How about a sneak peek at SWAY – out August 7 in the CHERISHED duology with me and Maya Banks
Daisy not only has a close biological family, but her friends who’ve become the family of her heart. These friends, the group they call Delicious, are the heart of the series…
Levi Warner is an established, older man—wealthy, powerful, and above all, respectable. Then Levi meets Daisy, an uninhibited 24-year-old dance instructor and artist, not exactly the kind of woman Levi is accustomed to. But the young, free spirit, brings out something in him he only experienced in fantasies. When their scorching affair turns into something unexpectedly deeper, Levi finds himself torn between preserving his reputation, and exploring a wilder and much more satisfying kind of life.
More than just a woman who loved to cook who made dinner for her friends, Mary had turned Delicious into a hot secret everyone knew. And everyone wanted in. So much so that people paid a yearly fee for supplies and they’d be invited at random to a certain number of dinners or afternoon events.
Their friends, the core of Delicious, were always on the guest list. But for everyone else, it was an event to get their number called to attend a dinner.
“Yeah, probably. She’s not one for coy, our Gillian. But this guy is good for her. He’s been on her to set a date for the last two months. I can’t imagine she’s going to be able to hold out much longer. Especially now that the renovations on their new house are in full swing.”
“Been a long time for her. I’m happy. Gillian deserves her happily ever after. And it’ll be a great job for you too.”
She tipped her glass of cider in Mary’s direction.
“He might want some big wedding with a crack catering staff instead of his new wife’s friends.”
Daisy snorted. “Yes, I’m sure. After one look at Adrian and his family you can totally tell they care about the thread count of the napkins and your china pattern.”
A joke of course, as Adrian and his sister, also a rock star, had multiple tats and his brother ran a tattoo shop. Their friends were a wild assortment of awesome jobs, hair colors and wild backgrounds. Above all they were down-to-earth. They fit with Gillian’s friends perfectly.
“I just want her to be happy.”
“Of course you do. Jules will make the cake and you will make the food. That’s Delicious.”
It had been Daisy who gave the name Delicious not only to the weekly gatherings but also to her group of friends, the sexiest, funniest, most awesome women she knew. Women who were always there for each other. Whether it was to kick someone’s ass to make them straighten up, or to defend and protect. They were part of her family. They were delicious in every way and it pleased her that it had stuck.
Daisy waved a hand at all the food. “This is awesome. More cumin in the meatballs maybe?”
“I was thinking the same thing. Maybe the sauce needs a tweak instead? What do you think of the cheese straws? Those I just made up a batch for because I know your grandma loves them and she promised me some jam if I made her some.”
Daisy laughed. “She’s greedy for your treats.” She bit into one of the lighter-than-air straws. “So good. Oh what’d you add?”
“I used a new kind of cheese. It had black peppercorns in it. I’m going to premiere them at dinner. How was your day?”
“I finished a new piece. Want to see?”
Mary jumped up eagerly. “I can’t believe you need to ask.”
Other than her grandmother, Mary was always the first person she showed her new work to. Daisy knew she’d tell the truth.
They went through the small house to the studio out back. Daisy and her grandmother shared the space, a garage converted to a workspace for her grandmother and then when the time came, they added a kiln and space for Daisy’s mixed media work as she’d begun to truly explore art professionally.
Suddenly nervous, she stopped Mary at the door. “Okay so this is something a little new for me.”
Mary took her hands. “Hush you. Let me see it.”
Daisy pushed the doors open and pointed. Mary took a few steps and halted, sucking in a breath as she took it in.
“Wow. This is . . . wow.”
Crimson and vivid green mosaic created the outline of a woman’s body. Paper and pen and ink gave her more detail. Her arms arched above her head, wrists bound.
Mary turned. “Yes. Really good wow. Daze, this is crazy good. Hot. Gorgeous. I love it.”
She grinned and hugged Mary tight. “Thank you. I don’t know. It’s not my usual thing but it . . . it just came out of me.”
“When the others see this, there will be a fight to see who gets to buy it. I’d try to snag it now but then everyone would whine.” Mary winked.
“I really do need to have more buyers than you guys. Not that I don’t appreciate it and all.”
Mary laughed. “Girl, you think we pity-buy your art? One of these days the stuff we snagged at a bargain will be worth enough to get our kids through college. We’re smart. And lucky to have such a talented friend.”
Pride warmed Daisy. She was lucky in her friends. “You’re fabulous. I’m going to enter it for art walk.”
“Oh! Such a great idea. If they turn you down, they’re idiots.”
Art walk had started as an informal thing some local artists had started five years before and now it was a regular event. Each quarter they had a themed one with specially chosen pieces on display in front windows all over town. Daisy had been dreaming about her work being in one of those windows ever since.
She’d grown up in her grandmother’s shadow. Which was overwhelmingly a blessing. She’d had a great example to follow. Wonderful advice. A teacher, a critique partner at times. Her biggest cheerleader and also her harshest taskmaster.
But sometimes people seemed to believe she was only doing well because her grandmother opened doors for her. They took one look at Daisy, noted her age and wrote her off.
She wanted her successes to be something she made on her own. She appreciated her grandmother’s help and advice a great deal. Never felt a need to apologize for it. But she craved independence in so many ways, having people take her seriously for her work was one of her ultimate goals.
Be sure to visit today’s other Snippeters:
Megan Hart:Read in bed!
Mandy M Roth