumination filtered in through the storefront window, enough to make out the shapes of the little tables and metal chairs that lined the front windows. A few years ago my mother had the idea to install these tables so people could come in on a lunch hour, order, and then sit down for a few minutes to eat instead of taking it away with them. It turned out to be a good idea, too, because once we added them, lunch hour business doubled by the end of the first month. It was the one and only time my father had ever listened to one of my mother’s business ideas.

She never let him forget it, either.

When I’d left yesterday afternoon, the tables and chairs were all straight and set into their little spaces surrounding the front window. When he closed the store, my father would upend the chairs onto the tables so he could sweep and then mop the floor.

I sidled up to the back of the glass display cases and looked right, then left. Nothing was amiss, but that itchy feeling hadn’t left me yet. I slid my free hand along the wall, found the switch and threw the place into total light, something I never did at this time of the morning. If anyone passing on the street saw the lights, they’d think we were open for business, which we weren’t, not for another two hours.

In retrospect, I should have left them off and never have come into the store once I found the back door unlocked and standing open.

Hindsight, as my Nonna Constanza used to say, is for sciocchi—fools— who think too much after the fact.

She wasn’t wrong when she was alive, and she wasn’t now, either.

The seating section looked as if a bomb had exploded. Tables and chairs were scattered every which-way, some turned over, others pushed up to the wall, a few of them lying on their sides. Glass salt and pepper shakers were smashed, their contents sprinkled across the tiled floor in a dust cloud of seasonings, the glass embedded within the debris. The breadbaskets I was due to fill were in a tangled heap on the floor, alongside broken bottles and jars of stock items that had slipped from the wall shelves.

If it wasn’t an explosive device that had caused this mess, than at the very least some kind of fight had occurred here during the night.

My eyes darted across the mess. Fury had replaced that tingle of uneasiness as I came around the display cases, calculating how long it was going to take to clean all this up.

I stopped short in front of the mozzarella display I’d rearranged yesterday, when I discovered the reason for the sickening smell: a wet pool of what I knew instinctively was blood, splattered across a two foot by two foot area. It looked like an obscene Rorschach blob.

It was at this point I knew my annoying brothers weren’t attempting to play a sick joke on me and something else entirely was going on here.

I pulled my cell phone from my shield/purse, fingered in the 911 code and then walked back down the hallway, heading toward the back door I’d come into less than five minutes earlier.

After speaking with the dispatcher, who assured me she was sending a unit to the store immediately and a caution to touch nothing, I went back out to the parking lot and called my father.

***

“Madonna Maria, why didn’t you call me when you first saw the door was open?” my father asked, twenty minutes later. His thick white hair stood all on end and the right side of his face was a web of sheet marks, indicating I’d woken him and all he’d done was thrown clothes on to get here as fast as he could. Half of one shirt-tail was tucked into his suspendered pants, the other, hanging free. He had two different sneakers on his feet, another indication he’d flown the coop fast. As he stood behind the deli counter with me, our two uniformed neighborhood beat cops examined the blood splotch.

“What if somebody was hidin’ in here, little girl? You could’a been hurt. Or worse.”

My father, unlike my mother, tends to keep a tight hold over his emotions and reactions. Perpetually calm and unendingly rational, even when plagued with five obnoxious sons who invented the term rambunctious, Luigi Leonardo San Valentino was the endless calm in a sea of family bedlam. Since my mother had no sway over the behavior of her ragazzi—the boys, especially—she tended to either ignore everything or get so pazzo—crazy—that nine times out of ten any situation, even the most innocuous and miniscule, could escalate to the equivalent of Mount Vesuvius erupting.

So when my father called me by my full given name instead of Donna, like he had every day of my life, and then little girl, I knew he was genuinely distressed. The sight of the six foot three, two hundred and forty pound bear of a man whose DNA I shared, with his forehead creased like Venetian blinds and the corners of his lips pulled down into two concerned commas, made me want to ease his mind any way I could.

“Daddy.” I wrapped my arms around his barrel chest and squeezed. “Don’t worry. I’m okay. There was no one lurking in here, waiting to do God knows what. I got out as soon as I called the cops.”

My father rubbed a beefy hand down my back. Whatever he’d been about to say was stopped when one of the beat cops called his name and asked to speak with him, privately.

“We can use my office,” he told them.

“Can we get that cleaned up?” I asked, pointing to the stain. The smell was even worse that when I’d found it. “We’re due to open in an hour.”

“I’m afraid you won’t be opening for business today, Donna,” Angelo Racconova, one of the cops told me. Angelo and I had gone to school at St. Rita Armada’s Academy. He was three years younger than me and had been best friends with my brother, Vito, ever since they were both in second grade. To say he grew up in my house wouldn’t be a lie.

“Why not? Can’t you just,” I swiped my hand in the air, “mop that up and go file a report or something?”

“Sorry, no.” His tone implied there was no arguing with him. “We don’t know where the blood came from. We gotta leave it there for the forensics guys to deal with. Don’t touch it, or nothing else, okay?”

“Well, when can we open, then? We’ve got a business to run here, Ang. Customers who depend on us.”

“I can’t tell ya, that, Donna. Not today, maybe not even tomorrow.” He turned away from me. “Mr. S?”
My father slid me a side-glance, then nodded to the two cops.“Donna, call the crew. Tell them we’re closed today and we’ll be in touch later on. ‘Kay?”

Fuming, I nodded.

He led them into his office and before shutting the door behind them added, “And call your Uncles. Tell ‘em to get over here.”

He didn’t need to tell me which uncles.

I did as asked, first making sure the closed sign was obvious on the front door and then going into my own office. I notified our staff we were taking an unexpected day off and told them the store had been broken into. I omitted telling them about the blood I’d found. There was only one employee I couldn’t reach,  one of our delivery guys. I had to leave a voice message for him, figuring he was already on his way.

That done, I called my Uncles Sonny and Joey. They aren’t really my uncles, not in the true definition of the word, since they aren’t my father’s or my mother’s brothers. They were daddy’s cousins, boys he’d been raised with and who he’d grown side by side into men with and were still close with to this day. My mother, Gracie, has an older sister named Francesca, my Aunt Frankie, who’s married to  Joey. So that makes him my Uncle Joey. In reality, he’s my second cousin—I think—but in the ways of Italian tradition and culture, anyone senior in a close family is called aunt or uncle out of respect.

Yeah, it’s a little weird. But…famiglia, you know?

Both of my uncles assured me they were on their way.

“Don’t call the cops until we get there and see what’s what,” Uncle Sonny advised.

“Too late. They’re in with daddy right now.”

A long, drama-laced breath filtered through my cell phone. Uncle Sonny’s rep in the family is as “the fixer.” Need a brand new car for way under list price, no credit questions asked, minimal down payment required? Call Uncle Sonny and he’ll hook you up. Want to take the little woman to the hottest Broadway show for your anniversary? The one that’s been sold out for six months straight? Give Sonny a jingle and you’ll have two front row tickets waiting for you at the theater box office. For every family wedding and funeral we were treated to a fleet of no-cost, maxed-out limousines, courtesy of a guy who knew a guy who owed Uncle Sonny a favor. No one in my family ever really knew what the favors being paid back were, and no one asked.

The San Valentino’s originated don’t ask, don’t tell long before the armed forces claimed it.

Sonny’s heavy sigh through the phone spoke volumes.

“Just keep things under wraps as much as you can, Donna, until me and Joey get there, okay?”

“Will do.” I didn’t bother telling him I’d already notified our workers.

Daddy was still sequestered with Angelo and his partner, and I was getting antsy. By now, on a normal business day, I’d already have re-stocked the shelves and display cabinets, gotten the sinks and prep areas ready and put out the coffee urns, milk and cups for our regular morning customers. Since Angelo had ordered me not to touch anything, I couldn’t occupy my time with any of those ordinary tasks. Even though we probably weren’t going to open today, the hope was that we would tomorrow, so I decided to get a jump on the supply ordering. First, I needed to check everything in our walk in storage areas and our industrial refrigerator.

Our supply list seemed to grow larger each time I ordered, something that warmed my mercenary shop-keeper’s heart. More supplies needed meant more things were being sold, which amounted to greater – here’s the mercenary part – profits.

A cold blast of icy air smacked me in the face when I opened the freezer’s heavy door. The usual mounds of deli meats and cheeses, salads, and produce lined the steel shelves from ceiling to floor. I ticked each item and the amount we had off on the clip-boarded list I’d brought in with me. Then, I moved towards the back to see if we needed to order any of the bigger meat items we routinely kept stocked, when I tripped over something sticking out from between two of the metal shelves.

I reached out and braced myself against one of the shelve posts to keep me from falling flat on my face and the clipboard fell from my hand. When I stooped to pick it back up and see what I’d stumbled over, it took me a moment to realize what it was.

A sneaker.

A man’s sneaker. Black and white, it looked…familiar. Like I’d seen it in a magazine or a television ad.

I tracked the shoe from the sole, up across to the laces—which were dirty and knotted and spackled with little droplets like paint—and then all the way up to the tongue.

Then my gaze traveled further. Up a jeans-clad lower leg.

“What the—”

I left the clipboard where it lay on the concrete and moved closer to the leg. I don’t think I realized, truly realized, what I was seeing until I peaked between the two shelves the foot was poking through.

The one worker I hadn’t been able to notify not to come in today, Chico, was laying on his back, his wrists bound and folded in his lap, a frosty mask of ice crystals covering his head and face. A thin knife, the kind my father uses to clean fish with, was perched in the center of his chest, the hilt sticking up. Little frozen red and white balls covered his t-shirt.

I may not scare easily, but the amount of times in my life I’ve encountered a dead—no, make that murdered body—can be counted on the fingers of one hand and still have 5 left over. A loud gasp blew through my cold lips as I sprinted back to the door. I needed to tell the cops what I’d found. Now.

I yanked the industrial door open, shot through it, and barreled, full body, into a solid wall. The wall smelled, strangely, of citrus. I would have bounced back and hit the door if the tangy smelling behemoth hadn’t reached out and, with a grip forged in steel, imprisoned me within hands as large as the ham my mother was planning to serve for Christmas dinner in a few weeks.

Trapped and suddenly terrified—who wouldn’t be after finding a murdered guy?—my body reacted in that instinctual flight or fight way it’s programed to during stress or danger.

My body, as usual, chose fight.

One valuable lesson being the sibling who was routinely charged with breaking up brotherly fights has taught me, is how to get out of a death hold.

In a move I’d learned out of necessity I took a step forward instead of retreating like a person being held routinely would, bent my arms at the elbows, lifted them up and then twisted them inward. The front of my forearms collided with the giant’s forearms and when they did I pressed outward with every ounce of force I had.

The hold broke, as I’d known it would.

Before the giant could draw a breath and grab me again, I lifted my arms, gripped him by the ears and hauled his head down to meet the knee I’d raised.

A loud, guttural groan reverberated around us.

And then several things happened at once.

The orange smelling wall of a man sputtered, “Jesus Christ, Donna,” while he held his nose in his hands.

My father’s furious “Madonna Marie!” lifted to the ceiling at the same time.

And Angelo Roccanova’s “Holy Shit,” competed with both of them. Another besuited man I didn’t know stood behind the three of them, but he kept his mouth closed and just stared at the guy I’d knee-ed

Confused and breathing like I’d just swam the length of the Hudson river twice, my gaze bounced from my wide-eyed and worried father, to a shocked and nervous Ang and then to the bent-at-the-waist colossus in front of me.

My throat bobbed up and down and the moisture in my mouth evaporated when the hulk lifted back to his full height, his piercing and angry gaze mating with mine the entire time. As he’d stood tall I’d been forced to take a step back in order to maintain eye contact. The now closed steel refrigerator door barred me from going any further.

I knew those eyes. Intimately. When they weren’t filled with anger, like they were right now, I knew how captivating they could be. The palest of blue and heavily lashed, they tilted up a tiny bit at the corners. Jealousy ramped through me. How unfair it was that a man was gifted eyes like that when I’d been cursed with the most dull and boring brown color ever blended.

Light hair, a mix of natural honey and wheat husks, straight and clipped short covered his head. Shoulders that spanned almost as wide as the hallway were covered by a dark tan sports jacket, the pants a deeper hue of the same color palette.

“Donna,” Ang said, in a tone filled with fear, “why’d you punch Detective Roma?”

“I didn’t punch…wait? Detective?”

I tried to lick some moisture back into my lips but my salivary glands had gone dormant during the flight or fight response. I glanced at each of the men standing in front me, stopping last on the one Ang had called a detective.

With one hand still covering his nose, the man lifted his gorgeous gaze to mine and just like I had when I’d been seventeen and climbed into the back seat of his brand new Z8, I lost what little sanity I possessed.

“Hey Donna,” Tony said, shaking his head. “Long time, and all. I see you’re still as sweet and mild mannered as ever.”

The next few minutes were a buzz of activity.

Once I snapped my shocked mouth closed at having the man I’d given my virginity to, who was now a card carrying NYC detective, standing in front of me, a lifetime of ingrained Catholic confession made me blurt out, “I didn’t kill him, I swear. He was dead when I found him.”

The four men staring at me stared a little harder.

Before I could be hauled off to jail, an embarrassment my parents would never survive, I told them to follow me back into the freezer. Once they’d all seen who exactly it was I hadn’t murdered, Tony Roma, the virginity taker, ordered everyone out of the freezer.

Intrigued? Guess we’ll have to see where the story goes….

Check out my PINTEREST page where I’m storyboarding the book, MADONNA, MOBSTERS, and MOZZARELLA

Until next time ~Peg

The San Valentino Holiday Books, available at Amazon. // B&N // Apple // Kobo // GooglePlay

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Last chance to get #DearlyBeloved for just #99cents

SO today is the last day to order the e-version of DEARLY BELOVED for just 99cents. I put the book up for sale in anticipation of book 2 in the Match Made in Heaven series, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS releasing soon. The books are part of  a series, yes, but are stand-alones as well, so you don’t necessarily have to read book 1 to understand what is going on in book 2  – BUT WHY WOULDN’T YOU??? hee hee

Anyhoo…

Here’s a little about DEARLY BELOVED. I’ve included the buy links below.

“You know that saying, ‘Man makes plans and God laughs?’ Yeah…story of my life.”

Colleen O’Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she’s worried she’ll never find Mr. Right.

Playboy Slade Harrington doesn’t believe in marriage. His father’s six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He’ll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn’t plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.

When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.

~ Smalltown romance, billionaire boyfriend, family, forgiveness, romance, Single Woman, sisters
Reviews From Amazon

“Peggy Jaegar has done it again with what I sincerely hope is the start of a fresh new series. The setting is small town New Hampshire, lovingly portrayed with all its natural beauty and inevitable small town quirkiness. The story centers around a wedding planner, her two sisters and their firecracker of a grandmother (my favorite sidekick character, hands down!)

The main character, Colleen O’Dowd, narrates in first person as she navigates professional and personal challenges including the unprofessional feelings she’s having for one of her clients, Slade Harrington. He’s not one of her grooms-to-be (thank goodness) but rather her client’s older brother, a Titan of New York finance and the one signing the checks for his baby sister’s wedding.

Sparks fly from the first meeting, but Colleen’s insecurities keep her over thinking every interaction, which makes for lots of amusing internal monologue as well as witty banter between Colleen and Slade.

The dialogue is fast and fresh, the situational humor keeps the pages turning, and the characters are endearing. Family and forgiveness are huge themes here, and the author draws in the reader with humor and heart. A great read from one of my favorite authors. 5 sparkling stars and totally recommend for a fun, fast totally enjoyable read.” ~ Katie O’Sullivan

“This book was wonderfully written. Funny, heartwarming and a great ending. Colleen and her family made me want to visit the town of Heaven.” ~ GF2
Get your digital sale copy at these major sites/online stores:
amazon // B&N // ibooks
Until next time ~ Peg

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#SundaySnippet 8.18.19

Last week I brought you a little sumthin’ from my upcoming WRP release of TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. This week, I have another new WRP release coming out SOON from a new series called PRIDE OF BROTHERS. The first book is Rick’s Story.

Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. An elite bodyguard and P.I., he’s used to denying his emotions and ignoring his feelings in order to keep those in his care safe, at all costs. When lawyer Abigail Laine becomes the target of a vengeful client, Rick slips in to protection mode even though Abby refuses his help.

Four years ago Rick left Abby standing on a balcony alone, after walking away from a kiss that sent them both reeling. His refusal stung, and Abby’s sworn to forget it so she can protect her heart and move on with her life. But now she needs Rick’s professional help and her reluctance to accept it could just cost her her life.

Can these two stubborn and independent people put their troubled past behind them and learn to trust one another?

Excerpt:

Rick was seated on the couch, his laptop on the table in front of him, an open bag of potato chips next to it.

“Where did those come from?”

“They were in the bag from Kandy,” he told her never looking up from his typing. “Josh took pity on me and sneaked them in.”

She pulled a bottle of water from the fridge. “Why would Josh need to take pity on you?”

If shamefaced had a proper name, it would be Rick, because that’s exactly the expression he wore on his face at her question. His shoulders curled forward a little, his neck almost disappearing into them. The tips of his ears turned ruddy, and he cleared his throat a few times before reaching for his own water bottle and taking a good chug.

He wouldn’t meet her eyes.

“Answer me,” she commanded when he put the bottle back down on the table.

She watched his neck work and couldn’t decide which emotion was stronger: the need to hear the answer to her question, or the desire to crawl into his lap and lick his neck—and every other part of him.

It was a testament to her analytical training that she opted for an answer.

“Maybe pity was the wrong word.”

Abby waited.

Rick scrubbed his hands through his hair and cupped the back of his neck. “Fine, but don’t get all pissy when I tell you, okay?”

For an answer, she cocked one of her eyebrows and dropped her chin.

“When we were over there, I happened to mention to Josh you don’t keep any junk food in the house. No cake, no chips, pretzels. Nothing to snack on.”

“Not true. I always have cut fruit in the fridge.”

The breath he blew between his lips told her what he thought of fruit as a snack. “Like I said, nothing to snack on. I kind of told him I was, you know, going through withdrawal, from the lack.”

She couldn’t help it: she laughed.

Rick straightened up in his seat, his eyes squinting at her. “You don’t have to laugh at me. You did ask.”

“How old are you?”

“What does my age have to do with anything?”

“You just said you were going through withdrawal because you haven’t had crappy snacks to munch on. Don’t—” She held a hand up to him to silence what he’d been about to say. “The stuff you like is crappy from a nutrition standpoint. The last time I heard someone complain like you was my nephew Declan when were all at the beach last month. He’s nine. Which is the age I’d expect a kid to be who’s made a statement like you just did.”

Rick shook his head. “I knew you were gonna get pissy.”

“I’m not being pissy because I eat food that’s actually good for me. You don’t live here, Rick. I do. You can fill your apartment to the ceiling with junk food and I won’t care, but this is my home, my space, and I don’t stock it full of bad food choices.”

“Why are you so hyper-vigilant and OCD about snacky stuff? It’s not gonna kill you to have a cupcake or some cheese puffs, you know.”

“Spoken like a man who can eat whatever he wants.”

“The hell does that mean?”

“It means you don’t need to worry about your weight. Ever. You’ve never struggled with an extra ounce of body fat in your life, Rick. I know that for fact. You have no idea what it’s like to count every calorie and watch every single thing that goes into your mouth because of the inevitability it’s going to wind up on your ass. I do. I wasn’t blessed with my grandmother’s metabolism like Kandy and most of my sisters. Ellie and I take after our dad’s side. We’re the only ones who do. One more thing to despise about him,” she added, pursing her lips. “I’ve had to deny myself food everyone else can eat with abandon since my teens. And it’s a struggle. A monumental one. I’m strong-willed, but sometimes willpower can only go so far, which is why I keep healthy foods around me so if I do snack, at least it’s on something I won’t obsess over about the calorie count.”

She took a long pull from her water bottle.

Rick’s gaze stayed on her while she drank. He didn’t seem embarrassed any more. In truth, she couldn’t tell what was behind that penetrating stare of his. She placed the bottle down on the counter next to her broken shoe.

“Come here,” he said, holding out his hand.

“Why?”

He wiggled his fingers. “Just, come here.” When she didn’t move he added, “Please.”

He took her hand when she got close and yanked her down onto his lap with her legs resting on the couch.

“For the record,” he said, winding one hand around her waist, the other across her thighs, “I love your ass. I love every part of your body. And whether you weighed fifty pounds or three fifty, you’d still be the sexiest woman I’ve ever known, Abigail.”

The words seeped into her soul. She wanted to believe them.

“And I’m sorry I dissed you to Josh. You’re right, I don’t live here, and I have no right to complain about anything. So, I’m sorry.”

Abby sat, quietly, staring up at him.

“What?” he asked when she tilted her head to one side.

“Contrition looks good on you.”

Intrigued? Stay tuned for more announcements on cover reveal, preorder links and release date!

And don’t forget, DEARLY BELOVED is still on sale until 8.23.19 Get your copy before book 2 comes out so you’ll be all caught up!

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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A visit with #author Karilyn Bentley, and a little exciting news to share!

When I first started writing I knew I’d meet people/writers on whose shoulders I would stand. Writers who paved the way, took risks, and basically helped me be a better writer in the long run. Today’s guest is one of those people/writers. Wild Rose sistah Karilyn Bentley has visited with me several times before when she’s had one of her newest, fabulous books released. Today’s visit is extra special because she’s got some amazeballs news for us all.

Karilyn…..

Hi Peggy! Thank you for letting me drop by for a visit!

I’m happy to announce the release of The Shadowheart Curse! This book is special to me for several reasons, the main one being that it will be turned into a movie. You can even live stream the making of the movie! Pretty cool, eh? I was asked to write the book based off an idea the movie director had. He wanted to turn ten books into movies and I was asked to write one of those books. Super exciting! And nerve wracking. I had to write a story with an already decided upon locale, character goals, and basic plotline. The story is set in Italy, a place I’ve never been to, and the whole story takes place at an abandoned mill (totally creepy!). Needless to say, research was needed. Most of my research centered on abandoned mills like the one in the story. It started off as a way to try to see what the inside of an ancient mill looked like (the pictures the director gave me of where the movie will be filmed only showed the outside), but quickly turned into a fascinating side trail. There is a place in Sorrento, Italy called Valley of the Mills where a bunch of mills were abandoned and the land took over. The buildings are creepy, yet cool, to look at with moss and trees covering their stones. Check it out: http://desertedplaces.blogspot.com/2013/12/the-abandoned-mill-in-sorrento-italy.html

You’ll have to watch the movie to see the pictures of the mill in The Shadowheart Curse. <evil laugh!>

The movie comes out 2/14/20 and you can go here (https://deadlyten.com) and sign up to know when the live streaming event occurs.

Read on for the book blurb and excerpt. And don’t forget to go to https://deadlyten.com and sign up to know when the movie is live streamed!

 

BLURB:

Escaping New York after a client’s untimely death, medium Adrianna Sinclair flees to her family property in Italy. All she wants is to avoid ghosts, but an attractive one tempts her in ways she never knew possible.  Luca Fausto has been trapped on the Romani property for over a century for a crime he didn’t commit.  Adrianna may be the answer to breaking the curse that keeps him bound.  Standing in their way is a demonic spirit’s plan for revenge.  Will they prevail or will Luca be cursed to the shadows forever?

 

EXCERPT:

Lights drew her attention to the opposite wing of the mill, where a man stood staring at her window. At her. Breath caught in her lungs as she froze.

But only for a brief moment until she realized it wasn’t a man, at least not a living one. Her breath escaped on a whoosh of relief. Intuition whispered the man was the spirit who’d watched her last night.

The one from her dream.

Shadows clung to his body, ghostly fingers releasing as he stepped into the dim slash of moonlight. Lights flickered from behind him, like the dying gasps of sputtering candles. Dressed in a white shirt with an old-fashioned high collar, sleeves rolled halfway up his forearms, and dark trousers, he reminded her of a working man in a World War I photograph. As if he had removed his coat and tie and rolled up his sleeves to get to work.

Except the men in those photos didn’t sport the wide-eyed, happy look of this man. Ghost. Whatever. Yeah, he wasn’t the only one surprised. She’d sworn never to see a ghost again, yet there stood a ghost, captured by her gaze. The man was hot, in an old-fashioned way. At least he didn’t sport a handle-bar moustache.

He gestured to her, his hand beckoning in a “come here” motion.

She squeezed the bridge of her nose. Was she actually thinking of heading his way? Judging by the way her feet pointed toward the door, she’d already decided. Dammit. She might not want to see a ghost or speak to a spirit, but past experience told her if she ignored them, they ramped up the annoying factor.

How bad could it be to talk to an attractive spirit?

Buy LInks

Amazon // B&N // iBooks 

A little about Karilyn :

Karilyn Bentley’s love of reading stories and preference for sitting in front of a computer at home instead of in a cube, drove her to pen her own works, blending fantasy and romance mixed with a touch of funny.

Her paranormal romance novella, Werewolves in London, placed in the Got Wolf contest and started her writing career as an author of sexy heroes and lush fantasy worlds.

Karilyn lives in Colorado with her own hunky hero, two crazy dogs, aka The Kraken and Sir Barks-A-Lot, and a handful of colorful saltwater fish.

 

Where to find Karilyn:

Website // Newsletter // Facebook // Twitter // Goodreads // Pinterest // Bookbub

Peggy here: OMG!!! isn’t that the most exciting news!!! I can’t wait to watch the movie and read the book. Thanks so much for allowing me to share your fabulous news today, Karilyn. Best of luck to you, and as always, thanks for being such a supportive WRP sistah! 

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Contest finalist x 2!!!

Some days it really pays to get out of bed in the morning! I was notified today that 2 of my recent books are both finalists in the OCCRWA BOOK  BUYERS BEST contest!!!

DEARLY BELOVED ( which is currently on sale!) is in the Contemporary category

 

CHRISTMAS & CANNOLIS is in the mainstream category.

The Winners will be announced on October 12th at the Orange County RWA Birthday Bash in California!!

So excited!!!.

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Author, author promotion, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, Foodie, Romance, Romance Books, RWA, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Introducing #WildRosePress #author Denise Carbo

You all know I simply adore when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes for a visit. Today it’s author DENISE CARBO and she’s talking about her newest book, SCENT OF BETRAYAL, and why she likes writing series. So sit back and come meet my new author friend.

Denise…  Why a Series?

First and foremost, I love to read a series. I get invested in the characters and want to know what happens to not only the primary characters, but the secondary characters too. So, of course, when it comes to my writing, I tend to write series. Currently I have three different series in the works. The Shifters of Rishard series originated because I wanted to put a twist on the shifter story. My shifters are aliens. I’d like to tell you I put a great deal of thought into the name, Rishard, but it was a spur of the moment entry. I’ve had people who’ve read the book try to put hidden meanings behind the name and I hate to disappoint, but alas there was none. There are four clans of shifters here on Earth. In Bloodlines I introduced the American clan residing in Wyoming. Scent of Betrayal explores the European clan based in Glasgow, Scotland. In the third I plan to return to Wyoming, but I’ll have to see which characters are the loudest in wanting their story told.

A Shifter, A Mate, A Conspiracy.

Wolf shifter, Davis Campbell is on a mission. His job is to babysit a woman from a rival clan. He believes all he has to do is get her back to Scotland. What he doesn’t figure on is her possibly being his mate.

Bethany Leitner, an owl shifter, has been betrayed, attacked, framed, and left for dead. Trust in herself and others is hard to find. So when her self-appointed guardian begins to bark orders, she is ready to show her talons.

Excerpt:

Davis snorted. “Yeah, well, the little peacemaker tried to get rid of me when I didn’t kowtow to Aaron and the advisor. I don’t think she fully realizes the precarious position she and her clan are in right now.”

“On the contrary, I am quite aware, which is why I don’t see the need to make the matter worse by antagonizing everyone around me.”

Davis slowly swiveled his head to meet Bethany’s glare. She stood in the open doorway to the bathroom with her arms wrapped tightly around her waist. Her dark gaze pinned on him. She’d changed into a blue  dress. It accentuated her tiny waist, skimming just  below her knees, allowing him an appreciative view of  her trim legs. Her pursed lips only accentuated the pink  little bow of her mouth. He couldn’t help but imagine what it might be like to grab a taste.

An amused chuckle sounded in his ear.

“She doesn’t sound very happy with you, Davis. Are you sure you want to stay?”

“Yeah, I’m sure.”

Buy Links:

Amazon // B&N // iBooks // Kobo

A little about Denise:

Denise Carbo writes Paranormal Romance, Romantic Suspense, and Contemporary Romance. She is a voracious reader, loves to travel, is fascinated by the supernatural, and enjoys figuring out the culprit of books and movies before the ending is revealed.

She has a bachelor’s degree in Business Administration and Marketing and lives in a small, picturesque New England town with her high school sweetheart and their three amazing sons.

 

You can connect with Denise on her Social Media Links:

website // Facebook // Twitter // Pinterest // Instagram // Amazon Author page // Bookbub

 

 

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#SundaySnippet 8.11.19

Okay, so I don’t have a cover for this book yet, but book 2 in my Match Made in Heaven series, TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS will be out -hopefully – in the fall. 

If you’ve read book 1, DEARLY BELOVED, you’ve met oldest O’Dowd sister, Cathleen O’Dowd Mulvaney. Cathleen’s a family lawyer who took over her father’s practice when he retired. She’s a 39 year old widow and the emotional rock of her tight-knit family. She’s the sister everyone turns to for guidance, support, and advice because they all think she’s the most responsible, grounded one. What no one knows, though, is how emotionally fragile and tormented she really is.

In this snippet, my writer-hero Mac Frayne, and Cathy are sharing a pizza at the local pizzeria, and she divulges why she assumed the role of the “responsible sister” early on in life.

Read on…..

The line thickened, and he cocked his head in his familiar way. “Your sisters said you’re the one who takes care of everyone in a crisis.”

I nodded again.

“Why?”

A good question and one I’d debated with myself for most of my life. “The easiest answer is I’m the oldest and have always been what my parents termed the ‘responsible one.’ ”

“That doesn’t seem…fair.”

“Fair?” I shrugged. “Maybe not. As the oldest, I assumed responsibility more times than not, as a kid. It stuck through to adulthood.”

“Why?” I was charmed when the tips of his ears went florid. “I ask because family dynamics are intriguing and alien to me. As an only child, I don’t have any kind of firsthand knowledge about”—he flipped his hand in the air—“sibling pecking order and such.”

It was another good question and the answer one I’d never discussed with anyone. Why I was compelled to with him, though, seemed right.

After a moment to collect my thoughts, I leaned back in the booth and stretched my hands out on either side of my plate. “When the twins were four, my mother decided to go back to work a few days a week. Nanny was touring again, and my parents figured it would be fine if I was left in charge of watching my sisters for an hour or two after school. Mom didn’t need to work. My father made more than an adequate income but”—I shrugged—“I guess she needed some time away from kids, crying, and sister drama. Be with adults, you know?”

He nodded.

“Anyway. I hated being in charge of them. Colleen was okay because she was only a few years younger than I was and she never caused any trouble, but the twins were rambunctious. And wicked spoiled. They never listened to anything I told them, and I finally started ignoring them, left them to watch television or play by themselves. One afternoon, I was doing homework when I should have been minding them. They were screaming they wanted to go to the park, but I was tired and I had a test to study for, so I banished them to their room and forgot about them. Eileen, somehow, managed to get outside. She was always a little Houdini when it came to crawling out of her crib or high chair, but I never for a moment thought she’d be able to unlock the door and leave the house.”

The terror I remembered feeling when Colleen ran into my bedroom to tell me Eileen was missing wormed its way up from my memory and made my body start to shiver.

“Good Lord. What happened? Did she get far, or get hurt?”

I shook my head. “Luckily, a neighbor boy out walking his dog spotted her, right as Colleen and I sprinted down the road to search for her. The minute I saw her, I started screaming, which made her cry. Even Colleen was bawling. Maureen, who Colleen was holding, started up then. Mitchel Kineer, the poor kid who found her, was so uncomfortable with all of us standing in the road sobbing our eyes out, he beat a hasty retreat. When we got back to the house, I sat them down in the living room and read them the riot act. In truth, I think I was more frightened than they were. Colleen recovered quickly since she wasn’t in trouble and told me I was lucky Eileen hadn’t been hit by a car, or worse, and that our parents were going to be angry when they came home and found out what happened.”

“As a parent, I can understand that feeling.”

“It was the ‘or worse’ that got to me. My baby sister could have been taken by some psycho, or even wandered off into the woods and been lost forever. She was only four. She had no survival skills, no sense of right or wrong. Right then and there, I vowed never to complain about being left in charge or being the responsible one again.”

“You were a kid, Cathy.”

Was I ever just a kid?

“When my parents came home, I confessed what happened. Of course Colleen added her own sense of drama to the situation. If I wasn’t distraught enough about the whole incident to begin with, the looks of disappointment my parents gave me solidified the fact I was a horrible and irresponsible child. My mother quit her job soon after that. Like I said, she didn’t need to work. It took a long time before they trusted me again.”

I didn’t add I’d gone out of my way for years to prove I was a good, responsible, worthwhile daughter. I did chores before I was ever asked to, got straight A’s in school, helped my sisters in whatever way they asked or needed, all without being told or asked to by my parents.

“Didn’t you ever feel…I don’t know? Resentful, maybe?”

I was sure he wasn’t only talking about my status as the oldest sister. “Honestly, no.”

His brows were almost touching now, the skin around his eyes tight. “You’re a much better person than I am.”

“Better? I don’t think so,” I said. A smile bloomed quickly before I told him, “Nanny claims it’s because I’m a control freak like my father. Falling apples and trees, you know?”

My heart did a little stutter dance when the corners of his lips twitched.

“The same has been claimed about me a time or two.”

Intrigued? I hope so. More to come on TTA when I have “news” like book covers, release dates, etc. Stay tuned.

Oh, and BTW – the e-version of DEARLY BELOVED is currently on sale for just 99cents. If you haven’t read it yet, now is your chance before for book 2 drops, so you’ll be uptodate with the shenanigans going on in Heaven, NH ( hee hee!)

Buy Links:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under Dearly Beloved, New Hampshire, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor