Christmas & Canollis
by Peggy Jaeger
GENRE: Contemporary Romantic Comedy
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?
My free hand slid up his jacket, basking in the rich texture of the fabric, to skim across the column of his throat and settle against his cheek. His skin was smooth and clean-shaven, warm and velvety soft against my palm. Connor let go of my arm and slipped his hand down my back. With his fingers pressed against the dip in my spine, he pressed me in even closer. His tongue nipped and sipped at my own as his fingers fanned across my back and kneaded.
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.
Welcome PEGGY JAEGER! Please start off by telling us a little about yourself.
Thanks and Hi to all! I write contemporary romance in a few subgenres, Romantic Comedies, and Small town, to be specific. My tagline will tell you that I write about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can’t live without them. I live in beautiful New England where I get to watch the trees change to glorious colors during my favorite time of year: autumn. I’m 21 years old (plus 37 !) Hee hee and I’ve been married to the love of my life for over 30 years.
Is Christmas and Cannolis a single title, or part of a series?
CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS, a San Valentino Holiday Romance, is a single title-stand alone book, although various branches of the loud and loving family have starred in 2 previous books, 3 WISHES and A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS. You don’t need to have read the others to understand the plot and the people in this one, but I guarantee that after you meet this branch of the San Valentinos, you’ll want to meet the others.
What were your inspirations for the story?
Family is everything to me. As an only child, I always wanted siblings, cousins, aunts, and uncles I could visit, spend time with, and grow up with. I wasn’t afforded that wonderful opportunity, so from a very young age when I started writing stories, I made them about a girl who had that kind of loving, supportive and large family. The desire for a big family etched its way into my grown-up writing as well. After A KISS UNDER THE CHRISTMAS LIGHTS was published, I had a number of readers ask me to write Sonny SanValentino’s story. He was a pivotal secondary character in both the previous books and readers love his wise-guy wannabe persona. I knew I’d need to give him his own big family and a loving, independent and strong wife – because really, who else could put up with him? Hee Hee. I gave Sonny 4 older sons and a daughter, Regina, who’s the youngest. Because I love to bake so much and have taken courses on how to be a better baker, I gave Regina her own bakery and the story evolved from the heartache she’s suffered during her life. I knew with her supportive and nosy family, she would be able to move beyond her heartache, albeit in comical ways, because we are talking about Sonny, after all. He always knows a guy who knows a guy who can get you whatever you want. His wheeling and dealing are intrinsic to the plot line and his actions cause the black moment in the story.
Please share your setting.
Have you ever lived or visited there? If so, what did you like most? CHRISTMAS AND CANNOLIS takes place on the Upper West side of Manhattan ( New York City) a place I know well. I grew up in New York City and attended Hunter College as an undergraduate. Recently, my daughter lived on the Upper East Side, so the family neighborhoods are near and dear to me.
When did the writing bug first bite?
Well, when I was 8 years old I was given my first diary. It was the old-fashioned kind with a lock and key. Instead of filling it up with Dear Diary anecdotes about my days – which were mundane and boring – I filled the pages with stories of independent girls from loving families who went on adventures. I write every single day and have since I first got that diary. You could say I’ve been a lifelong diarist who turned her stories into her livelihood.
Who are your favorite authors, book/series?
Nora Roberts and her doppelganger JD ROBB of the In Death Series. Jill Shalvis and her Lucky Harbor series.
If you could have an author roundtable discussion with any authors, who would you invite?
The two ladies mentioned above, plus Sarah Morgan, Sandra Brown, Catherine Bybee and Lauren Layne.
Do you have any hobbies or special things you like to do in your spare time?
I cook and bake from scratch most days. Even though it is just my husband and myself at home now, my hubby likes fresh food and home-baked goods and I am thrilled to provide him with both. I have over 130 cookbooks in my home that are dog-eared and well-loved, and I gather most of my recipes from them, then wiggle them a bit to Peggy-ize them.
What’s the strangest thing you’ve heard or seen?
I was a nurse in my former life, so I’ve seen and heard plenty of strange things! The oddest mention I can give without breaking any kind of confidentiality is one day when I was floated to the Emergency room to cover sick calls, a man came in with a fishing spear sticking completely through his chest and exiting out his back. By the Grace of God, no organs were hit and his spinal column was unaffected, but he needed eight hours of surgery to remove the thing. I was in charge of getting him prepped for surgery and he was as calm as could be. At the time I thought he was in shock, but his wife assured me he was always that way – quiet, calm, not nervous. She told me he worked for the government oversees for a number of years in the State Dept. and had to learn how to counsel his emotions and reactions. Amazing. P.S. He survived just fine and had a scar that ran from the notch of his collar all the way to the top of his belly button.
What is the one thing that you would tell an inspiring writer to do?
Never give up on your dreams. Don’t let anyone else squash them either. Hold them dear and while you are waiting to be published, polish your craft by always learning, writing, and networking with other authors.
Peeps, this story is what I needed to read this week. Funny, light-hearted with a heartbreaking backstory for both Regina and Connor. Plus, it has baked goods. And a father that reminded me of anyone in the movie Married to the Mob. Things falling off a truck. Knowing a guy, that knew a guy, etc. The funny moments are definitely there, plus some heartbreaking ones, too. Regina has the typical Italian family and all the personalities to go with that. I will admit that I loved her dad way more than her mom. I felt like her mom was more of window dressing and didn’t much care for the way that Regina was leading her life. Her dad, however, just wanted the best for his daughter and the hilarity ensues because of it. Also, the black moment.
Connor is the man of mystery. I NEVER saw his backstory at all. It was interesting, heartbreaking and it made him who he is and the motivation to do the fundraiser. Plus, I just loved how he treated Regina from the beginning. He never once doubted her, babied her but did take care of her in the end. Plus, he stood up to her dad without being a douche canoe about it. He just treated everyone with respect and it showed in the end.
Regina. Man, she went through some awful, just awful stuff but she still believed in love, family and a great cake. I just loved her from the beginning, too. What I didn’t like was how she let her family intrude on how she should feel and act when it came to men again. Yes, I realize that its typical behavior in an Italian family but still. After everything, they just wouldn’t leave her alone and be her own person again.
This book moves pretty quickly. Ms. Jaeger writes a very funny but heartfelt book about two people that should have never met but met at just the right time for each other. Some of the themes are somewhat difficult to read but necessary for Regina to move forward in her relationship with Connor. Plus, come on. The book is set in NYC and I suddenly have a craving for NY style pizza and to ride the subway again.
If you are looking for a great Christmas themed book with humor, heart and some smexy times, this is for you. Just don’t forget that someone knows someone, that knows someone and it “might” have fallen off a truck”. Just don’t ask. Because in the end, Sonny, Regina’s father, lets that get the best of him and Regina. *wink*
AUTHOR Bio and Links:
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 a 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.
Amazon Author page: http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B00T8E5LN0
The Wild Rose Press: https://catalog.thewildrosepress.com/all-titles/6235-christmas-and-cannolis.html
GIVEAWAY INFORMATION and RAFFLECOPTER CODE
Peggy Jaeger will be awarding a $20 Amazon/BN GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour.