For Thanksgiving, I invited one of my college buddies (now working at the Pentagon) to join us for dinner. Since she lives south of DC, she stopped by Mom's Apple Pie (link) for dessert. My son loved the apple pie ... reminding me of C.H. Admirand's Small Town USA series set in Apple Grove, Ohio. C.H. is celebrating the release of Book 3, WELCOME BACK TO APPLE GROVE. She prepared a special post ....
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Enter my hero, former FDNY firefighter, Patrick Garahan—who stops by with his firefighting brothers to play a game of pick-up soccer with his friend Daniel Egan and his team from Apple Grove (hero from book 1). Add in heroine Grace, who ends up calling her friend Kate McCormack for the perfect recipe to make a meal for a soccer team—and then some—and you have a typical meal at the Mulcahy household.
“This tastes great, Grace,” Mike told her. Everyone agreed.
“I can’t take credit; it’s Kate’s mom’s recipe.”
Timmy shook his head. “It’s Gram’s recipe, but she never follows it, says recipes are a guideline and every cook adds their own special ingredients.”
“McCormack likes to cook,” Doyle teased his friend.
“So?” Timmy asked. “I’ll probably be working over at the diner—and not waiting tables.”
Grace smiled. “Your cousins have been holding down the fort ever since their mom retired. I’m sure they’d appreciate your help.”
“Yeah,” Timmy said. “They wanted me to serve people, but that’s woman’s work. I can cook.”
Cait and Meg were laughing when Grace set down her sandwich and turned to stare at Timmy. “Is that so?” Grace asked. “And where did you hear that?”
Timmy must have realized he’d said something to upset her; he paled and every single one of his freckles stood out. “I, uh, well…that is—”
“Best just to keep eating,” Joe advised. “A wise man never tries to tell a woman what to do.”
The answering rumble of laughter among the men had Grace taking pity on the white-faced young man sitting across from her.
“I’m sorry, Gracie,” he said, using Kate’s nickname for her. “Mom says I talk before I think.”
Grace leaned across the table toward him and asked, “Who should Mulcahys send to your house the next time your furnace stops working or your plumbing springs a leak?”
Timmy looked from Meg to Cait and back to Grace, and said, “Just ignore the freckle-faced kid,” earning a nod of approval from Joe.
“I taught my girls everything they know about fixing things, woodworking, plumbing—”
“Too bad they’re all spoken for,” Finney said from his end of the table.
Patrick slid his arm around Grace’s neck and ate one-handed, licking the excess sauce before it had a chance to spill out of the roll. “You should stop at the Apple Grove Diner on your way back to the firehouse—Kate and Peggy are amazing cooks. And Kate’s single.”
Bear leaned toward Sledge and said, “Notice he didn’t say anything about what they looked like.”
Finney grinned. “Maybe we can sweet talk Peggy into being single. Besides if they can cook—it doesn’t matter what they look like.”
Timmy’s head shot up. “My cousins are real lookers, right, Coach?”
Dan nodded. “Pretty blonde, and curves that go on for—” He ducked as Meg took a swing at his head. “Hey, it’s always best to tell the truth,” he said, snagging her arm and tucking her against his side. “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder,” he told Meg, “and I’m beholdin’ a beauty right now.”
Grace watched the fight go out of her oldest sister. The love that shone between Dan and Meg warmed Grace’s heart, but she didn’t get to think about it too long because Sledge and Bear started a heated debate.
When Bear shot to his feet, Grace looked up at the size of him and decided whatever the man wanted to do, she’d let him.
“I said I’m going to the diner,” Sledge said, pushing Bear, but the man didn’t budge.
Patrick leaned close and asked, “Are you going to finish that?”
Grace stared down at the half a sandwich left on her plate and shook her head. “I’m full. You want it?”
He slid his hand along the curve of her shoulder and down the length of her arm to her wrist, his hand expertly slipped to the inside of her wrist and he grinned. “Thinking about me or worried about those two goons?”
Grace had trouble concentrating when his voice dropped to that low seductive rumble. He must have taken her silence as a yes. He lifted her limp hand to his lips and pressed a kiss to one knuckle at a time.
“Maybe we should stay a little longer,” Bear said, nodding toward Patrick.
Sledge nudged Finney, who elbowed Jimmy before saying, “I’m thinking we should ask Grace if she’d like to come to the firehouse and cook for us.”
Grace heard her name, but nothing else because Patrick had turned her hand over and placed a kiss to the center of her palm. Who knew that the palm of one’s hand was an erogenous zone?
“No deal, guys. Grace only comes to the firehouse if I’m there.”
The hard, clipped tone of Patrick’s voice had her looking up to see every one of the Newark firefighters staring at her and smiling.
|Even exotic Kauai has small towns and vintage trucks!
WELCOME BACK TO APPLE GROVE BY C.H. ADMIRAND – IN STORES DECEMBER 2013
There's No Place Like Home...
Grace Mulcahy thought she'd finally gotten Apple Grove, Ohio, out of her system. Then she's lured back for a family barbecue and spies a broad-shouldered hottie hanging out at the grill. He somehow seems utterly at ease, whether flipping burgers or horsing around with her hellion nephews. Why didn't her brother-in-law tell her he had such gorgeous friends? Suddenly her mouth is watering for more than her best friend's famous pie.
Some fires aren't meant to be fought…
When firefighter Pat Garahan sees Grace, it's like a five-alarm bell goes off and he's the one ablaze. She says she wants to leave Apple Grove, but he will do whatever it takes to keep her around. The life of a firefighter isn't an easy one though, and he'll have to prove their immediate spark can have a lasting chance at love…
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
C.H. Admirand was born in Aiken, South Carolina, but grew up in New Jersey. She has been delighting readers with her Secret Life of Cowboys Series, featuring three cowboy brothers with Irish charm, as well as the Small Town USA Series, with the quirky characters of Apple Grove, OH. She lives with her husband, who is the inspiration for all of her heroes’ best traits, in New Jersey. For more information, please visit CHAdmirand.com.
To Purchase Welcome Back to Apple Grove:
Barnes and Noble
Discover a New Love
Sourcebooks is offering a print copy of WELCOME BACK TO APPLE GROVE to one randomly selected commenter. To enter the giveaway,
1. What is your favorite pie? Check out Mom's Apply Pie (link) for tempting suggestions ... plus more than apple pie! The Almond Amaretto Chess pie looks delicious!
2. Sourcebooks' giveaway is open to readers in the US and Canada.
3. Comments are open through Saturday, December 14, 10 pm in Baltimore. I'll post the winner on Sunday, December 15.
Kim in Baltimore
Aloha Spirit in Charm City