Re-visiting old friends

rereadHere’s an interesting topic (at least for a bookworm) I’ve seen on social media in the last week – the question of re-reading books you love. Do you, or don’t you? With so many books to read, why would anyone spend time reading something they’ve already read? You know the ending, so there’s no suspense, right?

For me, re-reading a favorite book is like curling up with an old friend. Even though my to-be-read list seems miles long, sometimes I want to revisit characters I love, and a story I know I can count on to give me a satisfying plot and ending. Though there isn’t an element of surprise, I often find little nuances in the story that I missed or had forgotten about when I re-read. For me, there’s comfort and pleasure in re-visiting familiar characters. I kind of miss them!

I have several books that I occasionally re-read.

Here are ten of them (in no particular order).

  1. The Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood by Rebecca Wells.
  2. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen
  3. Plainsong by Kent Haruf
  4. Lake News by Barbara Delinsky
  5. Crow Lake by Mary Lawson
  6. Montana Sky by Nora Roberts
  7. Paradise by Judith McNaught
  8. The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  9. The Lord of the Rings by J.R.R. Tolkien
  10. The Mitford series by Jan Karon

Occasionally, I’ll even go waaaay back and read an old favorite from childhood like These Happy Golden Years by Laura Ingalls Wilder. 🙂 And I always keep an oldie-but-goodie in my car for those periods of unexpected down time.

Do you re-read? What is your go-to book that you can always count on?

A Sad So-Long

final cakeThings happen. Trends run their course. Friends move away. Businesses come and go. The world keeps spinning. You move on. I know I will, but I want to take a few minutes to give high-fives and kudos and some serious boo-hoos to a quaint little restaurant where I have logged many hours over the past 15 years.

It’s been a go-to place for a consistently good girl lunch. Friends and I have commiserated over school and kids and parenting issues. We’ve celebrated birthdays and Fridays and I-just-need-to-get-out-of-the-house days. Pretty sure we’ve solved world problems (if only the powers that be would listen to us!) over a fresh salad, tasty soup and a generous hunk of the most amazing carrot cake I have ever tasted.

Until two days ago The Bloomsbury Bistro operated inside a local antique mall. A small place with fresh flowers and white paper on the tables, it was cozy and friendly. It was decorated with paintings and murals of women enjoying food, and friendship and conversation that seemed to beckon and invite patrons to gather and lunch. Though the menu changed seasonally, standard favorites kept customers coming back (did I mention the fabulous carrot cake?). The food was fresh and creative. I never had a bad meal or service experience there. Ever. I can’t say that for any other restaurant, and I eat out a lot. This place was amazing. It was special, and I’m going to miss it.

I ate there several times in its last couple of weeks. It seemed everyone wanted a last lunch at The Bistro. My mother and aunt drove three hours for one last visit. Everyone wanted one more slice of that incredible carrot cake. Yes, I indulged on each outing! Let me pause a moment to describe, if I can, the carrot cake — a sinful two-layer cake, served warm with a delicious cream-cheese-and-pineapple filling, drizzled with warm caramel sauce, and topped with candied walnuts. The. Best. Ever. I’m pretty sure I will never eat another slice of so-called carrot cake from any other bakery or restaurant.

On the final day at The Bistro, the wait was more than an hour for those without reservations. (Luckily, I had made reservations a week earlier for a group of my book club friends.) To say the place was popular would be a serious understatement. I’m not sure the owner ever imagined the deluge of customers and outpouring of compliments and good wishes she received. And earned. I was honored to be invited to a champagne send-off on the last evening of the restaurant’s life. Along with friends and associates and staff members, I toasted the years of great meals and memories. I say again, cheers to the Bloomsbury Bistro!

Are you missing a special place that left its mark on you?

Giddy Gratitude for my Garage

snow saabToday, both of my kids are likely to experience snow and/or freezing rain. Both have cars. Neither one has a garage. So I’m appreciating the little luxuries . . . like a garage.

When my husband and I first got married, we lived in an apartment complex. No garage or carport. When we moved to our first house, the one-car garage came with a heavy wooden door that I couldn’t lift — and no remote. My husband’s car was only a year old. Mine was probably 10. Guess who got the garage?

Living in the Midwest, that means I have had many years of experience in the miserable task of de-icing, scraping and clearing snow from one’s vehicle. I, unfortunately, am experienced in the qualities and pros and cons of a variety of scraping techniques and tools. For example, a long-handled scraper with brush on one side is, of course, essential for a small person who cannot reach the middle of the windshield without leaning into the snow and ice covering the hood of the car. For solid ice, I’ve found that a metal scraper is more effective than a hard plastic scraper. I know that the trash bag or cardboard windshield covering will only work if there is no wind. There were those years when I must’ve had four or five different scraping tools of various materials and quality rattling around in my car during the winter months. At the time there was no such thing as a heated scraper. The most newfangled, techie tool I ever had was a scraper sewn into a glove-like bag that was designed to help keep the working hand a little warmer.

I know the frustration of leaving work to find my car covered in ice or snow, adding many minutes to an already tedious commute. I know the agony of standing in the bitter cold attempting to open a car door so that I could start the car, hoping to pump a little warm air onto the windshield, only to find said door frozen shut. Oh, the misery that winter can bring!

So today while I’m feeling sorry for my kids, I’m feeling a giddy kind of gratitude for my garage. (A little adversity builds, character, right?!) It’s now been almost 25 years since I’ve had to park my car outside on a regular basis! Ah, the glee of waking on a snowy morning and not being faced with task of digging out. The blessing of driving down the street with a perfectly clear windshield and brake lights that can be seen, in a car that’s not spewing snow at others drivers!

In our current home, we have a two-car garage. And two cars. We also have a bunch of other junk in the garage – garden clippers, gas cans, rakes, shovels, bicycles, etc. It’s a tight squeeze. I have to warn guests getting into my car on the passenger side to be careful that they don’t end up with a hatchet in their head. But until I move to Palm Springs, any or all of these implements will be kicked to the curb before I give up my space in the garage. There’s no going back!!

Sending good wishes to everyone dealing with snow and ice this week. Stay safe!

Is your car sheltered? Any tips or tricks for clearing snow and ice?

A Valentine for you!

free Risk

Ah, love is in the air! It’s Valentine’s Day weekend — and I have a gift for you! Like romance? Hunky book boyfriends? Stories that feel real? Here’s your chance to try a Darlene Deluca contemporary romance for free (digital edition) on Amazon.

Clashing over the fate of a historic building, Jennifer Aukland and Michael Reynolds are on course to become adversaries. She’s an architect devoted to green building and restoration. He’s a developer hell-bent on ripping down the old hotel she’s racing to save to make way for a new casino.

Chemistry leads to compromise, and for a time, they’re on the same team. Jennifer adds Michael – and marriage – to her safe and steady plan for the future. But when Michael throws caution aside and lands in a life-threatening situation, Jennifer’s world comes crashing down. In her family, she’s learned that recklessness leads to tragedy. She must decide if she can commit her life to someone who takes unnecessary risks with his. Will she take control of her own destiny, even if it means leaving Michael behind? Or will she risk everything for love?

Whether you’re enjoying a night on the town or a cozy evening at home, happy Valentine’s Day to all!

Get your copy of Her Greatest Risk here!


The Mushy Stuff

Ahhh, Valentine’s Day. A day to celebrate love and romance. Nowglass hearts I know not everyone reads romance novels. But, come on. Who doesn’t like a little romance? Whether it’s a certain look, a private joke, a simple touch or more, doesn’t everyone want some romance in their life? A little something to make your heart go pitter-patter every once in a while?

I’ve selected a few short scenes from my novels that just might make you sigh, smile or say awwww – it’s the mushy stuff:


Something Good

Lane stood in the drive. On the curb, Mandi was eye level with him. He gazed into her face, and almost blurted out the words. Fought to keep them inside. He couldn’t unload that on her. He had to let her go. He clenched his jaw. It was a risk, but one he had to take. He couldn’t tell her that he loved her. Wouldn’t be fair to say those words knowing she was leaving. What if it made her second-guess her decision? He wouldn’t be responsible for that.

With his hands on her shoulders, Lane leaned in then planted a kiss on her cheek. That’s all he intended to do, but it was out of his control. As if some magnetic force surrounded them, they were propelled toward each other. He couldn’t pull away. And neither did she. Another second and his lips found hers. Her hands gripped his arms, and he deepened the kiss, his lips moving over hers with need and urgency, oblivious to everything around them.

When she let out a soft whimper, he broke off the kiss and pulled her against his chest, burying his face in her hair. Again, he fought the urge to say those words. “Have a good trip,” he whispered. “Say hello to California for me.”

Nodding, she backed up, grabbed her bag, and without another word turned for the entrance, her long hair swinging around her.

Lane let her take about two steps before his hand locked around her arm and swung her back around. He tipped her chin. “Hey, just so you know. This isn’t good-bye, babe. This is see you later.”


Meetings of Chance

Tom gently removed both the bottle of wine and glass from her hands. Her eyes fluttered shut as his lips met hers. Light kisses teased her. Just when she thought she’d scream with wanting, the kiss deepened, and steel bands circled her. Breathing was not an option.

When he finally pulled back, Tom cupped her face and looked into her eyes until the sensation that she was drowning nearly buckled her knees.

“Stay with me,” he whispered.

More than a request or an invitation, it was a promise, and liquid heat shot through Megan’s veins. Unable to speak, she tightened her grip on his arms, and nodded.

His lips moved on hers again, but with a new hunger. He pressed her against him, his hands firm and warm on her back. When he buried his head against her neck and whispered her name, she clutched her fists in his hair. Her breaths came in shorts gasps as his fingers found the clasp of her bra and released it. She shivered, moaning softly while his calloused hands began their exploration, and claimed their territory.

His territory. Even in her foggy state, Megan understood she was giving more than a night’s pleasure. She was giving herself – her heart – to this man. She was more than ready. In his arms, she felt safe and selfless. He gave her confidence and filled her with new energy.

When they tumbled onto Tom’s bed, Megan couldn’t think how she’d gotten there. She must’ve floated, was floating still as deep blue eyes locked onto hers, and a rush of heat enveloped her.

She wound her arms around his neck and sensation took over as she lost herself in a passion deeper than anything she’d experienced before.


Her Greatest Risk

“Jen,” Michael said, bending to look into her eyes. “I love you.”

She caught her breath and folded her hand into one of his. “Michael, I—” she stopped herself, and studied his face, his words echoing in her head. And in her heart. Impulsively she traced his jaw-line with her hand. He turned into it and kissed her palm, holding her hand against his cheek.

A thousand memories flashed through her brain – the way he made her laugh, the way he made her feel, the little ways he used to pamper and please her. She’d given them up for a bunch of what-ifs. Her mind reeled as the truth sank in. No matter how much she worried or fought it, her heart belonged to Michael Reynolds. And it had since that very first warm summer day on a tennis court when his handshake had sent her pulse skyrocketing. Tears filled her eyes, and she flung herself against him. “I love you, too,” she said softly. Pulling back, she looked into his eyes again. With her hands on her cheeks, she shook her head as a little laugh escaped. “Oh, my God,” she said breathlessly. “I do. I still love you.”

He closed his eyes, and his arms went around her, almost suffocating her. But it was exactly what she needed. She could breathe later. Now all she wanted was to soak up his warmth. She pressed into his shoulder.

Your turn to share. What is your favorite romantic read?