Title: Trusting Again
Author: Peggy Bird
Publisher: Crimson Romance
After years of struggling, Cynthia Blaine is finally getting recognition from Seattle galleries and buyers for her designer jewelry. Her life seems to be on an even keel. Her professional life, that is. Her personal life is less exciting than a cloistered nun’s. After a messy breakup with a man who decided he needed a woman who could help his career more than a mere artist could, she’s steered clear of anyone who could hurt her like that again.
Then Marius Hernandez comes into a gallery where she is working. He’s a successful coffee broker; he’s to-die-for handsome; he’s sexy and charming. And he’s very, very interested in her.
Marius woos her on a sailing trip through the beautiful San Juan Islands during which their romance lights up the summer nights. Soon after they return to Seattle, he leaves on a six-week business trip to Central America, promising he’ll return to her. But just before he’s due back, Cynthia gets a shock. And when she goes to Portland to pour out her heart to her best friend, she has another shock. Marius is in Portland, not where he said he would be. And he’s with another woman.
It’ll take more than a good cup of coffee to get Cynthia and Marius to their happily-ever-after.
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She was wire-wrapping a bead when the bell on the door rang, indicating someone had come into the gallery. Looking up, she was so distracted by the gorgeous man walking toward her that she poked herself with the silver wire she was using, drawing blood. That’s how she greeted him, sucking on her finger to make it stop bleeding.
He removed the sunglasses she couldn’t imagine he needed in March in Seattle, took command of her gaze with his espresso brown eyes, smiled and said, “I’m looking for Cynthia Blaine. That wouldn’t be you, by any chance, would it?”
The smile alone made her knees wobble. Add the brown eyes and handsome face and she wasn’t sure she could trust herself to speak. So she just nodded.
“I’m Marius Hernandez.” He put out his hand to her.
She took it after wiping her hand off on a wet rag to get rid of the blood and saliva and trying to alter what she was afraid was the expression of some teen-aged groupie who’d run into Justin Bieber. His big hand enveloped hers, making her wish the handshake could last for hours, maybe days.
“I’m looking for a specific piece of your work. For a gift.”
Please God. Make it a gift for his mother, his niece, a sister. Anyone but a wife.
"I have a friend who’s about to celebrate a significant birthday,” he continued, “and I want to give her the necklace she admired when she was in here recently.”
Damn it, a her. Nice going, God. Technically you gave me what I asked for—he isn’t buying it for his wife. Remind me to be more specific next time when I ask you for something.
“Tell me what the piece looks like,” she said.
“A big necklace. It looked like a collar, she said. Four or five inches wide. Fastens in the back. Silver wire with crystals and rubies woven into it. My friend said it looked like something a princess would wear.”
“Ah, my favorite Cleopatra collar. It just sold a couple days ago.” “Can you make another just like it?” “Actually, I don’t make duplicates. But I have one I’m working on with clear glass and pearly glass beads that’s similar. Might that work?” “Glass? I thought—she thought—my friend thought—they were gems.” “Nope, all glass. Here, let me show you the piece I’m talking about.” He loved the piece and didn’t argue about the price. After leaving his business card with his email and office phone number so she could call him when it was ready, he left.
She stood staring at the card for a few minutes. The sale was great, but knowing where to contact him wasn’t going to do her much good personally. Not when he was spending serious money on a girlfriend’s birthday present. With a sigh, she went back to her wire wrapping. That old saw was right. All the good ones are taken.
Born in Philly, I’ve spent most of my adult life in the Pacific Northwest where I have happily grown webs between my toes and moss behind my ears. I pursued a number of careers—nurse, legislative staffer, lobbyist, public affairs consultant, non-profit association executive, workshop teacher, oh, and mother and wife—before deciding to leave it all for what I’ve loved through every stage of life—writing. I've been published in anthologies, magazines, newspapers and in the brochures, newsletters and reports of my consulting clients and employers. Unless you count speeches for politicians, I'd never written fiction until a cast of characters began inhabiting my daydreams. A glass artist and a gallery owner were there. So were a sculptor and a jewelry designer. When some dead bodies showed up, a couple of cops and a deputy DA arrived. Soon they began to fall in love with each other and work for their happy ending. Bingo. I was a romance writer.
What was the first romance novel you read that made an impression on you? It was an old one of my grandmother’s from a box my mother dug out of her parent’s attic: “The Sun and the Sea” by an English author, can’t remember who. Loved the story and must have read it a dozen times when I was a young teenager.
Do you plan all your characters out before you start a story or do they develop as you write? I don’t start writing until I know my characters. I create their backstories, furnish their homes, dress them, “talk” to them, listen to them. They still sometimes balk at what I want them to do and head my story off in a different direction but, so far, they’ve been right.
Most _____________ in high school. (popular, nerdy, sporty…) Why? Voted “most likely to succeed” and “best actress” by my class. Was runner up for “most argumentative” and “most talkative.” I’d have voted me most nerdy. Because I was. Only girl on the Hi-Q team, yearbook editor, newspaper editor—no sports, no cheerleading, not part of the in crowd. And quite happy in my nerdiness.
Top three things on your bucket list. Publish 20 books. Go back to London and Italy. Take a road trip by myself to someplace I’ve never been in the U.S.
What is your favorite scene in your new release? The opening scene in the Heathman Hotel in Portland. It is lightly based on an experience I had with three friends a year or so ago. The most handsome man any of us had ever seen invited us to share his table when the bar was full and we were trying to find a place to have a glass of wine after a Storm Large concert. When we left, one of my friends said, “This would make a great scene in one of your books.” And now it is.
Flirting Questions (Choose 5)
Which actor or book character do you have a crush on? Toss-up between Johnny Depp and Mr. Darcy. When I figure out what those two have in common, I’ll finally understand myself.
What’s your favorite body part of the opposite sex? Eyes. Wait, no, shoulders. M-m-m, chests. No, eyes. Definitely eyes. No, maybe…(how much time to I have to answer this one?)
How did you meet your significant other? I was the executive director of a regional association, lobbying Congress and Federal agencies. I lobbied him to get money for a regional project included his budget. Apparently I’m not bad at lobbying. Got the money and the guy.
If you could take a romantic trip, where would it be? Italy. Hands down, Italy. Fell in love with the entire country the minute I got off the airplane the first time I was there and have been in love ever since.
Do you believe in love at first sight? Apparently I feel that way about countries. About men? Some days. Other days I’m more convinced it’s attraction at first sight. Either way, that amazing feeling of responding to another person with your heart, your lungs and several other organs of note, is not to be missed—at least once in your life.
White wine or red? Pinot Grigio
Coffee or tea? Coffee
Vanilla or chocolate? Chocolate
Sweet or salty? Both
Laptop or desktop? Laptop
Beach or mountains? Beach
Winter or summer? Fall
Cat or dog? Cat
Twilight or Fifty Shades? Fifty Shades
City or Country? City girl all the way
Clubbing or candlelight dinner? Candlelight dinner
Christmas or Halloween? Christmas
Optimist or pessimist? Optimist