Monday, March 31, 2014

Sneak Peek at Tough Love Book 3 in the Love and Trust Trilogy

Hey Friends!
   Just thought I'd let you know that Tough Love is going through the final edits. To celebrate, I've decided to give you a little sneak peek. I'm hoping tomorrow to do a cover reveal, but don't hold me to that. In case you're new to the Love and Trust trilogy, I'll give you a little background. My first trilogy was the Love and Dessert trilogy based on the Kendall sisters and Belinda's Bakery in Fircrest Washington.  My Love and Trust trilogy is based around Rob Downing and his sisters Bailey and Taryn and their restaurant The Iron Skillet. Come To Me was Rob and Wren's story and Be Mine is Bailey and Kam's story. 

    So of course that leaves Taryn.  Tough Love is the perfect title for Taryn's story because she's pretty tough. She's feisty and proud and strong, but she can also be loving and sweet. If you've read Come to Me and Be Mine, you know she has some hang ups about being with Brogan, a younger man. Being a Cougar might be harder than it looks though.

               Taryn drove home in a fog of depression. It was a special kind of hell to sit at the dinner table with her family and see how in love Rob and Wren were and how passionate Kam and Bailey were about each other.  She reached up and massaged her forehead as she came to a stoplight.  There was no one else now to diffuse mother’s attention.  She was the last one and her mother would now stop at nothing until she was married happily with two children.
                She drove down the street and pulled into her driveway. She rented the top floor of a renovated craftsman style home from the early 1900’s.  The older couple she rented from took care of the upkeep and the yard so she never had to worry about anything.  She could have had a modern condo down by the water, but this was close to work and felt more homey.  She walked up the steps and let herself in, automatically locking up behind her.  She threw her purse on the counter and headed for her bed. She collapsed face first onto her pillow and kicked her legs for good measure.
                How in the world was she supposed to come up with a date for Bailey’s engagement party when she knew full well Brogan would be there too? She turned to her side as her oxygen began to fade and sighed with her eyes closed.  She’d been seeing Brogan secretly off and on for the last few months, but she’d broken things off for good a couple weeks ago and she still felt physically sick about it.
                Brogan had given her an ultimatum.  Bring their relationship out into the open or they were done. 
                So they were done.
                Taryn pulled her pillow over her chest, hugging it to her face as she remembered Brogan’s face as she’d told him they were over.  Shock, disappointment and surprisingly, pity.  He’d turned around walked out without another word and that was the last time she’d talked to him.  At work, she studiously avoided him.  And he wasn’t exactly seeking her out either.
                She pulled her knees up into a fetal position and listened to the rain hit the windows as she thought about Brogan.  She missed him.  He was always so positive and happy and kind. He had a gift for turning her bad moods around and getting her to laugh. He was like her own personal Prozac and she was turning darker, meaner and less happy with every day that passed without him.
                And oh how she missed the kissing. Brogan was big on kissing and was always finding excuses to pull her into her office to kiss her breathless.  But that was over now.  Really, how could she see herself in a serious, long term relationship with a waiter? It was ridiculous.
                Okay, maybe he was more than a waiter, but still. He was younger than her by three years, and he still lived at home. Total deal breaker. Taryn turned over on her stomach and leaned her chin on her hands. Sure he was living at home and waiting tables to pay off his student loans and she could respect that, but why should she date him, when there were thousands of men who were past that stage in life? She could very easily be dating a man who had an established career, who was out of debt and living independently. 
                Taryn closed her eyes.  Well of course he had started his own graphic design business on the side and was doing pretty good so far, but that was no guarantee of future success. Most business failed in their first year.  Startups were a gamble and it was very likely that he would end up at the end of the year, broke and right back where he started, living at home and waiting tables for her brother.
                She stood up and walked over to her bathroom, flipping on the light and leaning over the sink as she stared into the mirror.  She was Taryn Downing, manager of The Iron Skillet.  She was a strong, smart, successful woman and what would that say about her, dating a younger man?  People would call her a Sugar Mama or worse, a Cougar
                She grinned at the term and tilted her head as she studied her reflection.  She wasn’t conceited but she knew she was attractive. She was tall, slim yet strong and she had good Italian genes thanks to her mama that gave her face with a little extra drama, from the dark wings of her eyebrows to her full pouty mouth. Being beautiful had been a double edged sword. She was noticed but disregarded because of her looks. She’d had suppliers try and take advantage of her because no way could a beautiful woman have brains. She loved reeducating people.
                She could get a date to the engagement party if she wanted one.  She’d been asked out just yesterday by one of their regular patrons, Jeffrey Archer. He was perfect actually. In his mid-thirties, successful, kind and attractive, but she’d said no before she’d even thought about it.  For some reason, dating another man kind of made her sick to her stomach. 
                Taryn walked out of the bathroom and grabbed her cell phone as she scrolled through all the selfies she and Brogan had taken of themselves.  She smiled softly at the picture of them in Seattle a month ago. They’d driven up to see a concert and have dinner.  Taryn felt her heart ache as she noticed how happy they both were.  Brogan was so blond and golden compared to her dramatic dark coloring. They were the exact opposites in just about everything, which is probably why they were so drawn to each other.
                She scrolled down to a different picture and sat down on the edge of her couch, feeling her heart bleed a little.  They’d been right there in her family room, watching a movie. She’d had her head leaning against his shoulder.  They looked so comfortable with each other. She couldn’t even imagine being so comfortable and easy with another man.
                She sighed and walked over to the long window and leaned her forehead against the cool glass as she wondered for the thousandth time if she’d made the worst mistake of her life. She closed her eyes and thought of what Brogan had asked of her.  It wasn’t so much really.  Just tell everyone that they were together.  Let her family and everyone at work know that they were in a committed relationship with each other.  He had told her he was sick of being kept a dirty little secret and that he deserved a woman who not only respected him but was proud to be with him.
                She felt horrible about hurting him, but in the end, she couldn’t do it.  She couldn’t stand the thought of people judging her, snickering behind their hands at her. Laughing at her. 

                The question was, was her pride so important when in the end, she was alone?
*Copyrighted Material*

    This has been one of my favorite books to write just because Taryn is so close to my heart.  Be warned though, this one's a little intense. Let me know what you think!


Emily F said...

Yay! I'm excited! What type of intense is it, though?

Shannon said...

Hey Emily - I would have to say emotionally tense. Remember, I'm a clean romance writer :)