Tag Archives: #SundayBlogs

#SundaySnippet 4.5.2020 Today, Tomorrow, Always

I simply had to pull today’s snippet from one of my favorite books of 2019 – TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS – becauseI wanted to share with you an unbelievable 5 star review I received from Long and Short reviews on Friday. After I stopped crying I knew this week I should re-promo this  book again.

In this scene, Cathy starts to realize there’s more than just a sad spirit floating about in Mac Frayne. Much more…..

Before leaving, I pulled my cellphone from my purse and slipped it into my jacket pocket. Life with Nanny has taught me never to be more than an Instagran call away.

I led the way down the cast-iron circular staircase to the subbasement. I hadn’t been in the personal archives since taking over my keeper-of-the-keys duties—I was going to call it that forever, now—and I’d forgotten how deathly quiet it could be. And creepy. What amounted to two stories below ground level, the staircase was lit only by the electric sconces on the wall guiding us downward. The sound of our shoes bounced and echoed off the metal gratings under our feet.

“It’s wicked spooky down here,” I said when we came to the bottom. “No outside noise. No windows. No people. It’s like a perfect tomb. If I ever got stuck down here, the silence alone would scare me into an early grave.”

“If I was a suspense or a horror writer, this would be a great setting to kill someone and then stash the body,” Frayne said, looking around the space.

“With limited, keyed access and no foot traffic, it wouldn’t be discovered for a while. You could make as much noise or as much of a mess as you wanted and no one would know. The walls would absorb all the sounds of torture and screaming. We’re far enough underground the stench of decomp wouldn’t be noticeable. By the time the body was found, you’d be long gone. It’s kind of a perfect setup, actually.” He perused the area intensely, assessing the possibilities.

A shudder zipped up my spine. Who knew the mild-mannered and reserved writer had such a macabre side?

And why, for the love of God, did I find it so…arousing?

He turned to me, and then cupped the back of his neck with one palm, a half grin lining his mouth. “Sorry. I tend to think out loud without filtering. Side effect of being in a solitary profession. I don’t usually have an audience when thoughts are running around in here”—he tapped his temple—“so I tend to say them out loud.”

“I think you might have missed your calling in the horror-writing department. The scene you set was a little too realistic and probable for comfort. The next time we come down here, I’m hauling a baseball bat along in case you want to try out any of your ideas.”

A heart-stopping grin shot across his face like a bolt of lightning: rapid, blinding, and powerful.

“I’m harmless.” To underscore his point, he drew an X over his heart.

I didn’t know about that. Those dimples were about as harmless as a heart attack.

With a shake of my head and my own grin slipping across my lips, I slid the key into the locked door and opened it. A second door, this one passcode protected, stood a few feet in front of us.

“Double security. Impressive.”

“The museum’s insurance adjustor insisted on it. Some of the papers and items in here could be considered historically priceless.” I typed the seven- digit code I’d had to memorize when I was inducted into the historical society onto the keypad located on the wall abutting the door.

“You know, if I was writing my horror book, I’d make you the sole individual with access to the admittance code,” he said, his voice soft and hushed now around us. “I’d worm my way into your trust, then lure you down here to gain access to some treasure sealed behind the door.”

He was standing close behind me, so close I could feel his breath trail across the back of my neck. The shiver sliding down my spine this time wasn’t from the creep factor associated with the locale. No, this time it was pure excitement fraying my nerve endings. Excitement, want, and…need.

I turned back to face him. A day or two’s thatch of black and white stubble grazed his cheeks and jaw, and if I were to scratch my fingers across it, it would be prickly and incredibly alluring. His eyes had gone to half-mast as he regarded me from under thick lashes, and his lips were parted a fraction.

“Worm your way into my trust, how?”

His shrug appeared noncommittal. After a moment, he tugged his bottom lip under his top teeth and slanted me a gauging squint. “Well, since my purpose would be some shade of evil, malicious intent—”

“Good description for a horror story.”

He grinned. “I’d have to make sure you trusted me. Maybe I’d write a plot point where you took pity on me for some reason.” He stopped, his gaze shooting down to my mouth and then back up again. “Maybe even attempt a simple seduction to ensure my hold over you.”

The subbasement was kept at a comfortable, controlled seventy degrees year round. But you would never have known it by me. With each word from Frayne’s lips, my inner temperature climbed higher, like a nuclear coil overreacting and heating to dangerous levels.

“A-a simple…seduction?”

Good Lord. I was relegated to repeating things now because I couldn’t form a coherent thought. Not with the heat blazing like a firestorm in his eyes.

“Maybe not so…simple.” His voice lowered even more. “The need to be careful with you, with your feelings, would war within me. I’d have to decide what

I wanted more: the hidden treasure…” His gaze flicked to my mouth. “Or you.”

I swallowed.

“And after you decide? Then what?” I asked, trying to keep my voice even and not give him a clue what he was doing to my nervous system. “You’d chop me into tiny bits and leave me for the docents to find in six months’ time while you escaped scot-free?”

I’d meant it to be a playful rejoinder, following his horror theme, and a ridiculous attempt to lighten the mood. The joke was on me, though.

Frayne took a step closer, stretched out an arm and placed his palm flat against the wall, imprisoning me on one side. I lifted my chin to keep my gaze connected with his.

“No.” His voice was as soft as a curl of smoke. “No, I wouldn’t hurt you. Never. I couldn’t.” He shook his head. “I think I’d write it so I stole the treasure…and you along with it. I’d take you both with me.” With a tiny crook to his elbow, he leaned in closer and bent his head.

“Where…where would we go?” I asked. While waiting for his reply, I swallowed again—hard—the sound of my throat working loud and rough between us.

With his free hand, Frayne reached up and idly coiled a strand of my hair around his finger. Lovingly, he rubbed it between his thumb and his first two fingers, then lifted it to his mouth. When he dragged it across his lips, I swear on my oath as an officer of the court, I was in danger of losing my ability to stand.

“Someplace no one would ever find us.” His voice had gone whisper-soft. “Someplace…far away from”— he sighed—“everything and everyone.”

How wonderful that sounded. To go someplace far away from court cases and demanding clients. Loneliness and heartache. Responsibilities and sad memories.

“We’d spend the rest of our lives on a beach somewhere, lying in the warm sun. Drinking champagne, eating lobsters. Sleeping.” He let loose my hair. “Making love. No outside concerns. No thoughts about anything except what time the sun set. Sounds pretty perfect, doesn’t it?”

That ability to keep standing upright? Yeah, well, I lost it right then and there.

I fell backward against the security door, shoving it open with my body. I stumbled across the threshold and would have fallen flat on my butt if Frayne’s reflexes weren’t laser swift. His strong hands went around my upper arms and held fast. Even through the layers of my blouse and the warm wool jacket, heat blasted from his fingers, branding my flesh as if he held it, bare, in his hands.

When the door opened, the automatic light shot to the on position and the glare from the overhead fluorescents was blinding.

Frayne held me close in front of him, even after I was sure-footed, his fingers slowly kneading my upper arms as he continued to stare down at me. “Are you okay?”

I swallowed the lump in my throat for the third time—and then tried to take a step back and out of his hold.

His grip tightened. “Cathy? Are you all right?”

“You can let me go,” I said, my voice shaking. “I won’t fall. Promise.”

Intrigued? I hope so. If you are, you can get your copy across any of these platforms.

Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

Until next time, peeps ~Peg

Looking for me? Here I am: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

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Filed under Today Tomorrow Always

#SundaySnippet 3.22.2020

SO I got the release date for my Wild Rose Press ONE SCOOP OR TWO addition, VANILLA WITH A TWIST. Publication day is May 20, 2020, so I figured I’d give you a little something for that soon to be released book today.

She pulled a paper towel from the dispenser, and before she thought better of it, cupped his chin intending to swipe at the grime on his face.

The moment she touched him Tandy knew she’d made a mistake. A big one.

His skin was as warm as sunshine, and the scratch of his evening stubble prickled her fingertips, the sensation vaulting though her and making her…yearn. It had been a long, long time since she’d experienced such an overwhelming sensation for a man—any man. Handsome guys on vacation came into her store every day. Sometimes with families in tow, sometimes not. A quick smile, a second glance, and a tiny show of interest on their part was something she was familiar with. But she’d never succumbed, never allowed herself to actually feel something akin to desire. The road to a quick and hot night of passion came with consequences that could last a lifetime. And she was the poster child for those potential consequences.

But now, standing in her shop after closing time, with the sun long gone and only the two of them for company, Tandy wondered what would happen if she gave in to the sensations swimming within her and centered on the man before her.

“You’ve got, um, motor oil. Here. Um, on your…face. Cheekbone.”

Goodness, it was bad enough she was babbling, but her hands held a fine tremor of visible nerves, too. He had to notice it.

“Go ahead and wipe it, since I can’t see it and you can.” His voice was smooth and modulated, the opposite of her jagged and blathering one. He dipped his head a bit so she didn’t have to stretch so far, his gaze zeroed in on hers. His face was so close it would take nothing, really, to bring her mouth to his. She couldn’t decide if the fact she could or that she wanted to was more terrifying.
She swiped the towel over the area, his chin still cradled in her hand. Standing so close to him, she detected a hint of citrus spice from his aftershave. The desire to run her nose along the column of his neck and inhale all that manly scent bounded through her and competed with the need she felt to kiss him.

Why did this man provoke such strong reactions in her? It was a question she couldn’t answer with any clarity.

“It’s not coming off?”
Tandy blinked him back into focus.
“No.” She dropped her hand and took a few steps back, needing the distance. “I think you’d better do it yourself.” She handed him the paper towel.

With a nod, he headed for the bathroom.

Tandy pressed her hand across her abdomen, let out a full, tortured breath in a long whoosh, and bent at the waist, hands now on top of her thighs.

Jiminy Crickets, Tandy. Breathe. Just breathe.

VANILLA WITH A TWIST ( One Scoop or Two) by Peggy Jaeger

Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop’s machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn’t had a day off in a decade and wonders if she’ll ever be able to live a worry-free life.

Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher’s Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy’s shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.

Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?

More info coming soon, peeps.

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Romance, Romance Books

#sundaySnippet 3.15.2020

This week, a few lines from TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS, in which Nanny Fee speaks the plain truth to Cathy.

After getting her settled back into her room, I bent and kissed her cheek telling her I’d call her later on.

With an impatient wave of her hand, she said, “Don’t be worrying about me, lass. It’s fine, I am. Get along to work now. I’m sure you’re as busy as your dear father always was.”

“More,” I said, leaning in for a hug. “But never too busy for you.”
A soft and bewitching grin bloomed on her face. It was easy to see the beauty she’d been in her youth when she smiled this way.

“There’s a darlin’ girl, you are.” She lifted up on her toes to kiss my cheek. “Oh, now, before I forget. Olivia Joyner stopped by the other day.”

“Olivia? What was she doing here?”

“Her grandmother was admitted after breaking a hip in a fall last week. She’s down the hall, and Olivia spotted me name outside the door and came in for a chat. She’s always been such a delightful girl.”

Olivia was the same age as me, and we’d gone from kindergarten through Heaven High together. I wondered if my grandmother referred to me as a girl when she spoke to others.

“Is her grandmother okay?”

Nanny waved a hand and grinned. “Right as rain, she is, but the doctor wanted her looked after until he’s certain she can get up and about by herself again. Olivia wanted to care for her at home, but it was too much with her business and her daughter finishin’ graduate school and movin’ out, and all.”

“I didn’t realize Freya was old enough to have finished college, let alone grad school.” I should have, because Olivia gave birth to her when we were seniors in high school. Time, as I’ve often thought, goes by ridiculously fast.

“Aye. She’s leaving the nest, but Olivia says she’s ready.”

The corners of Nanny’s eyes slitted a bit as she regarded me. Uh-oh. Whenever Nanny tossed you a slanty-eyed glare, it meant you were gonna have a come-to-Jesus lecture. She opened her purse and pulled something out of it. “Before she left, she asked me to give ya this when I saw ya again.”

“What is it?”

“Her business card.” She handed it to me. “Said to give her a jingle when ya got the chance.”

Olivia’s name was written in beautiful calligraphy, her occupation listed below it, and her business phone number in the bottom corner of the card.

I swallowed, my throat suddenly dry as day-old burnt toast. “Why does she want me to call?” I asked, even though I had a sneaking suspicion about the reason.

I hoped I was wrong, and she merely wanted a little legal advice.

“Well, lass, why do you think she wants to speak to ya? Wants to set you up, doesn’t she, being a matchmaker and all?”

Nope. It seems I wasn’t wrong at all.

Olivia Joyner was a fourth-generation matchmaker, and the fact she wanted me to call her about a possible set up was…uncomfortable to say the least. There were a few other words—like embarrassed and pitiful—I could add.

“It’s time, lass,” Nanny told me, her eyes softening as she stared up at me. “Time to move on. You’re still a young, beautiful, desirable woman. It’s time a man came into your life and brought some happiness along with him into it. Gave you babies to love. A fulfilling life. Olivia can help ya with that.”

I tucked the card into my coat pocket. “I have a full life, Nanny. Believe me.”

“Aye, lass, it’s busy you are with your career. But wouldn’t it be nice to come home to someone who loved ya? Who warmed your bed at night? You’re a healthy, vibrant woman. Ya’ve normal needs, you do, I’m sure.”

My earlobes burned with heat. There was no way I was having this conversation with my grandmother, a women old enough to have forgotten everything about needs, desires, and anything else sex related. Unfortunately, because this was Fiona, the four times married woman who’d been able to fit in love affairs with royalty between her marriages, there was no way she’d forgotten anything need or desire laden.

Intrigued? If so, thanks! And you can get your own copy at these fine online retailers in Ecopy or Print: Amazon // B&N // Applebooks   // Rakuten-Kobo // google play // Books-a-million //

Also available at the TOADSTOOL BOOKSHOP in Keene, NH

If you’re looking for me, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me

Until next time, peeps  ~Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Today Tomorrow Always

#SundaySnippet 3.7.2020

I love when characters get into each other’s heads, don’t you? In this scene from A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, Abby Laine is digging deep into Rick’s motives. Her questions prove a little too spot on for his comfort. Enjoy~

 

“She definitely had some angels on her shoulders today,” she said after taking a sip. “I wish her son could be at the hospital with her. I’m so worried about him. About what his father could be doing to him.”

Rick’s stomach clenched. “Do you think he’d hurt the kid?”

“He has in the past. That’s what finally prompted Lila to leave. For a reason I will never understand, she tolerated being hit by her husband, but the moment he laid a hand on their child, she knew she had to leave. Why she bore being abused is beyond me.”

“Maybe as an adult, she figured she could take it. Not so her kid.”

Abby shook her head as she stirred the contents of the wok. “You can hit me but not my child? That’s convoluted thinking and shows how little we’ve really evolved as a society. Unfortunately, I see too many instances like this in my practice. Women, who for whatever reason, are convinced they deserve to be treated abominably, that a marriage license gives their husbands the right to hit them. The legal right.” She shook her head again. As she stirred the chicken around the wok, it popped and sizzled over the heated oil.

A flash of himself at eight, his parents’ screaming voices above him, pushed to the front of his mind. The resounding thwack of the back of his father’s hand striking his mother’s cheek was as loud and terrifying to hear in his head now as it had been then. Rick took a deep breath and shoved the memory back down.

He took a large swig of the water. “Any calls from your cop buddy? Updates?”

“I checked when I was getting changed. Nothing.” She sighed and then tossed two wrappers into the now- boiling pot of water. “In a minute, everything will be ready,” she said. “The rice needs to set.”

“That’s rice? It’s the wrong color.”

“You’ve never seen brown rice before?”

“Seen it. Had it. Just didn’t know it came in wrappers.”

This time she didn’t try to hide her grin. “If you tell Kandy, I’ll deny it until my dying breath.”

“Tell her what?”

With another subtle eye roll, Abby said, “That I take shortcuts. If Kandy was making this meal, the rice would have soaked in warm water for an hour, then would have been cooked in a rice steamer for another. I don’t have two spare hours. This”—she pointed to the pot—“is quick rice. Something I don’t think my darling chef sister has ever prepared. You know Kandy. She never uses commercial products. Everything is fresh, raw, and unprocessed.”

“Truth. And don’t forget delicious.”

“To use your word, truth. But cooking is what she lives for. I cook so I won’t starve, and most of the time I’m in a time crunch. So”—she waved a hand— “shortcuts.”

“As long as it tastes good and I didn’t have to make it, I don’t care how long it took to prepare.”

“Which is why takeout was invented for people like you. Here we go. All set.”

She spooned the chicken mixture onto a serving plate and, using tongs, pulled the rice from the pot, sliced the sides open, and poured the grains into a bowl.

“Take these to the table.” She handed him the food. “I’ll get plates and utensils.”

Once they were settled, Rick dug in.

After eating in silence for a few moments, he said, “This is good. Really good.”

Abby laughed. “Surprised, are you?”

“Impressed. This tastes like our favorite chef- lebrity made it.”

“She hates being called that, you know.”

“And still…” He lifted a hand.

God. You’re such a pain.”
He could see the humor skirting in her eyes.

“You’ve called me that before. Several times over the years, including on Kandy’s wedding day.”

The moment he said it he knew her mind traveled back to the same memory of the day as his did: their kiss. Her beautiful blue eyes widened, then narrowed, a thin worry line creasing the spot between her sculpted brows. The little flush of heat pinking her cheeks was the same color as her fuzzy socks.

Who knew she was so easy to tease? And why did it give him such a kick to see the nervous little shake of her head when he did?

“You were being an exceptional pain in the butt that day. If I remember correctly you called us minions. Not exactly a flattering phrase, Bannerman.”

He leaned back in the chair and took a chug from the water bottle. “Just calling it like I saw it. What description would you have preferred?”

“Attendants is the appropriate term. Bridal attendants. Calling us minions made us seem like mindless…lemmings.”

He laughed out loud. “From where I was standing, that’s exactly what you all were, although I wouldn’t call you mindless. You were all dressed identically, did everything together as a unit, and were at Kandy’s beck and call. She said jump, you all asked how high.”

“That’s what we were supposed to do. Our job was to make sure Kandy’s day ran smoothly, with no worries. Haven’t you ever been in a wedding party?”

“Nope. I’ve been lucky to miss that experience so far.”

Her mouth pursed around her fork. “Do you even have friends?” she asked after swallowing.

“ ’Course I have friends. What kind of a question is that?”

“Aside from Josh.”

Well…

“You don’t give off a ‘let’s get together and have a beer’ vibe, you know.”

Intrigued, he asked, “Really? What kind of vibe do I give off?”
When she didn’t respond, he pressed. “Come on, Abigail. You can’t leave me hanging.”

“Right there.” She aimed her fork at him as if it were a spear. “Perfect example. You know I hate being called Abigail. I’ve lost count of the hundreds of times I’ve told you and you still do it, knowing it pisses me off. And”—she cut him off before he could speak— “your usual response is to lift your hands and say ‘and still’ when you’re called on it. Who does that? What kind of person persistently and purposefully annoys people?”

“So you’re saying I’m intentionally annoying?”

“Persistently, so. Yes. Makes the lawyer in me wonder why.”

Just the lawyer?

“Any answers come to mind?”

“Plenty.”

“Care to share?”
She placed her fork down next to her plate and regarded him across the table. “You really want to hear this? Because if you know anything about me, you know I’m truthful. I don’t hold back.”

Oh, he was sure she didn’t. And wouldn’t. Her tenacity was one of the things he’d first been drawn to. That and her fabulous ass.

“I’m a big boy,” he said with a grin. “I can take it.

She took a sip of water first, her eyes trained on him the entire time. “Okay. If you really want to hear this.”

He waved his hand for her to continue.

“I think you use your cocky, aren’t-I-simply-too- witty attitude to keep people at a distance. You’re guarded. Emotionally. Like you don’t want to get close to anyone. You don’t want people diving in too deep, digging under the surface to see the real you. You don’t allow people to get to know you. Really know you.”

Because she came a little too close for comfort, Rick reached for his water.

“You never talk about yourself. Ever. Every time I’ve been in your presence at any function, barbecue, whatever”—she swiped a hand in the air—“you’re always the one asking questions. Probing. Being nosy. But when you’re asked a question, a personal one, you deflect and redirect.”

It was true. He never talked about himself. The army shrink he’d been forced to see had told him point blank he was fearful of rejection, afraid if people knew the real him, they’d run for the hills or in the opposite direction and want nothing to do with him. She hadn’t been too far off the mark.

“Did you ever think it’s because I feel people are more interesting than I am?”

“I’m calling bullshit, Bannerman.”

Again, because it was true, he had no real response. She cocked her head and pierced him with what he was now and forever going to call her lawyer death stare. “I don’t know anything personal about you,” she said. “We met four years ago, have been together dozens of times over the years, yet until today I didn’t even know where you lived. If it weren’t for Gemma, I wouldn’t know you’d been in the army.”

“You’ve discussed me with your sister?” Why did knowing that give him such a rush of delicious pleasure?

Abby waved a hand in the air again. “She mentioned it one night after she’d done some photography work for you on a surveillance job. About how you were much better suited to the boring wait- around-for-something-to-happen of surveillance work than she’d ever be because you were—her word— stealthy. It was probably because you’d been a sniper in the army, she said.”

Rick shook his head. He’d forgotten he’d told Abby’s younger sister about his army stint. It came out one day, unbidden, when he’d taken her target shooting at the practice range.

“I would never have known if she hadn’t told me. I didn’t even think to ask if you’ve got a gun with you.”

After a few moments, he nodded. “It’s in my duffle. But don’t worry. I don’t need the gun to protect you.”

Duh. The gun business aside, you’re partners with my brothers-in-law, but I don’t know if you’ve ever been married or divorced. If you have any kids. Living parents. It’s as if you don’t want people to know anything about you. To know you. Or to like you. Almost as if you go out of your way to make sure they don’t.”

This conversation was getting entirely too close for comfort. He wished he’d never pressed her into explaining.

From the corner of his gaze, he saw the cat hobbling into the room, beelining for her mother. He reached a hand down as she skittered by and grazed her fluffy back. Moonlight stopped, turned, and moved as his fingers trailed across her back again. When she did it a third time, Rick smirked across the table.

“Well, your cat likes me, so I can’t be all bad.” He reached over and single-handedly pulled the animal up to his lap, surprised she was so light. From the girth of hair on her, he figured she’d be heavy. “You really are a furball, aren’t you?” The rub of his finger across her neck had the cat running like a motorized propeller again.

He glanced across the table. “What’s the look for?”

She immediately blanked her face, grabbed up the last bits of her chicken with her fork, and shoved it through her lips.

Intrigued? You can get your copy here: Amazon //B&N //Ibooks//  Booksamillion

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: RICK, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Romance, Romance Books

#SundaySnippet 2.16.2020

So, the other day I sent off the manuscript for the final book in my Match Made in Heaven series, BAKED WITH LOVE, to my editor at Wild Rose Press. Fingers crossed she likes it.

I get a great deal of inspiration for writing my characters from my PInterest Boards. I have a few for Baked with Love you can troll thru:

Maureen’s Aprons //  Nanny Fee // Maureen and Lucas

Below is the opening scene I’ve written for the book. Here’s hoping it stays as is when it gets edited, because I lovelovelove this scene so much! Hope you do, too.

Chapter 1

Oh, my God, Maureen.” My sister Colleen’s voice rose a good two octaves from its normal sultry timbre. “Are those…penis pops?”

“Lower your voice,” I told her as I continued to pipe buttercream roses on the cupcakes I’d made for tomorrow’s wedding. “My entire inn doesn’t need to know I’ve got those”—I grinned—“hardening in my kitchen.”

“Why, in the name of all that’s holy are there”—she counted out loud—“seven chocolate candies in the shape of male genitalia on your counter?”

“Because your bride’s maid of honor special ordered them for the attendants. I tried to talk her out of it, but she paid me triple to make them and wouldn’t take no for an answer. Be happy there are only seven. She wanted one for each of the thirty females on the guest list. I was able to talk her out of it by promising to make those”—I pointed my chin toward the candy—“for the bridesmaids. She’s going to present them tonight after the rehearsal. Thinks they’ll be, quote, a scream, unquote.”

My wedding planner and getting-bigger-by-the-second pregnant sister plopped down onto one of my kitchen chairs and sighed. Heavily.

“Oh, good Lord. Thanks for the head’s up. I’ll make sure the moms are nowhere in sight when she gives them out. I don’t relish having to listen to one more complaint about this wedding. I’ve had enough for the past week to last me until Princess here”—she patted her round tummy—“is off to college.”

I flicked her a glance and said, “Put your feet up, Coll. I can see how swollen they are from here.”

With more effort than was probably warranted – she is after all, related to our grandmother, who corners the market on theatricality – she hefted her feet onto an opposing kitchen chair then extended and flexed her toes a few times. This time her sigh was thick with fatigue, and if I wasn’t mistaken, pain.

“I can’t believe you’re still wearing those ridiculous heels when you’re almost nine months along,” I chided. “Standing in them all day can’t be good for the baby. Or your back.”

“Stop scolding me.” It was impossible not to miss the whine in her voice. “I refuse to take advice from someone who thinks flipflops are the greatest invention known to the shoe wearing population of the world. For the record, my back is fine and my feet don’t hurt.”

“No, they just look like flesh colored water balloons.”

“When did you turn so mean? You’re usually the supportive, quiet sister.”

In ordinary circumstances this was true. But with my ready-to-pop and three-inch heel wearing sister, I was more than willing to make an exception.

I piped the last rose on the final cupcake, laid my pastry bag down on the counter, and took a good look at her. Camera ready face with her professionally polished outfit perfect and not a tendril of red hair out of place, the middle of my three sisters looked something she rarely did: tired. With her hands folded over her protruding belly, she’d dropped her chin to her chest and closed her eyes.

The snarky remark I was going to make about the benefits of wearing flats died before I gave it breath.

Since lunch service had finished a half hour ago and my serving staff was done with cleanup, Colleen and I were alone in my kitchen. I put the kettle on for tea and asked, “Did you have lunch?”

When she lifted her head her eyes took a moment to clear before they focused on me, lending credence to the fact she was tired. And maybe more than simply tired.

“There’s a salad waiting for me at the office. Charity got one for me while I was with the florist.”

“Text her back and tell her to put it in the fridge. I’ll make you something to eat.”

While she contacted her assistant, I plated the luncheon salad I’d concocted for today’s menu, then put half a ham and cheese sandwich into my Panini maker.

“Eat this until the sandwich is done.” I handed her the salad and a bottled water.

“What is it?”

“Spinach, cranberries, walnuts, raisins and carrots with a light pomegranate dressing and shaved Parmesan.”

Colleen shoved a forkful in and groaned. “Oh. My. God. Honestly, Maureen, you should have your own cooking show. This is insane.”

“Everything she makes is insane,” a male voice said from the doorway.

It was a voice I knew well, since its owner was a frequent inhabitant of my dreams. Husky and deep, with a dash of just woken gravel, it could cajole a lover into seduction or cut off a criminal at the knees.

Fortunately, I’d never been the latter. But I’d fantasized about being the former for years.

“Truth,” Colleen said around a mouthful of salad. “Why are you here?” she asked Heaven’s Chief of Police, Lucas Alexander before I could. “Somebody call a cop?”

Lucas flicked his moss green, heavily hooded eyes from my sister to me, one corner of his mouth tilting up. I actually had to contract my pelvic floor muscles whenever he looked at me so I wouldn’t melt to the floor in a pool of want. My ninety-three year old grandmother, Nanny Fee, calls this girding your loins. As far as a descriptive phrase for the maneuver, it’s a good one.

“You got a minute?” he asked me.

“A few. Then I have to get the dining room reading for tonight’s rehearsal dinner.” I pulled Colleen’s sandwich from the press when the bell tinged. Lucas, always comfortable in my kitchen, moved to lean a hip against the counter and then halted mid stride.

I knew the cause of his sudden stop and bit down on the inside of my cheek while I handed Colleen her plate. She caught my eye, and my stifled grin, and realized the cause. Her lips lifted in a wicked grin.

Lucas cleared his throat. “Are those–? Wait. What, what are those? Are they…?”

“Are they what?” Colleen asked, innocence dripping from her voice, at the same time I asked, “Want one?”

Lucas spun around to find the two of us staring at him, expressions blanked, and waiting for him to continue.

He huffed out a breath and dragged a hand through his hair. “Never mind,” he said, with a nervous shake of his head and shoulders.

Colleen glanced up at me, winked, and then took a huge bite of her Panini. “Oh, good Lord, Mo.”

I smiled and told her, “You’re welcome,” before I said to Lucas, “What’s up?”

He cocked his head in a come-with-me move.

In the breezeway separating my private kitchen from the commercial one I used for the inn I own and cook in, Lucas stopped, bit down on a corner of his mouth, and twirled his hat in his hands. If I didn’t know better, I’d think he was nervous, but nerves weren’t an emotion common to this man. His army training had taught him how to remain calm in any crisis, cool under the most volatile of situations. I’d never even heard him raise his voice in all the years I’d known him.

I repeated my question.

“I need a favor.”

I rolled my hand in a go on gesture.

“Cathy might have mentioned Robert’s coming to spend a few weeks with me. Nora’s getting remarried this weekend and then leaving on a long honeymoon.”

I nodded. “I’d heard that, but not from Cathy.” To the question in his eyes I said, “Nanny told me the other day when I dropped off her scone delivery at the nursing home. She heard it from Tillie Carlisle who got it from Maeve Capshaw, whose granddaughter, Olivia, told her. Nanny said Olivia was the one who introduced Nora to her intended at a divorced-and-looking event she’d hosted.”

“Jesus.” Lucas shook his head again. “Small towns.”

I couldn’t help but smile. “A curse and a blessing, as Cathy is fond of saying.”

“Yeah, well, your sister is one of the smartest people I know. Anyway. Nora doesn’t want to leave Robert home alone. He’s too old for a babysitter, but at fifteen, still too young to be left to his own defenses. He just started driver’s ed and doesn’t have a valid license yet, so it was easier to take him while she’s gone.”

“So he’s gonna stay with you and your dad until they get back?”

“Yeah.”

“Why don’t you sound happy? Whenever Robert’s visited for school breaks before you’ve always been thrilled since you don’t get to see him as much since they moved.”

He huffed out another breath and leaned a shoulder against the wall. My pregnant sister wasn’t the only one who was tired.

“I’m not not happy he’s coming to stay. It’s more, things with dad now aren’t good and I’m afraid he’s gonna make the kid’s life miserable with all his complaining and griping. Last time Robert came for a weekend all dad did was harp on him. Get a haircut, stand up straight, stop mumbling. Poor kid couldn’t wait to get back to his mother, and that’s saying something, because she’s almost as bad. I don’t want him to spend all his time with his grandfather while he’s here, getting criticized for merely breathing.”

“I’m assuming this is where the favor you need from me comes in?”

He nodded. “The kid needs something to occupy him while he’s here. I’ve gotta work and I can’t take any time. I don’t want him sitting home all day fighting with dad or locked in his room playing video games. I want him to get out of the house. Get a job. You hire high school kids to bus tables and help serve. I’m hoping you’ll take Robert on as summer crew. Then, I’ll know where he is during the day, he’ll earn a little money of his own, and I won’t have to worry about coming home to World War III every night. Plus…”

“Plus?”

“Well, if he’s with you I won’t…worry about him. I know he’ll be in good hands. You’ll feed him and watch out for him like he was one of your own. Like you do everyone else.”

To say I was thrilled by the offhanded compliment was an understatement. Even if I wasn’t on the lookout for extra help, I would have hired Lucas’s son.

“Sure. I can always use another body, especially in the summer when I’ve got a full house every weekend from Colleen’s wedding parties.”

Lucas’s shoulders dropped a couple of degrees from where they’d stationed themselves at his ears and he let out a breath filled with relief. “Thanks, Maureen. Really.”

I waved my hand at him. “Don’t worry about it. When does he get here?”

“Sunday morning. Nora’s dropping him off before she leaves for the airport.”

I nodded. “Get him all unpacked and settled and then you can bring him by Monday. I’ll go over everything with him then, okay?”

“More than okay. Again, I can’t thank you enough. You’re truly a lifesaver.” He took my hand and squeezed it. Lucas had done this hundreds of times over the years and like every other time he had, the wiring in my heart went a little haywire.

And like every other time, I swallowed the temptation to tug on his hand and pull him close enough so I could kiss him.

“Any time okay?” He let my hand go and I had to physically refrain myself from pulling it back.

“After breakfast service would be good, so around ten-ish?”

He nodded. Whatever he was going to say was cut off by the beeper at his waistband blaring.

“Sorry.” A quick glance at it and he shoved his hat back on his head. “Duty calls.” He grinned. “See you Monday.”

I waited until he walked out the Inn’s front doors before going back to the kitchen. In all honesty I needed a moment alone to center myself. Seeing Lucas, no matter when or where, always made my insides flutter, my toes tingle, and my heart beat faster.

From the time I’d turned nine Lucas Alexander had been the only man I’d ever loved. At eighteen, nine years older than me, he’d been my brother-in-law’s best friend from the cradle and a part of our family since I was a baby. But the first time I’d ever spied him in his army uniform I’d lost my heart forever. Cliché though it is, Lucas in a uniform had slayed me, even as a little girl. Twenty-plus years later I still felt the same way whenever I saw him in his police attire.

And in his regular clothes, too.

Colleen was still in her chair, feet up, the plates in front of her now empty, and her chin kissing her chest again. I had to smile. This was the sister who defined the term perpetual motion. To see her actually napping during daylight hours was akin to seeing a leprechaun’s pot’o gold. This pregnancy, her first at the age of thirty-seven, was weighing heavily on her and zapping the energy she was blessed with. I didn’t have the heart to rouse her.

With as little noise as I could, I went about tidying the kitchen. The sharp ping of her cell phone signaling an incoming text ten minutes later called her slumber to an end.

She startled, blinked a few times, then tugged her phone from her pocket. No one I knew could type faster than my sister. A series of rapid-fire finger taps and then the whoosh of her text being sent filled the room.

“Did I fall asleep?” she asked, while she stretched her arms high above her head.

“Just for a few minutes. I’m betting this was the first time you’ve sat all day.”

With another of those soul-weary sighs, she hefted her feet from the chair and stood. Another full body stretch, then she said, “No rest for the wicked. Or wedding planners the day before a big wedding.”

“Where are you off to now?”
“The church, the spa to check tomorrow’s appointments, the printers to pick up the programs for the ceremony. Then back to the office for a conference call.” She ticked each stop off on her fingers. “I can check off the rehearsal and reception right now. Everything set?”

“All taken care of. When you all get back from the rehearsal, I’ll start service. Some of the non-bridal party guests have already begun arriving. I had Janie put all the goodiebags in their rooms this morning. The bridal suite is all set for tomorrow. I have the champagne in the cooler and I’ll put it in the room during the reception.” I swiped a hand toward the cupcakes I’d been decorating when she arrived. “In lieu of the cake your bride didn’t want, I’ve got the cupcakes she did all ready to go.”

Colleen sighed and kissed my cheek. “I honestly don’t know what I’d do without you.”

“You’d survive but you wouldn’t get the family discount or the personal service-with-a-smile you’re used to.”

Her laugh warmed my heart.

“Before you go,” I moved to my industrial refrigerator, pulled out a bundle of aluminum foils and put them in a shopping bag. “Here. Leftovers from yesterday for you and Slade. Now you don’t have to cook tonight.”

Colleen took the bag and then tugged me into her arms for a full body hug, not an easy accomplishment with her belly bump in the way.

“I simply adore you,” she said, with another cheek kiss. “My husband does, as well. You take care of us better than anyone.”

“I aim to please.”

“Speaking of, what did Lucas want?”

I glared at her. “How did you take ‘I am to please’ and equate it with Lucas?”

“He’s just another person in your realm who adores you and who you take care of.”

I shook my head. “Okay, first? He adores my cooking, not me. And second? My realm? Really, Coll? You make me sound like some imperial and benevolent ruler.”

“Benevolent for sure. I won’t go so far as to call you a ruler because then I’d be your subject and I’m older than you, so, no way.”

Her laugh drew one from me.

“And as far as Lucas adoring your cooking and not you, they’re one and the same, sis. Now, why was he here?” She held up the shopping bag. “To mooch one of these go-bags for him and his dad?”

She wasn’t wrong in asking if I’d given him his own to take. More times than not, Lucas would stop by on his way home after a long day for a quick cup of coffee and a chat. He never left empty handed if Sarah—my assistant—or me had anything to say about it.

I explained about Robert Alexander and the favor Lucas had asked me.

“Win win for you,” she said. “You get extra help, which I know you can always use, plus you get another person to take under your smother-love maternal wing and care for.”

“What do you mean?”

“You know exactly what I mean, Maureen Angela Bernadette.” She flapped her free hand in the air like she was waving a wand. “You may be the baby in our family, but you act more like a mother hen any day of the week. You cook for us, look out for us, heck, you even research solutions to problems like you did when Cathy’s dog got sick, or when I was suffering through that awful early stage morning sickness. Adding Lucas’s son, a teenaged boy who’s probably got all the angst and raging emotions inherent in the breed under your wing, and I bet my secret stash of Peppermint Patties the kid’s never gonna look at his own mother the same way again.” She kissed my cheek one more time and said, “I’ve gotta go, so toodles. I’ll see you later when I come back to escort the bridal party to the church. Thanks for lunch.” She lifted the bag. “And dinner.”

To her retreating back I said, “Just FYI, it’s not such a secret stash. We all know where you keep your candy.”

Her response was to toss me a backhanded wave as she went through the doors of the Inn.

With my hands fisted on my hips I shook my head.

So what if I tend to spoil the people I love? Make sure they got enough to eat? Always have a bed ready they can crash in, or a willing ear they can confide in? They deserve it. It’s my humble opinion if more people showed how much they cared about one another, instead of simply tossing out an offhanded I love you every now and again, people, in general, would be much happier.

If that’s smothering, so be it.

Back in my kitchen I washed Colleen’s dishes, then reheated my cup of untouched tea. While I drank it, I planned the next few days in my head and went over the staffing I’d need for the busy weeks ahead of me. When I added Robert Alexander’s name to my mentally tally, it was his father’s ruggedly handsome face that popped into my mind’s eye.

The exhaustion I saw floating in his eyes was worrying. Having his aged and ailing father living with him was taking a toll on Lucas’s mental wellbeing. Hogan Alexander cornered the market on the term curmudgeon. He’d been crabby and ill-tempered ever since I could remember. My grandmother claimed it was because his wife up and left him after sixteen years of marriage, saddling him with a teenaged son Hogan didn’t know how to relate to. The fact Lucas grew to such a wonderful man and upstanding citizen was one of the wonders of the modern world. Cursed with a father who doled out complaints instead of compliments and a mother who left to find her self at the age of forty, Lucas could so easily have gone to the dark side. Instead, he’d enlisted in the army with his best friend, served three tours, then come home to roost.

When his own marriage had gone south, Lucas didn’t turn bitter as his father had, but made every effort he could to be a good father to his son.

A quick glance at the wall clock and I stopped my wool-gathering. I had to get the private dining room ready for Colleen’s bride’s rehearsal dinner. Before though, I needed to wrap the chocolate pops and get them to the Maid of Honor. Remembering the look of confused horror on Lucas’s face when he spied them brought a smile to my own.

But then, just thinking of him always did.

Yeah, I know it’s a long one, but every word I truly loved writing!!!

I’ll let you know about publishing details if and when I have them!

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women

#SundaySnippet 2.09.2020

So this week I’m going off the rails for my Sunday Snippet. Instead of giving you a little sumthin’ sumthin’ about a romance book I’m working on, I’m giving you a few lines from a short story that’s out in the Australia Burns anthology from the Wild Rose Press.

There are 3 books in the anthology series and my story THE TUESDAY NIGHT MEETING is in the first one.

This is a short story I wrote years ago when I was really into the female empowerment movement. I still am, I just go about it in a different way now, heehee. And if that doesn’t whet your appetite for the story, nothing else I say will!

Here ya go; enjoy:

“Bob tries his best, Miz Kane. Honest he does,” Cora said, her cheeks heating. “He means well, but…well…he…”

As she trailed off, Wisteria rose and hobbled over to Cora’s side. Kathryn Anne graciously gave up her chair for the oldest member and founder of the club. Wisteria settled in and took Cora’s work-weary hand in her own gnarled one. “My dear, sometimes we can be confronted by truths which are hard to acknowledge. I know Molly didn’t mean to upset you. We would never insult a guest, especially one we want to join our organization.”

Blinking back tears, Cora replied, “That’s all right, Miz Plowright. I know no harm was intended. My Bob, well, he’s just high-strung’s all.”

“High-strung,” Molly repeated and crossed her arms over her ample bosom. “Better strung up, I say.”

Cora’s trembling returned. “Now, Miz Kane, I can understand why you feel that way and all, with the problems you’ve had with Bob. I apologize for the trouble he’s caused you.”

“No need for you to apologize, Cora,” Molly said. She peered through her thick eyeglasses and continued. “The fault’s not yours. You’re a lot like your mother, God rest her soul. Forgiving and apologizing all the time for things beyond her.”

“Bob means well, honest he does,” Cora said, her eyes pleading at the women in the room. “It’s, well, he can’t seem to find his way.”

“Is that any reason for him to hit you and the children, Cora?” Mavis asked, her sonorous voice booming accusingly throughout the room.

Cora’s eyes widened, bulging against the sockets. Before she could deny the charge, Mavis silenced her with a wave of her hand.

“That bruise over your left cheek is mostly faded now. It’s been three weeks since you were seen in the emergency room over at County General. Kitty Hawkins was the night supervisor on duty the evening you were brought in. You told some cock-and-bull tale about falling down the basement steps. The story was as phony as the blood on your dress was real. You don’t have a basement. The sheriff hauled Bob in for the night and charged him with disturbing the peace and public drunkenness. I can only imagine what small, insignificant thing you did that he thought you deserved a beating for.”

The little of Cora’s remaining will dissolved under the older woman’s gaze. A flood of tears poured out of her all at once, and a sob rocked her chest.

Kathryn Anne provided a lace handkerchief, as Wisteria patted Cora’s arm.

“It’s all right, darlin’. You’re among friends here.”

Cora swiped at her eyes. “I’m…I’m sorry for the blubbering, ladies. Truly I am. It’s just been so hard. With Bob scraping from one job to the next…never enough money for food. He drinks to try and forget his troubles, his failures. But I swear on my mother’s soul, Miz Carruthers, he’s never laid a hand on the children. He wouldn’t dare.”

“We believe you, my dear,” Wisteria said. Taking a deep breath, she added, “I think now might be a good time to tell you about our organization, about why we asked you here tonight.” She looked up at the current president of the club.

“Cora,” Mavis aid, capturing the entire attention of the room, “do you know anything about our group?”

She shook her head and swiped at her still running nose. “Not much, ma’am. I know you give out scholarships to worthy high school girls for college. And you support the poor, especially at the holidays. I’ve seen write-ups in the paper about the good things y’all have done. But aside from those, I don’t know much else. Excepting,” she said, “ that you’re all widows.”

The members of the club collectively smiled at her.

“That’s why I thought it strange to be asked here tonight. I’m not a widow.”

“No, darlin’, you’re not,” Wisteria said, smiling. “Not yet.”

Cora gaped, openmouthed, at the old woman.

Intrigued? If so, order your copy here and know that all the proceeds are going to the Australian Red Cross to help aid victims of the Wild Fires.

Looking for me? I’m usually here:Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// Book Me // Watch me

And remember:And IT’S A TRUST THING is now at 99cents forever on Amazon!!! Good Price for a good Book – but I’m biased.

 

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Filed under Uncategorized, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 11.10.19

I put that ad image up because it exemplifies to perfection why I just love Nell Newberry. The fact she has impulse control issues is my favorite thing about her. She’s a lot like me in that regard. Says whatever pops into her mind without thinking first. Love that! In this scene she’s just come to Charlie’s apartment for the first time for dinner. 

He was waiting for me at his apartment door after I’d checked in with the doorman. A lifetime of watching my mother be a guest and hostess had instilled certain behaviors in me, not the least of which was to always bring along a gift whenever I was invited to someone’s home. I carried a bottle of white wine in one hand, a pastry box filled with cupcakes I’d stopped to buy in Penn Station in my other.

“You didn’t have to bring anything,” Charlie said after closing the door behind me. He took both items from my outstretched hands than bent to give me a quick kiss on the mouth, like an old friend would.

My pulse tripled when his lips met mine.

“I wanted to make sure we got a real dessert this time,” I said, deadpan.

I almost tripped in my flat shoes while standing in place when his fabulous lips curled upward and the corners of his eyes narrowed into two devilish slits.

“We, or you?” he asked.

I simply smiled.

With a shake of his head he turned and, over his shoulder, said, “Come on back”

His apartment was in one of the historical, 1940’s brick structures you see all the time displayed in architecture magazines. Ten-foot ceilings with windows that ran from floor to crown molding across entire walls, and spacious rooms that over looked the upper west side of Manhattan.

“You’ve got a great view of the Park,” I said as I passed what had to be the living room. From twenty stories up I could see clear across Central Park to the East side. The trees were lushly leaved and in full bloom, and the perfect early twilit sky shimmered across the horizon. “Beats my view of the Hudson River any day of the week.”

I made my way into the kitchen, where I stopped dead in my tracks.

The building may have been old, but Charlie’s kitchen was anything but. Light gunmetal in color, the fixtures and appliances were all steel, shiny, and sparkling clean. A center island with comfortable looking barstools underneath it held a platter of cut fruit and vegetables on a serving dish, tiny plates next to it.

“Are you expecting more people for dinner?” I asked.

From the refrigerator he turned and cocked his head, a quizzical look on his face. “No. It’s just us. Why?”

I pointed to the platter. “This is my fiber allotment for the month.”

Even though he hadn’t opened the wine yet, I got drunk on the sound of his laugh: full bodied, deep, and rich, it filled my senses and had my girlie bits pulsing like a Quartz timepiece.

“You know how it is with crudité.” His lopsided grin peeked through his beard. “One carrot can look like an entire bunch when it’s cut. The same for apples and peppers.” He moved to the range and stirred something in a saucepan that smelled like Heaven and made my taste buds stand at attention. Then, he placed the spoon down on the counter, lifted the wine bottle and an opener.

He had a dishtowel tucked into the waistband of his pants and a sudden flash of him naked, with just that little piece of cloth covering him from hipbones to the tops of his thighs blew across my mind. I was glad his concentration was centered on his task because my face heated to what had to be lobster red at the thought and I didn’t want to have to explain the reason for the blush.

Intrigued? Well, you can read the rest of the book here: IT’S A TRUST THING.

Happy reading.

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under It's a trust thing

#SundaySnippet 10.20.19

So, tomorrow I’m revealing the amazeballs cover for my upcoming Match Made in Heaven release TODAY, TOMORROW, ALWAYS. I’m uber-excited for you all to read about Cathy O’Dowd Mulvaney and Mac Frayne. They are two very different people and I had to really stretch as a writer to get them together for an HEA.

Today, here’s a little something about the first time Cathy meets Frayne.

Any remnants of a grin remaining on my face died the moment my gaze lit on McLachlan Frayne.

On the book jacket, he’d given off an air of commanding arrogance as he’d stared into the camera’s lens. In the flesh, that description flew out the window.

He was tall, so I had to lift my head to view him properly. Those wide shoulders were covered in a dark sports jacket a size or two too big for his frame. Under it, a black V-neck sweater sat over the same color T-shirt, the collar peeking through the jagged neck of the vee. Yards of leg were covered by faded jeans, white from wear in all the regular stress places. Black Converse sneakers adorned his feet and looked so soft and comfortable, I grew a little jealous.

Shaggy hair a good time past a trim framed a face that could have been a tourism board ad for Ireland. Eyes the same color as frozen Arctic ice were deer-caught-in-the-headlights wide as a twin set of commas indented the corners of his mouth. The notion he was in some kind of pain shot through me, and for the briefest of moments, I wanted to reach up and run a finger along those grooves to smooth away whatever anguish had caused them.

Intrigued? Come back tomorrow to get a gander at the perfect cover for this story!! I actually cried when I saw it the first time.

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Contemporary Romance, Dearly Beloved, New Hampshire

#SundaySnippet 10.13.19

Since my fall themed romance FIRST IMPRESSIONS is still on sale, I thought it would be a good idea to give you another little snippet to entice your romance book loving tastes!

Heehee

Par Cleary is a master at seduction as he easily proves in this little sumthin’ sumthin;.

Friday evening rolled around and she stopped at the local market to pick something up for dinner. Thankfully, during this outing, no patients stopped her and she’d been able to make a quick selection and be on her way.

At home, she’d no sooner toed off her shoes than the doorbell chimed.

She opened the door, surprised to see Pat standing there, a sheepish look on his face.

“I know I didn’t call or text, but I saw you drive by the clinic on your way home and I thought you might like a visit.”

Pleasure warmed her. An unfamiliar sound billowed from inside his jacket, though, a jacket zipped almost to his collar, despite the warm weather.

“What have you got in there?” she asked, her gaze dropping to his chest.

His grin grew into a wide smile. “Like I said, a visitor.”

With a gentle tug, he dragged the toggle down a little and a chubby, whiskered face popped through the opening.

Oh.” Clarissa reached for the kitten as Pat opened the rest of his jacket. “Come here, you sweet thing.”

When she lifted the little bundle and folded it lose in her arms, it meowed loudly and immediately began its pulsating purr. Clarissa brought the kitten to her face and dropped soft and tender kisses on its snout. Its fur smelled clean, fresh, and so like a kitten, for a second Teeny’s face popped into her mind.

She glanced over her shoulder at Pat as she carried the kitten to the kitchen. “Since you brought me such a wonderful present, I can’t very well kick you out.”

His devilish grin told her it was what he’d been hoping.

He tossed his jacket onto the back of her couch and followed her into the kitchen.

“When was the last time she ate?” Reaching up into the cabinet where she’d kept Teeny’s food, Clarissa took a small bowl down and filled it with water, never letting go of the kitten.

“Right before I left the clinic, so she’s set until I bring her back. My night crew will make sure she gets something later.”

Clarissa set the water bowl down at her feet. Sitting cross-legged on the floor, she released the kitten, who immediately began lapping at it. Her little blue-eyed gaze stayed locked on Clarissa’s legs as her tiny pink tongue flew back and forth from the water bowl to her mouth.

“Don’t let her drink too much,” Pat said, resting a hip against her kitchen counter, arms crossed over his chest. “You’ll have a mess on your hands.”

Clarissa looked up at him from her position on the floor to tell him she didn’t mind a mess and stopped breathing. He looked so handsome, so rakishly gorgeous settled against the counter. The ink black, errant cowlick was beginning to fall forward over his eyebrow again, and her hands actually throbbed to smooth it back. He had the making of a five o’clock shadow across his granite hard jaw, and the dimple clefting his chin appeared even deeper than usual. The cotton fabric of his shirt pulled against his shoulders, the muscles in his biceps pushing against the material. He was so completely and totally male in every facet of his being, Clarissa was, quite simply, in awe.

She had to mentally fight to draw her attention back to the now meowing kitten as it demanded her attention. When she picked it up and nuzzled it with her nose, she rose and asked, “What prompted this visit? Is she ready to be fostered out?”

“Soon. I wanted you to see her again, make sure you still want to.”

“I do.”

Pat nodded. “When we get back from Boston, we can make arrangements for when to transfer her over to you.”

At the mention of their planned trip, Clarissa’s nerves pushed forward. Since she was holding the kitten she couldn’t twine her hands together to quell them and in the next instant realized rubbing the soft downy fur was a much better form of self-soothing.

“What time are we leaving in the morning?”

Pat pushed off the counter and crossed to her. With a finger, he stroked the kitten’s neck, her eyes squinting in kitty ecstasy. Clarissa watched his finger move up and down across the fur, the strokes smooth and rhythmic, almost hypnotic, and licked her lips. What would it feel like for him to stroke her the same way? It was a safe bet she’d purr and moan like the kitten. Only louder.

“Moira said we’d pick you up around eight thirty. It’ll give us a relaxed driving time so we won’t be rushed.”

Clarissa nodded, knowing if she spoke, her voice would betray the raging desire shooting through her.

In the next instant, Pat’s stomach rumbled loud enough to be heard above the kitten’s deafening purrs.

Clarissa tried to contain her giggle so she wouldn’t startle the animal, but when Pat’s neck heated with a ruddy flare and he thrust his hands into his pockets, she couldn’t hold it in.

He squinted at her, and, with a menacing glare, pushed nearer to her. “You’re always quietly laughing at me,” he said, stopping so close she could feel his hot, moist breath on her face. “I can’t figure out why I want to be around someone who always laughs at me.”

“I know why,” she said, kissing the kitten again.

When his left eyebrow shot up his forehead, she answered. “It’s easy. Whenever we’re together, we’re usually eating. You’re hungry, so you want me to cook for you.”

His face went blank, and she couldn’t for the life of her discern what he was thinking. She could hear him breathing now, not only feel it, the air pushing out of him a tad faster than it had moments before. The flushed heat on his neck spread up his jaw. She could have melted to the floor when his eyes turned hot too, the lids hooded, so much so, Clarissa finally understood the meaning of a smoldering look.

His hands snaked out and grabbed her upper arms, pulling her and the kitten toward his chest. With the animal as a buffer between them, Clarissa could feel every inch of him as he pressed her body against his, one hand circling around her back and resting on her waist, the other trailing across her jaw. His eyes dilated as he crossed his tongue over his bottom lip, all the while pulling her in closer, molding her body to his.

Her panties grew damp in a heartbeat, and when he licked his lips, she felt her nipples pull and tighten inside her bra. Desire swam around the two of them. She could smell it, musky and potent, taste it against her lips, hot and spicy, and feel the heat of it warming her from head to curling toes.

“Pat?”

He didn’t answer, but continued to hold her prisoner, gaze, body and soul. She couldn’t take a full breath, didn’t dare to, afraid she’d break the spell he’d woven around them, afraid she’d lose the thin thread of control she clutched to prevent herself from jumping on him and eating him alive.

“Clarissa,” he whispered, his nose nuzzling along the outer edge of her jaw.

“Y-yes?”

His lips skimmed her throat, trailing lazily along the column of her blouse. He placed an open-mouthed, wet kiss along the skin beneath her ear, and she finally let out the breath she’d been holding, fearful she would faint dead away if she didn’t.

“I smell turkey,” he said softly, and took her ear lobe into his mouth.

As he gently sucked on it, Clarissa felt a punch of lust straight through her midsection. “Wh-what?”

She gasped when his tongue slid against her throat. “And biscuits.”

“Biscuits?” Confusion vied with a hunger that had nothing to do with food.

“Mmmm. Turkey and biscuits.” He licked her collarbone and then sucked at the skin covering it.
“Oh, sweet Jesus.”
With a smile dancing on his lips, he pulled back

and looked at her face.

“Clarissa, I’m starving.”
She blinked a few times.
“You wouldn’t, by any chance, want to share your dinner with me, would you? Friend.”

The cloud of erotic sensations he’d spun around her finally started to disperse. His stomach growled again, and even the kitten heard it this time because she startled and dug her nails into Clarissa’s arm.

“Ouch,” she said with a good-natured chuckle. “You scared her.”

“Hand her over.” He took the kitten and began stroking her chin again.

The sight of this big, strong and utter male holding the tiny kitten so tenderly and lovingly tugged at Moira’s heart. Right then she realized everything she’d heard about him was wrong.

Wrong and totally inaccurate.

“Since you brought me such a nice present,” she repeated, gazing up at him from under her eyelashes, “I think I have enough for the two of us.”

His charming grin broadened. When she turned around to finally unload the grocery bags, she heard him whisper, “Good job, kitty. It worked.”

She couldn’t help laughing.

Intrigued? Get your ecopy while it’s still just 99 cents here: Amazon /// Nook /// Ibooks

 

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, Family Saga, First Impressions, MacQuire Women, Romance, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 10/6/19

Since I’ve got a book on sale this week, I thought today’s snippet should be from that. Makes sense, no? Hee hee

Here’s a little sumthin’ sumthin’ from FIRST IMPRESSIONS, one of the MacQuire Women books. It takes place in New England in the fall and follows Clarissa and Pat on their rocky road to a happily ever after.

This is the blurb:

Family Practice Doctor Clarissa Rogers’ first impression of Padric Cleary is biased and based on gossip. The handsome, charming veterinarian is considered a serial dater and commitment-phobic by his family and most of the town. Relationship shy, Clarissa refuses to lose her heart to a man who can’t pledge himself to her forever.
Pat Cleary, despite his reputation, is actually looking for “The One.” When he does give his heart away, he wants it to be for life. With his parent’s marriage as his guidebook, he wants a woman who will be his equal and soul mate in every way.
Can Pat convince everyone – including Clarissa – she’s the only woman for him?

“Have you ever been friends with a girl before?”

“Have a beer and shoot some pool friends? Or the kind with benefits?”

When she laughed out loud, he tried to think what was so funny.

“Have you ever just been friends with a girl without sex mixed into the equation?”

“Not since I was sixteen,” he admitted and felt his neck heat.

“That’s what I thought.”

“Why?”

She cocked her head. “It’s no secret I’m attracted to you. I think the way I just responded to you proves it. But I don’t jump into bed with a man just because I’m attracted to him.”

“So, what’s being friends got to do with anything?”

Clarissa sighed and leaned a hip against the doorjamb. “I’ve been hearing about your reputation with women since I moved here, and I’m not looking to be the flavor of the week, Pat.”

He stared at her for a second as hurt washed through him. “You don’t sugar coat things do you?”

She reached out and gripped his forearm. Her hand felt so good against his skin, he instinctively laid his own over it. He swore he saw a flash of lightning spark from underneath his fingers.

“I don’t mean to insult you, but I’m trying to build a professional reputation in this town and I don’t want to do anything to give gossip mongers any fuel.”

“And dating me would?”

“Dating anyone would. This is a small town and everyone knows one another. But like I said, you have this rep where women are concerned.”

“I’m not going to apologize for liking women, Clarissa. I’m a guy.”

“That, you are.” Her lips split into a huge smile.

Intrigued? You can read the rest of the story at any of these venues for just #99cent right now. The sale ends of 10.18, though, so act fast!!! Amazon /// Nook /// Ibooks

Until Next time ~ Peg

 

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Filed under Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, The Wild Rose Press