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.
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Welcome, Peggy! I’m delighted to host a fellow Wild Rose Press author. Dearly Beloved is available for pre-order now and releases on November 12th.
Tell us three things we’d find if we looked under your heroine’s bed? How about the hero’s bed?
If we looked under Colleen O’Dowd’s bed I’m sure we’d find at least three pairs of four-inch stilettos, her high school yearbook, and an old box holding her dried corsage from when she went to senior prom. Plus, I imagine there’d be a plethora of dust bunnies!
Slade Harrington is another sort, entirely. Since he has one of those $10,000 custom made beds that are secured to the floor, there’s no way anything can get under the bed – including dust!
What is the theme of this book? If it’s part of a series, how does this book fit into the series?
I’m a big believer in forgiveness and I set out to write a story that embodied forgiveness on many levels and for many of the characters. Slade’s fractured relationship with his father, Colleen’s broken engagement due to her fiancés cheating, even the O’Dowd sisters forgiving their parents for abandoning them after their sister died. I truly believe that forgiveness is more beneficial for the people giving it than those receiving it and that’s what I wanted these characters to realize. This is the first book in the MATCH MADE IN HEAVEN romance series, and before you think this is some kind of Christian or inspirational romance, Heaven is the name of the town in New Hampshire where the O’Dowds live.
Why do you write this genre? What inspired this story? Do you write any other genres?
I’m the kind of girl who lives in the here and now – in my life and in my writing, so I lovelovelove contemporary romance stories. And as I’ve aged and the current times have changed, I’ve changed along with them. I only write contemporary. I applaud anyone who does any kind of historical, time travel, or even futuristic books. Those are just too hard for my brain. Too many period details to keep right, and because fans of those genres are so smart and so loyal, they can spot any mistakes a mile away!
This book is dedicated to one of my daughter’s college sorority sisters because the inspiration for the book fell out of that young girl’s wedding. She had a destination wedding where everything from the service, to the reception, to where everyone stayed was in the same place. I got to thinking about a family who each ran a branch of a wedding business and bam! The O’Dowds were born.
Any tips to share with fellow authors/aspiring authors? What’s the best advice you’ve ever heard?
Truly the best writing advice I ever heard was from Nora Roberts at the 2014 RWA meeting in San Antonio. She said you have to consider you writing like a job and just write. Don’t be distracted by what’s on TV or on social media. If you went to an office you couldn’t take a three-hour lunch to watch old Lucy reruns and chew the fat with a co-worker. You’d be fired. Treat your writing like that. And write. Just write.
An excerpt from Dearly Beloved:
I stared at him for a moment, mulling over how I wanted to ask him what I’d been dying to ask since we’d been in my office.
Finally, because there was no other way to get around it but bluntly, I said, “I feel like we need to discuss your father. Come to a decision about where he fits in the wedding.”
When the warmth in his expression shifted to ice, a weaker-willed person might have stopped there. Since I’m not weak and my parents have always told me I have a real problem with knowing when to quit, I pushed on. “It seems to me as if Isabella wants him to be included. Whether in a father-of-the-bride role, or simply as a guest, I really do think she’d like him to attend, but, for whatever reason, she’s reluctant to press you on it.”
Did I say ice? What’s colder than ice? Because whatever it is, that was the expression floating in Slade’s eyes right then as he glared at me.
Warning bells blared in my head, but that thing about me not knowing when to quit? Yeah, it’s real.
“I think Isabella’s afraid of upsetting you if she tells you how she feels or asks your permission. She loves you so much and respects your opinion.”
“You don’t know anything about my sister. Or me.” He lowered his hands from his hips, kept them fisted at his sides. “Or our relationship with our father.”
“True, but I get the sense—”
He barreled over me as if I hadn’t said a word.
“You’ve been hired to do a job, Miss O’Dowd. I suggest you do it and keep your thoughts about my family to yourself. You’re a wedding planner, not a family counselor.” His voice dropped a level, deepening as it became softer. The cadence became clipped, the tone more…lethal.
If this was the way he acted in business, it was a wonder he hadn’t been convicted of corporate homicide yet.
“Look, I’m not asking simply to be nosy,” I said, my voice rising in opposition to his. “I really do have to plan all this out. There’s still the rehearsal and the dinner after it left to deal with. Then there’s the reception seating. Plus, if he is included, I’ll need to make sure he has a room, a tuxedo, and find out if he’s bringing a guest.”
“What aren’t you understanding about this, Miss O’Dowd?” Slade asked, taking a step toward me. If he’d thought to intimidate me with his height, he’d miscalculated. Retreat wasn’t a word in my lexicon. I simply lifted my chin and stared right back at him.
“I understand a lot more than you think, Mr. Harrington. About all sorts of things. Arrogant and pigheaded men included.”
When he continued to stand like a plank of wood in front of me, his mouth turning down and creasing the sides of his jaw, I knew—knew—I should stop.
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About the author
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.