Title Dearly Beloved, a Match Made in Heaven Romance
Author Peggy Jaeger
Genre Contemporary Romance, RomCom, Small Town
Publisher The Wild Rose Press
Colleen O'Dowd manages a thriving bridal business with her sisters in Heaven, New Hampshire. After fleeing Manhattan and her cheating ex-fiancé, Colleen still believes in happily ever afters. But with a demanding business to run, her sisters to look after, and their 93-year-old grandmother to keep out of trouble, she's worried she'll never find Mr. Right.
Playboy Slade Harrington doesn't believe in marriage. His father's six weddings have taught him life is better as an unencumbered single guy. But Slade loves his little sister. He'll do anything for her, including footing the bill for her dream wedding. He doesn't plan on losing his heart to a smart-mouthed, gorgeous wedding planner, though.
When her ex-fiancé comes back into the picture, Colleen must choose between Mr. Right and Mr. Right Now.
While I was on the phone to the Manhattan bridal boutique, my office door opened. I had one eye on my computer date planner while the other spotted Charity escorting a figure into my office.
A very large, male figure.
Isabella put her finger across her lips to hush whatever he’d been about to say. At the same time, I got an available appointment.
“Wednesday at ten okay for you?” I asked Isabella.
She told me it was and I confirmed it. That done, I hung up and turned around.
The smile I’d automatically put on my face froze in place at my first glimpse of the man who’d entered the room. There was a subtle resemblance to Isabella in his coloring, but he was a number of years older. Both had the same ash-blond hair, cut through with swaths of wheat, honey, and flax. Isabella’s hair had a natural curl to it, silk threads drifting over her shoulders in a tumbled mass. His hair was cut shorter on the sides, longer at the top, with the same thick, luxuriant layers arranged in a disarray of waves.
For a hot second, my hands vibrated with a desire to run through all that disorder and clutch on tight.
If the old saying “clothes make the man” was true, this guy had made it to the top of the stratosphere.
A deep pink candy-striped tailored shirt covered him from neck to waist, broad shoulders to wrists, the collar opened and popped, the cuffs perfectly aligned. I was one of those women who loved colors on a guy— even pastels—and knew it took a confident man to pull off anything other than somber and professional blues, grays, and blacks.
His dark trousers fit comfortably down his long, long legs, dropping from a trim waist in a straight line all the way to polished loafers I knew cost a month’s rent on my previous Manhattan hovel. He carried a sports jacket over one arm, and if I had to guess, every stitch of clothing on him had been hand tailored.
Isabella’s face broke into a wide, show-stopping smile that lit my office in all four corners.
“At last you two get to meet,” she said. Slinking her arm through the crook of his elbow, she added, “Colleen, this is my big brother, Slade.”
“Commonly referred to as ‘the checkbook,’” he said, while he stretched a hand out to shake mine, a disarmingly wry grin pulling at his full lips.
His hand remained out, waiting for me to take it. For some wacky reason, my brain wouldn’t send an order to my muscles to extend mine to his.
Isabella giggled and swatted his arm, all sisterly affection behind the hit. The sound was enough to propel me out of my paralysis. I leaned forward and gave his hand a firm, professional squeeze.
Immediate warmth spread through my fingers like I’d dropped them into heated bath water, seeped up my wrist, then slid the length of my arm in one solid, sizzling glide. My biceps contracted, vaulting the heat onto my shoulder, which stiffened in response, before relaxing enough to let it soak through my system.
St. Brigid preserve me.
Amber irises shot with tiny flecks of aged cognac narrowed as the inky black of his pupils expanded.
His hand remained in mine, his eyes focused on my own. I don’t know what he saw in them, but on his ruggedly handsome, chiseled-from-stone face a smidgen of confusion, a speck of bewilderment, and a splash of intrigue all mixed together while we stood there.
My abdominal muscles contracted, and I wasn’t even wearing the dreaded spandex today.
This wouldn’t do. I hadn’t been this discombobulated by a man since...well...let’s not even go there. Attempting to shove some professionalism back into my office, I pulled my hand from his and said, “Isabella has never referred to you that way.” Good gracious, was that my voice? It sounded like an army of frogs had invaded the back of my throat. “But it’s nice to meet you, Mr. Harrington.”
“Slade is fine.” He folded his hands into his trouser pockets.
If my voice mimicked web-toed croaking amphibians, his sounded like a lazy morning after a night packed with warm Irish whiskey and scorching sex.
Deep toned and low, with a scratch of gravel and a tiny smolder of smoke, those three words almost made me respond, “Slade is way more than fine,” but I kept my thoughts to myself and indicated the chairs.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. Family and food play huge roles in Peggy’s stories because she believes there is nothing that holds a family structure together like sharing a meal…or two…or ten. Dotted with humor and characters that are as real as they are loving, Peggy brings all topics of daily life into her stories: life, death, sibling rivalry, illness and the desire for everyone to find their own happily ever after. Growing up the only child of divorced parents she longed for sisters, brothers and a family that vowed to stick together no matter what came their way. Through her books, she has created the families she wanted as that lonely child. Tying into her love of families, her children's book, THE KINDNESS TALES, was illustrated by her artist mother-in-law. Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s. In 2013, she placed first in two categories in the Dixie Kane Memorial Contest: Single Title Contemporary Romance and Short/Long Contemporary Romance. In 2017 she came in 3rd in the New England Reader's Choice contest for A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS and was a finalist in the 2017 STILETTO contest for the same title.
In 2018, Peggy was a finalist in the HOLT MEDALLION Award and once again in the 2018 Stiletto Contest. A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
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