This has been sooooooome year, hasn’t it? When I think back to Thanksgiving 2016 and Thankful Authors, I could never have predicted what would happen in our country, our world, and in my tiny corner of the universe.
This year I have been blessed in so many ways. I have my health, my family is strong and united, I’m not hurting for cash, and I get to do what I’ve always wanted to do: write.
Not many people see their dreams and desires come to reality. I will admit freely that I know how lucky I am to have been given the gift of unlimited time to write, without worry or stress about where my next meal is coming from or do I have a roof over my head. I know how fortunate and blessed I am.
I also know that there are many people in this country who struggle day to day to see that they have enough to eat, that despair of having their home taken away due to financial concerns, that have illnesses they can not afford to have taken care of.
We live, have lived, and will continue to live, in the greatest nation on earth. And with our greatness comes responsibility. President Kennedy said,
"For of those to whom much is given, much is required." That quote is from the bible, Luke 12:48: "For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required." Never is this ideology so important as right now.
I charge everyone who reads this to make a commitment – in whatever way you choose – to do something to help someone else. Volunteer to bring Thanksgiving dinner to shut-ins; donate food to local food banks; help someone in need pay a bill – anonymously. We should never do a good deed for the recognition it will bring to us, or for the good opinions of others. The only opinion that counts is God’s. But do something.
Privilege comes with responsibility. I am thankful I can be a responsible citizen.
Talented and witty portrait artist Serena MacQuire is successful in everything but love. Her gift for capturing people on canvas is rivaled only by her fiery and legendary temper. A tragedy from the past keeps her heart securely locked away, preventing any man from getting close enough to claim it.
But Seamus Cleary isn’t just any man. After he left his professional football career to become a veterinarian, his bitter wife ended their marriage. Now, as he starts his life over in a new town, love is the last thing he's looking for. The more he tends to Serena’s horses, though, the more he realizes her own heart needs tender care and healing as well.
Will he be the man who finally unlocks and claims her heart?
Their eyes met and Seamus registered the silent “O” of surprise on her mouth.
"I'm sorry I startled you," he said, drawn to her as an errant moth would be to a ghost of moonlight. "Addie told me you were out here."
Serena reached over to her sketchpad, open at her feet, and closed it with a flick of her toe. He was rewarded with a lengthy view of thigh as she stretched.
"Doodling, mostly. I wanted to do some preliminary sketches for a commission I have."
"Mind if I sit?" he asked, and without waiting for an answer, did.
When he reached for the pad and said, "May I?" she shot her bare foot on top of it.
"Sorry." Serena reached over and grabbed the book. When it was safely tucked behind her back, braced against the tree, she added, "I'm a little schizoid where my work is concerned. I don’t let people see it when it’s in the planning or beginning stages."
He looked across at her, lifted one brow slightly, then glanced around. "This is nice," he said. "Quiet. Peaceful."
A fist of pure desire punched him in the stomach, the muscles contracting in response to the challenge in her eyes.
"Was there something you needed to see me about?"
He considered her again, before replying. For someone so young she could act as regally as the most aged dowager.
And she was young; much younger than he was. It wouldn't do to start anything with her. Besides, she was a client. He had to keep it professional.
But dammit, those eyes speared right through him, impaling him with their beauty, and were hard to ignore. As was the gentle swell and shift of her breasts with each breath beneath her barely modest halter top. And her legs, well, just forget about those. Legs like that were destined to be his downfall.
Peggy Jaeger is a contemporary romance author who writes about strong women, the families who support them, and the men who can't live without them.
Peggy holds a master's degree in Nursing Administration and first found publication with several articles she authored on Alzheimer's Disease during her time running an Alzheimer's in-patient care unit during the 1990s.
A lifelong and avid romance reader and writer, she is a member of RWA and her local New Hampshire RWA Chapter.
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