Tag Archives: #SundaySnippet

#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

#SundaySnippet 9.29.19 It’s A Trust Thing

Honestly, what other book was I gonna put up here today?? Hee hee.

So, IT’S A TRUST THING releases, as you know, on 11.1.19. Nell Newbery had an idyllic childhood up until the age of 16, when her father was arrested, tried, and convicted of running a pyramid scheme for people who had invested with him. Life as she knew it changed forever the moment he was taken away in handcuffs from their apartment.

Nell has lived her life since then out of the pubic eye, despite the hordes of journalists and paparazzi who follow her, dying to get a sound bit or  a compromising position photograph. She’s cut off all contact with her felonious father and hasn’t visited him once while he’s been incarcerated. But he’s been begging her to visit him of late. The 15th anniversary of the date he was imprisoned is looming and Nell thinks he wants to involve her in a plan to garner him early release. Since she won’t speak to him, her dad emails her. This little snippet is just one of the messages that Nell has been deleting as they arrive. I think her anger shines through in this scene.

That done, I finally checked my in-box. Much of my day-today operations were conducted electronically through email, direct message, and via my website. Some days, if I was busy with something, I’d have dozens of notifications to contend with before I knew it. Staying ahead of the mail was an important facet in keeping my day moving smoothly and my stomach unknotted.

As I opened the application and waited for the messages to load onto my screen, I sipped at the bottled water I’d gotten with lunch. A quick eye stroll down the list of waiting-to-be-read notices and the water suddenly choked at the back of my throat.

No. Just…no.

I checked the return web address, blinked, then checked it again.

It couldn’t be; it had been over a year since I’d heard anything.

One more check. Yup. It was. The return address was from a government-dot-org account.

My father had sent me an email.

Why?

Or more importantly, what did he want, because surely this wasn’t a hi, how are you doing, missive. My father wasn’t wired that way. Every email was usually a request to do something for him.

Speak in his favor at an upcoming parole hearing.

I didn’t.

Write a letter to the Governor asking for clemency or to have his sentence reduced.

I refused.

Get together with his lawyers to discuss how they could finagle him a new trial, claiming the government had railroaded him.

I never bothered to call them.

My father, I’d finally come to realize when I was in college, was a user. Out for himself and himself alone. He’d never asked once about my mother – his wife – when he emailed me. Not once in all these years. Since she’d fallen apart after his arrest and subsequent incarceration, he figured she wasn’t useful to him any longer.

The bastard.

The woman had stood by him, valiantly, bravely, believing in him until the verdict was handed down, and even after that. By virtue of their marriage, though, her reputation was ruined, a side effect of loving the man and sticking by him. All her friends had turned their backs on her. The philanthropic committees and boards she’d sat on removed her from their ranks. Even her family disowned her, blaming her for marrying a man who would bring ridicule and shame upon their good name.

Suffice it to say when they’d disowned her, it had filtered down to include me, the Devil’s spawn. The difference between my mother and I was I didn’t care that her family had rejected me because of who my father was. My mother did, though. She was devastated when everyone she loved turned on her. So much so, she’d disassociated from the world and wound up committed. It was grossly unfair. Her husband was the criminal, not her. The only crime she’d committed was in loving and trusting the man.

I hadn’t seen nor spoken to my father since the day he was escorted out of a federal courtroom to begin his sentence.

He’d gotten my email address from one of his lawyers. Thankfully, none of them had my private cell number and I didn’t have a personal landline so they couldn’t reach out to me. My calls at the office were screened by the receptionist I shared with Ella and Danny, and I avoided them whenever they called.

This missive now staring at me was the first time in over a year he’d made contact.

He knew the anniversary of his imprisonment was a time the media dredged the whole sordid affair up again, vomiting all the details to the public. For the tenth anniversary a cable news magazine had dedicated a one-hour program to it titled, When Greed Ruled the World. My father probably thought now was a good time to strike with another request for early release, or some other legal maneuver. Since his name was going to be publicly front and center again, why not try to garner some sympathy; some empathy for himself? I did a quick calculation and came up with his age: sixty-eight. He’d claim to be an old man, repentant in his ways.

What a crock.

Any measure of daughterly affection or familial obligation died when he’d tossed my mother aside.

She was the one who had my loyalty and love. For her, I’d go to bat and do anything to make her life easier.

My father? Yeah, not so much.

My finger hit the delete key.

Intrigued? I hope so. Remember, you can preorder it now, here; It’s a Trust Thing. Or, if you subscribe to KU, you can download it on 11.1.19.

Looking for me? I’m here:

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

Until next time ~ Peg

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#SundaySnippet 9.8.19

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“Well, yeah. Because I’m busy.”

Duh.

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

Resigned, I nodded.

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

“Sure,” I said.

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

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

“You’re still here.”

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

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

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

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

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

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

I turned and barreled into Frayne.

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

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

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

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

I wasn’t surprised when he followed me.

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

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

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

“You don’t mind sharing?”

“We both have to eat.”

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

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

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

“Cold is fine.”

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

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

“What?”

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

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

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

“Why did you agree to go, then?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I swallowed the golf ball of fear in my throat.

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

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

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

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

“You joining in tonight, then?”

“Just an observer,” I assured her.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

Until next time ~ Peg

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

#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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Filed under 3 Wishes, A kiss Under the Christmas LIghts, Author, Author Branding, Candy Hearts, Contemporary Romance, Romance, Romance Books, Strong Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 8.18.19

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

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

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

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

Excerpt:

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

“Where did those come from?”

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

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

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

He wouldn’t meet her eyes.

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

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

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

“Maybe pity was the wrong word.”

Abby waited.

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

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

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

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

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

She couldn’t help it: she laughed.

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

“How old are you?”

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

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

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

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

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

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

“The hell does that mean?”

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

She took a long pull from her water bottle.

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

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

“Why?”

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

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

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

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

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

Abby sat, quietly, staring up at him.

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

“Contrition looks good on you.”

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

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

get your copy here:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under A Match Made in Heaven, Alpha Hero, Alpha Male, Contemporary Romance, Cooking, Dialogue, Romance, Romance Books, The Laine Women, WIld Rose Press AUthor

#SundaySnippet 8.11.19

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

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

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

Read on…..

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

I nodded again.

“Why?”

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

“That doesn’t seem…fair.”

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

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

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

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

He nodded.

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

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

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

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

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

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

“You were a kid, Cathy.”

Was I ever just a kid?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Buy Links:

amazon // B&N // ibooks

Until next time ~ Peg

 

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

#SundaySnippet from DIRTY DAMSELS

So, unless you’ve been living under a rock ( or not reading my blogs!) you know I had a new release this week – my first from LIMITLESS PUBLISHING, DIRTY DAMSELS. It’s a modern day twist on Cinderella with Prince Charming in a suit and a CEO Cynderella.

Here’s a little bit from one of my favorite scenes featuring Nell Newbery, Ella’s BFF:

After my few hours with Buddy –and have I mentioned how fantastic they were?- I’d found Nell holding a sobbing CarrieAnn in our room. Apparently, one of the bridesmaids admitted to a more than passing crush on Casey and had tried to seduce him away from CarrieAnn one night at a party after imbibing a few too many tequila shots. Casey’s heart belonged to CarrieAnn though, and he thankfully resisted the offer. He’d been a gentleman, letting the girl down gently, and never told the love of his life one of her supposed besties had made a sloppy, drunken play for him. When the teary-eyed bridesmaid confessed what she’d done to CarrieAnn, the bride hadn’t been as gracious as her groom-to-be.

Nell reported hearing raised voices from the connecting suite around one-thirty. By the time she got into the room, the voices were at screech mode and CarrieAnn had the girl by the roots of her hair extensions and was holding her suspended over the balcony safety railing. The other girls were crying and wailing, imploring CarrieAnn to let her victim go. Our rooms were on the tenth floor and CarrieAnn was leaning the girl waaaaaay backward over the rail. This fact hit home with Nell straight away and she went into commando mode in a nanosecond.

Now, CarrieAnn is five ten and built like a supermodel/athlete. Nell, all five foot spit of her would routinely be no match. But add hours of alcohol consumption into a system – any system – and it will wear strength and emotions down. Nell told me she grabbed a yard of CarrieAnn’s hair, yanked it hard, and when she reached out to pull it back – letting go of Desdemona the bridesmaid, when she did – the other girls rushed in and pulled Desi to freedom. Freedom being their bathroom, where they locked the door against a now screaming, fist-pounding, drunken, and angry CarrieAnn.

It was then Nell started texting me for help.

Intrigued? Here’s where you can order your copy RIGHT NOW!!! Hee hee: in addition to being live in KU:

Amazon US:

Amazon CA:

Amazon UK:

Amazon AU:

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Dirty Damsels, Dot Com Girls Romance, Limitless Publishing