Happy New Year to everyone!
And wow, Jan 6 is here, and last night was the premiere of Downton Abbey’s Season 4 on PBS! If you haven’t gotten hooked, start with Season 1! If you like it, I guarantee you won’t be able to stop until you’ve gobbled up the entire series!
What I love about the series is the romance. It’s a period piece, sort of like Upstairs, Downstairs, where you have the lives of Downton Abbey’s owners and the lives of the servants. The series starts right at the time the Titanic sinks, goes through WW I, and on into the twenties. My favorite budding romance is between Bates, the earl’s valet, and Anna, a lady’s maid. But there are so many romances I felt invested in, the earl’s daughter and the chauffeur (egads!), and of course, the earl’s daughter and the heir to the earldom (no, this isn’t her brother!). But I also loved the touch of history that you could, how the first world war basically saw the breaking down of the barriers between the classes. Workers were no longer content to stay in their places. They wanted, and demanded, more. I read Ken Follet’s Fall of Giants, which is about the same period in history. Basically that war saw the fall of the ruling classes in Europe. The world landscape changed. But throughout it all, there were still great romances! I can’t wait for Downton Abbey, Season 4, has in store for us. It was certainly a great beginning last night!
And speaking of romance, the stores are already filled with Valentine’s candy. And that’s what I’m here to talk about, my new Valentine’s anthology, with stories by me, Pamela Fryer, Haley Whitehall, Raine English, Lois Winston, and Melinda Curtis. Let me give you a little blurb and a taste of my contribution to Love, Valentine Style. It’s called Be My Other Valentine. You can read longer excerpts on my 12/29 Blog and my website.
Five years ago, Grace was given a sacred duty by a woman dying of cancer: Every Valentine’s Day, Grace must deliver a special cake to a girl named Valentine, addressed from the girl’s mother in heaven. But this year, Grace’s van gives up the ghost before she delivers her cargo.
His daughter Valentine is all Brian has left of his wife, but he’s forgotten the cake Valentine receives every year, and they’ve moved to a new house with no way to contact the baker who follows his wife’s wishes.
In their quest to fulfill a dying woman’s last request, can Grace and Brian find their own Valentine?
He reached over to open the door. “It’s cold, get in.” When she hesitated, he added, “If your car won’t start, you won’t be able to turn on the heater.” He smiled and patted the seat next to him. “And I have seat warmers.”
“Oh God, you’re evil. I’ll put the cake on the floor behind the passenger seat. It won’t slide as much when you’re driving.”
He kept the engine running and pushed the buttons for both seat warmers. Her van was visible around the corner, and they would see when the tow truck arrived.
Settling beside him, she asked, “So I’ve been dying to know if your daughter likes the cakes.”
He smiled. Valentine was the light of his life. “She adores them.”
“Which one did she like best?”
He supposed it was like a painter or a musician or a writer asking if you liked their latest work. Her cakes were an art form. “The lamb. Or maybe that was just my favorite. Because Valentine was very partial to the pink and red ladybug.” There’d also been an amazing butterfly, its wings topped with colored fruit jellies arranged to look like a pink monarch, and a Finding Nemo fish, which had been pink instead of orange and accented with red stripes instead of black. “You’re very talented.”
Even in the shadows of the car, he recognized her blush. “Thank you. Valentine? For her birthday? I didn’t realize that was actually her name. Her mother didn’t say.”
His mood immediately spiraled. He hadn’t known what Marilyn planned until she’d done it. And when he’d seen the credit card bill later, he almost choked. But she was gone by then, and over the years, he’d realized what she’d given Valentine was worth every penny. In fact, it probably wasn’t enough. This woman—he hadn’t even asked her name—had already provided far more than the money Marilyn had paid her. A childhood’s worth of cakes, a mother lode of love. Why would she go to such lengths for a woman she didn’t know and a child who hadn’t even been born when she made the deal?
“Who are you?” he finally asked.
Love, Valentine Style is available exclusively on Amazon.
So, have you seen Downton Abbey? Are you hooked? Or do you wonder what all the fuss is about?