Jane Linden returns to Red Hill, the small town she fled, pregnant and alone, twelve years earlier.There she meets up with her ex-boyfriend Cole Roberts. The old attraction smolders but both have good reasons not to fan the embers.
Their daughters, Mary Kate and Stephanie, decide their parents are throwing away the great love of their lives and plot to reunite Jane and Cole. The girls' efforts backfire, tearing the fledgling family apart.
Is Jane and Cole's love great enough to overcome their daughters' meddling?
A romantic comedy with vineyards, horses and movie stars.
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January 07, 2008
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Excerpt from How to Trap A Parent by Joan Kilby
Cole adjusted his black tie in the bedroom mirror and combed his hair neatly to one side. Red carpet galas weren't his usual Saturday night entertainment but he'd show Jane that just because he was from the country didn't mean he was a hick.
Squinting at his teeth, he tried on a star-dazzling smile. Or so he hoped. "Cole Roberts; good evening." Nope, too formal. "Hi, I'm Cole." Too boyish. He lowered his voice to strong and sexy. "I'm Cole. How are you tonight?"
A slow hand clap from the doorway brought heat rushing to Cole's cheeks. He spun around.
Elegant and ironic, Jane stood in the doorway wearing a shimmering evening gown that took his breath away. Her hair glittered, her skin glistened and as she walked toward him, he was enveloped in a delicate scent that was both sweet and sensual.
"You can't go like that," she said, eyeing him with critical detachment.
"What's wrong? He turned back to the mirror. "I thought I scrubbed up pretty good."
"Your tux fits as if it was custom-made, you're handsome enough to turn a starlet's head but-"
"It's the growth, isn't it?" he said, rubbing the stubble he'd been cultivating for a couple of days. "Stephanie and Mary Kate insisted, Joey agreed and for once I listened. Do I have time to shave?"
"The beard is sexy." As his smile bloomed, she quickly amended, "If you like that sort of thing." She turned him around by the shoulders to study him at closer range, tapping a polished fingernail against luscious berry red lips. He was focusing on those lips, feeling their magnetism, when she murmured, "That's it," and reached up to rumple his hair.
"Hey!" he cried, ducking. Too late. Her fingers had tousled his neatly combed hair into a rumpled, spiky look. He was reaching for his comb when he stopped. Okay, not bad. Less professional but more youthful. And he had to admit, there was something intimate about her helping him get ready. He met her gaze in the mirror.
Heat flashed in her eyes, so briefly he thought he imagined it. Then she glanced away with a negligant, "You'll do."
Her casual dismissal stung and he reminded himself this wasn't a date but a work function. Jane was attending the movie premiere with Rafe in her capacity as a movie publicist and he'd agreed to escort Rafe's co-star Mia as a favor to Jane. The opportunity for Cole to sell Rafe a piece of expensive real estate didn't hurt, either.
The sound of whispering made him glance across the room. Stephanie and Mary Kate were crowding the doorway.
"Smile!" Stephanie said, holding up the camera. She clicked and captured him and Jane in profile, her hands at his neck, him holding her waist. "You two look fabulous together."
"Turn around so we can get a photo face on," Mary Kate instructed. "Closer. Put your arms around each other's waists."
"Humor them," Cole murmured, sliding his arm around Jane. "We'll get this over with faster than if we argue."
She held herself stiffly as if she couldn't bear getting close to him. Cole put on a smile for the camera and settled his hand on the curve of her hip. It felt too damn good there, sparking memories he'd do better to forget and recent fantasies he had no business indulging in. "Hurry up, Stephanie."
Twenty shots or so later, he declared, "Enough! You'd think we were a couple of teenagers going to their first deb ball."
Stephanie and Mary Kate giggled and melted away like a pair of conjoined twins, squabbling good-naturedly as they reviewed the shots they'd just taken.
Once the girls had left the sudden silence became awkward. Cole held out an arm to Jane and tried on his killer smile. "Shall we go?"
"Save it for Mia." Jane sailed out ahead of him.
But as he helped her tuck her skirt into the passenger seat of his car, his hand brushed her bare shoulder. She started, her eyes flying to his, lips parted. His heart humming, Cole carefully closed the door.