by: Peggy Jaeger
Genre: Contemporary Christmas Romance/Romantic Comedy
Release Date: December 12, 2018
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
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With Christmas season in full swing, baker Regina San Valentino is up to her elbows in cake batter and cookie dough. Between running her own business, filling her bursting holiday order book, and managing her crazy Italian family, she’s got no time to relax, no room for more custom cake orders, and no desire to find love. A failed marriage and a personal tragedy have convinced her she’s better off alone. Then a handsome stranger enters her bakery begging for help. Regina can’t find it in her heart to refuse him.
Connor Gilhooly is in a bind. He needs a specialty cake for an upcoming fundraiser and puts himself—and his company’s reputation—in Regina’s capable hands. What he doesn’t plan on is falling for a woman with heartbreak in her eyes or dealing with a wise-guy father and a disapproving family.
Can Regina lay her past to rest and trust the man who’s awoken her heart?
I fall somewhere in the middle because Christmas romance stories, whether they are books or movies, to me, are part of what makes the holidays such a special time in my life. I can’t devote 24 hours a day to watching the movies or reading, though, because I have…you know–a life! Hee Hee.
The topic of why Christmas romance stories are so special to people is an easy one to explain. I don’t think everyone will agree with my take on the reason why, but I’m confident many will.
The holiday season, although stereotypically a joyous time of year, isn’t that way for everyone. Many people suffer from chronic physical illnesses, depression, work strife, financial worries, and not everyone can look on the season with undiluted pleasure. When you’re having difficulty imagining where the money is going to come from to buy even one toy on your child’s Santa list, this time of year can be soul-sucking and troublesome.
A romance–be it a RomCom movie, tear jerking Hallmark affair, or even a holiday novella–can lift a person’s spirits in incalculable ways. It can make you forget the problems surrounding you and slip a little joy and heartfelt expectation back into your mind. It can transport you away from your issues and bring you to a happy destination. I know this first hand and here’s why.
The movie MOONSTRUCK, a flick we can all agree did more for the Holiday RomCom genre in the late 1980’s than any other film back then, was released on 12.18.1987. I was getting married on 12.26.1987 and the stress of everything going on at that time was getting to me. I was finishing up my Master’s degree right before the ceremony; I was leaving my job and trying to train the new manager; I was moving 1500 miles away the day after my wedding with my new husband and trying to pack my apartment up; and my husband-to-be was already living where I was moving to and had been for 6 months. Add all of that to the fact I was planning my own large wedding ( 250 guests) without any help and I was stressed, depressed, and quickly heading for meltdown city.
One afternoon a few days before the wedding my mind couldn’t handle one more thing I needed to get done, one more person I needed to talk to, or one more decision I had to make. I simply needed to run away and hide for a few hours.
So I did.
I ran to my neighborhood movie theater, bought a ticket to see Moonstruck and settled down into the cushioned seat all by myself with my large diet soda, prepared to let my mind just–stop–for a few hours.
Well, if you’ve ever seen the movie you can guess my mind did no such thing. From the first moment where you witness the awkward marriage proposal of Loretta and Jonnie, to the last scene where Loretta finds the true love of her life, a man she tells her mother she “loves awful,” I was fully engaged in what was going on up on the screen.
I laughed, I chortled, I cried, and I cheered. I was totally swept away by the romance, the comedy, and unending love of the family in the story.
By the time the credits rolled, my stress level was at a zero, a smile had chased my depressive frown away, and I knew the message in the movie–love will get you through anything–was sent from angels above just for me to hear.
The power of that movie–a little RomCom the critics had written off–did more for my spirit than anything had done up until that time and I feel the reason is easy to understand. A holiday romance story–be it a book or a movie or a continuous Hallmark Channel loop–can whisk you away to a place where your heart can be light, your mind can be entertained, and your emotions can be engaged.
I really think this is why people love a good Christmas/Holiday romance story. Hallmark certainly believes so!
Who knew the small of your back was such an erogenous zone? He must have first-hand knowledge about a particularly sensitive nerve bundle in that region because my thighs started to tremble and a deep-seated liquid warmth, like warm butter melting over hot morning ciabatta rolls, spread throughout my system. A restlessness for more shunted through me from top to bottom, making me fidget and writhe for release. I think I moaned. Or maybe that was Connor. I wasn’t sure, but one thing I was sure of was that in all the time I’d been married, I’d never felt so turned on by a simple kiss before.
Okay, well, it really wasn’t a simple kiss. More a life-changing event.
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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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