Tag Archives: Romance series

#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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A new #bookrelease from #author Charlotte O’Shay

I’ve said this a thousand times, but I lovelovelove  when one of my Wild Rose Press sistahs comes to visit, especially when she brings news of a new book release. Today, I’ve got dear friend and amazeballs writer, Charlotte O’Shay visiting me. Her newest book has just released and she graciously offered to tell me a little about it, and about the series it’s attached to. So, sit back and meet my lovely friend….

Charlotte:

Thanks Peggy for your generous invitation to chat with you today.

Woohoo! It’s release day for Their No-Strings Affair and I’m pumped to unleash this story on Romancelandia.

Their No-Strings Affair is the final book in my City of Dreams series. The story is a steamy, standalone contemporary.

My idea for this series came from the knowledge that NYC has always been a premiere destination for ambitious souls. It’s also a great place to get lost, or try to, if you’re running from a painful past or hiding a secret. All of the women and men in my series, Sabrina & Vlad, Lacey & Connor and Honey & Jake, are strivers and dreamers—all hellbent on achieving their goals. Dealing with painful pasts, the last thing they’re looking for is permanency in a relationship or romantic love. To a person they don’t believe in it. But sometimes fate has other plans.

Honey arrives in the city ready to jump start her art career. Her move to NYC was impulsively executed on the heels of a humiliating breakup with her long-term boyfriend. To make some fast cash she fills in as a server at a fancy, Pierre Hotel wedding (Sabrina and Vlad’s wedding ~The Marriage Ultimatum) and quickly runs afoul of security for the event run by Jake Ricco.

BLURB:

Honey packs everything she owns and heads to NYC to jumpstart her art career. Her cheating boyfriend is history, and she finally acknowledges the truth of her mother’s mantra: Careers are forever and happily ever after isn’t in their DNA.

All she needs is a job and a place to live. What she doesn’t need is a taciturn, sexy, ballbuster but she’s woman enough to know the difference between need and want. Isn’t she?

Jake’s childhood was marred by tragedy and his future hijacked to a promise born of guilt. His failure drove him to a career as a SEAL and a security expert.
But it’s not enough. Soon he’ll give up his freedom in reparation for the life he lost. Honey may be the last sweet stop on the road to a joyless future. If it’s what they both want, where’s the harm in a no-strings affair?

Excerpt:

A hand closed over her arm, and the tray of empties pitched sideways like the deckchairs on the Titanic. She heaved out a frustrated breath and stopped. The empties slid to a halt on the tray.

Honey was in no mood, especially not today, to be manhandled by a guy just because he was bigger and she stood only five-two in her sneakers.

“Get…your…hand…off…me. Right now. I don’t know who you think you are…” She pushed out the words low and slow. She could do this. She could get rid of him and squash her temper. This horrendous day was moments away from exploding into utter disaster.

But no, he wasn’t letting go of her arm, and it was either let the whole tray of wine glasses tumble to the floor, or let the bully have his say. Mother Nature had a nasty sense of humor, making Honey the size of a hummingbird and giving her the temper of a hippo.

“Who I am is your worst nightmare. Now plant your feet and give me your name.”

“Get lost.” Her words came out in a hiss. “Let go of my arm, and I’ll forget this happened.”

“Oh, really?” A sarcastic black brow lifted. “Give me your name now, and maybe”—his sneer said right, if you believe that, I have some bitcoin to sell you—“I won’t write you up.”

Honey stood her ground, lifted her chin, and stared him down in a way her brothers would’ve recognized as dangerous.

“First, let go of my arm.”

The volume of her voice inched up a couple of notches. Loud enough so any passing guests would wonder just what was going on in the midst of this glamorous wedding reception.

He released her arm but stayed so far inside her personal space she caught a hint of the lemon and leather of his aftershave. The heady scent fit the vibe of that TV commercial she loved, the one where the amber Italian sun cast shadows on a gorgeous guy on a motorcycle speeding down some scenic Roman side street at sunset.

Buy links

Their No-Strings Affair

Amazon US // Amazon UK //  Amazon CA // Amazon AU // Nook // IBooks  // Google play // Kobo

Look for books 1 and 2 in Charlotte’s City Of Dream trilogy:

The Marriage Ultimatum

and A Model Engagement

 

A little about Charlotte:

Author Charlotte O’Shay was born in New York City into big family and then married into another big family.

Negotiating skills honed at the dinner table led her to a career in the law.

But after four beautiful children joined the crowded family tree, Charlotte traded her legal career to write about happily ever afters in the City of Dreams.

Charlotte loves to challenge her heroines and heroes with a crisis and watch them figure out who they are while they fall in love.

You can connect with Charlotte here:

 WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM // TWITTER  // PINTEREST  // FACEBOOK PAGE  // BOOKBUB

 

 

 

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A new #DeerbourneInn addition from Tena Stetler

The next installment in the Deerbourne Inn series comes from Paranormal Romance Writing sistah TENA STETLER. She’s brought along a guest with her today. A very…unusual guest. Let’s go say Hi…

Hey Girl! Glad to welcome you back to the blog. I’m so excited to feature another Deerbourne writer.

Good Morning Peggy. Thanks for inviting us today. I didn’t think you’d mind if I brought the hero of Mystic Maples, Silvanus Forrest, with me. Unfortunately, Mercy Rose was up to her elbows in dirt with her new creation when we left, so she won’t be here.

That’s all right, I understand. Let’s start with Silvanus. Tells us about the real you— I own Mystic Maples, a sugar maple grove on the outskirts of Willow Springs, Vermont. It’s been in my family since 1754. I provide my special maple syrup to The Deerbourne Inn and several of the café’s in town. Several of the towns people stop by and pick up the syrup for their personal use too.

Tell us three things we’d find if we looked under your bed? A box of unread mysteries I picked up from the book store in town. A couple of Raga’s balls. She is always putting them under there and barking for me to get them out.<grin>

What makes you laugh out loud? People’s antics. You never know what to expect.

What makes you angry? Individuals that take advantage of others.

What event in your past has left the most indelible impression on you? When my parents retired and left Mystic Maples to me. I’ve always loved the place and worked there since I was knee high to a grasshopper. My brother was extremely upset. He’s one of those people who takes advantage of others. He’s also allergic to hard work.

Those are harsh words for a family member.

I know, but you’ll understand after reading Mystic Maples.

What do you most value? Family and friends. Without them, there is no one to watch your back, and you are a drift in a lonely world.

What do you sleep in at night? In a bed of course. LOL If you are asking what I wear to bed, it depends on the situation. <wink>

What is the type of woman you want to spend the rest of your life with? A woman that knows her own mind, what she wants, and goes after it.

What do you consider most important in life? Having a life partner that is willing to accept you as you are regardless of the good, bad and weird. LOL

What is your biggest secret? If I told you it wouldn’t be a secret anymore, now would it? But I’ll give you a hint. It resides in the original part of the barn at Mystic Maples.

Thank you for indulging me. Now let’s hear a little from the author about writing Mystic Maples, before I let you all get back at it.

Was it fun or difficult? It was a lot of fun. I love writing stories about small towns, and collaborations with other authors. The Deerbourne Inn series was the brainchild of The Wild Rose Press and its authors. If you haven’t read the series, you don’t know what you’re missing.

Do your characters always act as you expect? Absolutely not. I think they thrive in knocking me off my stride.

Are you a plotter, or fly (write) by the seat of your pants (panster)? Oh, panster all the way. I couldn’t plot my way out of a paper bag. LOL

Hahah. Thanks to you both for taking time to visit with my readers and me. Good Luck with Mystic Maples.

Blurb:

Earth/Fire witch Mercy Rose’s insatiable curiosity always gets her in trouble. After a break-in at her Colorado flower shop, and a court battle that comes to a screeching halt in her favor, she arrives at Deerbourne Inn for a much-needed getaway. Looking for peace and quiet, she finds just the opposite in a startling handsome but mysterious man and his dog.

Silvanus Forrest’s gypsy/fae heritage is a double-edged sword. The land he inherited from his parents is rumored to be enchanted. But when Mercy discovers the truth, his well-ordered life unravels, and they’re catapulted into the past to right a wrong. Along the way their lives intertwine, and they discover the true meaning of family and love. Will they change the past in time to save their future?

Excerpt:

In the middle of the vardo an old weathered chest was completely out of place. She leaned over.

“Don’t touch that,” he barked. It was too late.

Her fingers stroked the rusted padlock. It sprang open. Puffs of dried soil sprinkled the carpet around the chest. He placed a restraining hand on her arm just as she tentatively dug her fingers into the soil. “This isn’t from your land. It’s—.” A swirl of colors sucked them in and a feeling of weightlessness surrounded her. She grabbed hold of Sil’s arm. The dog yipped. Then suddenly they were back inside the wagon.

Only something was amiss, the silence, the earthy smell wasn’t right. She shivered. What have I done? Taking a deep breath, she whirled around to face Sil.

“What the hell just happened?”

He shrugged. “You promised not to touch a thing. Let’s get out of here.” Reaching for the vardo’s handle, he pushed down, and the door opened into a small barn. He strode to the door, tugging Mercy along with him. When he shoved it open moonlight spread across an open field casting silvery shadows through the bordering trees. Off in the distance stood a ramshackle cabin.

A warm breeze swept her hair across her face. She stared unblinking. Nothing about the landscape was familiar except the stands of young trees. She bent as if to touch the soil.

His arm flew out and prevented her from reaching the ground. “It’s true,” he murmured surveying the area. His lips set in a thin line, he rubbed his temples, and stared. Mocking her. “I won’t touch a thing. Well… you did and now…”

“Now what?” she whispered.

You can get your copy of Mystic Maples here:

 Amazon // B&N //  iTunes  // Kobo  //Google Play

A little about Tena Stetler

Tena Stetler is a best-selling author of award winning paranormal romance novels. She has an over-active imagination, which led to writing her first vampire romance as a tween to the chagrin of her mother and delight of her friends.

With the Rocky Mountains outside her window, she sits at her computer surrounded by a wide array of paranormal creatures, with a Navy SEAL or two mixed in telling their tales. Her books tell stories of magical kick-ass women and strong mystical males that dare to love them. Travel, adventure and a bit of mystery flourish in her books along with a few companion animals to round out the tales.

Contact Information:

Website // Author’s Secret’s Blog // My Say What Blog // FB //  Twitter //Goodreads // WRP // Amazon //Newsletter // Pinterest // Triberr //Bookbub // Instagram // BookGorilla //

And you can enjoy all the current DEERBOURNE INN ebooks here: (In order)

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

 

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Filed under Deerbourne Inn, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet week 3, 1.20.19

SO today I’m giving you  a little something from my 3rd book in the MacQuire Women series, FIRST IMPRESSIONS. I have to admit, this is my favorite book in the series. I know you’re not supposed to have a favorite – it’s like your kids: you love them all equally, but in truth, this book was a joy for me to write. Pat Cleary was the first fully formed male character that ever came into my mind. I didn’t need to think about him at all – one day he just stood in front of me, fully formed. Love that. Anyway. Here’s a little scene between him and the woman he’s rapidly losing his heart to, Clarissa Rogers.

“Clarissa? Follow my voice to the treatment rooms,” Pat called.

She found him standing at an exam table, a wide box on top of it. His white lab coat stretched taut against his substantial shoulders, giving her a full view of their width along with his trim waist. The coat grazed the back of his knees. His back was to her and he appeared to be holding something in his hands, close to his chest. He was speaking softly, the soothing timbre in his voice reminding her of how he’d sounded when he’d spoken with her after Teeny died: gentle, calm, reassuring. The sound of his deep voice shot a bullet of desire straight to her core.

“Are you all alone here?” she asked, as she came into the spacious workroom.

“My evening staff went to get something to eat. They’ll be back in a few minutes.”

He turned to her and she saw what was cradled in his hands.

Oh.” She all but flew across the room.

His grin was so boyish, so rakish, she physically had to tear her gaze from his face back to the tiny kitten resting in his arms.

“Cute, isn’t she?” Pat held her up by the scruff of her neck to show Clarissa. “She and her sibs were brought in this afternoon by one of my clients.”

“Why?” Clarissa’s fingertips longed to hold the little darling.

As if reading her mind, Pat said, “Here, take her.” He placed the squirming little bundle gently into her outstretched hands. Immediately, Clarissa pulled the kitten to her chest and began stroking its chin. A motorboat of purring churned from within the tiny creature, bringing an instant smile to both humans in the room.

“To answer your question,” Pat said, watching them, “he was out driving and saw a box on the side of the road. When he stopped, he found eight of them, four males, four females, abandoned. The mother was nowhere in sight. He knows we board and foster strays until homes can be found, so he brought them to me.”

“How could someone leave them on the side of the road?” Clarissa asked, her fingers never stopping their gentle caresses of the kitten’s neck. “They could have been hit by a car. Or worse.”

Pat shrugged. “Happens all the time. A cat has a litter and the owners can’t, or won’t, take care of them. It’s the reason we foster. And why I asked you to come down here.”

When she looked back to him, she could see a question in his eyes. “Pat?”

“Hear me out,” he said, putting his hands on her upper arms. Like a bolt of lightning striking, his touch zoomed all the way through her. “The kittens are too young right now to adopt. We need to get them hydrated, nourished and neutered. My guess is they’re about three weeks old. Four, tops. Without a mother to socialize them, they need extra care here first. Then they’ll need to be acclimated. This is where I’m hoping you’ll come in.” He removed his hands and stroked a finger down the cat’s neck.

“What do you mean?”

“When they’re ready to go, I’m hoping you’ll take this one to foster. You don’t need to adopt her, and I’m not asking you to. But we’ve found when animals are placed in good homes during developing periods, they adapt better when they’re adopted out. I can’t think of a better person to socialize and foster a kitten then you, Clarissa.”

Touched more than she could ever have thought to be by a statement with such thoughtfulness, Clarissa found herself tightening her hold on the kitten and loosening the grip on her heart.

Without a thought to what it would entail by having a new kitten in her life, the time consumption, the routine kitten messes she’d need to clean, Clarissa followed her heart and said, “Yes.”

Pat’s smile widened. “I was really hoping you’d agree.”

“How can I not?” She pulled the kitten to face level and planted a sweet kiss to its nose. Striking gray-blue eyes, peered at her from barely-opened lids. A tiny yowl burst from her and morphed into a wide, mouth- broadening yawn. The kitten shook its head back and forth a few times, its entire body going with the motion and then stretched its front and back paws wide. Clarissa laughed, looked up at Pat and her heart stopped. His pupils had dilated to the point where she could barely make out the ripe color in the irises. His mouth was slightly parted, and she could see his chest rising underneath his lab coat. With his fingers still scratching at the kitten’s neck, he bent his head toward her.

Every nerve in her body went on high alert. She knew he was going to kiss her and all she could think was: Yes, please.

With the kitten buffering their bodies, Pat brought his head down, stopping for the merest of moments to gaze across her face. She didn’t know what he was looking for, but whatever it was, must have pleased him because he put his lips to hers. It was the briefest of touches, his mouth sliding along hers in a gentle caress. His breath, moist and warm, drifted over her as he let it out. Neither closed their eyes, as if not to miss a moment of the encounter. On a whisper, he said her name. His hands rose up her arms, wound around her neck and rested on either side of her face. Cupping her cheeks, he rubbed her mouth with the pad of his thumb. Clarissa’s tongue grazed across it and his breath whistled out between his lips. In the next second his mouth came back to hers and took it again. This time there was no hesitation.

His fingers gently turned her head. With a tiny tug on her chin he swiped at her bottom lip with his tongue, waiting for her response. She needed no further request. Her own lips parted, and when his tongue entered her mouth she tilted her head backward giving him free access.

He tasted like nothing she’d ever tasted before. Spicy. Bold. Vibrant. His tongue pulled hers into his mouth as he expertly twined it with his own. If she hadn’t been leaning up against him, Clarissa knew she would have dropped to her knees from the jolt pounding through her at his touch.

His lips pressed against hers, the tantalizing way his fingers rubbed across her cheeks, the sound of his breathing as it grew more rapid and coarse when he deepened the kiss, was almost too much for her to wrap her analytical mind around.

So she didn’t. She simply kissed him back.

Intrigued? Here’s where you can get a copy – and a hint: the ebooks are on sale right now! So what are you waiting for? Hee hee

Amazon // WIld Rose Press // B&N // Kobo // google play //walmart // books-a-million

and find me here:

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

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

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Filed under First Impressions, MacQuire Women

A New title in the #DeerbourneInnSeries #Author Linda Carroll-Bradd

I’m so pleased to present the next addition to the Wild Rose Press Deerbourne Inn Series, FREEDOM’S PATH by multi-published author, Linda Carroll-Bradd. This  title is an historical novella, centered around the Civil War, circa 1855. Linda recently gave me a little insight into how the plot for the story came to be and I’m sharing that today.

The story behind the story

When my children were young, I was an avid quilter and attended monthly meetings and subscribed to magazines. I started out with a large quilt on a frame, which took up too much room in our small house. That bed quilt became a wall hanging, and after I had two kids, I switched to lap quilting, which involved a smaller frame. By the time I was pregnant with the third, I worked on only one block at a time. At some point, I read about quilts being used as signals for the Underground Railroad. I stored away that tidbit as writer do but didn’t pursue it until I came across a book by the title of Hidden in Plain View: A Secret Story of Quilts and the Underground Railroad. I read that book and a firsthand account of a man who served on the railroad titled The Underground Railroad from Slavery to Freedom, and the Pulitzer Prize winning, The Underground Railroad, which included a fictional account of what an escaping slave might have experienced.

Learning about the role women played in this moral dilemma from as early as the 1820s and 1830s helped bring the heroine to life in my mind. As I researched maps of the actual routes, I crossed my fingers and was thankful a known path cut through Vermont–an essential for the story to be included in the Deerbourne Inn series. Figuring out the role of the hero was easy because I cast him as her worst nightmare–a soldier hunting down abolitionist activity in her town. With Colin and Sidonie on opposite sides of the controversial issue in 1855, I had no trouble developing the plot that I hope readers find interesting.

Title: Freedom’s Path by  Linda Carroll-Bradd

Can an abolitionist and an Army Corporal find middle ground over the emotional subject of slavery in pre-Civil war Vermont?

 Working as a maid in the Deerbourne Inn gives freedom-fighter Sidonie Demers the perfect cover for helping escaping slaves travel farther along the Underground Railroad. The patterns in her quilts serve as messages directing them to the safest route. The cause is a personal one for octoroon Sidonie whose mother and grandmother escaped bondage years earlier.

Army Corporal Colin Crawford arrives in Willow Springs, in disguise as a salesman, to ferret out abolitionist activity. Raised in a state that forbids slavery, he’s conflicted about upholding the Fugitive Slave Act but believes in laws and fulfilling his duty.

The attraction between Colin and Sidonie is evident and irresistible, but what will happen when their true identities are revealed?

Excerpt:

As he waited for Kevyn’s footsteps to fade, Colin finished his tart. His mind whirled with a topic that he worried might be too forward. After a swallow of coffee, he angled his head and met her gaze. “I saw how you broke that man’s hold. Smart move.”

Eyes wide, she gasped, rested a hand on the table edge, and crouched next to the end. “Oh, please don’t tell Missus Deerbourne that I stomped on a guest’s foot.” Her dark brows drew together. “I’m not sure she’d view my action in the same way you do.”

Her response rankled. Wasn’t the innkeeper concerned for the safety of her workers? He wished he could offer comfort by covering her hand with his. “Can you not carry a small knife in a pocket to protect yourself?”

A laugh escaped as she shook her head then gripped the band of her hat and pulled it lower on her forehead. “Not an appropriate accessory for someone in my position.”

Colin disliked the idea of her being vulnerable to a man’s mauling. “The foot stomp can take a man by surprise, but often not for long enough to effect an escape. Might I demonstrate another move that guarantees a longer distraction?” He sorted through the various moves involved in his ranger tactical training for the one most effective to someone her size. Leverage was what was needed to counter a larger foe.

“I am eager to learn.” She set the tray on the table. “What do I have to do?”

Bracing both hands on the table, he pushed himself to a stand and took a couple steps away from the bench. “Walk toward me like you’re about to grab my arms.”

A blush rose in her cheeks, and she averted her gaze. “Oh, I couldn’t, Mister Crawford.”

Her modesty produced a chuckle. “Miss Demers, don’t worry. You won’t hurt me. Remember, you’re learning a new skill.”

After a nod, she stepped forward with her arms outstretched and fingers spread wide. “Like this?”

“Keep walking.” He balanced his weight on the balls of his feet. When she came within reach, he grabbed the thumb of her left hand and bent it backward.

“Ow.” She contorted her body, back arching in the opposite direction.

He knew her movements were instinctual, with her body acting on reflex to reduce the pressure. “See how you moved to get away from the pain.” He released his hold with reluctance, because he’d enjoyed the slide of her soft palm in his.

Buy Links: Amazon // Barnes&Noble //  The Wild Rose Press 

A little about Linda:

As a young girl, Linda was often found lying on her bed reading about fascinating characters having exciting adventures in places far away and in other time periods. In later years, she read and then started writing romances and achieved her first publication–a confession story. Married with 4 adult children and 2 granddaughters, Linda now writes heartwarming contemporary and historical stories with a touch of humor from her home in the southern California mountains.

Linda’s Links:

Blog //Facebook //Twitter //Goodreads // Amazon // BoobBub // Newsletter  Signup//

 

 

And don’t miss the first two book in the Deerbourne Inn Series, By Reservation Only and Hope’s Dream

 

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Filed under The Wild Rose Press, WIld Rose Press AUthor

Old hat at this…I think not

So, tomorrow my newest addition to the MacQuire Women Series, THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME is released. It is a scant two months since book 1, SKATER’S WALTZ went out into the book reading universe and you might think I am still basking in the wonderful-ness of the first release and that this new one is sort of taking a back burner to it.

Yeah, NO!

I feel as excited and giddy today as I did on March 3. ANY book, any work, any story I have sent into the world for public consumption has thrilled me. To know that tomorrow people will be reading about Quentin and Moira and how they fell in love is beyond exciting for me. The personal responses I have received from people who have read the first book is humbling and mind blowing. Even my father in law read it and I know he did because he was able to discuss things that happened in the book!!!

I remember my mother in law once told me she loved my husband ( her firstborn) so much she didn’t know if she had any love left over for another child. But when her first daughter was born, she realized a mother’s love knows no bounds or limits. She loved each child equally and thoroughly.

That’s the way I feel about my new release. I love the story and the people in it as much as I loved the first one.

So, I hope if you read There’s No Place like Home you will feel the same way I do.

Here’s a snippet to whet your appetite:

“Remember when your cousin Tiffany got married in the backyard here?”

Confused, Moira nodded.

Quentin rubbed her bottom lip with the pad of his thumb. “When the Reverend told Cole ‘you can kiss your bride,’ and he swooped her off the ground, spun her around and kissed her silly? Remember what you said?”

“I think I said it was the most romantic thing I’d ever seen.”

He nodded. “The exact quote was, ‘I hope someone kisses me like that some day.’”

Her grin was quick at the memory. “Pat snorted and said I’d better be satisfied with licks from the horses and Rob Roy because no guy was ever gonna kiss me.”

“He wasn’t known for tact back then.” He rubbed a hand down her back as he held her. “Remember what happened later on behind the barn?

Because she did, she couldn’t stop the heat from spreading up her face like wildfire. When she nodded again, he said, “You wanted to know what it felt like to be kissed like that and since I was your best friend, you thought I should be the one to do it, because you – quote – felt safe with me – unquote.”

“What was I? Eleven?”

“Thirteen. And I was more than willing. Almost broke my heart in two when you said afterward, ‘I don’t see what all the fuss is about.’”

“Q—”

“Hush.” He kissed her forehead. “Ever since that day, all I’ve wanted is a second chance. Now,” he pulled her body closer, wrapped both arms around her small waist, his hands resting just above the dent in her spine. “We’re both a little older, a little more mature. Some of us are much more experienced—”

“And conceited.”

“Experienced,” he said, the laugh in his voice quiet and seductive, “and things can be so much better.”

Get your copy here or order it at your local bookstore:

Buy Links for THERE’S NO PLACE LIKE HOME 

Amazon: http://amzn.to/1J1f3OZ

The Wild Rose Press: http://bit.ly/1GmM1Je

Barnes and Noble Nook : http://bit.ly/1JjMUG7

 

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Filed under Alpha Hero, Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, MacQuire Women, Romance, Romance Books, Skater's Waltz, There's No Place Like Home