It’s no secret if you know me you know I simply adore my daughter. She represents everything good I ever tried to do in my life and makes each day I wake up on this earth a joyous one for me.
Today, I actually have 2 favorite ornaments to share and they both concern that darling girl.
The first comes from 1994 and my daughter made it her first year in school for me as a mother’s Christmas present. Her teacher had all the children make one for their moms. Love that sososo much!
Because she is a major “star” in my life story, she is also a featured star – literally!- on my tree each year.
The second ornament is from last year. After delaying their wedding for a year due to Covid, and then realizing they might have to do so again for another year, they decided to just simply take the plunge. It was a glorious day in September when they pledged themselves together for life, and were surrounded by family – all masked – in her hubby’s home church.
Every time I look at this ornament I smile, remembering that wonderful day.
You can’t beat family for making great ornament themes, peeps!
This is the very first time my new ROMANCE GEMS sistah, prolific author M.J. Schiller, has visited me and WOW! am I thrilled. She’s just had a brand new book release yesterday, book 3 in her LOVE AND CHAOS series ROCK IT TO THE MOON and man-oh-man does this book ( and the series ) look fabulous! The cover alone is enough to get me all hot and bothered!
Check it out:
She’s given her life up for others. Maybe Dex’s form of chaos is just what she needs.
While love had come to some of the other members of Just Short Of Chaos, Dex Rogan had no interest in getting tangled up in that mess. That is, until he stumbled upon Tatum backstage.
Before Tatum, I would have told you love was for chumps. But I would have been wrong. The moment I saw her, it was like BAM! This driving urge to be with her was more jarring than someone smacking me in the face with my drumsticks would be. And every moment since has just solidified her place in my heart. By the time I found out she was off limits, it was too late. I was all in.
Tatum Salvetti doesn’t have time for love. If it can’t be color-coded or found on the periodic table, she doesn’t need it. But when an ugly incident drives her into Dex’s arms, she’s shaken enough to step out of character for once.
I wasn’t looking for love that night, I was looking to escape, and Dex was the perfect distraction from my train wreck of a life. …He was perfect, period.
But I’m in astrophysics. I’m not stupid. I knew it wasn’t going anywhere. Even if he wasn’t just interested in a one night stand, we wouldn’t be able to hide a relationship from Zane. My brother seemed to still think of me as the ten-year-old he met when our parents wed. Well, it wasn’t any ten-year-old girl in Dex Rogan’s bed that night, and if Zane found out about it, he would go apeshit. I was trying to get away from chaos, not create it.
Tatum has sacrificed her whole life for others. But maybe this time she could think of her own desires. Could Dex’s brand of chaos be just what she needs?
She had one hand on the cinderblock wall and with the other she was messing with her shoe strap. The shoes themselves were sexy as hell, but as my gaze rose up her legs to the black dress she wore, farther along a shapely body all the way to her golden hair twisted neatly behind her, glowing in the fluorescent lights…she simply stole my breath away. Like I couldn’t breathe. She looked like she was dressed more for a municipal orchestra pit somewhere, not like someone attending one of our concerts, and that alone made her stand out. Then the way she rocked that prim little dress of hers…. It wasn’t low-cut or revealing in any way, but the soft sway of the fabric against her curves was magical. Then she laid those big baby blues on me, and I was a goner.
It dawned on me suddenly that she was standing outside of Zane’s dressing room, waiting for him. My heart dropped.
The lead singer always scored the hottest women. It didn’t even seem to matter that Zane was getting married soon. He’d never cheat on Grace, but this angel was waiting for him, not for me. Normally this would have me cursing under my breath, slinking off like a dog with its tail between its legs. But I was just so struck. I couldn’t walk away. I had to have her.
Admittedly, I was pretty floored by that fact. I’d never felt anything close to that for a woman before. It was like this instant, driving urge to make her mine. The kind of thing they wrote about in those romance novels Grace read.
Our gaze connected and she froze for an instant. “Oh, hi. I…umm…don’t have a pass but I’m—” She hopped around, still trying to adjust her shoe strap and losing her balance, a little purse that dangled from a gold chain falling off her shoulder.
Her obvious nervousness and bumbling made me feel like she was more attainable, more on my level, and my confidence surged. I took her arms to stabilize her. “I’m not here to bust you. Relax.” I flashed her a smile.
M.J. Schiller is a lunch lady/romance-romantic suspense writer. She enjoys writing novels whose characters include rock stars, desert princes, teachers, futuristic Knights, construction workers, cops, and a wide variety of others. In her mind everybody has a romance. She is the mother of a twenty-two-year-old and three twenty-year-olds. That’s right, triplets! So having recently taught four children to drive, she likes to escape from life on occasion by pretending to be a rock star at karaoke. However…you won’t be seeing her name on any record labels soon.
Anna Price is an Enologist, a world-renowned expert in anything having to do with wine. Her work at her family’s Crescent Lake Winery in the Finger Lakes region of New York has her feeling as if she’s treading water. There has to be more to life than just wine. Has she lost her spark? She’s jolted when her father suffers a heart attack, then gets a jolt of a different kind from the man taking care of her father.
Colin Grant is a nurse practitioner, specializing in the care of cardiac patients. He’d met Anna once before, but had just ended a long-distance relationship and wasn’t ready for someone new. But this time it’s different. There’s no denying his attraction to the curvy girl who has no idea how beautiful she is.
When Anna is offered a job in France, they may find their growing relationship crushed. How can she say no to the offer of a lifetime? Colin’s job is caring for other people’s hearts; he’s determined not to have his own broken again. Absence doesn’t always make the heart grow fonder. But is it worth the risk, for a lifetime of love?
And look for the rest of the books in the series, currently available across all digital media:
His mother’s final illness waylaid Sam Price’s college dreams, but he’s content working in his family’s vineyard in the Finger Lakes region of New York. When he finds a woman with a flat tire on a vineyard road, he’s stunned to discover it’s the girl he’d had a crush on in high school. He’d never been confident enough to ask her out back then. He’d been a farm kid. Her daddy was the bank president. Way out of his league.
Sherry Jones is tired of her parent’s ambitious plans for her life. She’ll finish her college accounting degree like they want, but how can she tell them about her real love: working with growing things? Then a flat tire and a neglected garden offer her an unexpected opportunity, with the added bonus of a tall, gorgeous guy with eyes that set her senses tingling.
What does a guy with dirt under his nails and calluses on his hands have to offer a woman like Sherry? It will take courage for her to defy her parents and claim her own dreams. Sam and Sherry’s lives took different paths, but a winding vineyard road has brought them back together. Are they willing to take a chance to create the perfect blend for a lifelong love?
Her family’s successful winery business in the Finger Lakes region of New York should have gone to Tessa Price. She’d always dreamed of running the winery, but when the “prodigal son” returns to take up the reins, she boldly strikes out on her own, purchasing Sand Creek Winery—a cash-strapped competitor—right out from under her family. She can forge her own destiny, using her marketing skills and big plans to bring new life to the winery. But first she has a proposition for the sexy previous owner. And he’s likely to hate it.
Kevin “Max” Maxwell would never have willingly sold his winery to anyone named “Price.” Family always comes first, and if paying for his sister’s cancer treatment cost him his business, it was worth it. But when the new owner offers him a one year contract to stay on as general manager, with a possible bonus, he really can’t afford to turn it down. He can ignore the effect her deep brown eyes and heart-shaped face have on his senses for a year, can’t he?
Relationships, like slowly ripening vineyards, take time. But Max has been keeping a secret from Tessa, one that could destroy her hopes for their future. Will a terrible accident force Tessa and Max to face how much they have to lose, or tear apart their budding relationship forever? Sometimes a romance is like a fine wine. To be its best, it just needs time to breathe.
Award-winning and best-selling author Lucinda Race is a lifelong fan of romantic fiction. As a young girl, she spent hours reading romance novels and getting lost in the hope they represent. While her friends dreamed of becoming doctors and engineers, her dreams were to become a writer—a romance novelist.
As life twisted and turned, she found herself writing nonfiction but longed to turn to her true passion. After developing the storyline for The Loudon Series, it was time to start living her dream. Her fingers practically fly over computer keys as she weaves stories about strong women and the men who love them.
Lucinda lives with her husband and their two little dogs, a miniature long hair dachshund and a shitzu mix rescue, in the rolling hills of western Massachusetts. When she’s not at her day job, she’s immersed in her fictional worlds. And if she’s not writing romance novels, she’s reading everything she can get her hands on. It’s too bad her husband doesn’t cook, but a very good thing he loves takeout.
So, we’re now exploring my second series WILL COOK FOR LOVE from Kensington/Lyrical Press. I really loved writing this series. Book 2 is ASHOT AT LOVE and concerns Gemma Laine, the family rebel. Gemma gets herself into some hot water and when she finds herself in the sights of a crime lord, must be placed into government protection. Enter Ky Pappandreos, the smooth, quiet FBI agent who’s ordered to protect her. These two people couldn’t be more different. And that’s why making them fall in love was so much fun for me.
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 . . .
When he entered the conference room a moment later, he thought he was prepared for the jolt seeing her in the flesh would cause again. He was wrong. The second he opened the door and saw her eyes tracking him like those of a caged animal’s, he realized just how wrong. A subtle, unmistakable, pang of unease sliced right into his midsection, cutting off all circulation except to his groin. With a mental and physical shake, he approached her.
Anger percolated through her from across the room. “Miss Laine—”
“Why am I still here? I gave my statement. I want my memory card and I want to go home. I have a ton of work to do.”
Ky reached down deep to curb his temper. “I need to clarify a few things first.”
“What things?” She leaned back against the wall, leveling him with a hard stare. “I told your partner everything I remember. In vivid detail.”
“Yes, I read your statement. Please.” He motioned to a chair. “Have a seat.”
“I’d rather stand.”
He couldn’t tell if she was being purposefully obnoxious when her chin tilted up defiantly at him or if it was a character trait. Regardless, he pulled the facing chair from the table and sat.
“You mentioned in your statement you were out walking when you noticed the shooting.”
“No, that’s not correct.” She must have forgotten her reason for standing because she moved back to the chair and settled into it. “I said I was out working and noticed the trio of men coming out of the restaurant.”
Ky knew that. He wanted to see if she’d change any of the details with time.
“The older man had an attention-grabbing face,” she continued, resting her arms on the table. “I’m on the lookout for interesting faces.”
“So you notice him, see his face and decide, what? To take his picture? Just like that?”
She nodded. “It’s what I do. I’m working on a book called Faces of New York.”
“What was so fascinating about his?”
“It wasn’t so much his face as the expression on it,” she said. “He’d just come out of Sam’s. I figured he’d eaten lunch because he was patting his stomach and had a contented, gratified smile on his lips. So I took his picture. A series of them, in fact, as he continued walking.”
“Why did you continue snapping away? You had your shot. Why take more?”
Gemma blew out a breath and leaned back in the chair, arms crossed over her chest again. “Do you know anything about photography?”
“No, not really.”
She sliced a finger through the side of her hair and tucked the strands behind her ears. It refused to settle and fell back across her cheeks the moment she removed her hand.
In honor of my stint on LA Talk Radio the other night, today I’m offering up a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from my book A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, my first foray into Romantic suspense lite. In this scene, Abby finally realizes that Rick means business when it comes to sticking to her like glue until her stalker is caught.
“You’re really going to spend the night? Here?” she finally asked.
“And every other night until Genocardi is caught.”
She went stone still. “He doesn’t know where I live.”
“You can’t be sure of that. Neither can I, so…” He lifted his hands, palms up.
It was a wonder blood wasn’t seeping through her lips from the intense way she was biting down on her cheek.
“Look.” He leaned a hip against the sink, folded his arms across his chest. “I know you think there’s no worry or danger to you from this guy. But in my professional opinion—and please remember what I do for a living—you can never underestimate someone who’s gone off the deep end like this guy has. He may not be targeting you, may have forgotten all about you, but I seriously doubt it.”
She sighed, snuggled the cat closer, and buried her face in its fur.
“Josh can assign someone who’ll keep you as safe as I can. But do you really want someone you don’t know following you around all day? Possibly for several days?”
“God, no. I’d hate that.”
“Then isn’t it better I’m the one? You know me. You can trust me. You do trust me, right?”
Without hesitating, she replied, “Of course I do.”
He nodded again, relieved by her answer. He pushed off the counter, took a few steps toward her, and then reached out a hand to rub the cat’s neck as she was doing.
“I know this is hard for you,” he said, hiking his voice to be heard over Moonlight’s thunderous vocal vibrations. “Being invaded, having your privacy and your quiet life infringed upon. I’d be mad, too.”
“I’m not mad,” she said. “Just…inconvenienced.”
“Yeah, I get that. It won’t be for long, though, I’m sure. Your cop buddy will find Genocardi. As soon as the threat is gone, I’ll be out of your hair.”
She stared at him for a moment over the cat’s head. “You might want to grab my law book again, Bannerman.”
“Your argument’s pretty solid on all levels. Almost lawyer-worthy.”
“Now, there’s no need to be insulting, Abigail.” He pulled himself up to his full height and glared down his nose at her.
He was pleased when she laughed, since it had been his intent. “Go on and do whatever you need to do. I’ve got stuff to do as well,” he told her.
With one final glance at him, she moved from the kitchen, the cat still in her arms.
It’s a little hard for me to believe 2020 is here already. It seems like just yesterday it was 1.1.19.
I have a brand new ROMANTIC SUSPENSE series starting this year titled A PRIDE OF BROTHERS and the very first book, RICK is dropping on 1.13.20 so it seems apropos I post my very first Sunday Snippet of 2020 with a little scene from the book.
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.
As she reached out to clutch the table for support, a pair of firm hands seized her upper arms from behind.
“Easy there, Abigail.”
Abby’s entire body stilled. In a heartbeat, she went from tipsy to stone-cold sober as the smooth, deep timbre of that voice washed over her.
“Reception hasn’t started yet. Wouldn’t do for one of Kandy’s minions to go down before the band even warms up.”
When her arms were freed a moment later, Abby whirled around to find a pair of chocolate-drop-colored eyes trained on her from a face hand carved by the gods of gorgeous. Hair as dark as unprocessed coal was cut military short. Dark, thick lashes framed his almond- shaped eyes, and his mouth was pulled into a totally charming smirk that she wanted to kiss off his chiseled face.
Why did simply looking at him make her stomach act like a roller coaster spiraling downward and back to the station?
“Minions? Really, Bannerman?”
He had the nerve to grin. “Well, you are required to blindly follow and do everything Kandy tells you to without argument, aren’t you? Sounds pretty accurate to me.”
“You’re wearing a tuxedo. Does that make you one of Josh’s minions?” She raked a finger up and down his ridiculously well-cut black lapel.
A free and easy laugh kicked her square in her already shaking stomach. “Not in this lifetime.” His eyes crinkled at the corners. “He’s got two brothers who can more than fill the bill. I’m merely a humble wedding guest.”
Humble was hardly the word she’d use to describe him. At six two and a solid, muscular two hundred pounds, Rick Bannerman was cocky, sinfully sexy, and a total player. Exactly the kind of man she knew she shouldn’t be drawn to, but God help her, was.
Intrigued? You can preorder your copy here and have it as soon as it’s released on 1.13.20: