Tag Archives: #WIp #Writinglife

#SundaySnippet 1/16/2022

#SundaySnippet

From my WIP for Magnolia Blossom THE HAUNTING OF WILTON JUNE (No release date yet but soon, I hope!)

My heroine, Jerica, is a botanist

Here ya go:

For three days they avoided one another, each telling themselves it wasn’t really avoidance as much as work that occupied their every waking moment.

Jerica knew it for the lie it was on the first day as she set out with her deliveries. From the moment Will walked out of the cottage she’d thought of little else but him.

And that kiss.

She’d analyzed it, conceptualized it, even going so far as to make a little mental chart enumerating all the ways Will’s kiss made her feel.

#1 like she was cherished.

#2 like she mattered.

#3 like she was a desirable woman.

#4 like if she’d given him the slightest prompting they would have wound up in her big brass bed spending the rest of the afternoon, evening, and night doing wild and wicked things to one another.

Her cheeks grew warm from the memory of his tongue mating with hers, sipping from it, drawing nourishment, as she printed instruction labels for the salves cooling in her workroom.

Her legs grew restless as she fantasized what his body looked like under his comfortable clothes. All that lean and lithe muscle under his shirt had felt staggering when she’d run her hands up his chest.

Her thighs shook at the remembrance of the way his erection had pressed, throbbed, and grown larger when it had been nestled against the apex of her jeans.

She berated herself when she had to start an emulsion of Slipper Elm tea twice because she’d miscalculated the right amount of elm powder and honey. She’d been picturing Will the way he looked as he’d sat across from her eating the soup and sandwiches she’d prepared. The light in his eyes had been bright, the blues in them meshing into a startling chaos of color. His lips had grown wet from sipping the soup, tiny traces of tomato-red sticking to the corners.

You need to get a grip, girl.

Once you start breaking out in an erotic sweat from the way a soup color looks on someone’s mouth, it’s time to take a break, reboot your brain, and call it a day on the naughty-thoughts-daydreaming.

Which is what she did.

Unfortunately, the moment she laid her head down on her pillow Will’s face popped into her brain again and thoughts of whether he slept in his underwear or nude raced through her mind.

She pictured both, individually, and had to throw the warm blankets off her growing-hot body.

The man simply occupied he thoughts to the point of ridiculousness.

Why, was the question plaguing her.

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#TeaseMeThursday 3.25.2021

Something new for me today – TEASE ME THURSDAY where I share books I’m currently working on.

Today’s little tidbit is from BALANCE, the next edition of the Uptown Girls series I hope to release in September. The heroine, Phillipa Doubletree, has survived an abusive marriage and is trying to forge a life on her own for the first time in her 38 years.  This is the opening -so far – unedited as of yet. Hope you like it.

The other day while waiting for a manicure, I took one of those rate your life tests you find in old editions of Cosmo and Elle. You know the ones. Your overall score gives an empirical value of how your life’s going at the moment.

Not exactly the healthiest way to take stock of your present situation, I know. But I had a few minutes to kill before my manicurist finished up with her previous client and I figured, what the hell?

I scored a whopping 41 percent on the test.

The only question garnering a complete 10 was the one that asked if your finances are in order.

Mine are.

When you’re the only child of a father with a seat on the Stock Exchange and a mother who was lucky enough to be born into one of the oldest families in the country, you can’t help but be fiscally sound.

Legend has it in my family that trust fund baby were my first coherent, spoken words.

Unfortunately, the rest of the questionnaire’s results were anything but stellar.

~Do you feel fulfilled in your work situation?

I don’t work.

~ Are you happy with your current love life?

What love life?

~Does getting up each day fill you with a sense of purpose?

Okay, that one I’m seriously working on, but I still only rated it a 5. I gave myself that much for the effort I’d been making of late to become a better person.

~Do you have any mental health issues you are grappling with?

I should have given myself a 10 for this one since I was still in therapy twice a week, but since I wasn’t so much grappling with as learning how to deal with my issues, I scored it low.

By the time my name was called, a deep, dark, funk had invaded my soul.

Here I was, staring 38 in the face and had nothing tangible to show for a life of spoiled riches except a few grey hairs and a frown line my mother suggested—strongly and often—I get botoxed away.

I’d married young – way too young – for the wrong reason, and then stayed in the emotionally abusive relationship out of fear. I’d abandoned my best friend when she needed me the most and I’d never taken advantage of all the, well, advantages, my parents’ social standing and financial security offered me.

In essence, from the age of twenty-one, I’d stopped participating in being an adult and went through the next fifteen years in a zombie state. The reason is something I was still coming to grips with, hence the twice-weekly therapy sessions.

And I sound like I’m whining. I’m not.

Well…maybe a little.

But in truth, I was trying, hard, to fashion something for my future aside from therapy, society lunches, and shopping.

Which explained why I was in the back seat of a cab at two in the morning, holding an hysterical, bleeding woman twice my age, while commanding the driver go faster so we could get her to the nearest emergency room. I offered him twice the amount on the meter and told him I’d pay any speeding tickets he got along the way.

In order to give some purpose to my life, I’d been volunteering at a women’s center for the past three months. My best friend Aurora – who’d I’d reconnected with after a fifteen-year separation – got me the position after I told her I needed to do something constructive with my life. Aurora had been a volunteer at the center for a few years and felt my participation would help both the marginalized women there who were in need, and myself. Since I’d been in a relationship that had taken over my mind, body, and spirit, and I’d managed to come out on the other side of it emotionally and physically intact (mostly), she figured I’d be a good role model to women in similar, and even worse, circumstances.

Because I could walk the walk and talk the talk of a woman who’d been subjugated and made to feel less than by the person who was supposed to love me unconditionally, Aurora figured I could relate to the women’s fears and worries. I’d actually been through the fire they were currently navigating through.

She wasn’t wrong. Despite our economic and social differences, the women I’d dealt with found in me a sister in arms. Since joining the team, I’d woken on volunteer days with a sense that I was doing actual good in the world (which explained the score of 5 on the questionnaire.)

Here’s the tentative cover – which I may change. Not sure yet:

Looking for me? Here I am:

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2021…a time to buckle down

So I let 2020 get to me in regards to my writing goals. My usual 1.5-2 k words per day dropped significantly and I found myself watching streaming services much more than my brain ( and behind) liked. I’m buckling down on my 2021 writing goals and tightening up the publishing schedule so that I stay focused and DEDICATED   to my career this year.

I have several projects in the works or planning stages right now that I’d like to get done/published this year.

  1. A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: AIDEN (book2)is finished, I just need to make sure all is perfect before I send it to my editor (90K words)
  2. A PRIDE OF BROTHERS: DYLAN (book 3) is plotted and I will start that soon (90k words)
  3. HIS UPTOWN GIRL is book 4 in the Uptown girl series ( previously called DotComGirls). It’s plotted and needs to be written (75-80k words)
  4. SANTA BABY is a prequel to the CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS II series and is a novella. I need to plot and write that (10k words)
  5. FIXING CHRISTMAS is the next book in the CHRISTMAS COMES TO DICKENS II series and is plotted, needs to be written (55-60k words)
  6. HEAVEN’S MATCHMAKER ( new series, 4 books ) is plotted. I hope to start the first book this year for publication in 2022.

So, in order to meet all those word counts, I need to set a daily goal of 3.5- 5 words, 5 days a week ( on the weekends I do blogging stuff).

Keep your fingers crossed for me. I’ve got every available opposable body part crossed!

Until next time, peeps. I’ve gotta get writing! ~Peg

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#SundaySnippet 8.23.2020

A little story I’m working on about lost, then found, love….

~ ~ ~ ~

When she swallowed again and her chest lifted a hair with the quick breath she hauled in ( and Jesus, was she braless?) he knew her nerves were swarming and she was stalling for time in order to think of a response.

Old habits he knew well.

“Husband?”

“Yeah. You know? Mr. Hamilton?”

“It’s doctor, actually,” she mumbled.

Of course it is. His first name’s probably Alexander.

“And we’re not married anymore.”

His heart rate quickened at the disclosure.

“How long?”

“A little less than a year.”

Curiosity compelled him to ask, “Is that why you moved back home?”

She nodded.

“What happened?”

Sage lifted the pizza to her lips, took a small bite and simultaneously shrugged. “Simple and clichéd story. We wanted different things and neither of us was prepared to compromise.”

Well, that certainly sounded familiar.

“You’re divorced, according to Corrine,” she added. “You must now how it is.”

Nodding, he took his own bite of the delicious pizza and wondered if his ex sounded as bitter when she talked about their failed marriage as Sage did. Barbara had no cause to be, but he didn’t think it would stop her from badmouthing him if given the opportunity.

“What didn’t you agree on?” he asked.

She sighed again and he did a quick eye-dip to her chest.

Yup, no bra.

“I wanted children. He didn’t. Unfortunately, I didn’t find out until we were married almost seven years.”

Nodding, he said, “You always wanted kids. Even when we were teenagers you were a born nurturer. Remember when my grandparent’s cat had kittens? You took care of the mamma and her babies for over a month. Every day before we’d start working you’d make sure mamma was comfortable in the store’s back room, had enough to eat and that the kittens were thriving.”

The smile he’d loved the very first time he’d ever seen it cross her face lit up her eyes at the memory. “I think that was when I really decided to become a doctor.”

“It’s a wonder you didn’t become a Vet with the amount of animals you took care of back then. Mrs. Barclay’s chickens, old man Paley’s dog.”

“People are easier. They can tell you where it hurts.

“Truth.” He took another bite of pizza, his gaze staying on her. “So. What did Doctor Hamilton want that you didn’t?”

When she nailed him with a look so filled with hurt and yet so swimming in anger, he knew it was something big.

“Other women.”

His hand stopped its assent to his mouth, the point of the pizza wedge dipping down toward the plate. “He cheated on you?”

“Several times. It was his favorite hobby. Most doctors play golf on their days off. Leland played the role of happy bachelor. When I found out and confronted him he told me I didn’t need to worry about any of the women. They meant nothing. It was just sex. His libido was strong and he needed…more, than I could give him. He came home to me every night and I had his name, he said. That proved he loved me and me alone. Seems we differed on the definition of the word. Another thing about us I didn’t learn until several years after we married.”

“What a dick.”

Details about the story will be available soon.. But it’s got a Holiday 2020 release, so…

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

And if you’re looking for me, I’m usually here: Tweet Me//Read Me// Visit Me//Picture Me//Pin Me//Friend Me// Triber// BookMe  //Watch me

 

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#tuesdayTeaser 8.4.2020 – WIP

In order to be a real tease(r) I figured I give you a taste of the Christmas book I’m releasing independently this year. It’s in final edits and I don’t have a cover yet, but I finally decided on a title after putting up a poll on my facebook page : MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS, & MOZZARELLA. Just from that you can surmise it’s a RomCom!

Here’s the burb, then the little tease from between the pages:

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out a killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is weakening.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he wind up leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

Advice for surviving in a big Italian family: Family comes first, last, and always. No excuses.

I sent up a prayer to St. John the Silent in the hope it would keep my father from divulging what Tony had informed us about Chico. I should have saved myself the trouble because with no thought to the promise he’d given the good detective, my father vomited everything up to my uncles.

Christ on the cross, what a mess,” Joey said, rubbing his fingers over his eyebrows.

“I heard’a this piece’a work, Archetti,” Sonny said after sipping his espresso. “Low-level drug scum. Got shanked. Good riddance.”

I was cut short from adding something when my mother blasted into the room.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Grace Liliana Chicollini San Valentino is a force of nature. There’s really no other way to describe her.

At five foot eight, she towers above all her siblings, leading some in the family to ponder if nonna had done the nasty with the milkman when nonno was off fighting the Fascists. She’d been born and blessed with the northern Italian DNA of fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin, unlike my father’s Sicilian genes, which were dark, dark, and darker. I’d always considered it a crime against nature my brothers all took after my mother while I got the lion’s share of Daddy’s genetic makeup.

At sixty, my mother appeared ten years younger in any light. Nary a line warped her skin, due to the religious rubbing of extra virgin olive oil she applied to her face and neck nightly. When I’d been a little girl and plagued with night terrors, the familiar smell of my mother’s skin while she hugged me, soothed away the fears. It’s probably the reason to this day pizza or pasta dripping in oil still calms my soul.

What it does to my ass is another story entirely.

My mother has miraculously kept the figure she’d been gifted with when she sailed through her teen years, even after birthing six kids. Breasts like a screen siren’s, a tiny waist, and hips built for pregnancy, my mother’s silhouette is a classic hourglass and she still dresses in ways that accentuate her assets. The movie star bombshells of Hollywood’s heyday have nothing on my mama for natural sexiness.

As a teen, being her daughter hadn’t been easy. My brother’s friends all fell in pubescent lust with mama. Standing next to her I paled in the female comparison department and looked more like another of her sons than her darling daughter.

But she had a heart of gold and when she loved you it was for life. That military expression I’ve got your six could have been devised for mama because no matter what stupid things my brothers had done, any trouble they’d gotten into, and even through my turbulent and emotional teen years, she’d always had our backs.

“Louie. Louie,” she shouted as she blew like a sirocco into the room. “I just heard from Frankie about a dead guy at the store. Mi amore! Your heart. Are you okay? You ain’t hurt are ya?”

She flung her fur coat off and it landed on the floor in a heap behind her. Wrapping her arms around my father, who’d stood the moment her worried voice boomed through the back door, she cried, “Are you okay?” She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, to his chest, her gaze raking along with her movements, making sure all his parts were intact and he wasn’t spouting arterial blood.

My father, ever calm and controlled, took her hands with his and brought them both to his lips. After he kissed each one he continued to hold them as he told her, “I’m fine, Gracie. I’m okay. It was Donna who found Chico, not me. And he was already dead.”

My mother whipped her head in my direction. With her forehead a mass of furrows and her eyes pinched at the corners, she pulled a hand from my father’s grip and grabbed my arm. “You okay, bambina?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded. Then, without any warning, an unusual need to fall into her arms and cry overcame me. When a sob escaped me full-force, she pulled out of my father’s hold, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth, grabbed me, and hauled me against her chest, my nose crushing into her well-supported cleavage.

Her arms were like steel traps and she kept me glued to her body while she rubbed my back and cooed in Italian. A quick whiff of her knock-off L’air du temps combined with a hint of garlic and I closed my eyes as the tears fell.

I’m not gonna lie: as a thirty-four year old, grown-ass woman, nothing made me feel better when I was off-kilter than when my mama held me in her arms. I’m not one iota ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.

As I cleaved to her she asked my father, “You’re sure you’re okay?” He told her he was, then, “Why don’t you take Donna into the kitchen, mi amore? Get her something hot to drink. It’s been a long morning for her.”

My mother nodded then slipped an arm up and around my shoulders. “Come on, bambina. Let the boys talk.”

I allowed her to propel me into the kitchen she’d had remodeled the year before.

“Sit.” She pointed to one of the breakfast bar chairs.

I grabbed a paper napkin from the holder on the marble topped counter, did as she commanded and sat, then swiped at my wet eyes.

This is mama’s domain. Daddy may run a successful deli and is an amazing cook in his own right, but Mama rules the kitchen in our house. When nonna was alive she could be very stingy with any kind of praise, but she always complimented my mother on her cooking skills, honed—of course—at nonna’s knee.

Moving with the finesse of one who knows where every single item is to be found in her world, Mama filled the teakettle then put it on the ceramic-topped stove to boil. She didn’t even look when she reached into one of the cupboards and pulled down two porcelain cups with one hand, the other disappearing into one of the pottery containers on the counter that held the teabags.

I sat, silent, watching her move with efficiency from one task to the other, and marveled as I’d done my entire life at what a dichotomy she was. While she had the body of a pampered goddess and could cook like one of the world’s finest Italian chefs, she wasn’t – what my Uncle Sonny often remarked – the sharpest tool in the drawer. I’d always thought this was mean, but in reality, it was God’s truth. My mother wasn’t a member of Mensa – not even close—and on any given day she was known to pop out with things that made most of us cringe or she’d ask a question a bit too intrusive for the person being asked. She had a habit of saying exactly what came to the front of her mind at any given moment with no regard to filtering it. This was one of the reasons my father never let her work in the deli. She couldn’t be trusted around the customers to self-censor. But, despite this one flaw, he adored her, as did I.

She reached into the cabinet under the sink and grabbed the bottle of brandy she kept there for emergencies. When my nonna had been alive, the bottle had gotten a great deal of use, especially after one of her visits. Mama poured way more than a shot-glass full into my teacup after adding the boiling water. She let it steep for less than a minute then handed it to me.

“Drink this. And then tell me everything ‘cause I know your daddy won’t. He’ll gloss over details thinking he’s protecting me.” She waved a hand in the air with a dismissive flick.

Intrigued? More to come when I have a cover, but I’m thinking an October release. I’ll let ya know.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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#sundaySnippet 7.26.2020

So I just started book 2 in my Pride of Brothers series. This one tells the story of Aiden Keane. Here’s a rough cut of the opening. A very rough cut!

“Here you go, sir.” The waitress dropped Aiden’s order down next to his beer and placed the bill folder next to it. “I’ll take that when you’re ready.” With a distracted smile she moved to the next customer along the busy airport bar.

Tired, hungry, and itching to get home, Aiden bit into his pre-flight meal and all but sighed.

A greasy burger, an ice-cold beer, and thoughts of his own bed were the only things keeping him sane right now.

He’d finished his assignment less than three hours ago, given his report to the client, and then managed to book a last minute ticket home.

Home.

One of his two favorite four-letter words and both of which he’d been missing of late.

What his brother Josh had billed as a quick turnaround research job had turned into a dumpster fire straight out of the gate. Unable to get to the root of the problem from his New York office, Aiden flew to Atlanta to work directly from the client’s home turf. The promised quick resolution morphed into two weeks, then eight, until Aiden was finally able to identify who’d been bilking the company’s corporate funds.

After he’d handed over his detailed report, naming the CFO’s much younger wife and her computer-hacker lover as the culprits and providing irrefutable proof, Aiden walked out of the owner’s office and cabbed it straight to the airport.

Now, with the prospect of a few days off before heading back to the private investigations firm he co-owned with his brothers, Aiden ate and flipped through his mental rolodex for who could help him satisfy the other four letter word occupying his mind. It had been a while since he’d had the pleasure of a woman’s company, loathe as he was to mix business with pleasure.

A long while.

While he took a generous pull on his beer, he let his gaze drift around the crowded bar and indulged in one of his favorite pastimes, people watching.

Or as his older brother Dylan referred to it, asshole surveillance.

Since he was in an airport bar where happy hour was a twenty-four/seven occurrence, Dylan’s description was the more accurate one.

The three middle aged women sitting across from him and passing a cell phone back and forth, all the while laughing liked they’d had more than a few afternoon Cosmos, told him they were heading home from a fun-filled girls’ getaway and reliving their antics thru selfie scrolling.

The thirtyish guy a few stools down from them, with rolled up shirt sleeves, a half finished beer in front of him, and a cell phone propped next to his laptop where he was typing at a rapid clip, told Aiden this was a workaholic businessman, trying to get a little more done before heading off to his next meeting. The guy’s gaze flicked back and forth from the computer screen to the phone, as if anxiously waiting for it to ring.

Two flight attendants in uniform were huddled in a corner booth, sipping from coffee cups, a guy in a pilot’s uniform seated with them. Since they all looked awake and fresh Aiden figured they were waiting to head for their first flight of the day.

Overhead, the arrival and departure announcements were white noise in the already cacophonous terminal. Babies crying, kids whining, their harried parents arguing as they sped between connecting flights, were all a subtle hum. Aiden had the unique ability to shut it all out, quiet the racket, and concentrate his attention on whatever he needed, or wanted, to.

Right now, that was watching the busty redhead on the other side of the bar and the guy in the two thousand dollar suit drinking like a man who’d just returned from being lost in an arid desert for days. The minute he banged one empty glass down on the counter, he signaled for the bartender to pour him another. With each refill the redhead got a little closer until she was one thigh away from sitting in the guy’s lap. They’d already been seated when Aiden took his stool and ordered. While waiting for his food to arrive, he’d snuck glances at their interplay.

He couldn’t decide if they’d arrived together, or had become fast and furious drinking buddies. Well, the guy was drinking. The redhead was slowly sipping what looked like sparkling water.

From his perch fifteen feet away Aiden noted the concentrated way she pressed against her friend, talking low, one hand flirtatiously snaking up and down his expensive suit sleeve while the other was hidden from view under the bar top.

He imagined that hand was either rubbing the guy’s thigh, or trying to find its way into his pocket to lift a wallet. He threw that notion out the window when he spotted the wallet sitting next to the half empty beer glass.

So, the thigh it was.

Lucky bastard.

Long lashes framed eyes that tilted up a bit in the corners. From a well applied liner, or a natural lilt? Probably the former. Cheekbones modeled from ripe apples pulled up when she smiled and showed perfect white teeth. The cascade of shiny red curls drifted down below her shoulder blades. His fingers tightened around his beer glass when she dragged one finger behind her ear, tucking a tendril, and the giving the lobe a quick squeeze. The move was so innately sensual the tips of his fingers tingled to follow her lead and run them over her skin.

She leaned in and whispered something in her companion’s ear that had the guy’s eyes widening and filling with glassy-eyed lust and an expectant smirk slashing his face. A seductive grin crossed her lush mouth and for a hot second Aiden’s gut tightened, imagining what those full lips would feel like pressed against his.

Damn. He really needed to get…home.

We’ll see how it develops….

Book 1, RICK, is available in print and ecopy, here: Amazon //  B&N // Apple books

Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.
Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.
Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

 

Until next time, peeps ~Peg

 

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

A Christmas in July WIP to talk about….

Since we are officially halfway done with this horrendous year and the Christmas holidays are a scant 173 days away, I figured now would be a good time to jump on the Christmas in July bandwagon and talk up my soon-to-be-released 2020 Christmas Romance.

Nothing like a little self promotion to the start the week with, no? Hee hee

So, the title of the book is MISTLETOE, MOBSTERS & MOZZARELLA and takes place a month before, and leading up to, Christmas. This book was written, for the most part, prior to the Covid 19 pandemic that seems to be changing the world in every conceivable way, but I did not include any mention of it in the book because….I didn’t want to. It’s that simple.

Here’s the working blurb for right now – I may change it a bit as I get closer to publication:

Finding a body in the freezer of the family deli isn’t the way Madonna San Valentino planned to start her day.

Adding insult to injury, the investigating detective is the one guy she’s never been able to forget. After seven minutes of heaven in the back seat of his car when they were teenagers, Tony Roma skipped town without so much as a thanks for the memory.

Just when Madonna thinks the present situation can’t get any worse, Tony is ordered to go undercover at the deli to ferret out the killer. Forced to work together, she vows to keep their relationship cool and professional. But with the sexy, longing looks he tosses her at every turn, Madonna’s resolve is starting to weaken.

With Christmas drawing closer and Tony’s investigation taking an unexpected turn, Madonna is at her wit’s end. Can she really be falling for him again? And will he windup leaving her broken hearted and alone like the last time?

It’s a RomCom and even though there’s a murder and an investigation within the plot line, the majority of the story is about these two, their feelings for one another, and family.

When I have the cover you know I’ll share it! Stay tuned in the coming months for teasers and snippets.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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#TuesdayTeaser 6.23.2020

So today’s teaser is from the book I currently wrote THE END for on the first draft. It’s a Christmas story and I plan on having it out by October. One of my big Italian family RomComs, this one takes place in NYC ( of course!) in a family deli ( lots of recipes) and has a little dash of mystery/suspense because a murder occurs. The love story revolves around a second chance meeting between the heroine, Madonna ( Donna) and the detective in charge of the investigation, Antonia ( Tony) Roma.

Enjoy! And remember, this is a work in progress. Any spelling or grammar issues are okay for now. They will be dealt with in editing!

Advice for surviving in a big Italian family: Family comes first, last, and always. No excuses.

“You shoulda called me first,” Uncle Sonny declared as he sat down at the dining room table across from my father. Uncle Joey flanked him, nodding. “Now that the cops have taken over we lost our window to figure out what went down last night and to keep a cap on it. Everyone in the neighborhood knows now a guy got dead in your store. That’s bad for business, Louie.” Sonny shook his head, his mouth flattening in a line of rebuke.

“It’s worse for Chico,” I said as I went around the table filling their espresso cups.

Sonny tossed me a squinty-eyed glare. “That goes without saying, little girl, but there’s nothin’ we can do for him now. We gotta concentrate on helping Louie get the deli back open.” To my father he asked, “Roma give you any reason why the kid was capped in your store?”

I sent up a prayer to St. John the Silent in the hope it would keep my father from divulging what Tony had informed us about Chico. I should have saved myself the trouble because with no thought to the promise he’d given the good detective, my father vomited everything up to my uncles.

Christ on the cross, what a mess,” Joey said, rubbing his fingers over his eyebrows.

“I heard’a this piece’a work, Archetti,” Uncle Sonny said after sipping his espresso. “Low-level drug scum. Got shanked. Good riddance.”

I was cut short from adding something when my mother exploded into the room.

And that’s not an exaggeration.

Grace Liliana Chicollini San Valentino is a force of nature. There’s really no other way to describe her.

At five foot eight, she towers above all her siblings, leading some in the family to ponder if Nonna Costanza had done the nasty with the milkman when Nonno was off fighting the Communists. She’d been born and blessed with the northern Italian DNA of fair hair, blue eyes, and light skin, unlike my father’s Sicilian genes, which were dark, dark, and darker. I’d always considered it a crime against nature my brothers all took after my mother while I got the lion’s share of Daddy’s genetic makeup.

At almost sixty, my mother appeared ten years younger in any light. Nary a line warped her skin, due to the religious rubbing of extra virgin olive oil she applied to her face and neck nightly. When I’d been a little girl and plagued with night terrors, the familiar smell of my mother’s skin while she hugged me, soothed away the fears. It’s probably the reason to this day pizza or pasta dripping in oil still calms my soul.

What it does to my ass is another story entirely.

My mother has miraculously kept the figure she’d been gifted with when she sailed through her teen years, even after birthing six kids. Breasts like a screen siren’s, a tiny waist, and hips made for pregnancy, my mother’s silhouette is a classic hourglass and she still dresses in ways that accentuate her assets. Sophia Loren in her heyday had nothing on my mama for sexiness.

As a teen, being her daughter hadn’t been easy. Any guy friends of my brothers  fell in lust in a heartbeat with mama. Standing next to her I paled in the female comparison department and looked more like another of her sons than her darling daughter.

But she had a heart of gold and when she loved you, you knew it was for life. That military expression “I’ve got your six,” could have been devised for mama’s motto because no matter what stupid things my brothers had done, any trouble they’d gotten into, and even through my turbulent and emotional teen years, she’d always had our backs.

“Louie. Louie,” she shouted as she blew like a sirocco into the room. “I just heard from Frankie about a dead guy at the store. Your heart. Are you okay? You ain’t hurt are ya?”

She flung her fur coat off and it landed on the floor in a heap behind her. She wrapped her arms around my father, who’d stood the moment her worried voice blasted through the back door.

“Are you okay?” She ran her hands over his head, down his shoulders, to his chest, her gaze raking along with her movements, making sure all his parts were intact and not spouting arterial blood.

My father, ever calm and controlled, took her hands with his and brought them both to his lips. After he kissed each one he continued to hold them as he told her, “I’m fine, Gracie. I’m okay. It was Donna who found Chico, not me. And he was already dead.”

My mother whipped her head in my direction. Her usually unlined face was pinched as she dragged her gaze down my body. Her forehead was a mass of furrows, her eyes squeezed at the corners. She stretched out a hand and grabbed my arm, the other still held by my father. “You okay, bambina?”

I squeezed her hand and nodded. Then, without any warning, an unusual need to fall into her arms and cry overcame me. When a sob escaped me full-force, she pulled out of my father’s hold, clicking her tongue on the roof of her mouth, grabbed me, and hauled me against her chest, my nose crushing into her well-supported cleavage.

Her arms were like steel traps and she kept me glued to her body while she rubbed my back and cooed in Italian. A quick whiff of her knock-off L’air du temps combined with a hint of garlic and I closed my eyes as the tears fell.

I’m not gonna lie: as a thirty-four year old, grown-ass woman, nothing made me feel better when I was off-kilter than when my mama held me in her arms. I’m not one iota ashamed or embarrassed to admit it.

Hope that brought a  smile to your day.

Until next time, peeps ~ Peg

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Filed under Writing

#SundaySnippet 4.12.2020

I’m working on a few projects right now, one of which I hope to release in the summer, a contemporary romance titled WOKE.

Here’s something I wrote yesterday for it: it’s still fresh and unedited, so don’t judge!

“Almost everyone has checked in,” I told Gillian Spring hours later. “I just have one reservation left. A”—I glanced down at the sheet of names—“Kincade Enright.”

“That would be me.”

I looked up and found a deep pair of green colored eyes that looked hauntingly familiar.

The guy from the rehab center. The one I’d almost fallen flat on my ass from barreling into.

“Well.” A smile danced on his lips. “We meet again. Talk about coincidence.”

Gillian looked from me to him, a tiny smile tugging on the corners of her lips.

“I see someone I need to talk to,” she told me. “I’ll see you inside.”

Before walking again she mouthed Oh my God to me.

She wasn’t kidding.

Goodness. The man had been appealing in workout clothes, all hard muscle and lean mass on display, but wearing a perfectly fitted, midnight colored, double breasted suit that I knew sold for over five thousand dollars, he was absolutely…mouthwatering.

And there was a phrase I hadn’t used, nor thought of as a description, in almost two decades.

I returned his smile and handed him an auction brochure along with his table number.

“It never ceases to amaze me how small a city with eight million people can actually be,” I said.

His smile grew.

“The silent auction has already started,” I said. “It’ll close when dinner is served in about,” I checked my watch, “twenty minutes, so you have some time to look around. The live auction takes place during dinner.”

He flipped through the brochure and stopped at one of the pages. “The Charles Dickerson painting is on the live auction, yes?”

I nodded. “Are you a fan?”

“I am. I’m not bidding on it for myself, though, but for a client.”

“A client? Are you an art dealer?”

He reached into his pocket and handed me a business card.

Enright Investments/Management

Kincade Enright, MBA, PFS

“So, you’re a… stock broker?”
“No, I’m in personal finance. I manage online investments and portfolios for my clients, one of whom wants an original Dickerson. So,” He lifted his hands in the air.

Talk about serendipity. Just yesterday I’d been toying with the idea of searching for a financial planner as a way to help grow some of the center’s donations. While my mother’s lawyer could point me in the right direction, I didn’t want someone conservative, which is where I knew he’d direct me. I wanted someone with a foresight and courage to help grow our coffers. Investing seemed like a good way to offset the times when the funds grew tight. Fingering the embossed card I tucked his name into the back of my mind.

“Well, I hope you can make your client happy tonight, Mr. Enright, and in doing so, you’ll both be benefiting the women’s center, so I’ll thank you in advance.”

“You’re welcome, and it’s Cade.” He stuck out his hand to shake mine. “And you are?”

My gaze took a quick dip from his grinning face to his outstretched hand. Manners had been ingrained in me from birth, both by my mother and Maeve, so I slid mine into his, ready to give it a perfunctory shake. The moment his fingers wrapped around mine, though, a bolt of lightning flashed between us and paralyzed me to my spot.

A tiny jolt of…something, flared across his eyes, telling me he’d noticed it, too.

Warmth steeped from him through to me and flowed all the way to my core, heating it like a nuclear coil. His skin was soft and smooth, like he wasn’t used to manual labor, but by no means was he weak. Strength and power surged from his grip. Instinct told me this was a man for whom character, depth, and a strong sense of self were integral parts of his makeup.

All intriguing qualities in a man.

Intriguing, and wildly alluring.

While he stood in front of me, still holding me hand, I realized I was supposed to answer him.

I blinked a few times to try and refocus myself and said, “A.J. Callahan. Sorry, I’ve got a lot going on up here”—I pointed to my head with my free hand—“and I’m thinking of fifty things at the same time.”

Lame, I know, but I was really caught off guard by his touch.

He pumped my hand once, then let it go. For a hot second I fantasized about pulling it back and maybe even wrapping it around my waist.

“Well, I’ll leave you to them, then. It was nice seeing you. Again.” He grinned.

“Enjoy the auction and the dinner. Bid often and bid high,” I added. “It’s for a worthy cause.”

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

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Romance, Romance Books

#Coverreveal for A Pride of Brothers: RICK

So I haven’t just been sitting at home, rehabbing and watching Real Housewives of Everywhere shows. Well, I kinda have. But I’ve been doing other stuff too like writing new books.

I’m so thrill to share with you my upcoming first romantic suspense book from the CRIMSON Line of Wild Rose press. The 3 book series is called A PRIDE OF BROTHERS and the first it about Rick Bannerman. If that name sounds familiar it’s because he made an appearance in one of my Lyrical press books A  SHOT AT LOVE. I loved Rick so much I wanted to give him his own story, so this is it.

Here’s the cover done by the amazing Kristian Norris.

Isn’t it gorgeous??? So moody and suspense-y looking!

Here’s the official blurb:

Elite bodyguard and P.I. Rick Bannerman’s job is to protect. He doesn’t get emotional with his clients, but when a woman from his past is threatened, his next job becomes personal.

Family lawyer Abigail Laine is the target of a client’s vengeful husband, but refuses Rick’s offer of protection. He walked away from her four years ago, and she swore to forget him.

Now her reluctance to accept his help could cost Abby her life.

The official release date is 1.13.20. I don’t have any preorder links yet, but you know me; as soon as I do they’ll go up. The book will be available in all online venues, and in print, so YAY for that.

I’m so happy Rick found a home at the Wild Rose Press. There are two other books planned A PRIDE OF BROTHERS, so I’d better get cracking.

Until next time ~ Peg

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Filed under Contemporary Romance, romantic suspense, WIld Rose Press AUthor