Warm Thanksgiving wishes to you and your family!
Have a wonderful holiday.
This weekend excerpt features a Thanksgiving scene from RANSOMING REDEMPTION, the third and final book of Rannigan’s Redemption.
They arrived at the Beaulieu’s home after eight o’clock that night having driven from the airport in the silver pickup truck Bobby had reserved at the rental agency. “A truck?” Maggie had questioned. Bobby had just winked at her.
Jerilyn chased Savannah who bounded out of the house as they pulled up into the circular driveway. “Daddy!” cried the child as she threw herself into Bobby’s arms.
“Well hey there, June bug,” he said, hugging his daughter tightly. “Look who I brought with me. You remember Maggie, don’t you?”
“Welcome, cher,” Jerilyn said as she wrapped Maggie in a huge hug. “Come on in. Are y’all hungry?”
“I’m always hungry,” laughed Bobby. He put Savannah on the ground. “Come on, you can help us get our bags.”
“This is such a beautiful home,” Maggie told Bobby’s mother.
“Why thank you, hon,” she smiled. “Of course, you know Bobby had it built for us when he signed his first contract with the majors.”
Maggie’s eyes widened and she looked to Bobby who seemed uncomfortable. “No. I didn’t know that.”
“Ro-bert, y’all are up in your room,” Jerilyn tossed over her shoulder as she headed back into the house. “Get freshened up and come on down to the kitchen.”
With Bobby leading the way, Savannah carried Maggie’s cosmetic case and Maggie followed with her suitcase as they went upstairs. They traveled down a long hallway to a bedroom on the back of the house with a huge bay window overlooking the marsh beyond the expansive lawn.
“Okay, sweetie,” Bobby said to Savannah, “how about you go help Nana in the kitchen and we’ll be right there.”
“Okay, Daddy,” the little girl said. “Are you coming downstairs, Maggie?”
Maggie smiled. “I sure am. I’ll see you in just a minute.”
“You can sit by me,” Savannah said as she left the room, closing the door behind her.
Bobby pulled Maggie to him and held her for a moment, kissing her neck. “Thank you so much for coming home with me, cher,” he murmured against her neck.
“I’m happy to be here,” she said. “I’m surprised your mom has us sharing a room, though.” He looked at her quizzically. “I just figured we’d be in separate rooms, that’s all,” she shrugged.
“You realize, cher,” he arched an eyebrow, “they know we have sex.” He whispered the last three words, and Maggie blushed furiously while he chuckled. “You’re so pretty when your face is pink.”
Thursday was a blur of activity at the Beaulieu home. Bobby’s sisters and their families arrived throughout the morning beginning around seven o’clock. One by one, Maggie was introduced to them, and she made a concerted effort to remember everyone’s names and at least which kids belonged to which adults, if not the names of the kids. She happily pitched in with the preparations in the kitchen while Bobby worked outside to set up the large outdoor fryer in which the turkey would be cooked.
“Have you ever had deep-fried turkey, Maggie?” asked Bobby’s sister Jenny.
Maggie shook her head. “I never have, but I’ve always wanted to try it.”
“You should go outside and watch,” youngest sister Nancy told her.
Taking a beer from the giant ice-filled galvanized tub on the back deck, Maggie walked down the steps to the area on the end of the driveway where Bobby and his father had set up the fryer on its sturdy platform. The other men were keeping an eye on the kids playing behind the house.
“If it’s not the prettiest girl I know,” Bobby said, smiling. “And she brought me a beer.” He took it from her and kissed her cheek. “How are you doing, cher?”
“I’m great! I came to see the turkey fry.”
“Once you have it fried, you’ll never go back to roasted,” Justin told her with a wink.
The holiday dinner around the family table was a raucous affair. Following the grace, the passing of heaping platters and bowls was accompanied by loud conversation punctuated by frequent laughter. Feeling a bit overwhelmed, Maggie sat back and took it all in. Bobby rested his free hand on her thigh and grinned at her reassuringly from time to time.
“Well what do you think, Maggie?” Bobby’s oldest sister Michelle smiled kindly. “Are you coming back for Christmas or have we scared you off?”
“Oh, well,” Maggie began, “actually I have a gathering at my place every Christmas. It’s sort of affectionately known as the Orphans and Misfits Christmas.”
“Being without family, Maggie invites her friends who don’t have anybody either. She makes sure that nobody’s alone on Christmas,” Bobby elaborated proudly.
“Well, she has family now,” Bobby’s sister Renée said, and Maggie blushed as threatened tears stung her eyes.
RANSOMING REDEMPTION is available
at your favorite online bookseller.
Happy Thanksgiving! I’m so excited to extend a little holiday love with everyone, I thought I’d take the opportunity to share one of my favorite holiday recipes. You’re shocked, I know. Because if you know anything about me, you know that I don’t cook. I’m lucky enough to be married to a man who loves to cook, and truthfully, he spoils me rotten.
But I digress. At our house, we’re not fans of cranberry, so instead, we like a strawberry salad on our Thanksgiving table and it couldn’t be easier to make. I mean, if I can do it…
Mix: 1 1/2 C. crushed pretzels, 1/2 stick melted butter, 1/4 C. sugar. Press mixture into a 13×9 pan and bake at 350 for 10 min. Cool.
Mix and spread over cooled crust: 8 oz. cream cheese, 1 C. sugar, 1 lg. Cool Whip. Refrigerate these two layers.
Mix: 1 3-oz. strawberry jello mix, 10 oz. frozen strawberries, 1 C. boiling water. Pour over cream cheese layer. Chill until it’s set.
Now for a little Thanksgiving excerpt to put you in the mood. This one is from Rannigan’s Redemption: Resisting Risk.
Thanksgiving at Casey’s new house was a busy, cheerful affair. John and Casey had bought the three bedroom, two bath house a few months earlier and had finished furnishing it just in time for the holiday. She and John had invited Maggie and Ben, Kevin, and Des and Jacob to stay for the weekend.
Sleeping arrangements had been studiously organized. Obviously Des and Jacob were in the guest bedroom. Ben and Kevin shared the living room, one on the sofa and one on the floor. Maggie was given an air mattress on the floor of the home office, but she didn’t mind. She was grateful that she had a private space; anyone seeing her neck would undoubtedly require information she didn’t feel like giving.
Both Casey’s and John’s parents were invited for Thanksgiving dinner. Early that morning, Maggie heard Casey moving around in the kitchen and she smiled to herself. She knew her friend well enough to know she’d want this day to go perfectly. Maggie got up too, happy to pitch in with preparations. She carefully dressed, making sure the scarf she wore completely covered the angry marks John had left on her neck.
The day before, when she’d left the office, Michael had insisted that she ride to the airport in the car from his service. His flight to the Bahamas would be later in the evening so his car was available.
When Ben arrived at the airport, he’d had been too preoccupied with his own concerns to notice Maggie’s reticence. He’d prattled about work and his new boyfriend, who he still refused to name, throughout the entire flight.
The Thanksgiving meal was a huge success. The turkey was perfectly done, and the stuffing made from an old family recipe was delicious, as were the yams, green beans, and cranberry sauce. Casey had made certain that the dining room had been tastefully furnished and decorated for the holiday and dinner was enjoyable, everyone talking about their experiences now that they were out in the real world.
Snow began falling in late afternoon and by dark the ground was covered with a beautiful white blanket. After dinner, the men adjourned to John’s man cave. The women discussed Casey’s wedding plans as she showed them fabric swatches and photos of cakes, flowers, and wedding dresses. After John’s and Casey’s parents left, the women joined the men downstairs for a pool tournament.
Maggie, however, begged off. “I have a little headache. I think I’ll just go to bed,” she said. Alone in the office, she unwrapped her neck and checked it using a mirror from her purse. It really was ghastly.
She put away the mirror and checked her phone. A notification indicated that she had a Snapchat message from Michael.
“Hey, Mags,” he smiled ruefully into the camera. “I don’t want to interrupt your holiday. I was just thinking about you and hoping you’re okay.”
Maggie smiled in spite of herself. He was thinking about me. She held her phone in front of her. “Hey back, Michael. You aren’t interrupting. I’m doing alright. You must be having fun in the Bahamas. Is it warm? We have snow here.”
Moments later Michael replied. “It’s in the 80s in the Bahamas. Are you having fun? How’s your neck?”
In the 80s. Maggie rolled her eyes. I’ve got to get my passport. She pressed record again. “Temps in the 80s sounds amazing. Send pictures of the water. My neck is okay, I guess.” She held the camera so that her neck showed in all its bruised glory. “I’ve been keeping it covered with scarves.”
Michael grimaced. Maggie’s neck looked bad, all black and blue and purple. “Scarves and turtlenecks seem the way to go,” he said into the camera. “Take an extra day, Mags. We don’t have to be in court until Wednesday. Come back on Tuesday, you’ll have plenty of time to get up to speed.”
She considered this. “I don’t know, Michael. There’s so much to do,” she said. “You know, again, it would be easier to have this conversation over the phone.” She arched one eyebrow.
On video, Michael laughed. “But I like doing it this way. You’re the only account I follow.” He smiled and nodded. “Take an extra day on Monday. Rest up and feel better. We’ll manage without you for a day.” Maggie reluctantly agreed and they said their goodnights.
You can get your copy of Resisting Risk, the first book in the Rannigan’s Redemption trilogy here.
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