Title: VANILLA WITH A TWIST
Author: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Sweet Romance, Small Town Romance, Novella
Tandy Blakemore spends her days running her New England ice cream parlor, single-parenting her teenage son, and trying to keep her head above financial water. No easy feat when the shop's machinery is aging and her son is thinking about college. Tandy hasn't had a day off in a decade and wonders if she'll ever be able to live a worry-free life.
Engineer Deacon Withers is on an enforced vacation in the tiny seaside town of Beacher's Cove. Overworked, stressed, and lonely, he walks into Tandy's shop for a midday ice cream cone and gets embroiled in helping her fix a broken piece of equipment.
Can the budding friendship that follows lead to something everlasting?
“Proprietary is my middle name.”
He laughed. “Mine’s Basil.”
She tilted her head. “Your initials are D.B.W, like in dubyuh?”
His wince was as charming as his smile. “I know, pretty awful, right? In school, I was called D.B., which is even worse.”
“What do you like to be called? Deacon? Deke?”
“Deacon’s fine. Is Tandy short for anything?”
“Nope. It’s actually a mistake.”
“The nurse at the hospital who filled out my birth forms had a bit of a hearing problem.” She rolled her eyes at the story her brothers loved teasing her with.
“My mother wanted to name me Sandra after her own mother, and then call me Sandy to distinguish the two of us. The nurse heard it as ‘Tandy’ and recorded it as such. My father found it hysterical, so the name stuck. It’s kind of unusual, so...” She lifted a hand in a there- you-go gesture.
He flicked her a lopsided grin again. “It is, but lovely, too.”
Heat flew up her neck and sprinted to her cheeks.
“One of my partners says he doesn’t care what you call him, but don’t ever call him late for lunch.” He shook his head and forked in a chunk of his lobster. When, a half second later, he sat back and closed his eyes, a tiny moan blowing through his lips, she knew he was having a moment.
“Good God, this is even better than advertised.”
“Yup,” she said. Deacon opened his eyes again and focused on her face.
“This is another of those recipes Ricky refuses to share,” she told him.
“That’s too bad, because this”—he lifted his filled fork—“is something I’d love to reproduce when I’m back home.”
“Where’s home? I don’t mean to be nosy, but you sound like you’re from the East Coast, only...not.”
“You’re not being nosy. We’re sitting, enjoying a meal, and getting to know one another.” He took a sip from his own water bottle as his gaze held hers. “I grew up in Rhode Island, but for the past fifteen years, I’ve lived in New York. Manhattan.”
“I’ve never been.”
“To the city?”
She shrugged and popped in another knot. “To New York.”
His eyebrows rose again.
“I’m the poster child for small-town girl. Born, bred, lives, and will die here. I’ve only been out of New Hampshire once, in middle school, for an all-states band contest.”
“Where’d you go?”
One corner of his mouth twitched. “Not exactly international travel.”
“Nope. Took a school bus. Competed. Lost. Came home. Didn’t even have time for any sightseeing.”
“Now, that’s a shame. Boston’s a great town. I have an off-site office there, and I usually go up once a week on business.”
“What do you do? If I had to guess, I’d think something in”—she tilted her head again as she regarded him—“finance. You look...I don’t know.” A quick lift of her shoulder and then she said, “Successful.”
His laugh was swift, open, and free, and she felt it all the way to her toes.
“You make it sound like a curse.”
“I don’t mean to, sorry. It’s been...a while since I’ve been able to sit and chat. Running the shop is a twenty-four-seven life in the summer months, and it doesn’t give me time for other things. Like making small talk.” She glanced out at the water.
He was quiet for a moment, studying her, while she tried to hide the heat slipping up her neck again from her confession by dipping her chin.
“I can understand that. My business occupies my life twenty-four-seven, too.”
“And yet you’re here, on vacation, so you’re able to take some time away from it.”
This time his laugh held a darker, strained note.
He shook his head and dropped his gaze to the water bottle in his hands. “This isn’t exactly a vacation,” he told her. “Not in the true sense.”
“A vacation’s a vacation in my book.”
“In mine, too. Usually. But I didn’t plan to take these three weeks away. I was, well, the best word is coerced.”
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VANILLA WITH A TWIST is the perfect read for relaxing with on those hazy, hot, and humid days spent languishing at the pool. Grab an ice cream cone too, and you’ve got the perfect way to while away a lazy summer day.
Enter to win an e-book bundle of all 51 books featured in the Beach Reads Bookish Event:
Runs July 17 – 22, 2020.
Winner will be drawn on July 30, 2020.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance writer who writes Romantic Comedies about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. If she can make you cry on one page and bring you out of tears rolling with laughter the next, she’s done her job as a writer! 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, she 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’s created the families she wanted as that lonely child. When she’s not writing Peggy is usually painting, crafting, scrapbooking or decoupaging old steamer trunks she finds at rummage stores and garage sales. A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, Peggy is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter. As a lifelong diarist, she caught the blogging bug early on, and you can visit her at peggyjaeger.com where she blogs daily about life, writing, and stuff that makes her go "What??!"
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Amazon Author Page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
Authors database: https://authorsdb.com/community/15814-peggy-jaeger
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