Shannon here: Linda Wood Rondeau shares a romantic excerpt from her Christmas title, It Really IS a Wonderful Life, plus a recipe for Half-Moon Cookies. Comment or answer the question in this post to enter the drawing for an e-book copy. Deadline: Dec 14th, 11:59 pm central time. Here’s Linda:
Note: In this excerpt Dorie has come to audition for a part in the Midville Community Theater’s upcoming production of It’s A Wonderful Life. New to town, she is unfamiliar with the group and how auditions are managed. She did not know she had to fill out an audition form. The group’s manager is giving Dorie a hard time when Jamie Sullivan overhears the conversation. Jamie is unaware that Dorie has received a job application rejection letter from his father, James Paul Sullivan, Senior.
Excerpt from It Really IS a Wonderful life by Linda Wood Rondeau:
Jamey clicked his pen as he studied the audition form.
Every few minutes, Evie glanced his way, her eyebrows moving up and down in a grotesque attempt to flirt. He ignored her overtures, although she had her good points—almost attractive except for being thin, thinner than even him—so thin she’d get lost behind a flagpole. Evie seemed efficient, all business like in whatever endeavor she took on. But he liked the unpredictable in a woman. Humorless, Evie tended to turn even the simplest tasks into a process. No. Definitely not his type.
Then again, what was his type? He hadn’t dated in over a year.
Not for lack of opportunity. There were lots of available, attractive women in Midville, girls tired of boyfriends who played community football in the fall, basketball and hockey in the winter, and baseball in the spring and summer. Jamey liked sports on occasion, had even played hockey in his youth. But seriously, there was much more to life than wishing he was sixteen again.
Yep. Many Midville women tired of their ever-pubescent boyfriends. They’d be ripe for picking. Why take the risk? Small-town girls came with small-town visions, content with picket fences and brick houses. Not the life Jamey Sullivan pictured for himself. He wanted more. If he became romantically involved now, he’d have to end things when he returned to the Big Apple, his personal end of the rainbow.
Jamey returned to completing his form. He scribbled his usual curt responses. Besides Danny Riley, no one in Midville came close to Jamey’s credentials. Ridiculous to keep stating the obvious. Danny gave Jamey meaty, supporting roles, roles requiring depth and empathy, roles he much preferred, like Quasimodo or Cyrano de Bergerac.
Evie’s squeaks brought him to attention. “I suppose I could let you fill one out, but you’ll have to give it to Danny yourself.”
Jamey studied the blonde Shirley Temple. Anyone tussling with Evie had to be either brave or naïve. The woman had been Midville High’s debate champion four years in a row. Should he play Gawain and rescue the fair maiden from the dragon’s claws? He handed the Viking woman his incomplete form. “Evie, would you be a doll and give this to Danny after you hand this nice lady a form to fill out? Danny knew I’d be late … business meeting at the store.” Evie’s eyes rolled as she gave the trembling woman a form, then stomped into the main room with Jamey’s paperwork.
He turned his attention to the still-shaking, attractive blonde. In an effort to appear nonchalant, he took off his ski jacket, slung it over his shoulder, and bowed. “James Paul Sullivan at your service, but my friends call me Jamey.”
She held the questionnaire out like a ticking bomb, her eyes wide with terror. “Dorie Fitzgerald.”
“It won’t explode, I assure you.”
She flashed a grin that set off deep dimples. Not a flirtatious smile exactly but alluring all the same. He should say something more, engage her in conversation—not his best skill, as ineffective as his flirting. He should take lessons from Gabe Wellington who could charm the quills off a porcupine. “Don’t let the form thing scare you. Only a formality. I’d be glad to help you with it if you’d like.”
Her dimples disappeared behind a mask of stone. “You said your name is James Paul Sullivan?”
“Yes, though I prefer to be called Jamey.”
She squared her shoulders. “I’m quite capable of filling out a form, but thank you for the offer.” She turned around and sped toward the main room. What had he said to offend her? It was probably for the best, no matter how attracted he might be to her. Now was not the time to date anyone, especially with so much uncertainty shrouding his life.
On to matters at hand, Sullivan.
He sauntered into the audition area, surprised to see Dorie sitting next to Zeke, whose mound of flesh spread over a kid’s chair like melted mozzarella. Why would a girl that cute be with Zeke? Jamey’s conscience seared with his unkind thought, perhaps prompted by a bit of jealousy given Dorie’s hasty retreat a moment ago. Zeke was a good man with a heart as big as his frame. Why shouldn’t he have a girlfriend as petite and pretty as Dorie?
Dorie Fitzgerald is all about easy. She’d recommend these easy-to-make half-moons.
HALF-MOON COOKIE RECIPE
1-2 boxes of white cake mix
Follow the directions on cake mix but eliminate liquid
Stir until blended. If the mixture is too thin, add a small amount of white flour. If too thick, add a tablespoon of boiled milk.
Spoon onto a cookie sheet and bake 10-12 minutes at 325 (depending on your oven)
Spread canned vanilla frosting on half of each cookie.
Spread canned chocolate frosting on remaining half of each okie.
Let cookies air for about 1-2 hours before serving.
About Linda: Multi-published and award-winning author, Linda Wood Rondeau is a veteran social worker whose books examine the complexities of human relationships. Previously residing in Northern New York, the author now resides in Hagerstown, Maryland with her best friend in life, her spouse of over forty years. Though the author primarily writes fiction, her book, I Prayed for Patience/God Gave Me Children is a critically acclaimed adventure in parenting. Watch for her next nonfiction book, Who Put the Vinegar in the Salt/Called to a Higher Standard to be released later in 2020. A recent fiction work, Hosea’s Heart, explores the complexities of the mandate to forgive as God has forgiven us. Watch for her next fiction work, Second Helpings, to be released in Spring, 2020. Her blog, Snark and Sensibility, hosts writers of various genres. In addition, the author manages a Facebook page, Having the Prime of My Life, a positive look at aging issues. Readers may visit her web site at www.lindarondeau.com. Contact the author on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram.
About the book – It Really IS a Wonderful Life:Blurb
Midville newcomer and Iraq War widow, Dorie Fitzgerald, despises the frigid Adirondack wasteland that has now become her home. After twenty failed job interviews, she questions the wisdom of moving to be near her parents. Desperate to belong, she joins the local Community Theater, in production for It’s a Wonderful Life.
Jamey Sullivan has put his professional life on hold in order to run the family business and to help his ailing father. He signs on for Midville’s production of It’s a Wonderful Life, although he hopes to receive a Broadway casting call any day now.
When these two meet, they are instantly attracted to one another. However, ambition, demanding children, and a romantic rival threaten to squash their growing love for one another. Each must discover that the best things in life are found where your heart resides.
It Really is a Wonderful Life is set in the beautiful Adirondack mountains, a perfect backdrop for a Christmas romance.
Do you love Christmas books? Linda has several. Get your copy now!
Question for Readers: What is your favorite Christmas movie?
Come back December 6th for Laura V. Hilton!